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UNTERMEYER, Louis


Faith


What are we bound for? What ’ s the yield

Of all this energy and waste?

Why do we spend ourselves and build

With such an empty haste?


Wherefore the bravery we boast?

How can we spend one laughing breath

When at the end all things are lost

In ignorance and death? . . .

The stars have found a blazing course


In a vast curve that cuts through space;

Enough for us to feel that force

Swinging us through the days.


Enough that we have strength to sing

And fight and somehow scorn the grave;

That Life’s too bold and bright a thing

To question or to save.



The Wanderer


Is it a tribute or betrayal when,

Turning from all the sweet, accustomed ways,

I leave your lips and eyes to seek you in

Some other face?


Why am I searching after what I have?

And going far to find the near at hand?

I do not know. I only know I crave

To find you at the end.


I only know that love has many a hearth,

That hunger has an endless path to roam,

That beauty is the ghost that haunts the earth

And leads me home.


Infidelity


YOU have not conquered me; it is the surge

Of love itself that beats against my will;

It is the sting of conflict, the old urge

That calls me still.


It is not you I love, it is the form

And shadow of all lovers who have died

That gives you all the freshness of a warm

And unfamiliar bride.


It is your name I breathe, your hands I seek;

It will be you when you are gone.

And yet the dream, the name I cannot speak

Is that that lures me on.


It is the golden summons, the bright wave

Of banners calling me anew;

It is all passion, perilous and grave—

It is not you.