Archibald MacLeish

(7 May 1892 – 20 April 1982 / Glencoe, Illinois)

Lines For A Prologue - Poem by Archibald MacLeish

These alternate nights and days, these seasons
Somehow fail to convince me. It seems
I have the sense of infinity!


(In your dreams, O crew of Columbus,
O listeners over the sea
For the surf that breaks upon Nothing—)


Once I was waked by the nightingales in the garden.
I thought, What time is it? I thought,
Time—Is it Time still?—Now is it Time?


(Tell me your dreams, O sailors:
Tell me, in sleep did you climb
The tall masts, and before you—)


At night the stillness of old trees
Is a leaning over and the inertness
Of hills is a kind of waiting.


(In sleep, in a dream, did you see
The world’s end? Did the water
Break—and no shore—Did you see?)


Strange faces come through the streets to me
Like messengers: and I have been warned
By the moving slowly of hands at a window.


Oh, I have the sense of infinity—
But the world, sailors, is round.
They say there is no end to it.


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Poem Submitted: Wednesday, April 7, 2010



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