Robert William Service | |
The night before I left Milan
A mob jammed the Cathedral Square,
And high the tide of passion ran
As politics befouled the air.
A seething hell of human strife,
I shrank back from its evil core,
Seeing in this convulsive life
The living seeds of war.
To Barcelona then I came,
And oh the heavenly release!
From conflict and consuming flame
I knew the preciousness of peace.
Such veneration for the law!
How decorous was every one!
And then (significant) I saw
Each copper packed a tommy gun.
Well, maybe it is best that way.
Peace can mean more than liberty:
These people, state-directed, may
Be happier than those more free.
When politics wield evil grip,
And warring factions rise and fall,
May be the answer, after all.
Robert William Service | |
My only medals are the scars
I've won in weary, peacetime wars,
A-fighting for my little brood,
To win them shelter, shoon and food;
But most of all to give them faith
In God's good mercy unto death.
My sons have medals gleaming bright,
Proud trophies won in foreign fight;
But though their crosses bravely shine,
My boys can show no wounds like mine -
Grim gashes dolorously healed,
And inner ailings unrevealed.
Life-lasting has my battle been,
My enemy a fierce machine;
And I am marked by many a blow
In conflict with a tireless foe,
Till warped and bent beneath the beat
Of life's unruth I own defeat.
Yet strip me bare and you will see
A worthy warrior I be;
Although no uniform I've worn,
By wounds of labour I am torn;
Leave the their ribbands and their stars .
Behold! I proudly prize my scars.
Isaac Watts | |
Afflicted saints happy, and prosperous sinners cursed.
Now I'm convinced the Lord is kind
To men of heart sincere;
Yet once my foolish thoughts repined,
And bordered on despair.
I grieved to see the wicked thrive,
And spoke with angry breath,
"How pleasant and profane they live!
How peaceful is their death!
"With well-fed flesh and haughty eyes,
They lay their fears to sleep;
Against the heav'ns their slanders rise,
While saints in silence weep.
"In vain I lift my hands to pray,
And cleanse my heart in vain;
For I am chastened all the day,
The night renews my pain.
Yet while my tongue indulged complaints,
I felt my heart reprove,-
"Sure I shall thus offend thy saints,
And grieve the men I love.
But still I found my doubts too hard,
The conflict too severe,
Till I retired to search thy word,
And learn thy secrets there.
There, as in some prophetic glass,
I saw the sinner's feet
High mounted on a slipp'ry place,
Beside a fiery pit.
I heard the wretch profanely boast,
Till at thy frown he fell;
His honors in a dream were lost,
And he awakes in hell.
Lord, what an envious fool I was!
How like a thoughtless beast!
Thus to suspect thy promised grace,
And think the wicked blest.
Yet I was kept from full despair,
Upheld by power unknown;
That blessed hand that broke the snare
Shall guide me to thy throne.
More great poems below...
Phillis Wheatley | |
Who taught thee conflict with the pow'rs of night,
To vanquish satan in the fields of light?
Who strung thy feeble arms with might unknown,
How great thy conquest, and how bright thy crown!
War with each princedom, throne, and pow'r is o'er,
The scene is ended to return no more.
O could my muse thy seat on high behold,
How deckt with laurel, how enrich'd with gold!
O could she hear what praise thine harp employs,
How sweet thine anthems, how divine thy joys!
What heav'nly grandeur should exalt her strain!
What holy raptures in her numbers reign!
To sooth the troubles of the mind to peace,
To still the tumult of life's tossing seas,
To ease the anguish of the parents heart,
What shall my sympathizing verse impart?
Where is the balm to heal so deep a wound?
Where shall a sov'reign remedy be found?
Look, gracious Spirit, from thine heav'nly bow'r,
And thy full joys into their bosoms pour;
The raging tempest of their grief control,
And spread the dawn of glory through the soul,
To eye the path the saint departed trod,
And trace him to the bosom of his God.
George William Russell | |
IT was the fairy of the place,
Moving within a little light,
Who touched with dim and shadowy grace
The conflict at its fever height.
It seemed to whisper “Quietness,”
Then quietly itself was gone:
Yet echoes of its mute caress
Were with me as the years went on.
It was the warrior within
Who called “Awake, prepare for fight:
Yet lose not memory in the din:
Make of thy gentleness thy might:
“Make of thy silence words to shake
The long-enthroned kings of earth:
Make of thy will the force to break
Their towers of wantonness and mirth.
It was the wise all-seeing soul
Who counselled neither war nor peace:
“Only be thou thyself that goal
In which the wars of time shall cease.
Friedrich von Schiller | |
No! I this conflict longer will not wage,
The conflict duty claims--the giant task;--
Thy spells, O virtue, never can assuage
The heart's wild fire--this offering do not ask
True, I have sworn--a solemn vow have sworn,
That I myself will curb the self within;
Yet take thy wreath, no more it shall be worn--
Take back thy wreath, and leave me free to sin.
Rent be the contract I with thee once made;--
She loves me, loves me--forfeit be the crown!
Blessed he who, lulled in rapture's dreamy shade,
Glides, as I glide, the deep fall gladly down.
She sees the worm that my youth's bloom decays,
She sees my spring-time wasted as it flees;
And, marvelling at the rigor that gainsays
The heart's sweet impulse, my reward decrees.
Distrust this angel purity, fair soul!
It is to guilt thy pity armeth me;
Could being lavish its unmeasured whole,
It ne'er could give a gift to rival thee!
Thee--the dear guilt I ever seek to shun,
O tyranny of fate, O wild desires!
My virtue's only crown can but be won
In that last breath--when virtue's self expires!
Friedrich von Schiller | |
Whither was it that my spirit wended
When from thee my fleeting shadow moved?
Is not now each earthly conflict ended?
Say,--have I not lived,--have I not loved?
Art thou for the nightingales inquiring
Who entranced thee in the early year
With their melody so joy-inspiring?
Only whilst they loved they lingered here.
Is the lost one lost to me forever?
Trust me, with him joyfully I stray
There, where naught united souls can sever,
And where every tear is wiped away.
And thou, too, wilt find us in yon heaven,
When thy love with our love can compare;
There my father dwells, his sins forgiven,--
Murder foul can never reach him there.
And he feels that him no vision cheated
When he gazed upon the stars on high;
For as each one metes, to him 'tis meted;
Who believes it, hath the Holy nigh.
Faith is kept in those blest regions yonder
With the feelings true that ne'er decay.
Venture thou to dream, then, and to wander
Noblest thoughts oft lie in childlike play.
Sarojini Naidu | |
CHILDREN, ye have not lived, to you it seems
Life is a lovely stalactite of dreams,
Or carnival of careless joys that leap
About your hearts like billows on the deep
In flames of amber and of amethyst.
Children, ye have not lived, ye but exist
Till some resistless hour shall rise and move
Your hearts to wake and hunger after love,
And thirst with passionate longing for the things
That burn your brows with blood-red sufferings.
Till ye have battled with great grief and fears,
And borne the conflict of dream-shattering years,
Wounded with fierce desire and worn with strife,
Children, ye have not lived: for this is life.
Ruth Padel | |
She can't believe it, can't go on.
She's going to give up painting.
So she paints Her final canvas, total-turn-off
A charcoal-burner's Smirnoff, The mirror of Loch Ness Reflecting the monster back to its own eye.
But something's wrong.
Those mad Black-body particles don't sing Her story of despair, the steel and
Of the storm.
This black has everything its own sweet way, Where's the I'd-like-to-kill-You conflict? Try once more, but this time add
A curve to all that straight.
And opposition White.
She paints black first.
A grindstone belly Hammering a smaller shape
Beneath a snake
Of in-betweening light.
"I feel like this.
I hope that you do, too, Black crater.
Kiss" And sees a voodoo flicker, where two worlds nearly touch
That flash, where white
Lets black get close, that dagger of not-quite contact,
Catspaw panic, quiver on the wheat
Field before thunder -
That's her own self, in paint, Splitting what she was from what she is.
As if everything that separates, unites.
from Voodoo Shop (Chatto, 2002), copyright © Ruth Padel 2002, used by permission of the author and the publisher
William Cowper | |
The new-born child of gospel grace,
Like some fair tree when summer's nigh,
Beneath Emmanuel's shining face
Lifts up his blooming branch on high.
No fears he feels, he sees no foes,
No conflict yet his faith employs,
Nor has he learnt to whom he owes
The strength and peace his soul enjoys.
But sin soon darts its cruel sting,
And comforts sinking day by day,
What seem'd his own, a self-fed spring,
Proves but a brook that glides away.
When Gideon arm'd his numerous host,
The Lord soon made his numbers less;
And said, "Lest Israel vainly boast,
My arm procured me this success!"
Thus will He bring our spirits down,
And draw our ebbing comforts low,
That saved by grace, but not our own,
We may not claim the praise we owe.
Walt Whitman | |
RACE of veterans! Race of victors!
Race of the soil, ready for conflict! race of the conquering march!
(No more credulity’s race, abiding-temper’d race;)
Race henceforth owning no law but the law of itself;
Race of passion and the storm.
Walt Whitman | |
AH poverties, wincings, and sulky retreats!
Ah you foes that in conflict have overcome me!
(For what is my life, or any man’s life, but a conflict with foes—the old, the
You degradations—you tussle with passions and appetites;
You smarts from dissatisfied friendships, (ah wounds, the sharpest of all;)
You toil of painful and choked articulations—you meannesses;
You shallow tongue-talks at tables, (my tongue the shallowest of any;)
You broken resolutions, you racking angers, you smother’d ennuis;
Ah, think not you finally triumph—My real self has yet to come forth;
It shall yet march forth o’ermastering, till all lies beneath me;
It shall yet stand up the soldier of unquestion’d victory.
George (Lord) Byron | |
This faint resemblance of thy charms,
(Though strong as mortal art could give,)
My constant heart of fear disarms,
Revives my hopes, and bids me live.
Here, I can trace the locks of gold
Which round thy snowy forehead wave;
The cheeks which sprung from Beauty's mould,
The lips, which made me Beauty's slave.
Here I can trace---ah, no! that eye,
Whose azure floats in liquid fire,
Must all the painter's art defy,
And bid him from the task retire.
Here, I behold its beauteous hue;
But where's the beam so sweetly straying,
Which gave a lustre to its blue,
Like Luna o'er the ocean playing?
Sweet copy! far more dear to me,
Lifeless, unfeeling as thou art,
Than all the living forms could be,
Save her who plac'd thee next my heart.
She plac'd it, sad, with needless fear,
Lest time might shake my wavering soul,
Unconscious that her image there
Held every sense in fast control.
Thro' hours, thro' years, thro' time, 'twill cheer---
My hope, in gloomy moments, raise;
In life's last conflict 'twill appear,
And meet my fond, expiring gaze.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow | |
When the dying flame of day
Through the chancel shot its ray,
Far the glimmering tapers shed
Faint light on the cowled head;
And the censer burning swung,
Where, before the altar, hung
The crimson banner, that with prayer
Had been consecrated there.
And the nuns' sweet hymn was heard the while,
Sung low, in the dim, mysterious aisle.
"Take thy banner! May it wave
Proudly o'er the good and brave;
When the battle's distant wail
Breaks the sabbath of our vale.
When the clarion's music thrills
To the hearts of these lone hills,
When the spear in conflict shakes,
And the strong lance shivering breaks.
"Take thy banner! and, beneath
The battle-cloud's encircling wreath,
Guard it, till our homes are free!
Guard it! God will prosper thee!
In the dark and trying hour,
In the breaking forth of power,
In the rush of steeds and men,
His right hand will shield thee then.
"Take thy banner! But when night
Closes round the ghastly fight,
If the vanquished warrior bow,
Spare him! By our holy vow,
By our prayers and many tears,
By the mercy that endears,
Spare him! he our love hath shared!
Spare him! as thou wouldst be spared!
"Take thy banner! and if e'er
Thou shouldst press the soldier's bier,
And the muffled drum should beat
To the tread of mournful feet,
Then this crimson flag shall be
Martial cloak and shroud for thee.
The warrior took that banner proud,
And it was his martial cloak and shroud!
Emily Dickinson | |
A wild Blue sky abreast of Winds
That threatened it -- did run
And crouched behind his Yellow Door
Was the defiant sun --
Some conflict with those upper friends
So genial in the main
That we deplore peculiarly
Their arrogant campaign --