Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE PASSING OF WOODROW WILSON, PROPHET OF PEACE, by VINCENT GODFREY BURNS



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THE PASSING OF WOODROW WILSON, PROPHET OF PEACE, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Once more a grieving nation bows its head
Last Line: When war forever shall give place to peace!
Subject(s): Death; Honor; Peace; Presidents, United States; Wilson, Woodrow (1856-1924); Dead, The


Once more a grieving nation bows its head
And loving tribute and memorial gives
To her heroic soldier who is dead,
Yet no! not dead, for still his spirit lives!

His spirit, bright and strong, now knows new life
Which never any enemy can destroy,
Where, truly free from all his earthly strife,
He may celestial peace and rest enjoy.

Aye! how he merits that! he who in war
Amid the fearful tumult, tempest-torn,
The burden and the brunt of battle bore,
And strove to still the whirlwind and the storm.

For when the war's deep thunder shook the earth
He stood for peace and tried to check the fight.
But what was all his noble striving worth
While cosmic passions plunged our world through night?

Still rang his voice with bell-like constancy
Guiding the ship of state through those dark days
When the nations wallowed in a bloody sea
And midst the crash of battles lost their ways.

Always with wise leadership, God-inspired,
He, more than any other living man,
Saw the way out for foes all tired,
Visioned the only hope, the inter-racial plan.

Clear-voiced and brave, above the noise and swell,
Of the war's grim chaos and the battle fray,
While gas and guns and cannon made earth hell,
He spoke out for the better kindlier way.

His was the struggle for the ideal good,
The pledging of peoples to the policy
Of peace! The bringing of the world-wide brotherhood
Of humankind, the kingdom family!

And in that effort, seemingly he failed!
For everywhere the cynics rose to scorn
And he at last upon his cross of pain was nailed,
But in that very hour the thing he loved was born.

Nought but a thought, yet what a mighty one!
Nought but a dream, and yet too great to perish;
Out of the heart of God it came, Whose will is done,
And now his will and God's are ours to cherish!

Even now the peoples hasten that great task to do,
For which his life was willingly laid down,
Our wiser time will vow his vision true;
Fear not! His head with laurel history will crown.

His name shall shine with glory in each land,
Where dawning light dispels dark ancient wrongs;
Among the world's immortals he shall stand,
Amid the throng of heroes his great soul belongs.

Illumined by his larger wisdom lies the road,
Earth's ardent youth will follow loyally,
To lift from man's bowed back this heavy load,
The common burden of humanity.

Ordained by God's wise will, he tells the way,
Now must we work to make war's folly cease,
To greet the dawn of that great glorious day
When War forever shall give place to Peace!





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