First World War Poetry Digital Archive

Impromptu

I have none other thought of peace, but only Thee.

One time, the world contained great store of friends, Mother and Brethren, Teachers, Holy Guides, All tender to my foolishness; all dear to me; But this last woe they would not understand. I once had hopes of heaven, whereon I slept and smiled, But a cold hand awoke me from that dream. Only thy youth, fair child, thy beauty, joy, and youth, Can give me all I want, heart-ease and rest. Though thou art ignorant of what dark books may hold, Or darker pages of real human life Yet thou art not too young, too holy-innocent, To pity one in pain for human sin. O Girl, a sole tear, shining on thy cheek for me More strengthens me than glittering angel-ranks; Whose glory no eye sees; whose power is never felt, Whose sinlessness supports no sinful head, Whose wondrous music never cased a human ear.

Ah, well-a-day; seeing my Heaven's empty now, I would the world were void of all but thee. Oh, now, unless my face hath set too granite-hard And hurt thy tender hands to stroke it o'er, Unless the fires that ever rage behind my eyes, Hot-sear thy lips in pressing kisses there,

I crave thee, place thy two soft hands upon my cheeks, So shall long-treasured tears be loosed at last. Open thy infinite-vast eyes on me --- So shall my life melt out into their depth. And I shall die away content, without regret; Content to lose my sense of all for aye, Simply to live within the memory of thy mind; And when thy memory fail, to surcease, too. Who would not part with life if he could surely know It might lie casketed in such a head?

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