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The Spike: or, Victoria College Review, 1939

". . . breeding Lilacs out of the dead land"

page 37

". . . breeding Lilacs out of the dead land"

Like purple flowers on a corpse;
Like rotting fungus on a tree;
Like odours of some chemical;
Like dreams of some drug-plumed brain;
So rise the feeble skeletons
Of our philisophies;

with march
Like that of obscene murderous tanks,
Events deploy their fatal clouds
Over the smiling face of lands
And peoples; faces feel the chill
Approach of that vast shadow; cries
Of anguish on the crest of each
New wave go circling to silence;
And from the deep-down hearts of men
A cry that bars the ringing stars,
Resents oppression; all have felt
The loathsome monument of pain
That is imposed by less than men.
All hate the giant of the times.
But some, who saw the crisis grow
And fade, and grow, and grow again,
And fade, like fluctuating flame,
Whose menace is not less by change,
Have grown out-wearied; theirs the cry,
Withdraw into the inner soul,
And build the towers of mystic might
Upon the river fading slow
Wherefore and whence no man may know,
To ultimate reality.
"J' accuse!" Such men but satisfy
Their own great need of peace, afar
From turmoil and the avalanche
That cataracts to nationed death.
"J'accuse!" I say they do allow
Oppressor to oppress the more,
They do remove the only brake
We had on the fantastic car.
" J'accuse!" I charge them all,
By Guernica and China now.

By slums, by misery, by war,
By every wrong the system holds,
To leave their chrysalis of rest,
Where they abet the tyrant's grip
Or else, as from a corpse the plants
May come, and "cruel" spring return,
So shall the earth be prey to death,
And the slow mourning of blackened age.

—D. M. S.