Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, TWELVE SONNETS: 11. FIRST, BATTLE; THEN, WOMAN, by GEORGE BARLOW (1847-1913)



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TWELVE SONNETS: 11. FIRST, BATTLE; THEN, WOMAN, by            
First Line: And yet chief strength gives chiefest tenderness
Last Line: Gifts that blot out the blood-freaked dust-streaked day.


And yet chief strength gives chiefest tenderness.—
After the battle comes the calm of sleep
Upon a woman's breast, and eyes that weep,
And the superb and sorrowless caress.
Oh, did not Christ, after the bitter stress
Of unknown agony in the garden deep,
Fruits of unknown unearthly triumph reap,—
When, death being over, love leant down to bless?

First, battle; after, woman. First the swords
That mingle in the sweltering close mêlée,
And then the embrace yet closer that rewards
Of one who watched from far the fierce fast fray.
First, pitiless strife. Then woman who accords
Gifts that blot out the blood-freaked dust-streaked day.





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