As a dare-gale skylark scanted in a dull cage,
Man’s mounting spirit in his bone-house, mean house, dwells —
That bird beyond the remembering his free fells;
This in drudgery, day-labouring-out life’s age.
Though aloft on turf or perch or poor low stage
Both sing sometímes the sweetest, sweetest spells,
Yet both droop deadly sómetimes in their cells
Or wring their barriers in bursts of fear or rage.
Not that the sweet-fowl, song-fowl, needs no rest —
Why, hear him, hear him babble & drop down to his nest,
But his own nest, wild nest, no prison.
Man’s spirit will be flesh-bound, when found at best,
But uncumberèd: meadow-down is not distressed
For a rainbow footing it nor he for his bónes rísen.
This is the poem that I come back to on those days when living in this “bone house” does seem like living in a “mean house.” On those days when the dreariness of the almost-winter weather reflects my internal outlook as I focus too much on immediate circumstances. What joy that last stanza brings: What joy in the the knowledge that Jesus’ resurrection is a guarantee of a resurrection life ahead!