My own hope is, a sun will pierce
|I AM the most powerful thing in the world;
For me men will give up their homes, their loves;
For me they will forsake peace,
And endure hardship and suffering;
For me they are willing to lie wounded,
For me they will die.
They see me in the glory of the sunrise,
And in the splendor of the sunset;
They see me as a great flame mounting to the skies,
Higher and higher,
Until I extend to the universe.
Their hearts are afire with me,
Their souls thrill with me,
And feel the touch of infinity.
I am not victory;
I am not a nation,
Or a people, or a flag:
I am an Idea.
|THE fields of scarlet poppies stretch away;
The scent of apple blossoms fills the air;
The azure sky, the breeze, the calm blue bay,
All speak of peace, of spring forever fair.
The trees, the grasses, and the greening land
All pulsate with a great desire to live,
To turn the wondrous cycle that was planned,
To grow, to bloom, then autumn fruits to give.
But war clouds fill the sky; a hail of steel
Sweeps half the earth, uprooting fertile soil,
Scars all the land with wounds that never heal,
Leaves but destruction, waste, and ruined toil,
And marks of death, and aching hearts, and pain,
Where belching cannons reap the yellowing grain.
A PITCH-BLACK road, and rain;
Black dank woods;
A long blank hill
UPON these rolling Lorraine fields
Yet these same peaceful fields have known
Here flowed the eddying battle tide,
Again the autumn sun shines down
FROM the full moon new-mounted in the east
Here in this courtyard where was once a fount,
Down through the lonely street. the road runs white,
Gone all the handiwork of years of toil,
How brightly all the old stars shine!
The moon casts down a yellow light
So still, so calm; clouds hazy, thin,
OVER the tranquil brook, the bubbling spring,
Bright lakes of moonlight bathe the fields, the stream;
Is beauty still alive, or nature's art
|GIVE me good friends; I do not ask for more;
For though life bring but pain, and be unkind,
Although I be on dreary foreign shore,
Or in the blasts of some chill bitter wind ---
Still will the soul of loneliness depart,
And friendly words o'ercome a cheerless clime,
And talk about the things of common art
Make pleasant otherwise unpleasant time.
A friendless man will find a lonely street
E'en 'mid the noises of a million feet.
OVER the sleeping little town
The outlined trees stand stark and bare;
A silvery haze drifts, thin and low;
Then of a sudden comes a gun
Come in a happier time, O Night;
|A BIT of ivy clambers o'er the wall
Of this forsaken house the war has neared;
The city's ruins here about it fall,
And scattered wreckage marks how it is seared. . . .
Deserted is this city of the dead;
Unseeing, cold, the shutters blind stare down,
Unheeding of the lonely sentry's tread,
Insensate to the sadness of the town. . . .
Gone, gone the folk of all these pleasant streets,
Gone all the colors, all the swirl of life,
Gone all the sounds, save where the cannon beats,
And adds, each hour, destruction to the strife.
And yet, here where the ruins hourly fall,
This bit of ivy clambers o'er the wall.
|GONE, ye gray hulks with grim and massive walls;
Now but your moss-encrusted ruins rise
To tell the world what life passed in your halls,
What wealth and power you vaunted to the skies.
Once did your towers and turrets rule the land;
Suppressed were all the poor and humble folk,
Held harshly 'neath the master's iron hand,
Bearing the heavy burden of the yoke.
To-day there is no menace in your frown:
Time-worn and broken now you sadly rest,
Reminding us how surely you went down
Before the very ones you had oppressed;
Your ruins are but landmarks on the way
Where eyes of men have glimpsed the coming day!
OUT of the darkness of the night,
As o'er a pageant of the gods,
The eye of two armies, face to face,
It drifts and dies, and the darkness comes,
OVER the little town the clouds hang low;
Life must go on; their destined round of toil
With eager bated breath let others stand
Is beauty dead.? Are ashes in the heart?
The hollow footsteps echo in the street
How time slips by! A year has gone
But age will come with chilling hand,
A FERTILE lovely valley
Deserted are the villages
Gun-pits scar the hillsides
When the roar of war is over,
THE lilacs bloom by the castle wall
A world of blossoms gay is seen,
The spring again, so sweet and gay,
The lilacs bloom by the castle wall,
THE guns! The guns!
The guns! The guns!
The guns! The guns!
IF I should die I ask no gift,
If I should fall amid war's waste
When all the strife had died away,
|WHY do we fight, we from a distant shore,
Removed, contained, scarce touched by all the strife,
Far from the thunders of a foreign war,
Who might in peace have followed with our life?
Our debt to France? --- incurred in times of old,
Graced by the workings of a despot king?---
For Rochambeau, and Lafayette, we're told;
Our bell of freedom which they helped to ring.
No, none of these; forget the ancient score:
For greater things --- for France to-day we fight!
Our living debt to France is even more,
Her hard-fought battle is our cause of right:
For fine-souled France, a star too bright to go,
We come to help defeat the brutal foe!
|Too oft we think them dead, the men who die
Upon the war-scarred field and battle plain;
It seems that all they were has swift passed by,
All that they lived for finished, ended vain
Gone are their bodies; silent now they rest;
The self that lived and loved has ceased its way,
Has given all it held to be the best,
Has paid in full all it was asked to pay.
They die not, those who die for an ideal,
The body dies; the soul lives on and grows,
Transmitting to a million hearts its zeal,
Transferring to a million arms its blows.
The men who for ideals have ceased to be
Live on and on, into eternity.
Out in the night under the vast sky
I watch alone;
The myriad array,
So unperturbed by earthly strife,
Brings to my heart new peace
And new belief:
Somewhere within this chaos there is plan;
New love will rise from out this darkness,
Hate, and pain --
Out in the night far in the vast sky
Are silent stars.
THE star-shells flare; the tortuous trenches wind
|WHO are the evil powers that urge this flood
Of brutal passion in the modern state?
Teach men to have unreasoning lust for blood,
Make savage beasts of them by preaching hate?
Through countless ages men have struggled on,
Striving for truth and justice in their hearts:
What madness now, in this new era's dawn,
Has cried the falseness of these slow-gained arts?
They are the same offenders; not alone
Have they in present day urged hate and lust;
They are the same who ever weighed the stone
On simple men who placed in them their trust:
They are the selfish ones whom Christ did see
Urge on the blinded mob at Calvary.
O GENTLE France, to you we owe the most,
You did not cry or murmur 'neath the load,
Long have you held prized Freedom's torch on high,
|WHAT WILL YOU say of them, the dead who died
Upon the fields of France to crush the foe?
How will you show your pity and your pride,
How will you crown their glory and their woe?
Not by the means of futile words of praise ---
The nameless dead do never ask this gift
Not by the splendid monuments you raise,
Not by the half-mast flags you sadly lift;
But let this be their glory, be their due;
Let but their single thought speak for them here:
In that rich moment when they gave, each knew,
E'en as he lost the things he held most dear,
That matter not what be Life's unseen plan,
He'd played his part, and proved himself a man.
Beside a crumbling caved-in house
A sleepy guard, with helmet on,
At last the bottom comes;
Below the light,
You turn back to the darkness of the cave
A brancardier, tired-faced,
Back by the steps the brancardiers
The entrance guard turns on his flash.
Down the rough hill the blessés go;
The ruined house again;
The motor spurts;
Of a sudden:
A high plateau;
OUT of the crucible of war we come,
The red-tiled villages flash by,
A shady road, a shining town,
The dusk creeps down o'er the mirror lake,
Sweeter than ever in our lives before
ONE year; again my thoughts go wandering back
Landing, and the sight of France; the green,
Bordeaux; cathedral spires that touched the sky,
Paris; voices, faces strange, strange ways;
Then onward to the war zone, to a town
Then came the endless waiting, when we yearned
Then on the Aisne there came our days of stress,
Then came the winter's dreariness and cold
At last came promise of the greening spring,
Now once again has come the stirring round:
UPON the hilltop, sharp against the evening sky,
LONELY roads that stretch away
Lonely clouds that fill the sky,
Lonely winds that bleakly blow
Lonely worlds that stretch away
I AM the soul of winter,
I am the burning desert,
I am the endless vastness
I am the heart of solitude,
OUR lives are like strange ships that lie
Across the vast uncertain sea
Some of them no more to come,
So are our lives, with days that seem
HERE by the bank I watch the river flow;
A barge comes 'neath the bridge; the horse plods past
Endlessly the river's life goes on;
And ever the brownish water eddies by,
How green the islands of the Past,
Over the sea where we have sailed,
Still in our minds their beaches gleam
To-day we touch at some strange port
Nor backward turn the battered bark,
DOWN the paths of life we go,
Down the paths of life so sweet,
Down the paths we love so well,
Down the paths of life, and then
BEFORE God ever was, before the first
THE red of sunset dies; the clouds drift down
|WHAT is our future but a shadowy state
Far in the mists beyond the realms of mind---
A dim existence unrevealed by Fate,
A blank beyond, as it has been behind?
Why do we seek to read the hidden scroll,
Or pierce the future's hazy unknown way?
Each hour partakes of the eternal goal,
The loss or gain is in the act to-day:
Better --- achieve just for the love of life,
And truer make the metal of the man,
Meet fearlessly the adventurous years of strife,
Create truth from your dreaming, if you can:
Take gladly Life's great venture, even though
It bring but disillusionment and woe!
|I HAVE black moments of despair, long hours
When life seems naught but bitterness and hate,
The soul itself a gift of mocking powers
Who would turn man against his proper fate:
Black moments when futility seems writ
In every deed and in the future's store,
When life itself seems but a strange misfit
Wherein mankind but tangles more and more.
In these dread moments give me some wide place
Where I may watch the curling clouds drift by ---
Behold slow beauty creep o'er nature's face,
Or sunset colors touch the western sky;
And then I know that calm rests on the deep
And that on wind-torn crags the eagles sleep.
LIFE is like the rose:
Grieve not for the rose,
Him up amid the pines and snow,
The virgin wild is lone and still;
Calm is it now; yet long years past
Eruptions from the crater's rim
But yestern's fire has died away
Now comes the silence of the night
Stillness rests on the countryside
The old stars shine; and a silence strange
REST gently after these long years, ye dead
Rest gently, O ye dead of present time,
Rest not, ye veterans of the final blow
GONE are the years that came with fevered strife
As now our former course seems distant, far,
We scarce believe these episodes are through,