Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE FAILURES, by BERTON BRALEY



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THE FAILURES, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: The hills are bare of verdure, the valleys clogged with snow
Last Line: We'll know ourselves for failures and cowards after all!
Subject(s): Failure


The hills are bare of verdure, the valleys clogged with snow,
And winds of bitter winter sweep howling to and fro;
The roads that lured us strongly are drifted, deep and white,
And peaks that seemed to beckon are hidden from our sight;
The sun, who used to call us, in merry comradewise,
Now glowers, dull and sullen, from gray and sodden skies;
The sea is black and angry and flecked with cruel foam,
Too long, too long we tarried, and now—we stay at home.

We talked of wondrous ventures, our tongues would never tire,
Yet we of scanty courage sit close before the fire,
We cringe to hear the shrieking of blasts that stab and fleer,
We stir the coals and whisper, "Thank God that we are here!"
Somewhere the vagrant pilgrims are on the open way,
Unmindful of to-morrow and careless of to-day;
And though WE drudge or dawdle and seek to sink our shame,
We know our souls are little—we feared to risk the Game.

We talked of "joyous freedom"—but thought, with quaking knees,
Of hardships and of perils on distant roads and seas;
We babbled light of hunger—and gripped, with clutching hands,
The gold great-hearted rovers had wrested from the sands.
What need is there to mumble of "reasons," you and I?
We lingered, lingered, lingered, because we feared to try;
And though our fortunes flourish, and fame shall heed our call,
We'll know ourselves for failures and cowards after all!





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