In Reach

The day broke gray,
The clouds were gray,
The air was cool and still;
Two seagulls high
Flew silent by
As I walked on uphill.

No bird did sing,
No bell did ring,
No car did roll on past;
Atop the hill
I looked my fill
And saw but rocks and grass.

The day was gray,
The rocks were gray,
The grass-blades bending calm,
And I sat down
Upon the ground
And played on earth my palm.

Then spoke I low
A poem I know,
Sweet words that I did write,
Till from inside,
With rising pride,
My poem rang loud and bright.

With cheering glow
My words did go,
And clear and louder rang,
As I did quake
Like bell a-shake,
A-filled with thrill a-clang!

Then here and there
And everywhere
Came fleet wee birds a-wing;
Each rock a shelf
For rocking self
To light upon and sing!

These singers small,
They echoed tall
The truths in me that flowed,
And we were free
Ourselves to be,
Though grim our gray abode.

With cheering glow
My words did go
And clear and louder rang,
As I did quake
Like bell a-shake
A-filled with thrill a-clang!

Then up, on feet,
I stood complete,
A singing soul in flame,
Till gray-of-day
Had passed away
And out the great sun came.

Far down, a rag,
Or shirt, or flag,
All white, did wave and rise,
And by it there
A woman, fair,
Sprang up, to my surprise.

“Sing on,” she said,
“I was nigh dead
With all that gloom so ill.
So gray the day,
The sky so gray,
That I had lost my will.”

Her honesty
Spoke deep in me,
Yet firm she was, not weak.
Her hair was gold
And she was bold,
Her face, a face to seek.

“Oh why the flag,
Or bright white rag?
I say, what does it mean?”
“It means the end
Of war, my friend,
My doubts and hopes between.

“I’d hoped that there
Was one so rare
Whose joy was his to sing.
I’d doubted more
Was none for sure,
And dream but flightless wing.

“But when you bid,
While I lay hid,
Your singing soul to shine,
I knew my dream
Was not a dream
And all tall things were mine!”

On her I gazed,
Then walked, half-dazed,
To much, much closer see,
And saw true eyes
That told no lies,
In looking up at me.

Few feet apart
I stopped. My heart,
O Love! ran on and on,
And faster went
With joy un-pent,
As I looked down at dawn!

She smiled then,
And said again
Her dream had leaped alive,
And gray-of-day
Was cast away
For bright-of-day to thrive.

“Then learn,” said I,
“This song most high
Of all the songs of man:
‘The thing not far
Is that high star
You are when you began.

‘The thing you reach
Within your reach
Is nothing low or slight,
But lifts a step
Beyond a step
To mount with all your might.

‘In act be true
To fact of you,
Which fact is soul of goal,
And trace the place
That you would grace
With joyous self still whole.

‘Then make no peace
With half-willed piece,
Nor sell yourself for gold,
But onward stay
On your one way
Till all you want you hold.

‘Some writhe in dust,
Some like to rust,
Some seek their time to kill;
Some never try
Their wings to fly,
Resenting those who will.

‘True act ideal
Is you for real,
And not a thing to doubt;
Take up, get go,
Unveil your show,
And dance the world about!’

“The day is gay,
The sky is gay,
Our singing stairs the air;
Then come, sweet night,
Bathe in our light—
It’s rare beyond compare!”

She upped a step,
I downed a step;
We both ideal moved.
Within our reach—
New height for each—
The might of singing proved!

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