Credo

- 1883-1966
I sing the will to love:
the will that carves the will to live,
the will that saps the will to hurt,
the will that kills the will to die;
the will that made and keeps you warm,
the will that points your eyes ahead,
the will that makes you give, not get,
a give and get that tell us what you are:
how much a god, how much a human.
I call on you to live the will to love.

More by Alfred Kreymborg

Cezanne

Our door was shut to the noon-day heat.
We could not see him.
We might not have heard him either—
Resting, dozing, dreaming pleasantly.
But his step was tremendous—
Are mountains on the march?

He was no man who passed;
But a great faithful horse
Dragging a load
Up the hill.

The Tree

I am four monkeys.
One hangs from a limb,
tail-wise,
chattering at the earth;
another is cramming his belly with cocoanut;
the third is up in the top branches,
quizzing the sky,
and the fourth—
he's chasing another monkey.
How many monkeys are you?

Crocus

When trees have lost remembrance of the leaves
that spring bequeaths to summer, autumn weaves
and loosens mournfully — this dirge, to whom
does it belong — who treads the hidden loom?

When peaks are overwhelmed with snow and ice,
and clouds with crepe bedeck and shroud the skies — 
nor any sun or moon or star, it seems,
can wedge a path of light through such black dreams — 

All motion cold, and dead all traces thereof:
What sudden shock below, or spark above,
starts torrents raging down till rivers surge — 
that aid the first small crocus to emerge?

The earth will turn and spin and fairly soar,
that couldn't move a tortoise-foot before — 
and planets permeate the atmosphere
till misery depart and mystery clear! — 

And yet, so insignificant a hearse? — 
who gave it the endurance so to brave
such elements? — shove winter down a grave? — 
and then lead on again the universe?

Related Poems

Flash

I am less of myself and more of the sun;
The beat of life is wearing me
To an incomplete oblivion,
Yet not to the certain dignity
Of death. They cannot even die
Who have not lived.

                                The hungry jaws
Of space snap at my unlearned eye,
And time tears in my flesh like claws.

If I am not life’s, if I am not death’s,
Out of chaos I must re-reap
The burden of untasted breaths.
Who has not waked may not yet sleep.