The Great War

from Late Songs, an electronic edition

The Sleep

God thought of sleep, so that He might

Cradle His Man in the cool night

With more than mother's love, and hold

Warm to His breast the child of old.

Poor Man, that is so proud and high,

Yet he must fall asleep and lie

Open to all the winds and harms,

Unless God rocks him in His arms.

Poor Man, though all besmirched, shall keep

Yet the last innocence of sleep,

And like a child must lie alone

Defenceless, harmless, overthrown.

God's gentleness with sinners see!

In sleep they will not disagree

Nor hurt as only lovers can;

They are at one, God and His Man.

Tenderly night shall find him, held

To a kind breast, who late rebelled;

New-reconciled with kisses he

Shall slumber on a mighty knee.

Man's but a toddling child, stripped bare

Of all the countless years that were;

Little and low: God's art to keep

A youngling thing in His arms asleep.