Ancram Writing

Wilderness

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Wilderness.

Empty rhythmic beauty of an untouched land,
Bold canvas on which Nature's abstract hand
Creates from scratch a harmony of the bright fulfilled whole.
Where moss and untamed flowers rule,
And Peace, Christ's gift to those who follow him,
Over them all presides supreme.
Safe from Man's destroying hand the Wilderness of Place.

But Wilderness of Time, how different a face.
Unkempt tangled grim soul-dark abyss,
Empty of harmony and rhythmless,
In which alone Despair's bell tolls the sound
Beneath whose restless wave tired Peace must drown;
Where feeling lies imprisoned in the pain
Born of the unceasing drain
Of Life's force dripping from a bleeding heart.
A pain which has not yet the grace to hurt
But, what is worse, to nag and finally to undermine.
Destroyer of self-respect the Wilderness of Time.

The Wilderness of Place says "It is so".
The Wilderness of Time cries "No".

Irreconcilable they stand, those two stark spires.
God within the first one gives; within the other He requires.

1987

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