The Great War

from November: Poems in War Time, an electronic edition

The Quaker Women

FRIENDS, whom from our defence a Voice divine defends,

Let not the thought of us make your obeying hard:

Of your obedience we are the faithful friends:

Fear not for us: the God of love shall be our guard.

He is among us here, though hid from our espial:

It is of doubting Him our spirits are afraid.

For you we have no fear, how stark soe'er your trial,

Though more than flesh may carry be upon you laid.

His call ye answer. His the inexplicable word

Of your refusal to put forth your manly might

Against His enemies. We also, friends, have heard

The Voice, and share with you all the wise world's despite.

Blind as stampeded cattle that fear will not release,

The peoples herd together, panic on everyone:—<

O if amid the battle, we might ourselves be peace

And fear might fail as trampling over us they run! . . .

If it be ours to endure Love's uttermost: to suffer

The mocking might of Hatred when he breaks his chain,

'Tis ye shall keep secure our vision of Man's Lover

Redeeming mortals by the price of mortal pain.

Shall ye not, also, bearing the agony we bear,

With us triumphing over fear's delirium,

For us, even then, forswearing your strength to save us, dare

Still with us to endure, with us to overcome?

Until our wedded faith marry with the creative

Power that through all the ages yet remains unspent,

And unconcerned with death, shall know itself a native

Of the invisible country of Love's government.