Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, A BIRTHDAY, by LOUIS UNTERMEYER



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A BIRTHDAY, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Again I come / with my handful of song
Last Line: You who have soothed me with passion and roused me with passionate peace.
Alternate Author Name(s): Lewis, Michael
Subject(s): Aging; Birthdays; Happiness; Singing & Singers; Time; Joy; Delight


AGAIN I come
With my handful of Song—
With my trumpery gift tricked out and made showy with rhyme.
It is Spring, and the time
When your thoughts are long;
When the blossoming world in its confident prime
Whispers and wakens imperative dreams;
When you color and start
With the airiest schemes
And the laughter of children is stirring your heart...

With all of these voices that rise to restore you
To gladness again,
With your heart full of things that sing and adore you,
I come with my strain—
I come with my tinkling that patters like rain
On a rickety pane;
With a jingle of words and old tunes which have long
Done duty in song;
Spreading my verse, like a showman, before you...
And you turn to the world, as you turn to the bosom that bore you.

In all this singing at your heart,
In all this ringing through the day,
In the bravado of the May
I have no part. ...
For I am not one with the conquering year
That wakes without fear
The lyrical souls of the feathery throng,
That flames in the heavens when evenings are long;
That surges with power and urges with cheer
The boldness of love, the laugh of the strong,
And the confident song...

I am no longer the masterful lover
Storming my way to the shrine of your heart;
Reckless with youth and the zest to discover
All that the world sets apart.
I am no longer
Wiser and stronger;
No longer I shout in the face of the world;
No longer my challenge is sounded and hurled
With such fury that even the heavens must hear it.
No longer I mount on a passionate flood—
Something has changed my arrogant spirit,
Something has left my braggart blood.
Something has left me—something has entered in—
Something I knew not, something beyond my desire.
Deeper and gentler I hold you; all that has been
Seems like a spark that is lost in a forest of fire.
Minor my song is, for still the old memories burn—
Only in you and your thought do I find my release...
I have done with the blustering airs, and I turn
From the clamorous strife to the greater heroics of peace.

Take me again
Out of the cries and alarms
All of the tumult is vain...
Here in your arms.

Hold me again—
Oft have we wandered apart;
Now it is all made plain...
Here in your heart.

Heal me again—
Cleanse me with tears that remove
Pain and the ruins of pain...
Here in your love.

Minor my song was—abashed I must lower my voice;
Something has touched me with nobler and holier fire;
Something that thrills, as when trumpets and children rejoice;
Something I knew not, something beyond my desire...
Minor no longer—the sighing and droning depart;
In a chorus of triumph the jubilant spirits increase—
Shelter and spur me forever in the merciful strength of your heart,
You who have soothed me with passion and roused me with passionate peace.





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