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Thoughts On Leaving Japan
by [?]


A changing medley of insistent sounds,
Like broken airs, played on a Samisen,
Pursues me, as the waves blot out the shore.
The trot of wooden heels; the warning cry
Of patient runners; laughter and strange words
Of children, children, children everywhere:
The clap of reverent hands, before some shrine;
And over all the haunting temple bells,
Waking, in silent chambers of the soul,
Dim memories of long-forgotten lives.

But oh! the sorrow of the undertone;
The wail of hopeless weeping in the dawn
From lips that smiled through gilded bars at night.

Brave little people, of large aims, you bow
Too often, and too low before the Past;
You sit too long in worship of the dead.
Yet have you risen, open eyed, to greet
The great material Present. Now salute
The greater Future, blazing its bold trail
Through old traditions. Leave your dead to sleep
In quiet peace with God. Let your concern
Be with the living, and the yet unborn;
Bestow on them your thoughts, and waste no time
In costly honours to insensate dust.
Unlock the doors of usefulness, and lead
Your lovely daughters forth to larger fields,
Away from jungles of the ancient sin.

For oh! the sorrow of that undertone,
The wail of hopeless weeping in the dawn
From lips that smiled through gilded bars at night.