Visions (Poem by Frank Oliver Call)

Daily Classic Poem

Visions (1)
By Frank Oliver Call

I saw a vision of beauty.
My eyes looked through the mists of ages,
Back to the glorious years when Beauty itself was God.
And I saw the waves of the blue Ægean,
Turquoise, sapphire, jacinth and amethyst mingled,
And I heard the singing of the water,
As of playing of distant pipes
By slender shepherd lads among the hills.
Then I turned away from the shore
And I saw the pediment of a great temple
Standing white against the sky,
And beneath the pediment rows of marble columns
Like giant trees in a forest of frozen beauty.
Statues gleamed amid the dark foliage of cypress and olive trees,
Statues of gods and goddesses, youths and maidens,
Horses of ruddy bronze and chariots of beaten brass.
My feet trod the steps of the marble stairway,
And I went a worshipper to the great temple,
Whose burnished doors stood wide ajar
Gleaming like the portal of a dream city;
I lifted my arms in adoration,
And my soul drank its fill
From the pure Greek fountain-head of beauty.

Visions (2)

I saw a vision of faith.
My eyes were turned to a mediæval city
Of crowded low-roofed houses,
From which there rose a great cathedral,
With walls of chiselled stone
And spires that pierced into the blue.
Here men had wrought with hands and heart and brain
Long years in wood and stone,
Until they reared a gorgeous temple to do honour to their God.
I entered in,

And saw the walls agleam with painted glass,
More brilliant than the jewels of eastern kings;
I heard the organ like winds sweeping across the sea,
And the voices of the singing-boys
Like soft ripples on the velvet sand.
With golden cross and smoking censers
And priests in robes of scarlet and purple,
The procession passed along;
Then the great sweating throng
Bowed low upon the stony floor before the Host,
And when the echoing music
Had vanished in the soaring vault above,
The crowd went forth from the gorgeous gloom
Comforted, into the golden sun-light.
My soul, too, was comforted,
For it had drunk deep
From the pure mediæval well of faith.

Visions (3)

I saw a vision of love.
Upon the field of battle
Amid dust and smoke and shrouds of poisonous vapour
Red streams of youthful blood were poured upon the ground,
That the world might not die from its festering wounds,
But might drink health and life
From these pure, youthful streams.
Then I stood awed and dumb,
For here was love supreme.

Visions (4)

I saw a vision of death.
Silence held my feet with clinging hands,
And Darkness put heavy fingers across my eyes.
Then Darkness raised her hands, and I saw in the gray shadows
A great night-moth with sable folded wings;
It seemed asleep upon a purple flower,
But as I watched,
Slowly it spread its wings,
And from them shone a gleam of crimson dawn,
And all the world was drenched in showers of light.
Then with his flaming wings outspread
The great moth sailed away,
Like a scarlet boat upon a dawn-swept sea,
Leaving behind a wake of golden light.
And I know that my vision of death
Was only a vision of beauty.

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