P. a. munch

Many forms belong to greatness.
He who now has left us bore it
As a doubt that made him sleepless,
But at last gave revelation,-
As a sight-enhancing power,
That gave visions joined with anguish
Over all beyond our seeing,-
As a flight on labor's pinions
From the thought unto the certain,
Thence aloft to intuition,-
Restless haste and changeful ardor,
God-inspired and unceasing,
Through the wide world ever storming,
Took its load of thoughts and doubtings,
Bore them, threw them off,-and took them,
Never tired, never listless.

Still! for he had one haven of rest:
Family-life peace-bestowing!
Powers of light gave repose to his breast,
Calm 'mid the strife of his knowing.

Softly with music his wife led him in
Unto the sweet-smelling birches!
Unto the flowers and still deeper in
Under the fir-forest's churches!

Daughters drew near him in love secure
Cooling his forehead's hot fever;
Gently their message of innocence pure
Made him a childlike believer.

Or he joined glad in their light-hearted game,
Colors and music surrounding,-
Gone were the clouds, in the heavens came
Sparkling of star-light abounding.

But as in an autumn evening
Silent, dreamy, dark, sheet-lightning
Wakens thought and feeling stormward,-
Or as in a boat a sudden
Stroke when gliding as in slumber
On between the cliffs that tower
In a quiet, balmy spring night,-
But a single stroke and soft, then
Echo takes it up and tosses
To and fro 'mid walls of mountains,
Thrush and grouse send forth their wood-calls
Deer rise up and listen keenly,
Stones are rolling, all are up now,
Dogs are barking, bells are clanging,
Ushering in the strife of daytime,-
Thus could oft a recollection
Down-light falling in that playtime,
Waken all his thought and doubting!

Then it roved the wide world over,
Then it hottest burned within him,-
But it lavished light for others!

Rise of races, spread of language,
Birth of names, all laws' close kinship,
Small and great in equal passion,
Equal haste and doubting goal-ward!-
There where others stones saw only,
He saw precious gems that glistened,
Sunk his shaft the mine to deepen.
And where others thought the treasure
Sure and safe for years a hundred,
Doubt possessed him as he burrowed
Day and night - and saw it vanish!
But the unrest that gave power
Made him oft the goal pass over;
While to others he gave clearness,
Intuitions new deceived him.
Therefore: where he once had striven,
Thither he would turn him never,
Changed his ground and shifted labor,
From his own thought-conquests fleeing.
But his thoughts pursued, untiring,
Followed, growing, as the fire,
Kindled in Brazilian forests,
Storm-wind makes and storm-wind follows!
Where before no foot had trodden,
Ways were burned for many millions!

Northward stretches Scandinavia
'Mid the fog that dims the Ice-sea,
Darkness of the months of winter
Lays its weight on sea and mountain.
Like our lands are too our peoples.
Their beginnings prehistoric
Stretch afar in fog and darkness.
But as through the fog a lighthouse,
Or as Northern Lights o'er darkness,
Gleamed his thought with light and guidance.
When with filial fond remembrance
Tenderly he sought and questioned,
Searching for his people's pathways-
Names and graves and rusty weapons,
Stones and tools their answer gave him.
Through primeval Asian forests,
Over steppes and sands of deserts,
'Neath a thousand years that moldered,
Saw he caravan-made footsteps
Seek a new home in the Northland.
And as they the rivers followed,
Followed them his thought abundant,
Into Nature's All full-flowing.-

See his restless soul's creation!
Harmony of truth he yearned for,
Found it not, but wonder-working
New discoveries and pathways,
-Like those alchemists aforetime
Who, though gold was all their seeking,
Found not that, but mighty forces,
Which to-day the world are moving.-

**

Deepest ground of all his being
Was the polar power of contrast,
For his thought, to music wakened
By the touch of
Northern Saga
,
Vibrated melodious longing,
Toward the
South
forever tending.
In his eye the lambent fire,
Of his thought the glint, showed kinship
With the free improvisator
In the land of warmth and vineyards.
And his swiftly changing feeling
And his all-consuming ardor,
That could toil the livelong winter
Till caprice the fruit discarded,-
That immeasurable r
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Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson

Bjørnstjerne Martinius Bjørnson was a Norwegian writer and the 1903 Nobel Prize in Literature laureate. more…

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"P. a. munch" Poetry.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2019. Web. 21 Sep. 2019. <https://www.poetry.net/poem/4388/p.-a.-munch>.

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