Published on Academy of American Poets (https://poets.org)


Lights Out

“Lights out" along the land,
“Lights out” upon the sea.
The night must put her hiding hand
O’er peaceful towns where children sleep,
And peaceful ships that darkly creep
Across the waves, as if they were not free.

The dragons of the air,
The hell-hounds of the deep,
Lurking and prowling everywhere,
Go forth to seek their helpless prey,
Not knowing whom they maim or slay—
Mad harvesters, who care not what they reap.

Out with the tranquil lights,
Out with the lights that burn
For love and law and human rights!
Set back the clock a thousand years:
All they have gained now disappears,
And the dark ages suddenly return.

Kaiser who loosed wild death,
And terror in the night—
God grant you draw no quiet breath,
Until the madness you began 
Is ended, and long-suffering man,
Set free from was lords, cries, “Let there be Light.”


Credit


This poem is in the public domain.

Author


Henry van Dyke

Henry van Dyke was born on November 10, 1852. The author of The Red Flower: Poems Written in War Time (Copp Clark Co., 1917) as well as numerous books of sermons, essays, and fiction, he died in 1933.

Date Published: 2018-11-11

Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/lights-out-1