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The Spike: or, Victoria College Review, 1939

The Waste Land

page 11

The Waste Land

The shadow! the shadow!
The face of the dark;
Who will restore us
Beyond this murk;
Who will embrace us,
And smile at our fear;
Who will then face us
And bid us have cheer?

For the shadow is silent,
The shadow is chill,
Like the dream of a sleeper
Whose brain is ill;
Like the fears of a child,
When midnight is bare,
When his room is a ghost
That seeks him there.

The future's long lamp-post
Bars the white sky,
The moon is flitting
To her pale belfry;
The waves are beating,
In solemn chant,
Beyond the horizon,
With dim descant.

The mountains are falling
Round roaring guns,
The sky is a chaos,
Whose tumult stuns;
No man knows its ending,
Each night with its wrack
Brings temporary solace,
But none come back.

The youth with their eyes lit,
The girls who were sad,
Succumbed to the shadow
That drives us mad;
Shall we in this evening
Which was their day,
Be caught in the tempest
That hurled them away?

page 12

The stars now commencing
Their vigil's trance,
Like perilous insects
In midnight dance,
Will soon be extinguished,
To leave the night,
Alone with the blackness,
They could not light.

No hope of a sunrise,
No waking star,
A pit in the heavens
Is all we are;
But break with this cincture,
Break with it we must,
Destroy that oppression,
Of war and lust.

A new dawn firing
The sky's clear grate,
Will be kindled from ashes
Of former hate;
Though the earth is fallow,
And the land is waste,
Spring leaps from the furrow
With an angel's haste.