Presage

By Violet Jacob

    The year declines, and yet there is
        A clearness, as of hinted spring;
    And chilly, like a virgin’s kiss,
        The cold light touches everything.

    The world seems dazed with purity,
        There hangs, this spell-bound afternoon,
    Beyond the naked cherry tree
        The new-wrought sickle of the moon.

    What is this thraldom, pale and still,
        That holds so passionless a sway?
    Lies death in this ethereal chill,
        New life, or prelude of decay?

    In the frail rapture of the sky
        There bodes, transfigured, far aloof,
    The veil that hides eternity,
        With life for warp and death for woof.

    We see the presage – not with eyes,
        But dimly, with the shrinking soul –
    Scarce guessing, in this fateful guise,
        The glory that enwraps the whole,

    The light no flesh may apprehend,
        Lent but to spirit-eyes, to give
    Sign of that splendour of the end
        That none may look upon and live.

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