A Hundred Thousand Million Mites We Go

By Charles Sorley

A HUNDRED thousand million mites we go
Wheeling and tacking o'er the eternal plain,
Some black with death--and some are white with woe.
Who sent us forth? Who takes us home again?

And there is sound of hymns of praise--to whom?
And curses--on whom curses?--snap the air.
And there is hope goes hand in hand with gloom,
And blood and indignation and despair.

And there is murmuring of the multitude
And blindness and great blindness, until some
Step forth and challenge blind Vicissitude
Who tramples on them: so that fewer come.

And nations, ankle-deep in love or hate,
Throw darts or kisses all the unwitting hour
Beside the ominous unseen tide of fate;
And there is emptiness and drink and power.

And someare mounted on swift steeds of thought
And some drag sluggish feet of stable toil.
Yet all, as though they furiously sought,
Twist turn and tussle, close and cling and coil.

A hundred thousand million mites we sway
Writhing and tossing on the eternal plain,
Some black with death--but most are bright with Day!
Who sent us forth? Who brings us home again?

September 1914

Tuesday, April 23rd, 2024