Open main menu

Littell's Living Age/Volume 151/Issue 1952/One Lesser Jot

< Littell's Living Age‎ | Volume 151

What is the dearest happiness of heaven?
                         Ah, who shall say?
     So many wonders, and so wondrous fair,
     Await the soul who, just arrivèd there
In trance of safety, sheltered and forgiven,
     Opens glad eyes to front the eternal day.

Relief from earth's corroding discontent,
                         Relief from pain,
     The satisfaction of perplexing fears,
     Full compensation for the long, hard years;
Full understanding of the Lord's intent,
     The things that were so puzzling made quite plain.

And all astonished joy as to the spot,
                         From further skies
     Crowd our belovèd with white wingèd feet,
     And voices than the chiming harp more sweet
Faces whose fairness we had half forgot,
     And outstretched hands, and welcome in their eyes —

Heart cannot image forth the endless store
                         We may but guess.
     But this one lesser joy I hold my own:
     All shall be known in heaven; at last be known
The best and worst of me; the less, the more.
     My own shall know — and shall not love me less.

Oh, haunting shadowy dread which underlies
                         All loving here!
     We inly shiver as we whisper low,
      "Oh, if they knew — if they could only know,
Could see our naked souls without disguise —
     How they would shrink from us and pale with fear!"

The bitter thoughts we hold in leash within
                         But do not kill;
     The petty anger and the mean desire,
     The jealousy which burns — a smouldering fire —
The slimy trail of half-unnoted sin,
     The sordid wish which daunts the nobler will.

We fight each day with foes we dare not name.
                         We fight, we fail
     Noiseless the conflict and unseen of men;
     We rise, are beaten down, and rise again,
And all the time we smile, we move, the same,
     And even to dearest eyes draw close the veil.

But in the blessed heaven these wars are past;
                         Disguise is o'er
     With new anointed vision face to face,
     We shall see all, and clasped in close embrace
Shall watch the haunting shadow flee at last,
     And know as we are known, and fear no more.