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Cross Roads by Margaret E. Sangster

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Upon the silver sand,
And watch the sea come creeping in,
The sighing, singing sea --
If I might go to some far land,
And take True Love with me!

If I could go with my True Love,
To some far, lonely place;
The world might well be lost, and I
Could look upon Love's face.
And wealth would seem a little thing,
While happiness might be --
If I could go to some far land,
And take True Love with me.

Ah, Love would smile, and ruffle up,
The hair above my brow;
And we would laugh at all that seems
So very sober, now.
And monkey-folk, and scarlet birds,
Would peer from every tree,
And try to understand the words
My True Love said to me!

If I might go with my True Love,
To some far, dream-swept land;
I would not miss the world, for I
Could always touch Love's hand,
And feel the magic of his lips --
Oh, by the singing sea,
And Eden-place would bloom a-new
For my True Love and me!

COMPREHENSION -- A MOTHER'S SONG

I KNOW HOW MARY FELT, THERE IN THE HAY,
MY LITTLE SON WAS BORN ON CHRISTMAS DAY!

I know, as she bent tenderly above Him,
She did not think of majesty or power,
For he was hers -- and she was there to love Him!
His hands, as pinkly tinted as a flower,
Seemed all too small to carve His deathless story --
What though a star gleamed glorious to guide
Him?
She snatched Him to her breast as if to hide Him
From harm, and fear, and even -- yes, from glory.

And when the wise men came to give their treasure,
She smiled at them as proud as any queen;
She scarcely saw the jewels in countless measure,
The gold that gleamed; her gaze was far, serene,
Upon the hills where shepherds watched, alone.
She did not think of crosses or of dying,
For He was just a drowsy baby, lying
Wrapped in her love -- A baby -- all her own!

I KNOW HOW MARY FELT, THERE IN THE HAY,
MY LITTLE SON WAS BORN ON CHRISTMAS DAY!

SINGING ON THE MARCH

God put a song into my heart one day,
A little song as light as ocean form,
A little song of love and hope and home,
A little song to cheer me on my way.

And though I bowed beneath the load I bore,
I found that, when I sang, the way was bright,
And that my footsteps swifter grew, and light;
And all my life seemed fairer than before.

God has a song that fits in every heart,
And though that song may seem a tiny thing,
It is your task -- so forge ahead, and SING --
And you will find that you have done your part!

EASTER

He came to call last night --
And we began to talk, as young folk will,
Half carelessly, and half in awe, of God.
It was the springtime, and the night was still
And fragrant, all about us.
And the sod
Was fresh with tender grass,
And overhead a crescent moon shone bright.
And, "God," he said, "Has built the world on laws,
"Like some great watch, and every breathing space
"Is measured; and the system has no flaws,
"And nothing moves from its appointed place.
"God is the Master Scientist," he said,
His voice was bold and had a ring of truth --
But God seemed ponderous, and far away. . . .

And then a gentle breeze danced overhead,
And caused the timid, new-born leaves to sway,
And we began to talk of love, and youth.

And then, I sent him home, and went upstairs,
To my still room, and flung the windows wide;
And as I knelt to say my evening prayers
I saw the stars, far smiling, in the sky.
And, all at once, I knew the reason why
I worshipped God . . . knew why He had sent
His son to save the world from sin and shame;
And, suddenly, like some sweet, healing tide,
The meaning of my life swept over me;
And, through the dark, my groping soul could see
The Christ Who loved us, and was crucified.

And, as I knelt and watched the star's faint shine,
I felt God's hand, a moment, touching mine!

RESURRECTION

You took the lilt from my heart of hearts,
And the breath of song from my soul;
And the mind of me that had once been free
And buoyantly young, and whole;
Grew calm and still as a barren sea,
Where never a star beam shone,
A sea where never a ripple danced --
That reflected your face along.

I walked in a daze down well-worn paths --
Paths that your feet had trod;
I thought your thoughts and I spoke your tongue,
I knelt to your hostile God.
And the dreams that had been a part of me,
I tossed with a sigh away,
And left to rust in the misty dust
Of the land called Yesterday.

My hands lay folded in slim repose,
Quite as you bade them rest;
Folded, meek, o'er the leaden heart
That tortured my gypsie breast.
And I smiled with my lips -- my eyes were numb --
I smiled for I never knew,
That the mind of me was a lifeless sea,
Reflecting the face of you!

You took the lilt from my carefree life,
And the song from my singing heart;
But there came a day when the world grew gray,
When I knew that we must part. . . .
So I tore you out of your soul-bound shrine --
And, oh, though it caused me pain,
I raised my face to the sky and knew
That my song would come again!

THE QUEEN

"Barefooted came the beggar maid,"
So ran the minstrel's lay --
"Barefooted came the beggar maid
"Before the King Corpethua."
But, oh, her face was like a light,
Her hair was black as middle night,
And whispers ran from left to right --
"She is more beautiful than day!"

"In robe and crown the king stepped down,"
So ran the minstrel's lay --
"In robe and crown the king stepped down,
"To meet and greet her by the way."
And so the beggar maid became,
A Queen, but just a queen in name,
For, with her gypsie eyes aflame,
Her mirror heard her say --

I was a beggar maid, I used to lie
Silent and unafraid, beneath the sky,
And watch the stars -- my little sisters, they,
I used to wake at dawning time of day
To plunge my body in some mountain stream --
I was a beggar maid!
Is this a dream,
This golden crown I wear upon my head?
This robe of royal purple and of red,
This rope of pearls, this ring, these silken shoon?

Not long ago the silver crescent moon
Was like a hand that beckoned me to stray,
And cities seemed vast centuries away;
And as my feet -- swift feet, they were, and light --
Carried me through the wonder of the night,
I never thought of kings, or kingly power --
My life was all one splendid, singing hour!

I love my king -- He raised me from the dust,
And looked at me with wonder, and with trust;
My hair hung, tangled, to the waist of me,
He brushed it from my eyes, that he might see
Deep into them!
He set me on his steed,
He never knew my name, or asked my creed,
He just believed in me -- and told me so.
I love my king, I love him well, but, oh --
Once I wore poppies, red upon my brow,
(A crown seems very heavy to me, now,)
And once I wore, for all the world to see
A gown of rags. (Now, velvets stifle me!)
And once my hands (how soft they are!) were strong
To toil for me.
The days seem very long
While I must sit in state above the land --
I love my king . . . But does he understand?
I was a beggar maid, I used to lie
Silent and unafraid beneath the sky --
And, now that I am queen, my being longs
To hear, once more, the little slumber songs
Of night birds nesting in some forest tree --
I want to be myself, again, and free!
I want to climb the crest of some great hill,
And watch the sunset clouds, again, and thrill
Before the color of them! I would stand
Alone, once more, and see the wistful land
Take on the tint of twilight.
I would pray
My gypsie prayer, again, at close of day!

I love my king -- for he has given me
Rare pearls, the treasure of a sighing sea,
And rubies, red as sunset clouds a-glow
And opals like the wistful winds that blow
At twilight-time.

But I would wear, instead,
Wild forest flowers, twined about my head --
And I would dance, barefooted, on the sod,
An innovation to my pagan God!

Am I a queen? What is this crown I wear?
I tear it from my smoothly plaited hair --
I lay my ring, my rope of pearls, aside;
Am I a queen -- am I a monarch's bride?
The soul of me is still a gypsie thing --
I pull them off, the glowing gems, the ring. . . .

I love my king, I love him well -- but, oh,
GIVE ME MY RAGS, AGAIN, AND LET ME GO!

FRAGMENTS

A WITHERED ROSE

A book of verse,
And one withered rose
Between two pages. . . .

My love is as faded as the petals,
But still faintly fragrant
With sweet memories.

ASHES OF LOVE

Dust on the letters you sent me
And I did not know that they had been forgotten.

Does it mean that I love again?

IT'S LOTS OF FUN --

It's lots of fun to play around,
To dance and sing;
And not be tied to anyone,
Or anything!

It's lots of fun to live my life,
Beneath the sky;
To have no one who owns the right
To question "Why"?

It's lots of fun to come and go,
Through storm and strife,
With no one by my side who hopes
To mould my life.

(But sometimes at the twilight time,
When night birds cry;
I dream, perhaps, that something fair
Has passed me by!)

And yet -- it's good to play around,
To laugh and sing;
And not be tied to anyone,
Or anything!

VALENTINE

I wonder if you know, up there in heaven,
That I have kept your roses, crumpled now.
I wonder if you guess that still I treasure
A faded ribbon that once touched your brow.
I wonder if you dream, as dusk is falling,
Of how I read that note you sent to me.
I wonder if you think, up there in heaven,
Of all the golden days that used to be.

I wonder if you smile up there in heaven,
And pass by, lightly, in your robes of white;
Or if you sometimes think of me a little.
You seem so near, so very near tonight.
I wonder if that last shy kiss I gave you
Can make you lonely, just a bit, for me.
I wonder if you long, up there in heaven,
For all the golden plans that used to be.

Do they have valentines up there in heaven?
A love like mine is surely strong to go
The little way from earth to where you wait me,
Although it be beyond the stars' faint glow.
I want you dear; my tired heart is calling;
My eyes are searching, though they may not see;
I wonder if you're lonely, there in heaven,
For all the golden dreams that used to be.

THE SACRIFICE

I started out in a cloak of pride,
With talent, too, that I did not hide;
I started out on Life's stony road,
Ambition's weight was my only load,
And the way seemed fair in the dawn's first glow,
And I hurried -- ran -- FOR I DID NOT KNOW!

Love smiled from a garden by the way,
And called to me, but I would not stray
From the road that stretched like a ribbon white,
Up endless hills to an endless night.
Love smiled at me, but I pushed ahead,
And love fell back in the garden -- dead --
But I did not care as I hastened by,
And I did not pause for regret or sigh. . . .
The road before was a path of hope,
And every hill with its gentle slope
Led up to heights I had dreamed and prayed
To reach some day --
Ah! I might have stayed
With Love and Youth in the garden gay,
That smiled at me from beside the way.

I plodded up, and the gentle hills
Grew hard to climb, and the laughing rills
Were torrents peopled with sodden forms;
The sky grew black with the threat of storms,
And rocks leaped out and they bruised my feet,
And faint I grew in the fever heat.
(But ever on led the path that lay
As grey as dust in the waning day.)
My back was bent, and my heart was sore,
And the cloak of pride that I grandly wore
Was rent and patched and not fair to see --
Ambition, talent, seemed naught to me. . . .
But I struggled on 'till I reached the top,
FOR ONLY THEN DID I DARE TO STOP!

I stood on the summit gazing down,
And the earth looked sordid and dull and brown,
And neutral-tinted and neutral-souled;
And all of life seemed a story told,
And the only spot that was bright to see
Was a patch of green that had bloomed for me
Where a garden lived in a spring long fled,
When Love stood smiling --
BUT LOVE WAS DEAD!

TO A CERTAIN ROOM

Your room is still the dainty little place,
That used to seem so much a part of you --
The draperies of faded rose and blue
Still hold a shadow of their former grace.
The windows still are hung with frosty lace,
And sometimes, when the moonlight glimmers
through,
I watch your mirror, half expecting to
See once again, reflected there, your face!

And yet, the little room seems much too neat,
It seems quite colorless, and very bare,
Because the filmy things you used to wear
Are laid away. Because the perfume sweet
That clung about you has been swept aside. . . .
Your room is there -- but, oh, its soul has died!

OTHER DAYS

I wonder if you ever dream of other days,
Because, sometimes, at twilight when the sunset
plays
Half wistfully across the polished oaken floor,
I see you smiling -- standing in your place once more.

(Do you remember little things we used to say?
They wouldn't mean so very much to us to-day. . . .
Do you remember how I wore a gown of blue,
Because it brought the haze of autumn clouds to you?
Do you remember how I said you didn't care --
And how you laughed at me and rumpled up my
hair?
Do you remember how the tears stood in my eyes
At your good-by when darkness overhung the skies?)

I wonder if you ever dream of other days?
Because, sometimes at twilight when the sunset plays
Half wistfully across your empty cozy-chair,
I turn and half expect to see you smiling there!

THIS IS TO YOU, DEAR,
TO YOU, UNKNOWING;
JUST AS THE SOUTH WIND
WISTFULLY BLOWING
TOUCHES SOME FLOWER --

SO IS MY SONG, DEAR,
THROUGH EVERY HOUR,
ALL THE DAY LONG, DEAR,
TO YOU, UNKNOWING!

AT TWILIGHT

You came to me through the candlelight,
When the world, outside, was grey. . . .
You came to me through the candlelight
When the day was done, and the misty night
Crept through the land.
And your eyes were bright,
And they seemed to laugh and pray.
You came to me through the candlelight,
And you took my hands, and you held them tight,
And you didn't speak, but, dear, I KNEW --
And my heart and my soul were part of you.

You came to me through the candlelight,
When the world, outside, was grey;
And I looked in your eyes and, glowing there,
I saw a hope and I read a prayer;
And I knew, at last, that I didn't care,
If life were a troubled, weary way,
As long as I walked with you.
You came to me, at the close of day,
Through the candlelight -- when the world was grey --
And dreams of Heaven seemed strangely new. . . .
And I told you, dear, to stay!

THERE ARE SUCH WEARY LITTLE LINES

There are such weary little lines about the mouth of
you,
Such tragic little mirthless lines -- they mock at
dreams come true,
And twist your lips when you would smile, until all
joy is dead,
And I, who want to laugh with you, am fain to
weep instead!

There are such dreary little lines about the mouth of
you,
They make me want to whisper that summer sky is
blue,
And that the rain is like a lance of silver through
the air,
And that the flowers in the lane are growing tall
and fair!

There are such tired little lines about the mouth of
you --
As if you thought that life was cold and loving
friends were few. . . .
They are such lonely little lines I think that I, some
day,
Will creep close to you in the dusk, and kiss them
quite away!

THREE SONGS OF AWAKENING

1.

The flowers spring from the broken heart,
Of the frozen winter sod --
Rending their prison bars apart,
They smile in the face of God!

The birds sweep up to the wind-blown plain,
E'er ever the land knows spring;
To sway on a budding branch again,
To challenge the world, and sing!

And I with my tired eyes a-dance,
And my weary heart a-flame;
Have felt the call of the old romance,
And thrilled to a whispered name!

2.

I saw a sky as blue as eyes I know,
I felt a breeze, as soft as kisses, blow;
And, dear, I saw one golden sunbeam creep
From Heaven, lighting all the world below,
Like love that wakens, dewy-eyed, from sleep!

3.

We who have wondered know the answer, now;
For Spring stands, joyous, on the purple brow
Of the far hill; and doubt is swept away,
And all the mirth-mad world makes holiday!

We who have wandered long, and half afraid,
Find answer in each dreaming woodland glade;
HEARTS THAT HAVE BROKEN MAY BE BOUND TOGETHER,
WHEN SPRING HAS TRIUMPHED OVER WINTER WEATHER!

IN A CANOE

Starlight, and the silver lake
Clasp the skies --
And two nearer, dearer stars,
Your eyes!

Elfin voices seem to call
Through the night,
But your arms are warm, and they
Hold me tight.

Pallidly the moon slides down,
Hour by hour slips;
Ah, the deathless magic of
Your lips!

Dark the shadows as we creep
Past the shore --
Dear, that we might drift like this
Evermore!

CAPTIVE-HEART

Now that the day is done I am ready to greet you,
Smiling, the way that I know you would have me
smile;
I will open the door, and will run down the walk
to meet you,
As if I had missed you, dear, for a weary while!
I will listen, breathless, the while you tell of your
toiling,
All day long in the dust and the city's heat;
And, dear, you will never know that my blood is
boiling --
Back of the smile that is calm and tenderly sweet.

You will never know that the soul of me, dear, is
flying,
Out where the seagull dips in the ocean's foam;
You will never know that something of me is dying,
Every night as I smile and welcome you home.
You will never know that my heart is soaring above
you --
You will be content with my mask of a smile --
KNOWING I LOVE YOU!

EVENING SONG

I do not want to be worshipped,
From a distance;
Like some idol carved in wood,
Or stone.
I want to be loved
As every real woman
Wants to be loved!

And so. . . .
Lay aside the book that you are reading from --
What if Leander did swim the Hellespont?
And what if burning Sappho
Did sing?
What do I care for
Launcelot and Elaine,
Or Tristram and Isolt,
Or Aucassin and Nicholette?

Lay aside the book that you are reading from,
And cross the room quickly,
And take my cold hands between your two
Warmer ones. . . .
And here, in the vivid dusk,
We will make our own love songs!

AFTER A DAY OF WAITING

All day long I waited -- waited with soul aflame --
And then through the still of evening, humming a
tune, you came;
Came with a jest on your smiling lips, and eyes that
were all too gay;
And the light died out of my waiting heart with the
words that I could not say.

We laughed through the star-flecked twilight -- what
though my laugh was strained?
You, who were there beside me, laughed with a mirth
unfeigned!
And at last when I bade you leave me you went, and
you never knew
That with soul aflame I had waited, all through the
day, for you.

INTANGIBLE

Dear, you are like the summer dusk to me,
The summer dusk when all the world seems still;
When purple shadows creep along the hill,
And birds are softly crooning in each tree.
You are the gentle-cool-eyed mystery
Of twilight hours. Sometime I think you will
Melt from me out into the dark, until
You turn to star-shine, silvering the sea.

Dear, even when your head is on my breast,
You seem no nearer than a moonbeam thrown
Across my heart. Your fingers have caressed
My hair so lightly that I scarce have known
Their pressure. You are like that time when rest
Steals up so softly that one feels alone!

AT FIRST SIGHT

Seeing you once, how can I forget
That our eyes have smiled and our hands have met?
That our souls have known and our hearts have cried,
Though our lips were dumb.
Ah, the world is wide,
And love there is for us both to know --
But my eyes were dim as I watched you go!

You may wander far, you may come no more,
But you hold the key to the inmost door
Of my heart of hearts!
For our hands have met,
And our eyes have smiled, and I CAN'T FORGET!

FIVE SONNETS

I. THE COMING

I know that Love will come to me, some day,
Though I have never loved, or looked on Love;
I know that Love will wait beside the way
And smile at me. The tender skies above
Will be alight with all the joy of spring,
And flowers will life their heads above the earth,
And some far bird will stay its flight and sing,
And fill the land with silver throated mirth.

I know that Love, at last, with smiling eyes,
Will pause beside my half-swung cottage door,
And I will lift my gaze, without surprise,
To see his shadow dance across the floor.
I know that Love will come to me, some day,
When springtime blossoms, shyly, into May!

II. REALIZATION

I know that you are not the one that I
Should fall in love with, for your eyes are blind
To all the things that make my world the kind
I want to live in. Often, when I cry
At some vague beauty that has caught my eye,
You laugh! You cannot dream the dreams I find,
In forest places where dim pathways wind
Up to the Heaven-land so far and high.

I know that I should never learn to care,
And yet, sometimes the blueness of your eyes
Can make me half forget the smiling skies. . . .
And, when I see the sunlight on your hair,
I do not stop to reason, dear, for oh --
My heart throbs faster, and I know -- I know!

III. THE RAIN OUTSIDE

You close beside me, and outside, the rain,
Which, stealing through the darkness of the night,
Seems tapping out with fingers softly light,
A world-old song upon my window pane --
A song of happiness with a refrain
That throbs in suffering. You hold me tight,
Your eyes, that search my own, are warmly bright,
Your lips touch mine again, and yet again!

Ah, what though years must pass, though you and I
May live our lives, quite silently, apart?
Whenever rain comes, when the day is through,
And, tapping on my casement, seems to sigh,
A dream will blossom, fragrant, in my heart,
A dream of youth eternal, and of -- you.

IV. I USED TO WRITE

I used to write so many songs of love --
I wrote them carefully, I did not know
That love was more than moonlight from above,
And pretty words set in an even row,
I held my pencil calmly in my hand,
And sang of arms and lips and tender eyes;
I wrote of love -- who did not understand --
And hoped that folk would think me very wise!

I used to write so many songs . . . To-day
My hands are folded, and I cannot sing,
I sit, instead, and watch the sunlight stray
Across my desk. And I am wondering
If God, who lights a million stars each night,
Laughed at the groping words I tried to write!

V. MOON-GLOW

I wonder if, dim centuries ago,
We watched the moon together, on some night
When stars hung very near, and softly bright?
I wonder if my tired head drooped low
Against your breast? And if you seemed to know
(As you know now) the dreams that, like a light,
Shone in my soul? For, dear, it seems so right --
So very right that you should hold me so!

Here, in the moonlight, there is nothing new,
The very arms that crush me to your heart,
Seem almost like a memory, a part
Of some vague yesterday that has come true --
I feel tonight as if I, dear, might start
A journey back, across the years, with you!

FORGIVEN

You left me when the weary weight of sorrow
Lay, like a stone, upon my bursting heart;
It seemed as if no shimmering tomorrow
Could dry the tears that you had caused to start.
You left me, never telling why you wandered --
Without a word, without a last caress;
Left me with but the love that I had squandered,
The husks of love and a vast loneliness.

And yet if you came back with arms stretched toward
me,
Came back to-night, with carefree, smiling eyes,
And said: "My journeying has somehow bored me,
And love, though broken, never, never dies!"
I would forget the wounded heart you gave me,
I would forget the bruises on my soul.
My old-time gods would rise again to save me,
My dreams would grow supremely new and whole.
What though youth lay, a tattered garment, o'er you?
Warm words would leap upon my lips, long dumb;
If you came back, with arms stretched out before
you,
AND TOLD ME, DEAR, THAT YOU WERE GLAD TO COME!

THE WRITING

Sometimes a mist of sunlight across a stranger's hair,
Sometimes the vague expression upon a stranger's
face,
Can make me feel your presence -- can fill a lonely
place
With dreams of life half realized. Faint music
through the air
Can make me hear your foot-fall, again, upon the
stair --
Sometimes a dancer moving with quite unconscious
grace,
Can make my pulse beat faster; and for a breathless
space
Can make me turn, expecting to find you standing
there!

You have not gone! The passing of every empty
day
Has only brought you nearer. Those things that
were a part
Of all we planned together are bits of you that stay,
To bruise my soul as sharply as any flame-tipped
dart.
Ah, time may hold its healing -- but years that pass
away
Cannot erase the writing you traced upon my
heart!

AT PARTING

Love of my life, the time has come for parting --
For, dearest, I must leave you while we care!
Leave you while tears of vain regret are starting,
While I can look at you and find you fair.
Could we endure a morn of bitter waking,
Could we accept a love that would seem less?
Dear, I must go the while my heart is breaking --
Go while my world is filled with happiness.

Love of my soul, our dream has been so flaming,
That, if we waited, it might smoulder down --
Leaving dead ashes only, ashes shaming
All that was vivid -- ashes dimly brown.
We will have memories as sweet as flowers,
We who have left, untouched, Fate's cup of woe;
Kiss me once more to bridge life's aching hours --
Love of my heart -- the time has come to go!

WHEN I AM OLD --

When I am old and drenched in worlds of sadness,
And wear a lacy cap upon my head;
When, looking past the future's singing gladness,
I linger, wistful, in the years long dead.
When I am old, and young folk all about me,
Speak softly of religion, WHEN THEY SPEAK,
When parties are a grand success without me;
And when my laugh is fluttering and weak --

Will I then be content to raise my glances,
Serenely to the cloud-entangled sky?
And will I be content to watch at dances,
Without a heartbreak, as the hours pass by?
Or when I see young lovers' fingers twine,
WILL I REMEMBER, DEAR, YOUR LIPS ON MINE?

THE REFUGE

We hurried, once, down the purple road,
When a storm hung low in the sky;
And we gained the door of Love's abode
As the silver rain flashed by.
Our steps rang out as we crossed the sill,
And the place was dimly bright,
And even our hearts seemed strangely still,
While our searching hands clasped tight.

We waited there while the wind moaned past
And the thunder crashed in the air;
And the door of Love's abode blew fast,
But we didn't know -- or care!
For we heard a song in the driving rain,
And the sky seemed warmly gray;
And the tempest rang with a mad refrain,
And the world seemed years away.
. . . . . . . . .

We have wandered far from the road of dreams,
We have crept from the house of love;
And the scorching sun of the noonday gleams
From the pitiless sky above.
But once, ah, once -- in that dusky place,
When the lightning flashed through the air,
I saw its flame on your upturned face,
And its glow on your vivid hair.

We have strayed away -- we have strayed away --
For the world is all too wide. . . .
But once I came through the stormy day,
And you walked, proud, at my side.
AND, OH, FOR THE FEEL OF THE RAIN AGAIN,
AND, OH, FOR THE PURPLE ROAD,
AND, OH, FOR THE JOY AND THE PAIN AGAIN,
THAT WE KNEW IN LOVE'S ABODE!

TO DREAM ALONE. . . .

How long the days may seem, how long each night,
(And yet, how short the evenings used to be!)
How strange it is that I can never see,
Warm pictures in the hearth that glows so bright.
We used to watch the laughing firelight,
And build dream castles in it -- Ah, but we
Built castles everywhere! And now the sea
Is swept between us. You have gone to fight.

And I -- I wait and try to dream alone,
And try to smile, to dance and laugh and sing;
And, somehow, cannot think of anything,
But just the thrilling roughness of your tone,
The light that lights your eyes, your lips that
cling,
And love -- the flame of love that we have known!

NOW I MAY SING OF SADNESS. . . .

Knowing, dear, that my whole heart lies at rest
Deep in the heart of you, I may sing a song
Telling the tale of bitterness and wrong. . . .
Knowing, dear, that my head lay on your breast
Only last night, I may sing of dreams that died,
And hopes that never were born, and faith betrayed,
Of weary feet that have left the road and strayed
Out of the narrow way, to pastures wide.

Dear, when my songs were gay, I did not know
Whether you cared. And so I had to sing
Gladly, to mask grim fear -- I had to bring
Sunlight to point the path that I must go!
Now that the clouds are silver sweet above,
I may sing songs of sadness. I am blessed
Knowing, dear, that my whole heart lies at rest,
Knowing, dear, that I have your love -- your love!

KNOWING THAT YOU HAVE WALKED HER MUDDY ROADS
WEARILY, AFTER BITTER TIMES OF FIGHTING;
KNOWING THAT YOU HAVE CARRIED HEAVY LOADS
OVER HER HILLS -- WHILE I, AT HOME, WAS LIGHTING
DIM YELLOW CANDLES ON THE MANTEL SHELF. . . .
KNOWING YOU SUFFERED AGONY AND LOSS,
UNDER THE VERY SHADOW OF A CROSS --
FRANCE HOLDS A BIT OF YOU -- AND OF MYSELF!

WHEN WAR CAME

War came, one day, and drew us close together,
Although it swept us many miles apart;
The love that lay as lightly as a feather,
Now rests, a precious weight, upon my heart.
And all the dreams I dreamed for just the dreaming,
Have taken on a meaning that is new;
And somehow all the lonely world is seeming,
To cry aloud my aching need of you!

Because you were so much a part of living,
Like sunshine and the freshness of the air,
The priceless gift of faith that you were giving
Seemed small to me. Scarce knowing you were
there
I took your heart-strings in my careless fingers,
And played a song as light as summer dew,
And yet, today, its wistful echo lingers
And fills an empty world with thoughts of you.

I did not think that I would ever miss you,
I did not dream the time would come to be
When I would long to touch your hand, to kiss you --
To hear your voice say tender words to me.
I did not know that I would wonder whether
My head would rest, once more, against your
heart. . . .
War came, my dear, and drew us close together,
Although it swept us many miles apart!

WHEN YOU WENT BY

I stood in the rain and watched you pass,
I stood in the blinding rain. . . .
And I thought of a fragrant summer night,
When the room was glowing with candlelight,
And a shower beat on the window glass
With a wonderful, low refrain.
I thought of your arms that held me tight,
And your eyes that were near and warmly bright;
I thought of -- all, as I watched you pass,
And my soul was wrung with pain.

"Tramp, tramp, tramp!" rang your column's tread.
"Tramp, tramp, tramp!" through the street.
(Ah, dear, it was summer once, and there
Were flower scents on the misty air --
Honeysuckle and mignonette, poignantly, sadly
sweet!)
"Tramp, tramp, tramp!" rang your column's tread,
And my eyes were dim as I bowed my head;
And my heart seemed broken and old and dead,
Under your marching feet.

I stood in the rain and watched you pass --
There in the autumn rain. . . .
And I thought, my dear, of the night when you
Had kissed me first. (Ah, your eyes were blue,
And very tender, and Heaven-true,
There in the candlelight!)
I thought of a misty summer night,
When a shower fell on the vivid grass
(There, through the rain, I watched you pass!)
I thought of a mystic summer night
That never may come again.

"TRAMP, TRAMP, TRAMP!" RANG YOUR COLUMN'S TREAD,
"TRAMP, TRAMP, TRAMP!" IN THE STREET;
AND I TRIED TO SMILE -- WITH A LIFTED HEAD --
BUT MY HEART LAY, CRUSHED, AT YOUR FEET!

IN MEMORIAM

To an American Aviator

He went to battle in the mist-hung sky,
Like some gold-hearted bird with pinions strong;
He went with courage, with a snatch of song,
In all his splendid youth! And God on high
Looked down with love to watch him dip and fly,
Then lifted him to where the brave belong.
He went to right a bleeding nation's wrong,
And proved that he was not afraid to die!

So we, who stare across the lonely hours,
Must only think of that great gift he gave;
Must think of other lives that his will save;
And know that, when the tender, healing showers
Have fallen in a stranger-land, the flowers
Will bloom, like prayers, upon a hero's grave!

A PEASANT GIRL SINGS

Somewhere, Out There, he is -- just a boy, that's all --
(Laughter sparkled in his eyes -- he was always
singing!)
Just a boy who answered when he heard his country's
call;
(Somewhere, Out There, he is -- how my thoughts go
winging --)
Ready to do or dare,
(Like sunlight was his hair,)
Just a boy, a laughing boy,
Somewhere, Out There.

Idle my wheel, to-day, hushed is it's spinning --
(Ah, but his eyes were blue -- blue as the sea --)
Somewhere, Out There, he is . . . Losing -- or winning!
(Boy with the carefree heart, come back to me!)
Blood red the cannon's flare,
(God, can you hear my prayer?)
Keep him, my boy, from harm --
Somewhere, Out There.

TOGETHER

THEY LAY TOGETHER IN THE SUN AND WAITED FOR THE END;
SIDE BY SIDE, TOGETHER, BEARDED FOE AND FRIEND;
JEAN FROM THE PLEASANT FIELDS OF SINGING, SOUTHERN
FRANCE,
JEAN FROM THE POPPY FIELDS SIGHING WITH ROMANCE;
FRITZ FROM A FATHERLAND HE BLINDLY LOVED AND SERVED,
FRITZ WHOSE SOFT-NOSED BULLETS HAD NEVER FLINCHED NOR
SWERVED;
AND PETER, WHOSE TIRED EYES WERE WIDE AND DEEP AND
BROWN,
PETER FROM DELANCEY STREET, IN NEW YORK TOWN.

They didn't speak, these three,
They didn't know each other's tongue;
And, then,
When men
Whose songs are nearly sung
Are lying side by side,
Their breathing not so . . . free,
The gulf is rather wide.

In the sun they lay there;
And Fritz's hair
Was very bright.
He was a foe
To kill on sight --
And yet the light
Upon his hair was so,
So very fair. . . .

Jean found himself remembering HER hair;
Of palest gold it was, a magic snare
To net men's soul in! She had bade him go,
Sobbing, "Je t'aime" -- which means, "I love you so!"
Her hair -- her hands -- her lips,
Red as a sunset cloud when daytime slips
Into the night. No, redder!
Like a flower
That blooms upon the earth for just an hour;
A poppy flower, fragile, soft. . . . HER LIPS
Red as the heart-blood of a man, that drips
Into eternity. . . .
Jean sighed,
And died.

PERHAPS HER LIPS WERE VERY NEAR -- WHO KNOWS?
WHEN EYES MUST CLOSE
AGAINST THE SUN, AND LIFE, WHO CARES?
ONE ONLY DARES
TO WONDER!

Fritz lay still.
He felt the strength, the faith, the stubborn will,
Drop from him like worn garments, till he lay
Half-frightened in the burning light of day.
He had killed many, yes. . . .
From under
His tunic, gropingly, he drew a cross;
He wondered would it make, for her, the loss
A little less?
Ah, to press
His bearded lips once more upon her cheek,
To hear her speak. . . .

Yes, he had killed, and killed --
And he had thrilled
To do it. . . .
But just to sit
Beside her, in the shade,
THAT had been paradise!
Her soft arms laid
About his throat. . . .
THEY STRANGLED HIM --
His eyes grew dim. . . .
He choked -- once . . . twice. . . .

Peter from Delancey Street, laughed with white-
lipped pluck.
"Dyin' side o' HIM!" he coughed. "Ain't it rotten
luck!
"Poor guy, they got him, though -- got him same as
me. . . ."
Peter, from Delancey Street, stopped talking suddenly.

He saw --
A candy store,
On the busy, smelly corner of a crowded city
slum;
He heard the hum
Of traffic in the street,
The sound of feet
Upon the pavement; and he saw,
Behind the counter there,
THE GIRL. She wore
Her hair
Plastered tight to her little shell-like ears.
He felt her tears
Upon his face
The night he told her that he'd left his place,
His steady paying job, to go and fight.

"Good night!"
He'd said to her.
"Somebody's gotta go!
Yerself, you know,
We gotta STIR
T'lick them fellers Over There!"
Her slicked-back hair
Had roughened up against his khaki sleeve,
And she had cried:
"Dear, MUST you leave?"
And he had dried
Her eyes, and smudged the powder on her
nose. . . .

"Here goes!"
Said Peter of Delancey Street.
He saw
A candy store --
A city slum, a girl with plastered hair,
Who waited there. . . .

THEY LAY TOGETHER IN THE SUN -- BRAVELY TO THE END,
SIDE BY SIDE, TOGETHER, BEARDED FOE AND FRIEND.
JEAN FROM THE POPPY FIELDS, SIGHING WITH ROMANCE,
JEAN FROM THE LAUGHTER-LILTING FIELDS OF SOUTHERN
FRANCE;
FRITZ FROM A FATHERLAND HE BLINDLY LOVED AND SERVED,
FRITZ, WHOSE FAITH, ALTHOUGH BETRAYED, HAD NEVER
FLINCHED OR SWERVED;
AND PETER, WHOSE TIRED EYES WERE QUESTIONING AND
BROWN,
PETER, FROM DELANCEY STREET, IN NEW YORK TOWN.

JIM-DOG

He wasn't, well, a fancy kind o' dog --
Not Jim!
But, oh, I sorter couldn't seem ter help
A-lovin' him.
He always seemed ter understand.
He'd rub his nose against my hand
If I was feelin' blue or sad.
Or if my thoughts was pretty bad;
An' how he'd bark an' frisk an' play
When I was gay!

A soldier's dog don't have much time ter whine
Like little pets a-howlin' at th' moon.
A soldier's dog is bound ter learn, right soon,
That war is war, an' what a steady line
Of men in khaki means.
(What, dogs don't know?
You bet they do! Jim-dog, he had ter go
Along th' trenches oftentimes at night;
He seemed ter sense it when there was a fight
A-brewin'. Oh, I guess he knew, all right!)
I was a soldier, an' Jim-dog was MINE.

Ah, what's the use?
There never was another dog like him.
Why, on th' march I'd pause an' call -- "Hey, Jim!"
An' he'd be there, his head tipped on one side,
A-lookin' up at me with love an' pride,
His tail a-waggin', an' his ears raised high. . . .

I wonder why my Jim-dog had ter die?
He was a friend ter folks; he didn't bite;
He never snapped at no one in th' night;
He didn't hate a soul; an' he was GAME!
An' yet . . . a spark o' light, a dartin' flame
Across th' dark, a sneaky bit o' lead,
An' he was . . . dead!

They say there ain't no heaven-land for him,
'Cause dogs is dogs, an' haven't any right;
But let me tell yer this; without my Jim
Th' very shinin' streets would seem less bright!
An' somehow I'm a-thinkin' that if he
Could come at that last stirrin' bugle call
Up to th' gates o' gold aside of me,
Where God stands smilin' welcome to us all,
An' I said, "Father, here's my dog . . . here's
Jim,"
They'd find some corner, touched with love, fer him!

SIX SONNETS

I. SOMEHOW

Somehow I never thought that you would go,
Not even when red war swept through the land --
I somehow thought, because I loved you so,
That you would stay. I did not understand
That something stronger than my love could come,
To draw you, half-reluctant, from my heart;
I never thought the call of fife and drum
Would rend our cloak of happiness apart!

And yet, you went . . . And I -- I did not weep --
I smiled, instead, and brushed the tears aside.
And yet, when night-time comes, I cannot sleep
But silent lie, while longing fights with pride --
YOU ARE MY MAN, THE FOE YOU FIGHT MY FOE,
AND YET -- I NEVER THOUGHT THAT YOU WOULD GO!

II. I WONDER

I wonder if you dream, across the night,
When watchfires cut the vivid dark in twain,
Of long dim rooms, and yellow candlelight,
And gardens drenched in vaguely perfumed rain?
I wonder if you think, when shot and shell
And molten fire are singing songs of hate,
Of that last throbbing moment of farewell
When, in your arms, I promised you to wait!

I wonder, should grim death reach out his hand,
And speak, above the strife, of peace and rest;
If you, alone in that dark stranger land,
Would feel again my head upon your breast?
And if, as light and love and living slips,
Your prayer would be my kiss upon your lips. . . .

III. SOME DAY

Some day when on exultant feet you come
Back through the streets that echo at your tread --
My soul will thrill to hear the throbbing drum,
And yet, perhaps, I'll sit with drooping head,
Not caring, quite, to meet your steady gaze,
Not daring, quite, to look into your eyes;
Afraid because a weary stretch of days,
Each one a million years, between us lies.

My heart -- my heart is ever yours to hold,
And yet, while I have waited here for you,
You have seen faith betrayed, and brave youth sold,
You have seen meadows drenched in bloody dew --
It may have changed you, and your eyes may be
A little harder when they look at me!

IV. DREAM

Sometimes I dream that you are back with me,
And that with hands together clasped we go
Like little children, young and glad and free,
A-down a magic road we used to know.
Sometimes I dream your eyes upon my face,
And feel your fingers softly touch my hair. . . .
And when I wake from dreaming all the place,
Seems lonelier because you are not there.

What is a dream? Not very much, they say,
An idle vision made in castled Spain --
Well, maybe they are right. . . . And yet, today,
When all the warring world was swept with pain,
The suffering and sorrow ceased to be,
Because I dreamed that you were back with me!

V. UNDERSTANDING

Now, when I stand in some great crowded place,
I see the souls of other women stare
Out of their eyes -- And I can glimpse the care
And worry that has banished light and grace
From every life. Upon each woman-face
I see the mark of tears, the hint of prayer
That, one short year ago, had not been there --
I see what time will never quite erase!

Before you left, I did not notice eyes --
Because I knew that I might touch your hand,
I did not dream the dread that swept our land. . .
Ah, dear, the months have made me very wise!
Now, one with everything, I understand,
And heart meets heart and I can sympathize.

VI. THE WAKING

Now war is over and a world set free,
And youth returns, triumphant, to our land --
And dear-heart, you'll be coming back to me,
With eager lips, and tender outstretched hand!
You will be coming as you came of old,
At evening time, with laughter lilting gay;
Glad of the little things that life may hold --
And I will meet you in the self same way. . . .

Yes, in the shadows by my oaken door,
I will be waiting as I used to wait --
And I will feel that you are come, before
I hear the clicking of the garden gate.
And, in the darkness there, my pulse will leap,
Reviving dreams that long have lain asleep!

AFTER PEACE

"I wonder what they're doin' home tonight?"
Jim said --
We sat there, in the yellow firelight,
There, in a house in France --
Some of us, maybe thinkin' of romance --
Some of us missin' buddies who was dead --
And some just dreamin'
Sorter hardly seemin'
Ter make th' dream come clear.

An' then -- Jim spoke --
"I wonder what they're doin' home ternight?"
Says Jim --
An' some of us felt, well -- as if we'd like
Ter smother him!
An' some of us tried hard-like not ter choke,
Th' smoke
Was pretty thick an' black!
A-thinkin' back,
Across th' ocean I could sort of see
A little house that means just all ter me
And, though nobody said a word I knew
Their thoughts was goin' on th' self-same track --
Thoughts do
Out here, in France.

Home -- HOME -- No wonder that we all was still --
For one of us was thinkin' of a hill,
With pine trees on it black against th' moon --
And one of us was dreaming of a town,
All drab an' brown --
An' one of us was lookin' -- far an' high
Ter some one who had gone back home too soon
To that real home that is beyond the sky.

Nobody of us spoke fer quite a while --
We didn't smile --
We just sat still an' wondered when there'd be
An order for ter send us home --
Back 'crost the sea.
Th' war was won --
An' we was DONE!
We wanted faces that we loved an' knew,
An' voices too --

We sat an' watched th' dancin' fire fling
Its shadders on th' floor --
Bright shapes, an' dim.
An' then Jim coughed as if his throat was sore,
An' -- "Say -- let's sing!"
Says Jim.

FROM THE DECK OF A TRANSPORT

(A Returning Soldier Speaks)

I am coming back with a singing soul through the
surge of the splendid sea,
Coming back to the land called home, and the love
that used to be --
I am coming back through a flash of spray, through
a conquered tempest's hum,
I am coming back, I am coming back. . . . But,
God, do I want to come?

I have heard the shriek of the great shells speak to
the dawn of a flaming day;
And a growling gun when the fight was won, and the
twilight flickered gray,
I have seen men die with their chins raised high, and
a curse that was half a prayer --
I have fought alone when a comrade's groan was
tense on the blinding air.

I have tramped a road when a burning load was
strapped to my aching back,
Through miles of mud that was streaked with blood,
when my closing eyes turned back --
I have cried aloud to a heedless crowd of a God that
they could not know,
And have knelt at night when the way was bright
with a rocket's sullen glow.

I am going home through the whirling foam -- home
to her arms stretched wide --
I am going back to the beaten track and the sheltered
fireside,
With gasping breath I have sneered at death, and
have mocked at a shell's swift shirr,
And safe again, through the years of pain, I am
going back -- to HER!

I am coming back with a singing soul through the
surge of the splendid sea,
Coming back -- BUT MY SINGING SOUL WILL NEVER BE
QUITE FREE --
For I have killed, and my heart has thrilled to the
call of the battle hum. . . .
I am coming back to the used-to-be -- But, God, do I
want to come?

TIM -- MY BUNKIE

I met Tim th' other day
On Broadway;
Hadn't seem him since he fell,
Covered like with streaks of blood,
In th' Argonne's battle hell.

Tim an' me was bunkies; we
Marched together
Through th' water an' th' slime --
SUNNY FRANCE, HEY? We seen weather
That we hadn't dreamed COULD be
Anywhere or any time.
We had fought -- well, hand to hand,
Over miles o' broken land,
Through th' Vesle, an' by th' Aisne,
When th' shrapnel fell like rain --
Tim an' me was bunkies -- see?

Smilin' sort o' cuss was Tim;
Never seen th' beat o' him!
He could whistle when a pack
Was like lead upon his back;
He could smile with blistered feet;
Never swore at monkey meat,
Or at cooties, or th' drill;
Always laughin' -- never still --
That was Tim!

Say, th' fellers loved that boy!
Chaplain said that he "was joy
All incarnate --" Sounds all right,
But th' men said he was WHITE,
That meant most to us, I'd say!
Why, we never seen th' day
When he wouldn't help a guy.
If he had a franc he'd buy
Chocolate or chow for us,
Gen'rus little smilin' cuss --
That was Tim!

When THEY got him, I can see
Even now, th' way he slipped
To th' ground beside o' me.
Red blood dripped
From his tunic an' his chin,
But he choked out, "Fellers, win!
"Me, I don't much matter, GRIN!"

Sure we had ter leave him lay;
War is always that-a-way;
An' we thought o'course he'd die.
Maybe that's the reason why
We could fight th' way we did;
Why we found th' guns THEY hid;
Why we broke their line in two,
Whistlin' a tune HE knew
All th' time we pushed 'em back,
Crowdin' on 'em whack fer whack!

I seen Tim th' other day
On Broadway;
He had lef' one arm in France,
But his eyes was all a-dance
When he seen me face t' face.
"Say," he shouts, "ain't this SOME place?
Ain't it great th' war is through?
Glad I seen it, though; ain't you?"

Smilin' sort o' little cuss,
Meetin' me without a fuss --
Tim, my bunkie, livin'! . . . Tim!
That's him!

A PRAYER FOR OUR BOYS RETURNING

God, bring them back just as they went away;
A little wiser, maybe, but unchanged
In all the vital things -- let them today
Take up the lives that war has disarranged.
Let them renew the youth they laid aside
To fight their battles in the world of men,
God, bring to life their little dreams that died,
And build their altars new again, and then --

Give them the vivid youth that they have sought for
Through bloody mists on bloody fields of strife;
Show them the gallant truth that they have fought
for;
Show them, anew, the better things of life.
God of the hosts, blot out the months of pain --
And let them have their boyhood back again.
AMEN.

PARIS

I. AFTER PEACE

The city thrills once more to joyous singing;
Glad laughter sounds again upon the street,
And music throbs again, until young feet
Trip merrily upon their way; the ringing
Of hour chimes are gallant voices, flinging
Their challenges through each crowded space, to
greet
Old friends who linger where they used to meet
With other friends long gone. . . . The summer,
bringing

The light of peace, has seemed to fill the city,
With happiness that echoes far and wide
In sounds of joy; there seems no room for sorrow --
Yet, like a minor chord submersed in pity,
There steals above the music of tomorrow,
The weary footsteps of the ones who died.

II. THE RUE DE LA PAIX -- (A STREET OF JEWELS)

The windows glow with many jewels, with rubies
fire-entangled,
And glowing bits of emerald, and diamonds like
the dew --
But, Paris, can you quite forget the bodies lying
mangled
Beneath the snow on Flanders fields -- your lost
who call to you?).

The windows of each little shop are gay with gem-
like laughter,
With rings to fit milady's hand, and drops to deck
her ear;
(But, Paris, can you quite forget Verdun, and Ypres,
and -- after?
And, far beneath the sounds of mirth, one
wonders what you hear.)

The windows glow with countless jewels, the shop-
girls stop to wonder,
The little shopgirls who are still, so many, dressed
in black --
(But, oh, the saddened hearts of them no doubt are
lying under
Some sandy stretch along the Marne, where grim
defeat turned back!)

The windows gleam enticingly, and eyes light up to
see them,
For Paris thrills to loveliness, as Paris always
thrilled --
(Oh, God of beauty, touch the lives that war has
crushed, and free them
From broken dreams, an empty faith, and hopes
forever stilled!)

III. THE FLOWER WAGONS

Violets and mignonette, crowded close together,
Crowded close together on the corner of each street,
Through the chilling dampness of the misty weather,
Violets and mignonette -- ah, so close together --
Making all the Paris day colorful and sweet!

Roses faintly touched with pink; see, a soldier
lingers
Close beside the flower-stand, dreaming of the day
When she broke a single bud with her slender fingers,
Pressed it to her wistful mouth -- see, a soldier lingers
Dreaming of a summertime very far away.

Lilacs white and pure and new, fragrant as the
morning --
One pale widow, passing by, pauses for a space,
Thinking of the lilac tree that once grew, adorning
All a little cottage home, in life's fragrant morning;
Of a lilac tree that grew in a garden place.

Pansies for a thought of love, lilies for love's sorrow,
Bay leaves green as hopes that live, berries red
and brown;
Flowers vivid for a day, gone upon the morrow,
Flowers that are sweet as faith, that are sad as
sorrow --
Flowers for the weary souls of a weary town.

Violets and mignonette, crowded close together,
Crowded close together on the corner of each
street;
Singing of the summertime, through the misty
weather,
Violets and mignonette -- ah, so close together --
Making all the Paris day colorful and sweet!

IV. ACROSS THE YEARS

(Marie Antoinette walked down the steps of a certain
Chapel on her way to the guillotine.)

They say a queen once walked along the marble steps
with grace,
To meet grim death by guillotine -- a smile was on
her face,
A smile of scorn that lifted her above the howling
crowd,
A smile that mocked at pallid fear -- a smile serene
and proud.

Yes, it was Marie Antoinette -- she walked with
steady tread,
She sauntered down the marble steps with proudly
lifted head;
And there were those among the crowd who watched
with indrawn breath,
To see a queen walk out with smiles to keep a tryst
with death!

I stood beside those marble steps just yesterday, and
saw,
A bride upon a soldier's arm -- a poilu brave who
wore
A Croix de Guerre upon his breast -- and oh, they
smiled above
The busy throng that hurried by, unconscious of their
love.

And though, across the mist of years, I glimpsed a
fair queen's face,
A face that smiled, but scornfully, above her land's
disgrace --
I will remember, on those steps, the little new-made
wife,
Who came, her eyes all filled with trust, to keep
her tryst with life.

V. SUNLIGHT

The sun shines over Paris fitfully,
As if it really were afraid to shine;
And clouds of gray mist curl and twist and twine
Across the sky. As far as one can see
The streets are wet with rain, and suddenly
New rain falls in a straight, relentless line --
And silver drops, like needles, slim and fine,
Drip from the branches of each gaunt-limbed tree.

Ah, Paris, can the very wistful sky
Look down into the center of your heart,
That has been bruised by war, and torn apart --
The once glad heart that has been taught to sigh?
The sun is like your smile that flutters by
Like some lost dream, before the tear-drops start.

VI. THE LATIN QUARTER -- AFTER

They were the brave ones, the gallant ones, the
laughing ones,
Who were the very first to go -- to heed their coun-
try's call;
They were the joyous ones, the carefree ones, the
chaffing ones,
Who were the first to meet the foe, who were the
first to fall.

Artists and poets, they; the talented and youthful
ones --
All the world before their feet, their feet that loved
to stray;
We have heard about their lives; stories crude, and
truthful ones
Of the carefree lives they lived, in the yesterday.

Ah, the Latin Quarter now; boarded up, the most
of it,
Studios are bare, this year, and little models sigh,
For the ones who died for France, died and are the
boast of it,
Died as they had always lived, with their heads
held high!

But a spark of it remains, in forgotten places,
For I saw a blinded boy strumming a guitar,
Playing with his face a-smile, with the arts and
graces
Of a troubadour of old. He had wandered far.

Through the flaming hell of war -- wandered far and
home again,
To the corner that he loved when his eyes could
see;
And he played a jolly tune, he who may not roam
again,
Played it on an old guitar -- played it smilingly.

And I saw another sit at a tiny table,
In a dingy eating house; he had laughed and
drawn
Sketches on the ragged cloth, boasting he was able
Still to draw as well as most -- with two fingers
gone. . . .

VII. NOTRE DAME

Through colored glass, on burnished walls,
Soft as a psalm, the sunlight falls;
And, in the corners, cool and dim,
Its glow is like a vesper hymn.
And, arch by arch, the ceilings high
Rise like a hand stretched toward the sky
To touch God's hand. On every side
Is misty silence; and the wide
Untroubled spaces seem to tell
That Peace is come -- and all is well!

A slender woman kneels in prayer;
The sunlight slants across her hair;
A pallid child in rusty black
Stands in the doorway, looking back. . . .
A poilu gropes (his eyes are wide)
Along the altar rail. The tide
Of war has cast him brokenly
Upon the shore of life. I see
A girl in costly furs, who cries
Against her muff; I see her rise
And hurry out. Two tourists pause
Beside the grated chancel doors,
To wonder and to speculate;
To stoop and read a carven date.

In uniform the nations come;
Their voices are a steady hum
Until they feel some subtle thrill
That makes them falter, holds them still --
Bronzed boys, who shrugged and laughed at death,
They stand today with indrawn breath,
Half mystified.
The colors steal
Into my heart, and I can feel
The rapture that the artists knew
Who, centuries before me, drew
Their very souls into the glass
Of every window. . . . . Hours pass
Like beads of amber that are strung
Upon a rainbow, frail and young.

Through mellow glass, on hallowed walls,
The twilight, like faint music, falls;
And in each corner, cool and dim,
The music is a splendid hymn.
And, arch on arch, the ceilings high
Seem like a hand stretched toward the sky
To touch a Hand that clasped a Cross --
FOR FRANCE, NEW-RISEN FROM THE LOSS,
AND PAIN AND FEAR OF BATTLE-HELL,
KNOWS PEACE, AT LEAST, AND ALL IS WELL!

VIII. SUNDAY MORNING

The streets are silent, and the church bells ring
Across the city like the silver chime
Of some forgotten memory. They bring
The phantom of another, sweeter time,
When war was all undreamed. They seem to say,
"Come back, come back, across the years of strife
"To One who reaches out a Hand today,
"A Hand that brings your dead again to life!"

A little white-haired woman hurries past,
A tiny prayer-book in one wrinkled hand;
Her eyes are calm, as one who knows at last
What only age may really understand;
That, as a rainbow creeps across the rain,
The God of Paris smiles above its pain!

SONGS FROM FRANCE

SCARS

Summer sweeps, like sad laughter, over France,
Touching the fields with flower-tinted mirth;
Bringing its wistful gladness to an earth
That has been stabbed with sorrow's bitter lance;
Bringing again the hint of old romance,
Bringing again the magic of re-birth;
Paying again the price that youth was worth --
OVER DIM WAYSIDE MOUNDS THE GRASSES DANCE!

Where there were shell holes summer sends, un-
heeding,
Blossoms to deck the broken country side;
Where, in another season, heroes, bleeding,
Fell for the cause of righteousness, and died,
Green creeper twines its vivid arms, half-pleading,
But there are scars that summer cannot hide!

FROM PARIS TO CHATEAU THIERRY

The road winds out its weary way,
Where fields are torn with sorrow;
It is a road of yesterday,
That dreams no fair tomorrow.

It is silent, saddened road,
A lonely road to follow;
For in its dust red rivers flowed,
And now, from every hollow,
The crows rise up in sullen flight
The crows that, blackly flying
Against the skyline, speak of night,
And bitterness, and dying.

It is a road that creeps around
Farmhouses that lie broken;
That pauses at each shallow mound,
At every blood-stained token.
A helmet by the way one sees;
A pistol, bent and rusty;
And hung between two shattered trees,
A coat mildewed and musty.
It is a sad, forgotten road,
But oh, it tells the story
Of youth that bore another's load
Without a thought of glory!
For every tattered homestead cries
Of vengeance that descended;
And memory that never dies,
From hearts that stay unmended!

The road winds out its weary way,
A lonely way to follow;
And crows rise black against the day
From every tree and hollow.

A RUINED CHURCH

They could not take the living God away,
Although they left His altar blank and bare;
Their ruthless hands could never rend and tear
More than the walls, they could not hope to sway

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