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- The Englishman and Other Poems - 3/12 -


Out into night and death; Before it reached the Mother world, Or drew its natal breath. And terrified, each hid her face and fled Beyond the presence of her unborn dead.

And God's Great Angel, who provides Souls for our mortal land, Laughed, with the laughter that derides, At that fast fleeing band Of self-made barren women of the earth. (Hell has no curse that withers like such mirth.)

'O Angel, tell us who were they, That down below us fared; Those shapes with faces strained and grey, And eyes that stared and stared; Something there was about them, gave us fear; Yet are we lonely, now they are not here.'

Thus spake the spectral children; thus The Angel made reply: 'They have no part or share with us; They were but passers-by.' 'But may we pray for them?' the phantoms plead. 'Yea, for they need your prayers,' the Angel said.

They went upon their lonely way; (Far, far from Paradise); Their path was lit with one wan ray From ghostly children's eyes; The little children who were never born; And as they passed, the Angel laughed in scorn.

THE TRUTH TELLER

The Truth Teller lifts the curtain, And shows us the people's plight; And everything seems uncertain, And nothing at all looks right. Yet out of the blackness groping, My heart finds a world in bloom; For it somehow is fashioned for hoping, And it cannot live in the gloom.

He tells us from border to border, That race is warring with race; With riot and mad disorder, The earth is a wretched place; And yet ere the sun is setting I am thinking of peace, not strife; For my heart has a way of forgetting All things save the joy of life.

I heard in my Youth's beginning That earth was a region of woe, And trouble, and sorrow, and sinning: The Truth Teller told me so. I knew it was true, and tragic; And I mourned over much that was wrong; And then, by some curious magic, The heart of me burst into song.

The years have been going, going, A mixture of pleasure and pain; But the Truth Teller's books are showing That evil is on the gain. And I know that I ought to be grieving, And I should be too sad to sing; But somehow I keep on believing That life is a glorious thing.

JUST YOU

All the selfish joys of earth, I am getting through. That which used to lure and lead Now I pass and give no heed; Only one thing seems of worth - Just you.

Not for me the lonely height, And the larger view; Lowlier ways seem fair and wide, While we wander side by side. One thing makes the whole world bright - Just you.

Not for distant goals I run, No great aim pursue; Most of earth's ambitions seem Like the shadow of a dream. All the world to me means one - Just you.

REFLECTION

Twice have I seen God's full reflected grace. Once when the wailing of a child at birth Proclaimed another soul had come to earth, That look shone on, and through the mother's face.

And once when silence, absolute and vast, Followed the final indrawn mortal breath, Sudden upon the countenance of death That supreme glory of God's grace was cast.

SONGS OF LOVE AND THE SEA

I

When first we met (the Sea and I), Like one before a King, I stood in awe; nor felt nor saw The sun, the winds, the earth, the sky Or any other thing. God's Universe, to me, Was just the Sea.

When next we met, the lordly Main Played but a courtier's part; Crowned Queen was I; and earth and sky, And sun and sea were my domain, Since love was in my heart. Before, beyond, above, Was only Love.

II

Love built me, on a little rock, A little house of pine, At first, the Sea Beat angrily About that house of mine; (That dear, dear home of mine).

But when it turned to go away Beyond the sandy track, Down o'er its wall The house would call, Until the Sea came back; (It always hurried back).

And now the two have grown so fond, (Oh, breathe no word of this), When clouds hang low, And east winds blow, They meet and kiss and kiss: (At night, I hear them kiss).

III

No man can understand the Sea, until He knows all passions of the senses; all The great emotions of the heart; and each Exalted aspiration of the soul. Then may he sit beside the sea and say: 'I, too, have flung myself against the rocks, And kissed their flinty brows with no return; And fallen spent upon unfeeling sands. I, too, have gone forth yearning, to far shores, Seeking that something which would bring content; And finding only what I took away; And I have looked up, through the veil of skies, When all the world was still, and understood That I am one with Nature and with God.'

IV

The Dawn was flying from the Night; Swift as the wind she sped; Her hair was like a fleece of light; Her cheeks were warm and red.

All passion pale, the Night pursued; She fled away, away; And in her garments, rainbow hued, She gained the peak of day.

And then, all shaken with alarms, She leaped down from its crest; Into the Sea's uplifted arms, And swooned upon his breast.


The Englishman and Other Poems - 3/12

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