Wherefore this busy labor without rest? Is it an idle dream to which we cling, Here where a thousand dusky toilers sing Unto the world their hope? “Build we our best. By hand and thought,” they cry, “although unblessed.” So the great engines throb, and anvils ring, And so the thought is wedded to the thing; But what shall be the end, and what the test? Dear God, we dare not answer, we can see Not many steps ahead, but this we know— If all our toilsome building is in vain, Availing not to set our manhood free, If envious hate roots out the seed we sow, The South will wear eternally a stain.
"Fire and Sleet and Candlelight"
by ELINOR MORTON WYLIE
For this you’ve striven
Daring, to fail:
Your sky is riven
Like a tearing veil.
For this, you’ve wasted
Wings of your youth;
Divined, and tasted
Bitter springs of truth.
From sand unslakèd
Twisted strong cords,
And wandered naked
Among trysted swords.
There’s a word unspoken,
A knot untied.
Whatever is broken
The earth may hide.
The road was jagged
Over sharp stones:
Your body’s too ragged
To cover your bones.
The wind scatters
Tears upon dust;
Your soul’s in tatters
Where the spears thrust.
Your race is ended—
See, it is run:
Nothing is mended
Under the sun.
Straight as an arrow
You fall to a sleep
Not too narrow
And not too deep.
HE AQUI que te cacé por el pescuezo
a la orilla del mar, mientras movías
las flechas de tu aljaba para herirme
y vi en el suelo tu floreal corona.
Como a un muñeco destripé tu vientre
y examiné sus ruedas engañosas
y muy envuelta en sus poleas de oro
hallé una trampa que decía: sexo.
Sobre la playa, ya un guiñapo triste,
te mostré al sol, buscón de tus hazañas,
ante un corro asustado de sirenas.
Iba subiendo por la cuesta albina
tu madrina de engaños, Doña Luna,
y te arrojé a la boca de las olas.
I caught you by the neck
on the shore of the sea, while you shot
arrows from your quiver to wound me
and on the ground I saw your flowered crown.
I disemboweled your stomach like a doll’s
and examined your deceitful wheels,
and deeply hidden in your golden pulleys
I found a trapdoor that said: sex.
On the beach I held you, now a sad heap,
up to the sun, accomplice of your deeds,
before a chorus of frightened sirens.
Your deceitful godmother, the moon
was climbing through the crest of the dawn,
and I threw you into the mouth of the waves.
When I heard the learn’d astronomer,
When the proofs, the figures, were ranged in columns before me,
When I was shown the charts and diagrams, to add, divide,
and measure them,
When I sitting heard the astronomer where he lectured with
much applause in the lecture-room,
How soon unaccountable I became tired and sick,
Till rising and gliding out I wander’d off by myself,
In the mystical moist night-air, and from time to time,
Look’d up in perfect silence at the stars.