Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE BOOK'S CREED, by JOSEPH SEAMON COTTER SR.

Poetry Explorer

Classic and Contemporary Poetry

THE BOOK'S CREED, by                
First Line: Reader, listen ere we go
Last Line: You will live this simple creed.
Subject(s): Books; Reading

Reader, listen ere we go,
I will furnish line and page;
You must bring a soul aglow
And an eye that scans the age.

I am but a shadow sent,
Telling of a shape that's gone;
I am just an instrument
All mankind may play upon.

If you would behold the shape,
You must carve it all alone.
I, as shadow, will be crepe
On your door till you are grown.

All my myriad silent keys
Are responsive to the touch
That has lived the mysteries
Former masters knew as such.

I am but a skeleton.
Flesh and blood and soul and speech
Were the property of one --
Now the property of each.

If you see a Godlike eye,
Give it not an ancient name.
Would you stamp a wanton lie
On the helmet of your fame?

If you hear a charming tongue,
Do not think it from the dead.
This old world proclaims it young
Through your heart and through your head.

If I am a ghastly find,
You are poor beyond compare --
You of empty heart and mind,
Dweller in a world of air.

You are dead to all the Then,
You are dead to all the Now,
If you hold that former men
Wore the garland for your brow.

Time and tide were theirs to brave,
Time and tide are yours to stem.
Bow not o'er their open grave
Till you drop your diadem.

Honor all who strove and wrought,
Even to their tears and groans;
But slay not your honest thought
Through your reverence for their bones.

Reader, listen ere we part,
Search to know and know to read;
And, by owning brain and heart,
You will live this simple creed.

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