Sunday, July 11, 2010

Beata (c. 1918)

Beata (c. 1918)

How strange to me who know and love her so
That words fall dead and purposeless, to count
The careless many that have passed her by
Unseeing, or at best have only marked
The beauty of that smiling face she turns
To welcome all the world. I was a child
When first I came to know her, and my love
Grew with my growth as I could understand
More and more clearly those ideals she holds
Before her children. That instinctive love
A child gives to its mother, first I gave.
She was so very fair! The silent groves,
God’s temples truly, and the murmuring lake,
These were my playmates, and a wide sweet peace
Pervaded everything, so unaware
Even my childish nature gained in strength
And worshiped where it could not understand.

It was the summer I was eight years old —
And to myself I scarcely seemed all child —
When first I gained my larger heritage.
At early morning as I stood alone
Saying farewell to the calm nature world
That had been mine a golden summer long.
A soft September silence held the hills
Dreaming of summer, and as still I gazed,
Suddenly from my wistful thoughts was born
A hope and a desire, all imperfect yet
And unexpressed, only I dimly longed
To be more good, more worthy to be hers.

How often since have I gone back to her
Forgetting all that I had tried to do
And failed in trying, only gaining strength
To try again! How often have I crept
Past the white columns of the silent Hall
That is her soul, and laid a swift caress
With reverant hands on each familiar thing,
Praying with silent lips! But only God
Can know how often those hidden seeds
Planted in silence, blossomed silently
Into self sacrifice.

Yes, she is fair;
The columns of the Hall gleam through the trees;
Music is everywhere, nor hushed from dawn
That wakes the birds, until the vesper chimes
Pour peace and benediction over all.
Yet to her children who have learned her speech
There is a beauty richer far than this,
Most beautiful because most unexpressed
Except in lives inspired by its touch.

— Ethelwyn Dithridge Hotaling

From Dan Hermann written by his Grandmother

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