by: Laurence Housman (1865-1959)

      S not the work done? Nay, for still the Scars
      Are open; still Earth’s Pain stands deified,
      With Arms spread wide:
      And still, like falling stars,
      Its Blood-drops strike the doorposts, where abide
      The watchers with the Bride,
      To wait the final coming of their kin,
      And hear the sound of kingdoms gathering in.
      While Earth wears wounds, still must Christ’s Wounds remain,
      Whom Love made Life, and of Whom Life made Pain,
      And of Whom Pain made Death.
      No breath,
      Without Him, sorrow draws; no feet
      Wax weary, and no hands hard labour bear,
      But He doth wear
      The travail and the heat:
      Also, for all things perishing, He saith,
      ‘My grief, My pain, My death.’
      O kindred Constellation of bright stars,
      Ye shall not last for aye!
      Far off there dawns a comfortable day
      Of healing for those Scars:
      When, faint in glory, shall be wiped away
      Each planetary fire,
      Now, all the aching way the balm of Earth’s desire!
      For from the healèd nations there shall come
      The healing touch: the blind, the lamed, the dumb,
      With sight, and speed, and speech,
      And ardent reach
      Of yearning hands shall cover up from sight
      Those Imprints of a night
      Forever past. And all the Morians’ lands
      Shall stretch out hands of healing to His Hands.
      While to His Feet
      The timid, sweet
      Four-footed ones of earth shall come and lay,
      Forever by, the sadness of their day:
      And, they being healed, healing spring from them.
      So for the Stem
      And Rod of Jesse, roots and trees and flowers,
      Touched with compassionate powers,
      Shall cause the thorny Crown
      To blossom down
      Laurel and bay.
      So lastly to His Side,
      Stricken when, from the Body that had died,
      Going down He saw sad souls being purified,
      Shall rise, out of the deeps no man
      Can sound or scan,
      The morning star of Heaven that once fell
      And fashioned Hell:--
      Now, star to star
      Mingling to melt where shadeless glories are.
      O Earth, seek deep, and gather up thy soul,
      And come from high and low, and near and far,
      And make Christ whole!

"A Prayer for the Healing of the Wounds of Christ" is reprinted from The Oxford Book of English Mystical Verse. Ed. Nicholson & Lee. Oxford: The Clarendon Press, 1917.




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