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- The Englishman and Other Poems - 5/12 -


I turned my vision inward. Lo, a spark - A light--a torch; and all my world grew bright; For God's dear eyes were shining through the dark. Then, bringing to me gifts of recompense, Came keener hearing, finer taste, and touch; And that oft unappreciated sense, Which finds sweet odours, and proclaims them such; And not until my mortal eyes were blind Did I perceive how kind the world, how kind.

II

DEAF

I can recall a time, when on mine ears There fell chaotic sounds of earthly life, Shrill cries of triumph, and hoarse shouts of strife; A medley of despairs, and hopes and fears. Then silence came, and unavailing tears. The stillness stabbed me, like a two edged-knife; Until I found the Universe was rife With subtle music of the neighbouring spheres. Such harmonies, such congruous sweet chords, Wherein each note conveys a healing balm. And now no more I miss men's spoken words; For, in a quiet world of larger thought, I know the joy that comes from being calm.

III

SHUT-IN

Across my window glass The moving shadows of the people pass. Sometimes the shadow's pause; and through the hall Kind neighbours come to call, Bringing a word or smile To cheer my loneliness a little while. But as I hear them talk, These people who can walk And go about the great green earth at will, I wonder if they know the joy of being still, And all alone with thoughts that soar afar - High as the highest star. And oft I feel more free Than those who travel over land and sea. For one who is shut in, Away from all the outer strife and din, With faithful Pain for guide, Finds where Great Truths abide.

Across my window glass The moving shadows pass. But swifter moves my unimpeded thought, Speeding from spot to spot - Out and afar - High as the highest star.

SONG OF THE RAIL

Oh, an ugly thing is an iron rail, Black, with its face to the dust. But it carries a message where winged things fail; It crosses the mountains, and catches the trail, While the winds and the sea make sport of a sail; Oh, a rail is a friend to trust.

The iron rail, with its face to the sod, Is only a bar of ore; Yet it speeds where never a foot has trod; And the narrow path where it leads, grows broad; And it speaks to the world in the voice of God, That echoes from shore to shore.

Though the iron rail, on the earth down flung, Seems kin to the loam and the soil, Wherever its high shrill note is sung, Out of the jungle fair homes have sprung, And the voices of babel find one tongue, In the common language of toil.

Of priest, and warrior, and conquering king, Of Knights of the Holy Grail, Of wonders of winter, and glories of spring, Always and ever the poets sing; But the great God-Force, in a lowly thing, I sing, in my song of the rail.

ALWAYS AT SEA

Always at sea I think about the dead. On barques invisible they seem to sail The self-same course; and from the decks cry 'Hail'! Then I recall old words that they have said, And see their faces etched upon the mist - Dear faces I have kissed.

Always the dead seem very close at sea. The coarse vibrations of the earth debar Our spirit friends from coming where we are. But through God's ether, unimpeded, free, They wing their way, the ocean deeps above - And find the hearts that love.

Always at sea my dead come very near. A growing host; some old in spirit lore, And some who crossed to find the other shore But yesterday. All, all, I see and hear With inner senses, while the voice of faith Proclaims--there is no death.

THE SUITORS

There is a little Bungalow Perched on a granite ledge, And at its feet two suitors meet; (I watch them, and I know) One waits outside the casement edge; One paces to and fro.

The Patient Rock speaks not a word; The Sea goes up and down, And sings full oft, in cadence soft; (I listen, and have heard) Again he wears an angry frown By jealous passion stirred.

This dawn, the Rock was all aglow; Far out the mad Sea went; Beyond the raft, like one gone daft; (I saw them, and I know) While radiant and well content Smiled down the Bungalow.

That was at Dawn; ere day had set, The Sea with pleading voice Came back to woo his love anew; (I saw them when they met) And now I know not which her choice - (The Rock's gray face was wet.)

THE JEALOUS GODS

'Oh life is wonderful,' she said, 'And all my world is bright; Can Paradise show fairer skies, Or more effulgent light?' (Speak lower, lower, mortal heart, The jealous gods may hear.)

She turned for answer; but his gaze Cut past her like a lance, And shone like flame on one who came With radiant glance for glance. (You spoke too loud, O mortal heart, The jealous gods were near.)

They walked through green and sunlit ways; And yet the earth seemed black, For there were three, where two should be; So runs the world, alack. (The listening gods, the jealous gods, They want no Edens here.)

GOD RULES ALWAY

Into the world's most high and holy places Men carry selfishness, and graft and greed. The air is rent with warring of the races; Loud Dogmas drown a brother's cry of need. The Fleet-of-Creeds, upon Time's ocean lurches; And there is mutiny upon her decks; And in the light of temples, and of churches, Against life's shores drift wrecks and derelicts. (God rules, God rules alway.)

Right in the shadow of the lofty steeple, Which crowns some costly edifice of faith, Behold the throngs of hungry, unhoused people; The 'Bread Line,' flanked by charity and death.


The Englishman and Other Poems - 5/12

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