BLACK CAT POEMS
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The Morning Meditations of Frere Hyacinthus
So he is dead and damned and all is well.
So fare all traitors to the church and God!
Cursed and cast out with candle, book and bell,
And thrust to rot beneath unhallowed sod.
The mouth that sounded once Saint Mary's name
He smirched and stained with scarlet wine of lust;
Therefore is he become a thing of shame,
Anathema and alien to the just.
We prayed within the cloister side by side,
He chose the world, wise in his own conceit;
I kept our Blessed Lady for my bride,
To paths of sin he set his wayward feet.
And she is dead, too. Lies with him, they say?
Aye, lies with him--they are together still--
That golden girl I saw one summer day
Tending her kine upon the pasture hill.
God, God, is not my blood like his blood red?
God, God, could I not see that she was fair?
Did I not close my eyes and bow my head,
And purge my soul with fasting and with prayer?
God, see my flesh with scourgings cut and scarred!
God, see my frame with fasting weak and thin!
God, see my face with tears and sorrow marred!
God, see my soul burnt white and clean of sin!
Tempted I was like him, but did not yield.
Outcast is he and damned and spit upon.
Elect am I with thine own sign sealed,
Washed white and pure in blood of Christ thy Son.
And yet, and yet--Ah, God, that dream last night!
When I had prayed before Thy blessed shrine,
And sought to rest a while before the light
Should call me to new services of Thine.
Then as I slept it seemed I was with Thee
In Heaven, and I looked down into Hell,
That I the cursed souls in pain might see
And be more glad that I had served Thee well.
I saw the place with blood-red flames alight,
I saw the damned and heard their shrieks and groans,
And then there burst upon my eyes a sight
That turned to lead the marrow in my bones.
There in his arms her soft white body lay;
Shielded by him she kissed his mouth and smiled.
Round them the flames kept their unheeded sway.
Even to Hell Love made them reconciled.
It's time for Mass. God bless the newborn day!
How very fair it is, and sweet and still--
Down yonder lane she used to make her way
To tend her kine upon the pasture hill.
poems by Joyce Kilmer