Category Archives: Pearl Curran

The Folly of Atheism

Fog040715AFrom time to time Patience Worth would be asked to perform ‘stunts’ of composition to demonstrate that her abilities were far and away beyond those writing skills of the common man or woman.  Dr. Walter Franklin Prince documented some of these ‘stunts’ in his 1926-27 investigative report of Pearl Curran and Patience Worth titled  “The Case of Patience Worth”  Often these tests involved delivering two different  writings at the same time, shuffling one line of a poem, say, with a line of something different, usually a narrative or dialogue

In one test called “A Climactic Experiment” by Dr. Prince, he asked Patience to do something which he considered “entirely unreasonable.”  He suggested that she “dictate something in the way of a dialogue, breaking off every little while and giving a line of poetry in modern style,  and so on alternately, until the poem is completed.”  Dr. Prince suggested that  the subject of the dialogue be any kind of a conversation between a lout and a wench at a Fair and that the subject for the poem would be “The Folly of Atheism”.

Patience Worth took up the challenge immediately beginning with the conversation between a lout and a wench at a Fair and then interspersing it with lines of the poem.

Ha’e ye seen the mummers settin’ up a puppet show, athin the fieldin’?
Nae.

Who doubts his God is but a lout;
Who piths his wisdom with egotry
Hath lost his mark.

Aye, I see’d ’em fetchin’ past, and buyed o’ a ribbon and a anew latchet, and a shoon-bucklin and tasseled thongs.

 To doubt is but to cast thee as a stone
Unto the very heart of God.

Aye, and I fetched me a whistle; and heared the doings of the village—that Mark, the smithy, haed a new wench; and she be heft.
Aye a wide tale.  I heared it, but heeded it nae.  I been feastin’ ‘pon the new thong.

Who doubts his God
Hath but announced his own weak limitation;
Hath tied his hand and fettered of his foot.

Weel, ‘gad!  Did ye see the dominie wi’ his new breeks, and a sabba’ shirt?
Weel, can ye heed it, and him at the fair?
A wide tale, eh?

To doubt thy God
Is but to stop the everlasting flow of mercy;
To die of thirst and lose thee in the chaos of thyself.

Dr. Prince stated that “About eight seconds elapsed between my announcement of the subjects and the beginning of dictation, which proceeded uninterruptedly to the end, about as rapidly as it could be taken down. ” He continues saying, “Is there any mark in this indicating haste, or hinting that another composition of widely differing subject, mood and style was proceeding wither simultaneously or in instant alternation?  Is there any dislocation of language therein, any hiatus of thought?  It there any lack of meat in the lines, of valid and forceful meaning?  What word needs alteration?  Note the adroit introduction of the word lout from the theme given for the other composition, as much as to say that the doubter of God is also an awkward blunderer, a shallow bumpkin.  The last four lines are magnificent, sweeping as they do from the stopping of the stream of mercy in Heaven to the fall into the crater of doom on earth.”

Here is the poem stripped apart from the conversation;.

THE FOLLY OF ATHEISM

Who doubts his God is but a lout;
Who piths his wisdom with egotry
Hath lost his mark. To doubt
Is but to cast thee as a stone
Unto the very heart of God.
Who doubts his God hath but announced
His own weak limitation;
Hath tied his hand and fettered of his foot.
To doubt thy God is but to stop
The everlasting flow of mercy,
To die of thirst and lose thee
In the chaos of thyself.

and here is the dialogue;

He:       Ha’e ye seen the mummers settin’ up a puppet show athin the fieldin’?
She:      Aye, I see’d ’em fetchin’ past, and buyed o’ a ribbon and a new latchet, and a shoon- bucklin and tasseled thongs.
He:       Aye, and I fetched me a whistle, and heared the doings of the village—              Mark,  the smithy haed a new wench, and she be heft.
She:      Aye. a wide tale.  I heared it, but heeded it nae, I bein’ feastin’ ‘pon the     new  thong.
He:       Weel ‘gad!  Did ye see the dominie wi’ his new breeks, and a sabba’ shirt?
She:      Weel, can ye heed it—and him at the fair?  A wide tale, eh?

Dr. Prince continues to give his praise for the endeavor and ends by saying ‘these two
themes, so widely different in subject, tone, period, and language requirement, with no
notice and consequently no opportunity for antecedent reflection unless eight seconds can
be regarded as opportunity, were .  .  .  from the lips of the woman whose life history,
previous to the announcement of “Patience Worth,” had given no indication or promise of
literary ability. ”

 

 

 

Patience the Puritan.

PuritanWomanReading

PuritanWomanReading2Recently William Dorian commented on a recent post about evidence of Patience Worth having lived in England during the 1600s.  Mr. Dorian was a friend of Eileen Curran, daughter of Pearl Curran and Eileen was able to share her remembrances of her mother and Patience Worth with Mr. Dorian.  Part of his comment  to me was that Eileen recalled that  Patience Worth said that, as a Puritan woman she was not allowed to put pen to paper. That sounded about right to me but I wanted to research a little bit about Puritanism before I thought there was any validity to what Patience reportedly said.   As it turned out, after a cursory review of several articles about Puritanism it seemed to be true that the formal education of Puritan girls was very limited.   More than 60 percent of them could not even write their own name.   Most of their education focused on reading the Bible and apparently after about age 5 their education consisted of learning household chores including needlework, spinning yarn, cooking, gardening, obeying their husbands and producing and raising children.  They may have learned a little arithmetic and writing as part of their duties of keeping track of household expenses but creative writing was not taught nor expected of Puritan girls.  (Limited availability of paper and ink in 17th century Puritan society may also have been factor preventing rustic girls from becoming creative writers.)  Boys continued in school with the goal of entering University, provided of course that their family had the means and status to send them for further study,

Now why is this minor detail significant in the Patient Worth/Pearl Curran story?  Well, first of all, Dr. Stephen Braude, Ph.D. in his book Immortal Remains used it as a reason that the Patient Worth persona may have in fact been a secondary personality of Pearl Curran hidden deep in her subsconscious mind to be brought forth whenever Patience Worth was called upon to ‘perform’.   One of his reasons for conjecturing that opinion was because, if there were a real Patience Worth living in England in the 1600s why didn’t she write her novels, poems and aphorisms at that time?  Why didn’t she leave a ‘treasure trove’, so to speak, of her work?  Why don’t we have evidence today by serendipitously finding her writings hidden somewhere in England ?

Well, considering the above comment from Patience, if we can bring ourselves to believe William Dorian and his second-hand information from Eileen Curran—Pearl Curran’s daughter, then Eileen’s comment that Patience Worth had said that she, as a Puritan girl, was not allowed to put pen to paper  and furthermore, if we entertain Worth’s documented comment that ‘What wench ever itched for a pen when she had a tongue to wag’, then, I think we have a reason why Patience Worth did not leave behind a literary portfolio written in the 1600s.

And of course, if the real Patience Worth were a frustrated closeted Puritan female writer living in  the 1600s, wouldn’t that provide a strong motivation to find a way, even if it took another lifetime, to sing out an unending stream of literary masterpieces through her ‘willing harp’, Pearl Curran?

Perhaps Dr. Braude might want to reconsider his comment that the lack of an extant collection of writings from Patient Worth from the 1600s is evidence that she probably was not a real person.

I think there is another relevant point to make concerning Patience as a Puritan.  If children ( and adults) were expected to be well-versed in the Bible, even to the extent that they had to memorize large portions of it and that reading the Bible was the primary, if not the only formal education Puritan girls got: and, that as mothers their duty was to teach the Bible to their children as well as to strictly follow the teachings found therein, then, wouldn’t it be reasonable to think that Patience Worth would have been well acquainted with biblical lore?  Patience Worth, not Pearl Curran knew the Bible well and could easily use that knowledge in writing the detail found in The Sorry Tale, her biblical epic.  The Bible was probably the one thing that Patience Worth knew the most about.

Pearl Curran was, as an adult, an Episcopalian by default who although she went to several Christian denominations as a child stated that both she and her parents did not attend church regularly and although a Bible was found in Pearl Curran’s house, she did not claim that she studied it intently. (Walter Franklin Prince who listed all books found in the home of Pearl Curran during his investigation of the Case of Patience Worth found a Bible stored away in an upstairs closet with a few other books covered with dust.) Perhaps Pearl could be described as a ‘fair-weather Christian’ who occasionally attended church but, in Pearl’s case, she went in her adult life to sing in the choirs, not to listen to the sermons.  Could it be that all of the detail found in the biblical story The Sorry Tale written by Pearl Curran as dictated by Patience Worth really came from the conscious mind of Patience Worth and not the subconscious mind of Pearl Curran?

It was Patience Worth as a Puritan who had the detailed biblical knowledge to write The Sorry Tale, not Pearl Curran.

The Sorry Tale: Patience Worth and Jesus

JesusIn commemoration of the birth of Jesus which is celebrated by the Christian world on December 25th I would like to quote some of  the book titled  ‘Jesus’, the last of  a trilogy of books making up the novel The Sorry Tale as dictated by Patience Worth through Pearl Curran.  I have searched for something appropriate for the Christmas season but I find it difficult to select just the perfect example appropriate for that season.  So—I will start out with something  which I have used to justify my own temper—Jesus casting out the money-changers on the temple steps.    I have always thought that this story portrayed Jesus to be more the man rather than the god—and I could relate to that.  One could read into this account perhaps something  symbolically or allegorically apropos  to more than 2000 years into the future.

I present this here, not that I am a particularly religious man but in keeping with the intent of this site, to provide evidence of the exceptional knowledge and writing ability of Patience Worth or Pearl Curran.  Remember, Pearl Curran relayedThe Sorry Tale’, published June 1917 by Henry Holt and Company, from Patience Worth one letter at a time, pointing them out on a Ouija Board.  The letters were not separated into words, neither was there any punctuation or capitalization; that was done later by John Curran, Casper Yost and other editors.   Consider also that Pearl Curran never completed more that a grade school education, was not well-read but had good letter-writing ability.  She had not traveled outside of the central part of the United States.  She intermittently attended the Episcopalian church, mainly to sing in the choir, but was certainly not a Biblical scholar by any stretch of the imagination.

As the following chapter begins Jesus is trying to calm the wrath of the Jews for the Romans who have taken over Jerusalem.  His followers are asking Jesus to pray to God to destroy the Romans.

CHAPTER XVII

And the morrows sped unto a certain morn when the out-ways shewed the multitudes pressing upon Jesus, and His loved following Him.  And behold, He rode upon an ass, and within His hand was the branch of a fig, the sign of the fruiting.  And they followed Him, crying out: “Messiah!  Lord! King of kings!”  Even did they unloose their headbands and their mantles and cast them down before Him that His ass walk o’er their cloth.  And the gate’s man, even of Rome, cast the gate ope that He go therein unto Jerusalem’s heart, even though He should find not rest.

And it was true that when they had come within, the multitudes of the city’s people came unto Him, and He sat upon the ass and spake unto them of Jerusalem and the Jews, for His blood lay close unto Him, yea, sorrowed HIm.  And they spake unto Him saying:

“Master, Rome is within the land of the Jews.  Yea, even Jerusalem hath she filled up of Rome.”

And He answered them, saying:  “Weep thou, oh, brothers, weep!  Leave thy tears to flow for the tribes to come, for Rome shall slay their sheep of sacrifice, and betray them.”

And they cried out:  “Ope up thy mouth and leave forth words unto the Father that He make fire to descend upon them.”

And Jesus answered them:  “I am not come to destroy man but to deliver him from the serpent that crusheth.  I am not come to unbuild, but to build up.  No man shall call unto the Father that He send destructions.  Nay; man shall not look unto Him for aid in such prayer.  He who shall unbuild evils, doth build.  Ye may not undo by undoing, save that the unbuilding be done in truth and not by evil intent.

“oh, ye of Jerusalem, hark!  What is the law?  Thou shalt not kill!  Would ye then blade ye?  For blade hungereth that it clatter upon its brother.  The undoing that shall build shall be born of bloods.  This thing shall be.  Even the Son of Man shall write the law, Thou shalt not kill, in His own blood.  Yea, and this is the first seed for a greater harvest.  Even so shall there be hosts that shall write upon the earth’s sides, ‘Thou shalt not kill,’ in their bloods.  Aye, and from out the flood of birth-blood shall come forth the thing that shall unbuild and thereby build!”

And they harked, but took not in the fullness of this, and cried out:  “Nay, Master, who would destroy thee or yet slay thee?”

And He smiled Him sorry upon them and spake:  “The sun that hangeth o’er Jerusalem shall look upon the thing I have spoken.”

And they asked of HIm:  “Goest thou unto the temple?”

And He answered:  “Yea, after the manner of my tribe, for I am what I am, a Jew.”

And it was true that they were filled of what was within Him, for His eyes shone, and His lips smiled soft and wistful, and His words fell sorried, even as though they came from out a throat that knew tearful eyes.  And it was true that the coming together of the people brought forth ones of Rome who listed, and the bladesmen gathered them that they watch what would come to pass.  And them within the market’s bins came forth and joined unto them that followed Him, the Nazarene, and He went His way upon the ass unto the temple.

And behold, it was high noon, and the pool shewed bright, and the temple’s doves wheeled within the sky and circled back unto the temple as the people came unto the spot.  And lo, upon the steps unto the temple’s doors squatted beggars.  And men lay upon their sides upon the stones, and before them lay their wares.  And the day was filled of their crying out.  Even amid the chants of the priests within the temple place came floating, to echo against the altars, the crying out of wares.  Even did the waresmen seek within the very threshold, barting with them that came without.  And the priests looked not upon this, for unto the priests’ hands they that barted delivered a sharing of what fell unto them, and thereby the priests took out of the people of their gains.  And Rome knew this thing, and took of the priests a sharing of the sharing.

And it was the time when the martsmen cried loud that Jesus Christus came unto the temple and came Him off the ass and walked among them that beset the steps unto the temple’s place.  And when He had come unto the topmost stone of the temple’s way, behold He turned.  And the Rome’s men stood at the base looking upon Him, for it was feared that the Jews, beneath the sound of His voice, would break forth.  And when the eyes of Jesus fell upon the men of Rome, He drew Him up unto His utmost, and wraths mounted His eyes even so that they looked heavy and fulled of sorrow, and His hands shook as He held them forth and spake and pointed unto the Rome’s men, saying:

“It is written that the Father’s house should be the house of prayer, and prayer is the puring waters of the soul, and thou hast made it a den of thieves!  Thinkest thou that the blade of office shall set fear within me?  Nay!  Hark ye!”  And His voice rang clear and He took up a lash of knotted thongs and let it free upon the air and brought it down upon the back of a Jew who offered wares, crying out:  “Begone!  Cast thee down within the dusts, for thou hast offended the God!”  And He swept unto another and let fall the lash, crying out:  Who art thou who may bring forth bart unto Him who barteth not?”  And He swept him on , and His cheeks flamed, and He cut upon the flesh of one who begged and spake:  “Go thou! for thou art come begging unto Him who giveth freely!”

And He passed Him on unto one who offered many colored stuffs, crying out:  “Get thee gone!  For who art thou who offereth vainglorious stuffs before His face who knoweth no thing that is vainglorious!  Oh, my brothers!  Where art thou, that thou wilt leave ones to deliver unto thy hands stuffs to set before the face of God.?”

And it was true that as He smote the mart’s ones upon the stoned way, there came forth a one whose robes shewed him of high office among the Jews, and he stepped him down unto the spot and looked at what was.  And the eyes of Jesus saw this thing.  And lo, there came forth a woman from out the temple’s place.  And she was of the hosts, nor was she clothed in raiment that told her a man’s woman, but within the sign of mourning.  And he of high office seeing her, drew him away that she pass.  And the eyes of Jesus looked upon this thing, and He cried aloud unto them that listed as He brought down the lash upon the back of the man of office:

“Look ye! it is far o’er an easier task that a camel may pass through the eye of the Needle than that a rich man may enter the Kingdom of Heaven.”

And the Jews harked, for they knew of the gate which was called of this name, and the camel men came them and the camels kneeled that they pass through.

And Jesus cried aloud: “Look ye! a camel is for the pack, and no man who hath o’er his world’s goods may stand him unpacked of follies.  Behold her yon!” —and he pointed unto the sorrowed woman,—“she hath brought forth a coin which is mightier unto the sight of the Father than the camel’s pack.”

And the man of office looked upon Him, and even though he was sorely tried, he cried not out but stopped that he list, being full of what was within Jesus that would come forth.

And the loved of Him cried out”  “Hosannah!”  “Lord!”  “King!”  And the Rome’s men spake unto them in a loud voice, saying:  “Cease!  Cease ye!”  And the Jews spake unto Jesus, saying:  “Speak unto them.  Say that they should not cry out aloud, for it is fearful unto us.”

And the voice of Jesus arose, crying out aloud:  “It may not be!  For dost thou, oh Rome, cease their tongues, the stones shall cry aloud.  The bone is builded by the Father and man shall make new flesh for the bone, but the tides shall sweep, and the man-wrought flesh shall drop unto dusts and the bone remain.  Ye may not stop the crying out of the stones, oh Rome!  This is the bone.  Thou mayest strip their throats of tongues but their bone shall remain, and the ages shall build them up and unbuild them and build them up once more, for they may not destroy them.  New prophets shall take their places and offer new bread, but these prophets are false.  Many shall come that shall speak out they are the Christ, even so that they are given the prophet’s tongue.  And I say unto ye, haste ye not forth that ye greet them, but wait the renewing of the old prophets.  The hand of Rome is not upon the arm of God!”

And the Rome’s men laughed, and the Jews were fearful, for this was against Rome and Jerusalem already smarted ‘neath the lash.  And Jesus stood Him higher upon the base of the pillar, and within His hand hung the lash.  And behold, He held it up unto the seeing of the Rome’s men and cast it o’er the multitude until it fell at their feet and He cried aloud:

‘See!  The Son of Man cometh uncrowned unto Rome’s hands; yea, unbladed unto Rome’s war.  Yet Rome’s foundation shall shake, and not one stone of the temple be left upon its brother!  The precious stuffs of the holy places shall be ground unto dusts beneath the mighty stones that fall.  Yea, hark ye, my brothers of Jerusalem!  Rome may unbuild ye but she may not build ye up.”

And tears flowed His eyes, and He raised them up unto the sky, and His hands spread forth, and He cried:  “Oh, Jerusalem, how would I have succored thee!  How would the Son of Man have lain upon thy bosom; but thine eyes are blinded by the dusts of higher office.  Oh, Jerusalem, Jerusalem the golden city, walled by the hands of the tribes that have found the promised land, I see thy very stones drop drops!  Yea, Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the God hath knocked and thou didst not slumber, but, fearful, let Him go!  Yet say I unto ye, my brothers, the breasts of Jerusalem shall spurt new milk and the Son of Man shall nurture by it.  The Jew’s tribes brought forth the flesh of the Father, the Son of Man.  Yea, and they shall fall unto child-bed again!  For withn their hearts shall He be born anew.”

And His voice shook in sorrow, and He spake on:  “Yea, when the Son of Man hath trod the path of ages and seen His hosts vanquished, seen His brothers broken against the day, and they upon the earth who have called Him brother forget him and eat them lone the Father’s bread, casting their bodies one ‘gainst the other that they take their sharing, and He standeth waiting that they see Him, the new birth shall shew them !”

And He called:  “Hark!  Hark!  Hark!  Hark!  Oh, Jerusalem, look ye!  I am calling not thee now, but ever!  For I am what I am a Jew !”

And it was true that He came down among the Jews, and they fell upon Him, their eyes lighted with a new light and they spake; ‘”We are answering thee !”

And He smiled and said:  “Oh, ye beloved, I may not list, for I know !”

And the Rome’s men came through the people and sought Him out and spake:  “Thy hand doeth no service.  Thou art even as a beggar.  Thy followers are fed out of the bounty of the people.  What manner of authority hast thou?”

And He answered them:  “Look ye unto yon sun!  Ask him this.” and they spake unto HIm:  “Knowest thou that among the Jews there be them that hate thee?”

And Jesus smiled and answered:  “Look ye unto yon well!  Know ye that beneath its waters are stones?”

And they spake: “But thy hands do no labor.”

And He answered them, saying:  “What wouldst thou?”

And they pointed unto a roadway, past and about the market’s way, wherein an ox stood fast with his wheeled pack.  And they spake:  “Go and deliver the ox unto its master out of the mires.”

And He went unto the spot, and the people followed Him.  And behold, He laid His hand upon the ox and it came forth.  And He drove it thence out of Jerusalem’s walls unto its master’s abode.  And they followed not His going without.

And lo, the eve came, and forth from out Jerusalem went the Jews bearing palms and singing, their babes before them.  And they went that they meet Jesus, who came unto Jerusalem from the labor Rome had set.  And they brought with them a white ass, and its neck was girdled with palms.  And they sang as a host, and brought Him forth unto the heart of Jerusalem triumphant.

And Rome watched and knew that the Jews knew their King, even though the king’s seat was filled.  And the Rome’s men fell upon the Jews that they drive them forth from the listing unto Jesus, and even did they make that they lay their hands upon Jesus, no rebuked He them.  And the Jews, being full of Rome and Rome’s day, spake unto the blade’s men, saying;

“How do ye do this, when thou knowest thy Emperor hath flesh that is cast forth as waste?  (the Illegitimate son of Emperor Tiberius—Hatte.)  It is known among the Jews that Jerusalem hath housed him.  Shame be upon the mighty flesh for these things!  He would pluck the flower of the Jews and cast his own bud.”

And they took this unto the ears of Rome and them of office.

And it was true that Jesus knew the street’s ways of Jerusalem and spake unto the people—even ministered He within the temple.

Halloween Poems by Patience Worth

CockroachesSome people may view a few of the poems by Patience Worth as somewhat macabre;  perhaps one or two might be considered so and used as a Halloween poem.    But many of the poems of Patience Worth provide a thought or  comment that is positive and uplifting in spite of a somewhat morose or depressing topic.  Since Patience Worth purportedy was a ‘ghost’, discussions about death didn’t seem to bother her since she had experienced it (at least once)  and now lived in eternity.  She has commented that Death is “Cheap pence paid for eternity and yet man whines!”   And when queried about the experience of dying she said, “A bit weary wi’ the fetters, a yawn, a blink and the wakin’ ”  On September 20, 1915  as part of a small discourse, Patience said that , “Thou didst see not with thine eyes o’ flesh afore thy coming.  Aye but at thy bearing, thy mother oped up thine eyes and thee didst see and behold o’ the Earth.  Aye, now list thee, Death then, is thy mother, for hark at her bearing thou shalt shut up thy eyes o’ flesh and see o’ the Land o’ Here.  Yea and yea and yea, and at hours thou knowest not where cometh that thou hast ne’er seen or heard.  And yet it be and ’tis thine, and thou didst ne’er touch, aye, or see this thing.

Patience was asked once why there should be evil.  Her response was “There be naught o’ evil; it abideth not.  ‘Tis dreams awry.

 And so in the ‘spirit’ of  Halloween, I present  the following  poems by Patience Worth.

 

A DANCE WITH DEATH

There is a riotous dance with a weird strain floating.
Encircled am I with a grewsome arm!
Wildly I float with the shroud’s cloth flying
And the rattle of Death’s frame close!

Oh, his lips are gone and his eyes are hollow,
Pits of dark with ne’er a gleam;
And his teeth are snagged and his jaws are set
And the mould lies green ‘pon his bones!

To a fiendish whine do we trip our way
And the shroud fans cool ‘pon my cheek.
And my feet are froze and my lips are stiffed
As we dance the riotous maze.
With a rattling hand he clasps mine own
And his gait doth clicket much!

And I wake to start and scream aloud
With frenzied fear beset!
‘Twere the curd and whey at the mid-hour’s sup
That set me dreamin’ so. 

 

FEARING HEART

Fearing, fearing, heart!  look not with fearing ‘pon thy day!
Nay, look then unto the works o’ Him that shew thee o’ the way.
Dost fear the day-tide close?  Dost fear the even-twi hour—the darksome tide;
And dost thou fear the shutting o’ thine eyes u
nto the earth?
Doth then their close spell dark, y
ea, dark o’ ever!

Nay, fear not, fear not!  But look!
The mist-maid o’ the early dawn d
oth dance the vale
And cast her silvered robes to shimmer ‘neath the sun;
And bound from hillside o’er unto the vallied place,
And wrap the earth so close,—so close,
As though she loved o’ it, and lothed to leave.

And yet when sun doth climb, ah, look thee then!
She casteth o’ her robe a
nd meeteth him,
Arms flung ope, t
o melt unto a naught!
Unfearing doth she go to mingle mid the vasts
And meet with mists o’ sisters’ robes and come aback
A glistened drop of rain’s sweet cool.

See, this be but mist.
And yet o’ Him, and feareth not.
But thou dost fear, and thou art builded up o’ Him,
And loved o’ Him and be His own.
Then thinkest thou that fear should set thy path?

 

DEATH

Who art thou,
Who tracketh ‘pon the path o’ me—
O’ each turn, aye, and track?

Thou!  And thou astand!
And o’er thy face a cloud,
Aye, a darked and somber cloud!
Who art thou,
Thou tracker ‘mid the day’s bright,
And ‘mid the night’s deep;
E’en when I be astopped o’ track?

Who art thou,
W
ho toucheth o’ the flesh o’ me,
And sendeth chill unto the heart o’ me?
Aye, and who art thou,
Who putteth forth thy hand

And setteth at alow the hopes o’ me?

Aye, who art thou,
Who bideth ever ‘mid a dream?
Aye, and that the soul o’ me
Doth shrink at know?

Who art thou?  Who art thou,
Who steppeth ever to my day,

And blotteth  o’ the sun away?

Who art thou,
Who steppeth to Earth at birth o’ me,

And e’en ‘mid wail o’ weak,
Aye, at the birth o’ wail,

Did set a chill ‘pon infant flesh;
And at the track o’ man
‘pon Earth
Doth follow ever, and at height

Afollow, and doth touch,
And all doth crumble to a naught?
Thou!  thou!  Who art thou?
Ever do I to ask, and ever wish
To see the face o’ thee,
And ne’er, ne’er do I to know thee—
Thou, the Traveler ‘pon the path o’ me,
And, Brother, thou dost give
That which world doth hold
From see o’ me.

Stand thou!  Stand thou!
And draw thy cloak from o’er thy face!

Ever hath the dread o’ thee
Clutched at the heart o’ me.
Aye, and at the end o’ journey,
I beseech thee,

Cast thy cloak and show thee me!
Aye show thee me!

Ah, thou art the gift o’ Him!
The Key to There!  The Love o’ Earth!
Aye, and Hate hath made o’ man
To know thee not—

Thou!   Thou!  O Death!

 

TOADSTOOLS

Witcheries of dank, dark places;
Magic of the sod, like wits,
Bespring from whence—from  where?