To A Poet A Thousand Years Hence Poem by James Elroy Flecker

To A Poet A Thousand Years Hence

Rating: 4.8

I who am dead a thousand years,
And wrote this sweet archaic song,
Send you my words for messengers
The way I shall not pass along.

I care not if you bridge the seas,
Or ride secure the cruel sky,
Or build consummate palaces
Of metal or of masonry.

But have you wine and music still,
And statues and a bright-eyed love,
And foolish thoughts of good and ill,
And prayers to them who sit above?

How shall we conquer? Like a wind
That falls at eve our fancies blow,
And old Mæonides the blind
Said it three thousand years ago.

O friend unseen, unborn, unknown,
Student of our sweet English tongue,
Read out my words at night, alone:
I was a poet, I was young.

Since I can never see your face,
And never shake you by the hand,
I send my soul through time and space
To greet you. You will understand.

Stevie Smith 15 January 2016

There very first time I read this poem it gave me chills. I love this poem and never tire of reading it.

3 2 Reply
Daniel Brick 25 December 2014

No one could possibly consider Flecker a futurist. He specically discounts the glory of modern architecture and its use of new materials that seem to evoke an impersonal grandeur that leaves him cold. The things he does honor and hope still will prevail a thousand years in the future are familiar to readers of poetry of the Aesthetic Movement: Wine, Women and Song, that durable trio of sensual delights, symbolizes neatly these hopes of the poets. Flecker is a Poet of Desire, and never reached the age at which such poets must consider renunciation. He is also a Poet of the Quest, but a quest for spiritual values, not of material or practical possessions. His view of the Middle East and South Asia would certainly fit Edward Saiid's OREIENTALISM, but Flecker's devotion to this imaginative vision is so sincere, pure, non-egoistic and poetic that I for one embrace him and his quest.

1 2 Reply
Elise Hollingsworth 30 March 2012

This is my favourite poem

4 3 Reply
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