Five Sonnets In Memoriam September Eleventh
Patriot Day 2004
His home a speck in a vast Universe,
He a mere atom on that tiny speck,
Victim of countless evils that coerce
And force him onward on a pathless track:
And yet a being made to dominate
O'er all things else by mind's controlling power:
Spoilt favourite at once and sport of fate,
Football of fortune, time's consummate flower!
To him alone did Nature's self impart
A spark of her divinest energy,
With power to create a world of Art,
And intellect to solve all mystery:
So great and yet so little! blest and curst
Nature's most noble offspringyet her worst!
Bertram Dobell (1842-1914)
The irresponsive silence of the land,
The irresponsive sounding of the sea,
Speak both one message of one sense to me:
Aloof, aloof, we stand aloof, so stand
Thou too aloof, bound with the flawless band
Of inner solitude; we bind not thee;
But who from thy self-chain shall set thee free?
What heart shall touch thy heart? What hand thy hand?
And I am sometimes proud and sometimes meek,
And sometimes I remember days of old
When fellowship seem'd not so far to seek,
And all the world and I seem'd much less cold,
And at the rainbow's foot lay surely gold,
And hope felt strong, and life itself not weak.
Christina Georgina Rossetti (1830–1894)
I tell you, hopeless grief is passionless;
That only men incredulous of despair,
Half-taught in anguish, through the midnight air
Beat upward to God's throne in loud access
Of shrieking and reproach. Full desertness
In souls as countries lieth silent-bare
Under the blanching, vertical eye-glare
Of the absolute Heavens. Deep-hearted man, express
Grief for thy Dead in silence like to death
Most like a monumental statue set
In everlasting watch and moveless woe
Till itself crumble to the dust beneath.
Touch it; the marble eyelids are not wet:
If it could weep, it could arise and go.
Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806–1861)
The dead abide with us. Though stark and cold
Earth seems to grip them, they are with us still:
They have forged our chains of being for good or ill,
And their invisible hands these hands yet hold.
Our perishable bodies are the mould
In which their strong imperishable will
Mortality’s deep yearning to fulfil
Hath grown incorporate through dim time untold.
Vibrations infinite of life in death,
As a star's travelling light survives its star!
So may we hold our lives, that when we are
The fate of those who then will draw this breath,
They shall not drag us to their judgment-bar,
And curse the heritage which we bequeath.
Mathilde Blind (1841-1896)
As the young phoenix, duteous to his sire,
Lifts in his beak the creature he has been,
And, lifting o'er the corse broad vans for screen,
Bears it to solitudes, erects a pyre,
And, soon as it is wasted by the fire,
Grids with disdainful claw the ashes clean;
Then spreading unencumber'd wings serene
Mounts to the aether with renew'd desire:
So joyously I lift myself above
The life I buried in hot flames to-day.
The flames themselves are dead: and I can range
Alone through the untarnish'd sky I love,
And I trust myself, as from the grave I may,
To the enchanting miracles of change.
Katharine Bradley (1846-1913) & Edith Cooper (1862-1914)
The Oxford Book of Victorian Verse (1913), ed. Arthur Quiller-Couch, ## 550, 345, 113, 478, 767; pp. 741, 477, 128, 662, 981.
Lane Core Jr. CIW P Sat. 09/11/04 07:36:49 AM
Categorized as Literary.