The Thread of Life
‘Aloof, aloof, we stand aloof’ /
The Thread of Life
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.
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.
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 sanative;
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 Rossetti (1830–1894) was an Anglo-Catholic poet, perhaps best known today for penning the words to the Christmas hymns “In the Bleak Midwinter” and “Love Came Down at Christmas.” In her day she was best known for “Goblin Market.” We previously published her “Good Friday.”
Also in this IssueIssue 31 / September 17, 2015
- Editor's Note from September 16, 2015
Issue 31: Yellowstone’s wolves, the strangest plant, and an even more beautiful creation. /
- Yes, Wolves Change Rivers. And So Much More.
The changes at Yellowstone aren’t just an elegant recipe for ecological balance. /
- The Strangest Plant in the World
I’m one of the few botanists studying Hydnora triceps. Here’s why I dig it. /
- An Earth More Beautiful than Beautiful
What will this stuff look like, I wonder, when God restores it? /
- Wonder on the Web
Wonder on the Web Issue 31: Links to amazing stuff. /