Alan Seeger (22 June 1888 - 4 July 1916 / New York City, New York)
O happiness, I know not what far seas,
Blue hills and deep, thy sunny realms surround,
That thus in Music's wistful harmonies
And concert of sweet sound
A rumor steals, from some uncertain shore,
Of lovely things outworn or gladness yet in store:
Whether thy beams be pitiful and come,
Across the sundering of vanished years,
From childhood and the happy fields of home,
Like eyes instinct with tears
Felt through green brakes of hedge and apple-bough
Round haunts delightful once, desert and silent now;
Or yet if prescience of unrealized love
Startle the breast with each melodious air,
And gifts that gentle hands are donors of
Still wait intact somewhere,
Furled up all golden in a perfumed place
Within the folded petals of forthcoming days.
Only forever, in the old unrest
Of winds and waters and the varying year,
A litany from islands of the blessed
Answers, Not here . . . not here!
And over the wide world that wandering cry
Shall lead my searching heart unsoothed until I die.
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