Poems eBook

Denis Florence MacCarthy
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 160 pages of information about Poems.


Bound to the earth in its headlong flight,
Whence and whither we do not know,
Cleaving the awful void of night
With frost above and fire below,
What is the goal toward which we fly? 
What does it mean to live and die?

Under our feet a trembling shell,
Pierced by a hundred lurid rents! 
Lower still a molten hell,
Seen through its lava-belching vents! 
And men, within its blighting breath,
Are charred, like leaves, to a shrivelled death.

Thin is the rind on which we tread;
It shakes, and a thousand lives are lost;
The sea engulfs unnumbered dead;
Each second scores of souls are tossed
Into the stream that sweeps them on ... 
Whither?  Who knows where they are gone?

Over the earth-crust millions crawl,
Fight for a little gold and grain,
Then in a few years leave it all,
Nevermore to be seen again! 
When will the tragic tale be told? 
And what of Man when the earth grows cold?

Poised on the planet’s rim we stand,
Peering aghast into boundless space;
Infinite depths on every hand,
Never again in the self-same place;
Dragged by the sun itself away
On toward a point in the Milky Way.

Not without companions we;
Here and there gleam other fires,—­
Burning ships on a shoreless sea;
Now and again a flame expires,
One last, quivering shaft of light,
Shot through a billion leagues of night.

There in its last volcanic throes
A dying world perhaps dissolves;
Further still, where the sun-mist glows,
A mighty, new-born sun evolves;
Ceaseless change in an endless sky! 
What does it mean to live and die?


The glaring sun hath ceased to shine;
The solemn stars invade the sky;
Again the welcome night is mine,
Wherein to view the worlds on high;
The night! when heaven bares its face,
And man with reverent soul can trace
The awful mysteries of space.

Too long the shadeless solar blaze
Hath forced my vision toward the sod;
’Tis night alone that helps us raise
Our thoughts from littleness to God,
And by its darkness sets us free
To gaze across what seems to be
The portal of Eternity.

I watch the stellar hosts ascend
Their devious paths in slow array,
And note the place where millions blend
To form the fabled Milky Way,—–­
That zone of radiant suns, whose light
Hath needed centuries of flight
To reach our little earth to-night,

Through lenses scanned, its golden haze
Resolves itself to points that glow
In one stupendous, brilliant maze
Of countless orbs, that come and go
On pathways we may never learn,
However long their light may burn,
However ardently we yearn.

Apparently so densely strewn,
But oh! what gulfs those suns divide! 
As each pursues its course alone
Beyond an interval as wide
As that which yawns between our own
And any of those star-seeds sown
In astral gardens, still unknown.

Project Gutenberg
Poems from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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