THIS IS MY TASK

When the whole world resounds with rude alarms
Of warring arms,
When God's good earth, from border unto border,
Shows man's disorder,
Let me not waste my dower of mortal might
In grieving over wrongs I cannot right.
This is my task: Amid discordant strife
To keep a clean, sweet center in my life,
And though the human orchestra may be
Playing all out of key,
To tune my soul to symphonies above
And sound the note of love.
   This is my task.

When, by the minds of men, most beauteous Faith
Seems doomed to death,
And to her place is hoisted, by soul-treason,
The dullard Reason,
Let me not hurry forth with flag unfurled
To proselyte an unbelieving world.
This is my task: In depths of unstarred night
Or in diverting and distracting light,
To keep (in crowds or in my room alone)
Faith on her lofty throne,
And whatsoever happen or befall,
To see God's hand in all.
   This is my task.

When, in church pews, men worship God in words,
But meet their kind with swords,
When fair Religion, stripped of holy passion,
Walks masked as Fashion,
Let me not wax indignant at the sight
Or waste my strength bewailing her sad plight.
This is my task: To search in my own mind
Until the qualities of God I find;
To seek them in the heart of friend and foe,
Or high or low,
And in my hours of toil or prayer or play,
To live my creed each day,
   This is my task.

World Voices by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
New York : Hearst's International Library Company 1916.


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