Oh for a poet—for a beacon bright
To rift this changeless glimmer of dead gray; 
To spirit back the Muses, long astray,
And flush Parnassus with a newer light;
To put these little sonnet-men to flight
Who fashion, in a shrewd mechanic way, 
Songs without souls, that flicker for a day, 
To vanish in irrevocable night,

What does it mean, this barren age of ours? 
Here are the men, the women, and the flowers, 
The seasons, and the sunset, as before.
What does it mean? Shall there not one arise 
To wrench one banner from the western skies, 
And mark it with his name forevermore?

This poem is in the public domain. Published in Poem-a-Day on July 6, 2024, by the Academy of American Poets.