Neither Cold Nor Hot [poem by Menie Parkes]

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

Neither Cold Nor Hot.

Lord, lay Thy hand on me
With tender strength;
Turn my tired heart to Thee
In peace, at length.

What aid mankind could give
I asked and sought;
Alas! ’twas no relief,
Tho’ dearly bought.

All that my hand could do,
Or soul could bear,
I did, and found this true —
That work is care.

I whispered then I’d give
My heart’s true love,
If I with Christ might live —
He smiled above

I’d give, I said, my powers
And life, to praise
Him through the fleeting hours
And flying days.

I’d give myself at once,
All that is me,
And ask, Omnipotence,
In payment, THEE.

I listened through the night,
And caught no sound;
My eyes were dim for light,
My lips were bound.

I saw with silent tears
The shades of night,
I fainted for my fears,
I swooned in fright.

And, after that, if I
Looked up to God,
I could not catch the smile
Beyond the rod.

For Satan’s angry hand
Shook out the scroll
Of sins my heart had planned —
The weary whole!

I was afraid of Thee,
Insulted Lord!
Afraid Thy face to see,
Or hear Thy word.

Till sudden danger came,
And I, surprised,
Sprang to the breast I loved,

I was not cast away,
For not so mild
The mother to her stray-away —
Her silly child! —

As He who caught me then
Close to his heart,
And whispering bade that I
Should not depart.

I dare again to pray;
Lord, look on me,
And bind my restless heart
From leaving Thee.

It ever feels away,
And wishes sin;
Unless thou guard it, takes
The tempter in.

It turns away from where
It knows its rest,
And clothes itself with care
And woe unblest!

It shrinks away from Thee —
Thy probing touch;
Calm as a corse would be,
Tho’ dead as such.

Hear not my maniac prayer,
But, God’s good Son,
Whatever frowns I wear,
Thy will be done.

Control my foolish will
That dares to fight.
And brings its reasons still
Into thy sight.

Govern and guard and guide!
Tighten Thy rein!
Draw me to Thy dear side,
Trustful again.

Menie Parkes, Poems, F. Cunninghame, Sydney, [1867], pages 94-97

Editor’s notes:
corse = (archaic) corpse

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