The Way Of Love, A Narrative Poem
Author: Joyce Kilmer (1886-1918)
There are things When darkness hovers over earth And day gives place to night, Then lovers see the Milky Way Gleam mystically bright, And calling it the Way of Love They hail it with delight. She was a lady wondrous fair A right brave lover he, And sooth they suffered grievous pain And sorrowed mightily, For they were parted during life By leagues of land and sea. She died. Then Death came to the man. He met him joyfully, And said, "Thou Angel Death, well met! Quick, do thy will with me, That I may haste to greet my love In Heaven's company." Now on one side of Heaven he dwelt And on the other, she. And broad between them stretched sheer space Whereon no way might be, The empty, yawning, awful depth, Unplumbed infinity. The deathless spheric melody Came gently to his ear, And dulcet notes, the harmonies Of Seraphs chanting near. He heeded not for listening His lady's voice to hear. The Saints and Martyrs round him ranged A goodly company, The Virgin, robed in radiance, The Holy Trinity. He heeded not, but strained his eyes His lady's face to see. At last from far across the void Her voice came, faint and sweet. The bright-hued walls of Paradise Did the glad sound repeat; The distant stars on which she stood Shone bright beneath her feet. "Dear Love," she said, "Oh, come to me! I cannot see your face. O will not Lord Christ grant to us To cross this sea of space?" Then thrilled his heart with Love's own might. He answered, by Love's grace. "The world is wide, and Heaven is wide, From me to thee is far, Alas! across Infinity No passageways there are. Sweetheart, I'll make my way to thee, I'll build it, star by star!" Through all the curving vault of sky His lusty blows rang out. He smote the jewel-studded walls And with a mighty shout He tore the gleaming masonry And posts that stood about. He strove to build a massive bridge That should the chasm span. With heart upheld by hope and love His great task he began, And toiled and labored doughtily To work his Godlike plan. He took the heavy beams of gold That round him he did see; The beryl, jacinth, sardius, That shone so brilliantly, And no fair jewel would he spare So zealously worked he. He stole the gorgeous tinted stuffs Whereof are sunsets made, And his rude, grasping, eager hands On little stars he laid; To rob God's sacred treasure-house He was no whit afraid. And so for centuries he worked. Across the void at last A bridge of precious mold did stand Completed, strong and fast. So now the faithful lovers met And all their woe was past. But soon a shining angel guard Sped to the throne of gold And said, "Lord, see yon new-made bridge, A mortal, overbold, Has built it, scorning thy desire!" Straightway the tale he told. Then said: "Now, Master, Thou mayst see The thing that has been wrought. Speak, then, the word, stretch forth Thine hand That with the speed of thought This poor presumptuous work may fall And crumble into naught." God looked upon the angel then And on the bridge below. Then with His smile of majesty He said: "Let all things know, This bridge, which has by Love been built, I will not overthrow." When darkness hovers over earth And day gives place to night, Then lovers see the Milky Way Gleam mystically bright, And calling it the Way of Love, They hail it with delight.