The Peacemaker

Joyce Kilmer - 1886-1918
Upon his will he binds a radiant chain,
    For Freedom’s sake he is no longer free.
    It is his task, the slave of Liberty,
With his own blood to wipe away a stain.
That pain may cease, he yields his flesh to pain.
    To banish war, he must a warrior be.
    He dwells in Night, eternal Dawn to see,
And gladly dies, abundant life to gain.

What matters Death, if Freedom be not dead?
    No flags are fair, if Freedom’s flag be furled.
Who fights for Freedom, goes with joyful tread
    To meet the fires of Hell against him hurled,
And has for captain Him whose thorn-wreathed head
    Smiles from the Cross upon a conquered world.

More by Joyce Kilmer

Love's Lantern

	(for Aline)

Because the road was steep and long
   And through a dark and lonely land,
God set upon my lips a song
   And put a lantern in my hand.

Through miles on weary miles of night
   That stretch relentless in my way
My lantern burns serene and white,
   An unexhausted cup of day.

O golden lights and lights like wine,
   How dim your boasted splendors are.
Behold this little lamp of mind:
   It is more starlike than a star!

Vision

          (for Aline)

Homer, they tell us, was blind and could not see the beautiful faces
Looking up into his own and reflecting the joy of his dream,
   Yet did he seem
Gifted with eyes that could follow the gods to their holiest places.

I have no vision of gods, not of Eros with love-arrows laden,
Jupiter thundering death or of Juno his white-breasted queen,
   Yet I have seen
All of the joy of the world in the innocent heart of a maiden.

Wartime Christmas

Led by a star, a golden star,
The youngest star, an olden star,
Here the kings and the shepherds are,
Akneeling on the ground.
What did they come to the inn to see?
God in the Highest, and this is He,
A baby asleep on His mother’s knee
And with her kisses crowned.

Now is the earth a dreary place,
A troubled place, a weary place.
Peace has hidden her lovely face
And turned in tears away.
Yet the sun, through the war-cloud, sees
Babies asleep on their mother’s knees.
While there are love and home—and these—
There shall be Christmas Day.