Homeward ( a story in five sonnets)


They hold you captive—rational egoist,
But more than this: my dearest living flame,
Proud altar, fair clean shrine I’ve never kissed;
Only dances through my soul your name
Until it twirls into my true life’s sum,
Not added on, but mingling with my bliss
That I at last should find a height like this.
Integrity—a name to strike men dumb
Who fear its force, and see it in your eyes.
So I have sent a message I’d devise
To steal you away before they slay
What they should kneel to. Just one more day,
But time enough to cancel wicked crime.
And now, O Hope, O Trust, it is that time.

So soft and low upon the silent night
I spoke your name, I knew in me a doubt
That in your window you would hear, so slight
My flight-stake hymn—a light blown swiftly out,
A star-flash cover-cowled with cloud. And then
The sentry moved, with clash of metal gear
Abrupt, and I, frozen, held my breath
(Oh, how I longed to lead him unto death!).
Then off he clanked, that luckiest of men,
While I in shadow knelt, your lips to hear.
And then it came! So sweet, so sweet a “Yes,”
And climbing out came all my happiness!
Now hands clutch hands and we’re already gone
To ‘scape this devil fortress for the dawn!


Noised confusion rumbles in the air,
Grows loud to left, dies off and goes to right.
Drums beat, and frantic shouts are there,
Fiends circling round with torches, half in fright.
We swiftly run our straight and secret way,
Leaping stone to stone down middle creek;
Soothe, then, our feet awhile within the stream,
Yet plashing ever closer to the bay
Where hidden lies that freedom-boat we seek.
‘Tis here! My hero-plan, it was no dream!
Push off! Set sail! Integrity’s alive!
The wind is for us! Yea, my love, we’re free!
Out far to isles of happiness we’ll strive
And make the best of everything we be!


Sitting with you in this fragile boat
Into my mem’ry’s mind the pictures float—
Of you, standing straight to meet your fate,
Spitting in their leader’s hatred-face
When “Down!” he shouted, “for Islam’s grace!”
Glittered the sword he swung high up in air,
Bur glittered more your eyes, that held it there.
He laughed, and said you would be stoned to death.
I looked on silent as I held my breath.
I saw you in your room alone that night
With face serene, as far you seemed to see
The beauty of what life was meant to be
(I could not bare to wait to make it right).
But now we’re here, and fate has met its fate.


The high waves swell and rise and glide on past,
The high winds fill and push and scream and roar.
We are in front, the leaders of the blast
That seeks to set us new on some strange shore!
Now stars are fainting out, the sun’s at rim,
The whole majestic sea now glitters bright!
This world’s ours, and we are its high hymn,
With choiring seagulls adding keen delight!
Lo! Arising from the waves—that emerald gleam!
A cliff, a hill, a mountain, high and wide!
On through this rugged coral reef we’ll stream
Till we are standing in our happy pride!
First footprints—ours; first spark, first fire;
Oh, love, we make our mark with our desire!
This lovely mountain isle, harsh reef, wild foam—
It’s here we’ll write our songs and make our home!

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