There is one sin: to call a green leaf grey,
Whereat the sun in heaven shuddereth.
There is one blasphemy: for death to pray,
For God alone knoweth the praise of death.
There is one creed: ’neath no world-terror’s
Apples forget to grow on apple-trees.
There is one thing is needful—everything—
The rest is vanity of vanities.
THE SONG OF THE CHILDREN
The World is ours till sunset,
Holly and fire and snow;
And the name of our dead brother
Who loved us long ago.
The grown folk mighty and cunning,
They write his name in gold;
But we can tell a little
Of the million tales he told.
He taught them laws and watchwords,
To preach and struggle and pray;
But he taught us deep in the hayfield
The games that the angels play.
Had he stayed here for ever,
Their world would be wise as ours—
And the king be cutting capers,
And the priest be picking flowers.
But the dark day came: they gathered:
On their faces we could see
They had taken and slain our brother,
And hanged him on a tree.
Dark the sea was: but I saw him,
One great head with goggle eyes,
Like a diabolic cherub
Flying in those fallen skies.
I have heard the hoarse deniers,
I have known the wordy wars;
I have seen a man, by shouting,
Seek to orphan all the stars.
I have seen a fool half-fashioned
Borrow from the heavens a tongue,
So to curse them more at leisure—
—And I trod him not as dung.
For I saw that finny goblin
Hidden in the abyss untrod;
And I knew there can be laughter
On the secret face of God.
Blow the trumpets, crown the sages,
Bring the age by reason fed!
(He that sitteth in the heavens,
’He shall laugh’—the prophet said.)
Lo! I am come to autumn,
When all the leaves are gold;
Grey hairs and golden leaves cry out
The year and I are old.
In youth I sought the prince of men,
Captain in cosmic wars,
Our Titan, even the weeds would show
Defiant, to the stars.
But now a great thing in the street
Seems any human nod,
Where shift in strange democracy
The million masks of God.
In youth I sought the golden flower
Hidden in wood or wold,
But I am come to autumn,
When all the leaves are gold.
THOU SHALT NOT KILL
I had grown weary of him; of his breath
And hands and features I was sick to death.
Each day I heard the same dull voice and tread;
I did not hate him: but I wished him dead.
And he must with his blank face fill my life—
Then my brain blackened; and I snatched a knife.