Oh, break the chrysalis of doubt,
plow up the clods of thick despair,
and split the buds of ignorance,
and cleanse the winter-heavy air!
Create a tumult in our hearts,
drive us to seek what we have lost,
until the flame of faith again
has seared us with thy Pentecost!
I do not swear I will remember you;
I have sworn that before – and have forgot,
and vowed eternities too many times
to tarnish this with phrases I hold cheap.
I will not even say you are my love;
the word is trite, beribboned, tired with use,
and has grown sickly with the world’s abuse.
I say that you are young, when all around
the years are weary, hearts destroy themselves,
and the bright morning of an April day
scarcely moves the dark; and you are clean
when dust of ages blows about the fields
and the new corn is stifled at its birth.
I say that I would choose, if choice were mine,
with all the honesty my heart can give,
to be your fellow out across the hills.
I do not swear I will remember you.
The lines we follow may diverge today
to meet each separate end. But I can say
when I am old, that once the world was true
and I was fearless and was not alone,
and broke the barriers of blood and bone
into the regions of a brighter star;
and when I smell the fragrant dusk of spring
I will be still with joy, remembering
these days no threat, no falsity can mar.
I who have sinned against God
stand cold and empty-handed,
desert under my feet
with no hope of flowering,
athirst where there is no spring,
in a land where no manna falls
and no voice speaks –
Ah, but somewhere
my brother loves me,
from far, from unknown places
my brother speaks for me,
my brother calls me,
my brother longs with a pure love
to break the spell of the barren land,
to rend the dry earth that binds me –
Then from the vast, brassy, barren sky
comes the small cloud,
the gathering sweet rain.
Then comes the warm wind
and the sound of bells,
the sound of running feet
and glad voices calling;
the flowers spring up and the birds
beat with glad wings about my shoulders.
And a child takes my hand, crying,
Come – the Kingdom awaits!
These poems and others by Jane Clement can be found in her anthology, No One Can Stem The Tide.