Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, ABOVE THE BATTLE'S FRONT, by NICHOLAS VACHEL LINDSAY



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ABOVE THE BATTLE'S FRONT, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Oh foolish people, and without understanding
Last Line: Thorn-crowned above the water and the land.
Alternate Author Name(s): Lindsay, Vachel
Subject(s): Buddhism; Evil; Francis Assisi, Saint (1181-1226); Hate; Jesus Christ; John The Baptist, Saint (1st Century); Saints; Social Protest; Tolstoy, Leo (1828-1910); War; Buddha; Buddhists


Oh foolish people, and without understanding; that have eyes and see not.

St. Francis, Buddha, Tolstoi, and Saint John—
Friends, if you four, as pilgrims, hand in hand,
Returned, the hate of earth once more to dare,
And walked upon the water and the land,

If you, with words celestial, stopped these kings
For sober conclave, ere their battle great,
Would they for one deep instant then discern
Their crime, their heart-rot, and their fiends' estate?

If you should float above the battle's front,
Pillars of cloud, of fire that does not slay,
Bearing a fifth within your regal train,
The Son of David in his strange array—

If, in his majesty, he towered toward Heaven,
Would they have hearts to see or understand?
... Nay, for he hovers there to-night we know,
Thorn-crowned above the water and the land.





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