Poetry, VOLUME 2

Poem: “The Gathering of the Church” by John Keble. [Vol. 2, #36]

John Keble.

Wherefore shrink, and say, ”Tis vain;
In their hour hell-powers must reign;
Vainly, vainly would we force
Fatal error’s torrent course;
Earth is mighty, we are frail;
Faith is gone, and hope must fail.’

Yet along the Church’s sky
Stars are scatter’d, pure and high;
Yet her wasted gardens bear
Autumn violets, sweet and rare–
Relics of a spring-time clear,
Earnest of a bright new year.

Israel yet hath thousands seal’d,
Who to Baal never kneel’d;
Seize the banner, spread its fold!
Seize it with no faltering hold!
Spread its foldings high and fair,

Let all see the Cross is there!
What if to the trumpet’s sound
Voices few come answering round?
Scarce a votary swell the burst,
When the anthem peals at first?
G OD hath sown, and He will reap;
Growth is slow when roots are deep;–

He will aid the work begun,
For the love of His dear Son;
He will breathe in their true breath,
Who, serene in prayer and faith,
Would our dying embers fan
Bright as when their glow began.

C. Christopher Smith is the founding editor of The Englewood Review of Books. He is also author of a number of books, including most recently How the Body of Christ Talks: Recovering the Practice of Conversation in the Church (Brazos Press, 2019). Connect with him online at: C-Christopher-Smith.com

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