Philip Henry Dodge

The Voice of Kegan Fall (ca. 1908)

Have you seen the rush of waters
As they splash at Kegan Fall
Past the rocks, the ferns, the mosses,
Where the mountain echoes call?
From the heart of Japan’s beauty
To despairing hearts they speak,*
And a Voice says,
“Listen, listen,
You who life’s true meaning seek!
Mid the morn of mystic mountains,
Shine and shadow, steep and stone,
We are urgent, striving waters
Till our way is wider grown.
In the streamlet and the river
For man’s service we are free,
Till we broaden and we deepen
And attain the open sea.
You, O man! are like these waters
In your mystery of birth,
But the soul of man is greater
Than the wandering waters’ worth.
Through the sunshine, through the shadow,
None may linger long, nor stay;
Be the stronger for the barrier
That impedes the onward way.
Seek the answer to life’s questions
In the service of the whole,
Till Life’s boundless sea of glory
Shall embrace the human soul”

Dodge’s note:

A tragic element in the loveliness of Kegan Fall is that many a poor, discouraged student who had so overworked his brain as to have lost all sense of relative values had flung himself into its rushing water and been swept to death.

Philip Henry Dodge (1859-1921) was an American missionary and sometime poet who spent many years in Japan. The Voice of Kegan Fall and Other Words in Verse and Song (Tokyo: Maruzen, n.d.) is ‘dedicated to the students of Japan’. A commemorative volume celebrating Dodge and his work, Philip Henry Dodge, Message Bearer, with a Collection of his Verses, edited by Colbert Naoya Kurokawa and Laura Cluck Kurokawa, appeared in Tokyo in 1939.

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