Robert Laurence Binyon

(1869-1943 / England)

Peace - Poem by Robert Laurence Binyon

Lovely word flying like a bird across the narrow seas,
When winter is over and songs are in the skies,
Peace, with the colour of the dawn upon the name of her,
A music to the ears, a wonder to the eyes;
Peace, bringing husband back to wife and son to mother soon,
And lover to his love, and friend to friend,
Peace, so long awaited and hardly yet believed in,
The answer of faith, enduring to the end;
Tears are in our joy, because the heavy night is gone from us
And morning brings the prisoner's release.
How shall we sing her beauty and her blessedness,
Saying at last to one another, Peace?

Guns that boomed from shore to shore
And smote the heart with distant dread
Speak no more.
The terror that bestrode the air,
That under ocean kept his lair,
Now is fled.

I see, as on a misty morn
When a great ship towering glides
To anchor, out of battle borne,
And looms above her dinted sides,--
Burning through the mist at last
The sun flames on her splintered mast
And the torn flag that from it floats,
And cheering from a thousand throats
Bursts from her splendour and her scars,--
So I see our England come,
Come at last from all her wars
Proudly home.

Now let us praise the dead that are with us to--day
Who fought and fell before the morning shone,
Happy and brave, an innumerable company;
This day is theirs, the day their deeds have won
Glory to them, and from our hearts a thanksgiving
In humbleness and awe and joy and pride.
We will not say that their place shall know no more of them,
We will not say that they have passed and died:
They are the living, they that bought this hour for us
And spilt their blood to make the world afresh.
One with us, one with our children and their heritage,
They live and move, a spirit in the flesh.

With innocence of flowers and grass and dew
Earth covers up her shame, her wounds, her rue.
She pardons and remits; she gives her grace,
Where men had none, and left so foul a trace.
Peace of the earth, peace of the sky, begins
To sweeten and to cleanse our strifes and sins,
The furious thunderings die away and cease.
But what is won, unless the soul win peace?

Not with folding of the hands,
Not with evening fallen wide
Over waste and weary lands,
Peace is come; but as a bride.
It is the trumpets of the dawn that ring;
It is the sunrise that is challenging.

Lovely word, flying like a light across the happy Land,
When the buds break and all the earth is changed,
Bringing back the sailor from his watch upon the perilled seas,
Rejoining shores long severed and estranged,
Peace, like the Spring, that makes the torrent dance afresh
And bursts the bough with sap of beauty pent,
Flower from our hearts into passionate recovery
Of all the mind lost in that banishment.
Come to us mighty as a young and glad deliverer
From wrong's old canker and out--dated lease,
Then will we sing thee in thy triumph and thy majesty,
Then from our throes shall be prepared our peace.

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Poem Submitted: Wednesday, September 1, 2010

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