Elizabeth Stuart Phelps Ward

Learning To Pray

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My inmost soul, O Lord, to thee
Leans like a growing flower
Unto the light. I do not know
The day nor blessed hour
When that deep-rooted, daring growth
We call the heart's desire
Shall burst and blossom to a prayer
Within the sacred fire
Of thy great patience; grow so pure,
So still, so sweet a thing
As perfect prayer must surely be.
And yet my heart will sing
Because thou seem'st sometimes so near.
Close-present God! to me,
It seems I could not have a wish
That was not shared by thee;
It seems I cannot be afraid
To speak my longings out,
So tenderly thy gathering love
Enfolds me round about;
It seems as if my heart would break,
If, living on the light
I should not lift to thee at last
A bud of flawless white.
And yet, O helpless heart! how sweet
To grow, and bud, and say:
The flower, however marred or wan,
Shall not be cast away.

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