George MacDonald

(10 December 1824 – 18 September 1905 / Huntly, Aberdeenshire, Scotland)

To Gordon Leaving Khartoum - Poem by George MacDonald

The silence of traitorous feet!
The silence of close-pent rage!
The roar, and the sudden heart-beat!
And the shot through the true heart going,
The truest heart of the age!
And the Nile serenely flowing!

Carnage and curses and cries!
He utters never a word;
Still as a child he lies;
The wind of the desert is blowing
Across the dead man of the Lord;
And the Nile is softly flowing.

But the song is stilled in heaven
To welcome one more king:
For the truth he hath witnessed and striven,
And let the world go crowing,
And Mammon's church-bell go ring,
And the Nile blood-red go flowing!

Man who hated the sword
Yet wielded the sword and axe-
Farewell, O arm of the Lord,
The Lord's own harvest mowing-
With a wind in the smoking flax
Where our foul rivers are flowing!

In war thou didst cherish peace,
Thou slewest for love of life:
Hail, hail thy stormy release
Go home and await thy sowing,
The patient flower of thy strife,
Thy bread on the Nile cast flowing.

Not thy earth to our earth alone,
Thy spirit is left with us!
Thy body is victory's throne,
And our hearts around it are glowing:
Would that we others died thus
Where the Thames and the Clyde are flowing!


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Poem Submitted: Friday, April 9, 2010



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