Irrevocable (Poem by Gilbert Parker)

Suggested Poem

Irrevocable
By Gilbert Parker


What you have done may never be undone
By day or night,
What I have seen may never be unseen
In my sad sight.

The days swing on, the sun glows and is gone,
From span to span;
The tides sweep scornfully the shore, as when
The tides began.

What we have known is but a bitter pledge
Of Ignorance,
The human tribute to an ageless dream,
A timeless trance.

Through what great cycles hath this circumstance
Swept on and on,
Known not by thee or me, till it should come,
A vision wan,

To our two lives, and yours would seem to me
The hand that kills,
Though you have wept to strike, and but have cried,
“The mad Fate wills!”
 
You could not, if you would, give what had been
Peace, not distress;
Some warping cords of destiny had held
You in duress.

Nay, not the Fates, look higher; is God blind?
Doth He not well?
Our eyes see but a little space behind,
If it befell,

That they saw but a little space before,
Shall we then say,
Unkind is the Eternal, if He knew
This from alway,

And called us into being but to give
To mother Earth
Two blasted lives, to make the watered land
A place of dearth?

The life that feeds upon itself is mad — 
Is it not thus?
Have I not held but one poor broken reed
For both of us?

Keep but your place and simply meet
The needs of life;
Mine is the sorrow, mine the prayerless pain:
The world is rife

With spectres seen and spectres all unseen
By human eyes,
Who stand upon the threshold, at the gates,
Of Paradise.

Well do they who have felt the spectres’ hands
Upon their hearts,
And have not fled, but with firm faith have borne
Their brothers’ parts,

Upheld the weary head, or fanned the brow
Of some sick soul,
Pointed the way for tired pilgrim eyes
To their far goal.

So let it be with us: perchance will come
In after days,
The benison of happiness for us
Always, always.

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