I Come, Dear Lord, Each Morning [poem by John O’Brien, 1954]

[Editor: This poem by John O’Brien was published in The Parish of St Mel’s and Other Verses, 1954.]

I Come, Dear Lord, Each Morning

I come, dear Lord, each morning,
And bring my load of cares,
That Thy sweet grace, forewarning,
Might keep me unawares;
Thy sainted ones attending
In unseen choirs unending,
I watch the priest ascending
Thy holy altar stairs.

There round about me kneeling
The frail, the old, the weak,
With trembling lips appealing
Their poor petitions speak.
The early dreams that flattered,
The flail of Time has scattered;
Dead, all the things that mattered —
Here dwells the Hope they seek.

Then forthwith, as in dreaming,
Those red-draped steps I see
For man’s poor soul’s redeeming
Stretch back to Calvary
So backward through the ages
I walk with saints and sages,
And princes and their pages
Are walking back with me.

I climb the hillside slowly,
And on the summit stand;
Oh, Holy, Holy, Holy —
Those red stains on the sand.
What death was here? What slaughter?
Is man’s love writ in water?
Where is the ruler’s daughter?
Oh, where the leper band?

From whom erewhile was driven
The dread affliction — nay,
Whose sins were all forgiven?
Where are the thousands, say,
Who last week, would have crowned Thee?
Are those rude hands that bound Thee
The same that, waving round Thee,
Strewed palm-fronds on Thy way?

I meet three women weeping,
Three Marys, weary, wan;
The shades of night are creeping,
And still they linger on.
Oh, Love for love expanding,
All human love commanding;
Beneath Thy cross I’m standing
With them and with St John.
I clasp Thy gibbet kneeling,
I tell Thee all my cares,
And sense a soft Hand healing
In answer to my prayers;
Then strong in Thy befriending
To bear my cross unbending,
I watch the priest descending
Thy hallowed altar stairs.

Published in:
John O’Brien. The Parish of St Mel’s and Other Verses, Angus & Robertson, Sydney, 1954

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