9.02.2016

Sea Before Storm


it is addressed thusly:

An ode.
it reads:
Upon the deck we walk, steady
As the sea is steady, our freedom
As stable, only as ready
As unsteady sea may come;
The whim of the wind, which is
Will itself, makes determination
Whether port of starboard we list
In this our place and station;
We have no thought in our head
Except to balance the pendulum
To run the rough and heavy thread
So that against the wind we run;
Restraint and balance, O great might
Of the Heaven, Who made of sea
A blue meadow to walk aright
As walking man is made to be;
You who make no brook for
Man's petty row over things to die
But know he cannot ignore--
Know that like You he should not lie;
Consider our plight; we must seek
What You have made for us -- to rule
We must become strong, though weak
And wise, although a fool;
You take no side save Your own --
And we are left to decide for now
How to best use this - but a loan
Freely given, our lot is enow;
O Sovereign, O Judge of all
Grant us a boon, who beseech
Who ride the rise and the fall
Of the sea in its unreasoned speech;
We do not understand liberty.
A will is granted us, to do or not
Granted to do well, and free
Is he who makes well-doing his lot;
Grant us this, a revelation of flame
For great and sorry and sad
Are the days until they speak Your name
And rejoice only those who had;
They unchain the devils all the while
Believing your thousand-year at hand
Men of chaos and reck and bile
Who rule what should be Your land;
Even the great ships like small flies
Can swallow, that fearsome sea
"From nothing, to nothing" cries
The keener about the lea;
We knowing what we must do
Fall short. We are not worthy yet
Truly knowing through and through
This requirement we have not met;
We do not ask for a pardon by law;
For none avail. We were not so made
As convicts, as those of perfect flaw
To be plied by law in its trade;
But knowing all of this we must ask
We do not ask as they vainly repeat
"Lord, Lord," not knowing the task
For which alone Your help is meet;
We seek a Mount Hebron in the deep
For a time, that a wall
We may build against those who keep
Not Your law, no, not at all.
Even if ten-thousand years should pass
Under its sentinel's eye
We would still cry, "At last!
At last! At last," we would cry;
At Your return; as those who kept
But a small speck as a sacrifice of fire
A pleasing odor, which leapt
Up to heaven as a funeral pyre;
A world after our own must come.
Will it be in the brightness of Your face?
If not yet, we yield not one
Not an inch or mile from Your holy place.
That terrible wind across the sea--
We ask without question just the same;
What is freedom? We cannot flee;
Grant us that revelation;
 -- a revelation of flame.

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