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Title: The New Joan and Other Poems
Author: Hale, Katherine
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The New Joan and Other Poems" ***

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  THE NEW JOAN

  AND OTHER POEMS



  BY

  KATHERINE HALE
  _Author of "Gnu Knitting", "The White Comrade", Etc._



  McCLELLAND, GOODCHILD & STEWART,
  PUBLISHERS :: :: :: TORONTO



  COPYRIGHT, CANADA, 1917
  BY McCLELLAND, GOODCHILD & STEWART, LIMITED
  TORONTO



  PRINTED IN CANADA



  CONTENTS


  THE NEW JOAN

         The Vision
      I. The Child
     II. The Law
    III. The Kitchen
     IV. The Land
      V. The Battlefield
     VI. The World

  CHRISTMAS SONG

  LONDON

  THE MOTHER

  A SPRING DAY

  JUNE, 1917



These are chiefly songs of women's work, but there is a Christmas
song for soldiers.  The music of life is stilled to-day.  Only the
bugle note is heard.  To the men in the trenches it means action,
organized and perfected; to us at home it repeats the call.  These
songs are bound in crimson for that is the colour of courage; and in
gold which signifies the strength and the joy of life which is work.



  THE NEW JOAN



  THE VISION

  A soldier's soul returns the centuries down--
  Radiance again!  Love's gleaming mystic mate,
  She who was burned for witchcraft and for state
  In the old market-place of Rouen town.

  To-day I met her spirit on the Earth,
  And felt a joyous light dark spaces fill;
  I knew this troubled planet called her still
  Upon the wheel of reincarnate birth.

  "Behold a legion of all-souls," she said,
  "Who ride again for country and for King,
  And with them, as the ardent sun with spring,
  See the enchanted ones that life calls dead."

  "Woman and man, renewing faith's old tryst,
  Breast, shuddering, the deeps of this last war,
  And high above them gleams the stranger-star,
  Silver in blood-red skies--the grail of Christ."

  "O you who see a vision in the night,
  And you who ride high-hearted, woman-man,
  I call you by the name of The New Joan."
  So passed she, clad in armour, clad in light.



  I

  THE CHILD

  Give me a new soul, God of all things free,
  Help me to dream the golden dream of youth,
  Till gazing deep into the eyes of Truth
  The dream returns in life that is to be.

  With Thee I breathe a fire most strange and bright,
  Rosy as dawning, jubilant as day,
  A light eternal on the time-worn way,
  A morning note to stir the agèd night.

  To sing the song of flower-time again
  It is to deck with joy an ancient door,--
  A fresh rose, cosmic of each rose before,
  To link with wonder in the endless chain.

  And as they play mid stars or 'neath the sun
  I ask a song for children everywhere,
  A gleam that dances with them unaware
  Since God, and they, and joy, are wholly One.



  II

  THE LAW

  If Law be given my hand to make
  I pray Thee, Lord, that I may break
  The old Law, resolute and hard
  And fickle as a chance-thrown card.

  And ere I lay me down to sleep
  I pray Thee, Lord, new Law to keep,
  Great statutes made of Love and Pain,
  Beauty of Sorrow born again.

  For I would find out Truth, my Lord,
  The soul behind the naked word,
  And at the bourne where life began
  I would inquire the law for man.

  Perhaps a Voice may answer me
  That until man in woman be,
  Woman in man, the two in one,
  The latter days have not begun.

  The woman-will of man a part,
  The more-of-man in woman's heart,
  From that great marriage pure of flaw
  May spring the Everlasting Law.



  III

  THE KITCHEN

  "_Whoever makes a thing more bright
  He is an angel of all light_"
  So I, with every skill I can,
  Return to use of pot and pan.

  Retrieve must I the ages' waste,
  And learn that what the years call 'Taste,'
  Is Hunger's sated brother, Sin.
  Lo, I shall dwell where Truths begin.

  A kingdom enter, ancient, dear,
  Where red Fire lives, and Plenties are,
  Where Order summoned back to me
  Makes Labor sing, makes Beauty free.

  So shall I take the golden wheat
  And make me loaves for men to eat;
  For I am Joan, whose pure desire
  Still keeps aflame the household fire.



  IV

  THE LAND

  I am back on the land of my fathers,
  And I tread it with double-soled boots,
  I hoe it with hands that are toil-worn
  Wearing joyful and picturesque suits.

  I am clad, head to foot, in dull khaki
  That echoes my good mother--Earth,
  And I'm glad that my profile is "boyish,"
  That my "song" is a whistle of mirth.

  I can cut and convey to my cabin
  These logs that I need for the fire,
  And I hail the concern of each slacker
  Who is ribald anent my attire.

  I am doing his bit, though he lingers.
  I am Joan--and not Peter Pan.
  Yet the vision that glows through my working
  Is the love that I bear to one man.



  V

  THE BATTLEFIELD*

  *This poem first appeared as "Grey-Knitting."


  Something sings gently through the din of battle,
  Something spreads very softly rim on rim
  And every soldier hears, at times, a murmur
  Tender, incessant,--dim.

  A tiny click of little wooden needles,
  Elfin amid the gianthood of war;
  Whispers of women, tireless and patient,
  Who weave the web afar.

  Whispers of women, tireless and patient,
  "This is our heart's love," it would seem to say,
  "Wrought with the ancient tools of our vocation,
  Weave we the web of love from day to day."

  And so each soldier, laughing, fighting,--dying
  Under the alien skies, in his great hour,
  May listen, in death's prescience all-enfolding,
  And hear a fairy sound bloom like a flower--

  I like to think that soldiers, gaily dying
  For the white Christ on fields with shame sown deep,
  May hear the tender song of women's needles,
  As they fall fast asleep.



  VI

  THE WORLD

  It is a new world that my feet must tread,
  New, though the hurrying ages call it old,
  While fields that yesterday were cloth-of-gold
  Are all dissolving, like a film half-fled.

  The wondrous 'stage' of life, its mimic joys;
  The deft accomplishment, the bubble fame;
  Statecraft bedecked as a career, a name;
  Art as a servitor that wealth employs--

  These were the worlds our mothers counted new,
  These were the ways we still had kept our own,
  Until Eternal Law from His high throne
  Melted our world in sudden fire, and dew.

  And now through mists of dew, through leaping flame
  We ride again upon an ancient quest,
  That we may bring Love home, no longer guest
  But Love Triumphant, ever to remain.

  See the bright banner a new Day outflings;
  It shall be ours to hold it high and white.
  Again a Voice!  And out of dawning light
  The deathless soul of Joan through us sings.

    _Spirit of Life, radiant and glad and free,
    Come, as of old, be born again of me.
    Through me recover that which man has lost,
    Mine was the making, mine the precious cost.
    Out of my body come the sons of men,
    Into my keeping give their souls again,
    And let me make this world God's little room
    Wherein Love's splendours live again and bloom._



  CHRISTMAS SONG

  _To You--Beloved--in the Trenches_


  Christmas!  Is it merry?
  "Smokes and bully-beef!"
  Not one blood-red berry
  Not one holly-leaf.

  Stockings filled with pleasure
  That a day destroys--
  Boxes crammed with treasure
  Ah!  Trench-children's toys!

  "Things" that in the passing
  Bring a ray of light,
  "Joy!" with death amassing
  All this Christmas night.

  "Stories!"  Yes! and "Laughter!"
  And the heart held high;
  Silence following after
  And the soul's still cry.

  Yet another feast day
  In the mud of France--
  "Hearts," we can at least say,
  "Onward goes the dance."

  "There is no cessation
  To this small affair,
  On with war's vocation
  In the hell-fire's flare."

  * * * *

  It is true as spoken
  With the one word more:
  We have found a token
  By hell's open door.

  Through Death's crimson gateway
  We have seen a sign
  That has made this Birthday
  Still a night divine.

  Through the first sweet silence,
  Darkness, close and near,
  Has disarmed hell's violence--
  Night has whispered clear.

  "Though all Earth be broken
  Two things live above,
  These--God's ancient token--
  Quiet stars--and Love.

  "Stars for life's last reaping,
  Stars in heaven's bright dome,
  Love for your safe keeping
  Love to lead you home."



  LONDON

  _A Canadian soldier, returned to "Blighty" speaks_


  The day we came to London!  Oh, how strange
  To see the City-of-the-World like this!
  Our dreams had been of London.  Not 'the sights'
  But that young London that young hearts explore;
  The Music Halls, the roads, the sleepy Inns,
  Where old Romance is felt anew each day.
  This was to be our London.

                    Thus we came:
  We came as cattle come, when packed too tight
  In some barbaric car of ancient mould;
  We came not driven with whips, nor massed in crowds,
  But driven by bitter pain and almost dead
  From faintness of our wounds.  We came
  From siege and rapine, plunder and hell-fire,
  From thunders never ceasing, from swift death,
  From screams and cries, and parting gasp of souls,
  And from supremest vision given to man.
  This way we came to London.

                      Oh, my friends,
  We touched white cliffs upon a summer day,
  Pain-blinded, minds befogged, we rode along
  That ancient-traversed way of all the world.
  And, slowly, as the evening shadows fell
  We reached old Paddington.  Were driven out
  In shabby cabs, through misty, half-lit ways,
  Into a great wide Place, from whence small streets
  Wondered zig-zag with no apparent plan,
  _Yet knew we were at home._

                      I still can feel
  The cab stop for a moment, and a face
  Peer in the open window.  'Twas a mask
  Set in a flowered hat.  With awful eyes
  She stared, and asked, and answered in a flash:
  "Ah, well!  You're nearly dead, poor dears, but I--
  I, who am here forever, come again."

  And then we drifted on, and soft grey walls
  Held us a moment to dissolve in mist.
  Once at a turn I saw the Abbey rise
  And once the outstretched arms of giant trees.
  Sometimes a light, but always murmurous noise
  Not so much hoof-beat, motor-hum or cry,
  As vibrancy of voices, far and near,
  A myriad-mingled sound of many men.
  This, and a strange new vision of the heart,
  A love just dawning, an age-old surprise,
  A sudden turning to those splendid arms
  That are forever open.  Thus we came
  Broken by war, home to her splendid arms.



  THE MOTHER

  My son sails high
  His ocean, azure air:
  He in the shining sky--
  And swift Death everywhere.

  His ardent youth
  Explores a strange new sea
  As if even Death, forsooth,
  Were rare good company.

  And my dear heart,
  Each moment that you fly
  Is a dull eon apart
  In my soul's agony.

  This autumn wind
  Treacherous, hungry,--chill,
  Those laughing wings may find
  And rend, and still.

  The earth-force, strong,
  Ready to lure your bark,
  May hum a homing-song
  And draw you to the dark.

  O golden Fire,
  Whose course is never run,
  Outshine all dark desire
  And keep my son.



  A SPRING DAY

  O, March, he is a loud-foot lad,
  Nor pipes as April can,
  But this green day he brings again,
  An olive-branch to man.

  His emerald hours are promises
  Set in the snow-white days;
  And slowly moves Earth's miracle
  Along the hidden ways.

  As peace is paler than red war,
  The crocus than the rose,
  So Life comes whispering up the land
  A word that whitely glows.

  And not in azure Arcady
  Or where great battles ring,
  Is felt the everlasting hope
  That is the heart of Spring;

  But in the spirit of the race
  That holds a vision clear,
  And plucks the flower of fadeless dream,
  Through soldier as through seer.



  JUNE, 1917

  The road runs green again, my friend,
  That yesterday lay white,
  And shadows deep as violets
  Are washed away in light.

  For northward mounts the eagle sun,
  And Spring in silver sheen
  Has set some blood-red flowers aflame
  Along the road grown green.

  The bugle's note, the robin's note,
  A trio make with June,
  And laughing Life, and ardent Death,
  They will be wedding soon.

  But O, the splendor of the way!
  And O, the magic sheen
  That hath enmeshed God's flower-of-love
  Along the road of green!



  Warwick Bro's & Rutter, Limited,
  Printers and Bookbinders, Toronto, Canada.





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