Said one to me: "I seem to be—
Like a bird blown out to sea,
In the hurricane's wild track—
Lost, wing-weary, beating back
Vainly toward a fading shore,
It shall rest on nevermore."
Said I: "Betide, some good ships ride,
Over all the waters wide;
Spread your wings upon the blast,
Let it bear you far and fast:
In some sea, serene and blue,
Succor-ships are waiting you."
This soul then said: "Would I were dead—
Billows rolling o'er my head!
Those that sail the ships will cast
Storm-waifs back into the blast;
Omens evil will they call
What the hurricane lets fall."
For my reply: "Beneath the sky
Countless isles of beauty lie:
Waifs upon the ocean thrown,
After tossings long and lone,
To those blessed shores have come,
Finding there love, heaven, and home."
This soul to me: "The seething sea,
Tossing hungry under me,
I fear to trust; the ships I fear;
I see no isle of beauty near;
The sun is blotted out—no more
'Twill shine for me on any shore."
Once more I said: "Be not afraid;
Yield to the storm without a dread;
For the tree, by tempests torn
From its native soil, is borne
Green, to where its ripened fruit
Gives a sturdy forest-root.
"That which we lose, we think we choose,
Oft, from slavery to use.
Shocks that break our chains, tho' rude,
Open paths to highest good:
Wise, my sister soul, is she
Who takes of life the proffered key."