Louis Untermeyer

(1885-1977 / United States)

Koheleth Poem by Louis Untermeyer


I waited and worked
To win myself leisure,
Till loneliness irked
And I turned to raw pleasure.


I drank and I gamed,
I feasted and wasted,
Till, sick and ashamed,
The food stood untasted.

I searched in the Book
For rooted convictions,
Till the badgered brain shook
With its own contradictions.

Then, done with the speech,
Of the foolishly lettered,
I started to teach
Life cannot be bettered:

That the warrior fails
Whatever his weapon,
And nothing avails
While time and chance happen.

That fools who assure men
With lies are respected,
While the vision of pure men
Is scorned and rejected.

That a wise man goes grieving
Even in Zion,
While any dog living
Outroars a dead lion.

Submitted: Friday, April 16, 2010

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