Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE LAST DEMAND, by FAITH BALDWIN



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THE LAST DEMAND, by            
First Line: Life, you have bruised me and chilled me; fate, you
Last Line: I demand to conquer memory! I demand that I — forget.
Subject(s): Aging; Experience; Life; Memory; Wisdom


Life, you have bruised me and chilled me; Fate, you have jeered at my pain;
Dreams, you have mocked while you thrilled me — so I turn to the battle
again.
Love, you have blessed me and led me; the lips that have kissed you, you smite;
Hope, you have urged me and fled me — but left is the joy of the fight!

Never was I a coward! Now must I prove my worth.
World, I will give you my courage; not tears but a hard-bought mirth.
Work of my hands I grant you, labor and toil of brain,
But heart and soul shall be wanting — for they are dead of pain!
Forward! A fight to the death, then! Life is a sorry jest.
Ahead! To the thick of tumult! Fate is a fool at the best.
Courage! The war gods are greatest! Love is a false, fair light.

To arms! For Dreams are frail bubbles, and Hope but a song in the night.
World, I cast down the gauntlet, for you were made to defy!
Own me a foe for your mettle! Ah, fighting let me die!
Love, Hope and Dreams I give you; Life I fling at your feet;
I will drink to the dregs of the bitter — for once I had tasted of sweet!

Of one last taunt I shall rob you; stern, I will claim my due;
One recompense you shall give me, balm I will snatch from you.
'Tis neither Fame nor Glory — toys to break and regret;
I demand to conquer Memory! I demand that I — forget.





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