(For Alain Loch)
Dead men are wisest, for they know
How far the roots of flowers go,
How long a seed must rot to grow.
Dead men alone bear frost and rain
On throbless heart and heatless brain,
And feel no stir of joy or pain.
Dead men alone are satiate;
They sleep and dream and have no weight,
To curb their rest, of love or hate.
Strange, men should flee their company,
Or think me strange who long to be
Wrapped in their cool immunity.
Practical people, I have been told,
Weary of the sea for his waves go up and down
Endlessly to no visible purpose;
Tire of the tides, for the tides are tireless, the tides
Are well content with their own march-tune
And nothing accomplished is no matter to them.
It seems wasteful to practical people.
And that the nations labor and gather and dissolve
Into destruction; the stars sharpen
Their spirit of splendor, and then it dims, and the stars
Darken; and that the spirit of man
Sharpens up to maturity and cools dull
With age, dies, and rusts out of service;
And all these tidal gatherings, growth and decay,
Shining and darkening, are forever
Renewed; and the whole cycle impenitently
Revolves, and all the past is future:–––
Make it a difficult world… for practical people.
This poem is in the public domain.