by: Nora Chesson (1871-1906)
- AM the spirit of all that lives,
- Labours and loses and forgives.
- My breaths the wind among the reeds;
- Im wounded when a birch-tree bleeds.
- I am the clay nest neath the eaves
- And the young life wherewith it brims.
- The silver minnow where it swims
- Under a roof of lily-leaves
- Beats with my pulses; from my eyes
- The violet gathered amethyst.
- I am the rose of winter skies,
- The moonlight conquering the mist.
- I am the bird the falcon strikes;
- My strength is in the kestrels wing,
- My cruelty is in the shrikes.
- My pity bids the dock-leaves grow
- Large, that a little child may know
- Where he shall heal the nettles sting.
- I am the snowdrop and the snow,
- Dead amber, and the living fit--
- The corn-sheaf and the harvester.
- My craft is breathed into the fox
- When, a red cub, he snarls and plays
- With his red vixen. Yea, I am
- The wolf, the hunter, and the lamb;
- I am the slayer and the slain,
- The thought new-shapen in the brain.
- I am the ageless strength of rocks,
- The weakness that is all a grace,
- Being the weakness of a flower.
- The secret on the dead mans face
- Written in his last living hour,
- The endless trouble of the seas
- That fret and struggle with the shore,
- Strive and are striven with evermore--
- The changeless beauty that they wear
- Through all their changes--all of these
- Are mine. The brazen streets of hell
- I know, and heavens gold ways as well.
- Mortality, eternity,
- Change, death, and life are mine--are me.
POEMS BY NORA CHESSON
"Hertha" is reprinted
from The Oxford Book of English Mystical Verse. Ed. Nicholson
& Lee. Oxford: The Clarendon Press, 1917.