Am I God’s? [poem by Menie Parkes]

[Editor: This poem by Menie Parkes was published in Poems (1867).]

Am I God’s?

And am I God’s? The question slowly fell
Down, plummet-wise, into my soul. I stood,
Silent and sad; then waived the thought and fled
From self, and sought relief in deeper minds,
Not so was stilled the question dread, that came
Re-written and re-echoed thro’ all Nature —
“Thou, — work of the living God, — because thy life
Is sweet to thee, and earth is fair and bright,
Dost thou love God for this? and art thou His?
Because thy mind is richly blest by thoughts,
Sparks of Eternal Light which gild thy favored life,
Art thou for this cause thankful? art thou God’s?”

The answer came, low, whispered wearily,
Amid wild efforts to escape, and strong, dark
Agony of weeping:— “No, not God’s yet,
For I took bliss for right, and used it so,
And gave not for it love. I am not God’s.”

Again the formless voice — “And didst not thou
Hear aught of His death, whom men spurned from life,
A victim for thy sins? And didst thou not
Seek after Him; in passion falling at His feet,
Giving thyself to Him for ever? Art thou His?”

“I am not His. I heard the tale and let Him die,
Nor even thanked my Ransom. Leave me, now,
Nor ask, again, in mockery, am I His;
For I have chosen misery and endless woe,
And clasp my fate. Go, sweet-toned questioner, go!”

Not silenced was the voice: it spake again —
“Child, I am He, whom thou, in wantonness, hast scorned;
Who died for thee, who strewed thy life with bliss
Purer than earthlings oft enjoy. ’Tis I
Who load thy heart with sorrow now, and drown
Thine eyes in molten tears, and sear thy brain,
And try thy mind with unavailing thoughts.
For this — that thou mayst lift thy weary gaze,
And see thy Father’s outstretched arms of waiting love,
And seek thy peace and comfort there.”

Wondering, I stood a moment; then I fled,
Sank my hot brows upon His breast, and wept
Off grief and doubt, and sin and shame,
And knelt before my Father’s feet and prayed,
And went into the world with an unknown
Sweet odour of the Heavens about my path.

Menie Parkes, Poems, F. Cunninghame, Sydney, [1867], pages 37-38

Editor’s notes:
mayst = (archaic) may (also spelt “mayest”)

spake = (archaic) spoke

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