(For Eleanor Rogers Cox)
For blows on the fort of evil
   That never shows a breach,
For terrible life-long races
   To a goal no foot can reach,
For reckless leaps into darkness
   With hands outstretched to a star,
There is jubilation in Heaven
   Where the great dead poets are.
There is joy over disappointment
   And delight in hopes that were vain.
Each poet is glad there was no cure
   To stop his lonely pain.
For nothing keeps a poet
   In his high singing mood
Like unappeasable hunger
   For unattainable food.
So fools are glad of the folly
   That made them weep and sing,
And Keats is thankful for Fanny Brawne
   And Drummond for his king.
They know that on flinty sorrow
   And failure and desire
The steel of their souls was hammered
   To bring forth the lyric fire.
Lord Byron and Shelley and Plunkett,
   McDonough and Hunt and Pearse
See now why their hatred of tyrants
   Was so insistently fierce.
Is Freedom only a Will-o’-the-wisp
   To cheat a poet’s eye?
Be it phantom or fact, it’s a noble cause
   In which to sing and to die!
So not for the Rainbow taken
   And the magical White Bird snared
The poets sing grateful carols
   In the place to which they have fared;
But for their lifetime’s passion,
   The quest that was fruitless and long,
They chorus their loud thanksgiving
   To the thorn-crowned Master of Song.

Webpage © 2001 ELC
Lane Core Jr. (lane@elcore.net)
Created March 31, 2001; not revised.