This is My Life

- 1878-1962
To feed my soul with beauty till I die;
To give my hands a pleasant task to do;
To keep my heart forever filled anew
With dreams and wonders which the days supply;
To love all conscious living, and thereby
Respect the brute who renders up its due,
And know the world as planned is good and true—
And thus —because there chanced to be an I!

This is my life since things are as they are:
One half akin to flowers and the grass:
The rest a law unto the changeless star.
And I believe when I shall come to pass
Within the Door His hand shall hold ajar
I'll leave no echoing whisper of Alas!

More by William Stanley Braithwaite

The House of Death

LO, a house untenanted
Stands beside the road of Time;
They who lived there once, have fled
To some other house and clime.

Towers pointing to the sky
With long shadows on the ground,
Never shade a passerby,
Never echo back a sound.

Scintilla

I kissed a kiss in youth
   Upon a dead man’s brow;
And that was long ago,—
   And I’m a grown man now,
 
It’s lain there in the dust,
   Thirty years and more;—
My lips that set a light
   At a dead man’s door.

Ironic: LL.D.

There are no hollows any more
Between the mountains; the prairie floor
Is like a curtain with the drape
Of the winds’ invisible shape;
And nowhere seen and nowhere heard
The sea’s quiet as a sleeping bird.

Now we’re traveling, what holds back
Arrival, in the very track
Where the urge put forth; so we stay
And move a thousand miles a day
Time’s a Fancy ringing bells
Whose meaning, charlatan history, tells!