Ada Cambridge poems

Ada Cambridge[Ada Cross] (21 November 1844 - 19 July 1926 / St Gemans, Norfolk)
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After our Likeness.

- by Ada Cambridge 127

Before me now a little picture lies—
A little shadow of a childish face,
Childishly sweet, yet with the dawning grace
Of thought and wisdom on her lips and eyes.

Fair, oval, broad-brow'd face—small, delicate head—
Transparent skin, with blue veins shining through—
All the soft outlines, beautiful and true,
Bring me the echo of the words “God said.”

Made “in our image”—sure 'tis that we see,
God's likeness, in the fair face of a child,
By the world's sin and passion undefiled—
Ay, as I look, it seems quite plain to me.

The light wherein the little features shine,
Strange, mystic light, so undefined and faint,
So far too pure for any words to paint—
'Tis a reflection of the Face divine.

Some day the earthly shadows will be cast
Across that sunshine—it may be to dim
A while the visible countenance of Him;
But 'twill be there—the likeness—to the last.

Some day the lucid waters, in which lie
Pictured those glorious lineaments, will be
Stirred up and troubled like a stormy sea;—
But they will yet re-settle—by-and-by.

They will re-settle when the soul is still'd,
Its passions, its wild longings, and its pain;
The pure reflection will shine out again
When earth's hopes are relinquish'd, unfulfill'd.

They will re-settle in those after-years
When life's hard lessons have been conned and learn'd;
Then this child's beauty will have all return'd,
More lovely for the trouble and the tears.
They will re-settle in the calm of death,
When the sweet eyes are laid asleep, and when
The heart is hush'd. Truly God's likeness then—
The mirror clear, unsullied by a breath.

Ah! while I look, and trace each tender line,
I think most of the day when I shall see
The dear face in that perfect purity,
Its mortal features clothed with the divine.

This self-same face, but with the image bright,
Nevermore undefined, and faint, and dim;
This self-same face, yet like the face of Him,
In glory and in beauty infinite.

At Sea

- by Ada Cambridge 95

When the investing darkness growls,
And deep reverberates to deep;
When keyhole whines and chimney howls,
And all the roofs and windows weep;
Then, through the doorless walls of sleep,
The still-sealed ear and shuttered sight,
Phantoms of memory steal and creep,
The very ghosts of sound and light--
Dream-visions and dream-voices of a bygone night.

I see again, I hear again,
Where lightnings flash and house-eaves drip,
A flying swirl of waves and rain--
That storm-path between Sound and Rip.
I feel the swaying of the ship
In every gust that rocks the trees,
And taste that brine upon my lip
And smell the freshness of the breeze
That sped us through the welter of those racing seas.

I hear the menace of the call
To rope and rivet, wheel and mast,
In the swift onrush of the squall,
The challenge of the thundering blast
To daring men as it sweeps past;
And in my dream I have no dread.
Rivet and rope are firm and fast,
The clear lights shining, green and red,
The quiet eyes of sentry watching overhead.

What epic battles pass unsung!
It was a war of gods befell
On that wild night when we were young.
They rode, like cavalry of hell,
The mighty winds, the monstrous swell,
On their white horses, fierce and fleet;
They stood at bay, invincible,
Where pulsed beneath our sliding feet
The faithful iron heart that never lost a beat.

How the sharp sea-spume lashed and stung!
How the salt sea-wind tugged and tare
And clawed and mauled us where we clung,
With panting breasts and streaming hair,
To our frail eyrie in mid-air!
How we exulted in the fight--
With neither haste nor halt to dare
Those Titans furies in their might,
Undaunted and unswerving in our insect flight!

No lap of exquisite repose!
A mortar wherein souls are brayed;
An anvil ringing to the blows
Whereby true men are shaped, and made
Divinely strong and unafraid.
Such gallant sailor-men there be--
Never unready or dismayed,
Though 't's the face of death they see
In cyclone, fire and fog, and white surf on the lee.

Not only in the sylvan bower,
On dreaming hill, by sleeping mere,

The holy place--the sacred hour.
Beset by every form of fear,
Darkness ahead and danger near,
Sorely hard-driven and hard-prest,
But still unspent and of good cheer--
He finds them who can pass the test,
Who never winks an eye and never stays to rest

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