Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE PROCESSION OF THE DUMB, by AMELIA WOODWARD TRUESDELL



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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

THE PROCESSION OF THE DUMB, by            
First Line: In deep thought-watches with the night, a host
Last Line: "and burn anew as lit from god's own light.' "
Subject(s): Mourning; Worship; Bereavement


In deep thought-watches with the Night, a host
Passed by; a noiseless host, still souls,
Each brow embrand with pain; of thwarted lives
A dire processional. "Father of all,
These, too, are thine?"
And thus the prophet Night:
"Thou watcher by the gates of the unknown,
Dumb in the strife for immortality
Thy fellows seek a voice for their mute woe."
And these passed on and on, the hapless ones
Ill-shaped from stress of bodies ill-begot;
In thrall of deathless circumstance,—a crowd
To whom ideals are but a dream of pain;
And with them those, dead-lustred of the eye,
O darkest spirits, they who have no dreams.

Came tearless mourners here, their all in one
Too dainty bit of clay, or tiny hand
Uptossing to their arms; supreme of woe,
That their wide eyes are dry. And I for them
Must weep the speech of tears? Came lovers cold,
Who shivered at love's limitations found.
And they, the worshipful, who saw no God
Of joy in their unanswering skies.

O train
Most pitiful, the artists of unskill!
The colorist to whom in mockery
Light's pageantries appear! The sculptor's touch
Which gives no marble breath; the artisan
Whose fingers find no thought! The voiceless songs!
Benumbed of throat and hand, their lyres unstrung,
The poet souls that know not words' delight,—
Ah, who shall tell the ecstasy of pain
That sleeps at last, its songs unsung?

And lo!
A crowd whose likeness men saw not and lived.
The uncrowned throng of the ambitious, these,
Who ever for the laurel pluck the bay.
Who, unanointed with the altar-chrism
Of genius, yet see visions come and go.
One bound of foot would walk; one drags a stone;
Together chained, some rage as galley slaves;
The palsied limbs would keep apace; the hands
Close tied would hide a wound; a deathless worm
One slays in vain. And all make shift to smile.
O flameless candle and the empty dish!

Thus poverty and tasks unfit and bonds
Unloved! Fair tastes denied, and all the train
Of appetites, of passions, and disease,
Had left on every brow the unhealed brand
Of shame or multitudinous sin,—dread stamp
Of disappointed lives.

Again the Night:
"Singer from hill-top shrines, the mountain air
Of life bear in thy sweeping garments down,
So breath may be in this dead place. Sing thou
Of growth for all the stultified,—that he
Vampire despair, is dead. The souls long blind
That dwelt in error's darkened house, look forth
From opened windows to the light. Behold,
Twin stars dispel low-scudding clouds! Now shrinks
Dead fear and shrivels in the dawn. Lo, truth
And knowledge from their star-dust are as suns!
A final state the universe has not;
Nor knows all space the wrecking words 'Too late.'

"Aye, shout aloud that these earth-appetites,
Of body born, are not of soul. Yea, cry
The clarion call thy spirit hears: 'When these
Clay lanterns of the flesh shall fall away,
Shall into pieces fall, the smothered fire
In purer air shall burst to brighter flame
And burn anew as lit from God's own light.' "





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