Katharine Lee Bates

Aug. 12, 1859 - Mar. 28, 1929


The Gates Of Death

by Katharine Lee Bates

Marmoreal, impregnable,
Immutable, we bear
The searching shafts of human thought,
The onset of despair.
The indistinguishable cell
Of spirit and of brain
Through all the centuries has fought
Its puny fight in vain.

The pageant of humanity
Dissolves as on it falls
The shadow of our bulwarks dense,
Our unrevealing walls.
Its starcraft is but vanity.
Its aspen faith but blows
In winds whose whither and whose whence
No mind of mortal knows.

Yet is there one strong battle-lord
Who still the day retrieves.
Ashes and dust are infidel;
His very life believes.
Forever is his only word.
Breath is incredulous,
But Love, undaunted, terrible,
Demands his own of us.


Yellow Clover: A Book Of Remembrance
Copyright 1922
E. P. Dutton & Company, New York