Mark Van Doren

(June 13, 1894 – December 10, 1972 / Hope, Illinois,)

Morning Worship


I wake and hearing it raining.
Were I dead, what would I give
Lazily to lie here,
Like this, and live?

Or better yet: birdsong,
Brightening and spreading --
How far would I come then
To be at the world's wedding?

Now that I lie, though,
Listening, living,
(Oh, but not forever,
Oh, end arriving)

How shall I praise them:
All the sweet beings
Eternally that outlive
Me and my dying?

Mountains, I mean; wind, water, air;
Grass, and huge trees; clouds, flowers,
And thunder, and night.

Turtles, I mean, and toads; hawks, herons, owls;
Graveyards, and towns, and trout; roads, gardens,
Red berries, and deer.

Lightning, I mean, and eagles; fences; snow;
Sunrise, and ferns; waterfalls, serpents,
Green islands, and sleep.

Horses, I mean; butterflies, whales;
Mosses, and stars and gravelly
Rivers, and fruit.

Oceans, I mean; black valleys; corn;
Brambles, and cliffs; rock, dirt, dust, ice;
And warnings of flood.

How shall I name them?
And in what order?
Each would be first.
Omission is murder.

Maidens, I mean, and apples; needles; leaves;
Worms, and planers, and clover; whirlwinds; dew;
Bulls; geese --

Stop. Lie still.
You will never be done.
Leave them all there.
Old lover. Live on.

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003

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  • Freshman - 1,925 Points Hans Vr (6/2/2010 10:58:00 PM)

    I really like this poem
    It is so full of meaning
    Let us just be grateful for all things, living and not
    as long as we live, as long as we live.
    Reading this poem has instantly got me in a reflective mood. (Report) Reply

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