Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, CHRISTMAS ANTIPHONES: 2. OUTSIDE CHURCH, by ALGERNON CHARLES SWINBURNE



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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

CHRISTMAS ANTIPHONES: 2. OUTSIDE CHURCH, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: We whose days and ways
Last Line: Not for us is born?
Subject(s): God; Hope; Life; Night; Optimism; Bedtime


WE whose days and ways
All the night makes dark,
What day shall we praise
Of these weary days
That our life-drops mark?

We whose mind is blind,
Fed with hope of nought;
Wastes of worn mankind,
Without heart or mind,
Without meat or thought;

We with strife of life
Worn till all life cease,
Want, a whetted knife,
Sharpening strife on strife,
How should we love peace?

Ye whose meat is sweet
And your wine-cup red,
Us beneath your feet
Hunger grinds as wheat,
Grinds to make you bread.

Ye whose night is bright
With soft rest and heat,
Clothed like day with light,
Us the naked night
Slays from street to street.

Hath your God no rod,
That ye tread so light?
Man on us as God,
God as man hath trod,
Trod us down with might.

We that one by one
Bleed from either's rod,
What for us hath done
Man beneath the sun,
What for us hath God?

We whose blood is food
Given your wealth to feed,
From the Christless rood
Red with no God's blood,
But with man's indeed;

How shall we that see
Night-long overhead
Life, the flowerless tree,
Nailed whereon as we
Were our fathers dead --

We whose ear can hear.
Not whose tongue can name.
Famine, ignorance, fear.
Bleeding tear by tear
Year by year of shame,

Till the dry life die
Out of bloodless breast.
Out of beamless eye,
Out of mouths that cry
Till death feed with rest --

How shall we as ye,
Though ye bid us, pray?
Though ye call, can we
Hear you call, or see,
Though ye show us day?

We whose name is shame,
We whose souls walk bare,
Shall we call the same
God as ye by name,
Teach our lips your prayer?

God, forgive and give,
For His sake who died?
Nay, for ours who live,
How shall we forgive
Thee, then, on our side?

We whose right to light
Whom the blind beams smite
Heaven's high noon denies,
That for you shine bright,
And but burn our eyes,

With what dreams of beams
Shall we build up day,
At what sourceless streams
Seek to drink in dreams
Ere they pass away?

In what street shall meet,
At what market-place,
Your feet and our feet,
With one goal to greet,
Having run one race?

What one hope shall ope
For us all as one
One some horoscope,
Where the soul sees hope
That outburns the sun?

At what shrine what wine,
At what board what bread,
Salt as blood or brine,
Shall we share in sign
How we poor were fed?

In what hour what power
Shall we pray for morn,
If your perfect hour,
When all day bears flower,
Not for us is born?





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