Limits and Renewals

Dinah In Heaven

Rudyard Kipling

SHE did not know that she was dead,
    But, when the pang was o’er,
Sat down to wait her Master’s tread
    Upon the Golden Floor

With ears full-cock and anxious eyes,
    Impatiently resigned;
But ignorant that Paradise
    Did not admit her kind.

Persons with Haloes, Harps, and Wings
    Assembled and reproved;
Or talked to her of Heavenly things,
    But Dinah never moved.

There was one step along the Stair
    That led to Heaven’s Gate;
And, till she heard it, her affair
    Was—she explained—to wait.

And she explained with flattened ear,
    Bared lip and milky tooth—
Storming against Ithuriel’s Spear
    That only proved her truth!

Sudden—far down, the Bridge of Ghosts
    That anxious spirits clomb—
She caught that step in all the hosts,
    And knew that he had come.

She left them wondering what to do,
    But not a doubt had she.
Swifter than her own squeals she flew
    Across the Glassy Sea;

Flushing the Cherubs everywhere,
    And skidding as she ran,
She refuged under Peter’s Chair
    And waited for her man.

.     .     .     .     .

There spoke a Spirit out of the press
    ’Said:—‘Have you any here
That saved a fool from drunkenness,
    And a coward from his fear?

‘That turned a soul from dark to day
    When other help was vain.
That snatched it from wanhope and made
    A cur a man again?’

‘Enter and look,’ said Peter then,
    And set The Gate ajar.
‘If I know aught of women and men
    I trow she is not far.’

‘Neither by virtue, speech nor art
    Nor hope of grace to win;
But godless innocence of heart
    That never heard of sin:

‘Neither by beauty nor belief
    Nor white example shown.
Something a wanton—more a thief;
    But—most of allmine own.’

‘Enter and look,’ said Peter then,
    ‘And send you well to speed;
But, for all that I know of women and men
    Your riddle is hard to read.’

Then flew Dinah from under the Chair,
    Into his arms she flew—
And licked his face from chin to hair
    And Peter passed them through!

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