Monday, November 11, 2013

Armistice



The water sings along our keel,  
   The wind falls to a whispering breath;
I look into your eyes and feel
   No fear of life or death;  
So near is love, so far away  
The losing strife of yesterday.

We watch the swallow skim and dip;
   Some magic bids the world be still;  
Life stands with finger upon lip;
   Love hath his gentle will;
Though hearts have bled, and tears have burned,
The river floweth unconcerned.

We pray the fickle flag of truce
   Still float deceitfully and fair;
Our eyes must love its sweet abuse;  
   This hour we will not care,
Though just beyond to-morrow's gate,  
Arrayed and strong, the battle wait.


— Sophie Jewett


Armistice is a fitting reminder to what is known in America as Veterans' Day, in Canada as Remembrance Day and elsewhere in the world as Armistice Day. Published posthumously in 1910, Armistice is from The Poems of Sophie Jewett.

A student and teacher of poetry, Sophie Jewett (1861–1909) was born in upstate New York. The shy and sensitive poet first published under Ellen Burroughs — her mother's maiden name. She is best known for her translation of The Pearl from Middle English and for her children's book, God's Troubadour, The Story of St. Francis of Assisi who gave up his worldly possessions after bearing witness to the tragedies of war.