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Best Famous William Rose Benet Poems

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by William Rose Benet |

The Falconer of God

 I flung my soul to the air like a falcon flying. 
I said, "Wait on, wait on, while I ride below! 
 I shall start a heron soon 
 In the marsh beneath the moon -- 
A strange white heron rising with silver on its wings, 
 Rising and crying 
 Wordless, wondrous things; 
The secret of the stars, of the world's heart-strings, 
 The answer to their woe. 
Then stoop thou upon him, and grip and hold him so!" 

 My wild soul waited on as falcons hover. 
 I beat the reedy fens as I trampled past. 
 I heard the mournful loon 
 In the marsh beneath the moon. 
And then -- with feathery thunder -- the bird of my desire 
 Broke from the cover 
 Flashing silver fire. 
 High up among the stars I saw his pinions spire. 
 The pale clouds gazed aghast 
As my falcon stoopt upon him, and gript and held him fast. 

My soul dropt through the air -- with heavenly plunder? -- 
Gripping the dazzling bird my dreaming knew? 
 Nay! but a piteous freight, 
 A dark and heavy weight 
Despoiled of silver plumage, its voice forever stilled, -- 
 All of the wonder 
 Gone that ever filled 
Its guise with glory. Oh, bird that I have killed, 
 How brilliantly you flew 
Across my rapturous vision when first I dreamed of you! 

 Yet I fling my soul on high with new endeavor, 
 And I ride the world below with a joyful mind. 
 I shall start a heron soon 
 In the marsh beneath the moon -- 
A wondrous silver heron its inner darkness fledges! 
 I beat forever 
 The fens and the sedges. 
 The pledge is still the same -- for all disastrous pledges, 
 All hopes resigned! 
My soul still flies above me for the quarry it shall find.


by William Rose Benet |

Mad Blake

 Blake saw a treeful of angels at Peckham Rye, 
And his hands could lay hold on the tiger's terrible heart. 
Blake knew how deep is Hell, and Heaven how high, 
And could build the universe from one tiny part. 
Blake heard the asides of God, as with furrowed brow 
He sifts the star-streams between the Then and the Now, 
In vast infant sagacity brooding, an infant's grace 
Shining serene on his simple, benignant face. 

Blake was mad, they say, -- and Space's Pandora-box 
Loosed its wonders upon him -- devils, but angels indeed. 
I, they say, am sane, but no key of mine unlocks 
One lock of one gate wherethrough Heaven's glory is freed. 
And I stand and I hold my breath, daylong, yearlong, 
Out of comfort and easy dreaming evermore starting awake, -- 
Yearning beyond all sanity for some echo of that Song 
Of Songs that was sung to the soul of the madman, Blake!