The Wanderer

A poem by Madison Julius Cawein

Between the death of day and birth of night,
By War's red light,
I met with one in trailing sorrows clad,
Whose features had
The look of Him who died to set men right.
Around him many horrors, like great worms,
Terrific forms,
Crawled, helmed like hippogriff and rosmarine,
Gaunt and obscene,
Urged on to battle with a thousand arms.
Columns of steel, and iron belching flame,
Before them came:
And cities crumbled; and amid them trod
Havoc, their god,
With Desolation that no tongue may name.
And out of Heaven came a burning breath,
And on it Death,
Riding: before him, huge and bellowing herds
Of beasts, like birds,
Bat-winged and demon, nothing conquereth.
Hag-lights went by, and Fear that shrieks and dies;
And mouths, with cries
Of famine; and the madness of Despair;
And everywhere
Curses, like kings, with ever-burning eyes.
And, lo! the shadow shook and cried a name,
That grew a flame
Above the world, and said, "Give heed! give heed!
See how they bleed!
My wounds! my wounds! Was it for this I came?
"Where is the love for which I shed my blood?
And where the good
I preached and died for? Lo! ye have denied
And crucified
Me here again, who swore me brotherhood!"
Then overhead the vault of night was rent:
The firmament
Winged thunder over of aerial craft;
And Battle laughed
Titanic laughter as its way it went.

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