Archibald MacLeish

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

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Baccalaureate


A year or two, and grey Euripides,
And Horace and a Lydia or so,
And Euclid and the brush of Angelo,
Darwin on man, Vergilius on bees,
The nose and Dialogues of Socrates,
Don Quixote, Hudibras and Trinculo,
How worlds are spawned and where the dead gods go,--
All shall be shard of broken memories.

And there shall linger other, magic things,--
The fog that creeps in wanly from the sea,
The rotton harbor smell, the mystery
Of moonlit elms, the flash of pigeon wings,
The sunny Green, the old-world peace that clings
About the college yard, where endlessly
The dead go up and down. These things shall be
Enchantment of our heart's rememberings.

And these are more than memories of youth
Which earth's four winds of pain shall blow away;
These are earth's symbols of eternal truth,
Symbols of dream and imagery and flame,
Symbols of those same verities that play
Bright through the crumbling gold of a great name.

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003

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  • Kevin Patrick (6/25/2013 12:29:00 PM)

    I think its about the writers memories of himself when he was learning of the masters, and his embracing them and there work while realizing there words are simply a fragment of their identities lost to the elements. Although these men are dead their work and they themselves live within the language and the culture they have expanded for human understanding. Becoming the symbols of eternal truth and great name

    Or just read it yourself and come to your own understanding. (Report) Reply

  • Jeff Thornton (11/4/2004 3:20:00 PM)

    brilliant. moving and so complex in content and rhyme.

    man- i hafta read his whole body! a hack like me could learn a toy or two- (Report) Reply

Read all 2 comments »

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