A nation bends its head and mourns a man—
A man whose soul went back to meet its God
As white as when His angel sent it forth
Upon its mission to a doubting world.
Imbued with love celestial for his kind,
And armed with natural good, and patience sweet,
Doubt changed to admiration, this to love;
From love to worship, true and beautiful,
That made an idol of a president.
A horror comes with swift and sudden light,
And blinds our sight and dulls our clearer sense;
And leaves us murmuring helplessly to God,
“Thy will, not ours, be done, Thou mighty One.”
What think you of a flag whose folds protect
The fetid anarchy of brainless clods
Whose dogmas reek of carnage, blood and death?
It ought to make all crawling things rejoice
Their inability to stand erect,
When creatures upright, made in God’s own form,
Perform such deeds of rage and violence
As make brutes blush by mean comparison.
What answer will the nation give this babe
Called Socialism, when maturer strength
Gives consequence to questions now ignored?
The silence dread remains profoundly still
And answers not in fear of prophecy.
Weep on, my country, maybe through thy tears
A clearer vision will appear to thee,
And aided by these crystal drops, the sense
Of “Liberty, Equality,” will gain
A higher meaning in the hearts of men,
And liberty will but be recognized
As only perfect when it means constraint
Of useless evil, brute ferocity.
San Francisco, Oct. 1, 1901