Nothing But Stones
I think I never passed so sad an hour,
Dear friend, as that one at the church to-night.
The edifice from basement to the tower
Was one resplendent blaze of coloured light.
Up through broad aisles the stylish crowd was thronging,
Each richly robed like some king's bidden guest.
"Here will I bring my sorrow and my longing,"
I said, "and here find rest."
I heard the heavenly organ's voice of thunder,
It seemed to give me infinite relief.
I wept. Strange eyes looked on in well-bred wonder.
I dried my tears: their gaze profaned my grief.
Wrapt in the costly furs, and silks, and laces,
Beat alien hearts, that had no part with me.
I could not read, in all those proud cold faces,
One thought of sympathy.
I watched them bowing and devoutly kneeling,
Heard their responses like sweet waters roll
But only the glorious organ's sacred pealing
Seemed gushing from a full and fervent soul.
I listened to the man of holy calling,
He spoke of creeds, and hailed his own as best;
Of man's corruption and of Adam's-falling,
But naught that gave me rest:
Nothing that helped me bear the daily grinding
Of soul with body, heart with heated brain;
Nothing to show the purpose of this blinding
And sometimes overwhelming sense of pain.
And then, dear friend, I thought of thee, so lowly,
So unassuming, and so gently kind,
And lo! a peace, a calm serene and holy,
Settled upon my mind.
Ah, friend, my friend! one true heart, fond and tender,
That understands our troubles and our needs,
Brings us more near to God than all the splendour
And pomp of seeming worship and vain creeds.
One glance of thy dear eyes so full of feeling,
Doth bring me closer to the Infinite
Than all that throng of worldly people kneeling
In blaze of gorgeous light.
- by Ella Wheeler Wilcox