The Old Meeting House

T

(new jersey, 1918)

Its quiet graves were made for peace till Gabriel blows his horn.
Those wise old elms could hear no cry
Of all that distant agony—
Only the red-winged blackbird, and the rustle of thick ripe corn.

The blue jay, perched upon that bronze, with bright unweeting eye
Could never read the names that signed
The noblest charter of mankind;
But all of them were names we knew beneath our English skies.

And on the low gray headstones, with their crumbling weather-stains,
—Though cardinal birds, like drops of blood,
Flickered across the haunted wood,—
The names you’d see were names that woke like flowers in English lanes

John Applegate was fast asleep; and Temperance Olden, too.
And David Worth had quite forgot
If Hannah’s lips were red or not;
And Prudence veiled her eyes at last, as Prudence ought to do.

And when, across that patch of heaven, that small blue leaf-edged space
At times, a droning airplane went,
No flicker of astonishment
Could lift the heavy eyelids on one gossip’s upturned face.

For William Speakman could not tell—so thick the grasses grow—
If that strange humming in the sky
Meant that the Judgment Day were nigh,
Or if ’twere but the summer bees that blundered to and fro.

And then, across the breathless wood, a Bell began to sound,
The only Bell that wakes the dead,
And Stockton Signer raised his head,
And called to all the deacons in the ancient burial-ground.

“The Bell, the Bell is ringing! Give me back my rusty sword.
Though I thought the wars were done,
Though I thought our peace was won,
Yet I signed the Declaration, and the dead must keep their word.

“There’s only one great ghost I know could make that ’larum ring.
It’s the captain that we knew
In the ancient buff and blue,
It’s our Englishman, George Washington, who fought the German king!”

So the sunset saw them mustering beneath their brooding boughs,
Ancient shadows of our sires,
Kindling with the ancient fires,
While the old cracked Bell to southward shook the shadowy meeting house.

50
Rating:

Comment form:

*Max text - 500. Manual moderation.

Similar Poems:

Justice by Rudyard Kipling
Rudyard Kipling
October, 1918 Across a world where all men grieve
And grieving strive the more,
The great days range like tides and leave
Our dead on every shore.
Read Poem
0
59
Rating:

War Mothers by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Ella Wheeler Wilcox
There is something in the sound of drum and fife
That stirs all the savage instincts into life.
In the old times of peace we went our ways,
Through proper days
Of little joys and tasks. Lonely at times,
When from the steeple sounded wedding chimes,
Telling to all the world some maid was wife—
But taking patiently our part in life
Read Poem
0
64
Rating:

The Fête by Charlotte Mew
Charlotte Mew
To-night again the moon’s white mat
Stretches across the dormitory floor
While outside, like an evil cat
The pion prowls down the dark corridor,
Planning, I know, to pounce on me, in spite
For getting leave to sleep in town last night.
But it was none of us who made that noise,
Only the old brown owl that hoots and flies
Read Poem
0
96
Rating:

Madeleine in Church by Charlotte Mew
Charlotte Mew
Here, in the darkness, where this plaster saint
Stands nearer than God stands to our distress,
And one small candle shines, but not so faint
As the far lights of everlastingness,
I’d rather kneel than over there, in open day
Where Christ is hanging, rather pray
To something more like my own clay,
Not too divine;
Read Poem
0
94
Rating:

The Hunting of the Snark by Lewis Carroll
Lewis Carroll
Fit the First
The Landing

"Just the place for a Snark!" the Bellman cried,
As he landed his crew with care;
Supporting each man on the top of the tide
By a finger entwined in his hair.

"Just the place for a Snark! I have said it twice:
That alone should encourage the crew.
Read Poem
0
88
Rating:

The Rime of the Ancient Mariner (text of 1834) by Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Argument

How a Ship having passed the Line was driven by storms to the cold Country towards the South Pole; and how from thence she made her course to the tropical Latitude of the Great Pacific Ocean; and of the strange things that befell; and in what manner the Ancyent Marinere came back to his own Country. PART I
It is an ancient Mariner,
And he stoppeth one of three.
'By thy long grey beard and glittering eye,
Read Poem
0
92
Rating:

A Vision of Poesy by Henry Timrod
Henry Timrod
PART I

I
In a far country, and a distant age,
Ere sprites and fays had bade farewell to earth,
A boy was born of humble parentage;
The stars that shone upon his lonely birth
Did seem to promise sovereignty and fame—
Yet no tradition hath preserved his name.

II
’T is said that on the night when he was born,
A beauteous shape swept slowly through the room;
Its eyes broke on the infant like a morn,
And his cheek brightened like a rose in bloom;
Read Poem
0
92
Rating:

Heart’s Needle by W. D. Snodgrass
W. D. Snodgrass
For Cynthia

When he would not return to fine garments and good food, to his houses and his people, Loingseachan told him, “Your father is dead.” “I’m sorry to hear it,” he said. “Your mother is dead,” said the lad. “All pity for me has gone out of the world.” “Your sister, too, is dead.” “The mild sun rests on every ditch,” he said; “a sister loves even though not loved.” “Suibhne, your daughter is dead.” “And an only daughter is the needle of the heart.” “And Suibhne, your little boy, who used to call you “Daddy”—he is dead.” “Aye,” said Suibhne, “that’s the drop that brings a man to the ground.”
He fell out of the yew tree; Loingseachan closed his arms around him and placed him in manacles.—AFTER THE MIDDLE-IRISH ROMANCE, THE MADNESS OF SUIBHNE
Read Poem
0
122
Rating:

Lines on Locks (or Jail and the Erie Canal) by John Logan
John Logan
1

Against the low, New York State
mountain background, a smokestack
sticks up
and gives out
its snakelike wisp.
Thin, stripped win-
ter birches pick up the vertical lines.
Read Poem
0
62
Rating: