Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE THINKER'S VISION, by WILLIAM ROSE BENET

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

THE THINKER'S VISION, by                 Poet Analysis     Poet's Biography
First Line: Those aerial osier bridges / swung from cordilleran ridges
Last Line: Love, dare thou the gulf with me!
Subject(s): Adventure & Adventurers; Vision

Those aërial osier bridges
Swung from Cordilleran ridges,
O'er a gulf of dizzy blue,
That the native of Peru
Treads so nimbly, where most querulous
Souls would balk the passage perilous—
Like to them our reason is,
Swung across a wild abyss.

Daring spirits grasp its strands
With their immaterial hands.
All save recreants know its urge,
Venturing from the hither verge.
Only spirits crystal pure
Find their footing quite secure.
Souls clear-gold, burnt clean of dross,
Rapturous-swift may only cross.

For mere armament of mind
Plunges from it to the blind
Mists below, and mere emotion
Reels to plumb the selfsame ocean.
Frail its subtle silver cords
Woven of a million words;
Frailer yet its guardian ghosts,
Pale in multitudinous hosts!
Tenuous, beauty-curved, and bright,
So it sways across our night,
Clouded height to clouded height.

So I see it glorious
For the single soul and mind
And the heart victorious
With the passion of mankind.
Every strand is finer gold
Than a thousand tomes have told.
Faiths and fears, delight, despair,
Wove it out of thinnest air.

Brain and heart and spirit breath
Breathed it o'er the gulfs of death,
As a spider's web is spun,
Glistering through floods of sun,
Glimmering through wracks of cloud
To a cliff how brightly browed,
How superb a citadel,
Scarcely any thought can tell.

Oh, the challenge, splendidly
Ringing from Eternity
O'er the gulf's profundity!
Love, dare thou the gulf with me!

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