My soul is like the oar that momently
Dies in a desperate stress beneath the wave,
Then glitters out again and sweeps the sea:
Each second I'm new-born from some new grave.
Paul Laurence Dunbar
Storm and strife and stress,
Lost in a wilderness,
Groping to find a way,
Forth to the haunts of day
Sudden a vista peeps,
Out of the tangled deeps,
Only a point—the ray
But at the end is day.
Dark is the dawn and chill,
Daylight is on the hill,
Night is the flitting breath,
Day rides the hills of death.
Edgar Albert Guest
(For John Bunker)
The roar of the world is in my ears.
Thank God for the roar of the world!
Thank God for the mighty tide of fears
Against me always hurled!
Thank God for the bitter and ceaseless strife,
And the sting of His chastening rod!
Thank God for the stress and the pain of life,
And Oh, thank God for God!
Through the windows the sun’s light
Turns to amber, the moon’s to jade;
All night long I lie awake, wondering
How much your stunned heart can take.
That moment’s ‘sudden interminable splendour’,
Our love kept up through the years of stress,
Strange dark-haired creature, the light over the water
Burns and beckons through our emptiness.
His neck in beauty bends
As backward looks he sends
At my pursuing car
That threatens death from far.
Fear shrinks to half the body small;
See how he fears the arrow's fall!
The path he takes is strewed
With blades of grass half-chewed
From jaws wide with the stress
Of fevered weariness.
He leaps so often and so high,
He does not seem to run, but fly.
THE MIGHT that shaped itself through storm and stress
In chaos, here is lulled in breathing sweet;
Under the long brown ridge in gentleness
Its fierce old pulses beat.
Quiet and sad we go at eve; the fire
That woke exultant in an earlier day
Is dead; the memories of old desire
Only in shadows play.
We liken love to this and that; our thought
The echo of a deeper being seems:
We kiss, because God once for beauty sought
Within a world of dreams.