Core: noun, the most important part of a thing, the essence; from the Latin cor, meaning heart.

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 Volume 2.10 This View’s Poetry November 11, 2002 

    To America    

When the fire sinks in the grate, and night has bent
Close wings about the room, and winter stands
Hard-eyed before the window, when the hands
Have turned the book’s last page and friends are sleeping,
Thought, as it were an old stringed instrument
Drawn to remembered music, oft does set
The lips moving in prayer, for us fresh keeping
Knowledge of springtime and the violet.

And, as the eyes grow dim with many years,
The spirit runs more swiftly than the feet,
Perceives its comfort, knows that it will meet
God at the end of troubles, that the dreary
Last reaches of old age lead beyond tears
To happy youth unending. There is peace
In homeward waters, where at last the weary
Shall find rebirth, and their long struggle cease.

So, at this hour, when the Old World lies sick,
Beyond the pain, the agony of breath
Hard drawn, beyond the menaces of death,
O’er graves and years leans out the eager spirit.
First must the ancient die; then shall be quick
New fires within us. Brother, we shall make
Incredible discoveries and inherit
The fruits of hope, and love shall be awake.

    Charles Langbridge Morgan    
    A Treasury of War Poetry (1917) # 7
ed. George Herbert Clarke

    Harvest Moon: 1916    

Moon, slow rising, over the trembling sea-rim,
Moon of the lifted tides and their folden burden,
Look, look down. And gather the blinded oceans,
   Moon of compassion.

Come, white Silence, over the one sea pathway:
Pour with hallowing hands on the surge and outcry,
Silver flame; and over the famished blackness,
   Petals of moonlight.

Once again, the formless void of a world-wreck
Gropes its way through the echoing dark of chaos:
Tide on tide, to the calling lost horizons, —
   One in the darkness.

You that veil the light of the all-beholding,
Shed white tidings down to the dooms of longing,
Down to the timeless dark; and the sunken treasures,
   One in the darkness.

Touch, and harken, — under that shrouding silver,
Rise and fall, the heart of the sea and its legions,
All and one; one with the breath of the deathless,
   Rising and falling.

Touch and waken so, to a far hereafter,
Ebb and flow, the deep, and the dead in their longing:
Till at last, on the hungering face of the waters,
   There shall be Light.

Light of Light, give us to see, for their sake.
Light of Light, grant them eternal peace;
And let light perpetual shine upon them;
       Light, everlasting.

    Josephine Preston Peabody    
    A Treasury of War Poetry (1917) # 145
ed. George Herbert Clarke

    We Willed it Not    

We willed it not. We have not lived in hate,
Loving too well the shires of England thrown
From sea to sea to covet your estate,
Or wish one flight of fortune from your throne.

We had grown proud because the nations stood
Hoping together against the calumny
That, tortured of its old barbarian blood,
Barbarian still the heart of man should be.

Builders there are who name you overlord,
Building with us the citadels of light,
Who hold as we this chartered sin abhorred,
And cry you risen Csar of the Night.

Beethoven speaks with Milton on this day,
And Shakespeare’s word with Goethe’s beats the sky,
In witness of the birthright you betray,
In witness of the vision you deny.

We love the hearth, the quiet hills, the song,
The friendly gossip come from every land;
And very peace were now a nameless wrong —
You thrust this bitter quarrel to our hand.

For this your pride the tragic armies go,
And the grim navies watch long the seas;
You trade in death, you mock at life, you throw
To God the tumult of your blasphemies.

You rob us of our live-right. It is said.
In treason to the world you are enthroned.
We rise, and, by the yet ungathered dead,
Not lightly shall the treason be atoned.

    John Drinkwater    
    September 5, 1914
A Treasury of War Poetry (1917) # 52
ed. George Herbert Clarke

    The Searchlights    
    [Political morality differs from individual morality, because there is no power above the State. — General von Bernardi.]    

Shadow by shadow, stripped for fight,
The lean black cruisers search the sea.
Night-long their level shafts of light
Revolve,and find no enemy.
Only they know each leaping wave
May hide the lightning, and their grave.

And in the land they guard so well
Is there no silent watch to keep?
An age is dying and the bell
Rings midnight on a vaster deep.
But over all its waves, once more
The searchlights move, from shore to shore.

And captains that we thought were dead,
And dreamers that we thought were dumb,
And voices that we thought were fled,
Arise, and call us, and we come;
And “Search in thine own soul,” they cry;
“For there, too, lurks thine enemy.”

Search for the foe in thine own soul,
The sloth, the intellectual pride;
The trivial jest that veils the goal
For which our father lived and died;
The lawless dreams, the cynic Art,
That rend thy nobler self apart.

Not far, not far into the night,
These level swords of light can pierce;
Yet for her faith does England fight,
Her faith in this our universe,
Believing Truth and Justice draw
From founts of everlasting law;

The law that rules the stars, our stay,
Our compass through the world’s wide sea,
The one sure light, the one sure way,
The one firm base of Liberty;
The one firm road that men have trod
Through Chaos to the throne of God.

Therefore a Power above the State,
The unconquerable Power, returns,
The fire, the fire that made her great
Once more upon her altar burns,
Once more, redeemed and healed and whole,
She moves to the Eternal Goal.

    Alfred Noyes (1880-1958)    

A Treasury of War Poetry (1917) # 49
ed. George Herbert Clarke


    To the United States of America    

Brothers in blood! They who this wrong began
   To wreck our commonwealth, will rue the day
   When first they challenged freeman to the fray,
And with the Briton dared the American.
Now are we pledged to win the Rights of man:
   Labour and Justice now shall have their way,
   And in a League of Peace — God grant we may —
Transform the earth, not patch up the old plan.

Sure is our hope since he who led your nation
   Spake for mankind, and ye arose in awe
Of that high call to work the world’s salvation;
   Clearing your minds of all estrangling blindness
In the vision of Beauty and the Spirit’s law,
   Freedom and Honour and sweet Lovingkindness.

    Robert Bridges (1844-1930)    

April 30, 1917
A Treasury of War Poetry
(1917) # 3
ed. George Herbert Clarke


    From the Silence of Time, Time’s Silence borrow.
In the heart of To-day is the word of To-morrow.
The Builders of Joy are the Children of Sorrow.
    William Sharp (1856-1902)    

Oxford Book of English Mystical Verse p. 400
ed. D. H. S. Nicholson and A. H. E. Lee


 Volume 2.10 This View’s Poetry November 11, 2002 

The View from the Core, and all original material, © E. L. Core 2002. All rights reserved.

Cor ad cor loquitur J. H. Newman — “Heart speaks to heart”