General William Booth enters into Heaven, and other poems/Sweet Briars of the Stairways


SWEET BRIARS OF THE STAIRWAYS

WE are happy all the time
Even when we fight:
Sweet briars of the stairways,
Gay fairies of the grime;
We, who are playing to-night.

"Our feet are in the gutters,
Our eyes are sore with dust,
But still our eyes are bright.
The wide street roars and mutters—
We know it works because it must—
We, who are playing to-night!

"Dirt is everlasting.—We never, never fear it.
Toil is never ceasing.—We will play until we near it.
Tears are never ending.—When once real tears have come;

"When we see our people as they are—
Our fathers—broken, dumb—

Our mothers—broken, dumb—
The weariest of women and of men;
Ah—then our eyes will lose their light—
Then we will never play again—
          We, who are playing to-night."