Past and Present
by Francis Turner Palgrave (1824-1897)
As I hear the breath of the mother
To the breath of the child at her feet
Answer in even whispers,
When night falls heavy and sweet:
Sleep puts out silent fingers,
And leads me back to the roar
Of the dead salt sea that vomits
Wrecks of the past ashore.
I see the lost Love in beauty
Go gliding over the main:
I feel the ancient sweetness,
The worm and the wormwood again.
Earth all one tomb lies round me,
Domed with an iron sky:
And God Himself in His power,
God cannot save me! I cry.
With the cry I wake;—and around me
The mother and child at her feet
Breathe peace in even whispers;
And the night falls heavy and sweet.