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- Poems of Purpose - 12/12 -


I stood before my mirror, and took note Of all that men call beautiful. Delight, Keen sweet delight, possessed me, when I saw My own reflection smiling on me there, Because your eyes, through all the swirling hours, And in your slow good-night, had made a fact Of what before I fancied might be so; Yet knowing how men lie, by look and act, I still had doubted. But I doubt no more, I know you love me, love me. And I feel Your satisfaction in my comeliness.

Beauty and youth, good health and willing mind, A spotless reputation, and a heart Longing for mating and for motherhood, And lips unsullied by another's kiss - These are the riches I can bring to you.

But as I sit here, thinking of it all In the clear light of morning, sudden fear Has seized upon me. What has been your past? From out the jungle of old reckless years, May serpents crawl across our path some day And pierce us with their fangs? Oh, I am not A prude or bigot; and I have not lived A score and three full years in ignorance Of human nature. Much I can condone; For well I know our kinship to the earth And all created things. Why, even I Have felt the burden of virginity, When flowers and birds and golden butterflies In early spring were mating; and I know How loud that call of sex must sound to man Above the feeble protest of the world. But I can hear from depths within my soul The voices of my unborn children cry For rightful heritage. (May God attune The souls of men, that they may hear and heed That plaintive voice above the call of sex; And may the world's weak protest swell into A thunderous diapason--a demand For cleaner fatherhood.) Oh, love, come near; Look in my eyes, and say I need not fear.

THE TRAVELLER

Bristling with steeples, high against the hill, Like some great thistle in the rosy dawn It stood; the Town-of-Christian-Churches, stood. The Traveller surveyed it with a smile. 'Surely,' He said, 'here is the home of peace; Here neighbour lives with neighbour in accord; God in the heart of all. Else why these spires?' (Christmas season, and every bell ringing.)

The sudden shriek of whistles changed the sound From mellow music into jarring noise. Then down the street pale hurrying children came, And vanished in the yawning Factory door. He called to them: 'Come back, come unto Me.' The Foreman cursed, and caned Him from the place. (Christmas season, and every bell ringing.)

Forth from two churches came two men, and met, Disputing loudly over boundary lines, Hate in their eyes, and murder in their hearts. A haughty woman drew her skirts aside Because her fallen sister passed that way. The Traveller rebuked them all. Amazed, They asked in indignation, 'Who are you, Daring to interfere in private lives?' The Traveller replied, 'My name is CHRIST.' (Christmas season, and every bell ringing.)

WHAT HAVE YOU DONE?

I

What have you done, and what are you doing with life, O Man! O Average Man of the world - Average Man of the Christian world we call civilised? What have you done to pay for the labour pains of the mother who bore you? On earth you occupy space; you consume oxygen from the air: And what do you give in return for these things? Who is better that you live, and strive, and toil? Or that you live through the toiling and striving of others? As you pass down the street does any one look on you and say, 'There goes a good son, a true husband, a wise father, a fine citizen? A man whose strong hand is ready to help a neighbour, A man to trust'? And what do women say of you? Unto their own souls what do women say? Do they say: 'He helped to make the road easier for tired feet? To broaden the narrow horizon for aching eyes? He helped us to higher ideals of womanhood'? Look into your own heart and answer, O Average Man of the world, Of the Christian world we call civilised.

II

What do men think of you, what do they think and say of you, O Average Woman of the world? Do they say: 'There is a woman with a great heart, Loyal to her sex, and above envy and evil speaking? There is a daughter, wife, mother, with a purpose in life: She can be trusted to mould the minds of little children. She knows how to be good without being dull; How to be glad and to make others glad without descending to folly; She is one who illuminates the path wherein she walks; One who awakens the best in every human being she meets'? Look into your heart, O Woman! and answer this: What are you doing with the beautiful years? Is your to-day a better thing than was your yesterday? Have you grown in knowledge, grace, and usefulness? Or are you ravelling out the wonderful fabric knit by Time, And throwing away the threads? Make answer, O Woman! Average Woman of the Christian world.


Poems of Purpose - 12/12

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