The Great War

from War: an Ode And Other Poems, an electronic edition

Is There No Hostel by the Way of Life?"

IS there no hostel by the way of life,

No place o'ershadowed from the sun and sin

Of noisy noonday, sheltered from all strife,

And dust, and din?

Is there no place where men may, mesh by mesh,

Sunder their carnate bonds and walk abroad

Free souls,--no place where they may doff the flesh

And talk with God?

Yea, there are holy hostels on our path,

Where peace, and beauty, and refreshment are,

Where God thrusts back the world, and cries in wrath,

"Thus far, thus far."

Go, watch the lily coming thro' the sod,

And thou shalt be refreshed as if with wine,

Supping, as in a hostel with thy God,

Of food divine.

Or gaze on Ocean when the twilight lingers

Over its waves, as young as at their birth,

When thunderous they trickled thro' God's fingers

Upon the Earth.

Or climb a hill. The world is short of breath,

Thou wilt not find her cloven footprints there,

And thou wilt recognise as angels, Death,

And Toil, and Care.

There stand, a living and discarnate soul,

Until the angels drop their dark disguise,

And show thee, hidden under veil and stole,

Their wings and eyes.

Then thou shalt turn thee to thy task as one,

Who cometh from a hostel fresh and strong,

Meeting and greeting dust, and rain, and sun,

With laugh and song.

Yea, there are hostels on the path of duty,

Holy of Holies on the way of Life,

Where men are comforted by Love and Beauty,

After their strife.