AN ORACLE, by Ann Keith


Putting your concentrated might

Into your spirit, you will fight

The whole day long, and into the night,

And all the night till dawn.

Though the heavens rock and the clouds be rent

And the driving icy rain be sent

Against your face like splinters of flint,

You will contrive to go on.


Consuming, in the giant fight,

Energies that would keep alight

The furnaces of an age–the bright

Sword wears the scabbard through–

Yearning beneath the years of strain

For love and fellowship in vain–

None will there be to dare remain

Altogether true.


On perilous ventures you will embark,

In strange endeavors bear a part–

In motion forever, restless of heart,

Because unsatisfied.

Discord will grow, clashes increase

Around you. Warfare will not cease.

And always you will thirst for peace,

And peace will  be denied.


And you will turn to the faraway

Unknown minds of an unseen day,

Seeking  thus somewhere to allay

Your passionate, sublime,

Unending love. That aching, pale,

Half-broken body, wasted, frail,

Enshrines a spirit that shall prevail

Over matter and space and time.


Drawing solace from the pages

Of unforgotten, long-dead sages,

Laboring for distant ages,

Abstract and still to come,

Dispossessed and misconstrued,

Proscribed, assailed, but unsubdued,

In exile and in solitude

Your spirit will not succumb.


Throughout the shouting, storm and din,

Centered unchanged in your world within,

To which the familiar world of men

Is chaos, you will grow

In steadfast force, as year by year,

You hold your course and persevere,

Self-absorbed–Can the light appear

In the world and the world not know?


Yet doubtings never will impair

Your vision. You have much to bear,

But all the blows the fates prepare–

And who shall suffer more

Than you?–will be but drops to fill

The alchemistic crucible

From which your passion shall distill

A pure and drossless ore.


Moving on from height to height,

Your powers increase, till, clear and bright,

Upon your hair and brow the light

Of victory shall shine:

For whosoever is that which he

In his holiest heart designed to be,

To him is it given on earth to see

And partake of and know the divine.



Ann Keith’s poems have appeared in various magazines (Eureka, Byline, Blue Unicorn, Orbis, Acumen and over 85 others) as well as in a number of anthologies.


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