Published on Academy of American Poets (


Amid my books I lived the hurrying years,
   Disdaining kinship with my fellow man;
Alike to me were human smiles and tears,
   I cared not whither Earth's great life-stream ran,
Till as I knelt before my mouldered shrine,
   God made me look into a woman's eyes;
And I, who thought all earthly wisdom mine,
   Knew in a moment that the eternal skies
Were measured but in inches, to the quest
   That lay before me in that mystic gaze.
“Surely I have been errant; it is best
   That I should tread, with men their human ways.”
God took the teacher, ere the task was learned,
And to my lonely books again I turned.


This poem is in the public domain.


John McCrae

John McCrae was born on November 30, 1872. A Canadian doctor and teacher who served in World War I, he is best known for his memorial poem “In Flanders Fields.” He died on January 28, 1918.

Date Published: 2018-11-02

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