Violets and Other Tales/In Memoriam


The light streams through the windows arched high,
  And o'er the stern, stone carvings breaks
  In warm rich gold and crimson waves,
Then steals away in corners dark to die.

And all the grand cathedral silence falls
  Into the hearts of those that worship low,
  Like tender waves of hushed nothingness,
Confined nor kept by human earthly walls.

Deep music in its thundering organ sounds,
  Grows diffuse through the echoing space,
  Till hearts grow still in sadness' mighty joy,
Or leap aloft in swift ecstatic bounds.

Mayhap 'twas but a dream that came to me,
  Or but a vision of the soul's desire,
  To see the nation in one mighty whole,
Do homage on its bended, worshipping knee.

Through time's heroic actions, the soul of man,
  Alone proves what that soul without earth's dross
  Could be, and this, through time's far-searching fire,
Hath proved thine white beneath the deepest scan.

A woman's tribute, 'tis a tiny dot,
  A merest flower from a frail, small hand,
  To lay among the many petaled wreaths
About thy form,—a tribute soon forgot.

But if in all the incense to arise
  In fragrance to the blue empyrean
  The blended sweetness of the womens' love
Goes pouring too, in all their heartfelt sighs.

And if one woman's sorrow be among them too,
  One woman's joy for labor past
  Be reckoned in the mighty teeming whole,
It is enough, there is not more to do.

Within the hearts of heroes small and great
  There 'bides a tenderness for weakling things
  Within thy heart, the sorrowing country knows
These passions, bravest and the tenderest mate.

When man is dust, before the gazing eyes
  Of all the gaping throng, his life lies wide
  For all to see and whisper low about
Or let their thoughts in discord's clatter rise.

But thine was pure and undefiled,
  A record of long brilliant, teeming days,
  Each thought did tend to further things,
But pure as the proverbial child.

Oh, people, that thy grief might find express
  To gather in some vast cathedral's hall,
  That then in unity we might kneel and hear
Sublimity in sounds, voice our distress.

Peace, peace, the men of God cry, ye be bold,
  The world hath known, 'tis Heaven who claims him now,
  And in our railings we but cast aside
The noble traits he bid us hold.

So though divided through the land, in dreams
  We see a people kneeling low,
  Bowed down in heart and soul to see
This fearful sorrow, crushing as it seems.

And all the grand cathedral silence falls
  Into the hearts of these that worship low,
  Like tender waves of hushed nothingness,
Confined, nor kept by human earthly walls.