Nineteen Ninety-NinePublished by Webmaster on 07/30/2003 (4349 reads)
Dire New Year's Eve - a Century is near
Its agonizing, unlamented death;
A hundred years of fortitude and fear,
Of devastation and distressful breath,
Racked by world wars, the last four-fold the worst;
'Tis passing now - a Century accurst.
And sitting by my dying fire tonight
I think: O what a woeful world this is!
I've seen the rise and fall of Russian might,
The crash of dictatures and dynasties:
When each new moon was millioning the dead
I've borne the Teuton terror and the Red.
Yet no salvation for mankind I see;
The devil-men have swayed this world too long;
Mankind will ever struggle to be free,
And right will never triumph over wrong.
(How I recall with nauseating shock
The horror of the Nazi midnight knock!)
Nature is beautiful and mostly kind,
And yet with war a curt decade away
I see a rancid race, embittered blind,
In lands of desolation and decay:
I see a Century that dies in pain
From languishing of anarchy's red reign.
Life is a mystery and will always be;
The destiny of man is dawnless death.
No hope of human brotherhood I see,
One world, one race, one rule - waste not your breath!
We have unleashed dark demons of unruth:
We die of too much knowledge, too much truth.
In ignorance is happiness, a cot
Is richer than the palace of a king;
The brutish peasant in his lowly lot
Should be the object of our envying:
Back to the soil - our pride shall end in this:
The path of progress leads to the abyss.
The span from fruitfulness to frightfulness
Is just the echo of a tyrant's word.
Tonight a siécle of dark distress
Is dying - O have mercy on us, Lord!
Be peace Thy very name, if God Thou be,
And in our hearts, this new-born Century
May there reign Justice, Love, Humility!
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