Cordula's Web. NOAA. Buck Island Reef National Monument, St. Croix, United States Virgin Islands.
NOAA Photo Library: line1501. Buck Island Reef, St. Croix. Sean Linehan. HiRes. Gallery 7

David's Child

Dinah Maria Mulock Craik

"Is the child dead?" And they said, "He is dead."

In face of a great sorrow like to death
How do we wrestle night and day with tears;
How do we fast and pray; how small appears
The outside world, while, hanging on some breath

Of fragile hope, the chamber where we lie
Includes all space. But if sudden at last
The blow falls; or by incredulity
Fond led, we, never having one thought cast

Towards years where "the child" was not, see it die,
And with it all our future, all our past,
We just look round us with a dull surprise:
For lesser pangs we had filled earth with cries

Of wild and angry grief that would be heard:
But when the heart is broken... not a word.

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