Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, PRAYER AFTER YOUTH, by MAXWELL ANDERSON



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PRAYER AFTER YOUTH, by            
First Line: Oh gods of all enchanting lies
Last Line: That I am lost beyond devising. . .
Subject(s): Mortality; Prayer; Youth


Oh gods of all enchanting lies,
Hear now the louder voice that cries
Forever in me, crying and rising,
That I am lost beyond devising
Of the fearful blood or the quick brain
Here puzzling in the dark in vain
How I may live, how I may not die
While the bright days fall silently
And one by one through a cold heaven
The bright years fall that I am given
Out of silence and out of sound
Before I turn me back to ground.

Oh falling of water, passing of wind,
Hear this now -- the blood is thinned,
The blue broods lower, the night clings
All day long to the cumbered wings,
And late or soon but sooner now
The singing grass and the singing bough
Where my eternal summer was
I shall not find in tree or grass.
No, though the flickering dancers run
Endless ever through shadow and sun
And laughter slips along the dusk
And lover on lover turns to ask
What was given before words were,
Though wine be dark and lips be myrrh
And I live still and look on this
I shall be hollow as emptiness,
And the shadows before my eyes
Will be shadows of memories.

Oh mist of rivers running with death,
Hear this now, this is my breath
Crying forever, crying in fear
Of the eternal messenger
Whispering to me in a near night:
Oh, now look backward to delight;
Whispering, in the brain's chamber --
What was yours you may remember,
Still the long bolt of your weaving
May unroll for your deceiving,
But the years' meridian
Passes and comes not again,
And ever lower the pole-star
Rides behind the mariner.

Oh, all gods of enchanting lies,
Hear now the louder voice that cries
Forever in me, crying and rising,
That I am lost beyond devising. . .





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