Saturday, May 17, 2008
The Forerunner (1:1): "Arrears" (Poem, Charlotte Perkins Gilman)
Our gratitude goes up in smoke,
--In incense smoke of prayer;
We thank the Underlying Love,
--The Overarching Care--
We do not thank the living men
--Who make our lives so fair.
For long insolvent centuries
--We have been clothed and fed,
By the spared captive, spared for once,
--By inches slain instead;
He gave his service and is gone;
--Unthanked, unpaid, and dead.
His labor built the world we love;
--Our highest flights to-day
Rest on the service of the past,
--Which we can never pay;
A long repudiated debt
--Blackens our upward way.
Our fingers owed his fathers dead--
--Disgrace beyond repair!
No late remorse, no new-found shame
--Can save our honor there:
But we can now begin to pay
--The starved and stunted heir!
We thank the Power above for all--
--Gladly we do, and should.
But might we not save out a part
--Of our large gratitude,
And give it to the power on earth--
--Where it will do some good?
Originally published in Forerunner: 1:1 (November 1909).
Etext from Project Gutenberg.
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