Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE VISION OF SPRING, 1916, by HENRY HOWARTH BASHFORD



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THE VISION OF SPRING, 1916, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: All night in a cottage far
Last Line: Lo, the dawn out-topped the night.
Subject(s): World War I; First World War


ALL night in a cottage far
Death and I had waged our war
Where, at such a bitter cost,
Death had won and I had lost;
And as I climbed up once more
From that poor, tear-darkened door,
From the valley seemed to rise,
In one cry, all human cries—

Yea, from such a mortal woe
Earth seemed at its overthrow,
And the very deeps unlocked
Of all anguished ages, mocked
In that they beheld at last
This their self-sown holocaust,
And their latest, loveliest sons
Shattered by ten thousand guns.

Then the friend who said to me,
Naught's so brief as agony,
Seemed to stand revealed and blind,
And a foe to humankind,
And I cried, Why very Spring
Shudders at this fearful thing,
And withholds her kindling sun,
Seeing Life and Grief are one.

Nay, said he, but in all earth
There's one power, and that is Birth,
And the starkest human pain
Is but joy being born again,
And all night, had you but heard,
There's no depth that has not stirred
That to-morrow men may see
God in every bursting tree—

Yea, he said, the Very God
In each blade that bends the sod,
In each sod that feeds the blade,
In each hushed, far-hidden glade,
In each prairie, running free
O'er some long fast-frozen sea,
In each jungle, fierce and lush
From its glutting thunder-gush,
In each mammoth mountain-side,
Thrust from womb of earth in pride,
Climbing till creation dies
From its crude, star-stricken eyes—

Yea, and in all eyes that see
That frustrate immensity,
And the larger life that wings
In the least of creeping things;
In the swift, invisible rain
Poured into the human brain,
In all gods that men made first
When earth's glories on them burst,
Gods of serpents, stars, and trees,
And the gods that fashioned these,

Great Gautama, propped afar
Where no tears or laughter are,
And the greater God Who died
That men might, uncrucified
From the cross of pride and priest,
Be as brothers at life's feast,
God the Father, God the Son,
God the Love in everyone—

And I saw then fall away
Veils from that gun-shattered clay
And, beneath each scalding tear,
Sink to death some human fear,
And, behind each springing blade,
Move the slow, divine brigade
Of all brave, up-rendered life
To the last supremest strife—

Yea, I saw from upper air
God in ambush everywhere;
And at that triumphant sight
Lo, the dawn out-topped the night.





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