Wednesday, July 20, 2016

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.

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