The day our dead are laid to rest
We heap the earth upon their breast ;
Upon the earth we set a stone.
And then we leave them all alone.

Some folks they weep, and some they pray,
But from the grave they'll turn away.
There's wood to chop, and fires to make,
And food to cook, and bread to bake.

Another takes the empty seat.
For men who live must drink and eat ;
And work is waiting to be done.
The work of two, that's now for one.

We sometimes speak of folks that's dead.
Of what they did, and what they said ;
We sometimes think of them at night,
But sometimes we forget them quite.

On A Battle Field

Once o'er this hill whereon we stand,
Just you and I, hand clasp'd in hand
Amid the silence, and the space,
A mighty battle rent the air,
With dying curse and choking prayer;
'Mid shot and shell death stalked apace.

Is it conceivable to you—
So much at peace—because we two
Are close together, or to me?
The silent beauty of the noon
Seems like a Heaven-granted boon,
Aglow with tender ecstasy.

A little mist of hazy blue
Is slowly hiding from our view
The city's domes and slender spires,
As thro' a bridal veil the sun
Subdued and shy lights one by one
The virgin clouds with blushing fires.

The wind has fallen; very low
We hear his wings brush past, and know
He creeps away to dream and rest ;
How sweet to be alone, to feel
You breathe one longing sigh, and steal
A little closer to my breast.

Is anything worth while but this?
We may not perish for a kiss,
Yet thus it were not hard to die !
War strews the earth with countless dead,
And after all is done and said,
The end is love, and you and I !

If not from Phaon I must hope for ease,
Ah ! let me seek it from the raging seas :
To raging seas unpitied I'll remove;
And either cease to live or cease to love.
Ovid's Heroic Epistle, XV.

Immortal Lesbian! canst thou still behold
From some far sphere wherein thy soul doth sing
This earth, that once was thine, while glimmered gold
The joyous beams of youth's forgotten spring?

Can thine unfathomed eyes embrace this sea,
Whose ebb and flow once echoed in thy brain ?
Whose tides bear record of thine ecstasy
And thy despair, that in its arms hath lain?

Those love-burnt lips! Can death have quenched their fire?
Whose words oft stir our senses to unrest?
Whose eager ardour caught and held desire,
A searing flame against thy living breast?

Passion-wan Lesbian, in that awful place
Where spirits wander lost without a name
Thou still art Sappho, and thine ardent face
Lights up the gloom with love's enduring flame.

Oh! Goddess, woman, lover, all divine
And yet divinely mortal, where thou art
Comes not as cadence from some song of thine
Each throbbing beat that stirs the human heart ?

Canst thou forget us who are still thy friends,
Thy lovers, o'er the cloudy gulf of years?
Who live, and love, and dying make amends
For life's short pleasures thro' death's endless fears ?

Once thou didst seek the solace of thy kind,
The madness of a kiss was more to thee
Than Heaven or Hell, the greatness of thy mind
Could not conceive more potent ecstasy !

Life was thy slave, and gave thee of her store
Rich gifts and many, yet with all the pain
Of hopeless longing made thy spirit sore,
E'en thou didst yearn, and couldest not attain.

Oh ! Sappho, sister, by that agony
Of soul and body hast thou gained a place
Within each age that shines majestie'ly
Across the world from out the dusk of space.

Not thy deep pleasures, nor thy swiftest joys,
Have made thee thus, immortal and yet dear
To mortal hearts, but that which naught destroys,
The sacred image of thy falling tear.

Beloved Lesbian ! we would dare to claim
By that same tear fond union with thy lot;
Yet 'tis enough, if when we breathe thy name
Thy soul but listens, and forgets us not.

The All-Mother's Awakening

To-day the still, deep mind of the Earth
Has steeped in longing her wistful eyes,
A sense of wonder and glad surprise
Thrills thro' her heart with a thought of birth.

The grave All-Mother looks up and smiles,
Her breath comes balmy from sunlit mouth,
Her bosom bare to the ardent south
Is fanned by perfume from fruitful miles.

All winter long has the dear Earth slept
In drifts of snow, 'neath the bane of frost,
Her children sought for the Mother lost,
Yet found her not, and in anguish wept.

All winter long have my senses cried
For warmth of sun, and the blue of sky,
The hard north answered to mock my sigh,
And all the glory of life denied.

The cold mists drifting on land and sea,
Like ghosts of passions burnt out and chill,
Smote heart and soul with the fear of ill,
That cast its awfulness over me.

The dank gray sails, and the dank gray shore,
They melted each in the other's face,
With clammy kiss, in a wan embrace
That left them colder than e'en before.

And thro' the boughs of the moss-grown trees
The sap flowed sluggish, or not at all,
While here and there would a dead leaf fall,
Like thought of harrowing memories.

Then from the heart of the Universe
There rose a wail of unending woe,
An anguished prayer from the deeps below:
' Oh ! Mother, lift from our souls the curse!'

'Oh! Mother, quicken thy sacred womb,
With fire that throbs in the veins of Spring,
Behold the numbness of everything,
And only thou can avert the doom.'

' Oh ! Mother, hear us !' But silent still
The Earth slept on, as it were in death.
Her ice-bound bosom stirred not with breath,
So fast she lay 'neath the winter's will.

I joined my prayer to the wind and trees,
I joined my cry to the striving soil,
I said, 'Oh ! Mother, our endless toil
Has made us sicken with miseries.

' Rise up ! and help us again to live,
Rise up ! uncover thy fruitful breast,
We faint in winter's unrestful rest,
We burn with longings to love and give.'

And as I spoke came a voice more strong
Than all creation's, o'er land and sea
It called our Mother to ecstasy,
And lo ! she stirred, who had slept so long.

She stirred, she opened her drowsy eyes,
And bending down from the dome above,
Beheld the form of embodied Love,
As Spring stepped Earthward from Paradise.

The Laying Of Ghosts

Oh ! weary ghosts, be still !
Sad spectres of long dead delights,
Wan spirits of the days and nights
Wherein of joy we drank our fill,
Lie deep beneath the sod of years.
To-day, to-day is mine !
Ye shall not blight its fragrant flowers,
Nor mar the passing of its hours,
That love has rendered all divine,
By woeful sighs and falling tears.

This is the sphere of life,
Wherein the long forgotten dead
Unwelcome should forbear to tread,
Within my veins hot blood runs rife,
But ye are colder than the grave !
What would ye have of me?
What price that penance did not pay,
What sacrifice of human clay?
Must my delight again set free
Be tethered to a witless slave?

While still upon this earth
Ye lived, and 'neath the joyous sun
Were warm and fair to look upon,
I blest the hour that gave ye birth,
And all my life laid at your feet.
The homage of my youth
I daily offered at your shrine,
Nor counted dear those gifts of mine
Which sapped the very strength of truth,
And left her poor and incomplete.

Nor did condemn the lust,
The soul destroying tyranny,
With which ye wrought my misery,
For in my heart was endless trust,
My spirit, dauntless, knew no fear.
Ye cry that ye were slain
Alas ! it was not I who slew,
For all my hopes were buried too
Within that hour of death and pain,
And there remained not e'en a tear.

Nay, it was fate whose hand
Upraised to strike the awful blow
Decreed that ye must die, and go
Lamented to that shadow land
Of lost illusions perished soon !
Wherein the once-time-young
Thro' countless ages seek, nor find,
Their vanished youth ; with wandering mind
They sing the songs that once they sung,
But never may complete the tune.

Hence—hence ! it is not yet
The hour wherein I too must pass,
The sand runs still within the glass,
And I would live and fain forget
Those bygone things that once ye were.
My lips have touched the rose,
And in its perfumed breast the dew
Has quenched my thirst; and lo! anew
The petals of my heart unclose,
My pulses throb, my senses stir.

Ye shall not steal this day,
For love has risen to my aid,
See, I am brave and undismayed!
Hence—hence ! all things must pass away,
Back to your graves, obscure and deep !
I read aloud love's prayer,
Lift not again your haunting eyes
T'wards my new-found Paradise,
Lie still beside my lost despair,
And I command you—Sleep, Sleep, Sleep!