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Richard Le Gallienne: The Rainbow

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

British writers on peace and war

Richard Le Gallienne: Selections on war

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Richard Le Gallienne
The Rainbow

‘These things are real,’ said one, and bade me gaze
On black and mighty shapes of iron and stone,
On murder, on madness, on lust, on towns ablaze,
And on a thing made all of rattling bone:
‘What,’ said he, ‘will you bring to match with these?’
‘Yea! War is real,’ I said, ‘and real is Death,
A little while – mortal realities;
But Love and Hope draw an immortal breath.’

Think you the storm that wrecks a summer day,
With funeral blackness and with leaping fire
And boiling roar of rain, more real than they
That, when the warring heavens begin to tire,
With tender fingers on the tumult paint;
Spanning the huddled wrack from base to cope
With soft effulgence, like some haloed saint, –
The rainbow bridge eternal that is Hope.

Deem her no phantom born of desperate dreams:
Ere man yet was, ’twas hope that wrought him man;
The blind earth, climbing skyward by her gleams,
Hoped – and the beauty of the world began.
Prophetic of all loveliness to be,
Though God Himself seem from His station hurled,
Still shall the blackest hell look up and see
Hope’s rainbow on the summits of the world.

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