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- The Englishman and Other Poems - 10/12 -


Have journeyed together in dim, dark places, Where black-robed Sorrow walked to and fro, And Fear and Trouble, with phantom faces, Peered out upon us and froze our blood, Though June's fair roses were all in bud.

We two have measured all depths, all heights, We have bathed in tears, we have sunned in laughter! We have known all sorrows and delights - They never could keep us apart hereafter. Whether your spirit went high or low, My own would follow, and find you, I know.

If they took my soul into Paradise, And told me I must be content without you, I would weary them so with my lonesome cries, And the ceaseless questions I asked about you, They would open the gates and set me free, Or else they would find you and bring you to me.

PETITION

God, may Thy loving Spirit work, In heart of Russian, and of Turk, Until throughout each clime and land, Armenian and Jew may stand, And claim the right of every soul To seek by its own path, the goal. Parts of the Universal Force, Rills from the same eternal Source Back to that Source, all races go. God, help Thy world to see it so.

A WAFT OF PERFUME

A waft of perfume from a bit of lace Moved lightly by a passing woman's hand; And on the common street, a sensuous grace Shone suddenly from some lost time and land.

Tall structures changed to dome and parapet; The stern-faced Church an oracle became; In sheltered alcoves marble busts were set; And on the wall frail Lais wrote her name.

Phryne before her judges stood at bay, Fearing the rigour of Athenian laws; Till Hyperides tore her cloak away, And bade her splendid beauty plead its cause.

Great Alexander walking in the dusk, Dreamed of the hour when Greek with Greek should meet; From Thais' window attar breathed, and musk: His footsteps went no farther down the street.

Faint and more faint the pungent perfume grew; Of wall and parapet remained no trace. Temple and statue vanished from the view: The city street again was commonplace.

THE PLOUGH

If you listen you will hear, from east to west, Growing sounds of discontent and deep unrest. It is just the progress-driven plough of God, Tearing up the well-worn custom-bounded sod; Shaping out each old tradition-trodden track Into furrows, fertile furrows, rich and black. Oh, what harvests they will yield When they widen to a field.

They will widen, they will broaden, day by day, As the Progress-driven plough keeps on its way. It will riddle all the ancient roads that lead Into palaces of selfishness and greed; It will tear away the almshouse and the slum That the little homes and garden plots may come. Yes, the gardens green and sweet Shall replace the stony street.

Let the wise man hear the menace that is blent In this ever-growing sound of discontent. Let him hear the rising clamour of the race That the few shall yield the many larger space. For the crucial hour is coming when the soil Must be given to, or taken back by Toil Oh, that mighty plough of God; Hear it breaking through the sod!

GO PLANT A TREE

God, what a joy it is to plant a tree, And from the sallow earth to watch it rise, Lifting its emerald branches to the skies In silent adoration; and to see Its strength and glory waxing with each spring. Yes, 'tis a goodly, and a gladsome thing To plant a tree.

Nature has many marvels; but a tree Seems more than marvellous. It is divine. So generous, so tender, so benign. Not garrulous like the rivers; and yet free In pleasant converse with the winds and birds; Oh! privilege beyond explaining words, To plant a tree.

Rocks are majestic; but, unlike a tree, They stand aloof, and silent. In the roar Of ocean billows breaking on the shore There sounds the voice of turmoil. But a tree Speaks ever of companionship and rest. Yea, of all righteous acts, this, this is best, To plant a tree.

There is an oak (oh! how I love that tree) Which has been thriving for a hundred years; Each day I send my blessing through the spheres To one who gave this triple boon to me, Of growing beauty, singing birds, and shade. Wouldst thou win laurels that shall never fade? Go plant a tree.

PAIN'S PURPOSE

How blind is he who prays that God will send All pain from earth. Pain has its use and place; Its ministry of holiness and grace. The darker tones upon the canvas blend With light and colour; and their shadows lend The painting half its dignity. Efface The sombre background, and you lose all trace Of that perfection which is true art's trend.

Life is an artist seeking to reveal God's majesty and beauty in each soul. If from the palette mortal man could steal The precious pigment, pain, why then the scroll Would glare with colours meaningless and bright, Or show an empty canvas, blurred with light.

MEMORY'S MANSION

In Memory's Mansion are wonderful rooms, And I wander about them at will; And I pause at the casements, where boxes of blooms Are sending sweet scents o'er the sill. I lean from a window that looks on a lawn: From a turret that looks on the wave. But I draw down the shade, when I see on some glade, A stone standing guard, by a grave.

To Memory's attic I clambered one day, When the roof was resounding with rain. And there, among relics long hidden away, I rummaged with heart-ache and pain. A hope long surrendered and covered with dust, A pastime, out-grown, and forgot, And a fragment of love, all corroded with rust, Were lying heaped up in one spot.

And there on the floor of that garret was tossed A friendship too fragile to last, With pieces of dearly bought pleasures, that cost Vast fortunes of pain in the past. A fabric of passion, once ardent and bright, As tropical sunsets in spring, Was spread out before me--a terrible sight - A moth-eaten rag of a thing.

Then down the steep stairway I hurriedly went, And into fair chambers below. But the mansion seemed filled with the old attic scent, Wherever my footsteps would go. Though in Memory's House I still wander full oft, No more to the garret I climb;


The Englishman and Other Poems - 10/12

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