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Kowhai Gold

[Ida Withers]

page 129

The blind worm spoke to Saint Francis
From the mould of Assisi's wood:
"What thinkest thou, Brother,
Shall be the reward of good
And virtuous worms
When Death shall bar the way?
A richer loam
With softer, sweeter clay?
No stone to turn the path?
And never bird to fill the day
With fear, when rain shall break
In silver brightness on the lawn
And worms are tempted
Past their power, to rise?
Would you, Saint Francis, say
That such is Paradise?"

And a bird dipped
From blue to bough:
"Thinkest thou
That in the Paradisal Lands
Peaches will grow
That will be birds' alone?
And cherries in cool leafiness?
And never snow
Will hide from our fond eyes
The Eternal Lawn
Whose long, lush worms will rise
Even as the appetite doth rise
Within the bird?—Thinkest thou
This, Brother?"

page 130

"My little Ones," Saint Francis said,
"What can mortal know,
Save that Desire will be fulfilled
Or that Desire will go?
He that created worm and bird
Would surely make it so.
'Tis only here below
That thirsts unquenched go."