Emily Pauline Johnson (Tekahionwake)

Here you will find the Poem Nocturne of poet Emily Pauline Johnson (Tekahionwake)


Night of Mid-June, in heavy vapours dying, 
Like priestly hands thy holy touch is lying 
Upon the world's wide brow; 
God-like and grand all nature is commanding 
The "peace that passes human understanding"; 
I, also, feel it now. 

What matters it to-night, if one life treasure 
I covet, is not mine! Am I to measure 
The gifts of Heaven's decree 
By my desires? O! life for ever longing 
For some far gift, where many gifts are thronging, 
God wills, it may not be. 

Am I to learn that longing, lifted higher, 
Perhaps will catch the gleam of sacred fire 
That shows my cross is gold? 
That underneath this cross--however lowly, 
A jewel rests, white, beautiful and holy, 
Whose worth can not be told. 

Like to a scene I watched one day in wonder:-- 
A city, great and powerful, lay under 
A sky of grey and gold; 
The sun outbreaking in his farewell hour, 
Was scattering afar a yellow shower 
Of light, that aureoled 

With brief hot touch, so marvellous and shining, 
A hundred steeples on the sky out-lining, 
Like network threads of fire; 
Above them all, with halo far outspreading, 
I saw a golden cross in glory heading 
A consecrated spire: 

I only saw its gleaming form uplifting, 
Against the clouds of grey to seaward drifting, 
And yet I surely know 
Beneath the seen, a great unseen is resting, 
For while the cross that pinnacle is cresting, 
An Altar lies below. 

 . . . . . 

Night of Mid-June, so slumberous and tender, 
Night of Mid-June, transcendent in thy splendour 
Thy silent wings enfold 
And hush my longing, as at thy desire 
All colour fades from round that far-off spire, 
Except its cross of gold.