Daily Archives: March 14, 2019

betwixt

Betwixt the dawning and the day it came
Upon me like a spell,
While tolled a distant bell,
A wondrous vision but without a name
In pomp of shining mist and shadowed flame,
Exceeding terrible;
Before me seemed to open awful Space,
And sheeted tower and spire
With forms of shrouded ’tire
Arose and beckoned with unearthly grace,
I felt a Presence though I saw no face
But the dark rolling fire.

So begins “The Beatific Vision” by Frederick William Orde Ward. Had I presented but the first line, you would have known already ’twas poesy. First line? First word, in sooth! Just as there are words that let you know you’re reading a news article (temblor, pontiff), there are words that declare poetry. Poetry! And tho this bit of rime lay ’twixt the pages of an ancient tome (well, 1927) that declared on its cover no more than “The Oxford Book of English Mystical Verse” (the most mystical thing about which being how I come to have it – I think I know, but in recollection I feel a Presence but see no face), had I met it on a glowing screen I would still have known. Continue reading