Matthew Arnold
Middlesex / England
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A Wish

Rating: 3.1
I ask not that my bed of death
From bands of greedy heirs be free;
For these besiege the latest breath
Of fortune's favoured sons, not me.

I ask not each kind soul to keep
Tearless, when of my death he hears;
Let those who will, if any, weep!
There are worse plagues on earth than tears.

I ask but that my death may find
The freedom to my life denied;
Ask but the folly of mankind,
Then, at last, to quit my side.

Spare me the whispering, crowded room,
The friends who come, and gape, and go;
The ceremonious air of gloom -
All which makes death a hideous show!

Nor bring, to see me cease to live,
Some doctor full of phrase and fame,
To shake his sapient head and give
The ill he cannot cure a name.

Nor fetch, to take the accustomed toll
Of the poor sinner bound for death,
His brother doctor of the soul,
To canvass with official breath

The future and its viewless things -
That undiscovered mystery
Which one who feels death's winnowing wings
Must need read clearer, sure, than he!

Bring none of these; but let me be,
While all around in silence lies,
Moved to the window near, and see
Once more before my dying eyes

Bathed in the sacred dew of morn
The wide aerial landscape spread -
The world which was ere I was born,
The world which lasts when I am dead.

Which never was the friend of one,
Nor promised love it could not give,
But lit for all its generous sun,
And lived itself, and made us live.

There let me gaze, till I become
In soul with what I gaze on wed!
To feel the universe my home;
To have before my mind -instead

Of the sick-room, the mortal strife,
The turmoil for a little breath -
The pure eternal course of life,
Not human combatings with death.

Thus feeling, gazing, let me grow
Composed, refreshed, ennobled, clear;
Then willing let my spirit go
To work or wait elsewhere or here!
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COMMENTS
Enobong Ernest Enobong 01 February 2019
Hmmm...... Death throes Creativity has used thy ink
1 0 Reply
Terry Craddock 14 December 2016
we ask of death desires, death listens in dark silences, before taking his dramatic leave
3 4 Reply
Mizzy ........ 14 December 2016
Wonderful parting piece......
4 4 Reply
Anil Kumar Panda 14 December 2016
A great poem on death. Loved it.
3 4 Reply
Ratnakar Mandlik 14 December 2016
To feel the universe my home An amazing death wish, seriously thought out and amply elaborated bt the master craftsman through his muse. Thanks for sharing it here.
1 1 Reply
Kenneth Maswabi 14 December 2016
It's a great poem. Thank you very much.
2 1 Reply
Edward Kofi Louis 14 December 2016
Besiege! ! Thanks for sharing this poem with us.
2 2 Reply
Bisy Untan 14 December 2016
I'm feeling death through the picturesque lines.Humble bow to the great poet...
2 1 Reply
Oduro Bright Amoh 16 November 2015
Nor bring, to see me cease to live, Some doctor full of phrase and fame, To shake his sapient head and give The ill he cannot cure a name. What marvelous way to tell the events of ones last breath! Very interesting poem
3 4 Reply
Susan Williams 24 October 2015
After reading the intelligent comments below, I cannot think of anything to add to their musings. This poem is a great piece and the comments just as great.
32 2 Reply

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