Monday, 30 October 2017

Poetry Revisited: Change by F. J. Ochse

Change

(from Alexander Wilmot (ed.), South African Poetry: 1887)

Yes, all things change in this poor world of ours,—
The ocean’s waves, the sand upon its shores,
The rocks which bound it even slowly change.
Summer’s warm breath makes place for Winter’s cold.
Spring’s youthful freshness, beautiful and gay,
Is doomed to Autumn’s sadness, age, decay.
Life’s phases change: now happiness and joy;
Then misery and sorrow take their turn.
Now health and plenty, shared with loved ones near;
Then pain and sickness, poverty, despair,
For the poor, exiled, friendless wanderer.
Now in this field, with friends and blessings rich,
The labourer works content; then parting comes,
And to a new and unknown sphere he turns
His wandering steps, and hopes and prays and works.
Friends also sometimes change: the tender flower
Of friendship often withers in the blast
Of cruel, sinful scandal, cursed of God.
Others indifferent grow: pleased by new friends,
The old ones are neglected and forgot.
Yes, all things change in this poor world of ours—
God’s love alone remains unchangeable.
His love alone can keep us constant, true.
No blast can wither friendship’s tender flower
That blooms beneath His atmosphere of love.
Then let all things in this poor world of ours
Change and decay;—no matter, we have God.
His promises are sure, His blessings great;
His faithful guidance will be ever ours.
A place awaits us in His glorious Home,
Where we shall also be unchangeable.

Rev. Francis James Ochse (1856-1898)
South African minister

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