Ina Coolbrith

1841 – 1928 / Nauvoo, Illinois

A Prayer

SOUL! however sweet
The goal to which I hasten with swift feet —
If, just within my grasp,
I reach, and joy to clasp,
And find there one whose body I must make
A footstool for that sake,
Though ever and forevermore denied,
Grant me to turn aside!

O, howsoever dear
The love I long for, seek, and find anear —
So near, so dear, the bliss Sweetest of all that is,
If I must win by treachery or art,
Or wrong one other heart,
Though it should bring me death, my soul, that day
Grant me to turn away!

That in the life so far
And yet so near, I be without a scar
Of wounds dealt others! Greet with lifted eyes
The pure of Paradise!
So I may never know
The agony of tears I caused to flow!
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