Sorrow Poems - Poems For Sorrow

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Faces In The Street - Poem by Henry Lawson


They lie, the men who tell us in a loud decisive tone
That want is here a stranger, and that misery's unknown;
For where the nearest suburb and the city proper meet
My window-sill is level with the faces in the street --
Drifting past, drifting past,
To the beat of weary feet --
While I sorrow for the owners of those faces in the street.

And cause I have to sorrow, in a land so young and fair,
To see upon those faces stamped the marks of Want and Care;
I look in vain for traces of the fresh and fair and sweet
In sallow, sunken faces that are drifting through the street --
Drifting on, drifting on,
To the scrape of restless feet;
I can sorrow for the owners of the faces in the street.

In hours before the dawning dims the starlight in the sky
The wan and weary faces first begin to trickle by,
Increasing as the moments hurry on with morning feet,
Till like a pallid river flow the faces in the street --
Flowing in, flowing in,
To the beat of hurried feet --
Ah! I sorrow for the owners of those faces in the street.

The human river dwindles when 'tis past the hour of eight,
Its waves go flowing faster in the fear of being late;
But slowly drag the moments, whilst beneath the dust and heat
The city grinds the owners of the faces in the street --
Grinding body, grinding soul,
Yielding scarce enough to eat --
Oh! I sorrow for the owners of the faces in the street.

And then the only faces till the sun is sinking down
Are those of outside toilers and the idlers of the town,
Save here and there a face that seems a stranger in the street,
Tells of the city's unemployed upon his weary beat --
Drifting round, drifting round,
To the tread of listless feet --
Ah! My heart aches for the owner of that sad face in the street.

And when the hours on lagging feet have slowly dragged away,
And sickly yellow gaslights rise to mock the going day,
Then flowing past my window like a tide in its retreat,
Again I see the pallid stream of faces in the street --
Ebbing out, ebbing out,
To the drag of tired feet,
While my heart is aching dumbly for the faces in the street.

And now all blurred and smirched with vice the day's sad pages end,
For while the short `large hours' toward the longer `small hours' trend,
With smiles that mock the wearer, and with words that half entreat,
Delilah pleads for custom at the corner of the street --
Sinking down, sinking down,
Battered wreck by tempests beat --
A dreadful, thankless trade is hers, that Woman of the Street.

But, ah! to dreader things than these our fair young city comes,
For in its heart are growing thick the filthy dens and slums,
Where human forms shall rot away in sties for swine unmeet,
And ghostly faces shall be seen unfit for any street --
Rotting out, rotting out,
For the lack of air and meat --
In dens of vice and horror that are hidden from the street.

I wonder would the apathy of wealthy men endure
Were all their windows level with the faces of the Poor?
Ah! Mammon's slaves, your knees shall knock, your hearts in terror beat,
When God demands a reason for the sorrows of the street,
The wrong things and the bad things
And the sad things that we meet
In the filthy lane and alley, and the cruel, heartless street.

I left the dreadful corner where the steps are never still,
And sought another window overlooking gorge and hill;
But when the night came dreary with the driving rain and sleet,
They haunted me -- the shadows of those faces in the street,
Flitting by, flitting by,
Flitting by with noiseless feet,
And with cheeks but little paler than the real ones in the street.

Once I cried: `Oh, God Almighty! if Thy might doth still endure,
Now show me in a vision for the wrongs of Earth a cure.'
And, lo! with shops all shuttered I beheld a city's street,
And in the warning distance heard the tramp of many feet,
Coming near, coming near,
To a drum's dull distant beat,
And soon I saw the army that was marching down the street.

Then, like a swollen river that has broken bank and wall,
The human flood came pouring with the red flags over all,
And kindled eyes all blazing bright with revolution's heat,
And flashing swords reflecting rigid faces in the street.
Pouring on, pouring on,
To a drum's loud threatening beat,
And the war-hymns and the cheering of the people in the street.

And so it must be while the world goes rolling round its course,
The warning pen shall write in vain, the warning voice grow hoarse,
But not until a city feels Red Revolution's feet
Shall its sad people miss awhile the terrors of the street --
The dreadful everlasting strife
For scarcely clothes and meat
In that pent track of living death -- the city's cruel street.


Poems About Sorrow

  1. 1. Faces In The Street , Henry Lawson
  2. 2. Adonais , Percy Bysshe Shelley
  3. 3. Joy And Sorrow Chapter Viii , Khalil Gibran
  4. 4. Evangeline: A Tale Of Acadie , Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
  5. 5. Weep Holes , Naseer Ahmed Nasir
  6. 6. Let Me Not Forget , Rabindranath Tagore
  7. 7. Gitanjali , Rabindranath Tagore
  8. 8. Hyperion , John Keats
  9. 9. Lament Of The Frontier Guard , Ezra Pound
  10. 10. Samson , William Blake
  11. 11. Endymion: Book Iv , John Keats
  12. 12. Kin To Sorrow , Edna St. Vincent Millay
  13. 13. Farewell To The Court , Sir Walter Raleigh
  14. 14. Song Of The Bowmen Of Shu , Ezra Pound
  15. 15. The Cloak, The Boat And The Shoes , William Butler Yeats
  16. 16. Beowulf , Charles Baudelaire
  17. 17. Song Of The Indian Maid, From 'Endymion' , John Keats
  18. 18. In Sorrow , Sylvia Chidi
  19. 19. The Cloak, The Boat, And The Shoes , William Butler Yeats
  20. 20. Go, Songs, For Ended Is Our Brief, Sweet.. , Francis Thompson
  21. 21. Narrative And Dramatic The Wanderings Of.. , William Butler Yeats
  22. 22. Sorrow , Algernon Charles Swinburne
  23. 23. Obiit Mdcccxxxiii (Entire) , Alfred Lord Tennyson
  24. 24. In The Silence Of The Night , John Knight
  25. 25. Rubaiyat 31 , Shams al-Din Hafiz Shirazi
  26. 26. The Iliad: Book 24 , Homer
  27. 27. Singing Sorrowful Song , Dr Hitesh Sheth
  28. 28. Autumn Leaves , Brett Elliott
  29. 29. The Teares Of The Muses , Edmund Spenser
  30. 30. Sonnet Iii , Robert Louis Stevenson
  31. 31. Lament Of The Frontier Guard , Li Po
  32. 32. A Sonnet Upon The Pitiful Burning Of The.. , Anonymous Americas
  33. 33. Edmund's Wedding , Mary Darby Robinson
  34. 34. Envoy , Francis Thompson
  35. 35. Sorrow , Mariah Whitfield
  36. 36. Sorrow’s Importunity , Alfred Austin
  37. 37. The Sad Shepherd , William Butler Yeats
  38. 38. The Dream , Caroline Elizabeth Sarah Nor ..
  39. 39. The Undying One- Canto Iii , Caroline Elizabeth Sarah Nor ..
  40. 40. The Shepherd's Week : Friday; Or, The Di.. , John Gay
  41. 41. Joy Is Fleet , George Meredith
  42. 42. The Dowie Dens Of Yarrow , Andrew Lang
  43. 43. The Noble Spanish Soldier , Thomas Dekker
  44. 44. Pain And Rage And Hurt , Charles Hice
  45. 45. Beowulf , Anonymous Works
  46. 46. Menaphon: Sephesta's Song To Her Child , Robert Greene
  47. 47. The Dowie Houms Of Yarrow , Anonymous
  48. 48. The Braes O' Yarrow , Anonymous Americas
  49. 49. The Force Of Prayer, Or, The Founding Of.. , William Wordsworth
  50. 50. The Growth Of Love , Robert Seymour Bridges
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