In Absentia (Poem by Edwin John Dove Pratt)

Beautiful Poem


In Absentia
By Edwin John Dove Pratt


Erect and motionless he stood,
    His face a hieroglyph of stone,
Stopped was his pulse, chilled was his blood,
    And stiff each sinew, nerve and bone.

The spell an instant held him, when
    His veins were swept by tidal power,
And then life's threescore years and ten
    Were measured by a single hour.

The world lay there beneath his eye;
    The sun had left the heavens to float
A hand-breadth from him, and the sky
    Was but an anchor for his boat.

Fled was the class-room's puny space — 
    His eye saw but a whirling disk;
His old and language-weathered face
    Shone like a glowing asterisk!

What chance had he now to remember
    The year held months so saturnine
As ill-starred May and blank September,
    With that brute tugging at his line?

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