Poem of the day

The Searchlights
by Alfred Noyes (1880-1958)

Shadow by shadow, stripped for fight,
⁠      The lean black cruisers search the sea.
Night-long their level shafts of light
⁠      Revolve, and find no enemy.
Only they know each leaping wave
May hide the lightning, and their grave.

And in the land they guard so well
⁠      Is there no silent watch to keep?
An age is dying, and the bell
⁠      Rings midnight on a vaster deep.
But over all its waves, once more
The searchlights move, from shore to shore.

And captains that we thought were dead,
⁠      And dreamers that we thought were dumb,
And voices that we thought were fled,
⁠      Arise, and call us, and we come;
And “Search in thine own soul,” they cry;
“For there, too, lurks thine enemy.”

Search for the foe in thine own soul,
⁠      The sloth, the intellectual pride;
The trivial jest that veils the goal
⁠      For which our fathers lived and died;
The lawless dreams, the cynic Art,
That rend thy nobler self apart.

Not far, not far into the night,
⁠      These level swords of light can pierce;
Yet for her faith does England fight,
⁠      Her faith in this our universe,
Believing Truth and Justice draw
From founts of everlasting law;

The law that rules the stars, our stay,
⁠      Our compass through the world’s wide sea,
The one sure light, the one sure way,
⁠      The one firm base of Liberty;
The one firm road that men have trod
Through Chaos to the throne of God.

Therefore a Power above the State,
⁠      The unconquerable Power, returns,
The fire, the fire that made her great
⁠      Once more upon her altar burns,
Once more, redeemed and healed and whole,
She moves to the Eternal Goal.

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