Destroyers and Other Verses/Paris. April, 1916 - Wikisource, the free online library


"Ils vantaient notre esprit, jamais notre endurance."

How silent are the streets of this grave town;
Discordant vanity is swept away,
And mourners everywhere pass up and down,
Sombring the radiance of an April day.
Here all men wear the inward, brooding look
Of a young mother, when her time is near,
Devoid of fear.
She knows the agony of hope still-born,
And, once before, her body racked and torn
Was at the last denied its victory.

How can we understand,
Whose land inviolate was clogged with dreams?
They with a single purpose are imbued,
That like a mighty river onward streams
In multitudinous channels ruthlessly,
Past tangled isles and barriers of sand,
Until its irresistible waters roll
To their triumphal goal,
With all-embracing, silent fortitude.