I wish I had found this one last week...
(Poem #250) Walt Whitman
The master-songs are ended, and the man That sang them is a name. And so is God A name; and so is love, and life, and death, And everything. But we, who are too blind To read what we have written, or what faith Has written for us, do not understand: We only blink, and wonder. Last night it was the song that was the man, But now it is the man that is the song. We do not hear him very much to-day: His piercing and eternal cadence rings Too pure for us --- too powerfully pure, Too lovingly triumphant, and too large; But there are some that hear him, and they know That he shall sing to-morrow for all men, And that all time shall listen. The master-songs are ended? Rather say No songs are ended that are ever sung, And that no names are dead names. When we write Men's letters on proud marble or on sand, We write them there forever.
A beautifully elegiac poem. The sentiments expressed aren't particularly original, and the hyperbole is perhaps slightly overdone; nevertheless, the overall effect is both sombre and dignified. thomas. [Poetic Career} Edwin Arlington Robinson's most memorable poems portray people trapped in painful lives and unable to return to the security of the past. Like his poetic characters, Robinson suffered hardships throughout his life. His father's business failed in the Great Panic of 1893, one brother became a drug addict, another brother became an alcoholic, and Robinson himself struggled for years trying to earn money as a poet. After his first two volumes of poetry received favorable notice, he moved from his home in Gardiner, Maine, to New York City. His financial and critical status improved with his first Pulitzer Prize in 1922, and he went on to win two more Pulitzers in the following five years. Robinson's works include Children of the Night (1897), The Man against the Sky (1916), Avon's Harvest (1922), Collected Poems (1922), and Tristram (1927). [Links} We've done one poem by Edwin Robinson before this, Miniver Cheevy. You can read it (and the EB biography) at poem #234 An essay on Robinson's importance as a poet can be found at [broken link] http://ait.org.tw/ait/CIS/r2.htm This essay also has a bit about the themes that inform much of his work. There's a rather more general piece on Robinson's poetry at [broken link] http://www.georgetown.edu/bassr/heath/syllabuild/iguide/robinson.html My favourite elegy is Auden's wonderful poem in memory of Yeats, at poem #50 And of course, you can browse through all our previous poems at http://www.cs.rice.edu/~ssiyer/minstrels/