Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE WRESTLERS, by WILLIAM ROSE BENET

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THE WRESTLERS, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Tell me thy name, thou wrestler in the night
Last Line: Wrestling through the night!
Subject(s): Wrestling & Wrestlers; Judo; Karate

Tell me thy name, thou wrestler in the night,
Silent, cruel-sinewed, unbeheld of sight,
Ere another day bid my reason wake,
Ere the morning break!

Long we heave and strain, grip and slip and hold,
Struggling hard and lithe, warring from of old;
And thy greater strength strives unwearyingly.
Tell thy name to me!

Nay, thou hast me not! Yet a little space,
I can force thy hold, I shall see thy face.
Yet -- the vantage slips. Loud my pulses beat
With foredoomed defeat.

Tell me thy name, wrestler great and bright,
Labouring heart to heart through this heavy night!
As when Israel's foe touched and scarred his thigh,
Wrenched at grips am I.

Silence. Shuddering breath. Graspings swift and blind.
All life's mystery grappling with the mind.
Peniel's silent power -- Man's long fierce despite --
Wrestling through the night!

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