Poem of the Week: Say Not the Struggle Nought Availeth

Note: In an effort to expand the reach and influence of poetry in my life, as well as in the lives of those around me, I have decided that for the next few months I will be sharing a poem every week. Each Sunday a different work of poetry will find its way here; either one that is a favorite of mine, or one that I have read in the intervening period. To be clear, there is truly no rhyme or reason guiding this project. It will simply be a reflection of what I happen to be reading or writing as time goes on. Naturally, it seems fitting that I should begin this undertaking with one of the first poems that captured my imagination.

Say Not the Struggle Nought Availeth

Say not the struggle nought availeth,
The labour and the wounds are vain,
The enemy faints not, nor faileth,
And as things have been they remain.

If hopes were dupes, fears may be liars;
It may be, in yon smoke concealed,
Your comrades chase e’en now the fliers,
And, but for you, possess the field.

For while the tired waves, vainly breaking
Seem here no painful inch to gain,
Far back through creeks and inlets making,
Comes silent, flooding in, the main.

And not by eastern windows only,
When daylight comes, comes in the light,
In front the sun climbs slow, how slowly,
But westward, look, the land is bright.

Arthur Hugh Clough