Poems of Progress
Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Part 2 out of 2
Slowly the People waken; they have been,
Like weary soldiers, sleeping in their tents,
While traitors tiptoed through the silent camp
Intent on plunder. Suddenly a sound -
A careless movement of too bold a thief -
Starts one dull sleeper; then another stirs,
A third cries out a warning, and at last
The people are awake! Oh, when as one
The many rise, united and alert,
With Justice for their motto, they reflect
The mighty force of God's Omnipotence.
And nothing stands before them. Lusty Greed,
Tyrannical Corruption long in power,
And smirking Cant (whose right hand robs and slays
So that the left may dower Church and School),
Monopoly, whose mandate took from Toil
The Mother Earth, that Idleness might loll
And breed the Monster of Colossal Wealth -
All these must fall before the gathering Force
Of public indignation. That old strife
Which marks the progress of each century,
The war of Right with Might, is on once more,
And shame to him who does not take his stand.
This is the weightiest moment of all time,
And on the issues of the present hour
A nation's honour and a country's peace,
A People's future, ay, a World's, depends.
Until the vital questions of the day
Are solved and settled, and the spendthrift thieves
Who rob the coffers of the saving poor
Are led from fashion's feasts to prison fare,
And taught the saving grace of honest work -
Till Labour claims the privilege of toil
And toil the proceeds of its labour shares -
Let no man sleep, let no man dare to sleep!
I am sorry in the gladness
Of the joys that crown my days,
For the souls that sit in sadness
Or walk uninviting ways.
On the radiance of my labour
That a loving fate bestowed,
Falls the shadow of my neighbour,
Crushed beneath a thankless load.
As the canticle of pleasure
From my lovelit altar rolls,
There is one discordant measure,
As I think of homeless souls.
And I know that grim old story,
Preached from pulpits, is not so,
For no God could sit in glory
And see sinners writhe below.
In that great eternal Centre
Where all human life has birth,
Boundless love and pity enter
And flow downward to the earth.
And all souls in sin or sorrow
Are but passing through the night,
And I know on some to-morrow
God will love them into light.
THE NEW COMMANDMENT
'Let go the Cross'--GERTRUDE RUNSHON.
I heard a strange voice in the distance calling
As from a star an echo might be falling.
It spoke four syllables, concise and brief,
Charged with a God-sent message of relief:
Let go the cross! Oh, you who cling to sorrow,
Hark to the new command and comfort borrow.
Even as the Master left His cross below
And rose to Paradise, let go, let go.
Forget your wrongs, your troubles and your losses,
For with the tools of thought we build our crosses.
Forget your griefs, all grudges and all fear
And enter Paradise--its gates are near.
Heaven is a realm by loving souls created,
And hell was fashioned by the hearts that hated.
Love, hope and trust; believe all joys are yours,
Life pays the soul whose confidence endures,
The blows of adverse fate, by larger pleasures,
As after storms the soil yields fuller measures.
Let go the cross; roll self--the stone--away
And dwell with Love in Paradise to-day.
When the Summer sun is shining,
And the green things push and grow,
Oft my heart runs over measure,
With its flowing fount of pleasure,
As I feel the sea winds blow;
Ah, then life is good, I know.
And I think of sweet birds building,
And of children fair and free;
And of glowing sun-kissed meadows,
And of tender twilight shadows,
And of boats upon the sea.
Oh, then life seems good to me!
Then unbidden and unwanted,
Come the darker, sadder sights;
City shop and stifling alley,
Where misfortune's children rally;
And the hot crime-breeding nights,
And the dearth of God's delights.
And I think of narrow prisons
Where unhappy songbirds dwell,
And of cruel pens and cages
Where some captured wild thing rages
Like a madman in his cell,
In the Zoo, the wild beasts' hell.
And I long to lift the burden
Of man's selfishness and sin;
And to open wide earth's treasures
Of God's storehouse, full of pleasures,
For my dumb and human kin,
And to ask the whole world in.
THE BREAKING OF CHAINS
Between the ringing of bells and the musical clang of chimes
I hear a sound like the breaking of chains, all through these
For the thought of the world is waking out of a slumber deep and
And the race is beginning to understand how Right can master Wrong.
And the eyes of the world are opening wide, and great are the truths
And the heart of the world is singing a song, and its burden is 'Be
Now the thought of the world and the wish of the world and the song
of the world will make
A force so strong that the fetters forged for a million years must
Fetters of superstitious fear have bound the race to creeds
That hindered the upward march of man to the larger faith he needs.
Fetters of greed and pride have made the race bow down to kings;
But the pompous creed and the costly throne must yield to simpler
The thought of the world has climbed above old paths for centuries
And cloth and crown no longer mean the 'vested power of God.'
The race no longer bends beneath the weight of Adam's sin,
But stands erect and knows itself the Maker's first of kin.
And the need of the world and the wish of the world and the song of
the world I hear,
All through the clanging and clashing of bells, this Christmas time
o' the year;
And I hear a sound like the breaking of chains, and it seems to say
In the voice of One who spoke of old, 'The Truth shall make men
Upon December's windy portico
The Old Year stood, and looked out where the sun
Went wading down the West, through drifting clouds.
'I, too, shall sink full soon to rest,' he sighed,
'And follow where my children's feet have trod;
Brave January, beauteous May and June,
My lovely daughters, and my valiant sons,
All, all save one, have left me for that bourne
Men call the Past. It seems but yesterday
I saw fair August, laughing with the Sea,
Snaring the Earth with her seductive wiles,
And making conquest, even of the Sun.
Yet has she gone, and left me here to mourn.'
Then spake December, from an open door:
'Father, the night grows cold; come in and rest.
Sit with me here beside this glowing grate;
I have not left thee; thou art not alone;
My house is thine; all warm with love and light,
And bright with holly and with cedar sweet.
My stalwart arm is thine to lean upon;
The feast is spread, I only wait for thee;
God smiles upon thy dead, smile thou on me.'
Then through the open door the Old Year passed
And darkness settled on the outer world.
However certain of the way thou art,
Take not the self-appointed leader's part.
Follow no man, and by no man be led,
And no man lead. AWAKE, and go ahead.
Thy path, though leading straight unto the goal
Might prove confusing to another soul.
The goal is central; but from east, and west,
And north, and south, we set out on the quest;
From lofty mountains, and from valleys low:-
How could all find one common way to go?
Lord Buddha to the wilderness was brought.
Lord Jesus to the Cross. And yet, think not
By solitude, or cross, thou canst achieve,
Lest in thine own true Self thou dost believe.
Know thou art One, with life's Almighty Source,
Then are thy feet set on the certain Course.
Nor does it matter if thou feast, or fast,
Or what thy creed--or where thy lot is cast;
In halls of pleasure or in crowded mart,
In city streets, or from all men apart -
Thy path leads to the Light; and peace and power
Shall be thy portion, growing hour by hour.
Follow no man, and by no man be led.
And no man lead. But KNOW and go ahead.
THE LEADER TO BE
What shall the leader be in that great day
When we who sleep and dream that we are slaves
Shall wake and know that Liberty is ours?
Mark well that word--not yours, not mine, but ours.
For through the mingling of the separate streams
Of individual protest and desire,
In one united sea of purpose, lies
The course to Freedom.
When Progression takes
Her undisputed right of way, and sinks
The old traditions and conventions where
They may not rise, what shall the leader be?
No mighty warrior skilled in crafts of war,
Sowing earth's fertile furrows with dead men
And staining crimson God's cerulean sea,
To prove his prowess to a shuddering world.
Nor yet a monarch with a silly crown
Perched on an empty head, an in-bred heir
To senseless titles and anemic blood.
No ruler, purchased by the perjured votes
Of striving demagogues whose god is gold.
Not one of these shall lead to Liberty.
The weakness of the world cries out for strength.
The sorrow of the world cries out for hope.
Its suffering cries for kindness.
He who leads
Must then be strong and hopeful as the dawn
That rises unafraid and full of joy
Above the blackness of the darkest night.
He must be kind to every living thing;
Kind as the Krishna, Buddha and the Christ,
And full of love for all created life.
Oh, not in war shall his great prowess lie,
Nor shall he find his pleasure in the chase.
Too great for slaughter, friend of man and beast,
Touching the borders of the Unseen Realms
And bringing down to earth their mystic fires
To light our troubled pathways, wise and kind
And human to the core, so shall he be,
The coming leader of the coming time.
THE GREATER LOVE
Hear thou my prayer, great God of opulence;
Give me no blessings, save as recompense
For blessings which I lovingly bestow
On needy stranger or on suffering foe.
If Wealth, by chance, should on my path appear,
Let Wisdom and Benevolence stand near,
And Charity within my portal wait,
To guard me from acquaintance intimate.
Yet in this intricate great art of living
Guide me away from misdirected giving,
And show me how to spur the laggard soul
To strive alone once more to gain the goal.
Repay my worldly efforts to attain
Only as I develop heart and brain;
Nor brand me with the 'Dollar Sign' above
A bosom void of sympathy and love.
If on the carrying winds my name be blown
To any land or time beyond my own,
Let it not be as one who gained the day
By crowding others from the chosen way;
Rather as one who missed the highest place
Pausing to cheer spent runners in the race.
To do--to have--is lesser than to BE:
The greater boon I ask, dear God, from Thee.
THANK GOD FOR LIFE
Thank God for life, in such an age as this,
Rich with the promises of better things.
Thank God for being part of this great nation's heart,
Whose strong pulsations are not ruled by kings.
Our thanks for fearless and protesting speech
When cloven hoofs show 'neath the robes of state.
For us no servile song of 'Kings can do no wrong.'
Not royal birth, but worth, makes rulers great.
Thank God for peace within our border lands,
And for the love of peace within each soul.
Who thinks on peace has wrought, mosaic-squares of thought
In the foundation of our future goal.
Our thanks for love, and knowledge of love's laws.
Love is a greater power than vested might.
Love is the central source of all enduring force.
Love is the law that sets the whole world right.
Our thanks for that increasing torch of light
The tireless hand of science holds abroad.
And may its growing blaze shine on all hidden ways
Till man beholds the silhouette of God.
I know it is early morning,
And hope is calling aloud,
And your heart is afire with Youth's desire
To hurry along with the crowd.
But linger a bit by the roadside,
And lend a hand by the way,
'Tis a curious fact that a generous act
Brings leisure and luck to a day.
I know it is only the noontime -
There is chance enough to be kind;
But the hours run fast when noon has passed,
And the shadows are close behind.
So think while the light is shining,
And act ere the set of the sun,
For the sorriest woe that a soul can know
Is to think what it might have done.
I know it is almost evening,
But the twilight hour is long.
If you listen and heed each cry of need
You can right full many a wrong.
For when we have finished the journey
We will all look back and say:
'On life's long mile there was nothing worth while
But the good we did by the way.'
NEW YEAR'S DAY
When with clanging and with ringing
Comes the year's initial day,
I can feel the rhythmic swinging
Of the world upon its way;
And though Right still wears a fetter,
And though Justice still is blind,
Time's beyond is always better
Than the paths he leaves behind.
In our eons of existence,
As we circle through the night,
We annihilate the distance
'Twixt the darkness and the light.
From beginnings crude and lowly,
Round and round our souls have trod
Through the circles, winding slowly
Up to knowledge and to God.
With each century departed
Some old evil found a tomb,
Some old truth was newly started
In propitious soil to bloom.
With each epoch some condition
That has handicapped the race
(Worn-out creed or superstition)
Unto knowledge yields its place.
Though in folly and in blindness
And in sorrow still we grope,
Yet in man's increasing kindness
Lies the world's stupendous hope;
For our darkest hour of errors
Is as radiant as the dawn,
Set beside the awful terrors
Of the ages that have gone.
And above the sad world's sobbing,
And the strife of clan with clan,
I can hear the mighty throbbing
Of the heart of God in man;
And a voice chants through the chiming
Of the bells, and seems to say,
We are climbing, we are climbing,
As we circle on our way.
LIFE IS A PRIVILEGE
Life is a privilege. Its youthful days
Shine with the radiance of continuous Mays.
To live, to breathe, to wonder and desire,
To feed with dreams the heart's perpetual fire;
To thrill with virtuous passions and to glow
With great ambitions--in one hour to know
The depths and heights of feeling--God! in truth
How beautiful, how beautiful is youth!
Life is a privilege. Like some rare rose
The mysteries of the human mind unclose.
What marvels lie in earth and air and sea,
What stores of knowledge wait our opening key,
What sunny roads of happiness lead out
Beyond the realms of indolence and doubt,
And what large pleasures smile upon and bless
The busy avenues of usefulness.
Life is a privilege. Though noontide fades
And shadows fall along the winding glades;
Though joy-blooms wither in the autumn air,
Yet the sweet scent of sympathy is there.
Pale sorrow leads us closer to our kind,
And in the serious hours of life we find
Depths in the soul of men which lend new worth
And majesty to this brief span of earth.
Life is a privilege. If some sad fate
Sends us alone to seek the exit gate;
If men forsake us as the shadows fall,
Still does the supreme privilege of all
Come in that reaching upward of the soul
To find the welcoming presence at the goal,
And in the knowledge that our feet have trod
Paths that lead from and must lead back to God.
IN AN OLD ART GALLERY
Before the statue of a giant Hun,
There stood a dwarf, misshapen and uncouth.
His lifted eyes seemed asking: 'Why, in sooth,
Was I not fashioned like this mighty one?
Would God show favour to an older son
Like earthly kings, and beggar without ruth
Another, who sinned only by his youth?
Why should two lives in such divergence run?'
Strange, as he gazed, that from a vanished past
No memories revived of war and strife,
Of misused prowess, and of broken law.
That old Hun's spirit, in the dwarf re-cast,
Lived out the sequence of an earthly life.
IT WAS THE STATUE OF HIMSELF HE SAW!
God, what a world, if men in street and mart
Felt that same kinship of the human heart
Which makes them, in the face of flame and flood,
Rise to the meaning of true Brotherhood!
Among the virile hosts he passed along,
Conspicuous for an undetermined grace
Of sexless beauty. In his form and face
God's mighty purpose somehow had gone wrong.
Then on his loom, he wove a careful song,
Of sensuous threads; a wordy web of lace
Wherein the primal passions of the race
And his own sins made wonder for the throng.
A little pen prick opened up a vein,
And gave the finished mesh a crimson blot -
The last consummate touch of studied art.
But those who knew strong passion and keen pain,
Looked through and through the pattern and found not
One single great emotion of the heart.
LORD, SPEAK AGAIN
When God had formed the Universe, He thought
Of all the marvels therein to be wrought
And to His aid then Motherhood was brought.
'My lesser self, the feminine of Me,
She will go forth throughout all time,' quoth He,
'And make My world what I would have it be.
'For I am weary, having laboured so,
And for a cycle of repose would go
Into that silence which but God may know.
'Therefore I leave the rounding of My plan
To Motherhood; and that which I began
Let woman finish in perfecting man.
'She is the soil: the human Mother Earth:
She is the sun, that calls the seed to earth.
She is the gardener, who knows its worth.
'From Me, all seed, of any kind must spring.
Divine the growth such seed and soil will bring.
For all is Me, and I am everything.'
Thus having spoken to Himself aloud,
His glorious face upon His breast He bowed,
And sought repose behind a wall of cloud.
Come forth, O God! though great Thy thought and good,
In shaping woman for true Motherhood,
Lord, speak again; she has not understood.
The centuries pass: the cycles roll along -
The earth is peopled with a mighty throng,
Yet men are fighting and the world goes wrong.
Lord, speak again, ere yet it be too late,
Unloved, unwanted souls come through earth's gate:
The unborn child is given a dower of hate.
Thy world progresses in all ways save one.
In Motherhood, for which it was begun,
Lord, Lord, behold how little has been done!
Children are spawned like fishes in the sand.
With ignorance and crime they fill the land.
Lord, speak again, till mothers understand.
It is not all of Motherhood to know
Conception pleasure or deliverance woe.
Who plants the seed should help the shoot to grow.
Better a barren soil than weed and tare,
Or sickly plants that die for want of care
In poisonous jungles, void of sun and air.
True Motherhood is not alone to breed
The human race; it is to know and heed
Its holiest purpose and its highest need.
Lord, speak again, so woman shall be stirred
With the full meaning of that mighty word
True Motherhood. She has not rightly heard.
Unhoused in deserts of accepted thought,
And lost in jungles of confusing creeds,
My soul strayed, homeless, finding its own needs
Unsatisfied with what tradition taught.
The pros and cons, the little ifs and ands,
The but and maybe, and the this and that,
On which the churches thicken and grow fat,
I found but structures built on shifting sands.
And all their heavens were strange and far away,
And all their hells were made of human hate;
And since for death I did not care to wait,
A heaven I fashioned for myself one day.
Of happy thoughts I built it stone by stone,
With joy of life I draped each spacious room,
With love's great light I drove away all gloom,
And in the centre I made God a throne.
And this dear heaven I set within my heart,
And carried it about with me alway,
And then the changing dogmas of the day
Seemed alien to my thoughts and held no part.
Now as I take my heaven from place to place
I find new rooms by love's revealing light,
And death will give me but a larger sight
To see my palace spreading into space.
On a bleak, bald hill with a dull world under,
The dreary world of the Commonplace,
I have stood when the whole world seemed a blunder
Of dotard Time, in an aimless race.
With worry about me and want before me -
Yet deep in my soul was a rapture spring
That made me cry to the grey sky o'er me:
'Oh, I know this life is a goodly thing!'
I have given sweet years to a thankless duty
While cold and starving, though clothed and fed,
For a young heart's hunger for joy and beauty
Is harder to bear than the need of bread.
I have watched the wane of a sodden season,
Which let hope wither, and made care thrive,
And through it all, without earthly reason,
I have thrilled with the glory of being alive.
And now I stand by the great sea's splendour,
Where love and beauty feed heart and eye.
The brilliant light of the sun grows tender
As it slants to the shore of the by and by.
I prize each hour as a golden treasure -
A pearl Time drops from a broken string:
And all my ways are the ways of pleasure,
And I know this life is a goodly thing.
And I know, too, that not in the seeing,
Or having, or doing the things we would,
Lies that deep rapture that comes from being
AT ONE WITH THE PURPOSE WHICH MADE ALL GOOD.
And not from Pleasure the heart may borrow
That rare contentment for which we strive,
Unless through trouble, and want, and sorrow
It has thrilled with the glory of being alive.
There is no summit you may not attain,
No purpose which you may not yet achieve,
If you will wait serenely and believe
Each seeming loss is but a step toward gain.
Between the mountain-tops lie vale and plain;
Let nothing make you question, doubt or grieve;
Give only good, and good alone receive;
And as you welcome joy, so welcome pain.
That which you most desire awaits your word;
Throw wide the door and bid it enter in.
Speak, and the strong vibrations shall be stirred;
Speak, and above earth's loud, unmeaning din
Your silent declarations shall be heard.
All things are possible to God's own kin.
Talk not of strength, until your heart has known
And fought with weakness through long hours alone.
Talk not of virtue, till your conquering soul
Has met temptation and gained full control.
Boast not of garments, all unscorched by sin,
Till you have passed, unscathed, through fires within.
Oh, poor that pride the unscarred soldier shows,
Who safe in camp, has never faced his foes.
A granite rock in the mountain side
Gazed on the world and was satisfied.
It watched the centuries come and go.
It welcomed the sunlight, yet loved the snow.
It grieved when the forest was forced to fall,
Yet joyed when steeples rose, white and tall,
In the valley below it, and thrilled to hear
The voice of the great town roaring near.
When the mountain stream from its idle play
Was caught by the mill wheel and borne away
And trained to labour, the grey rock mused
'Trees and verdure and stream are used
By Man the Master; but I remain
Friend of the mountain, and star, and plain,
Unchanged forever by God's decree,
While passing centuries bow to me.'
Then all unwarned, with a mighty shock
Out of the mountain was wrenched the rock.
Bruised and battered and broken in heart,
It was carried away to the common mart,
Wrecked and ruined in piece and pride.
'Oh, God is cruel,' the granite cried,
'Comrade of mountains, of stars the friend,
By all deserted, how sad my end.'
A dreaming sculptor in passing by
Gazed at the granite with thoughtful eye.
Then stirred with a purpose supremely grand
He bade his dream in the rock expand.
And lo! from the broken and shapeless mass
That grieved and doubted, it came to pass
That a glorious statue of priceless worth
And infinite beauty, adorned the earth.
'Since Sinus crossed the Milky Way, sixty thousand years have
gone.'--GARRETT P. SERVISS.
Since Sirius crossed the Milky Way
Full sixty thousand years have gone,
Yet hour by hour, and day by day,
This tireless star speeds on and on.
Methinks he must be moved to mirth
By that droll tale of Genesis,
Which says creation had its birth
For such a puny world as this.
To hear how One who fashioned all
Those Solar Systems, tier on tiers,
Expressed in little Adam's fall
The purpose of a million spheres.
And, witness of the endless plan,
To splendid wrath he must be wrought
By pigmy creeds presumptuous man
Sends forth as God's primeval thought.
Perchance from half a hundred stars
He hears as many curious things;
From Venus, Jupiter and Mars,
And Saturn with the beauteous rings,
There may be students of the Cause
Who send their revelations out,
And formulate their codes of laws,
With heavens for faith and hells for doubt.
On planets old ere form or place
Was lent to earth, may dwell--who knows -
A God-like and perfected race
That hails great Sirius as he goes.
In zones that circle moon and sun,
'Twixt world and world, he may see souls
Whose span of earthly life is done,
Still journeying up to higher goals.
And on dead planets grey and cold
Grim spectral souls, that harboured hate
Life after life, he may behold
Descending to a darker fate.
And on his grand majestic course
He may have caught one glorious sight
Of that vast shining central Source
From which proceeds all Life, all Light.
Since Sirius crossed the Milky Way
Full sixty thousand years have gone,
No mortal man may bid him stay,
No mortal man may speed him on.
No mortal mind may comprehend
What is beyond, what was before;
To God be glory without end,
Let man be humble and adore.
At Fontainebleau, I saw a little bed
Fashioned of polished wood, with gold ornate,
Ambition, hope, and sorrow, ay, and hate
Once battled there, above a childish head,
And there in vain, grief wept, and memory plead
It was so small! but Ah, dear God, how great
The part it played in one sad woman's fate.
How wide the gloom, that narrow object shed.
The symbol of an over-reaching aim,
The emblem of a devastated joy,
It spoke of glory, and a blasted home:
Of fleeting honours, and disordered fame,
And the lone passing of a fragile boy.
* * *
It was the cradle of the King of Rome.
Look in the eyes of trouble with a smile,
Extend your hand and do not be afraid.
'Tis but a friend who comes to masquerade.
And test your faith and courage for awhile.
Fly, and he follows fast with threat and jeer.
Shrink, and he deals hard blow on stinging blow,
But bid him welcome as a friend, and lo!
The jest is off--the masque will disappear.
Is the way hard and thorny, oh, my brother?
Do tempests beat, and adverse wild winds blow?
And are you spent, and broken, at each nightfall,
Yet with each morn you rise and onward go?
Brother, I know, I know!
I, too, have journeyed so.
Is your heart mad with longing, oh, my sister?
Are all great passions in your breast aglow?
Does the white wonder of your own soul blind you,
And are you torn with rapture and with woe?
Sister, I know, I know!
I, too, have suffered so.
Is the road filled with snare and quicksand, pilgrim?
Do pitfalls lie where roses seem to grow?
And have you sometimes stumbled in the darkness,
And are you bruised and scarred by many a blow?
Pilgrim, I know, I know!
I, too, have stumbled so.
Do you send out rebellious cry and question,
As mocking hours pass silently and slow,
Does your insistent 'wherefore' bring no answer,
While stars wax pale with watching, and droop low?
I, too, have questioned so,
But now _I_ KNOW, _I_ KNOW!
To toil, to strive, to err, to cry, to grow,
TO LOVE THROUGH all--this is the way to KNOW.
When from the prison of its body free,
My soul shall soar, before it goes to Thee,
Thou great Creator, give it power to know
The language of all sad, dumb things below.
And let me dwell a season still on earth
Before I rise to some diviner birth:
Invisible to men, yet seen and heard,
And understood by sorrowing beast and bird -
Invisible to men, yet always near,
To whisper counsel in the human ear:
And with a spell to stay the hunter's hand
And stir his heart to know and understand;
To plant within the dull or thoughtless mind
The great religious impulse to be kind.
Before I prune my spirit wings and rise
To seek my loved ones in their paradise,
Yea! even before I hasten on to see
That lost child's face, so like a dream to me,
I would be given this intermediate role,
And carry comfort to each poor, dumb soul:
And bridge man's gulf of cruelty and sin
By understanding of his lower kin.
'Twixt weary driver and the straining steed
On wings of mercy would my spirit speed.
And each should know, before his journey's end,
That in the other dwelt a loving friend.
From zoo and jungle, and from cage and stall,
I would translate each inarticulate call,
Each pleading look, each frenzied act and cry,
And tell the story to each passer-by;
And of a spirit's privilege possessed,
Pursue indifference to its couch of rest,
And whisper in its ear until in awe
It woke and knew God's all-embracing law
Of Universal Life--the One in All.
* * *
Lord, let this mission to my lot befall.
No lingering by old doors of doubt -
No loitering by the way,
No waiting a To-morrow car,
When you can board To-day.
Success is somewhere down the track;
Before the chance is gone
Accelerate your laggard pace,
Swing on, I say, swing on -
Belated souls are following fast,
They shout and signal, 'Wait.'
Conductor Time brooks no delay,
He rings the bell of Fate.
But you can give the man behind,
With one hand on the bar,
A final chance to brook defeat,
And board the moving car.
Make way for others as you sit
Or stand. This crowded earth
Has room for every journeying soul
En route to higher birth.
Ay, room and comfort, if no one
Took double share or space,
Nor let his greed and selfishness
Absorb another's place.
The jolting switch of obstacles
With jarring rails is near.
Stand firm of foot, be strong of grip,
Brace well and have no fear.
The Maker of the Car of Life
Foresaw that curve--Despair,
And hung the straps of faith, and hope
So you might grasp them there.
Send forth your heart's desire, and work and wait;
The opportunities of life are brought
To our own doors, not by capricious fate,
But by the strong compelling force of thought.
THE AGE OF MOTORED THINGS
The wonderful age of the world I sing -
The age of battery, coil and spring,
Of steam, and storage, and motored thing.
Though faith may slumber and art seem dead,
And all that is spoken has once been said,
And all that is written were best unread;
Though hearts are iron and thoughts are steel,
And all that has value is mercantile,
Yet marvellous truths shall the age reveal.
Ay, greater the marvels this age shall find
Than all the centuries left behind,
When faith was a bigot and art was blind.
Oh, sorry the search of the world for gods,
Through faith that slaughters and art that lauds,
While reason sits on its throne and nods.
But out of the leisure that men will know,
When the cruel things of the sad earth go,
A Faith that is Knowledge shall rise and grow.
In the throb and whir of each new machine
Thinner is growing the veil between
The visible earth and the worlds unseen.
The True Religion shall leisure bring;
And Art shall awaken and Love shall sing:
Oh, ho! for the age of the motored thing!
'The night is cold, the hour is late, the world is bleak and
Who is it knocking at my door?'
THE NEW YEAR:
'I am Good Cheer.'
'Your voice is strange; I know you not; in shadows dark I grope.
What seek you here?'
THE NEW YEAR:
'Friend, let me in; my name is Hope.'
'And mine is Failure; you but mock the life you seek to bless.
THE NEW YEAR:
'Nay, open wide the door; I am Success.'
'But I am ill and spent with pain; too late has come your wealth.
I cannot use it.'
THE NEW YEAR:
'Listen, friend; I am Good Health.'
'Now, wide I fling my door. Come in, and your fair statements
THE NEW YEAR:
'But you must open, too, your heart, for I am Love.'
We have outgrown the helmet and cuirass,
The spear, the arrow, and the javelin.
These crude inventions of a cruder age,
When men killed men to show their love of God,
And he who slaughtered most was greatest king.
We have outgrown the need of war!
Unite in this one thought, all war would end.
Disarm the world; and let all Nations meet
Like Men, not monsters, when disputes arise.
When crossed opinions tangle into snarls,
Let Courts untie them, and not armies cut.
When State discussions breed dissensions, let
Union and Arbitration supersede
The hell-created implements of War.
Disarm the world! and bid destructive thought
Slip like a serpent from the mortal mind
Down through the marshes of oblivion. Soon
A race of gods shall rise! Disarm! Disarm!
All wantonly in hours of joy,
I made a song of pain.
Soon Grief drew near, and paused to hear,
And sang the sad refrain,
Again and yet again.
Then recklessly in my despair,
I sang of hope one day.
And Joy turned back upon life's track,
And smiled, and came my way,
And sat her down to stay.
A LITTLE SONG
Oh, a great world, a fair world, a true world I find it;
A sun that never forgets to rise,
On the darkest night, a star in the skies,
And a God of love behind it.
Oh, a good life, a sweet life, a large life I take it,
Is what He offers to you, and me;
A chance to do, and a chance to be,
Whatever we chose to make it.
Oh, a far way, a high way, a sure way He leads us;
And if the journey at times seems long,
We must trudge ahead, with a trustful song,
And know at the end He needs us.
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