Beyond All Words Give Me the Strength
To the Lady of the Portrait

Behold a face of striking beauty
That deeply moves all manner of men,
Most of all this saddened swain
Who loved it and was sent by it
Wandering down the length of years
Unwept, unhonored—and unstrung!
I thank the painter of this portrait
Whose art so perfectly abstracts
The ideal essence of my love.
Here is the verve, the strength, the quick
All-sensing wit, the emerging mind,
The all-but-suppressed crusading spirit
Faintly refulgent nonetheless.
This face, too, has mystic power
That sweeps away with cleansing force
The shallowness of Platonic posing
And tells me in an age-long language
That once I love, I love forever.

This face is one that could make history,
Whose brow could pierce beneath the surface
Of life, and its central issues grasp.
You won't fulfill your life's high hope
Until you commit yourself, your dreams,
Your genius to a something greater
Than "What I've always longed to do,"
Though what a person longs to do
Can easily fit the higher aims,
Creating art that will endure.

The Greeks had gods and city-states,
The West its Christianity,
But what, dear madam, do you have?
Well, I ask you to consider
This era's most hopeful, vital movement:
The Humanistic way of life,
Mature in wisdom, young in spirit,
Inspiring men to noble deeds,
Deflecting from stale, stagnant waters
The swift, broad currents of human living,
Welding the weak, the strong, the wayward
From every land and every calling
Into a consecrated force.


Copyright © 1972, 1983, 1994 by Corliss Lamont.
Copyright © 2001-2021 by Half-Moon Foundation, Inc.
All Rights Reserved.
Beyond All Words Give Me the Strength

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