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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. 

Online Source

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. 

Online Source

An Eternity

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.

Online Source

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