For blows on the fort of evil
That never shows a breach,
For terrible life-long races
To a goal no foot can reach,
For reckless leaps into darkness
With hands outstretched to a star,
There is jubilation in Heaven
Where the great dead poets are.
There is joy over disappointment
And delight in hopes that were vain.
Each poet is glad there was no cure
To stop his lonely pain.
For nothing keeps a poet
In his high singing mood
Like unappeasable hunger
For unattainable food.
So fools are glad of the folly
That made them weep and sing,
And Keats is thankful for Fanny Brawne
And Drummond for his king.
They know that on flinty sorrow
And failure and desire
The steel of their souls was hammered
To bring forth the lyric fire.
Lord Byron and Shelley and Plunkett,
McDonough and Hunt and Pearse
See now why their hatred of tyrants
Was so insistently fierce.
Is Freedom only a Will-o'-the-wisp
To cheat a poet's eye?
Be it phantom or fact, it's a noble cause
In which to sing and to die!
So not for the Rainbow taken
And the magical White Bird snared
The poets sing grateful carols
In the place to which they have fared;
But for their lifetime's passion,
The quest that was fruitless and long,
They chorus their loud thanksgiving
To the thorn-crowned Master of Song.
Joyce Kilmer's Other Poems
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Comments about this poem (Apology by Joyce Kilmer )
(March 26, 1874 – January 29, 1963)
(12 July 1904 – 23 September 1973)
(19 April 1928 - 26 December 2006)
(2 June 1840 – 11 January 1928)
(3 June 1926 – 5 April 1997)
Harivansh Rai Bachchan
(27 November 1907 – 18 January 2003)
(10 December 1830 – 15 May 1886)
(31 October 1795 – 23 February 1821)
(16 August 1920 – 9 March 1994)
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