The Spike or Victoria College Review 1936
I moved in a strange land.
Eternal mists hung on the lofty hills,
Spongy slopes oozed with the slime of ages;
For here no sky was blue, nor ever sun was seen.
I saw men
Pale and frog-like
Bowed men, while a sullen tyranny of sound
A heavy hymn of praise roll'd up sluggish from temple doors,
Till, caught in the all-embracing clouds,
Its muffled melody became a ghost,
Spectral, shadowy as the wraith-like men who sang.
Said I to one, the frailest: "For whom this honour.
This temple? . . . these hymns of praise?"
Sunless eyes were raised; lifeless lips told of a long-passed stranget
Pointing these pale sun-seekers to a land beside,
Sun-bright, birds and children singing.
They knew it well . . . And the flood between—
That none might cross its swiftness.
The stranger bared his back,
Breasted the torrent, bearing a rope on his shoulders,
That the stream of the ages might be bridged.
But when he was all but crossed,
Men shot him in the stream with arrows
Thought him some river-thing.
But his dying forces flung the rope-end
Round a low-hung branch. "Thus was the river spanned;
So this marble, and this heavy sound."
I left the temple, wandered to the river,
Saw the rope, grown vague with weeds and filth;
For though the way was safe, yet were the waters cold
And few indeed the crossers.
It seemed a voice rebuked them from the heavy sky:"
"Ye sing my praises, weeping my death,
But the rope?
Cross, and dwell in the sun with me."
But none heard for the singing.
And the Rope was forgotten.
—I. R. McL.page break page break