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Mary McDermott Santley: The serene light of peace to all mankind


Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

American writers on peace and against war

Women writers on peace and war


Mary McDermott Santley
The Bow of Peace

Ah, it was glorious, my heart, that day,
When all the winds were let loose on the hill,
And clouds the great sky-dome hastened to fill,
To stand up wrathful, as in vengeful fray;
Then, quick, serenely lighted with a ray
Of sheen about their edges, in a frill,
Bright, from the central sun on God’s own hill;
For majestic power ruled in love that day.
Oh, in smoky-silver curtains, how the rain
Swayed with the wind and cracked its sheets of wet!
Its fury spent, the furrowed cheek of the hill
It kissed; and we knew, heart and I, again,
When the wondrous bow in the clouds was set,
That peace enfolded us, and all things, still.

Peace wraps the hill in mantle of soft light.
‘Tis kin to fragrance; ’tis like unto rest
Granted after turmoil in the long quest
Of an anguished soul for heavenly light,
When darkness flees and comes a radiance bright
Of all God’s signs most beautiful and best,
From distant east the bow spans to the west,
And all the world’s encompassed by His might.
Benignly mirrored in the ordered rays
From violet through the prism to the red.
‘Tis precious promise from unchanging Mind,
Witness of Love’s unforgetting tender ways.
“My Peace I give you,” the great Master said.
The serene light of peace – to all mankind.

“Oh, wondrous day, when tempests all had fled
And over earth at first pale sunlight lay,
Quiet forerunner of a brighter ray.
And royal purple curtains wide were spread,
Then veiled by mists of soft and shad’wy red.
High circling over all, a shining way,
A bow of solvent gems of every ray
Of light and color from Love’s hand had sped!
And this not all, for on that day my shroud.
Leather-darkness, fell heavy at my feet.
At first, all seemed, to me, but softly bright;
Then quick there was nor heaviness nor cloud.
For Christ had spoken in His accents sweet
And flashed the brightness of His coming – Light!

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