Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE LIZARD, by EDWIN MARKHAM

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THE LIZARD, by                 Poet Analysis     Poet's Biography
First Line: I sit among the hoary trees
Last Line: The circle of eternal youth.
Subject(s): Lizards

I sit among the hoary trees
With Aristotle on my knees,
And turn with serious hand the pages,
Lost in the cobweb-hush of ages;
When suddenly with no more sound
Than any sunbeam on the ground,
The little hermit of the place
Is peering down into my face—
The slim gray hermit of the rocks,
With bright inquisitive, quick eyes,
His life a round of harks and shocks,
A little ripple of surprise.

Now lifted up, intense and still,
Sprung from the silence of the hill,
He hangs upon the ledge a-glisten,
And his whole body seems to listen!
My pages give a little start,
And he is gone! to be a part
Of the old cedar's crumpled bark,
A mottled scar, a weather-mark!

How halt am I, how mean of birth,
Beside this darting pulse of earth!
I only have the wit to look
Into a big presumptuous book,
To find some sage's rigid plan
To tell me how to be a man.
Tradition lays its dead hand cold
Upon our youth—and we are old.

But this wise hermit, this gray friar,
He has no law but heart's desire.
He somehow touches higher truth,
The circle of eternal youth.

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