Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE GREAT CAROUSAL, by LOUIS UNTERMEYER



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THE GREAT CAROUSAL, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Oh, do not think me dead when I
Last Line: The rich eternity of death.
Alternate Author Name(s): Lewis, Michael
Subject(s): Happiness; Immortality; Laughter; Soul; Joy; Delight


OH, do not think me dead when I
Beneath a bit of earth shall lie;
Think not that aught can ever kill
My arrogant and stubborn will.
My buoyant strength, my eager soul,
My stern desire shall keep me whole
And lift me from the drowsy deep...
I shall not even yield to Sleep.
For Death can never take from me
My warm, insatiate energy;
He shall not dare to touch one part
Of the gay challenge of my heart.
And I shall laugh at him, and lie
Happy beneath a laughing sky;
For I have fought too joyously
To let the conqueror conquer me—
I know that, after strengthening strife,
Death cannot quench my love of life;
Rob me of my dear self, my ears
Of music or my eyes of tears...
No, Death shall come in friendlier guise;
The cloths of darkness from my eyes
He shall roll back, and lo, the sea
Of Silence shall not cover me.
He shall make soft my final bed,
Stand, like a servant, at my head;
And, thrilled with all that Death may give,
I shall lie down to rest—and live...

And I shall know within the earth
A softer but a deeper mirth.
The wind shall never troll a song
But I shall hear it borne along,
And echoed long before he passes
By all the little unborn grasses.
I shall be clasped by roots and rains,
Feeding and fed by living grains;
There shall not be a single flower
Above my head but bears my power,
And every butterfly or bee
That tastes the flower shall drink of me.
Ah, we shall share a lip to lip
Carousal and companionship!

The storm, like some great blustering lout,
Shall play his games with me and shout
His joy to all the country-side.
Autumn, sun-tanned and April-eyed,
Shall scamper by and send his hosts
Of leaves, like brown and merry ghosts,
To frolic over me; and stones
Shall feel the dancing in their bones.
And red-cheeked Winter too shall be
A jovial bed-fellow for me,
Setting the startled hours ringing
With boisterous tales and lusty singing.
And, like a mother that has smiled
For years on every tired child,
Summer shall hold me in her lap...
And when the root stirs and the sap
Climbs anxiously beyond the boughs,
And all the friendly worms carouse,
Then, oh, how proudly, we shall sing
Bravuras for the feet of Spring!

And I shall lie forever there
Like some great king, and watch the fair
Young Spring dance on for me, and know
That love and rosy valleys glow
Where'er her blithe feet touch the earth.
And headlong joy and reckless mirth
Seeing her footsteps shall pursue.
Oh, I shall watch her smile and strew
Laughter and life with either hand;
And every quiver of the land,
Shall pierce me, while a joyful wave
Beats in upon my radiant grave.
Aye, like a king in deathless state
I shall be throned, and contemplate
The dying of the years, the vast
Vague panorama of the past,
The march of centuries, the surge
Of ages. ... but the deathless urge
Shall stir me always, and my will
Shall laugh to keep me living still;
Thrilling with every call and cry—
Too much in love with life to die.
Content to touch the earth, to hear
The whisper of each waiting year,
To help the stars go proudly by,
To speed the timid grass; and lie,
Sharing, with every movement's breath,
The rich eternity of Death.





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