Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE IMMORTALS, by AMY LOWELL



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THE IMMORTALS, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: I have read you, and read you, my betters,
Last Line: Well, the mist has sunny flashes.
Subject(s): Immortality


I have read you and read you, my betters,
Piling high on the clear, brown shelves,
Mountain high, your very selves
Disguised in a garb of letters.

I have poked and pried beyond,
Seeking past words for how you did it,
While my mind was one tormented fidget
Like a stone-struck, shallow pond.
I have raveled your patterns out,
And matched them piece by piece as they were,
Till your hearts flashed again from the erstwhile blur.
Did I know then the rule from the rout?

Do I know how a flower comes --
A spurt of blue or a shoot of rose?
Plant a seed and watch while it grows.
Chrysanthemums, geraniums --
Let the scientists crack their craniums!

I know what paper is,
And I've handled pencils and pens and ink.
Does grammar teach us the way men think?
Can you narrow a man to a synthesis?

Build him from his parts if you can.
Shade him to color and cut him to shape,
Docket his method; something will escape,
And, presto! where is the man!

Two and two make four.
If your two and two will amalgamate,
But who knows the way to add moonshine to paint?
And there we touch the core.

I read you as I look at the sky,
Gratefully wondering at its fresh-flowing blue.
If I'm not, why I'm not, so why this to-do?
Must I disqualify?

Well, I won't my masters; so reckon
On the valiant rivalry of a flea.
I should lie to you if I never said "We."
You great gods, why do you beckon?

Clearly the fault is yours,
Flaunting a challenge I can't resist.
I declare my back has a permanent twist,
And my boot-straps are counted by scores.

Out of your anguish we see,
Out of your mighty rejoicing we are.
Your burning has seared us with a bleeding scar;
We strive in irony.

You most serene and dead
In your bright gardens! Our Gethsemane
Is planted with your immortality.
We walk with feet of lead.

With leaden feet we move,
And still with heads flung up and bared.
Fools, in that seeing, yet we dared
To follow you and prove.

Prove whether stars or ashes.
That's the touchstone, is it not?
Graven tablets or dry rot.
Well, the mist has sunny flashes.





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