by: Louis V. Ledoux (1880-1948)

      E who were lovers of life, who were fond of the hearth and the homeland,
      Gone like a drowner's cry borne on the perilous wind,
      Gone from the glow of the sunlight, now are in exile eternal;
      Strangers sit in the place dear to us once as our own.
      Happy are they; and they know not we were as strangers before them;
      Nay, nor that others shall come: Knowledge belongs to the dead.
      Life is so rich that the living look not away from the present;
      Eyes that the sun made blind learn in the dusk to see.
      Once we had friends, we had kindred; all of us now are forgotten,
      All but the hero-kings, lords of the glory of war;
      These with the founders of cities, live for a little in stories
      Told of the deeds they did, not of the men that they were.
      Those who were mighty but linger, shadowy forms in a legend;
      Never the minstrel's tale tells what they were to their wives.
      None on the lips of remembrance live as their children knew them;
      Merged in the darkness kings rank with the recordless dead.
      Whether our lifetime brought to us joy or the burden of sorrow,
      Whether in youth or age, all when we come from the earth
      Clinging to memories wander slow through the shadowless meadows,
      Dash from the proffered cup Lethe's oblivious draught.
      Long are the years and uncounted passed in the seasonless twilight
      Thinking of things that were, feeling the ache of regret;
      Slowly the echoes fade and the homeland hills are forgotten:
      Over the flame-swept waste waters of healing are poured.
      Lovers of action, lovers of sunlight, rovers of ocean,
      Shepherds, tillers of earth, yea, at the last we forget.
      Longer a woman remembers words that were uttered in moonlight,
      Girlhood's vision and dream, pitiful things of the home.
      Here by the rivers of Hades; Phlegethon, Acheron, Lethe,
      Wisdom comes, and the dead judge what they did with their lives:
      Never the clustering vineyard yielded to any its fulness--
      Ah, but the children here playing their desolate games!

"We Who Were Lovers of Life" is reprinted from Anthology of Magazine Verse for 1916. Ed. William Stanley Braithwaite. New York: Laurence J. Gomme, 1916.



[ A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z ]

Home · Poetry Store · Links · Email · © 2003 Poetry-Archive.com