Top 20 Most Popular Poems of William Arthur Dunkerley (John Oxenham)

These are the top twenty (20) most popular poems of William Arthur Dunkerley (John Oxenham).

From The Alabaster Box to The Gate.

If you want to know his greatest poems of all time, then this poetry collection is for you.

Keep reading!.

The Alabaster Box

The spikenard was not wasted;–
All down the tale of years,
The fragrance of that broken alabaster
Still clings to Mary’s memory,
As clung its perfume sweet unto her Master.

Not less than Martha,
Mary served her Lord,
Although she but sat worshipping,
While Martha spread the board.

They also minister to Christ,
And render noblest duty,
Whose sweet hands touch life’s common rounds
To Fragrance and to Beauty.

William Arthur Dunkerley (John Oxenham)

The Little Poem Of Life

Small words, but mighty.
In their span
Are bound the life and hopes of man.

For, first, his thoughts of his own self are full;
Until another comes his heart to rule.
For them, life’s best is centred round their love;
Till younger lives come all their love to prove.

William Arthur Dunkerley (John Oxenham)


Lord, give me faith!–to live from day to day,
With tranquil heart to do my simple part,
And, with my hand in Thine, just go Thy way.

Lord, give me faith!–to trust, if not to know;
With quiet mind in all things Thee to find,
And, child-like, go where Thou wouldst have me go.

Lord, give me faith!–to leave it all to Thee,
The future is Thy gift, I would not lift
The vail Thy Love has hung ‘twixt it and me.


Say once again Thy sweet “I will!”
In answer to my prayers.
“Lord, if Thou wilt!”–
–“I will!
Rise up above thy cares!”

William Arthur Dunkerley (John Oxenham)

After Work

Lord, when Thou seest that my work is done,
Let me not linger on,
With failing powers,
Adown the weary hours,–
A workless worker in a world of work.
But, with a word,
Just bid me home,
And I will come
Right gladly,–
Yea, right gladly
Will I come.

William Arthur Dunkerley (John Oxenham)

God’s Handwriting

He writes in characters too grand
For our short sight to understand;
We catch but broken strokes, and try
To fathom all the mystery
Of withered hopes, of death, of life,
The endless war, the useless strife,–
But there, with larger, clearer sight,
We shall see this–His way was right.

William Arthur Dunkerley (John Oxenham)

Darkness And Light

There is darkness still, gross darkness, Lord,
On this fair earth of Thine.
There are prisoners still in the prison-house,
Where never a light doth shine.
There are doors still bolted against Thee,
There are faces set like a wall;
And over them all the Shadow of Death
Hangs like a pall.
Do you hear the voices calling,
Out there in the black of the night?
Do you hear the sobs of the women,
Who are barred from the blessed light?
And the children,–the little children,–
Do you hear their pitiful cry?
O brothers, we must seek them,
Or there in the dark they die!

Spread the Light! Spread the Light!
Till earth’s remotest bounds have heard
The glory of the Living Word;
Till those that see not have their sight;
Till all the fringes of the night
Are lifted, and the long-closed doors
Are wide for ever to the Light.
O then shall dawn the golden days,
To which true hearts are pressing;
When earth’s discordant strains shall blend–
The one true God confessing;
When Christly thought and Christly deed
Shall bind each heart and nation,
In one Grand Brotherhood of Men,
And one high consecration.

William Arthur Dunkerley (John Oxenham)

A Little Te Deum For These Times

We thank Thee, Lord,
For mercies manifold in these dark days;–
For Heart of Grace that would not suffer wrong;
For all the stirrings in the dead dry bones;
For bold self-steeling to the times’ dread needs;
For every sacrifice of self to Thee;
For ease and wealth and life so freely given;
For Thy deep sounding of the hearts of men;
For Thy great opening of the hearts of men;
For Thy close-knitting of the hearts of men;
For all who sprang to answer the great call;
For their high courage and self-sacrifice;
For their endurance under deadly stress;
For all the unknown heroes who have died
To keep the land inviolate and free;
For all who come back from the Gates of Death;
For all who pass to larger life with Thee,
And find in Thee the wider liberty;
For hope of Righteous and Enduring Peace;
For hope of cleaner earth and closer heaven;
With burdened hearts, but faith unquenchable,–
We thank Thee, Lord!

William Arthur Dunkerley (John Oxenham)

The Ways

To every man there openeth
A Way, and Ways, and a Way.
And the High Soul climbs the High way,
And the Low Soul gropes the Low,
And in between, on the misty flats,
The rest drift to and fro.
But to every man there openeth
A High Way, and a Low.
And every man decideth
The Way his soul shall go.

William Arthur Dunkerley (John Oxenham)


Fold up the tent!
The sun is in the West.
To-morrow my untented soul will range
Among the blest.
And I am well content,
For what is sent, is sent,
And God knows best.

Fold up the tent,
And speed the parting guest!
The night draws on, though night and day are one
On this long quest.
This house was only lent
For my apprenticement–
What is, is best.

Fold up the tent!
Its slack ropes all undone,
Its pole all broken, and its cover rent,–
Its work is done.
But mine–tho’ spoiled and spent
Mine earthly tenement–
Is but begun.

Fold up the tent!
Its tenant would be gone,
To fairer skies than mortal eyes
May look upon.
All that I loved has passed,
And left me at the last

Fold up the tent!
Above the mountain’s crest,
I hear a clear voice calling, calling clear,–
“To rest! To rest!”
And I am glad to go,
For the sweet oil is low,
And rest is best!

William Arthur Dunkerley (John Oxenham)

Gadara, A.D. 31

Rabbi, begone! Thy powers
Bring loss to us and ours.
Our ways are not as Thine.
Thou lovest men, we–swine.
Oh, get you hence, Omnipotence,
And take this fool of Thine!
His soul? What care we for his soul?
What good to us that Thou hast made him whole,
Since we have lost our swine?

And Christ went sadly.
He had wrought for them a sign
Of Love, and Hope, and Tenderness divine;
They wanted–swine.
Christ stands without your door and gently knocks;
But if your gold, or swine, the entrance blocks,
He forces no man’s hold–he will depart,
And leave you to the treasures of your heart.

No cumbered chamber will the Master share,
But one swept bare
By cleansing fires, then plenished fresh and fair
With meekness, and humility, and prayer.
There will He come, yet, coming, even there
He stands and waits, and will no entrance win
Until the latch be lifted from within.

William Arthur Dunkerley (John Oxenham)

Don’t Worry

Just do your best,
And leave the rest
To Him who gave you
And Zeal for Labour,–
And the Joy of Strife,–
And Zest of Love,–
And all that lifts your soul above
The lower things.

Life’s truest harvest is in what we would,
And strive our best for,
Not most in what we could.
The things we count supreme
Stand, haply, not so high
In God’s esteem
As How and Why.

All-Seeing Sight
Cleaves through the husk of things,
Right to the Roots and Springs,–
Sees all things whole,
And measures less the body than the soul.
All-Righteous Right
Will weigh men’s motives,
Not their deeds alone.
End and Beginning unto Him are one;
And would for could shall oft, perchance, atone.

Motives are seeds,
From which at times spring deeds
Not equal to the soul’s outreaching hope.
Strive for the stars!
Count nought well done but best!
Then, with brave patience, leave the rest
To Him who knows.
He’ll judge you justly ere the record close.

William Arthur Dunkerley (John Oxenham)

Life’s Chequer-Board

“‘Tis all a Chequer-Board of Nights and Days,
Where Detiny with men for pieces plays,
Hither and thither moves, and mates and slays,
And one by one back in the Closet lays.”

Omar Khayyam.

A Chequer-Board of mingled Light and Shade?
And We the Pieces on it deftly laid?
Moved and removed, without a word to say,
By the Same Hand that Board and Pieces made?

No Pieces we in any Fateful Game,
Nor free to shift on Destiny the blame;
Each Soul doth tend its own immortal flame,
Fans it to Heaven, or smothers it in shame.

William Arthur Dunkerley (John Oxenham)


Not what, but WHOM, I do believe,
That, in my darkest hour of need,
Hath comfort that no mortal creed
To mortal man may give;–
Not what, but WHOM!
For Christ is more than all the creeds,
And His full life of gentle deeds
Shall all the creeds outlive.
Not what I do believe, but WHOM!
WHO walks beside me in the gloom?
WHO shares the burden wearisome?
WHO all the dim way doth illume,
And bids me look beyond the tomb
The larger life to live?–
Not what I do believe,
Not what,

William Arthur Dunkerley (John Oxenham)

Hail!–And Farewell!

They died that we might live,–
Hail!–And Farewell!
–All honour give
To those who, nobly striving, nobly fell,
That we might live!

That we might live they died,–
Hail!–And Farewell!
–Their courage tried,
By every mean device of treacherous hate,
Like Kings they died.

Eternal honour give,–
Hail!–And Farewell!–
–To those who died,
In that full splendour of heroic pride,
That we might live!

William Arthur Dunkerley (John Oxenham)

Hearts In Exile

O Exiled Hearts–for you, for you–
Love still can find the way!
Hear the voices of the women on the road!
O Shadowed Lives–for you, for you–
Hope hath not lost her ray!
Hear the laughter of the children on the road!
O Gloomy Night–for you, for you–
Dawn tells of coming day!
Hear the clink of breaking fetters on the road!
O Might sans Right–for you, for you–
The feet of crumbling clay!
Hear the slow, sure tread of Freedom on the road!

William Arthur Dunkerley (John Oxenham)

For The Men At The Front

Lord God of Hosts, whose mighty hand
Dominion holds on sea and land,
In Peace and War Thy Will we see
Shaping the larger liberty.
Nations may rise and nations fall,
Thy Changeless Purpose rules them all.

When Death flies swift on wave or field,
Be Thou a sure defence and shield!
Console and succour those who fall,
And help and hearten each and all!
O, hear a people’s prayers for those
Who fearless face their country’s foes!

For those who weak and broken lie,
In weariness and agony–
Great Healer, to their beds of pain
Come, touch, and make them whole again!
O, hear a people’s prayers, and bless
Thy servants in their hour of stress!

[Five million copies of this hymn have been sold and the profits given to the various Funds for the Wounded. It is now being sung all round the world.]

For those to whom the call shall come
We pray Thy tender welcome home.
The toil, the bitterness, all past,
We trust them to Thy Love at last.
O, hear a people’s prayers for all
Who, nobly striving, nobly fall!

To every stricken heart and home,
O, come! In tenderest pity, come!
To anxious souls who wait in fear,
Be Thou most wonderfully near!
And hear a people’s prayers, for faith
To quicken life and conquer death!

For those who minister and heal,
And spend themselves, their skill, their zeal–
Renew their hearts with Christ-like faith,
And guard them from disease and death.
And in Thine own good time, Lord, send
Thy Peace on earth till Time shall end!

William Arthur Dunkerley (John Oxenham)

The Pilgrim Way

But once I pass this way,
And then–no more.
But once–and then, the Silent Door
Swings on its hinges,–
Opens … closes,–
And no more
I pass this way.
So while I may,
With all my might,
I will essay
Sweet comfort and delight,
To all I meet upon the Pilgrim Way.
For no man travels twice
The Great Highway,
That climbs through Darkness up to Light,–
Through Night
To Day.

William Arthur Dunkerley (John Oxenham)

The Empty Chair

Wherever is an empty chair–
Lord, be Thou there!
And fill it–like an answered prayer–
With grace of fragrant thought, and rare
Sweet memories of him whose place
Thou takest for a little space!–
–With thought of that heroical
Great heart that sprang to Duty’s call;
–With thought of all the best in him,
That Time shall have no power to dim;
–With thought of Duty nobly done,
And High Eternal Welfare won.

Think! Would you wish that he had stayed,
When all the rest The Call obeyed?
–That thought of self had held in thrall
His soul, and shrunk it mean and small?

Nay, rather thank the Lord that he
Rose to such height of chivalry;
–That, with the need, his loyal soul
Swung like a needle to its pole;
–That, setting duty first, he went
At once, as to a sacrament.

So, Lord, we thank Thee for Thy Grace,
And pray Thee fill his vacant place!

William Arthur Dunkerley (John Oxenham)

No East Or West

In Christ there is no East or West,
In Him no South or North,
But one great Fellowship of Love
Throughout the whole wide earth.

In Him shall true hearts everywhere
Their high communion find.
His service is the golden cord
Close-binding all mankind.

Join hands then, Brothers of the Faith,
Whatever your race may be!–
Who serves my Father as a son
Is surely kin to me.

In Christ now meet both East and West,
In Him meet South and North,
All Christly souls are one in Him,
Throughout the whole wide earth.

William Arthur Dunkerley (John Oxenham)

The Gate

“A little child shall lead them.”

I trod an arduous way, but came at last
To where the city walls rose fair and white
Above the darkening plain,–a goodly sight.
And eagerly, while yet a great way off,
My eyes did seek the Gates–the Great White Gates
That close not ever, day or night, but stand
Wide as the love of Christ that opened them.
But nought could I discern of gate or breach,
The wall stood flawless far as eye could reach.

“But when I drew in closer to the wall,
I saw a lowly portal, strait and small;
So small, a man might hardly enter there,
Low-browed and shadowed, and close-pressed to earth–
A very needle’s eye–scarce visible.
I looked and wondered. Could this trivial way
Be the sole entrance to the light of day?
And as I stood perplext, a clear voice cried,–
Come! Enter in! The Gate is open wide.”

And while I stood in doubt, there came along
One of earth’s mighty ones–a conqueror
Of Kings. He looked for gates that should swing wide
To meet his high estate and welcome him.
He stood and gazed, then raised his voice and cried,
“My work on earth is done. I would within,”
And from the City wall the voice replied,–
“Come! Enter in! The Gate is open wide.”
He stood perplext, then set himself to wait,
Till Might should help him to discern the Gate.

Another came,–a man of mind so rare,
He scarce had breathed the common earthly air.
Knowledge was his, and wisdom so profound,
All things he knew in heaven and earth. No bound
To his accomplishment, until he sought
The great wide-opened Gate,–and found it not.
He stood perplext, and then cried wearily,
“Pray give me entrance. I am done with earth.”
And from the City wall the clear voice cried,–
“Come! Enter in! The Gate is open wide.”
He looked in vain, then set himself to wait,
Till Wisdom should direct him to the gate.

I saw a woman come, noble and fair,
And pure of heart, and in her goodly deeds
More richly robed than Fashion’s fairest queen.
And to myself I said,–“Surely for her
A way will open that she may go in!”
She said no word, but stood and looked upon
The shining walls, with eyes that answering shone.
And from the City wall the clear voice cried,–
“Come! Enter in! The Gate is open wide.”
She looked in vain, then set herself to wait,
Till Love should help her to discern the Gate.

And one there came, with clear keen face–a Judge
Of men on earth, and famed for fearless truth.
His robes were stainless and his heart was clean.
“Entrance I crave,” he cried, “to well-earned rest,–
And mercy-tempered justice and no more.”
And from the City wall the clear voice cried,–
“Come! Enter in! The Gate is open wide.”
He looked in vain, then set himself to wait
Till Judgment should direct him to the Gate.

And one there came, sad-eyed, his brow still raw
From pressure of an earthly crown. He too
Sought glorious entrance through wide-opened gates,
And stood perplext. He had borne well his part,
And served his people and his God, and died
The Martyr’s death, and yet he found no gate.
“I fain would rest,” he cried. “My life has been
One ceaseless striving. I would enter in.”
And from the City wall the clear voice cried,–
“Come! Enter in! The Gate is open wide.”
Perplext he stood, then set himself to wait,
Till Patient Waiting should discern the Gate.

And one who had had riches beyond most,
And yet subserved them to his Master’s good,
Came searching for the heavenly gates, and stood
Amazed to find no opening in the walls.
“I gave of all I had,” he cried, “and held
Nought as my own,–yet entrance is denied.”
And from the City wall the clear voice cried,–
“Come! Enter in! The Gate is open wide.”
He stood perplext, then set himself to wait
Till Charity should point him to the Gate.

And many more there were who entrance craved,
And sought the Great White Gates, and stood perplext.
And ever, from within, the clear voice cried,–
“Come! Enter in! The Gate is open wide.”
They sought in vain, and set themselves to wait
Till Light was given them to discern the Gate.

And then–a child in white came carolling
Along the arduous road we all had trod.
He stopped and looked, then laughed with childish glee,–
“Why wait ye here without? Come, follow me!”–
And passed, scarce bending, through the lowly door,–
We heard his singing,–him we saw no more.

The woman stooped and looked, with eyes that shone,
Into the doorway where the child had gone;
Then loosed her robes and dropped, and in a shift
Of pure white samite, on her hands and knees
She crept into the doorway and was gone,
And we stood gazing at the way she went.

And, one by one, they followed. First the Judge
Laid by his robes, and bowed him to the ground,
And followed–where the little child had led.
And he whose brow had borne that weighty crown
Bent low and followed,–where the little child had led.
And he who knew so much of earthly things
Discarded them, and, on his hands and knees,
Crept through the doorway,–where the little child had led.
And he of riches laid him in the dust
And followed,–where the little child had led.
And, last of all, the War Lord cast aside
His victor’s wreaths, and all his pomp and pride,
And followed,–where the little child had led.
And, groping through my fears, I bowed my head
And followed,–where the little child had led.

William Arthur Dunkerley (John Oxenham)

These are extraordinarily poems indeed! No, a few of his poems became a bestseller. William Arthur Dunkerle was doubtlessly one of the noblest poets of all time. He even became Worthing’s Mayor in Sussex.

Of course, I wouldn’t miss reading my all-time favorite work in his poetry collection―The Little Poem Of Life. I couldn’t help but be amazed by how creative he wrote it.

What about you? What’s your most favorite poem of William Arthur Dunkerley (John Oxenham)?

Do you still want to add another of his poem to this list? Let me know in the comment section below! 😉


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