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Today-the most cursed day

Ordinarily the soles of my feet didn’t bleed an
infinitesimal trifle; even as I traversed over a
blanket of a billion acrimoniously venomous thorns,
But today; the 3rd of April; they just disdainfully
crumbled an infinite feet beneath soil; as the sound
of your invincibly triumphant and gloriously
impeccable footsteps; had disappeared forever from the
horizons of my veritable sight…


Ordinarily the hair on my skin didn’t relent an
inconspicuous iota; even as the most diabolical of
dinosaurs and war; indiscriminately paraded around my
persona,
But today; the 3rd of April; they just shriveled into
pathetic oblivion at the tiniest insinuation of
flaccid wind; as your uninhibitedly untamed valley of
sensuousness; had disappeared forever from the
horizons of my veritable sight…

Ordinarily the blood in my veins didn’t quaver an
evanescent bit; even as the most unsparingly
hedonistic apocalypses of the devil perpetuated into
my soul,
But today; the 3rd of April; it just metamorphosed
into a grotesquely frigid white; as your brilliantly
unhindered compassion; had disappeared forever from
the horizons of my veritable sight…

Ordinarily the hollows of my ears didn’t flutter an
ethereal inch; even as unbelievably thunderous roars
of vindictive lightening; flashed left; right and
center from the belly of the murderously ballistic
sky,
But today; the 3rd of April; they just miserably
withered to each of my commands; as your inimitably
divinely and beautifully unparalleled voice; had
disappeared forever from the horizons of my veritable
sight…

Ordinarily the bones of my demeanor didn’t rattle an
infidel centimeter; even as the coffins of inevitable
death scurrilously slandered at me a countless times,
But today; the 3rd of April; they just dissolved into
fecklessly meaningless pulp at the sound of my very
own voice; as your Omnipotently everlasting tenacity;
had disappeared forever from the horizons of my
veritable sight…

Ordinarily the whites and blacks of my eye didn’t
wince a mercurial fraction; even as the belligerently
intolerable rays of the afternoon Sun unceasingly
pierced inside from all quarters,
But today; the 3rd of April; they just wholesomely
blinded to the faintest of my reflection; as the
miraculously mitigating contours of your face; had
disappeared forever from the horizons of my veritable
sight….

Ordinarily the cadence of my voice didn’t tremble a
diminutive whisker; even as there was nothing else but
iconoclastically satanic vultures plucking mouthfuls
of my flesh; with gay abandon all throughout the
night,
But today; the 3rd of April; it just transformed into
a cadaverously stony silence; as the Omnipresent smile
of your magical lips; had disappeared forever from the
horizons of my veritable sight…

Ordinarily the spirit of my conscience didn’t stagger
a minuscule hairline; even as the entire planet beside
me embraced manipulative prejudice; to catapult to the
pinnacle of spuriously lackadaisical success,
But today; the 3rd of April; it just dissipated into a
zillion pieces of nothingness even before it could be
caressed; as your trail of perennially blessing
righteousness had disappeared forever from the
horizons of my veritable sight…

Ordinarily the beats of my heart didn’t betray a
parsimonious speck; even as egregiously perverted
treachery had become everyone’s morning cup of tea,
But today; the 3rd of April; they converted entirely
into lifelessly delinquent stone although torrential
rainshowers of love pelted all across; as your
charismatically immortal shadow had disappeared
forever from the horizons of my veritable sight…

And ordinarily the air of my nostrils didn’t stutter
an abstemious ounce; even as the mortuaries of hell
personally descended to incarcerate me into doldrums
of inane nothingness,
But today; the 3rd of April; it evaporated a countless
kilometers beyond the land of decaying oblivion;
although I was impregnated with robust blood; body and
bone; as your pristinely unimpeachable and
Unconquerably mellifluous spirit; had disappeared
forever from the horizons of my veritable sight..

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Shaka The Zulu

Here he comes with his muscular
body, in his hands lay the symbol
of Africa the symbol that have sent
many great warriors six feet beneath.
The sound of his voice bring silence
among the bird of the sky.

Shaka the son of Zulu he believe that he
is a true son of Africa.In the battle field
with the great symbol of Africa in his hands
he believe that nobody can defeat him, his
peer believe that he is a god among the
living creature.

Shaka the Zulu he believe in the black power
with iron hands he rule the people of Zulu with
the help of the witch doctors he conquer the
Africa.The name Shaka bring fear in the camp
of the white.

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Dont mess with love

Don’t mess with lies; it would hedonistically
massacre you with its fangs of vindictively flagrant
prejudice,

Don’t mess with the scorpion; it would so
ballistically permeate its venomously curled tail into
your nimble flesh; that you’d never be able to raise
your hindside,

Don’t mess with the Sun; it would burn you to
infinitesimal moles of inane ash; which wouldn’t be
accepted even by the land of disastrously disappearing
oblivion,

Don’t mess with the Shark; it would pulverize every
element of your countenance to such a pulverized
chowder; that wouldn’t be visible with even the most
contemporarily high powered telescope,

Don’t mess with the avalanche; it would treacherously
bury you an infinite feet beneath your corpse; a place
so scurrilously asphyxiating beneath the earth; where
even darkness dreaded to dare,

Don’t mess with obsession; it would maniacally frazzle
every sensuously sensitive vein of your persona;
reduce you to such a bundle of delirious
meaninglessness that even the coffins of hell would
blatantly refuse,

Don’t mess with the ghost; it would wretchedly jinx
you beyond the comprehensions of infinite infinity;
torturing you to such an extent; that you vomited raw
blood everytime you witnessed the contours of your
face,

Don’t mess with the storm; it would inexhaustibly
lambaste you against cold-blooded stone; till the time
your bones felt that wholesomely gruesome extinction
was a better alternative instead,

Don’t mess with the knife; it would slice you into so
many unsparing countless bits; that even the most
hideously barbaric vultures would find it bizarrely
gory to digest,

Don’t mess with the lion; it wouldn’t given you even
the most evanescent chance to fulfill your last wish;
before it gobbled you like a robust mosquito for its
afternoon lunch,

Don’t mess with corruption; it would make every step
of your blissfully resplendent existence; more
egregiously strangulating than the werewolves of
ghoulishly satanic hell,

Don’t mess with the vampish seductress; she would
firstly tantalize you to realms beyond supremely
ecstatic paradise; only to mercilessly excoriate apart
every bit of your skin; for stitching her
compassionate night-coat,

Don’t mess with the gallows; they would
surreptitiously creep upon you in your celestially
contented slumber; to make it nefariously and
irretrievably permanent,

Don’t mess with the bat; it would so barbarously pluck
the whites and blacks of your beautiful eyes; that
your face would dissolve into laconically
inconspicuous space for times immemorial,

Don’t mess with the mirage; it would satiate the
chords of your agonizingly charred throat till beyond
eternal eternity; before eventually making you lick
granules of dry sand with acidulous thorns embedded
inside; instead,

Don’t mess with lightening; it would numb the
quintessential nexus of your existence to such a
threshold; that even the most cannibalistic swords
massacring your head would seem to you as a flutter of
a seductive eyelash,

Don’t mess with symbiotism; it would sodomize the
chapters of your harmonious survival in such a way;
that traumatic incarceration would become your sole
mantra to whimperingly exist,

Don’t mess with blood; it would abandon you forever in
the gutterpipe of ostracizing deceit; beheading you as
a lecherously parasitic alien; although you were its
cardinally very own,

And don’t mess with love; it would grant you such a
diabolical death for betraying and tampering with its
insuperably Omnipotent spirit; that life in any form;
shape or fraternity; would never ever in even the most
obsolete of birth; accept you once again….


(c) (r) copyright-2004, by nikhil parekh. all rights reserved.

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Gertrude of Wyoming

PART I

On Susquehanna's side, fair Wyoming!
Although the wild-flower on thy ruin'd wall,
And roofless homes, a sad remembrance bring,
Of what thy gentle people did befall;
Yet thou wert once the loveliest land of all
That see the Atlantic wave their morn restore.
Sweet land! may I thy lost delights recall,
And paint thy Gertrude in her bowers of yore,
Whose beauty was the love of Pennsylvania's shore!

Delightful Wyoming! beneath thy skies,
The happy shepherd swains had nought to do
But feed their flocks on green declivities,
Or skim perchance thy lake with light canoe,
From morn till evening's sweeter pastimes grew,
With timbrel, when beneath the forests brown,
Thy lovely maidens would the dance renew;
And aye those sunny mountains half-way down
Would echo flageolet from some romantic town.

Then, where of Indian hills the daylight takes
His leave, how might you the flamingo see
Disporting like a meteor on the lakes--
And playful squirrel on his nut-grown tree:
And every sound of life was full of glee,
From merry mock-bird's song, or hum of men;
While hearkening, fearing naught their revelry,
The wild deer arch'd his neck from glades, and then,
Unhunted, sought his woods and wilderness again.

And scarce had Wyoming of war or crime
Heard, but in transatlantic story rung,
For here the exile met from every clime,
And spoke in friendship every distant tongue:
Men from the blood of warring Europe sprung
Were but divided by the running brook;
And happy where no Rhenish trumpet sung,
On plains no sieging mine's volcano shook,
The blue-eyed German changed his sword to pruning-hook.

Nor far some Andalusian saraband
Would sound to many a native roundelay--
But who is he that yet a dearer land
Remembers, over hills and far away?
Green Albin! what though he no more survey
Thy ships at anchor on the quiet shore,
Thy pelloch's rolling from the mountain bay,
Thy lone sepulchral cairn upon the moor,
And distant isles that hear the loud Corbrechtan roar!

Alas! poor Caledonia's mountaineer,
That wants stern edict e'er, and feudal grief,
Had forced him from a home he loved so dear!
Yet found he here a home and glad relief,
And plied the beverage from his own fair sheaf,
That fired his Highland blood with mickle glee:
And England sent her men, of men the chief,
Who taught those sires of empire yet to be,
To plant the tree of life,--to plant fair Freedom's tree!

Here was not mingled in the city's pomp
Of life's extremes the grandeur and the gloom
Judgment awoke not here her dismal tromp,
Nor seal'd in blood a fellow-creature's doom,
Nor mourn'd the captive in a living tomb.
One venerable man, beloved of all,
Sufficed, where innocence was yet in bloom,
To sway the strife, that seldom might befall:
And Albert was their judge, in patriarchal hall.

How reverend was the look, serenely aged,
He bore, this gentle Pennsylvanian sire,
Where all but kindly fervors were assuaged,
Undimm'd by weakness' shade, or turbid ire!
And though, amidst the calm of thought entire,
Some high and haughty features might betray
A soul impetuous once, 'twas earthly fire
That fled composure's intellectual ray,
As AEtna's fires grow dim before the rising day.

I boast no song in magic wonders rife,
But yet, oh Nature! is there naught to prize,
Familiar in thy bosom scenes of life?
And dwells in day-light truth's salubrious skies
No form with which the soul may sympathise?--
Young, innocent, on whose sweet forehead mild
The parted ringlet shone in simplest guise,
An inmate in the home of Albert smiled,
Or blest his noonday walk--she was his only child.

The rose of England bloom'd on Gertrude's cheek--
What though these shades had seen her birth, her sire
A Briton's independence taught to seek
Far western worlds; and there his household fire
The light of social love did long inspire,
And many a halcyon day he lived to see
Unbroken but by one misfortune dire,
When fate had reft his mutual heart--but she
Was gone--and Gertrude climb'd a widow'd father's knee.

A loved bequest,--and I may half impart--
To them that feel the strong paternal tie,
How like a new existence to his heart
That living flower uprose beneath his eye
Dear as she was from cherub infancy,
From hours when she would round his garden play,
To time when as the ripening years went by,
Her lovely mind could culture well repay,
And more engaging grew, from pleasing day to day.

I may not paint those thousand infant charms;
(Unconscious fascination, undesign'd!)
The orison repeated in his arms,
For God to bless her sire and all mankind;
The book, the bosom on his knee reclined,
Or how sweet fairy-lore he heard her con,
(The playmate ere the teacher of her mind:)
All uncompanion'd else her heart had gone
Till now, in Gertrude's eyes, their ninth blue summer shone.

And summer was the tide, and sweet the hour,
When sire and daughter saw, with fleet descent,
An Indian from his bark approach their bower,
Of buskin limb, and swarthy lineament;
The red wild feathers on his brow were blent,
And bracelets bound the arm that help'd to light
A boy, who seem'd, as he beside him went,
Of Christian vesture, and complexion bright,
Led by his dusky guide, like morning brought by night.

Yet pensive seem'd the boy for one so young--
The dimple from his polish'd cheek had fled;
When, leaning on his forest-bow unstrung,
Th' Oneyda warrior to the planter said,
And laid his hand upon the stripling's head,
"Peace be to thee! my words this belt approve;
The paths of peace my steps have hither led:
This little nursling, take him to thy love,
And shield the bird unfledged, since gone the parent dove.

Christian! I am the foeman of thy foe;
Our wampum league thy brethren did embrace:
Upon the Michigan, three moons ago,
We launch'd our pirogues for the bison chase,
And with the Hurons planted for a space,
With true and faithful hands, the olive-stalk;
But snakes are in the bosoms of their race,
And though they held with us a friendly talk,
The hollow peace-tree fell beneath their tomahawk!

It was encamping on the lake's far port,
A cry of Areouski broke our sleep,
Where storm'd an ambush'd foe thy nation's fort
And rapid, rapid whoops came o'er the deep;
But long thy country's war-sign on the steep
Appear'd through ghastly intervals of light,
And deathfully their thunders seem'd to sweep,
Till utter darkness swallow'd up the sight,
As if a shower of blood had quench'd the fiery fight!


It slept--it rose again--on high their tower
Sprung upwards like a torch to light the skies,
Then down again it rain'd an ember shower,
And louder lamentations heard we rise;
As when the evil Manitou that dries
Th' Ohio woods, consumes them in his ire,
In vain the desolated panther flies,
And howls amidst his wilderness of fire:
Alas! too late, we reach'd and smote those Hurons dire!

But as the fox beneath the nobler hound,
So died their warriors by our battle brand;
And from the tree we, with her child, unbound
A lonely mother of the Christian land:--
Her lord--the captain of the British band--
Amidst the slaughter of his soldiers lay.
Scarce knew the widow our delivering hand;
Upon her child she sobb'd and soon'd away,
Or shriek'd unto the God to whom the Christians pray.

Our virgins fed her with their kindly bowls
Of fever-balm and sweet sagamite:
But she was journeying to the land of souls,
And lifted up her dying head to pray
That we should bid an ancient friend convey
Her orphan to his home of England's shore;
And take, she said, this token far away,
To one that will remember us of yore,
When he beholds the ring that Waldegrave's Julia wore.

And I, the eagle of my tribe, have rush'd
With this lorn dove."--A sage's self-command
Had quell'd the tears from Albert's heart that gush'd;
But yet his cheek--his agitated hand--
That shower'd upon the stranger of the land
No common boon, in grief but ill beguiled
A soul that was not wont to be unmann'd;
"And stay," he cried, "dear pilgrim of the wild,
Preserver of my old, my boon companion's child!--

Child of a race whose name my bosom warms,
On earth's remotest bounds how welcome here!
Whose mother oft, a child, has fill'd these arms,
Young as thyself, and innocently dear,
Whose grandsire was my early life's compeer.
Ah, happiest home of England's happy clime!
How beautiful even' now thy scenes appear,
As in the noon and sunshine of my prime!
How gone like yesterday these thrice ten years of time!

And Julia! when thou wert like Gertrude now
Can I forget thee, favorite child of yore?
Or thought I, in thy father's house, when thou
Wert lightest-hearted on his festive floor,
And first of all his hospitable door
To meet and kiss me at my journey's end?
But where was I when Waldegrave was no more?
And thou didst pale thy gentle head extend
In woes, that ev'n the tribe of deserts was thy friend!"

He said--and strain'd unto his heart the boy;--
Far differently, the mute Oneyda took
His calumet of peace, and cup of joy;
As monumental bronze unchanged his look;
A soul that pity touch'd but never shook;
Train'd from his tree-rock'd cradle to his bier
The fierce extreme of good and ill to brook
Impassive--fearing but the shame of fear--
A stoic of the woods--a man without a tear.

Yet deem not goodness on the savage stock
Of Outalissi's heart disdain'd to grow;
As lives the oak unwither'd on the rock
By storms above, and barrenness below;
He scorn'd his own, who felt another's wo:
And ere the wolf-skin on his back he flung,
Or laced his mocassins, in act to go,
A song of parting to the boy he sung,
Who slept on Albert's couch, nor heard his friendly tongue.

"Sleep, wearied one! and in the dreaming land
Shouldst thou to-morrow with thy mother meet,
Oh! tell her spirit, that the white man's hand
Hath pluck'd the thorns of sorrow from thy feet;
While I in lonely wilderness shall greet
They little foot-prints--or by traces know
The fountain, where at noon I thought it sweet
To feed thee with the quarry of my bow,
And pour'd the lotus-horn, or slew the mountain roe.

Adieu! sweet scion of the rising sun!
But should affliction's storms thy blossom mock,
Then come again--my own adopted one!
And I will graft thee on a noble stock:
The crocodile, the condor of the rock,
Shall be the pastime of thy sylvan wars;
And I will teach thee in the battle' shock
To pay with Huron blood thy father's scars,
And gratulate his soul rejoicing in the stars!"

So finish'd he the rhyme (howe'er uncouth)
That true to nature's fervid feelings ran;
(And song is but the eloquence of truth:)
Then forth uprose that lone wayfaring man;
But dauntless he, nor chart, nor journey's plan
In woods required, whose trained eye was keen,
As eagle of the wilderness, to scan
His path by mountain, swamp, or deep ravine,
Or ken far friendly huts on good savannas green.

Old Albert saw him from the valley's side--
His pirogue launch'd--his pilgrimage begun--
Far, like the red-bird's wing he seem'd to glide;
Then dived, and vanish'd in the woodlands dun.
Oft, to that spot by tender memory won,
Would Albert climb the promontory's height,
If but a dim sail glimmer'd in the sun;
But never more to bless his longing sight,
Was Outalissi hail'd, with bark and plumage bright.


PART II.

A valley from the river shower withdrawn
Was Albert's home, two quiet woods between,
Whose lofty verdure overlook'd his lawn
And waters to their resting-place serene
Came freshening, and reflecting all the scene:
(A mirror in the depth of flowery shelves;)
So sweet a spot of earth, you might (I ween,)
Have guess'd some congregation of the elves,
To sport by summer moons, had shaped it for themselves.

Yet wanted not the eye far scope to muse,
Nor vistas open'd by the wandering stream;
Both where at evening Alleghany views
Through ridges burning in her western beam
Lake after lake interminably gleam:
And past those settlers' haunts the eye might roam
Where earth's unliving silence all would seem;
Save where on rocks the beaver built his dome,
Or buffalo remote low'd far from human home.

But silent not that adverse eastern path,
Which saw Aurora's hills th' horizon crown;
There was the river heard, in bed of wrath,
(A precipice of foam from mountains brown,)
Like tumults heard from some far distant town;
But softening in approach he left his gloom,
And murmur'd pleasantly, and laid him down
To kiss those easy curving banks of bloom,
That lent the windward air an exquisite perfume.

It seem'd as if those scenes sweet influence had
On Gertrude's soul, and kindness like their own
Inspired those eyes affectionate and glad,
That seem'd to love whate'er they look'd upon;
Whether with Hebe's mirth her features shone,
Or if a shade more pleasing them o'ercast,
(As if for heavenly musing meant alone;)
Yet so becomingly th' expression past,
That each succeeding look was lovelier than the last.

Nor guess I, was that Pennsylvanian home,
With all its picturesque and balmy grace,
And fields that were a luxury to roam,
Lost on the soul that look'd from such a face!
Enthusiast of the woods! when years apace
Had bound thy lovely waist with woman's zone,
The sunrise path, at morn, I see thee trace
To hills with high magnolia overgrown,
And joy to breathe the groves, romantic and alone.

The sunrise drew her thoughts to Europe forth,
That thus apostrophised its viewless scene:
"Land of my father's love, my mother's birth!
The home of kindred I have never seen!
We know not other--oceans are between:
Yet say, far friendly hearts! from whence we came,
Of us does oft remembrance intervene?
My mother sure--my sire a thought may claim;--
But Gertrude is to you an unregarded name.

And yet, loved England! when thy name I trace
In many a pilgrim's tale and poet's song,
How can I choose but wish for one embrace
Of them, the dear unknown, to whom belong
My mother's looks; perhaps her likeness strong?
Oh, parent! with what reverential awe,
From features of thine own related throng,
An image of thy face my soul could draw!
And see thee once again whom I too shortly saw!"

Yet deem not Gertrude sighed for foreign joy;
To soothe a father's couch her only care,
And keep his reverend head from all annoy:
For this, methinks, her homeward steps repair,
Soon as the morning wreath had bound her hair;
While yet the wild deer trod in spangling dew,
While boatmen carol'd to the fresh-blown air,
And woods a horizontal shadow threw,
And early fox appear'd in momentary view.

Apart there was a deep untrodden grot,
Where oft the reading hours sweet Gertrude wore,
Tradition had not named its lonely spot;
But here (methinks) might India's sons explore
Their fathers' dust, or lift, perchance of yore,
Their voice to the great Spirit:--rocks sublime
To human art a sportive semblance bore,
And yellow lichens color'd all the clime,
Like moonlight battlements, and towers decay'd by time.

But high in amphitheatre above,
Gay tinted woods their massy foliage threw:
Breathed but an air of heaven, and all the grove
As if instinct with living spirit grew,
Rolling its verdant gulfs of every hue;
And now suspended was the pleasing din,
Now from a murmur faint it swell'd anew,
Like the first note of organ heard within
Cathedral aisles,--ere yet its symphony begin.

It was in this lonely valley she would charm
The lingering noon, where flowers a couch had strown;
Her cheek reclining, and her snowy arm
On hillock by the pine-tree half o'ergrown:
And aye that volume on her lap is thrown,
Which every heart of human mould endears;
With Shakspear's self she speaks and smiles alone,
And no intruding visitation fears,
To shame the unconscious laugh, or stop her sweetest tears.

And naught within the grove was heard or seen
But stock-doves plaining through its gloom profound,
Or winglet of the fairy humming-bird,
Like atoms of the rainbow fluttering round;
When, lo! there enter'd to its inmost ground
A youth, the stranger of a distant land;
He was, to weet, for eastern mountains bound;
But late th' equator suns his cheek had tann'd,
And California's gales his roving bosom fann'd.

A steed, whose rein hung loosely o'er his arm,
He led dismounted; here his leisure pace,
Amid the brown leaves, could her ear alarm,
Close he had come, and worshipp'd for a space
Those downcast features:--she her lovely face
Uplift on one, whose lineaments and frame
Wore youth and manhood's intermingled grace:
Iberian seem'd his booth--his robe the same,
And well the Spanish plume his lofty looks became.

For Albert's home he sought--her finger fair
Has pointed where the father's mansion stood.
Returning from the copse he soon was there;
And soon has Gertrude hied from dark greenwood:
Nor joyless, by the converse, understood
Between the man of age and pilgrim young,
That gay congeneality of mood,
And early liking from acquaintance sprung;
Full fluently conversed their guest in England's tongue.

And well could he his pilgrimage of taste
Unfold,--and much they loved his fervid strain,
While he each fair variety retraced
Of climes, and manners, o'er the eastern main.
Now happy Switzer's hills,--romantic Spain,--
Gay lilied fields of France,--or, more refined,
The soft Ausonia's monumental reign;
Nor less each rural image he design'd
Than all the city's pomp and home of humankind.

Anon some wilder portraiture he draws;
Of Nature's savage glories he would spea,--
The loneliness of earth at overawes,--
Where, resting by some tomb of old Cacique,
The lama-driver on Peruvia's peak
Nor living voice nor motion marks around;
But storks that to the boundless forest shriek,
Or wild-cane arch high flung o'er gulf profound,
That fluctuates when the storms of El Dorado sound.

Pleased with his guest, the good man still would ply
Each earnest question, and his converse court;
But Gertrude, as she eyed him, knew not why
A strange and troubling wonder stopt her short.
"In England thou hast been,--and, by report,
An orphan's name (quoth Albert) may'st have known.
Sad tale!--when latest fell our frontier fort,--
One innocent--one soldier's child--alone
Was spared, and brought to me, who loved him as my own.

Young Henry Waldegrave! three delightful years
These very walls his infants sports did see,
But most I loved him when his parting tears
Alternately bedew'd my child and me:
His sorest parting, Gertrude, was from thee;
Nor half its grief his little heart could hold;
By kindred he was sent for o'er the sea,
They tore him from us when but twelve years old,
And scarcely for his loss have I been yet consoled!"

His face the wanderer hid--but could not hide
A tear, a smile, upon his cheek that dwell;
"And speak! mysterious strange!" (Gertrude cried)
"It is!--it is!--I knew--I knew him well;
'Tis Waldegrave's self, of Waldegrave come to tell!"
A burst of joy the father's lips declare!
But Gertrude speechless on his bosom fell;
At once his open arms embraced the pair,
Was never group more blest in this wide world of care.

"And will ye pardon then (replied the youth)
Your Waldegrave's feign'd name, and false attire?
I durst not in the neighborhood, in truth,
The very fortunes of your house inquire;
Lest one that knew me might some tidings dire
Impart, and I my weakness all betray,
For had I lost my Gertrude and my sire
I meant but o'er your tombs to weep a day,
Unknown I meant to weep, unknown to pass away.

But here ye life, ye bloom,--in each dear face,
The changing hand of time I may not blame;
For there, it hath but shed more reverend grace,
And here, of beauty perfected the frame:
And well I know your hearts are still the same--
They could not change--ye look the very way,
As when an orphan first to you I came.
And have ye heard of my poor guide, I pray?
Nay, wherefore weep ye, friends, on such a joyous day!"

"And art thou here? or is it but a dream?
And wilt thou, Waldegrave, wilt thou, leave us more!"
"No, never! thou that yet dost lovelier seem
Than aught on earth--than even thyself of yore--
I will not part thee from thy father's shore;
But we shall cherish him with mutual arms,
And hand in hand again the path explore
Which every ray of young remembrance warms,
While thou shalt be my own, with all thy truth and charms!"

At morn, as if beneath a galaxy
Of over-arching groves in blossoms white,
Where all was odorous scent and harmony,
And gladness to the heart, nerve, ear, and sight:
There, if, O gentle Love! I read aright
The utterance that seal'd thy sacred bond,
'Twas listening to these accents of delight,
She hid upon his breast those eyes, beyond
Expression's power to paint, all languishingly fond--

"Flower of my life, so lovely, and so lone!
Whom I would rather in this desert meet,
Scorning, and scorn'd by fortune's power, than own
Her pomp and splendors lavish'd at my feet!
Turn not from me thy breath, move exquisite
Than odors cast on heaven's own shrine--to please--
Give me thy love, than luxury more sweet,
And more than all the wealth that loads the breeze,
When Coromandel's ships return from Indian seas."

Then would that home admit them--happier far
Than grandeur's most magnificent saloon,
While, here and there, a solitary star
Flush'd in the darkening firmament of June;
And silence brought the soul-felt hour, full soon
Ineffable, which I may not portray;
For never did the hymenean moon
A paradise of hearts more sacred sway,
In all that slept beneath her soft voluptuous ray.


PART III.

O Love! in such a wilderness as this,
Where transport and security entwine,
Here is the empire of thy perfect bliss,
And here thou art a god indeed divine.
Here shall no forms abridge, no hours confine
The views, the walks, that boundless joy inspire!
Nor, blind with ecstacy's celestial fire,
Shall love behold the spark of earth-born time expire.

Three little moons, how short! amidst the grove
And pastoral savannas they consume!
While she, beside her buskin'd youth to rove,
Delights, in fancifully wild costume,
Her lovely brow to shade with Indian plume;
And forth in hunter-seeming vest they fare;
But not to chase the deer in forest gloom,
'Tis but the breath of heaven--the blessed air--
And interchange of hearts unknown, unseen to share.

What though the sportive dog oft round them note,
Or fawn, or wild bird bursting on the wing;
Yet who, in Love's own presence, would devote
To death those gentle throats that wake the spring,
Or writhing from the brook its victim bring?
No!--nor let fear one little warbler rouse;
But, fed by Gertrude's hand, still let them sing,
Acquaintance of her path, amidst the boughs,
That shade ev'n now her love, and witness'd first her vows.

Now labyrinths, which but themselves can pierce,
Methinks, conduct them to some pleasant ground,
Where welcome hills shut out the universe,
And pines their lawny walk encompass round;
There, if a pause delicious converse found,
'Twas but when o'er each heart th' idea stole,
(Perchance a while in joy's oblivion drown'd)
That come what may, while life's glad pulses roll,
Indissolubly thus should soul be knit to soul.

And in the visions of romantic youth,
What years of endless bliss are yet to flow!
But mortal pleasure, what art thou in truth?
The torrent's smoothness, ere it dash below!
And must I change my song? and must I show,
Sweet Wyoming! the day when thou art doom'd,
Guiltless, to mourn thy loveliest bowers laid low!
When were of yesterday a garden bloom'd,
Death overspread his pall, and blackening ashes gloom'd!

Sad was the year, by proud oppression driven,
When Transatlantic Liberty arose,
Not in the sunshine and the smile of heaven,
But wrapt in whirlwinds, and begirt with woes,
Amidst the strife of fratricidal foes;
Her birth star was the light of burning plains;
Her baptism is the weight of blood that flows
From kindred hearts--the blood of British veins--
And famine tracks her steps, and pestilential pains.


Yet, here the storm of death had raged remote,
Or seige unseen in heaven reflects its beams,
Who now each dreadful circumstance shall note,
That fills pale Gertrude's thoughts, and nightly dreams!
Dismal to her the forge of battle gleams
Portentous light! and music's voice is dumb;
Save where the fife its shrill reveille screams,
Or midnight streets re-echo to the drum,
That speaks of maddening strife, and blood-stained fields to come.

It was in truth a momentary pang;
Yet how comprising myriad shapes of wo!
First when in Gertrude's ear the summons rang,
A husband to the battle doom'd to go!
"Nay meet not thou( she cried) thy kindred foe!
But peaceful let us seek fair England's strand!"
"Ah, Gertrude, thy beloved heart, I know,
Would feel like mine the stigmatising brand!
Could I forsake the cause of Freedom's holy band!

But shame--but flight--a recreant's name to prove,
To hide in exile ignominous fears;
Say, ev'n if this I brook'd, the public love
Thy father's bosom to his home endears:
And how could I his few remaining years,
My Gertrude, sever from so dear a child?"
So, day by day, her boding heart he cheers:
At last that heart to hope is half beguiled,
And, pale, through tears suppress'd, the mournful beauty smiled.

Night came,--and in their lighted bower, full late,
The joy of converse had endured--when, hark!
Abrupt and loud, a summons shook their gate;
And heedless of the dog's obstrep'rous bark,
A form had rush'ed amidst them from the dark,
And spread his arms,--and fell upon the floor:
Of aged strength his limbs retained the mark;
But desolate he look's and famish'd, poor,
As ever shipwreck'd wretch lone left on desert shore.

Uprisen, each wond'ring brow is knit and arch'd:
A spirit form the dead they deem him first:
To speak he tries; but quivering, pale, and parch'd,
From lips, as by some powerless dream accursed
Emotions unintelligible burst;
And long his filmed eye is red and dim;
At length the pity-proffer'd cup his thirst
Had half assuaged, and nerved his shuddering limb
When Albert's hand he grasp'd;--but Albert knew not him--

"And hast thou then forgot," (he cried forlorn,
And eyed the group with half indignant air,)
"Oh! hast thou, Christian chief, forgot the morn
When I with thee the cup of peace did share?
Then stately was this head, and dark this hair,
That now is white as Appalachia's snow;
But, if the weight of fifteen years' despair,
And age hath bow'd me, and the torturing foe,
Bring me my boy--and he will his deliverer know!"--

It was not long, with eyes and heart of flame,
Ere Henry to his loved Oneyda flew:
"Bless thee, my guide!"--but backward as he came,
The chief his old bewilder'd head withdrew,
And grasp'd his arm, and look'd and look'd him through.
'Twas strange--nor could the group a smile control--
The long, the doubtful scrutiny to view:
At last delight o'er all his features stole,
"It is--my own," he cried, and clasp'd him to his soul.

"Yes! thou recallest my pride of years, for then
The bowstring of my spirit was not slack,
When, spite of woods and floods, and ambush'd men,
I bore thee like the quiver on my back,
Fleet as the whirlwind hurries on the rack;
Nor foreman then, nor cougar's crouch I fear'd,
For I was strong as mountain cataract:
And dost thou not remember how we cheer'd,
Upon the last hill-top, when white men's huts appear'd?


Then welcome be my death-song, and my death
Since I have seen thee, and again embrac'd."
And longer had he spent his toil-worn breath;
But with affectionate and eager haste,
Was every arm outstretch'd around their guest,
To welcome and to bless his aged head.
Soon was the hospitable banquet placed;
And Gertrude's lovely hands a balsam shed
On wounds with fever'd joy that more profusely bled.

"But this is not a time,"--he started up,
And smote his breast with wo-denouncing hand--
"This is no time to fill the joyous cup,
The Mammoth comes,--the foe,--the Monster Brandt,--
With all his howling desolating band;
These eyes have seen their blade and burning pine
Awake at once, and silence half your land.
Red is the cup they drink; but not with wine:
Awake, and watch to-night, or see no morning shine!

Scorning to wield the hatchet for his bribe,
'Gainst Brandt himself I went to battle forth:
Accursed Brandt! he left of all my tribe
Nor man, nor child, nor thing of living birth:
No! not the dog that watch'd my household hearth,
Escaped that night of blood, upon our plains!
All perish'd!--I alone am left on earth!
To whom nor relative nor blood remains.
No! not a kindred drop that runs in human veins!

But go!--and rouse your warriors, for, if right
These old bewilder'd eyes could guess, by signs
Of striped, and starred banners, on yon height
Of eastern cedars, o'er the creek of pines--
Some fort embattled by your country shines:
Deep roars th' innavigable gulf below
Its squared rock, and palisaded lines.
Go! seek the light its warlike beacons show;
Whilst I in ambush wait, for vengeance, and the foe!"

Scarce had he utter'd--when Heaven's virge extreme
Reverberates the bomb's descending star,
And sounds that mingled laugh,--and shout,--and scream,--
To freeze the blood in once discordant jar
Rung to the pealing thunderbolts of war.
Whoop after whoop with rack the ear assail'd;
As if unearthly fiends had burst their bar;
While rapidly the marksman's shot prevail'd:--
And aye, as if for death, some lonely trumpet wail'd.

Then look'd they to the hills, where fire o'erhung
The bandit groups, in one Vesuvian glare;
Or swept, far seen, the tower, whose clock unrung
Told legible that midnight of despair.
She faints,--she falters not,--th' heroic fair,
As he the sword and plume in haste array'd.
One short embrace--he clasp'd his dearest care--
But hark! what nearer war-drum shakes the glade?
Joy, joy! Columbia's friends are trampling through the shade!

Then came of every race the mingled swarm,
Far rung the groves and gleam'd the midnight grass,
With Flambeau, javelin, and naked arm;
As warriors wheel'd their culverins of brass,
Sprung from the woods, a bold athletic mass,
Whom virtue fires, and liberty combines:
And first the wild Moravian yagers pass,
His plumed host the dark Iberian joins--
And Scotia's sword beneath the Highland thistle shines.

And in, the buskin'd hunters of the deer,
To Albert's home, with shout and cymbal throng--
Roused by their warlike pomp, and mirth, and cheer,
Old Outalissi woke his battle song,
And, beating with his war-club cadence strong,
Tells how his deep-stung indignation smarts,
Of them that wrapt his house in flames, ere long,
To whet a dagger on their stony hearts,
And smile avenged ere yet his eagle spirit parts.

Calm, opposite the Christian father rose,
Pale on his venerable brow its rays
Of martyr light the conflagration throws;
One hand upon his lovely child he lays,
And one th' uncover'd crowd to silence sways;
While, though the battle flash is faster driven,--
Unaw'd, with eye unstartled by the blaze,
He for his bleeding country prays to Heaven,--
Prays that the men of blood themselves may be forgiven.

Short time is now for gratulating speech:
And yet, beloved Gertrude, ere began
Thy country's flight, yon distant towers to reach,
Looks not on thee the rudest partisan
With brow relax'd to love? And murmurs ran,
As round and round their willing ranks they drew,
From beauty's sight to shield the hostile van.
Grateful on them a placid look she threw,
Nor wept, but as she bade her mother's grave adieu!

Past was the flight, and welcome seem'd the tower,
That like a giant standard-bearer frown'd
Defiance on the roving Indian power,
Beneath, each bold and promontory mound
With embrasure emboss'd, and armor crown'd.
And arrowy frise, and wedg'd ravelin,
Wove like a diadem its tracery round
The loft summit of that mountain green;
Here stood secure the group, and eyed a distant scene--

A scene of death! where fires beneath the sun,
And blended arms, and white pavilions glow;
And for the business of destruction done,
Its requiem the war-horn seem'd to blow:
There, sad spectatress of her country's wo!
The lovely Gertrude, safe from present harm,
Had laid her cheek, and clasp'd her hands of snow
On Waldegrave's shoulder, half within his arm
Enclosed, that felt her heart, and hush'd its wild alarm!

But short that contemplation--sad and short
The pause to bid each much-loved scene adieu!
Beneath the very shadow of the fort,
Where friendly swords were drawn, and banners flew;
Ah! who could deem that root of Indian crew
Was near?--yet there, with lust of murd'rous deeds,
Gleam'd like a basilisk, form woods in view,
The ambush'd foeman's eye, his volley speeds,
And Albert--Albert falls! the dear old father bleeds!

And tranced in giddy horror Gertrude swoon'd;
Yet, while she clasps him lifeless to her zone,
Say, burst they, borrow'd from her father's wound,
These drops?--Oh, God! the life-blood is her own!
And faltering on her Waldegrave's bosom thrown;
"Weep not, O Love!"--she cries, "to see me bleed;
Thee, Gertrude's sad survivor, thee alone
Heaven's peace commiserate; for scarce I heed
These wounds;--yet thee to leave is death, is death indeed!

Clasp me a little longer on the brink
Of fate! while I can feel thy dear caress;
And when this heart hath ceased to beat--oh! think,
And let it mitigate thy wo's excess,
That thou hast been to me all tenderness,
And friend no more than human friendship just.
Oh! by that retrospect of happiness,
And by the hopes of an immortal trust,
God shall assuage thy pangs--when I am laid in dust!

Go, Henry, go not back, when I depart,
The scene thy bursting tears too deep will move,
Where my dear father took thee to his heart,
And Gertrude thought it ecstacy to rove
With thee, as with an angel, through the grove
Of peace, imagining her lot was cast
In heaven; for ours was not like earthly love.
And must this parting be our very last!
No! I shall love thee still, when death itself is past.--

Half could I bear, methinks, to leave this earth,--
And thee, more loved than aught beneath the sun,
If I had lived to smile but on the birth
Of one dear pledge;--but shall there then be none
In future times--no gentle little one,
To clasp thy neck, and look, resembling me?
Yet seems it, even while life's last pulses run,
A sweetness in the cup of death to be,
Lord of my bosom's love! to die beholding thee!"

Hush'd were his Gertrude's lips! but still their bland
And beautiful expression seem'd to melt
With love that could not die! and still his hand
She presses to the heart no more that felt.
Ah, heart! where once each fond affection dwelt,
And features yet that spoke a soul more fair.
Mute, gazing, agonizing as he knelt,--
Of them that stood encircling his despair,
He heard some friendly words;--but knew not what they were.

For now, to mourn their judge and child, arrives
A faithful band. With solemn rites between
'Twas sung, how they were lovely in their lives,
And in their deaths had not divided been.
Touch'd by the music, and the melting scene,
Was scarce one tearless eye amidst the crowd:--
Stern warriors, resting on their swords, were seen
To veil their eyes, as pass'd each much-loved shroud,
While woman's softer soul in wo, dissolved aloud.

Then mournfully the parting bugle bid
Its farewell, o'er the grave of worth and truth;
Prone to the dust, afflicted Waldegrave hid
His face on earth; him watch'd, in gloomy ruth,
His woodland guide; but words had none to soothe
The grief that knew not consolation's name;
Casting his Indian mantle o'er the youth,
He watch'd, beneath its folds, each burst that came
Convulsive, ague-like, across his shuddering frame!

"And I could weep;"--th' Oneyda chief
His descant wildly thus begun:
"But that I may not stain with grief
The death-song of my father's son,
Or bow this head in wo!
For by my wrongs, and by my wrath!
To-morrow Areouski's breath,
(That fires yon heaven with storms of death,)
Shall light us to the foe:
And we shall share, my Christian boy!
The foeman's blood, the avenger's joy!

But thee, my flower whose breath was given
By milder genii o'er the deep,
The spirits of the white man's heaven
Forbid not thee to weep:--
Nor will the Christian host,
Nor will thy father's spirit grieve,
To see thee, on the battle's eve,
Lamenting take a mournful leave
Of her who loved thee most:
She was the rainbow to thy sight!
Thy sun--thy heaven--of lost delight!

To-morrow let us do or die!
But when the bolt of death is hurl'd,
Ah! whither then with thee to fly,
Shall Outalissi roam the world?
Seek we thy once-loved home?
The hand is gone that cropt its flowers;
Unheard their clock repeats its hours!
Cold is the hearth within their bowers!
And should we thither roam,
Its echoes, and its empty tread,
Would sound like voices from the dead!

Or shall we cross yon mountains blue,
Whose streams my kindred nation quaff'd
And by my side, in battle true,
A thousand warriors drew the shaft?
Ah! there, in desolation cold,
The desert serpent dwells alone,
Where grass o'ergrows each mouldering bone
And stones themselves to ruin grown
Like me are death-like old.
Then seek we not their camp,--for there--
The silence dwells of my despair!

But hark, the trump!--to-morrow thou
In glory's fires shalt dry thy tears:
Ev'n from the land of shadows now
My father's awful ghost appears,
Amidst the clouds that round us roll;
He bids my soul for battle thirst--
He bids me dry the last--the first--
The only tears that ever burst
From Outalissi's soul;
Because I may not stain with grief
The death-song of an Indian chief!"

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Just listening to my beats

She hadn’t given me birth from her womb; but could
still irrefutably gauge the profound sadness
enshrouding my countenance; by just ethereally
glimpsing at my shielding eyelashes,

She hadn’t given me birth from her womb; but could
still irrefutably prognosticate the hunger in my
stomach; by just sighting me restlessly gnawing at my
bohemian nails,

She hadn’t given me birth from her womb; but could
still irrefutably sense the maniacal desperation in my
trembling visage; by just the infinitesimally changed
tone; in the nimble cadence of my voice,

She hadn’t given me birth from her womb; but could
still irrefutably comprehend the wave of bizarre
mortification enveloping my soul; by just the
capricious tinge of poignant scarlet; on my
impoverished cheeks,

She hadn’t given me birth from her womb; but could
still irrefutably narrate the experiences of my day;
by just feeling the transiently cringed lines; on my
diminutively frazzled forehead,

She hadn’t given me birth from her womb; but could
still irrefutably guess the thunderbolts of tumultuous
anger encapsulating my blood; by just witnessing that
inconspicuous iota of frantic vacillation in my
dwindling stride,
She hadn’t given me birth from her womb; but could
still irrefutably feel the insatiably nostalgic child
in me; by just gently caressing my innocuously
vivacious lips,

She hadn’t given me birth from her womb; but could
still irrefutably soliloquize the first day of my
birth; by just kissing my rampantly fluttering and
daintily gorgeous eyelashes,

She hadn’t given me birth from her womb; but could
still irrefutably understand the diabolically
obsessive agony in my life; by just sighting the
augmented redness in the interiors of my palm; and
withering body skin,

She hadn’t give me birth from her womb; but could
still irrefutably analyze the state of intriguingly
inexplicable mind; by just staring for mock seconds;
at the ludicrously staggering curvature of my spine,

She hadn’t given me birth from her womb; but could
still irrefutably construe the vibrant philosopher
entrenching my senses from all sides; by just inhaling
the scent that drifted; from my profusely wandering
countenance,

She hadn’t given me birth from her womb; but could
still irrefutably conceive the insurmountable
reservoir of fantasy circulating in my blood; by just
kneading my pulse a minuscule trifle,
She hadn’t given me birth from her womb; but could
still irrefutably perceive the tumultuous electricity
in my compassionate visage; by just the poignant
magnetism that radiated on every step that I gently
tread,

She hadn’t given me birth from her womb; but could
still irrefutably apprehend the unfathomable carpet of
dreams in my eyes; by just witnessing the
resplendently shimmering twinkle that lay; therein,

She hadn’t given me birth from her womb; but could
still irrefutably assimilate the unrelenting euphoria
in each element of my persona; by just tracing the
tiny globules of sweat; that ran down my chest,

She hadn’t given me birth from her womb; but could
still irrefutably discern the ardent believer in my
body; by just witnessing the resiliently unflinching
contours of my chin,

She hadn’t given me birth from her womb; but could
still irrefutably grasp the artist fulminating
inexorably in my ecstatic veins; by just feeling the
astronomical propensity in my fireballs of passionate
breath,

She hadn’t given me birth from her womb; but could
still irrefutably realize my uncontrollably escalating
desire; by just cuddling the fantastically zealous
moistness; which engulfed every trajectory of my
flesh,

And she hadn’t given me birth from her womb; but could
still irrefutably define my immortal love for her
divinely grace; by just listening to the marvelously
impregnable beats of my small; but perpetually craving
heart…..

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Coombe-Ellen

Call the strange spirit that abides unseen
In wilds, and wastes, and shaggy solitudes,
And bid his dim hand lead thee through these scenes
That burst immense around! By mountains, glens,
And solitary cataracts that dash
Through dark ravines; and trees, whose wreathed roots
O'erhang the torrent's channelled course; and streams,
That far below, along the narrow vale,
Upon their rocky way wind musical.
Stranger! if Nature charm thee, if thou lovest
To trace her awful steps, in glade or glen,
Or under covert of the rocking wood,
That sways its murmuring and mossy boughs
Above thy head; now, when the wind at times
Stirs its deep silence round thee, and the shower
Falls on the sighing foliage, hail her here
In these her haunts; and, rapt in musings high,
Think that thou holdest converse with some Power
Invisible and strange; such as of yore
Greece, in the shades of piney Maenalaus,
The abode of Pan, or Ida's hoary caves,
Worshipped; and our old Druids, 'mid the gloom
Of rocks and woods like these, with muttered spell
Invoked, and the loud ring of choral harps.
Hast thou oft mourned the chidings of the world,
The sound of her disquiet, that ascends
For ever, mocking the high throne of GOD!
Hast thou in youth known sorrow! Hast thou drooped,
Heart-stricken, over youth's and beauty's grave,
And ever after thought on the sad sound
The cold earth made, which, cast into the vault,
Consigned thy heart's best treasure--dust to dust!
Here, lapped into a sweet forgetfulness,
Hang o'er the wreathed waterfall, and think
Thou art alone in this dark world and wide!
Here Melancholy, on the pale crags laid,
Might muse herself to sleep; or Fancy come,
Witching the mind with tender cozenage,
And shaping things that are not; here all day
Might Meditation listen to the lapse
Of the white waters, flashing through the cleft,
And, gazing on the many shadowing trees,
Mingle a pensive moral as she gazed.
High o'er thy head, amidst the shivered slate,
Behold, a sapling yet, the wild ash bend,
Its dark red berries clustering, as it wished
In the clear liquid mirror, ere it fell,
To trace its beauties; o'er the prone cascade,
Airy, and light, and elegant, the birch
Displays its glossy stem, amidst the gloom
Of alders and jagged fern, and evermore
Waves her light pensile foliage, as she wooed
The passing gale to whisper flatteries.
Upon the adverse bank, withered, and stripped
Of all its pleasant leaves, a scathed oak
Hangs desolate, once sovereign of the scene,
Perhaps, proud of its beauty and its strength,
And branching its broad arms along the glen:
Oh, speaks it no remonstrance to the heart!
It seems to say: So shall the spoiler come,
The season that shall shatter your fair leaves,
Gay children of the summer! yet enjoy
Your pleasant prime, and lift your green heads high,
Exulting; but the storm will come at last,
That shall lay low your strength, and give your pride
To the swift-hurrying stream of age, like mine.
And so severe Experience oft reproves
The gay and careless children of the world;
They hear the cold rebuke, and then again
Turn to their sport, as likes them, and dance on!
And let them dance; so all their blooming prime
They give not up to vanity, but learn
That wisdom and that virtue which shall best
Avail them, when the evil days draw nigh,
And the brief blossoms of their spring-time fade.
Now wind we up the glen, and hear below
The dashing torrent, in deep woods concealed,
And now again white-flashing on the view,
O'er the huge craggy fragments. Ancient stream,
That murmurest through the mountain solitudes,
The time has been when no eye marked thy course,
Save His who made the world! Fancy might dream
She saw thee thus bound on from age to age
Unseen of man, whilst awful Nature sat
On the rent rocks, and said: These haunts be mine.
Now Taste has marked thy features; here and there
Touching with tender hand, but injuring not,
Thy beauties; whilst along thy woody verge
Ascends the winding pathway, and the eye
Catches at intervals thy varied falls.
But loftier scenes invite us; pass the hill,
And through the woody hanging, at whose feet
The tinkling Ellen winds, pursue thy way.
Yon bleak and weather-whitened rock, immense,
Upshoots amidst the scene, craggy and steep,
And like some high-embattled citadel,
That awes the low plain shadowing. Half-way up
The purple heath is seen, but bare its brow,
And deep-intrenched, and all beneath it spread
With massy fragments riven from its top.
Amidst the crags, and scarce discerned so high,
Hangs here and there a sheep, by its faint bleat
Discovered, whilst the astonished eye looks up,
And marks it on the precipice's brink
Pick its scant food secure:--and fares it not
Ev'n so with you, poor orphans, ye who climb
The rugged path of life without a friend;
And over broken crags bear hardly on,
With pale imploring looks, that seem to say,
My mother! she is buried, and at rest,
Laid in her grave-clothes; and the heart is still,
The only heart that throughout all the world
Beat anxiously for you! Oh, yet bear on;
He who sustains the bleating lamb shall feed
And comfort you: meantime the heaven's pure beam,
That breaks above the sable mountain's brow,
Lighting, one after one, the sunless crags,
Awakes the blissful confidence, that here,
Or in a world where sorrow never comes,
All shall be well.
Now through the whispering wood
We steal, and mark the old and mossy oaks
Imboss the mountain slope; or the wild ash,
With rich red clusters mantling; or the birch,
In lonely glens light-wavering; till behold!
The rapid river shooting through the gloom
Its lucid line along; and on its side
The bordering pastures green, where the swinked ox
Lies dreaming, heedless of the numerous flies
That, in the transitory sunshine, hum
Round his broad breast; and further up the cot,
With blue, light smoke ascending; images
Of peace and comfort! The wild rocks around
Endear your smile the more, and the full mind,
Sliding from scenes of dread magnificence,
Sinks on your charms reposing; such repose
The sage may feel, when, filled and half-oppressed
With vast conceptions, smiling he returns
To life's consoling sympathies, and hears,
With heartfelt tenderness, the bells ring out;
Or pipe upon the mountains; or the low
Of herds slow winding down the cottaged vale,
Where day's last sunshine linger. Such repose
He feels, who, following where his SHAKSPEARE leads,
As in a dream, through an enchanted land,
Here, with Macbeth, in the dread cavern hails
The weird sisters, and the dismal deed
Without a name; there sees the charmed isle,
The lone domain of Prospero; and, hark!
Wild music, such as earth scarce seems to own,
And Ariel o'er the slow-subsiding surge
Singing her smooth air quaintly! Such repose
Steals o'er her spirits, when, through storms at sea,
Fancy has followed some nigh-foundered bark
Full many a league, in ocean's solitude
Tossed far beyond the Cape of utmost Horn,
That stems the roaring deep; her dreary track
Still Fancy follows, and at dead of night
Hears, with strange thunder, the huge fragments fall
Crashing, from mountains of high-drifting ice
That o'er her bows gleam fearful; till at last
She hails the gallant ship in some still bay
Safe moored; or of delightful Tinian;
Smiling, like fairy isle, amid the waste;
Or of New Zealand, where from sheltering rocks
The clear cascades gush beautiful, and high
The woodland scenery towers above the mast,
Whose long and wavy ensign streams beneath.
Far inland, clad in snow, the mountains lift
Their spiry summits, and endear the more
The sylvan scene around; the healing air
Breathes o'er green myrtles, and the poe-bird flits,
Amid the shade of aromatic shrubs,
With silver neck and blue enamelled wing.
Now cross the stream, and up the narrow track,
That winds along the mountain's edge, behold
The peasant girl ascend: cheerful her look,
Beneath the umbrage of her broad black hat,
And loose her dark-brown hair; the plodding pad
That bears her panting climbs, and with sure step
Avoids the jutting fragments; she, meantime,
Sits unconcerned, till, lessening from the view,
She gains the summit and is seen no more.
All day, along that mountain's heathy waste,
Booted and strapped, and in rough coat succinct,
His small shrill whistle pendent at his breast,
With dogs and gun, untired the sportsman roams;
Nor quits his wildly-devious range, till eve,
Upon the woods, the rocks, and mazy rills
Descending, warns him home: then he rejoins
The social circle, just as the clear moon,
Emerging o'er the sable mountain, sails
Silent, and calm, and beautiful, and sheds
Its solemn grandeur on the shadowy scene.
To music then; and let some chosen strain
Of HANDEL gently recreate the sense,
And give the silent heart to tender joy.
Pass on to the hoar cataract, that foams
Through the dark fissures of the riven rock;
Prone-rushing it descends, and with white whirl,
Save where some silent shady pool receives
Its dash; thence bursting, with collected sweep,
And hollow sound, it hurries, till it falls
Foaming in the wild stream that winds below.
Dark trees, that to the mountain's height ascend,
O'ershade with pendent boughs its mossy course,
And, looking up, the eye beholds it flash
Beneath the incumbent gloom, from ledge to ledge
Shooting its silvery foam, and far within
Wreathing its curve fantastic. If the harp
Of deep poetic inspiration, struck
At times by the pale minstrel, whilst a strange
And beauteous light filled his uplifted eye,
Hath ever sounded into mortal ears,
Here I might think I heard its tones, and saw,
Sublime amidst the solitary scene,
With dimly-gleaming harp, and snowy stole,
And cheek in momentary frenzy flushed,
The great musician stand. Hush, every wind
That shakes the murmuring branches! and thou stream,
Descending still with hollow-sounding sweep,
Hush! 'Twas the bard struck the loud strings: Arise,
Son of the magic song, arise!
And bid the deep-toned lyre
Pour forth its manly melodies.
With eyes on fire,
CARADOC rushed upon the foe;
He reared his arm--he laid the mighty low!
O'er the plain see him urge his gore-bathed steed!
They bleed, the Romans bleed!
He lifts his lance on high,
They fly! the fierce invaders fly!
Fear not now the horse or spear,
Fear not now the foeman's might;
Victory the cry shall hear
Of those who for their country fight;
O'er the slain
That strew the plain,
Stern on her sable war-horse shall she ride,
And lift her red right hand, in their heart's blood deep dyed!
Return, my Muse! the fearful sound is past;
And now a little onward, where the way
Ascends above the oaks that far below
Shade the rude steep, let Contemplation lead
Our footsteps; from this shady eminence
'Tis pleasant and yet fearful to look down
Upon the river roaring, and far off
To see it stretch in peace, and mark the rocks
One after one, in solemn majesty
Unfolding their wild reaches; here with wood
Mantled, beyond abrupt and bare, and each
As if it strove, with emulous disdain,
To tower in ruder, darker amplitude.
Pause, ere we enter the long craggy vale;
It seems the abode of Solitude. So high
The rock's bleak summit frowns above our head,
Looking immediate down, we almost fear
Lest some enormous fragment should descend
With hideous sweep into the vale, and crush
The intruding visitant. No sound is here,
Save of the stream that shrills, and now and then
A cry as of faint wailing, when the kite
Comes sailing o'er the crags, or straggling lamb
Bleats for its mother. Here, remote from man,
And life's discordant roar, might Piety
Lift up her early orisons to Him
Who made the world; who piled up, mighty rocks,
Your huge o'ershadowing summits; who devolved
The mighty rivers on their mazy course;
Who bade the seasons roll, and they rolled on
In harmony; who filled the earth with joy,
And spread it in magnificence. O GOD!
Thou also madest the great water-flood,
The deep that uttereth thy voice; whose waves
Toss fearful at thy bidding. Thou didst speak,
And lo! the great and glorious sun, from night
Tenfold upspringing, through the heavens' wide way
Held his untired career. These, in their course,
As with one shout of acclamation, praise
Thee, LORD! thee, FATHER! thee, ALMIGHTY KING!
Maker of earth and heaven! Nor less the flower
That shakes its purple head, and smiles unseen
Upon the mountain's van; nor less the stream
That tinkles through the cliff-encircled bourne,
Cheering with music the lone place, proclaim:
In wisdom, Father, hast thou made them all!
Scenes of retired sublimity, that fill
With fearful ecstasy and holy trance
The pausing mind! we leave your awful gloom,
And lo! the footway plank, that leads across
The narrow torrent, foaming through the chasm
Below; the rugged stones are washed and worn
Into a thousand shapes, and hollows scooped
By long attrition of the ceaseless surge,
Smooth, deep, and polished as the marble urn,
In their hard forms. Here let us sit, and watch
The struggling current burst its headlong way,
Hearing the noise it makes, and musing much
On the strange changes of this nether world.
How many ages must have swept to dust
The still succeeding multitudes, that 'fret
Their little hour' upon this restless scene,
Or ere the sweeping waters could have cut
The solid rock so deep! As now its roar
Comes hollow from below, methinks we hear
The noise of generations, as they pass,
O'er the frail arch of earthly vanity,
To silence and oblivion. The loud coil
Ne'er ceases; as the running river sounds
From age to age, though each particular wave
That made its brief noise, as it hurried on,
Ev'n whilst we speak, is past, and heard no more;
So ever to the ear of Heaven ascends
The long, loud murmur of the rolling globe;
Its strife, its toils, its sighs, its shouts, the same!
But lo! upon the hilly croft, and scarce
Distinguished from the crags, the peasant hut
Forth peeping; nor unwelcome is the sight.
It seems to say: Though solitude be sweet,
And sweet are all the images that float
Like summer-clouds before the eye, and charm
The pensive wanderer's way, 'tis sweeter yet
To think that in this world a brother lives.
And lovelier smiles the scene, that, 'mid the wilds
Of rocks and mountains, the bemused thought
Remembers of humanity, and calls
The wildly-roving fancy back to life.
Here, then, I leave my harp, which I have touched
With careless hand, and here I bid farewell
To Fancy's fading pictures, and farewell
The ideal spirit that abides unseen
'Mid rocks, and woods, and solitudes. I hail
Rather the steps of Culture, that ascend
The precipice's side. She bids the wild
Bloom, and adorns with beauty not its own
The ridged mountain's tract; she speaks, and lo!
The yellow harvest nods upon the slope;
And through the dark and matted moss upshoots
The bursting clover, smiling to the sun.
These are thy offspring, Culture! the green herb
Is thine, that decks with rich luxuriance
The pasture's lawny range; the yellow corn,
That waves upon the upland ridge, is thine;
Thine too the elegant abode, that smiles
Amidst the rocky scene, and wakes the thought,
The tender thought, of all life's charities.
And senseless were my heart, could I look back
Upon the varied way my feet have trod,
Without a silent prayer that health and joy,
And love and happiness, may long abide
In the romantic vale where Ellen winds.

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Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Custer: Book Second

I

Oh, for the power to call to aid, of mine
Own humble Muse, the famed and sacred nine.
Then might she fitly sing, and only then,
Of those intrepid and unflinching men
Who knew no homes save ever moving tents,
And who 'twixt fierce unfriendly elements
And wild barbarians warred. Yet unfraid,
Since love impels thy strains, sing, sing, my modest maid.

II

Relate how Custer in midwinter sought
Far Washita's cold shores; tell why he fought
With savage nomads fortressed in deep snows.
Woman, thou source of half the sad world's woes
And all its joys, what sanguinary strife
Has vexed the earth and made contention rife
Because of thee! For, hidden in man's heart,
Ay, in his very soul, of his true self a part,

III

The natural impulse and the wish belongs
To win thy favor and redress thy wrongs.
Alas! for woman, and for man, alas!
If that dread hour should ever come to pass,
When, through her new-born passion for control,
She drives that beauteous impulse from his soul.
What were her vaunted independence worth
If to obtain she sells her sweetest rights of birth?

IV

God formed fair woman for her true estate-
Man's tender comrade, and his equal mate,
Not his competitor in toil and trade.
While coarser man, with greater strength was made
To fight her battles and her rights protect.
Ay! to protect the rights of earth's elect
(The virgin maiden and the spotless wife)
From immemorial time has man laid down his life.

V

And now brave Custer's valiant army pressed
Across the dangerous desert of the West,
To rescue fair white captives from the hands
Of brutal Cheyenne and Comanche bands,
On Washita's bleak banks. Nine hundred strong
It moved its slow determined way along,
Past frontier homes left dark and desolate
By the wild Indians' fierce and unrelenting hate;

VI

Past forts where ranchmen, strong of heart and bold,
Wept now like orphaned children as they told,
With quivering muscles and with anguished breath,
Of captured wives, whose fate was worse than death;
Past naked bodies whose disfiguring wounds
Spoke of the hellish hate of human hounds;
Past bleaching skeleton and rifled grave,
On pressed th' avenging host, to rescue and to save.

VII

Uncertain Nature, like a fickle friend,
(Worse than the foe on whom we may depend)
Turned on these dauntless souls a brow of wrath
And hurled her icy jav'lins in their path.
With treacherous quicksands, and with storms that blight,
Entrapped their footsteps and confused their sight.
'Yet on,' urged Custer, 'on at any cost,
No hour is there to waste, no moment to be lost.'

VIII

Determined, silent, on they rode, and on,
Like fabled Centaurs, men and steeds seemed one.
No bugle echoed and no voice spoke near,
Lest on some lurking Indian's list'ning ear
The sound might fall. Through swift descending snow
The stealthy guides crept, tracing out the foe;
No fire was lighted, and no halt was made
From haggard gray-lipped dawn till night lent friendly shade.

IX

Then, by the shelt'ring river's bank at last,
The weary warriors paused for their repast.
A couch of ice and falling shows for spread
Made many a suffering soldier's chilling bed.
They slept to dream of glory and delight,
While the pale fingers of the pitying night
Wove ghostly winding sheets for that doomed score
Who, ere another eve, should sleep to wake no more.

X

But those who slept not, saw with startled eyes
Far off, athwart dim unprotecting skies,
Ascending slowly with majestic grace,
A lustrous rocket, rising out of space.
'Behold the signal of the foe,' cried one,
The field is lost before the strife's begun.
Yet no! for see! yon rays spread near and far;
It is the day's first smile, the radiant morning star.

XI

The long hours counting till the daylight broke,
In whispered words the restless warriors spoke.
They talked of battles, but they thought of home
(For hearts are faithful though the feet may roam).
Brave Hamilton, all eager for the strife,
Mused o'er that two-fold mystery-death and life;
'And when I die,' quoth he, 'mine be the part
To fall upon the field, a bullet in my heart.'

XII

At break of dawn the scouts crept in to say
The foe was camped a rifle shot away.
The baying of a dog, an infant's cry
Pierced through the air; sleep fled from every eye.
To horse! to arms! the dead demand the dead!
Let the grand charge upon the lodge be led!
Let the Mosaic law, life for a life
Pay the long standing debt of blood. War to the knife!

XIII

So spake each heart in that unholy rage
Which fires the brain, when war the thoughts engage.
War, hideous war, appealing to the worst
In complex man, and waking that wild thirst
For human blood which blood alone can slake.
Yet for their country's safety, and the sake
Of tortured captives moaning in alarm
The Indian must be made to fear the law's strong arm.

XIV

A noble vengeance burned in Custer's breast,
But, as he led his army to the crest,
Above the wigwams, ready for the charge
He felt the heart within him, swelling large
With human pity, as an infant's wail
Shrilled once again above the wintry gale.
Then hosts of murdered children seemed to rise;
And shame his halting thought with sad accusing eyes,

XV

And urge him on to action. Stern of brow
The just avenger, and the General now,
He gives the silent signal to the band
Which, all impatient, waits for his command.
Cold lips to colder metal press; the air
Echoes those merry strains which mean despair
For sleeping chieftain and for toiling squaw,
But joy to those stern hearts which glory in the law

XVI

Of murder paying murder's awful debt.
And now four squadrons in one charge are met.
From east and west, from north and south they come,
At call of bugle and at roll of drum.
Their rifles rain hot hail upon the foe,
Who flee from danger in death's jaws to go.
The Indians fight like maddened bulls at bay,
And dying shriek and groan, wound the young ear of day.

XVII

A pallid captive and a white-browed boy
Add to the tumult piercing cries of joy,
As forth they fly, with high hope animate.
A hideous squaw pursues them with her hate;
Her knife descends with sickening force and sound;
Their bloody entrails stain the snow-clad ground.
She shouts with glee, then yells with rage and falls
Dead by her victims' side, pierced by avenging balls.

XVIII

Now war runs riot, carnage reigns supreme.
All thoughts of mercy fade from Custer's scheme.
Inhuman methods for inhuman foes,
Who feed on horrors and exult in woes.
To conquer and subdue alone remains
In dealing with the red man on the plains.
The breast that knows no conscience yields to fear,
Strike! let the Indian meet his master now and here.

XIX

With thoughts like these was Custer's mind engaged.
The gentlest are the sternest when enraged.
All felt the swift contagion of his ire,
For he was one who could arouse and fire
The coldest heart, so ardent was his own.
His fearless eye, his calm intrepid tone,
Bespoke the leader, strong with conscious power,
Whom following friends will bless, while foes will curse and cower.

XX

Again they charge! and now among the killed
Lies Hamilton, his wish so soon fulfilled,
Brave Elliott pursues across the field
The flying foe, his own young life to yield.
But like the leaves in some autumnal gale
The red men fall in Washita's wild vale.
Each painted face and black befeathered head
Still more repulsive seems with death's grim pallor wed.

XXI

New forces gather on surrounding knolls,
And fierce and fiercer war's red river rolls.
With bright-hued pennants flying from each lance
The gayly costumed Kiowas advance.
And bold Comanches (Bedouins of the land)
Infuse fresh spirit in the Cheyenne band.
While from the ambush of some dark ravine
Flash arrows aimed by hands, unerring and unseen.

XXIII

The hours advance; the storm clouds roll away;
Still furious and more furious grows the fray.
The yellow sun makes ghastlier still the sight
Of painted corpses, staring in its light.
No longer slaves, but comrades of their griefs,
The squaws augment the forces of their chiefs.
They chant weird dirges in a minor key,
While from the narrow door of wigwam and tepee

XXIII

Cold glittering eyes above cold glittering steel
Their deadly purpose and their hate reveal.
The click of pistols and the crack of guns
Proclaim war's daughters dangerous as her sons.
She who would wield the soldier's sword and lance
Must be prepared to take the soldier's chance.
She who would shoot must serve as target, too;
The battle-frenzied men, infuriate now pursue.

XXIV

And blood of warrior, woman and papoose,
Flow free as waters when some dam breaks loose;
Consuming fire, the wanton friend of war
(Whom allies worship and whom foes abhor)
Now trails her crimson garments through the street,
And ruin marks the passing of her feet.
Full three-score lodges smoke upon the plain,
And all the vale is strewn with bodies of the slain.

XXV

And those who are not numbered with the dead
Before all-conquering Custer now are led.
To soothe their woes, and calm their fears he seeks;
An Osage guide interprets while he speaks.
The vanquished captives, humbled, cowed and spent
Read in the victor's eye his kind intent.
The modern victor is as kind as brave;
His captive is his guest, not his insulted slave.

XXVI

Mahwissa, sister of the slaughtered chief
Of all the Cheyennes, listens; and her grief
Yields now to hope; and o'er her withered face
There flits the stealthy cunning of her race.
Then forth she steps, and thus begins to speak:
'To aid the fallen and support the weak
Is man's true province; and to ease the pain
Of those o'er whom it is his purpose now to reign.

XXVII

'Let the strong chief unite with theirs his life,
And take this black-eyed maiden for a wife.'
Then, moving with an air of proud command,
She leads a dusky damsel by the hand,
And places her at wondering Custer's side,
Invoking choicest blessings on the bride
And all unwilling groom, who thus replies.
'Fair is the Indian maid, with bright bewildering eyes,

XXVIII

'But fairer still is one who, year on year,
Has borne man's burdens, conquered woman's fear;
And at my side rode mile on weary mile,
And faced all deaths, all dangers, with a smile,
Wise as Minerva, as Diana brave,
Is she whom generous gods in kindness gave
To share the hardships of my wandering life,
Companion, comrade, friend, my loved and loyal wife.

XXIX

'The white chief weds but one. Take back thy maid.'
He ceased, and o'er Mahwissa's face a shade
Of mingled scorn and pity and surprise
Sweeps as she slow retreats, and thus replies:
'Rich is the pale-faced chief in battle fame,
But poor is he who but one wife may claim.
Wives are the red-skinned heroes' rightful spoil;
In war they prove his strength, in times of peace they toil.'

XXX

But hark! The bugle echoes o'er the plains
And sounds again those merry Celtic strains
Which oft have called light feet to lilting dance,
But now they mean the order to advance.
Along the river's bank, beyond the hill
Two thousand foemen lodge, unconquered still.
Ere falls night's curtain on this bloody play,
The army must proceed, with feint of further fray.

XXXI

The weary warriors mount their foam-flecked steeds,
With flags unfurled the dauntless host proceeds.
What though the foe outnumbers two to one?
Boldness achieves what strength oft leaves undone;
A daring mein will cause brute force to cower,
And courage is the secret source of power.
As Custer's column wheels upon their sight
The frightened red men yield the untried field by flight.

XXXII

Yet when these conquering heroes sink to rest,
Dissatisfaction gnaws the leader's breast,
For far away across vast seas of snows
Held prisoners still by hostile Arapahoes
And Cheyennes unsubdued, two captives wait.
On God and Custer hangs their future fate.
May the Great Spirit nerve the mortal's arm
To rescue suffering souls from worse than death's alarm.

XXXIII

But ere they seek to rescue the oppressed,
The valiant dead, in state, are laid to rest.
Mourned Hamilton, the faithful and the brave,
Nine hundred comrades follow to the grave;
And close behind the banner-hidden corse
All draped in black, walks mournfully his horse;
While tears of sound drip through the sunlit day.
A soldier may not weep, but drums and bugles may.

XXXIV

Now, Muse, recount, how after long delays
And dangerous marches through untrodden ways,
Where cold and hunger on each hour attend,
At last the army gains the journey's end.
An Indian village bursts upon the eye;
Two hundred lodges, sleep-encompassed lie,
There captives moan their anguished prayers through tears,
While in the silent dawn the armied answer nears.

XXXV

To snatch two fragile victims from the foe
Nine hundred men have traversed leagues of snow.
Each woe they suffered in a hostile land
The flame of vengeance in their bosoms fanned.
They thirst for slaughter, and the signal wait
To wrest the captives from their horrid fate.
Each warrior's hand upon his rifle falls,
Each savage soldier's heart for awful bloodshed calls.

XXXVI

And one, in years a youth, in woe a man,
Sad Brewster, scarred by sorrow's blighting ban,
Looks, panting, where his captive sister sleeps,
And o'er his face the shade of murder creeps.
His nostrils quiver like a hungry beast
Who scents anear the bloody carnal feast.
He longs to leap down in that slumbering vale
And leave no foe alive to tell the awful tale.

XXXVII

Not so, calm Custer. Sick of gory strife,
He hopes for rescue with no loss of life;
And plans that bloodless battle of the plains
Where reasoning mind outwits mere savage brains.
The sullen soldiers follow where he leads;
No gun is emptied, and no foeman bleeds.
Fierce for the fight and eager for the fray
They look upon their Chief in undisguised dismay.

XXXVIII

He hears the murmur of their discontent,
But sneers can never change a strong mind's bent.
He knows his purpose and he does not swerve.
And with a quiet mien and steady nerve
He meets dark looks where'er his steps may go,
And silence that is bruising as a blow,
Where late were smiles and words of ardent praise.
So pass the lagging weeks of wearying delays.

XXXIX

Inaction is not always what it seems,
And Custer's mind with plan and project teems.
Fixed in his peaceful purpose he abides
With none takes counsel and in none confides;
But slowly weaves about the foe a net
Which leaves them wholly at his mercy, yet
He strikes no fateful blow; he takes no life,
And holds in check his men, who pant for bloody strife.

XL

Intrepid warrior and skilled diplomate,
In his strong hands he holds the red man's fate.
The craftiest plot he checks with counterplot,
Till tribe by tribe the tricky foe is brought
To fear his vengeance and to know his power.
As man's fixed gaze will make a wild beast cower,
So these crude souls feel that unflinching will
Which draws them by its force, yet does not deign to kill.

XLI

And one by one the hostile Indians send
Their chiefs to seek a peaceful treaty's end.
Great councils follow; skill with cunning copes
And conquers it; and Custer sees his hopes
So long delayed, like stars storm hidden, rise
To radiate with splendor all his skies.
The stubborn Cheyennes, cowed at last by fear,
Leading the captive pair, o'er spring-touched hills appear.

XLII

With breath suspended, now the whole command
Waits the approach of that equestrian band.
Nearer it comes, still nearer, then a cry,
Half sob, half shriek, goes piercing God's blue sky,
And Brewster, like a nimble-footed doe,
Or like an arrow hurrying from a bow,
Shoots swiftly through the intervening space
And that lost sister clasps, in sorrowing love's embrace.

XLIII

And men who leaned o'er Hamilton's rude bier
And saw his dead dear face without a tear,
Strong souls who early learned the manly art
Of keeping from the eye what's in the heart,
Soldiers who look unmoved on death's pale brow,
Avert their eyes, to hide their moisture now.
The briny flood forced back from shores of woe,
Needs but to touch the strands of joy to overflow.

XLIV

About the captives welcoming warriors crowd,
All eyes are wet, and Brewster sobs aloud.
Alas, the ravage wrought by toil and woe
On faces that were fair twelve moons ago.
Bronzed by exposure to the heat and cold,
Still young in years, yet prematurely old,
By insults humbled and by labor worn,
They stand in youth's bright hour, of all youth's graces shorn.

XLV

A scanty garment rudely made of sacks
Hangs from their loins; bright blankets drape their backs;
About their necks are twisted tangled strings
Of gaudy beads, while tinkling wire and rings
Of yellow brass on wrists and fingers glow.
Thus, to assuage the anger of the foe
The cunning Indians decked the captive pair
Who in one year have known a lifetime of despair.

XLVI

But love can resurrect from sorrow's tomb
The vanished beauty and the faded bloom,
As sunlight lifts the bruised flower from the sod,
Can lift crushed hearts to hope, for love is God.
Already now in freedom's glad release
The hunted look of fear gives place to peace,
And in their eyes at thought of home appears
That rainbow light of joy which brightest shines through tears.

XLVII

About the leader thick the warriors crowd;
Late loud in censure, now in praises loud,
They laud the tactics, and the skill extol
Which gained a bloodless yet a glorious goal.
Alone and lonely in the path of right
Full many a brave soul walks. When gods requite
And crown his actions as their worth demands,
Among admiring throngs the hero always stands.


XLVIII

Back to the East the valorous squadrons sweep;
The earth, arousing from her long, cold sleep,
Throws from her breast the coverlet of snow,
Revealing Spring's soft charms which lie below.
Suppressed emotions in each heart arise,
The wooer wakens and the warrior dies.
The bird of prey is vanquished by the dove,
And thoughts of bloody strife give place to thoughts of love.

XLIX

The mighty plains, devoid of whispering trees,
Guard well the secrets of departed seas.
Where once great tides swept by with ebb and flow
The scorching sun looks down in tearless woe.
And fierce tornadoes in ungoverned pain
Mourn still the loss of that mysterious main.
Across this ocean bed the soldiers fly-
Home is the gleaming goal that lures each eager eye.

L

Like some elixir which the gods prepare,
They drink the viewless tonic of the air,
Sweet with the breath of startled antelopes
Which speed before them over swelling slopes.
Now like a serpent writhing o'er the moor,
The column curves and makes a slight detour,
As Custer leads a thousand men away
To save a ground bird's nest which in the footpath lay.

LI

Mile following mile, against the leaning skies
Far off they see a dull dark cloud arise.
The hunter's instinct in each heart is stirred,
Beholding there in one stupendous herd
A hundred thousand buffaloes. Oh great
Unwieldy proof of Nature's cruder state,
Rough remnant of a prehistoric day,
Thou, with the red man, too, must shortly pass away.

LII

Upon those spreading plains is there not room
For man and bison, that he seals its doom?
What pleasure lies and what seductive charm
In slaying with no purpose but to harm?
Alas, that man, unable to create,
Should thirst forever to exterminate,
And in destruction find his fiercest joy.
The gods alone create, gods only should destroy.

LIII

The flying hosts a straggling bull pursue;
Unerring aim, the skillful Custer drew.
The wounded beast turns madly in despair
And man and horse are lifted high in air.
The conscious steed needs not the guiding rein;
Back with a bound and one quick cry of pain
He springs, and halts, well knowing where must fall
In that protected frame, the sure death dealing ball.

LIV

With minds intent upon the morrow's feast,
The men surround the carcass of the beast.
Rolled on his back, he lies with lolling tongue,
Soon to the saddle savory steaks are hung.
And from his mighty head, great tufts of hair
Are cut as trophies for some lady fair.
To vultures then they leave the torn remains
Of what an hour ago was monarch of the plains.

LV

Far off, two bulls in jealous war engage,
Their blood-shot eye balls roll in furious rage;
With maddened hoofs they mutilate the ground
And loud their angry bellowings resound;
With shaggy heads bent low they plunge and roar,
Till both broad bellies drip with purple gore.
Meanwhile, the heifer, whom the twain desire,
Stands browsing near the pair, indifferent to their ire.

LVI

At last she lifts her lazy head and heeds
The clattering hoofs of swift advancing steeds.
Off to the herd with cumb'rous gait she runs
And leaves the bulls to face the threatening guns.
No more for them the free life of the plains,
Its mating pleasures and its warring pains.
Their quivering flesh shall feed unnumbered foes,
Their tufted tails adorn the soldiers' saddle bows.

LVII

Now into camp the conquering hosts advance;
On burnished arms the brilliant sunbeams glance.
Brave Custer leads, blonde as the gods of old;
Back from his brow blow clustering locks of gold,
And, like a jewel in a brook, there lies,
Far in the depths of his blue guarded eyes,
The thought of one whose smiling lips upcurled,
Mean more of joy to him than plaudits of the world.

LVIII

The troops in columns of platoons appear
Close to the leader following. Ah, here
The poetry of war is fully seen,
Its prose forgotten; as against the green
Of Mother Nature, uniformed in blue,
The soldiers pass for Sheridan's review.
The motion-music of the moving throng,
Is like a silent tune, set to a wordless song.

LIX

The guides and trailers, weird in war's array,
Precede the troops along the grassy way.
They chant wild songs, and with loud noise and stress,
In savage manner savage joy express.
The Indian captives, blanketed in red,
On ponies mounted, by the scouts are led.
Like sumach bushes, etched on evening skies,
Against the blue-clad troops, this patch of color lies.

LX

High o'er the scene vast music billows bound,
And all the air is liquid with the sound
Of those invisible compelling waves.
Perchance they reach the low and lonely graves
Where sleep brave Elliott and Hamilton,
And whisper there the tale of victory won;
Or do the souls of soldiers tried and true
Come at the bugle call, and march in grand review?

LXI

The pleased Commander watches in surprise
This splendid pageant surge before his eyes.
Not in those mighty battle days of old
Did scenes like this upon his sight unfold.
But now it passes. Drums and bugles cease
To dash war billows on the shores of Peace.
The victors smile on fair broad bosomed Sleep
While in her soothing arms, the vanquished cease to weep

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Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Custer

BOOK FIRST.

I.

ALL valor died not on the plains of Troy.
Awake, my Muse, awake! be thine the joy
To sing of deeds as dauntless and as brave
As e'er lent luster to a warrior's grave.
Sing of that noble soldier, nobler man,
Dear to the heart of each American.
Sound forth his praise from sea to listening sea-
Greece her Achilles claimed, immortal Custer, we.

II.

Intrepid are earth's heroes now as when
The gods came down to measure strength with men.
Let danger threaten or let duty call,
And self surrenders to the needs of all;
Incurs vast perils, or, to save those dear,
Embraces death without one sigh or tear.
Life's martyrs still the endless drama play
Though no great Homer lives to chant their worth to-day.

III.

And if he chanted, who would list his songs,
So hurried now the world's gold-seeking throngs?
And yet shall silence mantle mighty deeds?
Awake, dear Muse, and sing though no ear heeds!
Extol the triumphs, and bemoan the end
Of that true hero, lover, son and friend
Whose faithful heart in his last choice was shown-
Death with the comrades dear, refusing flight alone.

IV.

He who was born for battle and for strife
Like some caged eagle frets in peaceful life;
So Custer fretted when detained afar
From scenes of stirring action and of war.
And as the captive eagle in delight,
When freedom offers, plumes himself for flight
And soars away to thunder clouds on high,
With palpitating wings and wild exultant cry,

V.

So lion-hearted Custer sprang to arms,
And gloried in the conflict's loud alarms.
But one dark shadow marred his bounding joy;
And then the soldier vanished, and the boy,
The tender son, clung close, with sobbing breath,
To her from whom each parting was new death;
That mother who like goddesses of old,
Gave to the mighty Mars, three warriors brave and bold,

VI.

Yet who, unlike those martial dames of yore,
Grew pale and shuddered at the sight of gore.
A fragile being, born to grace the hearth,
Untroubled by the conflicts of the earth.
Some gentle dove who reared young eaglets, might,
In watching those bold birdlings take their flight,
Feel what that mother felt who saw her sons
Rush from her loving arms, to face death-dealing guns.

VII.

But ere thy lyre is strung to martial strains
Of wars which sent our hero o'er the plains,
To add the cypress to his laureled brow,
Be brave, my Muse, and darker truths avow.
Let Justice ask a preface to thy songs,
Before the Indian's crimes declare his wrongs;
Before effects, wherein all horrors blend,
Declare the shameful cause, precursor of the end.

VIII.

When first this soil the great Columbus trod,
He was less like the image of his God
Than those ingenuous souls, unspoiled by art,
Who lived so near to Mother Nature's heart;
Those simple children of the wood and wave,
As frank as trusting, and as true as brave;
Savage they were, when on some hostile raid
(For where is he so high, whom war does not degrade?) .

IX.

But dark deceit and falsehood's shameless shame
They had not learned, until the white man came.
He taught them, too, the lurking devil's joy
In liquid lies, that lure but to destroy.
With wily words, as false as they were sweet,
He spread his snares for unsuspecting feet;
Paid truth with guile, and trampled in the dust
Their gentle childlike faith and unaffected trust.

X.

And for the sport of idle kings and knaves
Of Nature's greater noblemen, made slaves.
Alas, the hour, when the wronged Indian knows
His seeming benefactors are but foes.
His kinsmen kidnapped and his lands possessed,
The demon woke in that untutored breast.
Four hundred years have rolled upon their way-
The ruthless demon rules the red man to this day.

XI.

If, in the morning of success, that grand
Invincible discoverer of our land
Had made no lodge or wigwam desolate
To carry trophies to the proud and great;
If on our history's page there were no blot
Left by the cruel rapine of Cabot,
Of Verrazin, and Hudson, dare we claim
The Indian of the plains, to-day had been same?

XII.

For in this brief existence, not alone
Do our lives gather what our hands have sown,
But we reap, too, what others long ago
Sowed, careless of the harvests that might grow.
Thus hour by hour the humblest human souls
Inscribe in cipher on unending scrolls,
The history of nations yet to be;
Incite fierce bloody wars, to rage from sea to sea,

XIII.

Or pave the way to peace. There is no past,
So deathless are events-results so vast.
And he who strives to make one act or hour
Stand separate and alone, needs first the power
To look upon the breaking wave and say,
'These drops were bosomed by a cloud to-day,
And those from far mid-ocean's crest were sent.'
So future, present, past, in one wide sea are blent.


BOOK SECOND.

I.

Oh, for the power to call to aid, of mine
Own humble Muse, the famed and sacred nine.
Then might she fitly sing, and only then,
Of those intrepid and unflinching men
Who knew no homes save ever moving tents,
And who 'twixt fierce unfriendly elements
And wild barbarians warred. Yet unfraid,
Since love impels thy strains, sing, sing, my modest maid.

II.

Relate how Custer in midwinter sought
Far Washita's cold shores; tell why he fought
With savage nomads fortressed in deep snows.
Woman, thou source of half the sad world's woes
And all its joys, what sanguinary strife
Has vexed the earth and made contention rife
Because of thee! For, hidden in man's heart,
Ay, in his very soul, of his true self a part,

III.

The natural impulse and the wish belongs
To win thy favor and redress thy wrongs.
Alas! for woman, and for man, alas!
If that dread hour should ever come to pass,
When, through her new-born passion for control,
She drives that beauteous impulse from his soul.
What were her vaunted independence worth
If to obtain she sells her sweetest rights of birth?

IV.

God formed fair woman for her true estate-
Man's tender comrade, and his equal mate,
Not his competitor in toil and trade.
While coarser man, with greater strength was made
To fight her battles and her rights protect.
Ay! to protect the rights of earth's elect
(The virgin maiden and the spotless wife)
From immemorial time has man laid down his life.

V.

And now brave Custer's valiant army pressed
Across the dangerous desert of the West,
To rescue fair white captives from the hands
Of brutal Cheyenne and Comanche bands,
On Washita's bleak banks. Nine hundred strong
It moved its slow determined way along,
Past frontier homes left dark and desolate
By the wild Indians' fierce and unrelenting hate;

VI.

Past forts where ranchmen, strong of heart and bold,
Wept now like orphaned children as they told,
With quivering muscles and with anguished breath,
Of captured wives, whose fate was worse than death;
Past naked bodies whose disfiguring wounds
Spoke of the hellish hate of human hounds;
Past bleaching skeleton and rifled grave,
On pressed th' avenging host, to rescue and to save.

VII.

Uncertain Nature, like a fickle friend,
(Worse than the foe on whom we may depend)
Turned on these dauntless souls a brow of wrath
And hurled her icy jav'lins in their path.
With treacherous quicksands, and with storms that blight,
Entrapped their footsteps and confused their sight.
'Yet on, ' urged Custer, 'on at any cost,
No hour is there to waste, no moment to be lost.'

VIII.

Determined, silent, on they rode, and on,
Like fabled Centaurs, men and steeds seemed one.
No bugle echoed and no voice spoke near,
Lest on some lurking Indian's list'ning ear
The sound might fall. Through swift descending snow
The stealthy guides crept, tracing out the foe;
No fire was lighted, and no halt was made
From haggard gray-lipped dawn till night lent friendly shade.

IX.

Then, by the shelt'ring river's bank at last,
The weary warriors paused for their repast.
A couch of ice and falling shows for spread
Made many a suffering soldier's chilling bed.
They slept to dream of glory and delight,
While the pale fingers of the pitying night
Wove ghostly winding sheets for that doomed score
Who, ere another eve, should sleep to wake no more.

X.

But those who slept not, saw with startled eyes
Far off, athwart dim unprotecting skies,
Ascending slowly with majestic grace,
A lustrous rocket, rising out of space.
'Behold the signal of the foe, ' cried one,
The field is lost before the strife's begun.
Yet no! for see! yon rays spread near and far;
It is the day's first smile, the radiant morning star.

XI.

The long hours counting till the daylight broke,
In whispered words the restless warriors spoke.
They talked of battles, but they thought of home
(For hearts are faithful though the feet may roam) .
Brave Hamilton, all eager for the strife,
Mused o'er that two-fold mystery-death and life;
'And when I die, ' quoth he, ' mine be the part
To fall upon the field, a bullet in my heart.'

XII.

At break of dawn the scouts crept in to say
The foe was camped a rifle shot away.
The baying of a dog, an infant's cry
Pierced through the air; sleep fled from every eye.
To horse! to arms! the dead demand the dead!
Let the grand charge upon the lodge be led!
Let the Mosaic law, life for a life
Pay the long standing debt of blood. War to the knife!

XIII.

So spake each heart in that unholy rage
Which fires the brain, when war the thoughts engage.
War, hideous war, appealing to the worst
In complex man, and waking that wild thirst
For human blood which blood alone can slake.
Yet for their country's safety, and the sake
Of tortured captives moaning in alarm
The Indian must be made to fear the law's strong arm.


XIV.

A noble vengeance burned in Custer's breast,
But, as he led his army to the crest,
Above the wigwams, ready for the charge
He felt the heart within him, swelling large
With human pity, as an infant's wail
Shrilled once again above the wintry gale.
Then hosts of murdered children seemed to rise;
And shame his halting thought with sad accusing eyes,

XV.
And urge him on to action. Stern of brow
The just avenger, and the General now,
He gives the silent signal to the band
Which, all impatient, waits for his command.
Cold lips to colder metal press; the air
Echoes those merry strains which mean despair
For sleeping chieftain and for toiling squaw,
But joy to those stern hearts which glory in the law

XVI.
Of murder paying murder's awful debt.
And now four squadrons in one charge are met.
From east and west, from north and south they come,
At call of bugle and at roll of drum.
Their rifles rain hot hail upon the foe,
Who flee from danger in death's jaws to go.
The Indians fight like maddened bulls at bay,
And dying shriek and groan, wound the young ear of day.

XVII.
A pallid captive and a white-browed boy
Add to the tumult piercing cries of joy,
As forth they fly, with high hope animate.
A hideous squaw pursues them with her hate;
Her knife descends with sickening force and sound;
Their bloody entrails stain the snow-clad ground.
She shouts with glee, then yells with rage and falls
Dead by her victims' side, pierced by avenging balls.

XVIII.
Now war runs riot, carnage reigns supreme.
All thoughts of mercy fade from Custer's scheme.
Inhuman methods for inhuman foes,
Who feed on horrors and exult in woes.
To conquer and subdue alone remains
In dealing with the red man on the plains.
The breast that knows no conscience yields to fear,
Strike! let the Indian meet his master now and here,


XIX.
With thoughts like these was Custer's mind engaged.
The gentlest are the sternest when enraged.
All felt the swift contagion of his ire,
For he was one who could arouse and fire
The coldest heart, so ardent was his own.
His fearless eye, his calm intrepid tone,
Bespoke the leader, strong with conscious power,
Whom following friends will bless, while foes will curse and cower.

XX.
Again they charge! and now among the killed
Lies Hamilton, his wish so soon fulfilled,
Brave Elliott pursues across the field
The flying foe, his own young life to yield.
But like the leaves in some autumnal gale
The red men fall in Washita's wild vale.
Each painted face and black befeathered head
Still more repulsive seems with death's grim pallor wed.

XXI.
New forces gather on surrounding knolls,
And fierce and fiercer war's red river rolls.
With bright-hued pennants flying from each lance
The gayly costumed Kiowas advance.
And bold Comanches (Bedouins of the land)
Infuse fresh spirit in the Cheyenne band.
While from the ambush of some dark ravine
Flash arrows aimed by hands, unerring and unseen.

XXIII.
The hours advance; the storm clouds roll away;
Still furious and more furious grows the fray.
The yellow sun makes ghastlier still the sight
Of painted corpses, staring in its light.
No longer slaves, but comrades of their griefs,
The squaws augment the forces of their chiefs.
They chant weird dirges in a minor key,
While from the narrow door of wigwam and tepee

XXIII.
Cold glittering eyes above cold glittering steel
Their deadly purpose and their hate reveal.
The click of pistols and the crack of guns
Proclaim war's daughters dangerous as her sons.
She who would wield the soldier's sword and lance
Must be prepared to take the soldier's chance.
She who would shoot must serve as target, too;
The battle-frenzied men, infuriate now pursue.

XXIV.
And blood of warrior, woman and papoose,
Flow free as waters when some dam breaks loose;
Consuming fire, the wanton friend of war
(Whom allies worship and whom foes abhor)
Now trails her crimson garments through the street,
And ruin marks the passing of her feet.
Full three-score lodges smoke upon the plain,
And all the vale is strewn with bodies of the slain.

XXV.
And those who are not numbered with the dead
Before all-conquering Custer now are led.
To soothe their woes, and calm their fears he seeks;
An Osage guide interprets while he speaks.
The vanquished captives, humbled, cowed and spent
Read in the victor's eye his kind intent.
The modern victor is as kind as brave;
His captive is his guest, not his insulted slave.

XXVI.
Mahwissa, sister of the slaughtered chief
Of all the Cheyennes, listens; and her grief
Yields now to hope; and o'er her withered face
There flits the stealthy cunning of her race.
Then forth she steps, and thus begins to speak:
'To aid the fallen and support the weak
Is man's true province; and to ease the pain
Of those o'er whom it is his purpose now to reign.


XXVII.
'Let the strong chief unite with theirs his life,
And take this black-eyed maiden for a wife.'
Then, moving with an air of proud command,
She leads a dusky damsel by the hand,
And places her at wondering Custer's side,
Invoking choicest blessings on the bride
And all unwilling groom, who thus replies.
'Fair is the Indian maid, with bright bewildering eyes,

XXVIII.
'But fairer still is one who, year on year,
Has borne man's burdens, conquered woman's fear;
And at my side rode mile on weary mile,
And faced all deaths, all dangers, with a smile,
Wise as Minerva, as Diana brave,
Is she whom generous gods in kindness gave
To share the hardships of my wandering life,
Companion, comrade, friend, my loved and loyal wife.

XXIX.
'The white chief weds but one. Take back thy maid.'
He ceased, and o'er Mahwissa's face a shade
Of mingled scorn and pity and surprise
Sweeps as she slow retreats, and thus replies:
'Rich is the pale-faced chief in battle fame,
But poor is he who but one wife may claim.
Wives are the red-skinned heroes' rightful spoil;
In war they prove his strength, in times of peace they toil.'

XXX.
But hark! The bugle echoes o'er the plains
And sounds again those merry Celtic strains
Which oft have called light feet to lilting dance,
But now they mean the order to advance.
Along the river's bank, beyond the hill
Two thousand foemen lodge, unconquered still.
Ere falls night's curtain on this bloody play,
The army must proceed, with feint of further fray.

XXXI.
The weary warriors mount their foam-flecked steeds,
With flags unfurled the dauntless host proceeds.
What though the foe outnumbers two to one?
Boldness achieves what strength oft leaves undone;
A daring mein will cause brute force to cower,
And courage is the secret source of power.
As Custer's column wheels upon their sight
The frightened red men yield the untried field by flight.


XXXII.
Yet when these conquering heroes sink to rest,
Dissatisfaction gnaws the leader's breast,
For far away across vast seas of snows
Held prisoners still by hostile Arapahoes
And Cheyennes unsubdued, two captives wait.
On God and Custer hangs their future fate.
May the Great Spirit nerve the mortal's arm
To rescue suffering souls from worse than death's alarm.

XXXIII.
But ere they seek to rescue the oppressed,
The valiant dead, in state, are laid to rest.
Mourned Hamilton, the faithful and the brave,
Nine hundred comrades follow to the grave;
And close behind the banner-hidden corse
All draped in black, walks mournfully his horse;
While tears of sound drip through the sunlit day.
A soldier may not weep, but drums and bugles may.

XXXIV.
Now, Muse, recount, how after long delays
And dangerous marches through untrodden ways,
Where cold and hunger on each hour attend,
At last the army gains the journey's end.
An Indian village bursts upon the eye;
Two hundred lodges, sleep-encompassed lie,
There captives moan their anguished prayers through tears,
While in the silent dawn the armied answer nears.

XXXV.
To snatch two fragile victims from the foe
Nine hundred men have traversed leagues of snow.
Each woe they suffered in a hostile land
The flame of vengeance in their bosoms fanned.
They thirst for slaughter, and the signal wait
To wrest the captives from their horrid fate.
Each warrior's hand upon his rifle falls,
Each savage soldier's heart for awful bloodshed calls.

XXXVI.
And one, in years a youth, in woe a man,
Sad Brewster, scarred by sorrow's blighting ban,
Looks, panting, where his captive sister sleeps,
And o'er his face the shade of murder creeps.
His nostrils quiver like a hungry beast
Who scents anear the bloody carnal feast.
He longs to leap down in that slumbering vale
And leave no foe alive to tell the awful tale.

XXXVII.
Not so, calm Custer. Sick of gory strife,
He hopes for rescue with no loss of life;
And plans that bloodless battle of the plains
Where reasoning mind outwits mere savage brains.
The sullen soldiers follow where he leads;
No gun is emptied, and no foeman bleeds.
Fierce for the fight and eager for the fray
They look upon their Chief in undisguised dismay.

XXXVIII.
He hears the murmur of their discontent,
But sneers can never change a strong mind's bent.
He knows his purpose and he does not swerve,
And with a quiet mien and steady nerve
He meets dark looks where'er his steps may go,
And silence that is bruising as a blow,
Where late were smiles and words of ardent praise.
So pass the lagging weeks of wearying delays.

XXXIX.
Inaction is not always what it seems,
And Custer's mind with plan and project teems.
Fixed in his peaceful purpose he abides
With none takes counsel and in none confides;
But slowly weaves about the foe a net
Which leaves them wholly at his mercy, yet
He strikes no fateful blow; he takes no life,
And holds in check his men, who pant for bloody strife.

XL.
Intrepid warrior and skilled diplomate,
In his strong hands he holds the red man's fate.
The craftiest plot he checks with counterplot,
Till tribe by tribe the tricky foe is brought
To fear his vengeance and to know his power.
As man's fixed gaze will make a wild beast cower,
So these crude souls feel that unflinching will
Which draws them by its force, yet does not deign to kill.

XLI.
And one by one the hostile Indians send
Their chiefs to seek a peaceful treaty's end.
Great councils follow; skill with cunning copes
And conquers it; and Custer sees his hopes
So long delayed, like stars storm hidden, rise
To radiate with splendor all his skies.
The stubborn Cheyennes, cowed at last by fear,
Leading the captive pair, o'er spring-touched hills appear.

XLII.
With breath suspended, now the whole command
Waits the approach of that equestrian band.
Nearer it comes, still nearer, then a cry,
Half sob, half shriek, goes piercing God's blue sky,
And Brewster, like a nimble-footed doe,
Or like an arrow hurrying from a bow,
Shoots swiftly through the intervening space
And that lost sister clasps, in sorrowing love's embrace.


XLIII.
And men who leaned o'er Hamilton's rude bier
And saw his dead dear face without a tear,
Strong souls who early learned the manly art
Of keeping from the eye what's in the heart,
Soldiers who look unmoved on death's pale brow,
Avert their eyes, to hide their moisture now.
The briny flood forced back from shores of woe,
Needs but to touch the strands of joy to overflow.

XLIV.
About the captives welcoming warriors crowd,
All eyes are wet, and Brewster sobs aloud.
Alas, the ravage wrought by toil and woe
On faces that were fair twelve moons ago.
Bronzed by exposure to the heat and cold,
Still young in years, yet prematurely old,
By insults humbled and by labor worn,
They stand in youth's bright hour, of all youth's graces shorn.

XLV.
A scanty garment rudely made of sacks
Hangs from their loins; bright blankets drape their backs;
About their necks are twisted tangled strings
Of gaudy beads, while tinkling wire and rings
Of yellow brass on wrists and fingers glow.
Thus, to assuage the anger of the foe
The cunning Indians decked the captive pair
Who in one year have known a lifetime of despair.

XLVI.
But love can resurrect from sorrow's tomb
The vanished beauty and the faded bloom,
As sunlight lifts the bruised flower from the sod,
Can lift crushed hearts to hope, for love is God.
Already now in freedom's glad release
The hunted look of fear gives place to peace,
And in their eyes at thought of home appears
That rainbow light of joy which brightest shines through tears.

XLVII.
About the leader thick the warriors crowd;
Late loud in censure, now in praises loud,
They laud the tactics, and the skill extol
Which gained a bloodless yet a glorious goal.
Alone and lonely in the path of right
Full many a brave soul walks. When gods requite
And crown his actions as their worth demands,
Among admiring throngs the hero always stands.


A row of six asterisks is on the page at this point

XLVIII.
Back to the East the valorous squadrons sweep;
The earth, arousing from her long, cold sleep,
Throws from her breast the coverlet of snow,
Revealing Spring's soft charms which lie below.
Suppressed emotions in each heart arise,
The wooer wakens and the warrior dies.
The bird of prey is vanquished by the dove,
And thoughts of bloody strife give place to thoughts of love.

XLIX.
The mighty plains, devoid of whispering trees,
Guard well the secrets of departed seas.
Where once great tides swept by with ebb and flow
The scorching sun looks down in tearless woe.
And fierce tornadoes in ungoverned pain
Mourn still the loss of that mysterious main.
Across this ocean bed the soldiers fly-
Home is the gleaming goal that lures each eager eye.

L.
Like some elixir which the gods prepare,
They drink the viewless tonic of the air,
Sweet with the breath of startled antelopes
Which speed before them over swelling slopes.
Now like a serpent writhing o'er the moor,
The column curves and makes a slight detour,
As Custer leads a thousand men away
To save a ground bird's nest which in the footpath lay.


LI.
Mile following mile, against the leaning skies
Far off they see a dull dark cloud arise.
The hunter's instinct in each heart is stirred,
Beholding there in one stupendous herd
A hundred thousand buffaloes. Oh great
Unwieldy proof of Nature's cruder state,
Rough remnant of a prehistoric day,
Thou, with the red man, too, must shortly pass away.

LII.
Upon those spreading plains is there not room
For man and bison, that he seals its doom?
What pleasure lies and what seductive charm
In slaying with no purpose but to harm?
Alas, that man, unable to create,
Should thirst forever to exterminate,
And in destruction find his fiercest joy.
The gods alone create, gods only should destroy.

LIII.
The flying hosts a straggling bull pursue;
Unerring aim, the skillful Custer drew.
The wounded beast turns madly in despair
And man and horse are lifted high in air.
The conscious steed needs not the guiding rein;
Back with a bound and one quick cry of pain
He springs, and halts, well knowing where must fall
In that protected frame, the sure death dealing ball.

LIV.
With minds intent upon the morrow's feast,
The men surround the carcass of the beast.
Rolled on his back, he lies with lolling tongue,
Soon to the saddle savory steaks are hung.
And from his mighty head, great tufts of hair
Are cut as trophies for some lady fair.
To vultures then they leave the torn remains
Of what an hour ago was monarch of the plains.

LV.
Far off, two bulls in jealous war engage,
Their blood-shot eye balls roll in furious rage;
With maddened hoofs they mutilate the ground
And loud their angry bellowings resound;
With shaggy heads bent low they plunge and roar,
Till both broad bellies drip with purple gore.
Meanwhile, the heifer, whom the twain desire,
Stands browsing near the pair, indifferent to their ire.

LVI.
At last she lifts her lazy head and heeds
The clattering hoofs of swift advancing steeds.
Off to the herd with cumb'rous gait she runs
And leaves the bulls to face the threatening guns.
No more for them the free life of the plains,
Its mating pleasures and its warring pains.
Their quivering flesh shall feed unnumbered foes,
Their tufted tails adorn the soldiers' saddle bows.

LVII.
Now into camp the conquering hosts advance;
On burnished arms the brilliant sunbeams glance.
Brave Custer leads, blonde as the gods of old;
Back from his brow blow clustering locks of gold,
And, like a jewel in a brook, there lies,
Far in the depths of his blue guarded eyes,
The thought of one whose smiling lips upcurled,
Mean more of joy to him than plaudits of the world.

LVIII.
The troops in columns of platoons appear
Close to the leader following. Ah, here
The poetry of war is fully seen,
Its prose forgotten; as against the green
Of Mother Nature, uniformed in blue,
The soldiers pass for Sheridan's review.
The motion-music of the moving throng,
Is like a silent tune, set to a wordless song.

LIX.
The guides and trailers, weird in war's array,
Precede the troops along the grassy way.
They chant wild songs, and, with loud noise and stress,
In savage manner savage joy express.
The Indian captives, blanketed in red,
On ponies mounted, by the scouts are led.
Like sumach bushes, etched on evening skies,
Against the blue-clad troops, this patch of color lies.

LX.
High o'er the scene vast music billows bound,
And all the air is liquid with the sound
Of those invisible compelling waves.
Perchance they reach the low and lonely graves
Where sleep brave Elliott and Hamilton,
And whisper there the tale of victory won;
Or do the souls of soldiers tried and true
Come at the bugle call, and march in grand review?

LXI.
The pleased Commander watches in surprise
This splendid pageant surge before his eyes.
Not in those mighty battle days of old
Did scenes like this upon his sight unfold.
But now it passes. Drums and bugles cease
To dash war billows on the shores of Peace.
The victors smile on fair broad bosomed Sleep
While in her soothing arms, the vanquished cease to weep.

BOOK THIRD.
There is an interval of eight years between Books Second and Third.

I.
As in the long dead days marauding hosts
Of Indians came from far Siberian coasts,
And drove the peaceful Aztecs from their grounds,
Despoiled their homes (but left their tell-tale mounds) ,
So has the white man with the Indians done.
Now with their backs against the setting sun
The remnants of a dying nation stand
And view the lost domain, once their beloved land.

II.
Upon the vast Atlantic's leagues of shore
The happy red man's tent is seen no more;
And from the deep blue lakes which mirror heaven
His bounding bark canoe was long since driven.
The mighty woods, those temples where his God
Spoke to his soul, are leveled to the sod;
And in their place tall church spires point above,
While priests proclaim the law of Christ, the King of Love.

III.
The avaricious and encroaching rail
Seized the wide fields which knew the Indians' trail.
Back to the reservations in the West
The native owners of the land were pressed,
And selfish cities, harbingers of want,
Shut from their vision each accustomed haunt.
Yet hungry Progress, never satisfied,
Gazed on the western plains, and gazing, longed and sighed.

IV.
As some strange bullock in a pasture field
Compels the herds to fear him, and to yield
The juicy grass plots and the cooling shade
Until, despite their greater strength, afraid,
They huddle in some corner spot and cower
Before the monarch's all controlling power,
So has the white man driven from its place
By his aggressive greed, Columbia's native race.

V.
Yet when the bull pursues the herds at bay,
Incensed they turn, and dare dispute his sway.
And so the Indians turned, when men forgot
Their sacred word, and trespassed on the spot.
The lonely little spot of all their lands,
The reservation of the peaceful bands.
But lust for gold all conscience kills in man,
'Gold in the Black Hills, gold! ' the cry arose and ran

VI.
From lip to lip, as flames from tree to tree
Leap till the forest is one fiery sea,
And through the country surged that hot unrest
Which thirst for riches wakens in the breast.
In mighty throngs the fortune hunters came,
Despoiled the red man's lands and slew his game,
Broke solemn treaties and defied the law.
And all these ruthless acts the Nation knew and saw.

VII.
Man is the only animal that kills
Just for the wanton love of slaughter; spills
The blood of lesser things to see it flow;
Lures like a friend, to murder like a foe
The trusting bird and beast; and, coward like,
Deals covert blows he dare not boldly strike.
The brutes have finer souls, and only slay
When torn by hunger's pangs, or when to fear a prey.

VIII.
The pale-faced hunter, insolent and bold,
Pursued the bison while he sought for gold.
And on the hungry red man's own domains
He left the rotting and unused remains
To foul with sickening stench each passing wind
And rouse the demon in the savage mind,
Save in the heart where virtues dominate
Injustice always breeds its natural offspring- hate.

IX.
The chieftain of the Sioux, great Sitting Bull,
Mused o'er their wrongs, and felt his heart swell full
Of bitter vengeance. Torn with hate's unrest
He called a council and his braves addressed.
'From fair Wisconsin's shimmering lakes of blue
Long years ago the white man drove the Sioux.
Made bold by conquest, and inflamed by greed,
He still pursues our tribes, and still our ranks recede.

X.
'Fair are the White Chief's promises and words,
But dark his deeds who robs us of our herds.
He talks of treaties, asks the right to buy,
Then takes by force, not waiting our reply.
He grants us lands for pastures and abodes
To devastate them by his iron roads.
But now from happy Spirit Lands, a friend
Draws near the hunted Sioux, to strengthen and defend.


XI.
'While walking in the fields I saw a star;
Unconsciously I followed it afar-
It led me on to valleys filled with light,
Where danced our noble chieftains slain in fight.
Black Kettle, first of all that host I knew,
He whom the strong armed Custer foully slew.
And then a spirit took me by the hand,
The Great Messiah King who comes to free the land.

XII.
'Suns were his eyes, a speaking tear his voice,
.Whose rainbow sounds made listening hearts rejoice
And thus he spake: 'The red man's hour draws near
When all his lost domains shall reappear.
The elk, the deer, the bounding antelope,
Shall here return to grace each grassy slope.'
He waved his hand above the fields, and lo!
Down through the valleys came a herd of buffalo.

XIII.
'The wondrous vision vanished, but I knew
That Sitting Bull must make the promise true.
Great Spirits plan what mortal man achieves,
The hand works magic when the heart believes.
Arouse, ye braves! let not the foe advance.
Arm for the battle and begin the dance-
The sacred dance in honor of our slain,
Who will return to earth, ere many moons shall wane.'

XIV.
Thus Sitting Bull, the chief of wily knaves,
Worked on the superstitions of his braves.
Mixed truth with lies; and stirred to mad unrest
The warlike instinct in each savage breast.
A curious product of unhappy times,
The natural offspring of unnumbered crimes,
He used low cunning and dramatic arts
To startle and surprise those crude untutored hearts.

XV.
Out from the lodges pour a motley throng,
Slow measures chanting of a dirge-like song.
In one great circle dizzily they swing,
A squaw and chief alternate in the ring.
Coarse raven locks stream over robes of white,
Their deep set orbs emit a lurid light,
And as through pine trees moan the winds refrains,
So swells and dies away, the ghostly graveyard strains.

XVI.
Like worded wine is music to the ear,
And long indulged makes mad the hearts that hear.
The dancers, drunken with the monotone
Of oft repeated notes, now shriek and groan
And pierce their ruddy flesh with sharpened spears;
Still more excited when the blood appears,
With warlike yells, high in the air they bound,
Then in a deathlike trance fall prostrate on the ground.

XVII.
They wake to tell weird stories of the dead,
While fresh performers to the ring are led.
The sacred nature of the dance is lost,
War is their cry, red war, at any cost.
Insane for blood they wait for no command,
But plunge marauding through the frightened land.
Their demon hearts on devils' pleasures bent,
For each new foe surprised, new torturing deaths invent.

XVIII.
Staked to the earth one helpless creature lies,
Flames at his feet and splinters in his eyes.
Another groans with coals upon his breast,
While 'round the pyre the Indians dance and jest.
A crying child is brained upon a tree,
The swooning mother saved from death, to be
The slave and plaything of a filthy knave,
Whose sins would startle hell, whose clay defile a grave.

XIX.
Their cause was right, their methods all were wrong.
Pity and censure both to them belong.
Their woes were many, but their crimes were more.
The soulless Satan holds not in his store
Such awful tortures as the Indians' wrath
Keeps for the hapless victim in his path.
And if the last lone remnants of that race
Were by the white man swept from off the earth's fair face,

XX.
Were every red man slaughtered in a day,
Still would that sacrifice but poorly pay
For one insulted woman captive's woes.
Again great Custer in his strength arose,
More daring, more intrepid than of old.
The passing years had touched and turned to gold
The ever widening aureole of fame
That shone upon his brow, and glorified his name.

XXI.
Wise men make laws, then turn their eyes away,
While fools and knaves ignore them day by day;
And unmolested, fools and knaves at length
Induce long wars which sap a country's strength.
The sloth of leaders, ruling but in name,
Has dragged full many a nation down to shame.
A word unspoken by the rightful lips
Has dyed the land with blood, and blocked the sea with ships.

XXII.
The word withheld, when Indians asked for aid,
Came when the red man started on his raid.
What Justice with a gesture might have done
Was left for noisy war with bellowing gun.
And who save Custer and his gallant men
Could calm the tempest into peace again?
What other hero in the land could hope
With Sitting Bull, the fierce and lawless one to cope?

XXIII.
What other warrior skilled enough to dare
Surprise that human tiger in his lair?
Sure of his strength, unconscious of his fame
Out from the quiet of the camp he came;
And stately as Diana at his side
Elizabeth, his wife and alway bride,
And Margaret, his sister, rode apace;
Love's clinging arms he left to meet death's cold embrace.

XXIV.
As the bright column wound along its course,
The smiling leader turned upon his horse
To gaze with pride on that superb command.
Twelve hundred men, the picked of all the land,
Innured to hardship and made strong by strife
Their lithe limbed bodies breathed of out-door life;
While on their faces, resolute and brave,
Hope stamped its shining seal, although their thoughts were grave.

XXV.
The sad eyed women halted in the dawn,
And waved farewell to dear ones riding on.
The modest mist picked up her robes and ran
Before the Sun god's swift pursuing van.
And suddenly there burst on startled eyes,
The sight of soldiers, marching in the skies;
That phantom host, a phantom Custer led;
Mirage of dire portent, forecasting days ahead.

XXVI.
The soldiers' children, flaunting mimic flags,
Played by the roadside, striding sticks for nags.
Their mothers wept, indifferent to the crowd
Who saw their tears and heard them sob aloud.
Old Indian men and squaws crooned forth a rhyme
Sung by their tribes from immemorial time;
And over all the drums' incessant beat
Mixed with the scout's weird rune, and tramp of myriad feet.

XXVII.
So flawless was the union of each part
The mighty column (moved as by one heart)
Pulsed through the air, like some sad song well sung,
Which gives delight, although the soul is wrung.
Farther and fainter to the sight and sound
The beautiful embodied poem wound;
Till like a ribbon, stretched across the land
Seemed the long narrow line of that receding band.

XXVIII.
The lot of those who in the silence wait
Is harder than the fighting soldiers' fate.
Back to the lonely post two women passed,
With unaccustomed sorrow overcast.
Two sad for sighs, too desolate for tears,
The dark forebodings of long widowed years
In preparation for the awful blow
Hung on the door of hope the sable badge of woe.

XXIX.
Unhappy Muse! for thee no song remains,
Save the sad miséréré of the plains.
Yet though defeat, not triumph, ends the tale,
Great victors sometimes are the souls that fail.
All glory lies not in the goals we reach,
But in the lessons which our actions teach.
And he who, conquered, to the end believes
In God and in himself, though vanquished, still achieves.

XXX.
Ah, grand as rash was that last fatal raid
The little group of daring heroes made.
Two hundred and two score intrepid men
Rode out to war; not one came back again.
Like fiends incarnate from the depths of hell
Five thousand foemen rose with deafening yell,
And swept that vale as with a simoon's breath,
But like the gods of old, each martyr met his death.

XXXI.
Like gods they battled and like gods they died.
Hour following hour that little band defied
The hordes of red men swarming o'er the plain,
Till scarce a score stood upright 'mid the slain.
Then in the lull of battle, creeping near,
A scout breathed low in Custer's listening ear:
'Death lies before, dear life remains behind
Mount thy sure-footed steed, and hasten with the wind.'

XXXII.
A second's silence. Custer dropped his head,
His lips slow moving as when prayers are said-
Two words he breathed-'God and Elizabeth, '
Then shook his long locks in the face of death
And with a final gesture turned away
To join that fated few who stood at bay.
Ah! deeds like that the Christ in man reveal
Let Fame descend her throne at Custer's shrine to kneel.

XXXIII.
Too late to rescue, but in time to weep,
His tardy comrades came. As if asleep
He lay, so fair, that even hellish hate
Withheld its hand and dared not mutilate.
By fiends who knew not honor, honored still,
He smiled and slept on that far western hill.
Cast down thy lyre, oh Muse! thy song is done!
Let tears complete the tale of him who failed, yet won.

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Still On My Feet

Because still I have in love faith
I'll praise the love everyday
Although your love guided my soul
To never ending loneliness
But inside my heart the seeds of love never will end
Still have the faith after every storm
The sun always shines calm
strongest then before
Yet I have the belive that in every pain that we do pass through
There is a new lesson that should be lived to be understood
A new lesson a new road that guides us
To the correct path of love
Yes I'm still here
After all that you've done
I'm still standing on my feet
Strongest than I've been
There was a lesson that should be learnt
That always the positive thought earns the war
Guides us to the safe shore

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Need Your Spell

Down into the dark alley way,
Oh baby! I know not where to you walk,
I am so mesmerized by your looks
Oh baby! lead me lead me,
I am so lost in the sounds of your footsteps,
Enchanted by the hair that swishes,
Maybe you are taking me down,
Maybe I can never get back
From this dark dark dungeon
Heaven or hell
Oh baby! as you lead,
My soles they bleed,
Me, I am high, I am low,
Oh! darling please please
Never let me go,
Captivated by your eyes,
Baby baby you haunt me,
Lead me, lead me, I will follow
From heaven to hell,
I am at your mercy,
Baby baby take my heart,
And if you leave me down here,
Never to come back darling,
Please remember this soul
Needs your spell to
Come back to life again.

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The Joining

Three different women - three different cases
All gave birth to satin and laces.
One black, one oriental, one white
What they had in common was they all
Gave birth the same night.

The BLACK child was six pounds three
Brown eyes and as beautiful as can be.
The ORIENTAL child was five pounds nine
Jet black hair and looking fine.
The WHITE child was eight pounds three
Blue eyes, blond hair, skin fair.

All confined to the same ward and about five feet apart
All loving mothers with the kindest of hearts.
They all talked for hours on end
And made a pact that they would remain friends.

To their surprise they all lived close by.
Every weekend their families would get together
And it seemed that life couldn't get better.
And every year on the girls birthday
They'd get together to celebrate.

NOW! The point that I want you to see
Is if they could do it, WHY can't we?

Why can't all nations put aside their bigotry and hate
And join together to celebrate, just what GOD has given
And make this life on earth worth living.

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Along The War Avenue Of honour

Along the war Avenue of Honour a plaque to a dead soldier nailed to every tree
Brave young men who died in battle their reward for their bravery
They died in the war said to end all wars in the killing fields of World war one
But many wars since and far too many bloody battles and peace in the World not yet won.

Wars started by silly ageing men who send the young for them to die
Ageing men who themselves will die of old age and their twilight years they will enjoy,
ageing males heroes of their people we honour cowards as heroes one might say
The young men will go to war for them and the young men with their young lives pay.

The war supposed to end all wars long over almost nine decades since have gone by
But many wars have been fought since then and war pilots dropp their big bombs from the night sky
But suppose that's what will always happen when we give all of our power away
To silly and ageing male war men who with hair dyes cover their gray.

Along the war avenue of honour long dead soldiers names on every tree
Young noble men who died in battle far from homeland and family
In what was to be the war to end all wars yet we don't have much wisdom to show
For the loss of so many fine young men well over eight decades ago.

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Everything Works for Good.

If someone tells you, that wait ten years
You'll be same sick as they are,
Tell them clearly, do not pull me down to your level
You are going too far.
You might choose the path of many
Falling for malediction,
Without having an idea of Life,
Do you know what you see in others
It is in you and it is your own strife.
Criticizing others and hating yourself & who bothers you,
Is the time to look at yourself if you are false or true
You can follow what many do,
Hate your body, hair, skin, brain, hands or feet,
Certainly your body will hit back
With sickness, trouble, poverty,
Will be bitter instead of sweet.
If someone is bad to you,
It is not his/her fault,
You are the one who attracted the assault.
Look into yourself
And you'll find it in your subconscious,
Fear, envy, jealousy, hate could bring that up,
Watch it, you are contentious.
Just call everything good;
Eventually you'll see the light,
So is the lesson and find the true sight.
However, if you bless and love yourself,
You'll see the truth, you'll never became unfit,
You'll know, your body is the temple of God,
You; ll take the best care of it.
Then you'll watch what you think,
Will know what to eat,
How to become healthy and strong,
You'll love others too
And your life will be health, wholeness,
And forever you'll sing a happy song.

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The House In The Middle Of A War Field

There was a house in the middle of a war field,
A conspicuous little dot on the vast patch of land.
And many beasts fought bloody wars around it,
Yet the house unperturbed, remained rooted to the sand.

All doors and windows of this house had been shut for aeons,
Some people lived inside away from the truth, so abominable.
They lived there guarded, sometimes pretended to not hear the cries,
Ignorance being the prime weapon in their arsenal.

One day a curious young girl in the house said something rather strange,
She wanted to see the world outside, she wanted to be freed.
Everyone disagreed, they said its too dangerous and she will perish.
But she didn't fear death, she despised the creed.

It took her decades to convince the others, and after a lot of coaxing they agreed.
Their hollowed souls were tired of simply existing, to them even death seemed like an adventure.
And so for the first time, the rusty doors of the house had opened,
The sun rays heralded a moment of enlightenment.

As the girl with the others took their first step outside,
The grains under their feet felt like acupuncture.
The armed men outside stood transfixed,
Seeing a sight they'd never witnessed before.

As for years they had brooded over the question,
That what lay behind that door.

With a heavenly voice said the girl to the soldiers,
Inside the house you will find the greatest treasures this world has seen.
The men at once dropped their weapons and ran inside the house,
The house now seemed to have lost its sheen.

As the last greedy soldier made his way inside,
The door closed behind him to never open again.
The entire house crumpled beneath its own weight,
Killing each one who entered in vain.

The people were saved all because of the girl,
Her legacy continued and they gave her a name.
Because since that day the dogmatic principles of faith,
Had been definitely put to shame.

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A March in the Ranks, Hard Prest

all fought for a reason
the liberators fought, hid
the freedom fighters, fought, hid
ambushed once in a while lopping off heads
that rolled over the sand, grisly blood
oozing down our eyes turning
our hearts cold as ice our hair
raised themselves like armies of
soldiers ready for action

the conflicts rage on in the deserts,
in the towns, in the cities a thousand
miles away which unsettle the souls likewise
a nightmare that has been stealing the light
of our days and our nights from days

the fall of the twin towers in New York
has crushed our cherished dreams
like a bed of wilted roses wrinkled
petals splayed, sprinting listlessly
across the continents from america to afghanistan
london, arabian peninsula,
bali, south thailand, south philippines
south asia, everywhere
where freedom fighers cry to keep their sacred flame
torched with blood, to salvage the rightful place for
God, tearing down buildings, setting off bombs
shattering bullets into their enemies
when is our turn? when is your turn? his turn?

there too the liberators fight
their feet and heart loose
over the desert sand blandishing
a plathora of first world weapons
with the angst of an unwinnable war

the shootings go on so inexorably
we pray for God himself to
pull a lid over the furnace of hell
so that his grace flows over this
fine great world of ours again

and today the most unlikely thing
happened - two shoes shot over
a ducking president carrying a
message we all wish to hear...
stop the war, stop the war
pick up your shoes, get out and get lost

they turn a young handsome reporter
who wrote his own headline story
a hero across the continents

what a way to send off an
outgoing president who
initiated the war which has morphed
into a frightful mother of wars

to the sky the liberators
sweats trickling down
their eyes and body echo
the same resounding line
their great poet whitman
wrote a hundred years ago
a march in the ranks, hard prest

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New Light New Colour

An old man
welcomes
his four day old
grandson

white stillness pure gold purple wonder gold strength pink joy
pink infinity navy blue now strong indigo blue light blue fountain
the green first reason endless yellow compassionate orange
royal red

single red free orange free yellow
green depth as clear as crystal all attractive light blue
strong indigo blue strong navy blue pink wishes gold compassion
compassionate purple gold of golds of creativity

who is quiet
and naturally very small and delicate

red inspirer orange giver yellow help dazzling green
light blue of the delicate with indigo blue eyes navy blue good
with pink kind eyes golden hair
golden complexion purple complexion
gold warmth of white space

white of whites
gold truth purple mentor funny gold pink friend of children
navy blue of nature indigo blue knowledge light blue song of nature
green creation yellow in senses orange guide red way

white and gold love
of all purple knowledge gold presence pink in thunder and storms
navy blue pleasure indigo blue beauty light blue lines
all attractive green of yellow stirring music of orange red refuge

clear red orange orange yellow yellow with green giving hands
of green light blue truth indigo blue essence navy blue sparkle
pink with gold purple guide gold here here white

His feet are curled
His fingers as small as tiny magic wands
His eyes large
Some skin is peeling off his small face
Everything is perfectly formed

white
is the sun with penetrating vision purple and golden constant winner
gold reach of all pink infinite navy blue indigo blue knowledge
light blue care
deep green in greens dedicated to yellow
orange truth
red peace

This perfect body was in his mother only a week ago
thinks the old man
He places his hand on the boys stomach

red glory orange beauty yellow
of green and light blue evenings handsome indigo blue
intelligent navy blue pink of pinks of gold golds purple purple
gold friend openness formless

white and gold
prevailing purple efficient purple purple origin purple form
gold and permanent pink navy blue belief indigo blue blue
dense green yellow orange red friend red

The boy almost gasps at this touch
He yawns
His eyes remain anxiously focused on the window
eager to understand the Australian light

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Live no evil

Say no evil; refraining to bring even the most
inconspicuous of hatred to your immaculately divine
lips,
See no evil; closing your eyes as they lecherously
wandered; casting their diabolical glimpse upon
innocuous entities trespassing through this mighty
planet,
Propagate no evil; disseminating only philanthropic
benevolence from your palms; in every entity you
encountered; during your impoverished existence upon
Mother Earth,
Hear no evil; basking only in the glory of melodiously
captivating sound; gushing like an untamed whirlwind
to the faintest cry of your fellow comrades in
inexplicable distress,
Sing no evil; chopping your tongue to an infinite bits
of inconspicuous ash; the instant it uttered things
against God’s most enthrallingly mesmerizing planet,
Patronize no evil; harboring only the irrefutable
essence of celestial peace profoundly within your
magnanimous soul; blatantly ostracizing those who
condemned wonderful humanity,
Fantasize no evil; drifting the intriguing chords of
your brain towards a land more enchanting than
paradise; the instant the devil tried capsizing it
from all sides,
Philosophize no evil; tirelessly browsing through only
textbooks of charismatic mankind; immortalizing its
spirit till even centuries after; you relinquished
breath and died,
Shield no evil; audaciously vanquishing every single
trace of malice from the gloomy interiors of your
dwelling; substituting it with an everlasting stream
on perpetual love,
Paint no evil; using your fingers to uplift tyrannized
humanity; sketching with them an infinite myriad of
shapes; that profusely enlightened disastrously
devastated lives,
Chase no evil; indefatigably embarking upon a mission
to save earth from bloodshed; evacuate the most
inconspicuous iota of treachery from the complexion of
satanic soil,
Eat no evil; relishing the fruits of freedom every
moment of your diminutive life; escalating higher than
the rhapsodic clouds with your comrades by your
majestic side,
Transcend no evil; perennially existing beneath the
blessings of the Omnisciently divine; savoring as well
diffusing harmonious happiness; to every iota of this
boundlessly beautiful planet,
Confront no evil; praying intransigently to the
Almighty Lord; for decimating even the most
infinitesimal trace of sin; from the innocent
organisms lives,
Sleep no evil; relentlessly dreaming about an island
of unsurpassable unity; with the rich and poor
marching towards the corridors of sweet success;
alike,
Trade no evil; sharing only the essence of benign
compassion with every organism on this globe;
enriching its life with uninhibited smiles,
Do no evil; intransigently revolting against each part
of your shivering body; till the time it alighted only
for immortalizing the unflinching spirit of humankind,
Love no evil; ardently embracing only those with
empathy in their hearts; bonding with their passionate
beats; in every birth you took birth again,

And live no evil; unfathomably exploring; discovering;
altruistically evolving each moment of your life to
exist higher than the skies; endeavoring your very
best to alleviate the lives of all those submerged in
pain; of those drowning in a web of lies…

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Eaten In Eden

Eve, the Mother of Mothers,
Woken from her first sleep,
Thoughts coursing through her brain,
Accepting every sight and sound,
Sensing the presence of her humanity...

This form was all she was,
It ended there beyond herself,
Yet there before her some likeness,
Some extra humanity...

Words within her telling her things,
Recognising colours and forms,
Seeing flying birds and crawling creatures,
Seeing eyes looking back at her...

Ears, what were these hidden in her hair?
Detectors of left and right events,
Alert to buzzing of bees, eagles landing,
Her own movements across the grass...

And hands and feet, shaped alike,
Fit for purpose, yet what purpose?
Then there were bones within warm skin,
Yet even more, blue lines above bones.

Strange endings, nails, hard skins,
Fingers and toes curling, gripping,
Chest curves hiding the human heart,
More bones front and back,
Being able to twist left and right...

Hair, strange, without senses, dead,
Like twigs on trees, hanging down,
Then an awareness of something,
There between two eyes, a shape,
A mere blur when the eyes are open,
One eye closed and it appears...

And what is that drawing in and forcing out?
The chest filling and emptying,
Yet again, for what purpose?
Oh, my, the amazing concept of the head,
A heavy rock to carry, perhaps for balance?

And a falling gap for thoughts to share,
Leaving her head to venture forth,
And thus she talks and walks to Adam,
To be touched and embraced, softly,
To feel the warmth of his skin...

Is that how she looks with hair and form,
With arms and legs, fingers and toes,
A few differences, yet much the same?
If so, then why, for what purpose?
Strange thoughts tumbling within,
Puzzled frowns upon her brow...

What am I? What are you? What are we?
And slowly the answers unfolding before her,
As if she were a child beside him,
Needing to be taught afresh, listening,
Yet feeling inferior for lack of knowledge,
Surely knowledge is power, to be desired?

And what now? Rules? Told what to do?
This, yes, that, no? For what purpose?
Confusion as to Creation, her creation,
All these creatures, lovely, ugly, why?

Birds flying, yet she had no wings, why?
Forced to walk, forced to run, but why?
Flying is easier, faster, more beautiful...
Adam, fellow humanity, fellow thinker,
Does he know all the answers?
No, he only knows a few answers...

Feeling weakness, inferiority, not being wise,
So many secrets, things unexplained,
Curious, needing answers, feeling left out,
Burdened with strange doubts, as if unloved,
As if not counted trustworthy to know...

But even now, more strangeness,
A creature that talks as well,
A fellow thinker, with questions, too,
A serpent, nothing more,
A fragile thing easily crushed underfoot,
Another reason to tread carefully...

What's that? Eat of the forbidden fruit?
Creator keeping secrets from us?
Holding back both wisdom and power?
But why? For what purpose?
Too many questions. Something's wrong here.
Heart aching for answers, yet no-one in sight...

Just one bite, that can't hurt, can it?
Something eaten in Eden...
And so the fruit is swallowed and death was born.
Something new under the sun, manmade...
Something that changed everything...

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You can kiss me; only If

You can kiss me on my voluptuously rubicund cheeks
all right; but only if your kiss had the power to
wonderfully transcend over every other conceivable
kiss drifting ominously towards my direction; for
times beyond an infinite more lifetimes,

You can kiss me on my seductively tantalizing nape all
right; but only if your kiss had the tenacity to
miraculously overpower every other conceivable kiss
drifting atrociously towards my direction; for times
beyond an infinite more lifetimes,

You can kiss me on my rhapsodically vivacious hair all
right; but only if your kiss had the temerity to
supremely outshadow every other conceivable kiss
drifting egregiously towards my direction; for times
beyond an infinite more lifetimes,

You can kiss me on my enthrallingly ebullient lips all
right; but only if your kiss had the charisma to
irrefutably nullify every other conceivable kiss
drifting vindictively towards my direction; for times
beyond an infinite more lifetimes,

You can kiss me on my bountifully emollient palms all
right; but only if your kiss had the superiority to
timelessly conquer every other conceivable kiss
drifting baselessly towards my direction; for times
beyond an infinite more lifetimes,

You can kiss me on my surreally royal forehead all
right; but only if your kiss had the magic to
unbelievably decimate every other conceivable kiss
drifting truculently towards my direction; for times
beyond an infinite more lifetimes,

You can kiss me on my daintily embellished feet all
right; but only if your kiss had the magnetism to
insuperably supercede every other conceivable kiss
drifting salaciously towards my direction; for times
beyond an infinite more lifetimes,

You can kiss me on my robustly titillating belly all
right; but only if your kiss had the caress to
astronomically triumph over every other conceivable
kiss drifting parasitically towards my direction; for
times beyond an infinite more lifetimes,

You can kiss me on my uncontrollably trembling skin
all right; but only if your kiss had the color to
wholesomely camouflage every other conceivable kiss
drifting beguilingly towards my direction; for times
beyond an infinite more lifetimes,

You can kiss me on my enigmatically arcane palms all
right; but only if your kiss had the fortitude to
entirely sideline every other conceivable kiss
drifting hedonistically towards my direction; for
times beyond an infinite more lifetimes,

You can kiss me on my mellifluously dangling earlobes
all right; but only if your kiss had the ardor to
poignantly overrule every other conceivable kiss
drifting flagrantly towards my direction; for times
beyond an infinite more lifetimes,

You can kiss me on my unfathomably scented fingers all
right; but only if your kiss had the righteousness to
unsurpassably defeat every other conceivable kiss
drifting hideously towards my direction; for times
beyond an infinite more lifetimes,

You can kiss me on my mischievously cavorting shadow
all right; but only if your kiss had the intensity to
unnervingly destroy every other conceivable kiss
drifting raunchily towards my direction; for times
beyond an infinite more lifetimes,

You can kiss me on my aristocratically iridescent
shoulders all right; but only if your kiss had the
compassion to circumscribe every other conceivable
kiss drifting bizarrely towards my direction; for
times beyond an infinite more lifetimes,

You can kiss me on my sensuously inebriating eyes all
right; but only if your kiss had the brilliance to
unprecedentedly blaze over every other conceivable
kiss drifting acrimoniously towards my direction; for
times beyond an infinite more lifetimes,

You can kiss me on my artistically sculptured chin all
right; but only if your kiss had the guts to
indomitably rule over every other conceivable kiss
drifting heinously towards my direction; for times
beyond an infinite more lifetimes,

You can kiss me on my inimitably graceful spine all
right; but only if your kiss had the heavenliness to
eternally outclass every other conceivable kiss
drifting malevolently towards my direction; for times
beyond an infinite more lifetimes,

And you can kiss me on my immortally throbbing heart
all right; but only if your kiss had the kinsmanship
to forever subjugate and subdue every other
conceivable kiss drifting venomously towards my
direction; for times beyond an infinite more
lifetimes…

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My Last Afternoon With Uncle Devereux Winslow

1922: the stone porch of my Grandfather’s summer house

I
I won’t go with you. I want to stay with Grandpa!”
That’s how I threw cold water
on my Mother and Father’s
watery martini pipe dreams at Sunday dinner.
... Fontainebleau, Mattapoisett, Puget Sound....
Nowhere was anywhere after a summer
at my Grandfather’s farm.
Diamond-pointed, athirst and Norman,
its alley of poplars
paraded from Grandmother’s rose garden
to a scary stand of virgin pine,
scrub, and paths forever pioneering.


One afternoon in 1922,
I sat on the stone porch, looking through
screens as black-grained as drifting coal.
Tockytock, tockytock
clumped our Alpine, Edwardian cuckoo clock,
slung with strangled, wooden game.
Our farmer was cementing a root-house under the hill.
One of my hands was cool on a pile
of black earth, the other warm
on a pile of lime. All about me


were the works of my Grandfather’s hands:
snapshots of his Liberty Bell silver mine;
his high school at Stuttgart am Neckar;
stogie-brown beams; fools’-gold nuggets;
octagonal red tiles,
sweaty with a secret dank, crummy with ant-stale;
a Rocky Mountain chaise longue,
its legs, shellacked saplings.
A pastel-pale Huckleberry Finn
fished with a broom straw in a basin
hollowed out of a millstone.
Like my Grandfather, the décor
was manly, comfortable,
overbearing, disproportioned.


What were those sunflowers? Pumpkins floating shoulder-high?
It was sunset, Sadie and Nellie
bearing pitchers of ice-tea,
oranges, lemons, mint, and peppermints,
and the jug of shandygaff,
which Grandpa made by blending half and half
yeasty, wheezing homemade sarsaparilla with beer.
The farm, entitled Char-de-sa
in the Social Register,
was named for my Grandfather’s children:
Charlotte, Devereux, and Sarah.
No one had died there in my lifetime ...
Only Cinder, our Scottie puppy
paralyzed from gobbling toads.
I sat mixing black earth and lime.


II
I was five and a half.
My formal pearl gray shorts
had been worn for three minutes.
My perfection was the Olympian
poise of my models in the imperishable autumn
display windows
of Rogers Peet’s boys’ store below the State House
in Boston. Distorting drops of water
pinpricked my face in the basin’s mirror.
I was a stuffed toucan
with a bibulous, multicolored beak.


III
Up in the air
by the lakeview window in the billiards-room,
lurid in the doldrums of the sunset hour,
my Great Aunt Sarah
was learning Samson and Delilah.
She thundered on the keyboard of her dummy piano,
with gauze curtains like a boudoir table,
accordionlike yet soundless.
It had been bought to spare the nerves
of my Grandmother,
tone-deaf, quick as a cricket,
now needing a fourth for “Auction,”
and casting a thirsty eye
on Aunt Sarah, risen like the phoenix
from her bed of troublesome snacks and Tauchnitz classics.


Forty years earlier,
twenty, auburn headed,
grasshopper notes of genius!
Family gossip says Aunt Sarah
tilted her archaic Athenian nose
and jilted an Astor.
Each morning she practiced
on the grand piano at Symphony Hall,
deathlike in the off-season summer—
its naked Greek statues draped with purple
like the saints in Holy Week....
On the recital day, she failed to appear.


IV
I picked with a clean finger nail at the blue anchor
on my sailor blouse washed white as a spinnaker.
What in the world was I wishing?
... A sail-colored horse browsing in the bullrushes ...
A fluff of the west wind puffing
my blouse, kiting me over our seven chimneys,
troubling the waters....
As small as sapphires were the ponds: Quittacus, Snippituit,
and Assawompset, halved by “the Island,”
where my Uncle’s duck blind
floated in a barrage of smoke-clouds.
Double-barreled shotguns
stuck out like bundles of baby crow-bars.
A single sculler in a camouflaged kayak
was quacking to the decoys....


At the cabin between the waters,
the nearest windows were already boarded.
Uncle Devereux was closing camp for the winter.
As if posed for “the engagement photograph,”
he was wearing his severe
war-uniform of a volunteer Canadian officer.
Daylight from the doorway riddled his student posters,
tacked helter-skelter on walls as raw as a boardwalk.
Mr. Punch, a water melon in hockey tights,
was tossing off a decanter of Scotch.
La Belle France in a red, white and blue toga
was accepting the arm of her “protector,”
the ingenu and porcine Edward VII.
The pre-war music hall belles
had goose necks, glorious signatures, beauty-moles,
and coils of hair like rooster tails.
The finest poster was two or three young men in khaki kilts
being bushwhacked on the veldt—
They were almost life-size....


My Uncle was dying at twenty-nine.
“You are behaving like children,”
said my Grandfather,
when my Uncle and Aunt left their three baby daughters,
and sailed for Europe on a last honeymoon ...
I cowered in terror.
I wasn’t a child at all
unseen and all-seeing, I was Agrippina
in the Golden House of Nero....
Near me was the white measuring-door
my Grandfather had penciled with my Uncle’s heights.
In 1911, he had stopped growing at just six feet.
While I sat on the tiles,
and dug at the anchor on my sailor blouse,
Uncle Devereux stood behind me.
He was as brushed as Bayard, our riding horse.
His face was putty.
His blue coat and white trousers
grew sharper and straighter.
His coat was a blue jay’s tail,
his trousers were solid cream from the top of the bottle.
He was animated, hierarchical,
like a ginger snap man in a clothes-press.
He was dying of the incurable Hodgkin’s disease....
My hands were warm, then cool, on the piles
of earth and lime,


a black pile and a white pile....
Come winter,
Uncle Devereux would blend to the one color.

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Christina Georgina Rossetti

From House To House

The first was like a dream through summer heat,
The second like a tedious numbing swoon,
While the half-frozen pulses lagged to beat
Beneath a winter moon.

'But,' says my friend, 'what was this thing and where?'
It was a pleasure-place within my soul;
An earthly paradise supremely fair
That lured me from the goal.

The first part was a tissue of hugged lies;
The second was its ruin fraught with pain:
Why raise the fair delusion to the skies
But to be dashed again?

My castle stood of white transparent glass
Glittering and frail with many a fretted spire,
But when the summer sunset came to pass
It kindled into fire.

My pleasaunce was an undulating green,
Stately with trees whose shadows slept below,
With glimpses of smooth garden-beds between
Like flame or sky or snow.

Swift squirrels on the pastures took their ease,
With leaping lambs safe from the unfeared knife;
All singing-birds rejoicing in those trees
Fulfilled their careless life.

Woodpigeons cooed there, stockdoves nestled there;
My trees were full of songs and flowers and fruit,
Their branches spread a city to the air
And mice lodged in their root.

My heath lay farther off, where lizards lived
In strange metallic mail, just spied and gone;
Like darted lightnings here and there perceived
But nowhere dwelt upon.

Frogs and fat toads were there to hop or plod
And propagate in peace, an uncouth crew,
Where velvet-headed rushes rustling nod
And spill the morning dew.

All caterpillars throve beneath my rule,
With snails and slugs in corners out of sight;
I never marred the curious sudden stool
That perfects in a night.

Safe in his excavated gallery
The burrowing mole groped on from year to year;
No harmless hedgehog curled because of me
His prickly back for fear.

Oft times one like an angel walked with me,
With spirit-discerning eyes like flames of fire,
But deep as the unfathomed endless sea,
Fulfilling my desire:

And sometimes like a snowdrift he was fair,
And sometimes like a sunset glorious red,
And sometimes he had wings to scale the air
With aureole round his head.

We sang our songs together by the way,
Calls and recalls and echoes of delight;
So communed we together all the day,
And so in dreams by night.

I have no words to tell what way we walked.
What unforgotten path now closed and sealed;
I have no words to tell all things we talked,
All things that he revealed:

This only can I tell: that hour by hour
I waxed more feastful, lifted up and glad;
I felt no thorn-prick when I plucked a flower,
Felt not my friend was sad.

'To-morrow,' once I said to him with smiles:
'To-night,' he answered gravely and was dumb,
But pointed out the stones that numbered miles
And miles to come.

'Not so,' I said: 'to-morrow shall be sweet;
To-night is not so sweet as coming days.'
Then first I saw that he had turned his feet,
Had turned from me his face:

Running and flying miles and miles he went,
But once looked back to beckon with his hand
And cry: 'Come home, O love, from banishment:
Come to the distant land.'

That night destroyed me like an avalanche;
One night turned all my summer back to snow:
Next morning not a bird upon my branch,
Not a lamb woke below,—

No bird, no lamb, no living breathing thing;
No squirrel scampered on my breezy lawn,
No mouse lodged by his hoard: all joys took wing
And fled before that dawn.

Azure and sun were starved from heaven above,
No dew had fallen, but biting frost lay hoar:
O love, I knew that I should meet my love,
Should find my love no more.

'My love no more,' I muttered stunned with pain:
I shed no tear, I wrung no passionate hand,
Till something whispered: 'You shall meet again,
Meet in a distant land.'

Then with a cry like famine I arose,
I lit my candle, searched from room to room,
Searched up and down; a war of winds that froze
Swept through the blank of gloom.

I searched day after day, night after night;
Scant change there came to me of night or day:
'No more,' I wailed, 'no more:' and trimmed my light,
And gnashed but did not pray,

Until my heart broke and my spirit broke:
Upon the frost-bound floor I stumbled, fell,
And moaned: 'It is enough: withhold the stroke.
Farewell, O love, farewell.'

Then life swooned from me. And I heard the song
Of spheres and spirits rejoicing over me:
One cried: 'Our sister, she hath suffered long.'—
One answered: 'Make her see.'—

One cried: 'Oh blessed she who no more pain,
Who no more disappointment shall receive.'—
One answered: 'Not so: she must live again;
Strengthen thou her to live.'

So while I lay entranced a curtain seemed
To shrivel with crackling from before my face;
Across mine eyes a waxing radiance beamed
And showed a certain place.

I saw a vision of a woman, where
Night and new morning strive for domination;
Incomparably pale, and almost fair,
And sad beyond expression.

Her eyes were like some fire-enshrining gem,
Were stately like the stars, and yet were tender;
Her figure charmed me like a windy stem
Quivering and drooped and slender.

I stood upon the outer barren ground,
She stood on inner ground that budded flowers;
While circling in their never-slackening round
Danced by the mystic hours.

But every flower was lifted on a thorn,
And every thorn shot upright from its sands
To gall her feet; hoarse laughter pealed in scorn
With cruel clapping hands.

She bled and wept, yet did not shrink; her strength
Was strung up until daybreak of delight:
She measured measureless sorrow toward its length,
And breadth, and depth, and height.

Then marked I how a chain sustained her form,
A chain of living links not made nor riven:
It stretched sheer up through lighting, wind, and storm,
And anchored fast in heaven.

One cried: 'How long? yet founded on the Rock
She shall do battle, suffer, and attain.'—
One answered: 'Faith quakes in the tempest shock:
Strengthen her soul again.'

I saw a cup sent down and come to her
Brimfull of loathing and of bitterness:
She drank with livid lips that seemed to stir
The depth, not make it less.

But as she drank I spied a hand distil
New wine and virgin honey; making it
First bitter-sweet, then sweet indeed, until
She tasted only sweet.

Her lips and cheeks waxed rosy-fresh and young;
Drinking she sang: 'My soul shall nothing want;'
And drank anew: while soft a song was sung,
A mystical slow chant.

One cried: 'The wounds are faithful of a friend:
The wilderness shall blossom as a rose.'—
One answered: 'Rend the veil, declare the end,
Strengthen her ere she goes.'

Then earth and heaven were rolled up like a scroll;
Time and space, change and death, had passed away;
Weight, number, measure, each had reached its whole;
The day had come, that day.

Multitudes—multitudes—stood up in bliss,
Made equal to the angels, glorious, fair;
With harps, palms, wedding-garments, kiss of peace
And crowned and haloed hair.

They sang a song, a new song in the height,
Harping with harps to Him Who is Strong and True:
They drank new wine, their eyes saw with new light,
Lo, all things were made new.

Tier beyond tier they rose and rose and rose
So high that it was dreadful, flames with flames:
No man could number them, no tongue disclose
Their secret sacred names.

As though one pulse stirred all, one rush of blood
Fed all, one breath swept through them myriad-voiced,
They struck their harps, cast down their crowns, they stood
And worshipped and rejoiced.

Each face looked one way like a moon new-lit,
Each face looked one way towards its Sun of Love;
Drank love and bathed in love and mirrored it
And knew no end thereof.

Glory touched glory on each blessed head,
Hands locked dear hands never to sunder more:
These were the new-begotten from the dead
Whom the great birthday bore.

Heart answered heart, soul answered soul at rest,
Double against each other, filled, sufficed:
All loving, loved of all; but loving best
And best beloved of Christ.

I saw that one who lost her love in pain,
Who trod on thorns, who drank the loathsome cup;
The lost in night, in day was found again;
The fallen was lifted up.

They stood together in the blessed noon,
They sang together through the length of days;
Each loving face bent Sunwards like a moon
New-lit with love and praise.

Therefore, O friend, I would not if I might
Rebuild my house of lies, wherein I joyed
One time to dwell: my soul shall walk in white,
Cast down but not destroyed.

Therefore in patience I possess my soul;
Yea, therefore as a flint I set my face,
To pluck down, to build up again the whole—
But in a distant place.

These thorns are sharp, yet I can tread on them;
This cup is loathsome, yet He makes it sweet:
My face is steadfast toward Jerusalem,
My heart remembers it.

I lift the hanging hands, the feeble knees—
I, precious more than seven times molten gold—
Until the day when from his storehouses
God shall bring new and old;

Beauty for ashes, oil of joy for grief,
Garment of praise for spirit of heaviness:
Although to-day I fade as doth a leaf,
I languish and grow less.

Although to-day He prunes my twigs with pain,
Yet doth His blood nourish and warm my root:
To-morrow I shall put forth buds again
And clothe myself with fruit.

Although to-day I walk in tedious ways,
To-day His staff is turned into a rod,
Yet will I wait for Him the appointed days
And stay upon my God.

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