A Beautiful Thought [poem by Agnes Neale]

[Editor: This poem by Agnes Neale was published in Shadows and Sunbeams (1890).]

A Beautiful Thought.

A beautiful thought there came to me
In the silent, shadowy night,
Lighting the darkness that round me lay
With a wonderful, radiant light.

For I thought of the dear ones who went away
In the years that are past and gone;
And I saw the old love-light shine once more
In the eyes that I looked upon.

And the delicate veil that is hanging between
The worlds of the living and dead
Seemed all at once but a luminous mist,
By the light of eternity shed —

Seemed all at once to quiver and wave,
As stirred by a quick, warm breath;
And the world we call dead seemed the living world,
And the life that we live seemed the death.

And I almost fancied I felt the touch
Of the dear hands lost long ago;
And the sound of their voices seemed borne to my brain
In a musical silvery flow.

Then this beautiful thought there came to me:
Suppose that the loved and lost
Had stayed this side of the river of death —
Had never its cold waters crossed;

But had only entered a larger life,
Had tasted a goodlier bliss;
Had feasted their eyes and their hearts on a world
That is fairer and brighter than this.

And suppose that out from that beautiful land,
Where the love and the light never dies,
They are gazing forever to watch our ways
With their star-like and lustrous eyes;

That ever and aye they are close to us,
In the dark and the golden light;
That they never have really gone away,
But only have passed out of sight.

Suppose ’tis the old sweet tones that we hear,
Instead of the zephyr’s soft sighs;
That the diamonds we see at night are not stars,
But the light of their ever-bright eyes.

And. suppose that wherever we walk or look,
The dear ones we mourned for as dead
Walk side by side with us all the way
With a silent, mysterious tread;

That between this world and that realm of light
Their feet ever come and go;
That they minister still with a tender touch
To the loved and the left below;

That ever they watch and wait for the time
When we too shall have spirit sight,
When their eager hands shall have drawn us through
That curtain of quivering light.

Then a still more beautiful thought there came:
If the loved and the lost may come
To watch our feet with their spirit eyes
Wherever those feet may roam,

Then, surely, I know that the Father of all,
The Father of life and of light,
Who gave us the love that most we have loved,
Will keep us for ever in sight;

That out from the stars and the winds and the seas,
Though the tempests may blacken the skies,
We may feel at all times the strong clasp of His hand,
Who shall wipe all the tears from our eyes.

We may hear the dear voice that shall whisper “Well done,”
When the burdens of life are laid by;
When we turn from the sin-shadowed beauty of earth
To the beauty that never shall die.



Source:
Agnes Neale, Shadows and Sunbeams, Adelaide: Burden & Bonython, 1890, pages 78-80

Editor’s notes:
aye = always, forever

Father = in a religious context, and capitalized, a reference to God (distinct from “Father” as a parent or “Father” as a priest)

zephyr = a breeze from the west, especially a gentle breeze (from Zephyrus, or Zephyr, god of the west wind in Greek mythology)

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