Mark Van Doren
I wake and hearing it raining.
Were I dead, what would I give
Lazily to lie here,
Like this, and live?
Or better yet: birdsong,
Brightening and spreading --
How far would I come then
To be at the world's wedding?
Now that I lie, though,
(Oh, but not forever,
Oh, end arriving)
How shall I praise them:
All the sweet beings
Eternally that outlive
Me and my dying?
Mountains, I mean; wind, water, air;
Grass, and huge trees; clouds, flowers,
And thunder, and night.
Turtles, I mean, and toads; hawks, herons, owls;
Graveyards, and towns, and trout; roads, gardens,
Red berries, and deer.
Lightning, I mean, and eagles; fences; snow;
Sunrise, and ferns; waterfalls, serpents,
Green islands, and sleep.
Horses, I mean; butterflies, whales;
Mosses, and stars and gravelly
Rivers, and fruit.
Oceans, I mean; black valleys; corn;
Brambles, and cliffs; rock, dirt, dust, ice;
And warnings of flood.
How shall I name them?
And in what order?
Each would be first.
Omission is murder.
Maidens, I mean, and apples; needles; leaves;
Worms, and planers, and clover; whirlwinds; dew;
Bulls; geese --
Stop. Lie still.
You will never be done.
Leave them all there.
Old lover. Live on.
Mark Van Doren's Other Poems
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