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- Poems of Experience - 6/13 -


One strays from the haunts of fashion With an indolent, unused brain; But his sluggish heart feels a sudden start In the purpose of giving pain. And the fluttering flock of pigeons, As they rise on eager wings, From prison to death, bring a catch in his breath: OH, THE RAPTURE OF KILLING THINGS!

Now, this is the race as we find it, Where love, in the creed, spells hate; And where bird and beast meet a foe in the priest And in rulers of fashion and State. But up to the Kingdom of Thinkers Has risen the cry of our kin; And the weapons of thought are burnished and brought To clash with the bludgeons of sin.

Far Christ, of a million churches, Come near to the earth again; Be more than a Name; be a living Flame; 'Make Good' in the hearts of men. Shine full on the path of Science, And show it the heights above, Where vast truths lie for the searching eye That shall follow the torch of love.

TIME'S DEFEAT

Time has made conquest of so many things That once were mine. Swift-footed, eager youth That ran to meet the years; bold brigand health, That broke all laws of reason unafraid, And laughed at talk of punishment.

Close ties of blood and friendship, joy of life, Which reads its music in the major key And will not listen to a minor strain - These things and many more are spoils of time.

Yet as a conqueror who only storms The outposts of a town, and finds the fort Too strong to be assailed, so time retreats And knows his impotence. He cannot take

My three great jewels from the crown of life: Love, sympathy, and faith; and year on year He sees them grow in lustre and in worth, And glowers by me, plucking at his beard, And dragging, as he goes, a useless scythe.

Once in the dark he plotted with his friend Grim Death, to steal my treasures. Death replied: 'They are immortal, and beyond thy reach, I could but set them in another sphere, To shine with greater lustre.'

Time and Death Passed on together, knowing their defeat; And I am singing by the road of life.

THE HYMN OF THE REPUBLIC

I have listened to the sighing of the burdened and the bound, I have heard it change to crying, with a menace in the sound; I have seen the money-getters pass unheeding on the way, As they went to forge new fetters for the people day by day.

Then the voice of Labour thundered forth its purpose and its need, And I marvelled, and I wondered, at the cold dull ear of greed; For as chimes, in some great steeple, tell the passing of the hour, So the voices of the people tell the death of purchased power.

All the gathered dust of ages, God is brushing from His book; He is opening up its pages, and He bids His children look; And in shock and conflagration, and in pestilence and strife, He is speaking to the nations, of the brevity of life.

Mother Earth herself is shaken by our sorrows and our crimes; And she bids her sons awaken to the portent of the times; With her travail pains upon her, she is hurling from their place All the minions of dishonour, to admit the Coming Race.

By the voice of Justice bidden, she has torn the mask from might; All the shameful secrets hidden, she is dragging into light; And whoever wrongs his neighbour must be brought to judgment NOW, Though he wear the badge of Labour, or a crown upon his brow.

There is growth in Revolution, if the word is understood; It is one with Evolution, up from self, to brotherhood; He who utters it unheeding, bent on self, or selfish gain, His own day of doom is speeding, though he toil, or though he reign.

God is calling to the masses, to the peasant, and the peer; He is calling to all classes, that the crucial hour is near; For each rotting throne must tremble, and fall broken in the dust, With the leaders who dissemble, and betray a people's trust.

Still the voice of God is calling; and above the wreck I see, And beyond the gloom appalling, the great Government-to-Be.

From the ruins it has risen, and my soul is overjoyed, For the school supplants the prison, and there are no 'unemployed.'

And there are no children's faces at the spindle or the loom; They are out in sunny places, where the other sweet things bloom; God has purified the alleys, He has set the white slaves free, And they own the hills and valleys in this Government to-Be.

THE RADIANT CHRIST

I

Arise, O master artist of the age, And paint the picture which at once shall be Immortal art and bless'd prophecy. The bruised vision of the world assuage; To earth's dark book add one illumined page, So scintillant with truth, that all who see Shall break from superstition and stand free. Now let this wondrous work thy hand engage. The mortal sorrow of the Nazarene, Too long has been faith's symbol and its sign; Too long a dying Saviour has sufficed. Give us the glowing emblem which shall mean Mankind awakened to the Self Divine; The living emblem of the Radiant Christ.

II

Too long the crucifix on Calvary's height Has cast its shadow on the human heart. Let now Religion's great co-worker Art, Limn on the background of departing night, The shining Face all palpitant with light, And God's true message to the world impart. Go tell each toiler in the home and mart, 'Lo, Christ is with ye, if ye seek aright.' The world forgets the vital word Christ taught; The only word the world has need to know: The answer to creation's problem--Love. The world remembers what the Christ forgot; His cross of anguish and His death of woe; Release the martyr, and the Cross remove!

III

For now the former things have passed away, And man, forgetting that which lies behind, And ever pressing forward, seeks to find The prize of his high calling. Send a ray From art's bright sun to fortify the day, And blaze the trail to every mortal mind. The new religion lies in being kind; Faith stands and works, where once it knelt to pray; Faith counts its gain, where once it reckoned loss; Ascending paths its patient feet have trod; Man looks within, and finds salvation there. Release the suffering Saviour from the Cross, And give the waiting world its Radiant God.

AT BAY

WIFE

Reach out your arms, and hold me close and fast. Tell me there are no memories of your past That mar this love of ours, so great, so vast.

HUSBAND

Some truths are cheapened when too oft averred. Does not the deed speak louder than the word? (Dear God, that old dream woke again and stirred.)

WIFE

As you love me, you never loved before? Though oft you say it, say it yet once more. My heart is jealous of those days of yore.

HUSBAND


Poems of Experience - 6/13

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