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- Poems of Experience - 5/13 -


Behold the altar, and the corner stone'; I could not show one proof of such a thing; If Christ came questioning.

If Christ came questioning, on His demand, (If Christ came questioning,) No pagan soul converted to His creed Could I proclaim; or say, that word or deed Of mine, had spread the faith in any land; Or sent it forth, to fly on stronger wing; If Christ came questioning.

If Christ came questioning the soul of me, (If Christ came questioning,) I could but answer, 'Lord, my little part Has been to beat the metal of my heart, Into the shape I thought most fit for Thee; And at Thy feet, to cast the offering; Shouldst Thou come questioning.

'From out the earth-fed furnaces of desire, (Ere Thou cam'st questioning,) This formless and unfinished gift I brought, And on life's anvil flung it down, white hot: A glowing thing, of selfishness and fire, With blow on blow, I made the anvil ring; (Ere Thou cam'st questioning).

'The hammer, Self-Control, beat hard on it; (Ere Thou cam'st questioning,) And with each blow, rose fiery sparks of pain; I bear their scars, on body, soul, and brain. Long, long I toiled; and yet, dear Lord, unfit, And all unworthy, is the heart I bring, To meet Thy questioning.'

ENGLAND, AWAKE!

A beautiful great lady, past her prime, Behold her dreaming in her easy chair; Gray robed, and veiled; in laces old and rare, Her smiling eyes see but the vanished time, Of splendid prowess, and of deeds sublime. Self satisfied she sits, all unaware That peace has flown before encroaching care, And through her halls stalks hunger, linked with crime.

England, awake! from dreams of what has been, Look on what IS, and put the past away. Speak to your sons, until they understand. England, awake! for dreaming now is sin; In all your ancient wisdom, rise to-day, And save the glory of your menaced land.

BE NOT ATTACHED

'Be not attached.' So runs the great command For those who seek to 'know' and 'understand.' Who sounds the waters of the deeper sea Must first draw up his anchor and go free.

But not for me, that knowledge. I must wait Until again I enter through life's gate. I am not brave enough to sail away To farther seas, and leave this beauteous bay.

Love barnacled, my anchor lies; and oh! I would not lift it if I could, and go All unattached, to find those truths which lie Far out at sea, beneath a lonely sky.

Though peace of heart, and happiness of soul, Await the seeker at that farther goal, With love and all its rapture and its pain, Close to the shores of earth I must remain.

Nor yet would I relinquish my sweet dream To gain possession of the Fact supreme. I am attached, and well content to stay, Learning such truths as love may send my way.

AN EPISODE

Along the narrow Moorish street A blue-eyed soldier strode. (Ah, well-a-day) Veiled from her lashes to her feet She stepped from her abode, (Ah, lack-a-day).

Now love may guard a favoured wife Who leaves the harem door; (Ah, well-a-day) But hungry hearted is her life When she is one of four. (Ah, lack-a-day.)

If black eyes glow with sudden fire And meet warm eyes of blue - (Ah, well-a-day). The old, old story of desire Repeats itself anew. (Ah, lack-a-day.)

When bugles blow the soldier flies - Though bitter tears may fall (Ah, lack-a-day). A MOORISH CHILD WITH BLUE, BLUE EYES PLAYS IN THE HAREM HALL. (Ah, well-a-day.)

THE VOICE OF THE VOICELESS

I am the voice of the voiceless; Through me the dumb shall speak; Till the deaf world's ear be made to hear The cry of the wordless weak. From street, from cage, and from kennel, From jungle and stall, the wail Of my tortured kin proclaims the sin Of the mighty against the frail.

I am a ray from the centre; And I will feed God's spark, Till a great light glows in the night and shows The dark deeds done in the dark. And full on the thoughtless sleeper Shall flash its glaring flame, Till he wakens to see what crimes may be Cloaked under an honoured name.

The same Force formed the sparrow That fashioned man, the king; The God of the Whole gave a spark of soul To furred and to feathered thing. And I am my brother's keeper, And I will fight his fight, And speak the word for beast and bird, Till the world shall set things right.

Let no voice cavil at Science - The strong torch-bearer of God; For brave are his deeds, though dying creeds, Must fall where his feet have trod. But he who would trample kindness And mercy into the dust - He has missed the trail, and his quest will fail: He is not the guide to trust.

For love is the true religion, And love is the law sublime; And all that is wrought, where love is not, Will die at the touch of time. And Science, the great revealer, Must flame his torch at the Source; And keep it bright with that holy light, Or his feet shall fail on the course.

Oh, never a brute in the forest, And never a snake in the fen, Or ravening bird, starvation stirred, Has hunted its prey like men. For hunger, and fear, and passion Alone drive beasts to slay, But wonderful man, the crown of the plan, Tortures, and kills, for play.

He goes well fed from his table; He kisses his child and wife; Then he haunts a wood, till he orphans a brood, Or robs a deer of its life. He aims at a speck in the azure; Winged love, that has flown at a call; It reels down to die, and he lets it lie; His pleasure was seeing it fall.

And one there was, weary of laurels, Of burdens and troubles of State; So the jungle he sought, with the beautiful thought Of shooting a she lion's mate. And one came down from the pulpit, In the pride of a duty done, And his cloth sufficed, as his emblem of Christ, While murder smoked out of his gun.


Poems of Experience - 5/13

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