Menella Bute Smedley

The Shadow from The Valley

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The child upon the mountain-side
Plays fearless and at ease,
While the hush of purple evening
Spreads over earth and seas;
The valley lies in shadow,
But the valley lies afar,
And the mountain is a slope of light
Up-reaching to a star.
He looks into the forest,
Where, like a shower of gems,
Drops of delicious sunshine
Dance on the tawny stems;
He listens to the large grey thrush
Slow flitting to its bower,
But the shadow from the valley
Creeps upward, hour by hour.
The stream that flows above him
Breaks into sudden gold,
Caught from the gorgeous banner
O'er the broad skies unroll'd;
He looks where, 'mid the parting clouds,
A thousand rainbows meet,—
But the shadow from the valley
Hath risen to his feet.
Awhile the lingering glory
Touches and gilds his hair,
Then darkness, like an armèd man,
Hath seized him unaware;
The latest bird is silent,
And, with a wild Tu-whoo,
The swift owl circles overhead,—
Ah child, what canst thou do?
Wilt thou, in hopeless wonder,
Wring thy faint hands and weep,
Roam aimlessly a little while,
Then sob thyself to sleep?
Or wilt thou rise, and journey
Thy drear and toilsome way,
A pilgrim through the shadow,
Seeking the dawn of day?
There shall be stars to guide thee,
There shall be sounds to cheer,
For the air is full of angels,
And God is very near;
And ever from thy distant home
One tiny spark shall glow,
Brightening as thou draw'st nearer,—
Take courage! Rise and go!

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Menella Bute Smedley