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Time will not be long,

the phrase a song

of an eternal hope for beauty

like a day of sun,

like thoughts in everlasting peace

Accompanying the murmuring centuries.


For our worries cease,

as we realise,

in desiring the novas of Time-medium

(we know it is not sky)

even while they fluff to gaseousness,

the graciousness alone has sufficiency.


In desiring the stars

with a futile thrashing of disappointment,

our souls enmeshed,

they are as far as planets from us

if our wish for beauty and our seeing of it

have too great knowledge,

if our wit perceives

in Dante a vast sadism,

and in Christ an oriental craftiness

dignified by the wide eyes of the West.


Too apt, ay, far too apt,

the prism shatters the hope:

as we bless

the soft reply of Christ,

it may, in our bold orthodoxy,

become the too-huge sum

of harsh answers.


But Time will not be long,

even though the smooth-faced poets

swear their brows are furrowed

by ache-urgent song.


What though they worry,

saying the thinking throes

long for death’s hypodermic,

they are not sick of life,

nor is beauty shamed to them;

only, the light flows from the image

and the robe of fame is threadbare. 

Theirs is disappointment,

for they guess too well

whom small talk bores

unless it is a part

of some more vital tale.


In the big while of Time,

the distance of enquiry,

all that we seem to see

in fine rhyme

or in just looking at a tree,

is the large-eyed wonder of a child.


Time will wait. 

Time will not be long for us

in life or song. 

Stars are clear yet,

though the night grows wild.

Jui, Sierra Leone, West Africa

17 Dec 1943

T.S. Law