Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, RECESSIONAL, by EDGAR LEE MASTERS



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First Line: Even as I see, and share with you seeing
Last Line: Look you, I will go pray!
Subject(s): War


IN TIME OF WAR
MEDICAL UNIT --

Even as I see, and share with you in seeing,
The altar flame of your love's sacrifice;
And even as I bear before the hour the vision,
Your little hands in hospital and prison
Laid upon broken bodies, dying eyes,
So do I suffer for splendor of your being
Which leads you from me, and in separation
Lays on my breast the pain of memory.
Over your hands I bend
In silent adoration,
Dumb for a fear of sorrow without end,
Asking for consolation
Out of the sacrament of our separation,
And for some faithful word acceptable and true,
That I may know and keep the mystery:
That in this separation I go forth with you
And you to the world's end remain with me.

How may I justify the hope that rises
That I am giving you to a world of pain,
And am a part of your love's sacrifices?
Is it so little if I see you not again?
You will croon soldier lads to sleep,
Even to the last sleep of all.
But in this absence, as your love will keep
Your breast for me for comfort, if I fall,
So I, though far away, shall kneel by you
If the last hour approaches, to bedew
Your lips that from their infant wondering
Lisped of a heaven lost.
I shall kiss down your eyes, and count the cost
As mine, who gave you, by the tragic giving.
Go forth with spirit to death, and to the living
Bearing a solace in death.
God has breathed on you His transfiguring breath, --
You are transfigured
Before me, and I bow my head,
And leave you in the light that lights your way,
And shadows me. Even now the hour is sped,
And the hour we must obey --
Look you, I will go pray!





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