Monday, September 26, 2016

BELGIUM, a poem

Belgium (Mother and Child) (1914) by Charles Webster Hawthorne
as displayed at the World War I and American Art exhibition
at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (2016-17)
     I HAD a dream of Greatness; and I saw—
Not one enthroned, before whose golden crown
And jeweled scepter many bowed them down;

     Not one full-armored who, more fearful awe
Inspiring, with war's pestilential breath
Sowed havoc as he moved, despair and death;

     Nay, in my lofty dream, such greatness paled
Before the image of one nobly fair,
Despite torn raiment and disheveled hair,

     The hope within whose eyes had never failed.
Victim of unrelenting Tyranny
That fain would hold her captive, she is free—

     Stronger, I wis, than e'en her tyrants be—
Because of something that hath never died:
Her glorious, tameless soul, grief-crucified!
"Belgium" by Florence Earle Coates. Published in The Bellman (21 September 1918).

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