Night Watch, The

At Bethlehem
Shepherds, what of the night?
‘Dark, dark and cold;
Snow upon field and fold,
Wind that is fierce and wild!
But over the wastes of white,
Far in the Eest, and far,
Rises a strange new Star;
Its lusters rest and shine
On the roof of the stabled Kine,
Where, or a dream beguiled,
Was the cry of a new-born child.’
After Calvary
Watchers, what of the night?
‘Well! well! all’s well!
Behold God’s miracle
Of Life and Light!
Lo, He the Crucified,
He, for our sins who died,
Jesus, the Holy Slain,
Lives, lives again!
In the dawn’s first glow that gleamed
We have seen Him and adored,
Our Savior, King and Lord!
He has broken the tomb’s dread prison-
Christ is risen! Christ is risen! -
And the World is redeemed-redeemed! ’

After Nineteen Centuries
Brothers, what of the night?
‘Ah! who can say?
We seek, we watch, we pray,
But where is the light?
Still here the sin and shame-
The poor and weak down-trod;
The wrongs that have no name,
The good by evil slain!
The blood-soaked battle-sod,
The cries of “Kill! ” and “Slay! ”-
The pain, the tears, the cries. . .
O thou White Son of God,
Was all the lesson vain-
In vain the Sacrifice? ’

Captive Of The White City, The *

Flower of the foam of the waves
Of the beautiful inland sea, -
White as the foam that laves
The ships of the Sea-Kings past, -
Marvel of human hands,
Wonderful, mystical, vast,
The great White City stands;
And the banners of all the lands
Are free on the western breeze,
Free as the West is free.

And the throngs go up and down
In the streets of the wonderful town
In brotherly love and grace, -
Children of every zone
The light of the sun has known:
And there in the Midway Place,
In the House of the Unhewn Trees,
There in the surging crowd,
Silent, and stern, and proud,
Sits Rain-in-the-Face!

Why is the captive here?
Is the hour of the Lord so near
When slayer and slain shall meet
In the place of the Judgment seat
For the word of the last decree?
Ah, what is the word to be?
For the beautiful City stands
On the Red Man’s wrested lands, **
The home of the fated race;
And the ghostly shadow falls
Over the trophied walls ***
Of the House of the Unhewn Tree,
In the pleasant Midway Place.
There is blood on the broken door,
Ther is blood on the broken floor,
Blood on your bronzed hands,
O Rain-in-the-Face.
Shut from the sunlit air,
Like a sun-god overthrown,
The soldier, Custer, lies.
Dust is the sun-kissed hair,
Dust are the dauntless eyes,
Dust and name alone; -
While the wife holds watch with grief
For the never-returning chief.
What if she walked to-day
In the City’s pleasant way,
The beautiful Midway Place,
And there to her sudden gaze,
Dimmed with her widow’s tears,
After the terrible years,
Stood Rain-in-the-Face!

Quench with a dropp of dew
From the morning’s cloudless blue
The prairies’ burning plains-
The seas of seething flame;
Turn from its awful path
The tempest, in its wrath;
Lure from his jungle-lair
The tiger, crouching there
For the leap on his sighted prey:
Then seek as well to tame
The hate in the Red Man’s veins,
His tiger-thirst to cool,
In the hour of the evil day
When his foe before him stands!

From the wrongs of the White Man’s rule
Blood only may wash the trace.
Alas, for the death-heaped slain!
Alas for your blood-stained hands,
O Rain-in-the-Face!

And the throngs go up, go down,
In the streets of the wonderful town;
And jests of the merry tongue,
And the dance, and the glad songs sung,
Ring through the sunlit space.
And there, in the wild, free breeze,
In the House of the Unhewn Trees,
In the beautiful Midway Place,
The captive sits apart,
Silent, and makes no sign.
But what is the word in your heart,
O man of a dying race?
What tale on your lips for mine,
O Rain-in-the-Face?

* “The White City” was the name given to the Columbian Exposition in Chicago,1893. The man who killed General Custer on the Little Bighorn was displayed in the Midway Plaisance of the fair. He sat, under guard, in a log cabin brought from Montana and reportedly owned by Sitting Bull, the same cabin in which that chief and his son had been killed.
** The Indians claim that the Land upon which Chicago is built was never fully paid for.
*** ”The walls were hung with relics of the fight” (Coolbrith’s note)