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Eager To Be Praised

Robinson Jeffers

Goethe, they say, was a great poet, Pindar, perhaps,
  was a great poet, Shakespeare and Sophocles
Stand beyond question. I am thinking of the few, the
  fortunate,
Who died fulfilled.
                         I think of Christopher Marlowe,
                          stabbed through the eye in a tavern
                          brawl by a bawdy serving-man,
Spilling his youth and brains on the greasy planks.
  I think of young Keats,
Wild with his work unfinished, sobbing for air, dying in Rome.
  I think of Edgar Poe
And Robert Burns. I think of Lucretius leaving his poem unfinished
  to go and kill himself. I think of Archilochus
Grinning with crazy bitterness. I think of Virgil
In despair of his life-work, begging his friends to destroy it,
  coughing his lungs out.

     Yet the young men
Still come to me with their books and manuscripts,
Eager to be poets, eager to be praised, eager as Keats.
  They are mad I think.


Submitted by Holt

Added: 1 Mar 2004 | Last Read: 17 Jan 2018 5:58 AM | Viewed: 6047 times

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URL: http://plagiarist.com/poetry/9255/ | Viewed on 17 January 2018.
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