Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, KENTUCKY POEMS: EPILOGUE, by MADISON JULIUS CAWEIN



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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

KENTUCKY POEMS: EPILOGUE, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: O life! O death! O god!
Last Line: Have mercy!


I
O LIFE! O Death! O God!
Have we not striven?
Have we not known Thee, God
As Thy stars know Heaven?
Have we not held Thee true,
True as thy deepest,
Sweet and immaculate blue
Heaven that feels Thy dew!
Have we not known Thee true,
O God who keepest.

II
O God, our Father, God! --
Who gav'st us fire,
To soar beyond the sod,
To rise, aspire --
What though we strive and strive,
And all our soul says 'live'?
The empty scorn of men
Will sneer it down again.
And, O sun-centred high,
Who, too, art Poet,
Beneath Thy tender sky
Each day new Keatses die,
Calling all life a lie;
Can this be so -- and why? --
And canst Thou know it?

III
We know Thee beautiful,
We know Thee bitter!
Help Thou! -- Men's eyes are dull,
O God most beautiful!
Make thou their souls less full
Of things mere glitter.
Dost Thou not see our tears?
Dost Thou not hear the years
Treading our hearts to shards,
O Lord of all the Lords? --
Arouse Thee, God of Hosts,
There 'mid Thy glorious ghosts,
So high and holy!
Have mercy on our tears!
Have mercy on our years!
Our strivings and our fears,
O Lord of lordly peers,
On us, so lowly!

IV
On us, so fondly fain
To tell what mother-pain
Of Nature makes the rain.
On us, so glad to show
The sorrow of her snow,
And all her winds that blow.
Us, who interpret right
Her mystic rose of light,
Her moony rune of night.
Us, who have utterance for
Each warm, flame-hearted star
That stammers from afar.
Who hear the tears and sighs
Of every bud that dies
While heaven's dew on it lies.
Who see the power that dowers
The wildwood bosks and bowers
With musk of sap and flowers.
Who see what no man sees
In water, earth, and breeze,
And in the hearts of trees.
Turn not away Thy light,
O God! -- Our strength is slight!
Help us who breast the height!
Have mercy, Infinite!
Have mercy!






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