Selected Prose & Poems of Louis Clarke Irvine
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Warning: These are original writings of Louis Clarke Irvine and therefore ALL rights are reserved to the Author



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Peace and Death
(Dedicated to our supposed Christian age)

A BIRTH! — A DEATH! Their message tells.
From sea to sea, from shore to shore,
Swells deeper, sweeter, o’er and o’er
That music which can never fade
While steals a span of light and shade
From mountain peak to broadest glen, —

"Peace on earth, good-will to men!"
The CHRIST-LIGHT thrills and glows again
Upon the wings of that bright DAWN
That gilds the crest of Lebanon
And flashes on from height to height
Along the glories of the night —
Proclaiming joy — and PEACE TO BE,

Those swelling tones o’er wood and lee
Flow from countless sacred spire
And rise from out the alter-fire
Of myriad-templed Earth and ring
From hearts of choristers who sing
That greeting song of BETHLEHEM’s KING!

The toesin sounds thru brake and fen
And o’er far-distant mountain aisles
Where Nature’s magic beauty smiles
Mid CALLS of Orient-Christians’ prayers
Who rush from wild bomb-haunted lairs

A CARNAGE belting land and sea!
While by lone paths o’er Europe’s plain
By greed of tyrant-empire slain
Lie MILLIONS, bleeding in the cause,
While warrior - patriots, praying, pause
To reach thru DARKNESS and the Night
Groping to grasp the hand of RIGHT
AND FREEDOM’S GOD! - midst the refrain

Hark! - Again, those CHRISTMAS-BELLS!
As girding Earth from peak to peak
Muted in dying groans, they speak
To shrinking hosts in home and mart
Where FEAR debases head and heart,


"Our Julie"

Reflections, Christmas, 1905
Forest Park, St. Louis, Mo.

Today I trod the paths my darling took with me, -
The last before she, trembling wandered far,
Alone groping thru the mists
That veiled her sight from that unknown
And awesome land of the BEYOND,
The sun as brightly smiled, - the earth
The sky, the trees, the murmuring stream
All, spoke of PEACE as on that day.
Far off and near, swift-winged birds
And high-soaring crows rejoiced
As if to them alone belong the sky.
Beneath brown sod whence her sweet hand
For me the violets plucked that day,
Lies senseless to earth’s cold embrace
The promised beauty of a new-born Spring, —
E’en as from me, impatient still,
Death’s dark mystery enfolds her love.


When violets greet again the wooing Spring
Will their cold winter-long night’s sleep
Still seem the grave of beauty’s fragrant flower!
Or, rather, doth the violet ‘neath the sod
Not whisper of that HOPE that ever lies
Within the heart of buried love!


Lest We Forget!

Hail! All Hail! Erin’s King! Valera!
The Nation’s voice acclaims thee.
Mad masses shout and rush to honor thee.
Thee, weeping mothers joyous great,
Whose sons lie cradled in the deep,
Or wrapped about with blood-soaked clay,
Victims of the ruthless Hun,
So late your friend and ally!
Fond Fathers fold you to their hearts
Whose hero boys went to their death
Against the VULTURES of the sea
Which launched their private murders
With the bounty of your fervent prayers
Widowed sweethearts with glad tears
Signal their heart’s delight
To honor you who plighted faith
To murder liberty and civic virtue both
To win your Island-crown of absurd Freedom.
Shame - thrice shame-cursed, he,
Who now decries thy murderous pact!
And damned be he who dares recall
What glory-dreams enwrapped thy heart
When to the Hun thy prayer was made,
When o’er the world you saw him rule,
Your one bright JEWEL free at last,
An EMERALD in the sea of BLOOD!


In Memory of Mother Upham
September 12, 1927

Through the veiled mystery of birth
A spark of soul-light fell to earth
Long years ago, - and only yesterday
After years and still more years
Of ember glow ‘midst joys and fears
Of life’s strange dream, that smoldering ray
Mirrored in our flooding tears
Burnt into flame and blazed again
Back thru the divine ministry of pain
And love and faith and faltering breath
Up to its God in that birth called death.


Dedicated in Condolence
by the author

To the one-time FIRST LADY in STATE as now
       First in GRIEF, known to the
Hearts of the millions only

January 11, 1933

Dear Madam:

Please accept the expression of sympathy attached hereto, not as personal so much as an echo of the universal heart of the unseen and unknown masses, who walk with you in spirit, through the "VALLEY OF THE SHADOW OF DEATH" with all the impulses of kindly regard.

TO: Mrs. Grace Goodhue Coolidge, Northampton, Mass.



As in the beginning
Earth lay without form and void,
And darkness covered the face of the waters,
And God spake unto the NIGHT
"Let there be LIGHT"
And from that day-spring
Spreading with the first red dawn
Came o’er the naked sphere
The myriad gifts of life
With all it’s glories
Of color, scent and form
That Earth affords
To furnish forth an EDEN.
SO, upon the elemental powers
Of a single human soul
Lying unrevealed and grim
Upon TIME’s formless void,
And from the mystic depths of FATE
Evoked the light of life
From some far source in Space
And named the spirit "GRACE" -
To charm, to thrill, to cheer
And hold his TRUST from year to year


Twilight Echoes from the Bay
(Mobile Bay)
(Point Clear Reverie)

Entranced I stand at close of day
Where rainbow shadows kiss the Bay
From fleecy clouds that linger high
Under a sun-illumined sky
As if they halted in the glow
To catch clear echoes from below
That rise on wings of fading light
To greet the falling shades of night
Deep inspiration swell and move
Both mind amid heart as ‘twere to prove
How Nature’ s whole created throng
By mystic chords divinely strong
Is held in thrall of God’ s embrace, -
From farthest height of distant space
To secret caverns of the mind
Where golden thoughts lie deep confined.
So, too, at LIFE’s dim even-tide
I pause before TIME’ s waters wide,
Which hold their SHADOWS from the sky
That drift like spirits hats’ning by
As on they move with each slow wave
To LIFE’S SHORE-LINE - the open grave;
Which youth beholds in shrinking dread
But AGE accepts with smiles instead.
Ali! Beckoning shades! Your secret tell!
Impart the truth! I trust thee well!
Say, what these shadow-forms portend
Can they some soothing solace lend
Or hope that all our mortal love
Shall prove true substance of man's FAITH
In full fruition after death!

List! Clear on twilight’s after-glow
These cloud-forms o’er the waters throw
Ten thousand mellow voices soft
That echo sweetly from aloft
That magic message of good-cheer
To banish doubt and gloom and fear
For us who linger, - fleet or slow
In faith and patience, here below.
Then as I peer o’er vistas wide,
Bay-waters grow to ocean-tide
Whose ebb bears forth beyond the day
The wrecks that on its beaches lay.
And while upon the fretted strand In
mediation deep, I stand,
"AS THRU GLASS" I seem to see

To G.R.I., Jr.

WELCOME, Stranger!
Hail! And welcome, MESSENGER
Arriving from the lethal shore
Of boundless time, — hither borne, —
The ripening fruit of LOVE
Whose bud and blossom sweet
Now garnered in the loving hearts
Of an enraptured home.

Speak forth thy message, friend!
That we may know and bless
The clime that sent thee!
Or, is it nameless as the bourne
To’ rd which we move, that vast
And shadowy cycles of "BEFORE’
And "AFTER" that so hedgeth in
The fleeting "NOW" called TIME?

 "Too fast!" say’ st thou?
Our speech thy tongue doth trip.
So late to lethal language forbid
Thine ears held not our words
Confused with mystic voices from afar
That echo from that place that was —
Amid over eyes that sighted wander still
Are dazzled by the light of "NOW".

Patient, be thou, Stranger!
Let hapless ignorance of thy tongue
Soften still the merited rebuke!
Till thou our language speak,
And then and ever it shall be,
That throughout all the years,
THY VOICE in love’s eternal song
Our several hearts shall fuse to ONE!

Jerry Arrives
(In Character)

WELL! WELL! Old World, I’m HERE!
I heard you calling, all along,
And so, look! — look! It’s ME!
All thru the scary dark "back there"
Where I hid naked, — listening hard,
To voices that came soft and how
Across the star-dust do my ears
I caught your secrets - yes I did!

One voice said — "Richie needs him"
Now — what is "Richie"! S-a-y, Oh! Gee!
Is it that bright, curly-top I see?
And - what is "LU"? — I’m sure I heart
A sound that made that very word!
And when I crawled up on my feet
It FELT like something good to eat!
Just then some funny words were said
Like bi-b - didy-cradle-bed, —
And then a big "noise" much like "g-o-r-g".

So, now Old World! Out with it all!
Because those funny things I heard
So tickled me I couldn’t stay
Behind that star-cloud where I lay,
But had to laugh and run right out
To see just what ''twas all about.
And now Old World! I’ m here! So WHAT?



Sarah & (Little Star)

Prattle, prattle little girl,
Way down yonder in big world!
Laughing eyes and sunny curls
Flashing "toofies"; white as pearls.
Snowy brow and dimpled chin
Ruby lips with kisses in
Prattle, prattle little girl
Way down yonder in big world!


To Julia III

Sweet heir of JULIE, thrice blessed thou!
For thou art heir to our’s and our lost
Julie’s love
Whose gentle spirit smiles e’en now on thine.
Thus twin-parent loves entwine
With deeper love of the DIVINE
To bless a happy home for you
And Richie, Jarry, George and "Lu".



Clarke Irvine "Seventh"
(Greeting from ‘way back)

GREETING — Grandson — As I trace
Back to its origin, this name
To which you may provide that fame
Denied to earlier scions — atill
Whate’er they UNDERTOOK, with will
To conquer, they stove
Full-heartedly to do — to prove
Their fitness for their chosen work
(And none were ever known to shirk.)

FIRST of the name — a lawyer, he —
His Clarke, a lawyer too, would be,
A brother’s son bore, too, that name
And his profession was the same;
His son, a lawyer also, came
The FOURTH to venture in that game;
His nephew. Clarke, made number FIVE
While his own son now seems to thrive
Upon the role as number SIX
This surely puts you in a fix.
For SEVENTH of this noted name
Leaves you to grasp prophetic fame
Pertaining to the number SEVEN
By old decrees ascribed to heaven.
So, babe! Smile on! As boy, youth, man;
Whate’er befall in life’s long span,
Meet each event with that broad grin
And "ten-to-one" the case you’ll win.


For an example of the prompting mysteriously motivating my expressions of sentiment and feelings on which practically all such exercises were based, the following notations made. — On our fiftieth anniversary, I had finished long nursed expression to assure "mamma" that years had not shriveled my heart. It had not occurred to me till later that set to music, it might please her and the children. I tried to find a musician who would compose a tune suitable. Advice was that the meter did not permit of satisfactory composition. I happened, however to listen to a radio rendition of Johnson’s "DRINK TO ME WITH THINE EYES" and at once realized that shortening the alternate lines of my verse would perfectly fit it to that tune so simple and popular too. The result was the present form of "MY DREAM". But fate was against me on the fifty-first anniversary when I planned to surprise her with a RECORD of the song. A music teacher undertook to produce it but as it was listened to on our family "get-together", the whiny farcial rendition was unrecognizable and fortunately saved me embarrassment as "mamma" had no advance knowledge of our intention. The next year however was different as a long promised record by the favorite baritone of the Christ Church choir had finally made the record on the day of our tragic bereavement, without knowing anything of the circumstances. Thus when our anniversary date came, (June 22) unless echoes of it reached heaven, she never knew! Records were given to the children and their aunts.



My Dream

Think dear, of yonder suns bright beam
As robbed of warming rays, -
So void, my vanished years would seem
Without thee, all my days,
E’en as the rose of gorgeous hue
Without its perfume’s thrill
So, lacking thee, life’s richest dew,
As frost, my heart must chill!
Behold yon heaven’s vaulted blue
As gloomed in starless night, -
So, reft of thee my pole-star true,
My soul must grope in fright.

S’s scent to rose, as stars to sky, -
As warmth to yon sun’s beam, -
Till life and love, eternal lie,
Abide thou, still my dream.


AFTER the tragic end of our long companionship, sitting under the galley of our little flock of grandchildren, where "mamma" always sat to read or do her hand-work so constantly, I reflected on her passing as so casual and in the character of her SELF-EFFACING psychology, and the following expression came almost unbidden to my mind.


Spirit Farewell

Her life, transfused to glowing light
To shroud the spirit in its flight, -
She bade farewell in tones so low
And with such mild grace, - and show
Of trust and faith! — A gentle nod,
A smile and wave of hand! — Then God
Had swept her to his hallowed rest
So long o’er-earned; while in my breast
Till time determines final test,
Shall sound the music of our song —Its
trials, joys and hopes that throng
Dear memories of love - pledged thrills
Which now at last sad fate fulfills; —But
brightening still, this vision, sweet
Promise holds of endless meeting when we meet!


After a month ‘of too much regret and not enough thankfulness for the matchless buried treasure of memories unmatched in dreams, even, the following spoke within my heart a perpetual echo of appreciation.


After-Glow of Memories

As melts the foam on crested waves
Of troubled seas when storms are gone
And ebb and flow of peaceful tides
Reflect red dawns and evening’s glow.
And RAINBOWS where new hopes abide
And promised joys their shadows throw.

March 1, 1946
(84th Year)

My MEMORIAL lines follow here as no possible event now can
evoke my MUSE in rivalry of her LOVE.

So floral tributes on love’s graves
Must wither in to-morrow’s sun;
But deep within calmed heart’s that grieve,
Fond memories of what love has borne
Shall richer, lasting tributes weave
To soothe the pain of us who mourn.


    The Cabin built by Gen. Grant at the period of his lowest fortune after he had been dismissed from the Army after his Mexican war services, was bought amid removed from the Farm to the World’s Fair site at St. Louis as a COFFEE s Exhibit HOME. Congressman Barthold of St. Louis, joined with some bankers and mime to buy it and make it a MUSEUM of WAR RELICS and memorial to Gen. Grant and remove it to the old FARM which had been made by Augustus Busch as his rural ESTATE. He had agreed to furnish site in his spacious PARK for it and thus aid in our purpose.

    As a souvenir to subscribing members of the Memorial Association I had given the poem, VETERAN’s DREAM to be illustrated in color as something conducive to HARMONY which at that time was still lacking between the North and South.

    The ENDOWMENT plan failed due to failure of GRANT SENTIMENT to respond. However, Mr. Busch came to the front and furnished tie five thousand dollars to pay for the Cabin and then had it removed to his Park agreeing to maintain it for WAR MEMORIAL MUSEUM. It is open to the public and copies of this memorial are displayed there.

THE OPENING VERSE accompanied a color picture of the CABIN


This plan was undertaken in 1907. The Veteran’s Dream was however conceived the second year of my residence in Mobile, inspired by stories of amid visits to, the various BATTERY SITES surrounding Mobile which are referred to in the text. It was however later amended after the Spanish Was as text shows, to recognize’ the readjustment of tie sections as shown iii the Gen. Wheeler prominence in that war.


Dedicated to the
Grand Army of the dead
Heroes of both blue and gray
With die hope that
The sacred sentiment of fraternity
Springing from the graves of
Our great conflict
May forever to them and theirs
Be a religion
Sealed unto the latest generation
By their baptism of fire and blood.

Souvenir Poem "The Veteran’s Dream"
The Grant Cabin

Now Museum on Busch Estate, St. Louis

True link of past and present state
Strong bond of hope from lowly unto great
Dear home of smoke-wrought castle-dreams
Before the lazy hearth fire’ s gleams
Bright chrysalis from whence upspring
That soul spell on which empires hung.
Thee! Oh, God of Battles! Hold
Safe from grasp of vandal gold
And consecrate as ‘twere thy throne
Each sacred log and plank and stone
That made this nest of lowly name
Where fledged a heroes deathless fame.

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