What ecstasy is in this night!
A tingling thrilling joy doth fight
Within me 'gainst a sullen pain
That knows I must so soon again
Return to earth. E'en now the vision fades
Beyond my frantic grasp. The shades
Encompass it once more. O give
me back Heaven's glory. Must I live
Through interminable days of murky fog,
Groping and struggling in the bog
Of depression, doubt and dark despair,
Gasping for want of purer air
Till the sudden moment come once more
When the arrows pierce my inmost core
Shattering doubt and, in its wake,
Bringing wisdom and joy to slake
My parched throat?
A voice through tumult breathes, "Hold on,
You were born to fight: there's a war to be won.
Sorrow and pain and sweat and toil
Shall all be yours; but there'll be a foil
'Gainst all of this, for I will be there
E'en when you sink 'neath the waves of despair,
Or grapple with doubt in the blackness of night;
When you're tempted to lie down and give up the fight;
When the darkness is rent with your spirit's cry,
I will answer you, I will be by.
Thank God that you can feel pain:
It is your privilege; for you again
The bells shall ring upon the shores
Where everlasting joy shall be yours--
No fading vision as before,
But joy undreamed of evermore."
Anna Osmaston (1922–2021) was a WWII veteran and a beloved wife, mother and grandmother.
'Starlight Night' was written at Anna's home (Pensbury House, Shaftesbury, Dorset) in November 1941, when she had a few days’ leave from the Army.
Anna's poem 'Carefree' was published in Foreshadow in August 2021.