Katharine Lee Bates

(1859-1929 / United States)

The Thracian Stone - Poem by Katharine Lee Bates

'The faieries gave him the propertie of the Thracian stone; for who toucheth it is exempted from griefe.'
The fairies to his cradle came to play their fairy part,
Their footsteps like the laughter of a leaf;
They touched him with the Thracian stone that setteth free the heart
—O dream-enchanted, singing heart!—forever free from grief.
The wind it could not blow a way that failed to please him well;
Beyond the rain he saw the March skies blue
With hope of April violets; he cast his fairy spell
Over our flawed and tarnished world, creating all things new.
He bore the burden of his day, the burden and the heat,
As blithely as a seagull breasts the gale,
Glorying that God should trust his strength. The color of ripe wheat
Was on his life when it was flung beneath pain's threshing-flail.
He fronted that grim challenge like some resplendent knight
Who rides against foul foes of fen and wood;
With ringing song of onset, his spirit, hero bright,
Went tilting with a sunbeam against the dragon brood.
Then dusky shapes stole on him, Queen of the Quaking Isle,
Queens of the Land of Longing and the Waste;
He bowed him to their bidding with a secret in his smile;
He quaffed their bitter cups that left ambrosia on the taste.
Last came the King of Terrors, and lo! his iron crown
Had twinkled to a silver fairy-cap;
Like two old friends they took the road to Love-and-Beauty town,
That's here and there and everywhere on all the starry map.

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Poem Submitted: Friday, April 16, 2010

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