Home > Uncategorized > Elinor Wylie: Peace falls unheeded on the dead

Elinor Wylie: Peace falls unheeded on the dead

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Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

American writers on peace and against war

Women writers on peace and war

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Elinor Wylie
Bells in the Rain

Sleep falls, with limpid drops of rain,
Upon the steep cliffs of the town.
Sleep falls; men are at peace again
Awhile the small drops fall softly down.

The bright drops ring like bells of glass
Thinned by the wind, and lightly blown;
Sleep cannot fall on peaceful grass
So softly as it falls on stone.

Peace falls unheeded on the dead
Asleep; they have had deep peace to drink;
Upon a live man’s bloody head
It falls most tenderly, I think.

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The Lion And The Lamb

I saw a Tiger’s golden flank,
I saw what food he ate,
By a desert spring he drank;
The Tiger’s name was Hate.

Then I saw a placid Lamb
Lying fast asleep;
Like a river from its dam
Flashed the Tiger’s leap.

I saw a lion tawny-red,
Terrible and brave;
The Tiger’s leap overhead
Broke like a wave.

In sand below or sun above
He faded like a flame.
The Lamb said, “I am Love;
Lion, tell your name.”

The Lion’s voice thundering
Shook his vaulted breast,
“I am Love. By this spring,
Brother, let us rest.”

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Blood Feud

Once, when my husband was a child, there came
To his father’s table, one who called him kin,
In sunbleached corduroys paler than his skin.
His look was grave and kind; he bore the name
Of the dead singer of Senlac, and his smile.
Shyly and courteously he smiled and spoke;
“I’ve been in the laurel since the winter broke;
Four months, I reckon; yes, sir, quite a while.”

He’d killed a score of foemen in the past,
In some blood-feud, a dark and monstrous thing;
To him it seemed his duty. At the last
His enemies found him by a forest spring,
Which, as he died, lay bright beneath his head,
A silver shield that slowly turned to red.

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Incantation

A white well
In a black cave;
A bright shell
In a dark wave.

A white rose
Black brambles hood;
Smooth bright snows
In a dark wood.

A flung white glove
In a dark fight;
A white dove
On a wild black night.

A white door
In a dark lane;
A bright core
To bitter black pain.

A white hand
Waved from dark walls;
In a burnt black land
Bright waterfalls.

A bright spark
Where black ashes are;
In the smothering dark
One white star.

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