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Challenge   By: (1885-1977)

Book cover

First Page:

CHALLENGE

By LOUIS UNTERMEYER

NEW YORK

THE CENTURY CO.

1914

Copyright, 1914, by

THE CENTURY CO.

Published, April, 1914

CONTENTS

I. SUMMONS

SUMMONS PRAYER TO ARMS ON THE BIRTH OF A CHILD HOW MUCH OF GODHOOD THE GREAT CAROUSAL THANKS GOD'S YOUTH IN THE BERKSHIRE HILLS VOICES REVELATION AFFIRMATION DOWNHILL ON A BICYCLE MIDNIGHT BY THE OPEN WINDOW THE WINE OF NIGHT

II. INTERLUDES

INVOCATION "FEUERZAUBER" SUNDAY NIGHT AT KENNEBUNKPORT IN A STRANGE CITY FOLK SONG IN THE STREETS ENVY A BIRTHDAY LEAVING THE HARBOR THE SHELL TO THE PEARL THE YOUNG MYSTIC HEALED THE STIRRUP CUP SPRING ON BROADWAY IN A CAB SUMMER NIGHT BROADWAY HAUNTED ISADORA DUNCAN DANCING SONGS AND THE POET THE HERETIC I. BLASPHEMY II. IRONY III. MOCKERY IV. HUMILITY FIFTH AVENUE SPRING AFTERNOON TRIBUTE

III. SONGS OF PROTEST

CHALLENGE CALIBAN IN THE COAL MINES ANY CITY LANDSCAPES TWO FUNERALS SUNDAY STRIKERS IN THE SUBWAY BATTLE CRIES A VOICE FROM THE SWEAT SHOPS SOLDIERS PEACE THE DYING DECADENT FUNERAL HYMN PROTESTS

For the privilege of reprinting many of the poems included in this volume, the author thanks the editors of The Century, Harper's, The Forum, The Masses, The Smart Set, The Independent, The American, The Delineator, The New Age, The Poetry Journal and other magazines.

SUMMONS

To Walter Lippmann

SUMMONS

The eager night and the impetuous winds, The hints and whispers of a thousand lures, And all the swift persuasion of the Spring Surged from the stars and stones, and swept me on... The smell of honeysuckles, keen and clear, Startled and shook me, with the sudden thrill Of some well known but half forgotten voice. A slender stream became a naked sprite, Flashed around curious bends, and winked at me Beyond the turns, alert and mischievous. A saffron moon, dangling among the trees, Seemed like a toy balloon caught in the boughs, Flung there in sport by some too mirthful breeze... And as it hung there, vivid and unreal, The whole world's lethargy was brushed away; The night kept tugging at my torpid mood And tore it into shreds. A warm air blew My wintry slothfulness beyond the stars; And over all indifference there streamed A myriad urges in one rushing wave... Touched with the lavish miracles of earth, I felt the brave persistence of the grass; The far desire of rivulets; the keen, Unconquerable fervor of the thrush; The endless labors of the patient worm; The lichen's strength; the prowess of the ant; The constancy of flowers; the blind belief Of ivy climbing slowly toward the sun; The eternal struggles and eternal deaths And yet the groping faith of every root! Out of old graves arose the cry of life; Out of the dying came the deathless call. And, thrilling with a new sweet restlessness, The thing that was my boyhood woke in me Dear, foolish fragments made me strong again; Valiant adventures, dreams of those to come, And all the vague, heroic hopes of youth, With fresh abandon, like a fearless laugh, Leaped up to face the heaven's unconcern...

And then veil upon veil was torn aside Stars, like a host of merry girls and boys, Danced gaily 'round me, plucking at my hand; The night, scorning its ancient mystery, Leaned down and pressed new courage in my heart; The hermit thrush, throbbing with more than Song, Sang with a happy challenge to the skies; Love, and the faces of a world of children, Swept like a conquering army through my blood And Beauty, rising out of all its forms, Beauty, the passion of the universe, Flamed with its joy, a thing too great for tears. And, like a wine, poured itself out for me To drink of, to be warmed with, and to go Refreshed and strengthened to the ceaseless fight; To meet with confidence the cynic years; Battling in wars that never can be won, Seeking the lost cause and the brave defeat!

PRAYER

God, though this life is but a wraith, Although we know not what we use, Although we grope with little faith, Give me the heart to fight and lose... Continue reading book >>




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