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Best Famous Alan Seeger Poems

Here is a collection of the all-time best famous Alan Seeger poems. This is a select list of the best famous Alan Seeger poetry. Reading, writing, and enjoying famous Alan Seeger poetry (as well as classical and contemporary poems) is a great past time. These top poems are the best examples of Alan Seeger poems.

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Written by Alan Seeger |

The Wanderer

 To see the clouds his spirit yearned toward so 
Over new mountains piled and unploughed waves, 
Back of old-storied spires and architraves 
To watch Arcturus rise or Fomalhaut,

And roused by street-cries in strange tongues when day 
Flooded with gold some domed metropolis, 
Between new towers to waken and new bliss 
Spread on his pillow in a wondrous way:

These were his joys.
Oft under bulging crates, Coming to market with his morning load, The peasant found him early on his road To greet the sunrise at the city-gates,--- There where the meadows waken in its rays, Golden with mist, and the great roads commence, And backward, where the chimney-tops are dense, Cathedral-arches glimmer through the haze.
White dunes that breaking show a strip of sea, A plowman and his team against the blue Swiss pastures musical with cowbells, too, And poplar-lined canals in Picardie, And coast-towns where the vultures back and forth Sail in the clear depths of the tropic sky, And swallows in the sunset where they fly Over gray Gothic cities in the north, And the wine-cellar and the chorus there, The dance-hall and a face among the crowd,--- Were all delights that made him sing aloud For joy to sojourn in a world so fair.
Back of his footsteps as he journeyed fell Range after range; ahead blue hills emerged.
Before him tireless to applaud it surged The sweet interminable spectacle.
And like the west behind a sundown sea Shone the past joys his memory retraced, And bright as the blue east he always faced Beckoned the loves and joys that were to be.
From every branch a blossom for his brow He gathered, singing down Life's flower-lined road, And youth impelled his spirit as he strode Like winged Victory on the galley's prow.
That Loveliness whose being sun and star, Green Earth and dawn and amber evening robe, That lamp whereof the opalescent globe The season's emulative splendors are, That veiled divinity whose beams transpire From every pore of universal space, As the fair soul illumes the lovely face--- That was his guest, his passion, his desire.
His heart the love of Beauty held as hides One gem most pure a casket of pure gold.
It was too rich a lesser thing to bold; It was not large enough for aught besides.

Written by Alan Seeger |

The Need to Love

 The need to love that all the stars obey
Entered my heart and banished all beside.
Bare were the gardens where I used to stray; Faded the flowers that one time satisfied.
Before the beauty of the west on fire, The moonlit hills from cloister-casements viewed Cloud-like arose the image of desire, And cast out peace and maddened solitude.
I sought the City and the hopes it held: With smoke and brooding vapors intercurled, As the thick roofs and walls close-paralleled Shut out the fair horizons of the world--- A truant from the fields and rustic joy, In my changed thought that image even so Shut out the gods I worshipped as a boy And all the pure delights I used to know.
Often the veil has trembled at some tide Of lovely reminiscence and revealed How much of beauty Nature holds beside Sweet lips that sacrifice and arms that yield: Clouds, window-framed, beyond the huddled eaves When summer cumulates their golden chains, Or from the parks the smell of burning leaves, Fragrant of childhood in the country lanes, An organ-grinder's melancholy tune In rainy streets, or from an attic sill The blue skies of a windy afternoon Where our kites climbed once from some grassy hill: And my soul once more would be wrapped entire In the pure peace and blessing of those years.
Before the fierce infection of Desire Had ravaged all the flesh.
Through starting tears Shone that lost Paradise; but, if it did, Again ere long the prison-shades would fall That Youth condemns itself to walk amid, So narrow, but so beautiful withal.
And I have followed Fame with less devotion, And kept no real ambition but to see Rise from the foam of Nature's sunlit ocean My dream of palpable divinity; And aught the world contends for to mine eye Seemed not so real a meaning of success As only once to clasp before I die My vision of embodied happiness.

Written by Alan Seeger |


 Stretched on a sunny bank he lay at rest, 
Ferns at his elbow, lilies round his knees, 
With sweet flesh patterned where the cool turf pressed, 
Flowerlike crept o'er with emerald aphides.
Single he couched there, to his circling flocks Piping at times some happy shepherd's tune, Nude, with the warm wind in his golden locks, And arched with the blue Asian afternoon.
Past him, gorse-purpled, to the distant coast Rolled the clear foothills.
There his white-walled town, There, a blue band, the placid Euxine lay.
Beyond, on fields of azure light embossed He watched from noon till dewy eve came down The summer clouds pile up and fade away

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Written by Alan Seeger |


 A shell surprised our post one day 
And killed a comrade at my side.
My heart was sick to see the way He suffered as he died.
I dug about the place he fell, And found, no bigger than my thumb, A fragment of the splintered shell In warm aluminum.
I melted it, and made a mould, And poured it in the opening, And worked it, when the cast was cold, Into a shapely ring.
And when my ring was smooth and bright, Holding it on a rounded stick, For seal, I bade a Turco write Maktoob in Arabic.
Maktoob! "'Tis written!" .
So they think, These children of the desert, who From its immense expanses drink Some of its grandeur too.
Within the book of Destiny, Whose leaves are time, whose cover, space, The day when you shall cease to be, The hour, the mode, the place, Are marked, they say; and you shall not By taking thought or using wit Alter that certain fate one jot, Postpone or conjure it.
Learn to drive fear, then, from your heart.
If you must perish, know, O man, 'Tis an inevitable part Of the predestined plan.
And, seeing that through the ebon door Once only you may pass, and meet Of those that have gone through before The mighty, the elite -- --- Guard that not bowed nor blanched with fear You enter, but serene, erect, As you would wish most to appear To those you most respect.
So die as though your funeral Ushered you through the doors that led Into a stately banquet hall Where heroes banqueted; And it shall all depend therein Whether you come as slave or lord, If they acclaim you as their kin Or spurn you from their board.
So, when the order comes: "Attack!" And the assaulting wave deploys, And the heart trembles to look back On life and all its joys; Or in a ditch that they seem near To find, and round your shallow trough Drop the big shells that you can hear Coming a half mile off; When, not to hear, some try to talk, And some to clean their guns, or sing, And some dig deeper in the chalk -- - I look upon my ring: And nerves relax that were most tense, And Death comes whistling down unheard, As I consider all the sense Held in that mystic word.
And it brings, quieting like balm My heart whose flutterings have ceased, The resignation and the calm And wisdom of the East.

Written by Alan Seeger |

Sonnet 03

 Why should you be astonished that my heart, 
Plunged for so long in darkness and in dearth, 
Should be revived by you, and stir and start 
As by warm April now, reviving Earth? 
I am the field of undulating grass 
And you the gentle perfumed breath of Spring, 
And all my lyric being, when you pass, 
Is bowed and filled with sudden murmuring.
I asked you nothing and expected less, But, with that deep, impassioned tenderness Of one approaching what he most adores, I only wished to lose a little space All thought of my own life, and in its place To live and dream and have my joy in yours.

Written by Alan Seeger |


 In Lyonesse was beauty enough, men say: 
Long Summer loaded the orchards to excess, 
And fertile lowlands lengthening far away, 
In Lyonesse.
Came a term to that land's old favoredness: Past the sea-walls, crumbled in thundering spray, Rolled the green waves, ravening, merciless.
Through bearded boughs immobile in cool decay, Where sea-bloom covers corroding palaces, The mermaid glides with a curious glance to-day, In Lyonesse.

Written by Alan Seeger |

Sonnet 10

 I have sought Happiness, but it has been 
A lovely rainbow, baffling all pursuit, 
And tasted Pleasure, but it was a fruit 
More fair of outward hue than sweet within.
Renouncing both, a flake in the ferment Of battling hosts that conquer or recoil, There only, chastened by fatigue and toil, I knew what came the nearest to content.
For there at least my troubled flesh was free From the gadfly Desire that plagued it so; Discord and Strife were what I used to know, Heartaches, deception, murderous jealousy; By War transported far from all of these, Amid the clash of arms I was at peace.

Written by Alan Seeger |

La Nue

 Oft when sweet music undulated round, 
Like the full moon out of a perfumed sea 
Thine image from the waves of blissful sound 
Rose and thy sudden light illumined me.
And in the country, leaf and flower and air Would alter and the eternal shape emerge; Because they spoke of thee the fields seemed fair, And Joy to wait at the horizon's verge.
The little cloud-gaps in the east that filled Gray afternoons with bits of tenderest blue Were windows in a palace pearly-silled That thy voluptuous traits came glimmering through.
And in the city, dominant desire For which men toil within its prison-bars, I watched thy white feet moving in the mire And thy white forehead hid among the stars.
Mystical, feminine, provoking, nude, Radiant there with rosy arms outspread, Sum of fulfillment, sovereign attitude, Sensual with laughing lips and thrown-back head, Draped in the rainbow on the summer hills, Hidden in sea-mist down the hot coast-line, Couched on the clouds that fiery sunset fills, Blessed, remote, impersonal, divine; The gold all color and grace are folded o'er, The warmth all beauty and tenderness embower, -- Thou quiverest at Nature's perfumed core, The pistil of a myriad-petalled flower.
Round thee revolves, illimitably wide, The world's desire, as stars around their pole.
Round thee all earthly loveliness beside Is but the radiate, infinite aureole.
Thou art the poem on the cosmic page -- In rubric written on its golden ground -- That Nature paints her flowers and foliage And rich-illumined commentary round.
Thou art the rose that the world's smiles and tears Hover about like butterflies and bees.
Thou art the theme the music of the spheres Echoes in endless, variant harmonies.
Thou art the idol in the altar-niche Faced by Love's congregated worshippers, Thou art the holy sacrament round which The vast cathedral is the universe.
Thou art the secret in the crystal where, For the last light upon the mystery Man, In his lone tower and ultimate despair, Searched the gray-bearded Zoroastrian.
And soft and warm as in the magic sphere, Deep-orbed as in its erubescent fire, So in my heart thine image would appear, Curled round with the red flames of my desire.

Written by Alan Seeger |


 I who, conceived beneath another star, 
Had been a prince and played with life, instead 
Have been its slave, an outcast exiled far 
From the fair things my faith has merited.
My ways have been the ways that wanderers tread And those that make romance of poverty -- Soldier, I shared the soldier's board and bed, And Joy has been a thing more oft to me Whispered by summer wind and summer sea Than known incarnate in the hours it lies All warm against our hearts and laughs into our eyes.
I know not if in risking my best days I shall leave utterly behind me here This dream that lightened me through lonesome ways And that no disappointment made less dear; Sometimes I think that, where the hilltops rear Their white entrenchments back of tangled wire, Behind the mist Death only can make clear, There, like Brunhilde ringed with flaming fire, Lies what shall ease my heart's immense desire: There, where beyond the horror and the pain Only the brave shall pass, only the strong attain.
Truth or delusion, be it as it may, Yet think it true, dear friends, for, thinking so, That thought shall nerve our sinews on the day When to the last assault our bugles blow: Reckless of pain and peril we shall go, Heads high and hearts aflame and bayonets bare, And we shall brave eternity as though Eyes looked on us in which we would seem fair -- One waited in whose presence we would wear, Even as a lover who would be well-seen, Our manhood faultless and our honor clean.

Written by Alan Seeger |

Sonnet 11

 Apart sweet women (for whom Heaven be blessed), 
Comrades, you cannot think how thin and blue 
Look the leftovers of mankind that rest, 
Now that the cream has been skimmed off in you.
War has its horrors, but has this of good -- That its sure processes sort out and bind Brave hearts in one intrepid brotherhood And leave the shams and imbeciles behind.
Now turn we joyful to the great attacks, Not only that we face in a fair field Our valiant foe and all his deadly tools, But also that we turn disdainful backs On that poor world we scorn yet die to shield -- That world of cowards, hypocrites, and fools.

Written by Alan Seeger |

At the Tomb of Napoleon

 I stood beside his sepulchre whose fame, 
Hurled over Europe once on bolt and blast, 
Now glows far off as storm-clouds overpast 
Glow in the sunset flushed with glorious flame.
Has Nature marred his mould? Can Art acclaim No hero now, no man with whom men side As with their hearts' high needs personified? There are will say, One such our lips could name; Columbia gave him birth.
Him Genius most Gifted to rule.
Against the world's great man Lift their low calumny and sneering cries The Pharisaic multitude, the host Of piddling slanderers whose little eyes Know not what greatness is and never can.

Written by Alan Seeger |

On the Cliffs Newport

 Tonight a shimmer of gold lies mantled o'er 
Smooth lovely Ocean.
Through the lustrous gloom A savor steals from linden trees in bloom And gardens ranged at many a palace door.
Proud walls rise here, and, where the moonbeams pour Their pale enchantment down the dim coast-line, Terrace and lawn, trim hedge and flowering vine, Crown with fair culture all the sounding shore.
How sweet, to such a place, on such a night, From halls with beauty and festival a-glare, To come distract and, stretched on the cool turf, Yield to some fond, improbable delight, While the moon, reddening, sinks, and all the air Sighs with the muffled tumult of the surf!

Written by Alan Seeger |

El Extraviado

 Over the radiant ridges borne out on the offshore wind, 
I have sailed as a butterfly sails whose priming wings unfurled 
Leave the familiar gardens and visited fields behind 
To follow a cloud in the east rose-flushed on the rim of the world.
I have strayed from the trodden highway for walking with upturned eyes On the way of the wind in the treetops, and the drift of the tinted rack.
For the will to be losing no wonder of sunny or starlit skies I have chosen the sod for my pillow and a threadbare coat for my back.
Evening of ample horizons, opaline, delicate, pure, Shadow of clouds on green valleys, trailed over meadows and trees, Cities of ardent adventure where the harvests of Joy mature, Forests whose murmuring voices are amorous prophecies, World of romance and profusion, still round my journey spread The glamours, the glints, the enthralments, the nurture of one whose feet From hours unblessed by beauty nor lighted by love have fled As the shade of the tomb on his pathway and the scent of the winding-sheet.
I never could rest from roving nor put from my heart this need To be seeing how lovably Nature in flower and face hath wrought, -- In flower and meadow and mountain and heaven where the white clouds breed And the cunning of silken meshes where the heart's desire lies caught.
Over the azure expanses, on the offshore breezes borne, I have sailed as a butterfly sails, nor recked where the impulse led, Sufficed with the sunshine and freedom, the warmth and the summer morn, The infinite glory surrounding, the infinite blue ahead

Written by Alan Seeger |

I Have A Rendezvous With Death

 I have a rendezvous with Death
At some disputed barricade,
When Spring comes back with rustling shade
And apple-blossoms fill the air— 
I have a rendezvous with Death
When Spring brings back blue days and fair.
It may be he shall take my hand And lead me into his dark land And close my eyes and quench my breath— It may be I shall pass him still.
I have a rendezvous with Death On some scarred slope of battered hill When Spring comes round again this year And the first meadow-flowers appear.
God knows 'twere better to be deep Pillowed in silk and scented down, Where Love throbs out in blissful sleep, Pulse nigh to pulse, and breath to breath, Where hushed awakenings are dear.
But I've a rendezvous with Death At midnight in some flaming town, When Spring trips north again this year, And I to my pledged word am true, I shall not fail that rendezvous.

Written by Alan Seeger |

Sonnet 05

 Seeing you have not come with me, nor spent 
This day's suggestive beauty as we ought, 
I have gone forth alone and been content 
To make you mistress only of my thought.
And I have blessed the fate that was so kind In my life's agitations to include This moment's refuge where my sense can find Refreshment, and my soul beatitude.
Oh, be my gentle love a little while! Walk with me sometimes.
Let me see you smile.
Watching some night under a wintry sky, Before the charge, or on the bed of pain, These blessed memories shall revive again And be a power to cheer and fortify