Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, FRANCISCA MADRE; NEW YEAR, 1907, by AMELIA WOODWARD TRUESDELL



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FRANCISCA MADRE; NEW YEAR, 1907, by            
First Line: What cheer, francisco madre, what of cheer
Last Line: There's a cheer, francisca madre, there is cheer.
Subject(s): Forgetfulness; Happiness; Holidays; Memory; New Year; San Francisco Earthquake And Fire (1906); Joy; Delight


What cheer, Francisco Madre, what of cheer
For this, the world's expectant year?
Struggles uncanny hast thou now
While still upon thy cheek the tear.
The laborer's sweat is on thy brow;
Thy hands have changed the timbrels for the spade;
Thy feet that danced go firm and unafraid.
With front of light thou farest to and fro
Among a city full
Of wrecks, each stone a shrine to memory dear,
When smites all ruthlessly upon thy face
The crime of blood, while from thy noble place
Greed's hookéd fingers reach to thy disgrace.
With such unnatural foe
Thy courage is more pitiful
Than thy first woe.

O life that riots in the Western breast!
Despair it knows not, no, nor rest,
But in Fate's challenge finds its best.
Through all the pulses of thy throbbing mart,
It thrills thee, city of the bleeding heart;
Thrills thee with promise of the coming year.

Francisca of our love, what cheer?
On every side we hear
The hammer and the chisel ply,
And creaking of the wains that thrust us by.
The carven stone had been thy creed,
But to thy children's sudden need
Thou offerest with averted eye
A sheath of iron and wood;
They answer through a stifled cry,
"Yea, mother, this is good!"
And pledge thee for a glad New Year.

Francisca, watcher of the night, what cheer?
By day, thou paintest in the future's glow,
The fair dream city which the world shall know.
But when thou gazest through the chill
Of night from hill to blackened hill,
Travail of tasks gigantic must o'erfill
Thy soul. 'Tis then thou shudderest with the pain
Of Memory and Hope in mortal strain.
But Hope, the strong twin-sister of the Dawn,
Forever young, smiles with each rising sun
Upon the yet wreck-jaggéd slopes, and lo!
The broken hearthstones flush in rosy glow,
Above new homes that nestle at thy feet,
Like the swift-lighted gulls of gray. And thou,
Dear mother, liftest thy rejoicing brow,
As the fleet-footed moments run,
Foreshadowed splendors of the year to greet.

Thou hast rich welcome for the hovering Year
That poises on thy threshold half in fear.
There's a cheer, Francisca Madre, THERE IS CHEER.





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