Robert Laurence Binyon

(1869-1943 / England)

One Year Old - Poem by Robert Laurence Binyon

Is it we that are wise, is it we,
Who have bought with a price of grief
A wisdom seldom free
From scorn or disbelief,
Who find this world fulfil
An end that is not our will,
Who toil with the light in our eyes
Showing us scarce begun
The things we meant to have done,
Is it we, is it we, that are wise?

Or O, is it you, is it you,
That have yet no language of ours,
But whose eyes are a laughter blue
As of light slipping under the showers,
Whose carol, sweeter than words,
Trills clear as an April bird's,
Or a dancing brook on the hill,--
Blithe springs of a confidence
That bubbles, we know not whence,
And has no knowledge of ill?

Lo, our desires have gone
Like ships to a future far
And vanished in mist alone
By no befriending star.
But all to you is a wonder
Fresh as the sky, whereunder
Life moves to pledge delight;
You need no hope to bear
The day through the day's care;
Your joys are all in sight.

You want not a word to tell
What lies beyond our guess
And springs like a sparkling well
In a lovely speechlessness.
And we that have shaped with art
Language of mind and of mart,
We have never yet found speech
For the heart's blood deepest stirred:
Something is flown with a word
Or is buried beneath our reach.

Our speech is spun from the pain
Of thought and heavy with years,
And dyed with an ancient stain
From passion and blood and tears.
But O, I vow, when I hear
Your wordless carol clear,
I would cast this speech that endures
As a sorry old patchwork coat,
Could I but re--fill my throat
With the liquid joy in yours.

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Poem Submitted: Wednesday, September 1, 2010

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