A PRAYER


                       Vernon Watkins


If I dare pray for one

Gift in the coming age

That might protect my son

           On every shifting stage

Keeping his joy as true

           As now he feels in play

Fetching the ball I threw

           Or pitched from day to day

Safe in a cot where sleep

          Finds him still clasping toys

Until I step and stoop

And loose them with no noise

I pray that he may have

          Recourse in argument

After the falling wave

          To what remains unspent,

That he may stoop and dare

          To gather for his own

In that loud, hostile air

          One word’s deliberate throne,

I mean the uncounted praise,

          The bridegroom’s calm return

For which all nights and days

          In speculation burn.

There where the breakers fly

          Scattering their bridal lace,

Where instantly joy’s eye

          Rejects the commonplace,

Let him find strength to throw

          Compromise to the winds

Though constancy forego

          All but his truest friends,

The drift of broken vows,

          Creating from despair

Of hostile circumstance

          His soul may put on power,

The impotence of chance

          Revealing in his hold

On envy’s taunting mind

          Like Samson, tranquil—souled,

Who remained strong, though blind.

          His Christ-appointed house,

That in the testing hour

          Of hostile circumstance

His soul may put on power,

          The impotence of chance

Revealing in his hold

          On envy’s taunting mind

Like Samson, tranquil—souled,

          Who remained strong, though blind.



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