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- Poems of Cheer - 5/17 -


A plainly set, but well-cut solitaire, An ancient bit of pottery, too rare To please or hold aught save the special eye, These only with the sonnet can compare.

THE PAST

Fling my past behind me, like a robe Worn threadbare in the seams, and out of date. I have outgrown it. Wherefore should I weep And dwell up on its beauty, and its dyes Of Oriental splendour, or complain That I must needs discard it? I can weave Upon the shuttles of the future years A fabric far more durable. Subdued, It may be, in the blending of its hues, Where sombre shades commingle, yet the gleam Of golden warp shall shoot it through and through, While over all a fadeless lustre lies, And starred with gems made out of crystalled tears, My new robe shall be richer than the old.

A DREAM

That was a curious dream; I thought the three Great planets that are drawing near the sun With such unerring certainty begun To talk together in a mighty glee. They spoke of vast convulsions which would be Throughout the solar system--the rare fun Of watching haughty stars drop, one by one, And vanish in a seething vapour sea.

I thought I heard them comment on the earth - That small dark object--doomed beyond a doubt. They wondered if live creatures moved about Its tiny surface, deeming it of worth. And then they laughed--'twas such a singing shout That I awoke and joined too in their mirth.

USELESSNESS

Let mine not be that saddest fate of all To live beyond my greater self; to see My faculties decaying, as the tree Stands stark and helpless while its green leaves fall. Let me hear rather the imperious call, Which all men dread, in my glad morning time, And follow death ere I have reached my prime, Or drunk the strengthening cordial of life's gall. The lightning's stroke or the fierce tempest blast Which fells the green tree to the earth to-day Is kinder than the calm that lets it last, Unhappy witness of its own decay. May no man ever look on me and say, "She lives, but all her usefulness is past."

WILL

There is no chance, no destiny, no fate, Can circumvent or hinder or control The firm resolve of a determined soul. Gifts count for nothing; will alone is great; All things give way before it, soon or late. What obstacle can stay the mighty force Of the sea-seeking river in its course, Or cause the ascending orb of day to wait?

Each well-born soul must win what it deserves. Let the fool prate of luck. The fortunate Is he whose earnest purpose never swerves, Whose slightest action or inaction serve. The one great aim. Why, even Death stands still, And waits an hour sometimes for such a will.

WINTER RAIN

Falling upon the frozen world last I heard the slow beat of the Winter rain - Poor foolish drops, down-dripping all in vain; The ice-bound Earth but mocked their puny might, Far better had the fixedness of white And uncomplaining snows--which make no sign, But coldly smile, when pitying moonbeams shine - Concealed its sorrow from all human sight. Long, long ago, in blurred and burdened years, I learned the uselessness of uttered woe. Though sinewy Fate deals her most skilful blow, I do not waste the gall now of my tears, But feed my pride upon its bitter, while I look straight in the world's bold eyes, and smile.

LIFE

Life, like a romping schoolboy, full of glee, Doth bear us on his shoulder for a time. There is no path too steep for him to climb. With strong, lithe limbs, as agile and as free, As some young roe, he speeds by vale and sea, By flowery mead, by mountain peak sublime, And all the world seems motion set to rhyme, Till, tired out, he cries, "Now carry me!" In vain we murmur; "Come," Life says, "Fair play!" And seizes on us. God! he goads us so! He does not let us sit down all the day. At each new step we feel the burden grow, Till our bent backs seem breaking as we go, Watching for Death to meet us on the way.

BURDENED

"Genius, a man's weapon, a woman's burden."--Lamartine.

Dear God! there is no sadder fate in life Than to be burdened so that you can not Sit down contented with the common lot Of happy mother and devoted wife.

To feel your brain wild and your bosom rife With all the sea's commotion; to be fraught With fires and frenzies which you have not sought, And weighed down with the wild world's weary strife;

To feel a fever always in your breast; To lean and hear, half in affright, half shame, A loud-voiced public boldly mouth your name; To reap your hard-sown harvest in unrest, And know, however great your meed of fame, You are but a weak woman at the best.

LET THEM GO

Let the dream go. Are there not other dreams In vastness of clouds hid from thy sight That yet shall gild with beautiful gold gleams, And shoot the shadows through and through with light? What matters one lost vision of the night? Let the dream go!!

Let the hope set. Are there not other hopes That yet shall rise like new stars in thy sky? Not long a soul in sullen darkness gropes Before some light is lent it from on high; What folly to think happiness gone by! Let the hope set!

Let the joy fade. Are there not other joys, Like frost-bound bulbs, that yet shall start and bloom? Severe must be the winter that destroys The hardy roots locked in their silent tomb. What cares the earth for her brief time of gloom Let the joy fade!

Let the love die. Are there not other loves As beautiful and full of sweet unrest, Flying through space like snowy-pinioned doves? They yet shall come and nestle in thy breast, And thou shalt say of each, "Lo, this is best!" Let the love die!

FIVE KISSES

I--THE MOTHER'S KISS


Poems of Cheer - 5/17

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