He bids me sing

by chuckofish

I had a scratchy throat and was fighting a cold all last weekend, so flying on Sunday kind of did my ears in and I am feeling not-so-good now…So this is all I’ve got.

‘Winter Sunshine’ (1930s or 1940s) by English artist Frederick William Elwell (1870-1958).

‘Winter Sunshine’ (1930s or 1940s) by English artist Frederick William Elwell (1870-1958)

I

The irresponsive silence of the land,

The irresponsive sounding of the sea,

Speak both one message of one sense to me:–

Aloof, aloof, we stand aloof, so stand

Thou too aloof bound with the flawless band

Of inner solitude; we bind not thee;

But who from thy self-chain shall set thee free?

What heart shall touch thy heart? what hand thy hand?–

And I am sometimes proud and sometimes meek,

And sometimes I remember days of old

When fellowship seemed not so far to seek

And all the world and I seemed much less cold,

And at the rainbow’s foot lay surely gold,

And hope felt strong and life itself not weak.

 

II

Thus am I mine own prison.

Everything

Around me free and sunny and at ease:

Or if in shadow, in a shade of trees

Which the sun kisses, where the gay birds sing

And where all winds make various murmuring;

Where bees are found, with honey for the bees;

Where sounds are music, and where silences

Are music of an unlike fashioning.

Then gaze I at the merrymaking crew,

And smile a moment and a moment sigh

Thinking: Why can I not rejoice with you?

But soon I put the foolish fancy by:

I am not what I have nor what I do;

But what I was I am, I am even I.

 

 

III

Therefore myself is that one only thing

I hold to use or waste, to keep or give;

My sole possession every day I live,

And still mine own despite Time’s winnowing.

Ever mine own, while moons and seasons bring

From crudeness ripeness mellow and sanitive;

Ever mine own, till Death shall ply his sieve;

And still mine own, when saints break grave and sing.

And this myself as king unto my King

I give, to Him Who gave Himself for me;

Who gives Himself to me, and bids me sing

A sweet new song of His redeemed set free;

he bids me sing: O death, where is thy sting?

And sing: O grave, where is thy victory?

 

–Christina Rosetti, “The Thread of Life”