Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, ROBERT CLAYTON WESTMAN OF MASSACHUSETTS; DIED IN FRANCE, AUGUST 1919, by WILLARD WATTLES



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ROBERT CLAYTON WESTMAN OF MASSACHUSETTS; DIED IN FRANCE, AUGUST 1919, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: I will make his name silver
Last Line: Who have achieved indifference.
Subject(s): Death; World War I; Dead, The; First World War


I will make his name silver,
I will loose it to run
In terrible beauty
From earth to the sun.

I will cast it in bronze
And carve it in jade
And ring it in bells
That his memory made.

In beryl and jacinth,
In onyx and flame,
In pearl and chalcedony --
His beautiful name.

I will set it in rubies
Till it make the blood start,
And oh, I will wear it
In death on my heart!

Now you are dead, I have no more to fear,
Desire drops from me like a garment sore,
And there is no more scanning of the morning page,
For now my bird has split his golden cage
Beyond men's knowing, beyond my touching more --
Strange that so much should 'scape so small a door.

When others now cherish their little pains,
Sighing for roses down old country lanes,
And for love's nearness all the solemn night
In some dim corner where the hedge is white,
Wondering tomorrow who will stop cold lead,
They cannot see me when I smile instead.

For you are dead, ivory, red, and brown,
And all the dreams we builded have come down,
And all the brave high hopes beyond despair
Are netted now within your yellow hair,
And all the laughter in your happy eyes
Fades like blue violets beneath the unanswering skies.

Now let the guns their bitter bane releasing
Thunder their diapason without ceasing;
It will not be so very long till I
Meet my own archangel shattering the sky;
And till that summons, on my young, proud head
I wear your beauty, now that you are dead.

Chipilly Ridge near Amiens is where the glory fell
That showed the golden lad I love the fields of asphodel;
He did not stay to mind the gate, he lifted up his face
And knew the tender loveliness of heaven in that place.
He never knew the bullet that had struck him in the mouth,
He sighed a little weary sigh, and turned him to the south;
And then there stooped above him with burning love unpriced
The strong and gentle Saviour: "I knew you'd come, dear Christ."

I was his teacher on a time
Some happy seasons back,
Guiding his hands and mind to trace
Deep wisdoms that I lack.

Now dead in France, his tenderness
Enfolds me as the sea,
For I am like a little child
In wonder at his knee.

"Bobbie, I love you," is all my heart can say
No matter when I wake at night or wander in bright day;
I do not lift a stone in place or any simple thing
Without my shoulder feels your strength and all my pulses sing.

I know they tell me you are dead, yet we have things that keep
Beyond the bourne of sense and touch, beneath the tides of sleep;
For I have smiled into your face a dozen times each day
And through the intervals of speech I hear each word you say.

I know I need not write these words as witness of our faith
That met the Shadow ere he came and burst the dread of death;
Yet, oh it is a happy thing I cannot learn to keep
Who have you with me all the day and touch you while I sleep!

Shallowest thoughts are soonest said,
But deepest thoughts are hidden,
Not often is our courage fed
With the word unbidden.

And so I prize the silences
With which your speech expresses
A something finer by that lack
Than any tongue confesses.

No words of mine could ever say
One half of what is true,
No reticence is graver than
The poem that is you.

Blest be the happy dead:
Where'er they lay their head.
Out-facers of pretence
Who have achieved indifference.





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