Stephen Vincent Benet
Stephen Vincent Benét was born in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, into an army family. His father, Colonel J. Walker Benét, served as a commanding officer of ordinance posts in California and Georgia. Frances Neill (Rose) Benét, Stephen's mother, was a descendant of an old Kentucky military family. Because his father was an avid reader, Benét grew up in home, where reading literature was valued and enjoyed.
At the age about ten, Benét was sent to the Hitchcock Military Academy. He did not like the brutality of the school and later wrote about it in his poem about Shelley at Eton: "His pile of books scattered about his feet, / Stood Shelley while two others held him fast, / And the ... more »
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Stephen Vincent Benet Poems
Elegy for an Enemy
(For G. H.) Say, does that stupid earth Where they have laid her,
(For D. M. C.) The little man with the vague beard and guise Pulled at the wicket. "Come inside!" he said,
Love in Twilight
There is darkness behind the light -- and the pale light drips Cold on vague shapes and figures, that, half-seen loom Like the carven prows of proud, far-triumphing ships -- And the firelight wavers and changes about the room,
Going Back to School
The boat ploughed on. Now Alcatraz was past And all the grey waves flamed to red again At the dead sun's last glimmer. Far and vast The Sausalito lights burned suddenly
There were not many at that lonely place, Where two scourged hills met in a little plain. The wind cried loud in gusts, then low again. Three pines strained darkly, runners in a race
A Minor Poet
I am a shell. From me you shall not hear The splendid tramplings of insistent drums, The orbed gold of the viol's voice that comes, Heavy with radiance, languorous and clear.
I lie stretched out upon the window-seat And doze, and read a page or two, and doze, And feel the air like water on me close, Great waves of sunny air that lip and beat
Ghosts of a Lunatic Asylum
Here, where men's eyes were empty and as bright As the blank windows set in glaring brick, When the wind strengthens from the sea -- and night Drops like a fog and makes the breath come thick;
Dinner in a Quick Lunch Room
Soup should be heralded with a mellow horn, Blowing clear notes of gold against the stars; Strange entrees with a jangle of glass bars Fantastically alive with subtle scorn;
Well, I was tired of life; the silly folk, The tiresome noises, all the common things I loved once, crushed me with an iron yoke. I longed for the cool quiet and the dark,
Before an Examination
The little letters dance across the page, Flaunt and retire, and trick the tired eyes; Sick of the strain, the glaring light, I rise Yawning and stretching, full of empty rage
My friend went to the piano; spun the stool A little higher; left his pipe to cool; Picked up a fat green volume from the chest; And propped it open.
My mind’s a map. A mad sea-captain drew it Under a flowing moon until he knew it; Winds with brass trumpets, puffy-cheeked as jugs,
I rained quite a lot, that spring. You woke in the morning And saw the sky still clouded, the streets still wet,
Quotationsmore quotations »
''I am tired of loving a foreign muse.''Stephen Vincent Benét (1898-1943), U.S. poet. American Names (l. 20). . . Oxford Book of American Verse, The. F. O. Matthiessen, ed. (1950) Oxford...
Comments about Stephen Vincent Benet
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Edgar Allan Poe
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(31 May 1819 - 26 March 1892)
(31 October 1795 – 23 February 1821)
Elegy for an Enemy
(For G. H.)
Say, does that stupid earth
Where they have laid her,
Bind still her sullen mirth,
Mirth which betrayed her?
Do the lush grasses hold,
Greenly and glad,
That brittle-perfect gold
She alone had?
Smugly the common crew,
Over their knitting,
Mourn her -- as butchers do
Sheep-throats they're slitting!
She was my enemy,
One of the best of them.
Would she come back to me,
God damn the rest of them!
Damn them, the flabby, fat,
Sleek little darlings!
We gave them tit for tat,
Snarlings for ...