The Great War

from A Calendar of Verse, an electronic edition

After the War

After the war -- I hear men ask -- what then?

As tho this rock-ribbed world, sculptured with fire,

And bastioned deep in the ethereal plan,

Can never be its morning self again

Because of this brief madness, man with man;

How many wars and long-forgotten woes

Unnumbered, nameless, made a like despair

In hearts long stilled; how many suns have set

On burning cities blackening the air, --

Yet dawn came dreaming back, her lashes wet

With dew, and daisies in her innocent hair.

Nor shall, for this, the soul's ascension pause,

Nor the sure evolution of the laws

That out of foulness lift the flower to sun,

And out of fury forge the evening star.

Deem not Love's building of the world undone --

Far Love's beginning was, her end is far;

By paths of fire and blood her feet must climb,

Seeking a loveliness she scarcely knows,

Whose meaning is beyond the reach of Time.