The Great War

from The Man Who Saw, an electronic edition


IN wrecked Termonde, still quaking from the bellow

Of war's mad herd--'mid ruin on ruin piled,

A stranger found a shrine, not all defiled,

Of Art's old sculptured glories without fellow;

And there--while Autumn's banners rustled yellow--

High above seas of desolation isled,

Unbruised, unmarred, with her unwounded child,

Leaned a serene Madonna of Donatello.

O'er a fledged Hermes, lord of speed and spoil,

O'er the vast throes of the Laoco├Ân,

And Milo's lurking marble smile, she shone:

Throned above pillage, and agony's serpent coil,

And carnal charms that fever and embroil,

Motherhood, scatheless, lived divinely on.