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Collected Poems

Good and Ill

Good and Ill

Evil is to be conquered by absorption, not by rejection.

I passed my life in one horizon,
locked in the sky's blue prison.

That blue bubble of the sky
broke, and left me here to die.

The sky is a cup whereof men sip,
with air and sunlight wet the lip.

But there is one whose ceaseless strife
imperilleth our immortal life.

He hath poured poison in the sky,
and they that drink that cup shall die.

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I drank the golden wine of day,
the dregs of twilight cast away.

Now at the end I cry for peace,
mercy and pity without cease.

My courage faileth, my strength is wasted:
dregs and darkness have I tasted.

O hand unseen, O spirit of grace,
shower the darkness on my face.

Now let me drink of that foul cup
and swallow all its bitterness up.

The fruit of evil more than good
is the just man's spiritual food.

Ill turneth good in the spirit's fire
as the lily bloometh in the mire.

And he that licketh the beggar's sore
hath mercy and grace for evermore.