Retreat

 In Culture, Poems, Uncategorized

Retreat

 

Come unto yourself a while,

Be deaf to outer cares;

Ask not who wins, who falls, who rages,

Or what each doubtful sign presages,

Or what face treachery wears.

 

Soon you must return to tasks

That sicken and appal:

The calumnies will never cease,

Look only to the sign of peace,

The Cross upon the wall.

 

This is that sole instrument

That measures every chart;

This square and level overrules

The subtle calculus of fools

By a celestial Art.

 

It is not said we shall succeed,

Save as His Cross prevails:

The good we choose and mean to do

Prospers if He wills it to,

And if not, then it fails.

 

Nor is failure our disgrace:

By ways we cannot know

He keeps the merit in his hand,

And suddenly, as no-one planned,

Behold the kingdom grow!

 

by James McAuley


Michael Rose sent this poem to Life Ministries following the passage of the same-sex marriage bill, saying, “I thought this poem may appeal to you if you are also seeking some consolation. … Not to lose heart. God can bring good from evil. … James McAuley, one of Australia’s greatest poets, put into words the spirit which motivates us in times of great difficulty …”

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