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Christmas: 1915

by Percy MacKaye, 1917

Now is the midnight of the nations: dark
    Even as death, beside her blood-dark seas,
    Earth, like a mother in birth agonies,
Screams in her travail, and the planets hark
Her million-throated terror. Naked, stark,
    Her torso writhes enormous, and her knees
    Shudder against the shadowed Pleiades
Wrenching the night’s imponderable arc.

Christ! What shall be delivered to the morn
    Out of these pangs, if ever indeed another
    Morn shall succeed this night, or this vast mother
Survive to know the blood-spent offspring, torn
    From her racked flesh?—What splendour from the smother?
What new-wing’d world, or mangled god still-born?


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