The fool

P. H. Pearse

Since the wise men have not spoken. I speak that am only a fool
A fool that hath loved his folly:
Yea, more than the wise men their books or their counting houses,
or their quiet homes, or their fame in men's mouths:
A fool that in all his days hath never done a prudent thing.
Never hath counted the cost, nor recked if another reaped
the fruit of his mighty sowing, content to scatter the seed:
A fool that is unrepentant, and that soon at the end of all
Shall laugh in his lonely heart as the ripe ears falls to the reaping hooks
And the poor are filled that were empty. Tho' he go hungry.

I have squandered the splendid years that the Lord God gave to my youth
In attempting impossible thing, deeming them alone worth the toil,
Was it folly or grace? Not men shall judge me, but God

I have squandered the splendid years:
Lord, if I had the years I would squander them over again,
Aye fling them from me!
For this I have heard in my heart, that a man shall scatter, not hoard
shall not bargain or huxter with God: or was it a jest of Christs
And is my sin before men to have taken him at His word?

The lawyers have sat in council, the men with the keen, long faces.
And said, "this man is a fool." and others have said, "He blasphemeth"
And the wise have pitied the fool that hath striven to give a life
In the world of time and space among the bulks of actual things
To a dream that was dreamed in the heart, and that only the heart could hold.

O wise men, riddle me this: what if the dream come true?
What if the dream come true? And if millions unborn shall dwell
In the house I shaped in my heart, the noble house of my thought?
Lord, I have staked my soul, I have staked the lives of my kin
On the truth of Thy dreadful word. Do not remember my failures,
But remember this my faith.

And so I speak.
Yea, ere my hot youth pass, I speak to my people and say:
Ye shall be foolish as I; ye shall scatter, not save;
Ye shall venture your all, lest ye lose what is more than all;
Ye shall call for a miracle, taking Christ at his word.
And for this I will answer, O people, answer here and hereafter,
O people that I have loved shall we not answer together?