INSPIRATIONAL POEMS: “Peace” by Henry Van Dyke (about music, nature, love, friendship and peace)






Two dwellings, Peace, are thine.
One is the mountain-height,

Uplifted in the loneliness of light

Beyond the realm of shadows,–fine,

And far, and clear,–where advent of the night

Means only glorious nearness of the stars,

And dawn, unhindered, breaks above the bars

That long the lower world in twilight keep.
Thou sleepest not, and hast no need of sleep,

For all thy cares and fears have dropped away;

The night’s fatigue, the fever-fret of day,

Are far below thee; and earth’s weary wars,

In vain expense of passion, pass

Before thy sight like visions in a glass,

Or like the wrinkles of the storm that creep

Across the sea and leave no trace

Of trouble on that immemorial face,–

So brief appear the conflicts, and so slight

The wounds men give, the things for which they fight.

Here hangs a fortress on the distant steep,–

A lichen clinging to the rock:

There sails a fleet upon the deep,–

A wandering flock

Of snow-winged gulls: and yonder, in the plain,

A marble palace shines,–a grain

Of mica glittering in the rain.
Beneath thy feet the clouds are rolled

By voiceless winds: and far between

The rolling clouds new shores and peaks are seen,

In shimmering robes of green and gold,

And faint aerial hue

That silent fades into the silent blue.
Thou, from thy mountain-hold,

All day, in tranquil wisdom, looking down

On distant scenes of human toil and strife,

All night, with eyes aware of loftier life,

Uplooking to the sky, where stars are sown,

Dost watch the everlasting fields grow white

Unto the harvest of the sons of light,

And welcome to thy dwelling-place sublime

The few strong souls that dare to climb

The slippery crags and find thee on the height.



But in the depth thou hast another home,

For hearts less daring, or more frail.
Thou dwellest also in the shadowy vale;

And pilgrim-souls that roam

With weary feet o’er hill and dale,

Bearing the burden and the heat

Of toilful days,

Turn from the dusty ways

To find thee in thy green and still retreat.
Here is no vision wide outspread

Before the lonely and exalted seat

Of all-embracing knowledge.
Here, instead,

A little garden, and a sheltered nook,

With outlooks brief and sweet

Across the meadows, and along the brook,–

A little stream that little knows

Of the great sea towards which it gladly flows,–

A little field that bears a little wheat

To make a portion of earth’s daily bread.
The vast cloud-armies overhead

Are marshalled, and the wild wind blows

Its trumpet, but thou canst not tell

Whence the storm comes nor where it goes.
Nor dost thou greatly care, since all is well;

Thy daily task is done,

And though a lowly one,

Thou gavest it of thy best,

And art content to rest

In patience till its slow reward is won.
Not far thou lookest, but thy sight is clear;

Not much thou knowest, but thy faith is dear;

For life is love, and love is always near.
Here friendship lights the fire, and every heart,

Sure of itself and sure of all the rest,

Dares to be true, and gladly takes its part

In open converse, bringing forth its best:

Here is Sweet music, melting every chain

Of lassitude and pain:

And here, at last, is sleep, the gift of gifts,

The tender nurse, who lifts

The soul grown weary of the waking world,

And lays it, with its thoughts all furled,

Its fears forgotten, and its passions still,

On the deep bosom of the Eternal Will.

by Henry Van Dyke


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