The Englishman and Other Poems Part 6

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The Englishman and Other Poems is a Webnovel created by Ella Wheeler Wilcox.
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That was a most uncanny dream; I thought the wraiths of those Long buried in the Potter’s Field, in shredded shrouds arose; They said, ‘Against the will of G.o.d We have usurped the fertile sod, Now will we make it yield.’

Oh! but it was a gruesome sight, to see those phantoms toil; Each to his own small garden bent; each spaded up the soil; (I never knew Ghosts laboured so.) Each scattered seed, and watched, till lo!

The Graves were opulent.

Then all among the fragrant greens, the silent, spectral train Walked, as if breathing in the breath of plant, and flower, and grain.

(I never knew Ghosts loved such things; Perchance it brought back early springs Before they thought of death.)

‘The mothers’ milk for living babes; the earth for living hosts; The clean flame for the un-souled dead.’ (Oh, strange the words of Ghosts.) ‘If we had owned this little spot In life, we need not lie and rot Here in a pauper’s bed.’

THE MUSE AND THE POET

The Muse said, Let us sing a little song Wherein no hint of wrong, No echo of the great world need, or pain, Shall mar the strain.

Lock fast the swinging portal of thy heart; Keep sympathy apart.

Sing of the sunset, of the dawn, the sea; Of any thing or nothing, so there be No purpose to thy art.

Yea, let us make, art for Art’s sake.

And sing no more unto the hearts of men, But for the critic’s pen.

With songs that are but words, sweet sounding words, Like joyous jargon of the birds.

Tune now thy lyre, O Poet, and sing on.

Sing of

THE DAWN

The Virgin Night, all languorous with dreams Of her beloved Darkness, rose in fear, Feeling the presence of another near.

Outside her curtained cas.e.m.e.nt shone the gleams Of burning orbs; and modestly she hid Her brow and bosom with her dusky hair.

When lo! the bold intruder lurking there Leaped through the fragile lattice, all unbid, And half unveiled her. Then the swooning Night Fell pale and dead, while yet her soul was white Before that lawless Ravisher, the Light.

The Muse said, Poet, nay; thou host not caught My meaning. For there lurks a thought Back of thy song.

In art, all thought is wrong.

Re-string thy lyre; and let the echoes bound To nothing but sweet sound.

Strike now the chords And sing of

WORDS

One day sweet Ladye Language gave to me A little golden key.

I sat me down beside her jewel box And turned its locks.

And oh, the wealth that lay there in my sight.

Great solitaires of words, so bright, so bright; Words that no use can commonize; like G.o.d, And Truth, and Love; and words of sapphire blue; And amber words; with sunshine dripping through; And words of that strange hue A pearl reveals upon a wanton’s hand.

Again the Muse: Thou dost not understand; A thought within thy song is lingering yet.

Sing but of words; all else forget, forget.

Nor let thy words convey one thought to men.

Try once again.

Down through the dusk and dew there fell a word; Down through the dew and dusk.

And all the garments of the air it stirred Smelled sweet as musk; And all the little waves of air it kissed Turned cold and amethyst.

There in the dew and dusk a heart it found; There in the dusk and dew The sodden silence changed to fragrant sound; And all the world seemed new.

Upon the path that little word had trod, There shone the smile of G.o.d.

The Muse said, Drop thy lyre.

I tire, I tire.

THE SPINSTER

I

Here are the orchard trees all large with fruit; And yonder fields are golden with young grain.

In little journeys, branchward from the nest, A mother bird, with sweet insistent cries, Urges her young to use their untried wings.

A purring Tabby, stretched upon the sward, Shuts and expands her velvet paws in joy, While st.u.r.dy kittens nuzzle at her breast.

O mighty Maker of the Universe, Am I not part and parcel of Thy World, And one with Nature? Wherefore, then, in me Must this great reproductive impulse lie Hidden, ashamed, unnourished, and denied, Until it starves to slow and tortuous death?

I knew the hope of spring-time; like the tree Now ripe with fruit, I budded, and then bloomed; We laughed together through the young May morns; We dreamed together through the summer moons; Till all Thy purposes within the tree Were to fruition brought. Lord, Thou hast heard The Woman in me crying for the Man; The Mother in me crying for the Child; And made no answer. Am I less to Thee Than lover forms of Nature, or in truth Dost Thou hold Somewhere in another Realm Full compensation and large recompense For lonely virtue forced by fate to live A life unnatural, in a natural world?

II

Thou who hast made for such sure purposes The mightiest and the meanest thing that is – Planned out the lives of insects of the air With fine precision and consummate care, Thou who hast taught the bee the secret power Of carrying on love’s laws ‘twixt flower and flower, Why didst Thou shape this mortal frame of mine, If Heavenly joys alone were Thy design?

Wherefore the wonder of my woman’s breast, By lips of lover and of babe unpressed, If spirit children only shall reply Unto my ever urgent mother cry?

Why should the rose be guided to its own, And my love-craving heart beat on alone?

III

Yet do I understand; for Thou hast made Something more subtle than this heart of me; A finer part of me To be obeyed.

Albeit I am a sister to the earth, This nature self is not the whole of me; The deathless soul of me Has n.o.bler birth.

The primal woman hungers for the man; My better self demands the mate of me; The spirit fate of me, Part of Thy plan.

Nature is instinct with the mother-need; So is my heart; but ah, the child of me Should, undefiled of me, Spring from love’s seed.

And if, in barren chast.i.ty, I must Know but in dreams that perfect choice of me, Still will the voice of me Proclaim G.o.d just.

BROTHERHOOD

When in the even ways of life The old world jogs along, Our little coloured flags we flaunt: Our little separate selves we vaunt: Each pipes his native song.

And jealousy and greed and pride Join their unG.o.dly hands, And this round lovely world divide Into opposing lands.

But let some crucial hour of pain Sound from the tower of time, Then consciousness of brotherhood Wakes in each heart the latent good, And men become sublime.

The Englishman and Other Poems Part 3

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The Englishman and Other Poems is a Webnovel created by Ella Wheeler Wilcox.
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Just a changing sea of colour Surging up and flowing down; And paG.o.das shining golden, night and noon; And a sun-burst-tinted throng Of young priests that move along Under sun-burst-hued umbrellas through the town.

That’s Rangoon.

THOUGHTS ON LEAVING j.a.pAN

A changing medley of insistent sounds, Like broken airs, played on a Samisen, Pursues me, as the waves blot out the sh.o.r.e.

The trot of wooden heels; the warning cry Of patient runners; laughter and strange words Of children, children, children everywhere: The clap of reverent hands, before some shrine; And over all the haunting temple bells, Waking, in silent chambers of the soul, Dim memories of long-forgotten lives.

But oh! the sorrow of the undertone; The wail of hopeless weeping in the dawn From lips that smiled through gilded bars at night.

Brave little people, of large aims, you bow Too often, and too low before the Past; You sit too long in worship of the dead.

Yet have you risen, open eyed, to greet The great material Present. Now salute The greater Future, blazing its bold trail Through old traditions. Leave your dead to sleep In quiet peace with G.o.d. Let your concern Be with the living, and the yet unborn; Bestow on them your thoughts, and waste no time In costly honours to insensate dust.

Unlock the doors of usefulness, and lead Your lovely daughters forth to larger fields, Away from jungles of the ancient sin.

For oh! the sorrow of that undertone, The wail of hopeless weeping in the dawn From lips that smiled through gilded bars at night.

ON SEEING THE DIABUTSU–AT KAMAKURA, j.a.pAN

Long have I searched, cathedral shrine, and hall, To find a symbol, from the hand of art, That gave the full expression (not a part) Of that ecstatic peace which follows all Life’s pain and pa.s.sion. Strange it should befall This outer emblem of the inner heart Was waiting far beyond the great world’s mart – Immortal answer, to the mortal call.

Unknown the artist, vaguely known his creed: But the bronze wonder of his work sufficed To lift me to the heights his faith had trod.

For one rich moment, opulent indeed, I walked with Krishna, Buddha, and the Christ, And felt the full serenity of G.o.d.

THE LITTLE LADY OF THE BULLOCK CART

Now is the time when India is gay With wedding parties; and the radiant throngs Seem like a scattered rainbow taking part In human pleasures. Dressed in bright array, They fling upon the bride their wreaths of songs – The Little Lady of the Bullock Cart.

Here is the temple ready for the rite: The large-eyed bullocks halt; and waiting arms Lift down the bride. All India’s curious art Speaks in the gems with which she is bedight.

And in the robes which hide her sweet alarms – The Little Lady of the Bullock Cart.

This is her day of days: her splendid hour When joy is hers, though love is all unknown.

It has not dawned upon her childish heart.

But human triumph, in a temporal power, Has crowned her queen upon a one-day throne – The Little Lady of the Bullock Cart.

Ah, Little Lady! What will be your fate?

So long, so long, the outward-reaching years: So brief the joy of this elusive part; So frail the shoulders for the loads that wait: So bitter salt the virgin widow’s tears – O Little Lady of the Bullock cart.

EAST AND WEST

The Day has never understood the Gloaming or the Night; Though sired by one Creative Power, and nursed at Nature’s breast; The White Man ever fails to read the Dark Man’s heart aright; Though from the self-same Source they came, upon the self-same quest; So deep and wide, the Great Divide, Between the East and West.

But like a shadow on a screen, mine eyes behold, above The yawning gulf, a dim forecast, of structures strong and broad; Where caste, and colour prejudice, by countless feet down trod, With old traditions crushed by Time, pave smooth the bridge of Love; And all the creed that men shall heed Is consciousness of G.o.d.

THE SQUANDERER

G.o.d gave him pa.s.sions, splendid as the sun, Meant for the lordliest purposes; a part Of nature’s full and fertile mother heart, From which new systems and new stars are spun.

And now, behold, behold, what he has done!

In Folly’s court and carnal Pleasures’ mart He flung the wealth life gave him at the start.

(This, of all mortal sins, the deadliest one.)

At dawn he stood, potential, opulent, With virile manhood, and emotions keen, And wonderful with G.o.d’s creative fire.

At noon he stands, with Love’s large fortune spent In petty traffic, unproductive, mean – A pauper, cursed with impotent desire.

COMPENSATIONS

I

BLIND

When first the shadows fell, like prison bars, And darkness spread before me, like a pall, I cried out for the sun, the earth, the stars, And beat the air, as madmen beat a wall, Till, impotent, and broken with despair, I turned my vision inward. Lo, a spark – A light–a torch; and all my world grew bright; For G.o.d’s dear eyes were shining through the dark.

Then, bringing to me gifts of recompense, Came keener hearing, finer taste, and touch; And that oft unappreciated sense, Which finds sweet odours, and proclaims them such; And not until my mortal eyes were blind Did I perceive how kind the world, how kind.

II

DEAF

I can recall a time, when on mine ears There fell chaotic sounds of earthly life, Shrill cries of triumph, and hoa.r.s.e shouts of strife; A medley of despairs, and hopes and fears.

Then silence came, and unavailing tears.

The stillness stabbed me, like a two edged-knife; Until I found the Universe was rife With subtle music of the neighbouring spheres.

Such harmonies, such congruous sweet chords, Wherein each note conveys a healing balm.

And now no more I miss men’s spoken words; For, in a quiet world of larger thought, I know the joy that comes from being calm.

III

The Englishman and Other Poems Part 10

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The Englishman and Other Poems is a Webnovel created by Ella Wheeler Wilcox.
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The Wind and the Trees fell to talking together; And nothing they said was didactic or terse; But everything spoken was told in unbroken And beautiful rhyming and rhythmical verse.

So rhythm I hail it, though critics a.s.sail it, And hold melting rhymes as an insult to art, For oh! the sweet swing of it, oh! the dear ring of it, Oh! the strong pulse of it, right from the heart, Art or no art.

ALL IN A COACH AND FOUR

The quality folk went riding by, All in a coach and four, And pretty Annette, in a calico gown (Bringing her marketing things from town), Stopped short with her Sunday store, And wondered if ever it should betide That she in a long plumed hat would ride Away in a coach and four.

A lord there was, oh a lonely soul, There in the coach and four.

His years were young but his heart was old, And he hated his coaches and hated his gold (Those things which we all adore).

And he thought how sweet it would be to trudge Along with the fair little country drudge, And away from his coach and four.

So back he rode the very next day All in his coach and four, And he went each day whether dry or wet, Until he married the sweet Annette (In spite of her lack of lore).

But they didn’t trudge off on foot together, For he bought her a hat with a long, long feather, And they rode in the coach and four.

Now a thing like this could happen we know, All in a coach and four; But the fact of it is, ‘twixt me and you, There isn’t a word of the story true (Pardon I do implore).

It is only a foolish and fanciful song That came to me as I rode along, All in a coach and four.

SONGS OF A COUNTRY HOME

I

Who has not felt his heart leap up, and glow What time the Tulips first begin to blow, Has one sweet joy still left for him to know.

It is like early love’s imagining, That fragile pleasure which the Tulips bring, When suddenly we see them, in the Spring.

Not all the garden’s later royal train, Not great triumphant Roses, when they reign, Can bring that delicate delight again.

II

One of the sweetest hours is this; (Of all I think we like it best); A little restful oasis, Between the breakfast and the post.

Just south of coffee and of toast, Just north of daily task and duty; Just west of dreams, this island gleams, A fertile spot of peace and beauty.

We wander out across the lawn; We idle by a bush in bloom; The household pets come following on; Or if the day is one of gloom, We loiter in a pleasant room, Or from a cas.e.m.e.nt lean and chatter.

Then comes the mail, like sudden hail, And off we scatter.

III

When Roses die, in languid August days, We leave the garden to its fallen ways, And seek the shelter of wide porticoes, Where Honeysuckle in defiance blows Undaunted by the sun’s too ardent rays.

The matron Summer turns a wistful gaze Across green valleys, back to tender Mays; And something of her large contentment goes, When Roses die; Yet all her subtle fascination stays To lure us into idle, sweet delays.

The lowered awning by the hammock shows Inviting nooks for dreaming and repose; Oh, restful are the pleasures of those days When Roses die.

IV

The summer folk, fled back to town; The green woods changed to red and brown; A sound upon the frosty air Of windows closing everywhere.

And then the log, lapped by a blaze – Oh! what is better than these days; With books and friends and love a-near; Go on, gay world, but leave me here.

WORTHY THE NAME OF ‘SIR KNIGHT’

Sir Knight of the world’s oldest order, Sir Knight of the Army of G.o.d, You have crossed the strange mystical border, The ground-floor of truth you have trod; You stand on the typical threshold Which leads to the temple above; Where you come as a stone, and a Christ-chosen one, In the Kingdom of Friendship and Love.

As you stand in this new realm of beauty, Where each man you meet is your friend, Think not that your promise of duty In hall, or asylum, shall end.

Outside, in the great world of pleasure.

Beyond in the clamour of trade, In the battle of life and its coa.r.s.e daily strife, Remember the vows you have made.

Your service, majestic and solemn, Your symbols, suggestive and sweet, Your uniform phalanx in column On gala-days marching the street; Your sword and your plume and your helmet, Your ‘secrets’ hid from the world’s sight; These things are the small, lesser parts of the all Which are needed to form the true Knight.

The martyrs who perished rejoicing, In Templary’s glorious laws, Who died ‘midst the f.a.ggots while voicing The glory and worth of their cause – They honoured the t.i.tle of ‘Templar’

No more than the Knight of to-day, Who mars not the name with one blemish of shame, But carries it clean through life’s fray.

To live for a cause; to endeavour To make your deeds grace it; to try And uphold its precepts for ever, Is harder by far than to die.

For the battle of life is unending, The enemy, Self, never tires, And the true Knight must slay that sly foe every day, Ere he reaches the heights he desires.

Sir Knight, have you pondered the meaning Of all you have heard and been told?

Have you strengthened your heart for its weaning From vices and faults loved of old?

Will you honour, in hours of temptation, Your promises n.o.ble and grand?

Will your spirit be strong to do battle with wrong, ‘And, having done all, to stand’?

Will you ever be true to a brother In actions as well as in creed?

Will you stand by his side as no other Could stand, in the hour of his need?

Will you boldly defend him from peril, And lift from him poverty’s curse – Will the promise of old, which you willingly made, Reach down from your lips to your purse?

The world’s battle-field is before you: Let Wisdom walk close by your side, Let Faith spread her snowy wings o’er you, Let Truth be your comrade and guide; Let Fort.i.tude, Justice, and Mercy Direct all your conduct aright, And let each word and act tell to men the proud fact, You are worthy the name of ‘Sir Knight.’

The Englishman and Other Poems Part 9

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The Englishman and Other Poems is a Webnovel created by Ella Wheeler Wilcox.
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A WAFT OF PERFUME

A waft of perfume from a bit of lace Moved lightly by a pa.s.sing woman’s hand; And on the common street, a sensuous grace Shone suddenly from some lost time and land.

Tall structures changed to dome and parapet; The stern-faced Church an oracle became; In sheltered alcoves marble busts were set; And on the wall frail Lais wrote her name.

Phryne before her judges stood at bay, Fearing the rigour of Athenian laws; Till Hyperides tore her cloak away, And bade her splendid beauty plead its cause.

Great Alexander walking in the dusk, Dreamed of the hour when Greek with Greek should meet; From Thais’ window attar breathed, and musk: His footsteps went no farther down the street.

Faint and more faint the pungent perfume grew; Of wall and parapet remained no trace.

Temple and statue vanished from the view: The city street again was commonplace.

THE PLOUGH

If you listen you will hear, from east to west, Growing sounds of discontent and deep unrest.

It is just the progress-driven plough of G.o.d, Tearing up the well-worn custom-bounded sod; Shaping out each old tradition-trodden track Into furrows, fertile furrows, rich and black.

Oh, what harvests they will yield When they widen to a field.

They will widen, they will broaden, day by day, As the Progress-driven plough keeps on its way.

It will riddle all the ancient roads that lead Into palaces of selfishness and greed; It will tear away the almshouse and the slum That the little homes and garden plots may come.

Yes, the gardens green and sweet Shall replace the stony street.

Let the wise man hear the menace that is blent In this ever-growing sound of discontent.

Let him hear the rising clamour of the race That the few shall yield the many larger s.p.a.ce.

For the crucial hour is coming when the soil Must be given to, or taken back by Toil Oh, that mighty plough of G.o.d; Hear it breaking through the sod!

GO PLANT A TREE

G.o.d, what a joy it is to plant a tree, And from the sallow earth to watch it rise, Lifting its emerald branches to the skies In silent adoration; and to see Its strength and glory waxing with each spring.

Yes, ’tis a goodly, and a gladsome thing To plant a tree.

Nature has many marvels; but a tree Seems more than marvellous. It is divine.

So generous, so tender, so benign.

Not garrulous like the rivers; and yet free In pleasant converse with the winds and birds; Oh! privilege beyond explaining words, To plant a tree.

Rocks are majestic; but, unlike a tree, They stand aloof, and silent. In the roar Of ocean billows breaking on the sh.o.r.e There sounds the voice of turmoil. But a tree Speaks ever of companionship and rest.

Yea, of all righteous acts, this, this is best, To plant a tree.

There is an oak (oh! how I love that tree) Which has been thriving for a hundred years; Each day I send my blessing through the spheres To one who gave this triple boon to me, Of growing beauty, singing birds, and shade.

Wouldst thou win laurels that shall never fade?

Go plant a tree.

PAIN’S PURPOSE

How blind is he who prays that G.o.d will send All pain from earth. Pain has its use and place; Its ministry of holiness and grace.

The darker tones upon the canvas blend With light and colour; and their shadows lend The painting half its dignity. Efface The sombre background, and you lose all trace Of that perfection which is true art’s trend.

Life is an artist seeking to reveal G.o.d’s majesty and beauty in each soul.

If from the palette mortal man could steal The precious pigment, pain, why then the scroll Would glare with colours meaningless and bright, Or show an empty canvas, blurred with light.

MEMORY’S MANSION

In Memory’s Mansion are wonderful rooms, And I wander about them at will; And I pause at the cas.e.m.e.nts, where boxes of blooms Are sending sweet scents o’er the sill.

I lean from a window that looks on a lawn: From a turret that looks on the wave.

But I draw down the shade, when I see on some glade, A stone standing guard, by a grave.

To Memory’s attic I clambered one day, When the roof was resounding with rain.

And there, among relics long hidden away, I rummaged with heart-ache and pain.

A hope long surrendered and covered with dust, A pastime, out-grown, and forgot, And a fragment of love, all corroded with rust, Were lying heaped up in one spot.

And there on the floor of that garret was tossed A friendship too fragile to last, With pieces of dearly bought pleasures, that cost Vast fortunes of pain in the past.

A fabric of pa.s.sion, once ardent and bright, As tropical sunsets in spring, Was spread out before me–a terrible sight – A moth-eaten rag of a thing.

Then down the steep stairway I hurriedly went, And into fair chambers below.

But the mansion seemed filled with the old attic scent, Wherever my footsteps would go.

Though in Memory’s House I still wander full oft, No more to the garret I climb; And I leave all the rubbish heaped there in the loft To the hands of the Housekeeper, Time.

OLD RHYTHM AND RHYME

They tell me new methods now govern the Muses, The modes of expression have changed with the times; That low is the rank of the poet who uses The old-fashioned verse with intentional rhymes.

And quite out of date, too, is rhythmical metre; The critics declare it an insult to art.

But oh! the sweet swing of it, oh! the clear ring of it, Oh the great pulse of it, right from the heart, Art or no art.

I sat by the side of that old poet, Ocean, And counted the billows that broke on the rocks; The tide lilted in with a rhythmical motion; The sea-gulls dipped downward in time-keeping flocks.

I watched while a giant wave gathered its forces, And then on the gray granite precipice burst; And I knew as I counted, while other waves mounted, I knew the tenth billow would rhyme with the first.

Below in the village a church bell was chiming, And back in the woodland a little bird sang; And, doubt it who will, yet those two sounds were rhyming, As out o’er the hill-tops they echoed and rang.

The Englishman and Other Poems Part 2

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The Englishman and Other Poems is a Webnovel created by Ella Wheeler Wilcox.
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THE TRUTH TELLER

The Truth Teller lifts the curtain, And shows us the people’s plight; And everything seems uncertain, And nothing at all looks right.

Yet out of the blackness groping, My heart finds a world in bloom; For it somehow is fashioned for hoping, And it cannot live in the gloom.

He tells us from border to border, That race is warring with race; With riot and mad disorder, The earth is a wretched place; And yet ere the sun is setting I am thinking of peace, not strife; For my heart has a way of forgetting All things save the joy of life.

I heard in my Youth’s beginning That earth was a region of woe, And trouble, and sorrow, and sinning: The Truth Teller told me so.

I knew it was true, and tragic; And I mourned over much that was wrong; And then, by some curious magic, The heart of me burst into song.

The years have been going, going, A mixture of pleasure and pain; But the Truth Teller’s books are showing That evil is on the gain.

And I know that I ought to be grieving, And I should be too sad to sing; But somehow I keep on believing That life is a glorious thing.

JUST YOU

All the selfish joys of earth, I am getting through.

That which used to lure and lead Now I pa.s.s and give no heed; Only one thing seems of worth – Just you.

Not for me the lonely height, And the larger view; Lowlier ways seem fair and wide, While we wander side by side.

One thing makes the whole world bright – Just you.

Not for distant goals I run, No great aim pursue; Most of earth’s ambitions seem Like the shadow of a dream.

All the world to me means one – Just you.

REFLECTION

Twice have I seen G.o.d’s full reflected grace.

Once when the wailing of a child at birth Proclaimed another soul had come to earth, That look shone on, and through the mother’s face.

And once when silence, absolute and vast, Followed the final indrawn mortal breath, Sudden upon the countenance of death That supreme glory of G.o.d’s grace was cast.

SONGS OF LOVE AND THE SEA

I

When first we met (the Sea and I), Like one before a King, I stood in awe; nor felt nor saw The sun, the winds, the earth, the sky Or any other thing.

G.o.d’s Universe, to me, Was just the Sea.

When next we met, the lordly Main Played but a courtier’s part; Crowned Queen was I; and earth and sky, And sun and sea were my domain, Since love was in my heart.

Before, beyond, above, Was only Love.

II

Love built me, on a little rock, A little house of pine, At first, the Sea Beat angrily About that house of mine; (That dear, dear home of mine).

But when it turned to go away Beyond the sandy track, Down o’er its wall The house would call, Until the Sea came back; (It always hurried back).

And now the two have grown so fond, (Oh, breathe no word of this), When clouds hang low, And east winds blow, They meet and kiss and kiss: (At night, I hear them kiss).

III

No man can understand the Sea, until He knows all pa.s.sions of the senses; all The great emotions of the heart; and each Exalted aspiration of the soul.

Then may he sit beside the sea and say: ‘I, too, have flung myself against the rocks, And kissed their flinty brows with no return; And fallen spent upon unfeeling sands.

I, too, have gone forth yearning, to far sh.o.r.es, Seeking that something which would bring content; And finding only what I took away; And I have looked up, through the veil of skies, When all the world was still, and understood That I am one with Nature and with G.o.d.’

IV

The Dawn was flying from the Night; Swift as the wind she sped; Her hair was like a fleece of light; Her cheeks were warm and red.

All pa.s.sion pale, the Night pursued; She fled away, away; And in her garments, rainbow hued, She gained the peak of day.

And then, all shaken with alarms, She leaped down from its crest; Into the Sea’s uplifted arms, And swooned upon his breast.

ACQUAINTANCE

Not we who daily walk the City’s street; Not those who have been cradled in its heart, Best understand its architectural art, Or realise its grandeur. Oft we meet Some stranger who has stayed his pa.s.sing feet And lingered with us for a single hour, And learned more of cathedral, and of tower, Than we, who deem our knowledge quite complete.

Not always those we hold most loved and dear, Not always those who dwell with us, know best Our greater selves. Because they stand so near They cannot see the lofty mountain crest, The gleaming sun-kissed height, which fair and dear Stands forth–revealed unto the some-time guest.

IN INDIA’S DREAMY LAND

In India’s land one listens aghast To the people who scream and bawl; For each caste yells at a lower caste, And the Britisher yells at them all.

RANGOON

The Englishman and Other Poems Part 4

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The Englishman and Other Poems is a Webnovel created by Ella Wheeler Wilcox.
This lightnovel is currently completed.

SHUT-IN

Across my window gla.s.s The moving shadows of the people pa.s.s.

Sometimes the shadow’s pause; and through the hall Kind neighbours come to call, Bringing a word or smile To cheer my loneliness a little while.

But as I hear them talk, These people who can walk And go about the great green earth at will, I wonder if they know the joy of being still, And all alone with thoughts that soar afar – High as the highest star.

And oft I feel more free Than those who travel over land and sea.

For one who is shut in, Away from all the outer strife and din, With faithful Pain for guide, Finds where Great Truths abide.

Across my window gla.s.s The moving shadows pa.s.s.

But swifter moves my unimpeded thought, Speeding from spot to spot – Out and afar – High as the highest star.

SONG OF THE RAIL

Oh, an ugly thing is an iron rail, Black, with its face to the dust.

But it carries a message where winged things fail; It crosses the mountains, and catches the trail, While the winds and the sea make sport of a sail; Oh, a rail is a friend to trust.

The iron rail, with its face to the sod, Is only a bar of ore; Yet it speeds where never a foot has trod; And the narrow path where it leads, grows broad; And it speaks to the world in the voice of G.o.d, That echoes from sh.o.r.e to sh.o.r.e.

Though the iron rail, on the earth down flung, Seems kin to the loam and the soil, Wherever its high shrill note is sung, Out of the jungle fair homes have sprung, And the voices of babel find one tongue, In the common language of toil.

Of priest, and warrior, and conquering king, Of Knights of the Holy Grail, Of wonders of winter, and glories of spring, Always and ever the poets sing; But the great G.o.d-Force, in a lowly thing, I sing, in my song of the rail.

ALWAYS AT SEA

Always at sea I think about the dead.

On barques invisible they seem to sail The self-same course; and from the decks cry ‘Hail’!

Then I recall old words that they have said, And see their faces etched upon the mist – Dear faces I have kissed.

Always the dead seem very close at sea.

The coa.r.s.e vibrations of the earth debar Our spirit friends from coming where we are.

But through G.o.d’s ether, unimpeded, free, They wing their way, the ocean deeps above – And find the hearts that love.

Always at sea my dead come very near.

A growing host; some old in spirit lore, And some who crossed to find the other sh.o.r.e But yesterday. All, all, I see and hear With inner senses, while the voice of faith Proclaims–there is no death.

THE SUITORS

There is a little Bungalow Perched on a granite ledge, And at its feet two suitors meet; (I watch them, and I know) One waits outside the cas.e.m.e.nt edge; One paces to and fro.

The Patient Rock speaks not a word; The Sea goes up and down, And sings full oft, in cadence soft; (I listen, and have heard) Again he wears an angry frown By jealous pa.s.sion stirred.

This dawn, the Rock was all aglow; Far out the mad Sea went; Beyond the raft, like one gone daft; (I saw them, and I know) While radiant and well content Smiled down the Bungalow.

That was at Dawn; ere day had set, The Sea with pleading voice Came back to woo his love anew; (I saw them when they met) And now I know not which her choice – (The Rock’s gray face was wet.)

THE JEALOUS G.o.dS

‘Oh life is wonderful,’ she said, ‘And all my world is bright; Can Paradise show fairer skies, Or more effulgent light?’

(Speak lower, lower, mortal heart, The jealous G.o.ds may hear.)

She turned for answer; but his gaze Cut past her like a lance, And shone like flame on one who came With radiant glance for glance.

(You spoke too loud, O mortal heart, The jealous G.o.ds were near.)

They walked through green and sunlit ways; And yet the earth seemed black, For there were three, where two should be; So runs the world, alack.

(The listening G.o.ds, the jealous G.o.ds, They want no Edens here.)

G.o.d RULES ALWAY

Into the world’s most high and holy places Men carry selfishness, and graft and greed.

The air is rent with warring of the races; Loud Dogmas drown a brother’s cry of need.

The Fleet-of-Creeds, upon Time’s ocean lurches; And there is mutiny upon her decks; And in the light of temples, and of churches, Against life’s sh.o.r.es drift wrecks and derelicts.

(G.o.d rules, G.o.d rules alway.)

Right in the shadow of the lofty steeple, Which crowns some costly edifice of faith, Behold the throngs of hungry, unhoused people; The ‘Bread Line,’ flanked by charity and death.

See yonder Churchman, opulently doing Unnumbered deeds, which gladden and resound; The while his thrifty tenant is pursuing The white slave trade on sacred, untaxed ground.

(G.o.d rules, G.o.d rules alway.)

For these are but the outward signs of fever; Those flaunting signs, which through delirium burn; And the clear-seeing eye of each Believer Can note the coming crisis. It will turn, For it has reached its summit. Convalescing, The sick world shall arise to strength and peace, And earth shall bloom, with each and every blessing Life waits to give, when wars and conflicts cease.

(G.o.d rules, G.o.d rules alway.)

This is a mighty hour. No sounds of drumming, No flying flags, no heralds do appear; No Wise Men of the East proclaim His coming; Yet He is coming–nay, our Christ is here!

And man shall leave his fever dreams behind him; Those dreams of avarice, and l.u.s.t, and sin, And seek his Lord; yea, he shall seek and find Him, In his own soul, where He has always been.

(G.o.d rules, G.o.d rules alway.)

Man longs for G.o.d. Before the Christ we wot of, With His brief mighty message, came to earth, Before His life, or creed, or cross were thought of, The love of love within man’s breast had birth.

But blindly, through his carnal senses reaching, He plucked dead fruit, and nothing has sufficed; Nor can his soul find rest in any teaching, Until he knows that he, himself, is Christ.

(G.o.d rules, G.o.d rules alway.)

Oh, when he knows this truth in all its splendour, What majesty, what glory crowns his life: And, one with G.o.d, his every thought is tender; He cannot enter into war, or strife.

His love goes out to every race and nation; His whole religion lies in being kind.