A Play Festival In Ogden Park
Oh gay and shining June time!
Oh meadow brave and bright,
Abloom with little children,
All tossing in the light!
They dance and circle singing—
Oh, what a joy to see!
They twinkle in the sunshine,
They shout in company.
Beyond are pointed houses
Patterned against the blue,
With bushes flower-embroidered,
And trees all trim and true.
Around are rows of people
Watching the dainty show,
Guarding the fairy kingdom
Where blossom babies blow.
Their merry little footsteps
Race with the tricksy air,
That puffs their filmy dresses
And frees their shining hair.
All pink and white and golden
Under the round gold sun,
Winging the wind with laughter,
They ring and wreathe and run.
Oh, sweet and soft the world is,
Ever so glad and gay,
All garlanded with children
Who sing and prank and play !
You posy girls wide-petalled,
And boys all round and red,
Dance in the sun forever
Till time goes off to bed!
From The Commemoration Ode
WHEN dreaming kings, at odds with swift paced time,
Would strike that banner down,
A nobler knight than ever writ or rhyme
With fame’s bright wreath did crown
Through armed hosts bore it till it floated high
Beyond the clouds, a light that cannot die!
Ah, hero of our younger race!
Great builder of a temple new!
Ruler, who sought no lordly place!
Warrior, who sheathed the sword he drew!
Lover of men, who saw afar
A world unmarred by want or war,
Who knew the path, and yet forbore
To tread, till all men should implore;
Who saw the light, and led the way
Where the gray would might greet the day;
Father and leader, prophet sure,
Whose will in vast works shall endure,
How shall we praise him on this day of days,
Great son of fame who has no need of praise?
How shall we praise him? Open wide the doors
Of the fair temple whose broad base he laid.
Through its white halls a shadowy cavalcade
Of heroes moves o’er unresounding floors—
Men whose brawned arms upraised these columns high,
And reared the towers that vanish in the sky,—
The strong who, having wrought, can never die.
AND, lo! leading a blessed host comes one
Who held a warring nation in his heart;
Who knew love’s agony, but had no part
In love’s delight; whose mightly task was done
Through blood and tears that we might walk in joy,
And this day’s rapture own no sad alloy.
Around him heirs of bliss, whose bright brows wear
Palm-leaves amid their laurels ever fair.
Gaily they come, as though the drum
Beat out the call their glad hearts knew so well:
Brothers once more, dear as of yore,
Who in a noble conflict nobly fell.
Their blood washed pure you banner in the sky,
And quenched the brands laid ’neath these arches high—
The brave who, having fought, can never die.
Then surging through the vastness rise once more
The aureoled heirs of light, who onward bore
Through darksome times and trackless realms of ruth
The flag of beauty and the torch of truth.
They tore the mask from the foul face of wrong;
Even to God’s mysteries they dared aspire;
High in the choir they built yon altar-fire,
And filled these aisles with color and with song:
The ever-young, the unfallen, wreathing for time
Fresh garlands of the seeming-vanished years;
Faces long luminous, remote, sublime,
And shining brows still dewy with our tears.
Back with the old glad smile comes one we knew—
We bade him rear our house of joy today.
But Beauty opened wide her starry way,
And he passed on. Bright champions of the true,
Soldiers of peace, seers, singers ever blest,—
From the wide ether of a loftier quest
Their winged souls throng our rites to glorify,—
The wise who, having known, can never die.
FOR, lo! the living God doth bare his arm.
No more he makes his house of clouds and gloom.
Lightly the shuttles move within his loom;
Unveiled his thunder leaps to meet the storm.
From God’s right hand man takes the powers that sway
A universe of stars.
He bows them down; he bids them go or stay;
He tames them for his wars.
He scans the burning paces of the sun,
And names the invisible orbs whose courses run
Through the dim deeps of space.
He sees in dew upon a rose impearled
The swarming legions of a monad world
Begin life’s upward race.
Voices of hope he hears
Long dumb to his despair,
And dreams of golden years
Meet for a world so fair.
For now Democracy doth wake and rise
From the sweet sloth of youth.
By storms made strong, by many dreams made wise,
He clasps the hand of Truth.
Through the armed nations lies his path of peace,
The open book of knowledge in his hand.
Food to the starving, to the oppressed release,
And love to all he bears from land to land.
Before his march the barriers fall,
The laws grow gentle at his call.
His glowing breath blows far away
The fogs that veil the coming day,—
That wondrous day
When earth shall sing as through the blue she rolls
Laden with joy for all her thronging souls.
Then shall want’s call to sin resound no more
Across her teeming fields. And pain shall sleep,
Soothed by brave science with her magic lore;
And war no more shall bid the nations weep.
Then the worn chains shall slip from man’s desire,
And ever higher and higher
His swift foot shall aspire;
Still deeper and more deep
His soul its watch shall keep,
Till love shall make the world a holy place,
Where knowledge dare unveil God’s very face.
Not yet the angels hear life’s last sweet song.
Music unutterably pure and strong
From earth shall rise to haunt the peopled skies,
When the long march of time,
Patient in birth and death, in growth and blight,
Shall lead man up through happy realms of light
Unto his goal sublime.
A Letter From Peking
October I5th, 1910.
My friend, dear friend, why should I hear your voice
Over the Babel of voices, suddenly
Calling as from the new world to the old?
Hush!—are you weary? would you follow me?
Would you make dark the house, and shut the door,
Summon steam-pacing trains, wave-racing ships,
To bear you past the high assembled nations—
Past the loud cries, the plucking hands of the age—
Even to the East that drowses on her throne?
Come then—it's good to be alive today;
For yesterday is dead, and dim tomorrow
Flits like a ghost before us, threatening
Our peering eyes with mistily flapping wings.
Grandly the streets loom upward; huge skyscrapers
Catch at the glory of the sunrise, wear
The morning like a mantle, bare their heads
In praise and prayer. And with us on the pavement,
Above us in the air there, and below,
Under our feet, by train and tram and subway,
The people bear the burden of the age—
Each to his work, each to his love, his dream,
The little secret vision of his soul,
Veiled, muffled, trampled, baffled, but agleam:
Our people, eager to work, eager to laugh,
Eager to love—if but to love were easy,
Pausing not for the slow and difficult thing
As they push past their neighbors to the goal.
Now to the ship—down the long crowded wharves,
The tangle of souls and voices threading thinly
Through the slight gangway. Do you see her there—
Huge, black, incredible, fortress-walled in steel,
Hiding her heart of fire? She has no fear;
The fierce waves leap at her, the arrogant storms
Tease at her flying heels, the boastful winds
Front her in vain. Superb, invincible,
From world to world, over the ravenous ocean
Grandly she bears the fruitage of the time:
Rich fields of corn, mill-yields of goods, long train-loads
Of strong machines, man's hope and love and power
Sealed in a million letters, and at last
Even us, the little human mustard seeds—
Dark earth-specks with the kingdom of heaven within.
Gaily we tread the deck, softly we sleep,
Lightly we chatter away the idle days,
While strong hands, from dark hold to sunny mast,
Do our enormous tasks. And now at last
The world again, low chalky cliffs, the shore,
Parked England silvery green, her viny casements
And dewy lawns, her iron towns of toil
Smoke-bound, unfree. And London, stony London,
Gray storehouse of the heaped-up centuries,
Of hidden sins and valors, locked-in joys;
London the empire-hearted, grave with cares
Under her tawny sky that dulls the sun.
We linger not—swiftly the new age runs
And he must haste who takes her by the hand.
Over the Channel! Come! the little houses
And patchwork fields of France. Paris fullblown,
The red red rose of the world, whose golden heart
Lies bare to the greedy sun, whose petals droop
Ever so softly to the falling time,
Most lovely at the signal hour of change.
Germany then, the little patterned cities
Of the old time swept, garnished for the new;
The ancient halls hung with the ancient art,
And musical with high-stringed orchestras
Playing melodious prophecies; gay Berlin,
Garish, unmellowed, pale, but full of hope,
And proud desire.
Ah whither do they march,
These nations with the sweat upon their brows,
Huge burden-bearers, panoplied in steel,
Facing bleak mists of doubt? Will they cast
down Their heavy fears and bathe their brows in light
And freely run across the fields of dawn—
Children of joy, blood brothers born in love,
Valiant for peace as once for murderous war?
Nearer they draw, trimly the sharp rails cut
Their boundaries—twin scissor-blades of fate.
Swift steamers tie their ports together, bring
Tourist ambassadors from state to state.
Bold man-birds fly through the unsentineled air,
And cobweb wires invisible, more strong
Than chains of steel, are spun from tower to tower,
Bridging the oceans, linking capitals,
Binding men's hearts. O kings of the peopled earth,
O men, rulers of kings, dare you resist
Warriors of science, who are blazing trails
Your statesmenship must travel to new goals?
Laggards, beware lest the advancing myriads,
Bound for the promised land, trample you down!
Dark Russia, standing at the Asian gate,
Questions us with her eastward-peering eyes.
Proud Moscow from her hundred towers looks out—
Moscow, bejeweled with domes, magnificent,
Out of her past barbaric gazes far
Into the future, swings her Kremlin portal
To show the sad Siberian wilderness,
And bids us follow through the autumnal days.
Softly we slip along the garnered fields,
Past clustered villages, low-thatched and brown,
Each with a gay church gilded; shimmer down
The shining Urals, and salute at last
Great Asia where in solitude she waits
Under the northern star.
Her forest then,
Level and low; dark little pines, thin birches
Their leaves all golden on the silver stems.
And square-faced peasants crowding to the train,
Slow, sleepy-eyed, thick-bearded. Onward still
Through the stark plains; Baikal blue in its mountains,
The home of wheeling birds that dive and soar.
And by and by a dragon-guarded roof
With gay beasts perched along its tips, that lift
Like the slim corner of a pale new moon
Poised in the sky at sunset.
We have come
To the first gate of the world. The still Pacific
Glitters between the hills. Dark crowds astare
Greet us with chatter and laughter—beardless men
With shaven brows and long thin tasseled braids,
Clad in dim blue under the darkening sun.
The obliterating night curtains our eyes,
And when at last the red dawn draws the veil
A heavy wall looms over us gray and stern
With towered gates fortress-guarded. And our engine,
Steaming and shrieking past the caravans—
The shaggy ponies, little loaded asses,
The slow process camels pacing down—
Scatters the dust of time, pierces the wall,
And pauses under the shadow of yellow roofs
Where the Forbidden City, wide and still,
Lies dreaming in her sunrise-slanted woods.
Peking! She faces us with marble eyes
Inscrutable. She hearkens to our noise
And guards her secret. Shall we win her over—
We with our guns, our dark machines, our mansions
High piled over her lowly curving roofs;
We with our loud commands? Will she arise,
Weary of silence, wave her yellow flag,
Summon her myriads for the modern race,
The huge new tasks, the war for love and light?
Hush! If we wait and listen, will she speak,
Wise woman or child, veiled queen of the dragon throne?
Softly! No steamer, elbowing storms aside,
No engine nosing through the ancient wall,
No hurrying foot, no soul worn or at war,
Shall penetrate the Circle and the Square,
Set with sweet woods, the green wall and the blue,
And touch the three rings of the Temple of Heaven,
The terraced marble seat, cloud-carved and fair,
Where, at the Centre of the Earth, in peace,
The tranquil East, contemplative, serene,
Dwells with the sun and moon.
Hush—bare your head
And strip your spirit free. When you have won
The ultimate Wisdom, seek the wingèd portal
Once more. Then she, the sage, may rise to you,
Hold converse with you, pilgrim of the age,
And take you to her heart and bless your gifts,
And be as one with you forevermore.
Go sleep, my sweetie—rest—rest!
Oh soft little hand on mother's breast!
Oh soft little lips—the din's mos' gone-
Over and done, my dearie one!
What do I think, my brother? Look at me!
You make me laugh, sitting there solemneyed,
Full of opinions, theories!—asking me—
Look—with my baby at my breast—to tell you,
Blessed big uncle!—what I think—heaven help me!—
Of this and that. How could you think, I wonder,
If baby lips were tugging at your flesh,
Draining your life to flower the world?
It's beautiful, that masculine pride of yours,
That runs the universe—oh yes, I know,
And longs to run it well. You travel, observe,
Experiment, make laws and governments,
Build strange machines and masterfully summon
The elemental powers to do your work—
Why?—so my girl here, darling hope of the race,
May pillow her round head in a softer bed,
And dance more lightly by and by—God bless her—.
Into her lover's arms.
Ah precious!—hungry still, my bird?
Coo, coo—yes, darling, mother heard.
Coo, coo—and is it true?—
Ever so true?
What do I think?
If I were arrogant, extravagant—
As men have never been!—what would I think,
Now in this hour of pride, with all the future
Safe in my arms? Almost I might dare whisper
That it's a woman's world—do they not say it
In the great book of science, the new song,
Epic of truth? Let me but hear the word
In reverence—almost a woman's world!
We hold the race within us, we enfold
Life in our arms, we do great nature's work;
So nature hoards and wastes for us, they say,
Contrives our essence from her richer store,
And makes the haughty male out of the rest—
You among others, with your politics,
Your grand reforms, your dreams ! Hush ! do you dare
Follow from seedling sea-drift up to man
Life's long procession, noting everywhere
How the encompassing mother mothers us,
And leaves your kind to shiver and drone and die?
Or else, in pity, the less vital tasks
She gives you—bids you serve us, fight for us,
Even sing for us; and cunningly contrive
Is heavy with strange erections, and the air
Is noisy with ideas.
Oh yes, I know—
You've got the upper hand, you run the world,
Think so at least; at many an icy hearth
You do your will with us; and we—poor chattels—
Meekly we take our fortune at your hands,
With never a royal word to prove us women,
Not slaves. Why do we yield, abase ourselves,
If we are nature's favorites, till even
The mighty mother who made us in her image
Rejects us, winnows her worthless chaff away:
Poor drudges, eating the heart of the race for bread;
Poor puppets, wilfully idle, wilfully barren,
Teasers of men—riff-raff and refuse all!
Why should we suffer this in a woman's world?
Good God, I wonder sometimes, hang my head
For our surrender. Ah, we clasp too close
The burden on our hearts, nor look abroad
Through our long windy night of passion and pain.
And still at dawn we rub our sleepy eyes,
Here at the hearth with morning in our arms—
Pink-dimpled baby morning, look at her!—
Waiting for you, our powerful delegates,
To chase the night away.
But is it strange?
Think but a moment, ask yourself, my brother—
You who tell me to think—what is our life,
Our woman's life? Out of delicious youth,
Murmurous, odorous, vague, full of delights
Half won, half apprehended, suddenly,
Like a still stream seized by the ruthless ocean,
We are drawn to the deeps. Love, marriage, motherhood—
We are drowned in the physical, sensual; washed over
With tide on tide of feeling warm and red—
The heart's-blood of the world. Little pitiless
Grip us within, throttle us, hold us down
Through the long moons of feebleness and pain.
Little souls adrift, gathering out of the void;
Bring us their nebulous dreams, vague, incoherent,
Far lightning-flashes caught from flaming stars.
No longer free, no more our own, or yours,
No longer of this world, but of all worlds,
We are borne by the vast tide, the tide of storms,
Life irresistible, universal, deep,
Out of that no-man's-land, that isle of pain,
Where birth and death fight in the dark together
For the new soul, the new little infant world, ,
Bearer of tidings, saviour of the race—
Then, wonder of wonders, comes
The change. All glowing, from his great white throne
God stoops to us; we see the splendor, we hear
The thronging harps, we feel here in our arms
His presence forming softly, clasping close
Into a little tender human thing—
Our own, ours, ours. Then suddenly for a moment
We are swept away by joy magnificent,
And from high heaven watch the brave world go by.
Read the old story—it's our Bethlehem.
We couch in a manger, bring forth young like beasts
In blood and shame and agony, and then
Rise with the living God safe in our arms.
Well, after that what are your grand affairs,
Your brave ideas, your dreams? We scarcely heed
Your world-building, we leave you to your work,
Praising your strength, your imperious leadership,
Your craft that skims the sea and wings the
And sends love-words all round the girdled world
Before these blue eyes, almost locked in sleep,
Open to make the dawn. Oh wonderful
Your power and cunning! Should we envy you
The triumph, the high renown, when in our arms
We hold all life—even you, the doer, the present,
And this, the ultimate future of our dreams?
Look—she's asleep. Isn't she a drop of dew
Mirroring moonlight? Or a velvet petal
Dropped from the almond tree all pearly pink
That grows in Sahuaro Valley? Or a spring,
Cool, still, where all the birds of the air shall drink
Before it flows through the wide fields of the world,
The thick dark woods, to wander who knows where,
Love-led, love-nourished? Oh, be wise for her,
My brother! Smooth her flowery-scented ways—
We give you this to do.
But if you falter,
If, blinded by the dust and smothered in spoils,
You strive for trophies and forget the goal,
Must I not rise out of my sheltered seat
At last? When I can empty my arms of her,
Turn from the happy garden where I dwell
And look over the world, what do I see
Under the cloud-capped towers and pinnacles?
Cities I see where little children drudge
The strength of the race away; gaunt factories
Where girls and boys are withered at the loom,
The wheel, the furnace; festering tenements
Where babies—tiny tender things like mine—
Are born in filth and darkness, to endure
Starved little wretched lives, or die like rats
While their pale mothers earn a pitiful dole
By day and night in the one huddled room.
In sulphurous mines, in roaring steam-driven mills
Where human hearts are broken on the
wheel; In jails where law wreaks a self-righteous vengeance
On the less masterful crimes; in gaudy brothels,
Where daughters of the race—yes, mine and yours,
Once dewy in their mothers' arms like this—
Rot into slaves of lust; in all dark places,
Unaware of love, unvisited of the sun,
I count the agonies of our lorded world.
I see that delicate lovely thing called life—
My charge, my woman's business, God forgive me!—
Crushed into clay, mortared with blood and tears,
For modern civilization, huge sky-scraper,
To tower its many-windowed stories on.
And through those glaring windows I behold
A riot of waste, a sickening glut, an orgy—
Life turned once more to loathing and despair.
So, though I bear my baby in my arms,
Now must I tread the crowded ways of the world.
Help me to rise, give me your powerful hand,
My brother; lead me forth to do my part,
Too long content to rest here in my garden
Love-sheltered. Mea culpa—I have sinned.
Vast is the world, our steel-blown, power-driven world;
Too huge a grand machine for half the race
To build, and run, and guard from rust and filth,
While we, the other half, cling to the hearth,
Selfishly guard our own, and give no aid
Through the long heat and burden of the day.
Now we are summoned, for the hour is struck.
We have over-strained your strength, we have over-trusted
Your zeal. Now must we take our burden back—
The burden of life you bear but fitfully—
And nourish on warm breasts the suffering
Come, curly pearly one, my bird,
My primrose folding up at night/
Sleep warm and tight!
Never a word
Till it is light!
Softly, softly, down in your bed,
Round little toes to round little head,
Sleep, sleep, my weary one,
Mother's dearie one!