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Poem by Eleanor Farjeon


Out of the fog-banks dank and yellow,
  As I groped like a soul alone,
The shadow lurched of a drunken fellow,
  Blasphemous, ragged, and then was gone.

Swift the shape of a stranger-woman--
  Soft-shod maidenhood? draggled quean?
Only I know it was something human--
  Passed, and was as it had not been.

Claspèd lovers with footfall muffled
  Faded by ere I caught their bloom,
Whimpering urchins unmothered shuffled
  Up from the desolate murky womb.

Shadows on shadows the lone way haunted
  Where one shadow the more, I stole,
Each with a soul I must take for granted--
  But how to be aware of the soul?

Just the shapes of my fellow-creatures,
  Dim and fitful as ghosts at dawn,
Lacking the life-pulse, void of features,
  Self-encompassed, adrift, withdrawn.

Sisters! brothers! remote procession!
  I would love and be loved of you,
Give myself for your whole possession,
  Take yourselves as my human due:--

But my steps were as yours made noiseless
  That none may know how we go and come:--
But you were all created voiceless
  Even as I was fashioned dumb.

Each in his fogbound isolation
  Who shall know how the other yearns?
Till some flash of a new Creation
  Through this smoke with a clear flame burns,

And the world is man's for resistless brotherhood
  Of hands grown warm and of shining brows,
And the world is woman's for mighty motherhood,
  And life is lived in a common house.

Eleanor Farjeon

Eleanor Farjeon's other poems:
  1. Sonnets. 1. Man Cannot Be a Sophist to His Heart
  2. Sonnets. 9. Love Needs not Two the Render It Complete
  3. Sonnets. 10. What is this anguish then that always stands
  4. Two Choruses from Merlin in Broceliande
  5. Wild Hyacinth

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