Wednesday, April 09, 2003

Laura Riding:

The Victory

Without millions of pennies and millions of men
Or nations of miles or five bolts of satin
Or six reams of fame to describe it upon
Or sixteen old castles to flag the news from
Or sixty new offices and their telephones—
Yet the business is done,
The great war is won,
The world has been made to know.

That it lies and denies
Or wears woe in disguise
Of its knowing, its joy so to know—
This is such pride as battalions of fire have
When a single cool drop quells the challenging blaze:
Of the drop not a sign, there's but reek of embers.
Thus smoulders the world, spitting hate of its baptism.
The last sparks tell not of healing, of cooling.

There is no news of knowledge in the newspapers.
Impregnable screens of vision have been raised
To protect the embattled minds from themselves.
A full peace has been visited now on the world,
But the voices of time do not mention it.
Nor think I to disturb
So much noise, nor to curb
So much fleeing from quiet's event.

Like a love that is loved
In a heart stiffly gloves
Against loveless responding event:
Though the face of the world with dim pain is contorted
As if the embrace were a forfended curse,
And the gift shall demand no more thanking than this,
Yet knowledge has been given, and knowledge taken.
Whether to weep or smile that truth conquers in secret?

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