John Freeman

(1880-1929 / England)

Fulfilment - Poem by John Freeman

Happy are they whom men and women love,
And you were happy as a river that flows
Down between lonely hills, and knows
The pang and virtue of that loneliness,
And moves unresting on until it move
Under the trees that stoop at the low brink
And deepen their cool shade, and drink
And sing and hush and sing again,
Breathing their music's many-toned caress;
While the river with his high clear music speaks
Sometimes of loneliness, of hills obscure,
Sometimes of sunlight dancing on the plain,
Or of the night of stars unbared and deep
Multiplied in his depths unbared and pure;
Sometimes of winds that from the unknown sea creep,
Sometimes of morning when most clear it breaks
Spilling its brightness on his breast like rain:--
And then flows on in loneliness again
Towards the unknown near sea.
Was it in mere happiness or pain?
There were things said that spoke of naked pain,
With nothing between the wound and the sharp-edged world;
Things seen that told of such perplexity
As darkened night with night: but was that pain?
And there were things created all delight,
Making delight fruitful a hundred fold:
Sweetness of earth, energy of sun and rain,
Colour and shape, flowers and grasses bright,
And the clear firm body of a bare lovely hill,
And woods around its feet fast caught and curled,
And the cold sweets of lonely travelled night....
And was that happiness?--or something more,
That gathered happiness and pain like flowers
Half perished, and let them perish; and brightened still
In those dark mental journeys of cold hours
That found you what you were and left you stronger,
Shutting a door and opening a door?...
O door that you have passed so quickly through,
Ere we well knew what man you were, nor knew
What you had shown in life but a little longer!
It was not pain nor happiness for you,
Not any named delight or pang of sense,
But swift fulfilment past all sense or thought
Of what you were with all that time could make you;
No separate gift, spiritual influence,
But something wrought
From your own heart, with all that life could make you.

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Rudyard Kipling


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Poem Submitted: Friday, September 24, 2010

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