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- Poems of Purpose - 2/12 -


He saw proud women who would flush and pale With sense of outraged modesty if one Spoke of the ancient sin before them, bare To all men's sight, or flimsily conceal By veils that bid adventurous eyes proceed, Charms meant alone for lover and for child. He saw chaste virgins tempt and tantalise, Lure and deny, invite--and then refuse, And drive men forth half crazed to wantons' arms.

Mother, you taught me there were but two kinds Of women in the world--the good and bad. But you have been too sheltered in the safe, Old-fashioned sweetness of your quiet life, To know how women of these modern days Make licence of their new-found liberty. Why, I have been more tempted and more shocked By belles and beauties in the social whirl, By trusted wives and mothers in their homes, Than by the women of the underworld Who sell their favours. Do you think me mad? No, mother; I am sane, but very sad.

I miss my boyhood's faith in woman's worth - Torn from my heart, by 'good folks' of the earth.

THE YOUNGER BORN

The modern English-speaking young girl is the astonishment of the world and the despair of the older generation. Nothing like her has ever been seen or heard before. Alike in drawing-rooms and the amusement places of the people, she defies conventions in dress, speech, and conduct. She is bold, yet not immoral. She is immodest, yet she is chaste. She has no ideals, yet she is kind and generous. She is an anomaly and a paradox.

We are the little daughters of Time and the World his wife, We are not like the children, born in their younger life, We are marred with our mother's follies and torn with our father's strife.

We are the little daughters of the modern world, And Time, her spouse. She has brought many children to our father's house Before we came, when both our parents were content

With simple pleasures and with quiet homely ways. Modest and mild Were the fair daughters born to them in those fair days, Modest and mild.

But Father Time grew restless and longed for a swifter pace, And our mother pushed out beside him at the cost of her tender grace, And life was no more living but just a headlong race.

And we are wild - Yea, wild are we, the younger born of the World Into life's vortex hurled. With the milk of our mother's breast We drank her own unrest, And we learned our speech from Time Who scoffs at the things sublime. Time and the World have hurried so They could not help their younger born to grow; We only follow, follow where they go.

They left their high ideals behind them as they ran; There was but one goal, pleasure, for Woman or for Man, And they robbed the nights of slumber to lengthen the days' brief span.

We are the demi-virgins of the modern day; All evil on the earth is known to us in thought, But yet we do it not. We bare our beauteous bodies to the gaze of men, We lure them, tempt them, lead them on, and then Lightly we turn away. By strong compelling passion we are never stirred; To us it is a word - A word much used when tragic tales are told; We are the younger born, yet we are very old In understanding, and our knowledge makes us bold. Boldly we look at life, Loving its stress and strife, And hating all conventions that may mean restraint, Yet shunning sin's black taint.

We know wine's taste; And the young-maiden bloom and sweetness of our lips Is often in eclipse Under the brown weed's stain. Yet we are chaste; We have no large capacity for joy or pain, But an insatiable appetite for pleasure. We have no use for leisure And never learned the meaning of that word 'repose.' Life as it goes Must spell excitement for us, be the cost what may. Speeding along the way,

We ofttimes pause to do some generous little deed, And fill the cup of need; For we are kind at heart, Though with less heart than head, Unmoral, not immoral, when the worst is said; We are the product of the modern day.

We are the little daughters of Time and the World his wife, We are not like the children, born in their younger life, We are marred with our mother's follies and torn with our father's strife.

HAPPINESS

There are so many little things that make life beautiful. I can recall a day in early youth when I was longing for happiness. Toward the western hills I gazed, watching for its approach. The hills lay between me and the setting sun, and over them led a highway. When some traveller crossed the hill, always a fine grey dust rose cloudless against the sky. The traveller I could not distinguish, but the dust-cloud I could see.

And the dust-cloud seemed formed of hopes and possibilities--each speck an embryo event. At sunset, when the skies were fair, the dust-cloud grew radiant and shone with visions. The happiness for which I waited came not to me adown that western slope, But now I can recall the cloud of golden dust, the sunset, and the highway leading over the hill, The wonderful hope and expectancy of my heart, the visions of youth in my eyes; and I know this was happiness.

There are so many little things that make life beautiful. I can recall another day when I rebelled at life's monotony. Everywhere about me was the commonplace; and nothing seemed to happen. Each day was like its yesterday, and to-morrow gave no promise of change. My young heart rose rebellious in my breast; and I ran aimlessly into the sunlight--the glowing sunlight of June. I sent out a dumb cry to Fate, demanding larger joys and more delight. I ran blindly into a field of blooming clover. It was breast-high, and billowed about me like rose-red waves of a fragrant sea.

The bees were singing above it; and their little brown bodies were loaded with honey-dew, extracted from the clover blossoms. The sun reeled in the heavens dizzy with its own splendour. The day went into night, without bringing any new event to change my life. But now I recall the field of blooming clover, and the honey-laden bees, the glorious June sunlight, and the passion of youth in my heart; and I know that was happiness.

There are so many little things that make life beautiful. Yesterday a failure stared me in the face, where I had thought to welcome proud success. There was no radiant cloud of dust against the western sky, and no clover field lying fragrant under mid-June suns, Neither was youth with me any more.

But under the vines that clung against my walls, a flock of birds sought shelter just at twilight; And, standing at my casement, I could hear the twitter of their voices and the soft, sweet flutter of their wings. Then over me there fell a sense of peace and calm, and love for all created things, and trust illimitable.

And that I knew was happiness.

There are so many little things to make life beautiful.

SEEKING FOR HAPPINESS

Seeking for happiness we must go slowly; The road leads not down avenues of haste; But often gently winds through by ways lowly, Whose hidden pleasures are serene and chaste Seeking for happiness we must take heed Of simple joys that are not found in speed.

Eager for noon-time's large effulgent splendour, Too oft we miss the beauty of the dawn, Which tiptoes by us, evanescent, tender, Its pure delights unrecognised till gone. Seeking for happiness we needs must care For all the little things that make life fair.

Dreaming of future pleasures and achievements We must not let to-day starve at our door; Nor wait till after losses and bereavements Before we count the riches in our store. Seeking for happiness we must prize this - Not what will be, or was, but that which IS.


Poems of Purpose - 2/12

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