Annunciation by Muriel Stuart
‘The lord appeared in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush and behold, the bush burned with fire and the bush was not consumed.’-EXODOUS iii.2.
When to your virgin heart, unstirred, ungiven,
Upon the quiet mountainside untrod,
The sudden naked fire came down from heaven,
Burning you with the very breath of God,
Was the sun lost? Were all the sweet stars dim
While God raised round your head those walls of light?
Were you locked dumbly, terribly with Him,
Within that burning temple day and night?
What was it to have God there like a bird-
God like a great, gold flower upon your breast-
While He spake things that only one man heard,
Face down before that glory manifest?
When that strange flame went up the mountain side,
Were your forsaken lips so burned with gold
That the creatures of the wild stood off and cried,
And in your breast no blossom dared unfold?
Did you call back the startled birds to build,
And put forth all your simple buds again,
Forgetting how your branches once were filled,
In sweet embrace of passing sun and rain?
Or were all other birds forbidden sing
After those great, gold plumes had made their nest?
Was, in its strange and awful blossoming,
That great, gold flower the last upon your breast?