Guest poem sent in by Rajeev
(Poem #300) The Gift of God -
Blessed with a joy that only she Of all alive shall ever know, She wears a proud humility For what it was that willed it so - That her degree should be so great Among the favoured of the Lord That she may scarcely bear the weight Of her bewildering reward. As one apart, immune, alone, Or featured for the shining ones, And like to none that she has known Of other women's other sons - The firm fruition of her need, He shines anointed; and he blurs Her vision, till it seems indeed A sacrilege to call him hers. She fears a little for so much Of what is best, and hardly dares To think of him as one to touch With aches, indignities, and cares; She sees him rather at the goal, Still shining; and her dream foretells The proper shining of a soul Where nothing ordinary dwells. Perchance a canvass of the town Would find him far from flags and shouts, And leave him only the renown Of many smiles and many doubts; Perchance the crude and common tongue Would havoc strangely with his worth; But she, with innocence unwrung, Would read his name around the earth. And others, knowing how this youth Would shine, if love could make him great, When caught and tortured for the truth Would only writhe and hesitate; While she, arranging for his days What centuries could not fulfil, Transmutes him with her faith and praise, And has him shining where she will. She crowns him with her gratefulness, And says again that life is good; And should the gift of God be less In him than in her motherhood, His fame, though vague, will not be small As upward through her dream he fares, Half clouded with a crimson fall Of roses thrown on marble stairs.
I came across this in a random search for American poets. The site url is http://www.library.utoronto.ca/utel/rp/authors/robnea.html Immediate reaction on reading this was to send it to my mother. That, I suppose, says it all. I have no comments on the construction of the poem - I don't know that much. But I've always read poetry because of the element of music attached (sing-song, if you will) - and this one has its own music. Rajeev PS - My mother loves it!! [biography] Edwin Arlington Robinson was born on Dec. 22, 1869, at Head Tide in Maine and until 1897 lived at the family home in Gardiner, Maine, aside from several years as a student at Harvard University. For the rest of his life he moved in New York and devoted his life to writing poetry. Robinson earned a small living first as a subway inspector and then in the city's customs office. He resided in rooms at boarding houses in New York and Yonkers, at the Hotel Judson on Washington Square, in Brooklyn at 810 Washington Ave., and at last on West 42nd Street. His Collected Poems in 1922 received the Pulitzer Prize and earned him a degree as Doctor of Literature at Yale University. Although best known for his short poems, long poems such as Captain Craig (1902), Lancelot (1920), The Man Who Died Twice (1924), and Tristram (1927) earned him acclaim from his peers. The last two of these won Pulitzer Prizes in 1925 and 1927, when he was elected as a member of the National Academy of Arts and Letters. Robinson never married but enjoyed the company of many friends. He died of cancer in hospital in New York on April 6, 1935.