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Apocalypse - a poem by Richard Realf

by Richard Realf

Straight to his heart the bullet crushed; 
Down from his breast the red blood gushed, 
And o'er his face a glory rushed. 

A sudden spasm shook his frame, 
And in his ears there went and came 
A sound as of devouring flame. 

Which in a moment ceased, and then 
The great light clasped his brows again, 
So that they shone like Stephen's when 

Saul stood apart a little space 
And shook with shuddering awe to trace 
God's splendors settling o'er his face. 

Thus, like a king, erect in pride, 
Raising clean hands toward heaven, he cried: 
"All hail the Stars and Stripes!" and died. 

Died grandly. But before he felló 
(O blessedness ineffable!) 
Vision apocalyptical 

Was granted to him, and his eyes, 
All radiant with glad surprise, 
Looked forward through the Centuries, 

And saw the seeds which sages cast 
In the world's soil in cycles past, 
Spring up and blossom at the last; 

Saw how the souls of men had grown, 
And where the scythes of Truth had mown 
Clear space for Liberty's white throne; 

Saw how, by sorrow tried and proved, 
The blackening stains had been removed 
Forever from the land he loved; 

Saw Treason crushed and Freedom crowned, 
And clamorous Faction, gagged and bound, 
Gasping its life out on the ground. 

* * * * * 

With far-off vision gazing clear 
Beyond this gloomy atmosphere 
Which shuts us out with doubt and fear 

Heómarking how her high increase 
Ran greatening in perpetual lease 
Through balmy years of odorous Peace 

Greeted in one transcendent cry 
Of intense, passionate ecstasy 
The sight which thrilled him utterly; 

Saluting, with most proud disdain 
Of murder and of mortal pain, 
The vision which shall be again! 

So, lifted with prophetic pride, 
Raised conquering hands to heaven and cried: 
"All hail the Stars and Stripes!" and died. 

by Richard Realf

Apocalypse a poem by Richard Realf


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