Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, INTERLUDE (IN WAR-TIME), by ROBERT UNDERWOOD JOHNSON



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INTERLUDE (IN WAR-TIME), by             Poet's Biography
First Line: I thought that war held all my mind
Last Line: As lasting memory of the storm.
Subject(s): World War I; First World War


I THOUGHT that War held all my mind,
That wrong and sorrow world-bespread,
Had made mine eyes to beauty blind,
And all the gleeful gods were dead --
Till came Allegra floating by,
Joy in her smile, Youth in her eye.

Tell me the secret of her voice
That with a passing commonplace
Could make my stranger heart rejoice
As she were sent to cheer the race.
-- No, rather tell me why to me
It must remain a mystery.

Not love she brought, but something more --
No private good reserved for two,
But treasure lavished from the store
Of the loved dead -- we know not who.
From what far past her power to bless
By muted notes of tenderness?

Oft shall I see 'twixt eye and book
The grace of each enchanting line,
The summons of her backward look,
And that I followed not, repine.
Resolve my problem, if you know,
Which were the fault, to stay or go?

Ah! sometimes, though the tempest lower,
The very lightning may reveal
Through cloven dark a blithesome flower
And make us live by what we feel,
And leave a heart's-ease rich and warm
As lasting memory of the storm.





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