The air is like a butterfly
With frail blue wings.
The happy earth looks at the sky
Vain is the chiming of forgotten bells
That the wind sways above a ruined shrine.
Vainer his voice in whom no longer dwells
Hunger that craves immortal Bread and Wine.
Light songs we breathe that perish with our breath
Out of our lips that have not kissed the rod.
They shall not live who have not tasted death.
They only sing who are struck dumb by God.
I Tthink that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.
A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the sweet earth's flowing breast;
A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;
A tree that may in summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;
Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.
Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.
Because the road was steep and long
And through a dark and lonely land,
God set upon my lips a song
And put a lantern in my hand.
Through miles on weary miles of night
That stretch relentless in my way
My lantern burns serene and white,
An unexhausted cup of day.
O golden lights and lights like wine,
How dim your boasted splendors are.
Behold this little lamp of mine;
It is more starlike than a star!
As Winds That Blow Against A Star
Now by what whim of wanton chance
Do radiant eyes know sombre days?
And feet that shod in light should dance
Walk weary and laborious ways?
But rays from Heaven, white and whole,
May penetrate the gloom of earth;
And tears but nourish, in your soul,
The glory of celestial mirth.
The darts of toil and sorrow, sent
Against your peaceful beauty, are
As foolish and as impotent
As winds that blow against a star.
Homer, they tell us, was blind and could not see the beautiful faces
Looking up into his own and reflecting the joy of his dream,
Yet did he seem
Gifted with eyes that could follow the gods to their holiest places.
I have no vision of gods, not of Eros with love-arrows laden,
Jupiter thundering death or of Juno his white-breasted queen,
Yet have I seen
All of the joy of the world in the innocent heart of a maiden.
Citizen of the World
No longer of Him be it said
"He hath no place to lay His head."
In every land a constant lamp
Flames by His small and mighty camp.
There is no strange and distant place
That is not gladdened by His face.
And every nation kneels to hail
The Splendour shining through Its veil.
Cloistered beside the shouting street,
Silent, He calls me to His feet.
Imprisoned for His love of me
He makes my spirit greatly free.
And through my lips that uttered sin
The King of Glory enters in.
From what old ballad, or from what rich frame
Did you descend to glorify the earth?
Was it from Chaucer's singing book you came?
Or did Watteau's small brushes give you birth?
Nothing so exquisite as that slight hand
Could Raphael or Leonardo trace.
Nor could the poets know in Fairyland
The changing wonder of your lyric face.
I would possess a host of lovely things,
But I am poor and such joys may not be.
So God who lifts the poor and humbles kings
Sent loveliness itself to dwell with me.
Prayer of a Soldier in France
1 My shoulders ache beneath my pack
2 (Lie easier, Cross, upon His back).
3 I march with feet that burn and smart
4 (Tread, Holy Feet, upon my heart).
5 Men shout at me who may not speak
6 (They scourged Thy back and smote Thy cheek).
7 I may not lift a hand to clear
8 My eyes of salty drops that sear.
9 (Then shall my fickle soul forget
10 Thy agony of Bloody Sweat?)
11 My rifle hand is stiff and numb
12 (From Thy pierced palm red rivers come).
13 Lord, Thou didst suffer more for me
14 Than all the hosts of land and sea.
[...] Read more
When, on a novel's newly printed page
We find a maudlin eulogy of sin,
And read of ways that harlots wander in,
And of sick souls that writhe in helpless rage;
Or when Romance, bespectacled and sage,
Taps on her desk and bids the class begin
To con the problems that have always been
Perplexed mankind's unhappy heritage;
Then in what robes of honor habited
The laureled wizard of the North appears!
Who raised Prince Charlie's cohorts from the dead,
Made Rose's mirth and Flora's noble tears,
And formed that shining legion at whose head
Rides Waverley, triumphant o'er the years!