Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, HEROES, by EDNA DEAN PROCTOR



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HEROES, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: The winds that once the argo bore
Last Line: And the world is a braver world to-day.
Alternate Author Name(s): Dean
Subject(s): American Civil War; Freedom; Heroism; United States - History; Liberty; Heroes; Heroines


THE winds that once the Argo bore
Have died by Neptune's ruined shrines,
And her hull is the drift of the deep-sea floor,
Though shaped of Pelion's tallest pines.
You may seek her crew on every isle
Fair in the foam of Aegean seas,
But out of their rest no charm can wile
Jason and Orpheus and Hercules.

And Priam's wail is heard no more
By windy Ilion's sea-built walls;
Nor great Achilles, stained with gore,
Shouts "O ye gods, 't is Hector falls!"
On Ida's mount is the shining snow,
But Jove has gone from its brow away;
And red on the plain the poppies grow
Where the Greek and the Trojan fought that
day.

Mother Earth, are the heroes dead?
Do they thrill the soul of the years no more?
Are the gleaming snows and the poppies red
All that is left of the brave of yore?
Are there none to fight as Theseus fought,
Far in the young world's misty dawn?
Or teach as gray-hatred Nestor taught?
Mother Earth, are the heroes gone?

Gone? In a grander form they rise.
Dead? we may clasp their hands in ours,
And catch the light of their clearer eyes,
And wreathe their brows with immortal flowers.
Wherever a noble deed is done,
'T is the pulse of a hero's heart is stirred;
Wherever Right has a triumph won,
There are the heroes' voices heard.

Their armor rings on a fairer field
Than the Greek and the Trojan fiercely trod
For Freedom's sword is the blade they wield,
And the gleam above is the smile of God.
So, in his isle of calm delight,
Jason may sleep the years away;
For the heroes live, and the sky is bright,
And the world is a braver world to-day.




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