Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, TOWARDS DEMOCRACY: PART 4. AT MENTONE, by EDWARD CARPENTER

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TOWARDS DEMOCRACY: PART 4. AT MENTONE, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Why speak ye not, ye beautiful lands and seas
Last Line: Why utterest not the voice we long to hear?
Subject(s): Cemeteries; Death; Earth; History; Mankind; Peasantry; Graveyards; Dead, The; World; Historians; Human Race

WHY speak ye not, ye beautiful lands and seas,
Hung like a magic curtain in the light?
What dumbness holds you, O divine vast Earth?

Ye stretches of smooth bare rock, dotted with cactus and aloe,
Rising so bold in the sun, from your deep dark gorges below;
Ye pine woods on the mountain flanks;
And ye, ye terraces of endless labor, planted with vine and lemon and the
abounding olive,
With peasant cots and cabins here and there, and cisterns where the frogs
croak night and day;
Why speak ye not, why speak ye not?
Why with that strange prophetic glance of yours
Hang ye in heaven there, magic lands and seas,
Nor say the word we wait for?

The Campanile and red roof of the village church show out seaward against
the sky-line; and the cypresses stand sentinel in the cemetery on the hill
The borage-flowers beneath the lemon branches catch the hues of sea and
sky; runnels of water sparkle through the grass by the pathside; the scent of
orange-bloom is in the air;
Far back into the valleys stretch the gray shade and gloom of the
olive-yards; and the narrow tumbled alleys of the mountain-villages are like
huge rock-burrows of human beings;
The grizzled wrinkled old man on his little plot of ground, and the young
man beside him, work doggedly on with their mattocks through the heat of the
The broad-bosomed placid-eyed girl tends her flock of goats on the higher

Ye leafing fig-trees, like silver candelabra of green flame!
And ye, pink-blossoming peaches, dainty bright!
And ye, ye immemorial aromatic herbs and bushes—arbutus, myrtle,
lavender, rosemary, thyme—trampled to perfume by the feet of long-forgotten
And thou, blue bay, with myriad points of light, and sky above with subtle
answering quiver,
And high far crests of gleaming purple crag, and snows beyond,
Flaming, all flaming in the light!
Why speak ye not?

Cave men and women and children, on your sides by the sea-shore,
Your long skulls resting still in the palms of your bony hands,
A sccre millenniums lying in the same position—
Why wake and speak ye not?
Why utter not the thoughts that were, for you, the world?
Ye dead that build the rocks, and are the Earth, and fill, without a void,
the crystal air!
And Thou one dead (for each and all of us)—one dead for whom our life
we'ld gladly give—
[Thou whose remembrance passes through all sights and sounds, transforming
and transforming them]—
Why through the veil of this material texture showest thou not, dear soul
of things, thy face?
What dumbness holds you?
O divine vast Earth,
Why utterest not the voice we long to hear?

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