Poetry Corner – Song of the Sons

ONE from the ends of the earth—gifts at an open door—
Treason has much, but we, Mother, thy sons have more!
From the whine of a dying man, from the snarl of a wolf-pack freed,
Turn, and the world is thine. Mother, be proud of thy seed!
Count, are we feeble or few? Hear, is our speech so rude?
Look, are we poor in the land? Judge, are we men of The Blood? 
Those that have stayed at thy knees, Mother, go call them in—
We that were bred overseas wait and would speak with our kin.
Not in the dark do we fight—haggle and flout and gibe;
Selling our love for a price, loaning our hearts for a bribe.
Gifts have we only to-day—Love without promise or fee—
Hear, for thy children speak, from the uttermost parts of the sea!

- Rudyard Kipling

Poetry Corner – The Outlaws

Through learned and laborious years 
    They set themselves to find
 Fresh terrors and undreamed-of fears
    To heap upon mankind. 

All that they drew from Heaven above
    Or digged from earth beneath,
 They laid into their treasure-trove
    And arsenals of death: 

While, for well-weighed advantage sake,
    Ruler and ruled alike
 Built up the faith they meant to break
    When the fit hour should strike. 

They traded with the careless earth,
    And good return it gave:
 They plotted by their neighbour’s hearth
    The means to make him slave. 

When all was ready to their hand
    They loosed their hidden sword,
 And utterly laid waste a land
    Their oath was pledged to guard 

Coldly they went about to raise
    To life and make more dread
 Abominations of old days,
    That men believed were dead. 

They paid the price to reach their goal
    Across a world in flame;
 But their own hate slew their own soul
    Before that victory came.

- Rudyard Kipling

Poetry Corner – Bedouin Song

FROM the Desert I come to thee 
    On a stallion shod with fire; 
And the winds are left behind 
    In the speed of my desire. 
Under your window I stand, 
    And the midnight hears my cry: 
I love thee, I love but thee, 
    With a love that shall not die 
    Till the sun grows cold, 
    And the stars are old, 
And the leaves of the Judgement Book unfold! 

Look from thy window and see 
    My passion and my pain; 
I lie on the sands below, 
    And I faint in thy disdain. 
Let the night-wind touch thy brow 
    With the heat of my burning sigh, 
And melt thee to hear the vow 
    Of a love that shall not die 
    Till the sun grows cold, 
    And the stars are old, 
And the leaves of the Judgement Book unfold! 

My steps are nightly driven, 
    By the fever in my breast, 
To hear form thy lips 
    The words that shall give me rest. 
Open the door of thy heart, 
    And open thy chamber door, 
And my kisses shall teach thy lips 
    The love that shall fade no more 
    Till the sun grows cold, 
    And the stars are old, 
And the leaves of the Judgement Book unfold!

- James Bayard Taylor

Poetry Corner – Harp-Song of the Dane Women

What is a woman that you forsake her,
And the hearth-fire and the home-acre,
To go with the old grey Widow-maker?

She has no house to lay a guest in—
But one chill bed for all to rest in,
That the pale suns and the stray bergs nest in.

She has no strong white arms to fold you,
But the ten-times-fingering weed to hold you—
Out on the rocks where the tide has rolled you.

Yet, when the signs of summer thicken,
And the ice breaks, and the birch-buds quicken,
Yearly you turn from our side, and sicken—

Sicken again for the shouts and the slaughters.
You steal away to the lapping waters,
And look at your ship in her winter-quarters.

You forget our mirth, and talk at the tables,
The kine in the shed and the horse in the stables—
To pitch her sides and go over her cables.

Then you drive out where the storm-clouds swallow,
And the sound of your oar-blades, falling hollow,
Is all we have left through the months to follow.

Ah, what is Woman that you forsake her,
And the hearth-fire and the home-acre,
To go with the old grey Widow-maker ?

- Rudyard Kipling

Poetry Corner – King of the Seas

The ocean said to me once, 
Yonder on the shore 
Is a woman, weeping. 
I have watched her. 
Go you and tell her this -- 
Her lover I have laid 
In cool green hall. 
There is wealth of golden sand 
And pillars, coral-red; 
Two white fish stand guard at his bier. 
"Tell her this 
And more -- 
That the king of the seas 
Weeps too, old, helpless man. 
The bustling fates 
Heap his hands with corpses 
Until he stands like a child 
With a surplus of toys."

- Stephen Crane

Poetry Corner – My Last Duchess

THAT'S my last Duchess painted on the wall, 
Looking as if she were alive. I call 
That piece a wonder, now: Fra Pandolf's hands 
Worked busily a day, and there she stands. 
Will 't please you to sit and look at her? I said 
"Fra Pandolf" by design, for never read 
Strangers like you that pictured countenance, 
The depth and passion of its earnest glance, 
But to my self they turned (since none puts by 
The curtain I have drawn for you, but I) 
And seemed as they would ask me, if they durst, 
How such a glance came there; so, not the first 
Are you to turn and ask thus. Sir, 't was not 
Her husband's presence only, called that spot 
Of joy into the Duchess' cheek: perhaps 
Fra Pandolf chanced to say, ``Her mantle laps 
Over my lady's wrist too much,'' or ``Paint 
Must never hope to reproduce the faint 
Half-flush that dies along her throat:'' such stuff 
Was courtesy, she thought, and cause enough 
For calling up that spot of joy. She had 
A heart--how shall I say?--too soon made glad, 
Too easily impressed: she liked whate'er 
She looked on, and her looks went everywhere. 
Sir, 't was all one! My favor at her breast, 
The bough of cherries some officious fool 
Broke in the orchard for her, the white mule 
She rode with round the terrace--all and each 
Would draw from her alike the approving speech, 
Or blush, at least. She thanked men,--good! but thanked 
Somehow,--I know not how--as if she ranked 
My gift of a nine-hundred-years-old name 
With anybody's gift. Who'd stoop to blame 
This sort of trifling? Even had you skill 
In speech--(which I have not)--to make your will 
Quite clear to such an one, and say, ``Just this 
Or that in you disgusts me; here you miss, 
Or there exceed the mark''--and if she let 
Herself be lessoned so, nor plainly set 
Her wits to yours, forsooth, and made excuse, 
--E'en then would be some stooping; and I choose 
Never to stoop. Oh sir, she smiled, no doubt, 
Whene'er I passed her; but who passed without 
Much the same smile? This grew; I gave commands; 
Then all smiles stopped together. There she stands 
As if alive. Will 't please you rise? We'll meet 
The company below, then. I repeat, 
The Count your master's known munificence 
Is ample warrant that no just pretence 
Of mine for dowry will be disallowed; 
Though his fair daughter's self, as I avowed 
At starting, is my object. Nay, we'll go 
Together down, sir. Notice Neptune, though, 
Taming a sea-horse, thought a rarity, 
Which Claus of Innsbruck cast in bronze for me!

- Robert Browning

Poetry Corner – Up the Airy Mountain

UP the airy mountain 
Down the rushy glen, 
We daren't go a-hunting, 
For fear of little men; 
Wee folk, good folk, 
Trooping all together; 
Green jacket, red cap, 
And white owl's feather. 

Down along the rocky shore 
Some make their home, 
They live on crispy pancakes 
Of yellow tide-foam; 
Some in the reeds 
Of the black mountain-lake, 
With frogs for their watch-dogs, 
All night awake. 

High on the hill-top 
The old King sits; 
He is now so old and gray 
He's nigh lost his wits. 
With a bridge of white mist 
Columbkill he crosses, 
On his stately journeys 
From Slieveleague to Rosses; 

Or going up with music, 
On cold starry nights, 
To sup with the Queen, 
Of the gay Northern Lights. 
They stole little Bridget 
For seven years long; 
When she came down again 
Her friends were all gone. 

They took her lightly back 
Between the night and morrow; 
They thought she was fast asleep, 
But she was dead with sorrow. 
They have kept her ever since 
Deep within the lake, 
On a bed of flag leaves, 
Watching till she wake. 

By the craggy hill-side, 
Through the mosses bare, 
They have planted thorn trees 
For pleasure here and there. 
Is any man so daring 
As dig them up in spite? 
He shall find the thornies set 
In his bed at night. 

Up the airy mountain 
Down the rushy glen, 
We daren't go a-hunting, 
For fear of little men; 
Wee folk, good folk, 
Trooping all together; 
Green jacket, red cap, 
And white owl's feather.

- William Allingham

Poetry Corner – Heredity

A SOLDIER of the Cromwell stamp, 
With sword and psalm-book by his side, 
At home alike in church and camp: 
Austere he lived, and smileless died. 

But she, a creature soft and fine-- 
From Spain, some say, some say from France; 
Within her veins leapt blood like wine-- 
She led her Roundhead lord a dance! 

In Grantham church they lie asleep; 
Just where, the verger may not know. 
Strange that two hundred years should keep 
The old ancestral fires aglow! `

In me these two have met again; 
To each my nature owes a part: 
To one, the cool and reasoning brain; 
To one, the quick, unreasoning heart.

- Thomas Bailey Aldrich

Poetry Corner – Rung Ho!

Wolf met wolf in the dawning day 
Where scent hung sweet over trodden clay, 
And square each stood in the jungle way 
Eyeing the other with ears laid back. 
Still were the watchers. When foe greets foe 
The wisest are quietest. Better to go-- 
Who stays to watch trouble woos trouble! But lo! 
They trotted together to hunt one doe, 
Eyeing each other with ears laid back.

- Talbot Mundy, Chapter Heading from Rung Ho!