The roads to Zion softly mourn, her women raped beside;
within the sanguine city square the dandled infant dies.
In the streets the ruthless sword tears husband from his wife;
in every house and every home it strips away all life.
With fury and with burning wrath the Lord became our foe,
to ruin every standing wall and render every woe
until the sabbaths come to end, and all the feasts have failed,
and law as coward flees away before the whip and flail,
and prophet's visions surely cease (their lies the Lord detests),
and babies' blood pours gushing out upon their mothers' breasts.
The joy of all the endless earth has vanished in the flame.
The completion of all beauty's life became a jeering name.
Hunger's gnawing, biting death a ruthless need now gives,
and mothers boil bonny babes that other babes might live,
and women eat their children sweet, the ones for whom they care,
for none the aching famine leaves, and none the famine spares.
On the holy temple steps are priest and prophet slain;
on street and porch and burning field the people fall like rain --
the young, the grown, the sagely old, all bloody dusty ground,
and maid and gentle youth are joined among the corpses found.
Our end drew near, relentless, sure, like beat of constant drum;
our days like coins were numbered small -- and now our end is come.
But though I fall in tears aside, yet still my tongue might say
his love endures forever and aye, is new again each day,
and he is yet our portion sure, whatever fickle fate,
and he is good with gloried grace to those who for him wait --
But, Lord, you reign forever on your everlasting throne!
Do you forget your children and leave us all alone?
Return us to your bosom, that we may be restored!
--Or are we cast off forever, in wrath to be ignored?
I saw the plan of providence --
not the whole, and just a glimpse.
Without an end it hung with grace,
endless time through endless space
it hung; threads fine like fairy-wire
held galaxies and worlds entire
like little droplets, shining dew --
my mind could hardly grasp the view.
Into a drop I, trembling, fell,
down more years than I can tell.
The plan was there, and finer still
its threads than thought of heart or will,
and on each strand bright droplets stood,
single atoms of the good.
I saw one whisper of one wind;
I saw the glimmer of a friend
when friends first meet, the subtle shift,
the instant's instant of heart's lift;
I saw one photon of the dawn
kiss one small blade upon the lawn.
A million million things I saw,
but further still I fell in awe,
and past the quarks in interlink,
bits of grace we barely think,
I fell, down to where reason's point
is worlds too coarse to cut the joint,
such subtle goods whose brightest glints
are only known through hints of hints,
and still I saw, like frost arrayed
in finest line, God's plan displayed.
The summer rain
in spectra splashing
through the air;
the breeze is clean,
the birds are laughing --
and you are there.