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A poem by Jared Barhite

My Choice

Title:     My Choice
Author: Jared Barhite [More Titles by Barhite]

I would rather dwell a hermit
In some silent peaceful wood,
Where no voice of human being
Ever breaks the solitude;
Where babbling brook, and minstrelsy
Of winged friends are heard
To join the sylvan choruses
Of leaves when gently stirred,
Than live in costly splendor
With a heartless, greedy throng,
Whose only thought is sordid pelf
Obtained by fraud and wrong.

I would far prefer a cavern
On some rocky sea-girt isle,
Where the constant intonations
Of the waves as they recoil
With their soughing and deep moaning
For a momentary rest,
Tell of liquid matter only
That bespeaks itself distressed,
Than to live where human bodies
Bend and writhe for freedom's air,
Till the heart breaks in deep sorrow,
And the soul sinks in despair.

I would choose a lone oasis
With one tree, one flower, one spring,
One bird of sprightly plumage
With throat attuned to sing;
One whisper of approval
From a voiceless power within;
One perfect intuition
Of freedom from all sin,
Than dwell 'mid throngs and plenty
And grovel in the filth
That oft adheres to those who claim
The boundless stores of wealth.

Some quiet nook in a valley
With a canopy of leaves,
Such as a forest Titan
In fantastic beauty weaves;
Or some vine-embowered tangle
O'ershadowing murmuring stream
Where scarce a ray of sunlight
May on its waters gleam,
Is a dwelling-place more restful
To a man by right controlled
Than the courts of kings and princes
Ablaze with filched gold.

I would not shun the haunts of men
Or bustle of the world,
Nor would I see progression's flag
Lie dormant or unfurled;
If man for manhood would aspire,
And less for gold and power,
If noble thoughts and noble deeds
Employ each passing hour,
Then should the bustle be supreme,
For manhood thus would rise
Above the baser things of earth
To honors in the skies.

I am not a misanthropist,
Nor hater of just wealth,
I love the presence of mankind,
I love good-natured health,
I love a true and noble soul
In woman or in man,
I love a being who would not
Invert God's primal plan
And keep in bondage soul and mind,
Through base and false desire
To trample fellow beings down,
That he may rise still higher.

I know that hate deep in my soul
Burns with an intense flame
Toward him who scourges the oppressed,
And unjust power doth claim,
That he may gain some subtle coign
By which to overthrow
The balance Justice ever holds
Alike for friend or foe;
For such can never bless mankind
By thought or word or deed;
They laugh in glee whene'er they see
Their victim writhe and bleed.

When all we teach in man is mind,
And heart has no domain,
Then fraud, deceit, and treachery
Will form a tyrant train,
For beacon light can never come
Through those who legislate
Unless good seed has been well sown
By those who educate;
But lift the soul by Sinai's laws
And by the Golden Rule,
Then legislation will have power
Through truths taught in the school.

* * * * *

The world is wanting honest men
Who know and dare to do aright,
Whose honor brightens in the ken
Of Justice's ever-searching light.

[The end]
Jared Barhite's poem: My Choice