Monday, July 24, 2017

HOMEWARD, a poem

WHEN I come to my Father's house he will hear me:
               I shall not need
               With words implore
Compassion at my Father's door:
With yearning mute my heart will plead,
     And my Father's heart will hear me.

One thought all the weary day hath caressed me:
               Though cloud-o'ercast
               Is the way I go,
Though steep is the hill I must climb, yet, oh,
When evening falls and the light is past,
     At my Father's house I will rest me.

For thither,—whatsoe'er betide me;
               Howe'er I stray,
               Beset by fears,
Wearied by effort, or blinded by tears,—
Ah, surely I shall find my way,
     Though none there be to guide me!
"Homeward" by Florence Earle Coates. Published in Lippincott's Monthly Magazine (September 1890), Poems (1898) and Poems (1916) Volume II.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

NATURA BENIGNA, a poem

Peach Blossoms—Villiers-le-Bel (1887-89)
by Childe Hassam
PD image from The Met
I WEAVE the beginning, I fashion the end;
Life is my fellow, and Death is my friend;
     Time cannot stay me,
     Nor evil betray me,—
They that would harm me, unknowing, defend.

I ravel asunder, I knit every flaw;
Blossoms I scatter, with tempests I awe;
     Birthplace of duty,
     And shrine of all beauty,—
Firmly I govern, and love is my law!
"Natura Benigna" by Florence Earle Coates. As published in Poems (1916) Volume I. Also published as "Nature" in Lippincott's Monthly Magazine (September 1899) and Mine and Thine (1904).

Saturday, July 22, 2017

BREATHLESS WE STRIVE, a poem

Wordsworth's Dove Cottage, Grasmere, England
Wikimedia
BREATHLESS we strive, contending for success,
     According to the standards of our day.
     What is success? Is it to find a way
Wealth out of all proportion to possess?
Is it to care for simple pleasures less
     (While grasping at a more extended sway),
     And sacrificing to our gods of clay,
Submerge the soul, at last, in worldliness?

By Grasmere stands a cottage small and poor:
     The Dove was once its emblem, and the sign
That marked it as a wayside inn obscure;
But, frugal, dwelt high consecration here,
     And gratitude still guards it as a shrine,
Hallowed by that success which time but makes more dear!
"Breathless We Strive" by Florence Earle Coates. Published in The Century Magazine (September 1904), Mine and Thine (1904) and Poems (1916) Volume I.

Friday, July 21, 2017

TO THE RETURNING BRAVE, a poem

COME home! The Land that sent you forth
From East and West, from South and North,
Looks wistfully beyond her gates,
Extends her arms and waits—and waits!

At duty's call she stilled her woe;
She smiled through tears and bade you go
To face the death you would not shun.
Brave hearts, return! Your task is done.

Not as you journeyed come you back!
A glory is about your track
Of deeds that vanquished tyranny
And set a tortured people free:

Deeds, sprung of manhood's finest grace,
That envious Time shall not efface;
Deeds that proclaim a Nation's worth,
And crown the Land that gave them birth.

America but waits to greet
And bless you, kneeling at her feet,
Your standards fair in honor furled,
The proudest mother in the world!

Come home! The Land that sent you forth
From East and West, from South and North,
Looks wistfully beyond her gates,
Extends her arms and waits!
"To the Returning Brave" by Florence Earle Coates. Above as published in Poems (1916) Volume I. Published as "Welcome" in The Outlook (3 September 1898) and in Mine and Thine (1904). Also published as "Welcome to Dewey" in Life and Heroic Deeds of Admiral Dewey, Including Battles in the Philippines, & etc. (1899).

Thursday, July 20, 2017

UNREST, a poem

WE trekked our way to the desert,
     My soul and I, alone:
We passed beyond the world of men,
     And all men call their own,
And came where never yet were laws
     On parchment writ or stone.

Mid vast and barren stretches
     Where Age speaks not to Age,
Where ne'er doth spring a living thing
     Save the everlasting sage,
I felt as the savage coyote, free—
     With a freedom naught could cage.

No milestones mark the desert:
     Though seasons come and go,
Where the arid sands unmeasured lie
     None through the hour-glass flow;
The desert has no memory—
     Nor can of promise know.

Unfettered mid the silence,
     Escaped from rule and law,
The desert, like a sea-floor vast,
     Exultantly I saw;
Yet distant heights that pierced the blue,
     Still troubled me with awe;

And when, turned from the mountains,
     I passed beyond the brush
Where a sea-floor without weed or shell
     Burns breathless in the hush,
There came mirage my sense to mock
     With grasses sweet and lush.

Thirst, not as that for water,—
     A thirst ne'er felt before,—
Parched gradual in the soul of me
     Till I could bear no more;
Earth seemed to cry: "Now whither fly
     From the dearth you struggled for?"
     ·     ·     ·     ·     ·     ·     ·     ·
Reluctant, slow returning
     The common lot to share,
With a new and strange emotion—
     Half longing, half despair,
I said: "For man is no escape:
     Here bides the Law, as there!"
"Unrest" by Florence Earle Coates. Published in The Athenæum (11 September 1915) and Poems (1916) Volume II.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

TO BRITANNIA, a poem

Wikimedia
On seeing a picture of the cairn and cross under which lie Captain Scott and his men
BRITANNIA, they who perished here have crowned thee—
     Have proved the dauntless temper of thy soul;
Great memories of the past, through them have found thee
     Intrepid as of old, untouched and whole.

Triumphant Mother! Make an end to sighing
     For these, thrice happy!—with sonorous breath
Let bugles sing their requiem who are lying
     In all the full magnificence of death!

They knew not failure: dream and aspiration
     They knew, indeed, and love, and noble joy;
And at the last faith brought them the elation
     That Destiny is powerless to destroy.

The utmost summit of desire attaining,
     What further is there left deserving strife?
Ah, there is still the peerless hope remaining,—
     In death to prove one's worthiness of life!

Sublime thy grief, Britannia! sons have crowned thee—
     With hard-won laurels have enwreathed thy name:
Have shown the world the bulwark set around thee,
     Adding new consecration to thy fame.

Nor have they blessed thee, only: Fate defying,
     Others in lands remote shall fear contemn,
And find it easier, themselves denying,
     To die like heroes, too,—remembering them.

They do not lie in lonely graves forsaken,
     Who for high ends can so supremely dare;
From human hearts they can no more be taken,
     And Immortality is with them there.
"To Britannia" by Florence Earle Coates. Published in Poems (1916) Volume I and as "In Remembrance: The Antarctic Heroes of 1912" in Lippincott's Monthly Magazine (July 1913).

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

DEMETER, a poem

THOU, thou hast seen the child I seek!
The vale is thine and the cloudy peak,
     Divine Apollo
     Whose eye doth follow
Each secret course! Ah, speak!

I have sued to the other gods in vain:
Thou wilt not disregard my pain;
     But by thy power
     Win back my flower
To gladden earth again!

Fair as the poppy mid the wheat,—
Her breath as the breath of the wild grape, sweet
     In the twilight tender,—
     She loved thy splendor
Of perfect day to greet.

And it is thou—of gods most dear!—
Thou, sun-god! who hast led me here:
     Whose smile caressing,
     My wrong redressing,
Tells me the Maid is near!

Blessèd, O blessèd, be thy light!
She comes from the shadows—blissful sight!—
     To the breast that bore her
     To the yearning for her,
That fills me, day and night!
"Demeter" by Florence Earle Coates. Published in Mine and Thine (1904) and Poems (1916) Volume II.