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Saturday, July 14, 2018

Helping The Truth Burst Forth

“I was not out to paint beautiful pictures; even painting good pictures was not important to me. I wanted only to help the truth burst forth.” – Alice Duer Miller

Born in July 1874, Duer Miller’s poetry actively influenced political opinion, including making a major impact on the women’s suffrage movement and encouraging the U.S. to enter WWII – especially through her epic verse-play The White Cliffs. She also wrote many novels and screenplays and was one of the most influential women of the first half of the 20th century (she died in 1942).              Her 52-verse The White Cliffs is a very worthy read.  For Saturday’s Poem, here are the first and last verses and a link to the entire poem.

The White Cliffs

I.               I have loved England, dearly and deeply,
Since that first morning, shining and pure,
The white cliffs of Dover I saw rising steeply
Out of the sea that once made her secure.
I had no thought then of husband or lover,
I was a traveller, the guest of a week;
Yet when they pointed 'the white cliffs of Dover',
Startled I found there were tears on my cheek.
I have loved England, and still as a stranger,
Here is my home and I still am alone.
Now in her hour of trial and danger,
Only the English are really her own.

LII.      And were they not English, our forefathers, never more
English than when they shook the dust of her sod
From their feet for ever, angrily seeking a shore
Where in his own way a man might worship his God.
Never more English than when they dared to be
Rebels against her-that stern intractable sense
Of that which no man can stomach and still be free,
Writing: 'When in the course of human events. . .'
Writing it out so all the world could see
Whence come the powers of all just governments.
The tree of Liberty grew and changed and spread,
But the seed was English.
I am American bred,
I have seen much to hate here— much to forgive,
But in a world where England is finished and dead,
I do not wish to live.

To read the poem in its entirety, click on https://www.poemhunter.com/poem/the-white-cliffs/

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