What shall the leader be in that great day
When we who sleep and dream that we are slaves
Shall wake and know that Liberty is ours?
Mark well that word--not YOURS, not MINE, but OURS.
For through the mingling of the separate streams
Of individual protest and desire,
In one united sea of PURPOSE, lies
The course to Freedom.
When Progression takes
Her undisputed right of way, and sinks
The old traditions and conventions where
They may not rise, what shall the leader be?
No mighty warrior skilled in crafts of war,
Sowing earth's fertile furrows with dead men
And staining crimson God's cerulean sea,
To prove his prowess to a shuddering world.
Nor yet a monarch with a silly crown
Perched on an empty head, an in-bred heir
To senseless titles and anemic blood.
No ruler, purchased by the perjured votes
Of striving demagogues whose god is gold.
Not one of these shall lead to Liberty.
The weakness of the world cries out for STRENGTH.
The sorrow of the world cries out for HOPE.
Its suffering cries for KINDNESS.
He who leads
Must then be strong and hopeful as the dawn
That rises unafraid and full of joy
Above the blackness of the darkest night.
He must be kind to every living thing;
Kind as the Krishna, Buddha and the Christ,
And full of LOVE for all created life.
Oh, not in war shall his great prowess lie,
Nor shall he find his pleasure in the chase.
Too great for slaughter, friend of man and beast,
Touching the borders of the Unseen Realms
And bringing down to earth their mystic fires
To light our troubled pathways, wise and kind
And human to the core, so shall he be,
The coming leader of the coming time. ELLA WHEELER WILCOX.
The Evening Bulletin [Philadelphia] 24 Jun. 1905: 7.
Courtesy of John M. Freiermuth.
|Back to Poem Index|