Archibald MacLeish: Online Poems
A year or two, and grey Euripides,
And Horace and a Lydia or so,
And Euclid and the brush of Angelo,
Darwin on man, Vergilius on bees,
The nose and Dialogues of Socrates,
Don Quixote, Hudibras and Trinculo,
How worlds are spawned and where the dead gods go,--
All shall be shard of broken memories.
And there shall linger other, magic things,--
The fog that creeps in wanly from the sea,
The rotton harbor smell, the mystery
Of moonlit elms, the flash of pigeon wings,
The sunny Green, the old-world peace that clings
About the college yard, where endlessly
The dead go up and down. These things shall be
Enchantment of our heart's rememberings.
And these are more than memories of youth
Which earth's four winds of pain shall blow away;
These are earth's symbols of eternal truth,
Symbols of dream and imagery and flame,
Symbols of those same verities that play
Bright through the crumbling gold of a great name.
Two Poems from the War
Oh, not the loss of the accomplished thing!
Not dumb farewells, nor long relinquishment
Of beauty had, and golden summer spent,
And savage glory of the fluttering
Torn banners of the rain, and frosty ring
Of moon-white winters, and the imminent
Long-lunging seas, and glowing students bent
To race on some smooth beach the gull's wing:
Not these, nor all we've been, nor all we've loved,
The pitiful familiar names, had moved
Our hearts to weep for them; but oh, the star
The future is! Eternity's too wan
To give again that undefeated, far,
All-possible irradiance of dawn.
Like moon-dark, like brown water you escape,
O laughing mouth, O sweet uplifted lips.
Within the peering brain old ghosts take shape;
You flame and wither as the white foam slips
Back from the broken wave: sometimes a start,
A gesture of the hands, a way you own
Of bending that smooth head above your heart,--
Then these are varied, then the dream is gone.
Oh, you are too much mine and flesh of me
To seal upon the brain, who in the blood
Are so intense a pulse, so swift a flood
Of beauty, such unceasing instancy.
Dear unimagined brow, unvisioned face,
All beauty has become your dwelling place.
There is no dusk to be,
There is no dawn that was,
Only there's now, and now,
And the wind in the grass.
Days I remember of
Now in my heart, are now;
Days that I dream will bloom
White the peach bough.
Dying shall never be
Now in the windy grass;
Now under shooken leaves
Death never was.
Return to Archibald MacLeish