Pent-up within the bounds

Of my humanity,

My relentless spirit, ever straining upward,

Thrills to harmony

Melodious in the music of a song

New lisped into a prayer,

Ever-rising, ever-failing

In its flight to the Supreme Reality.

But in that love-wrought paeon,

‘Compassed by my mortal bonds,

Eternal realms I still explore

And know not satisfaction.

Then one solitary hope,

Breathed in time’s faint ecstasy,

Longing for divine fulfillment,

To the overwhelming grace of God

Intends. And yet

In earthly guise

I may not yet approach

Such wond’rous plenitude

Nor fully grasp beatitude!

Still longing for the joys above,

To petty woes I yield;

And in this weakening

A paradox takes life.

For, pinioned to this world’s rancor

Like fledglings boasting strength of wing,

My charmed soul sallies forth

In spams oft-times o’er

To fall again

In dust —

Bathed in humble blood-stains

Red with injured pride.

Poem by Francis Smith

Emmitsburg Poet Laureate

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