I Met Madness

(after Thomas Hardy)

by Pavel Chichikov

I met madness walking down the road,
His arm supported by an angel's hand,
I do no more than what a wolf may do
But angels walk beside a poor madman

I met age, debility unminded,
Wandering from road to roadless wood,
But though its daft meander was so blinded
Beside the old man seven angels stood

Seven angels, lights of seven candles,
Rafters of the forest they upheld,
Though all the woodlands of the world be endless
None go lost, the roaring shadows stilled

You will meet and I will meet these seven,
At either side they sentinel the bridge
That crosses from the burning wood to heaven,
Above the foul stream of sacrilege

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