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Louis Untermeyer, ed. (1885–1977). Modern American Poetry. 1919.

Louis Untermeyer1885–1977


GOD, though this life is but a wraith,

Although we know not what we use,

Although we grope with little faith,

Give me the heart to fight—and lose.

Ever insurgent let me be,

Make me more daring than devout;

From sleek contentment keep me free,

And fill me with a buoyant doubt.

Open my eyes to visions girt

With beauty, and with wonder lit—

But always let me see the dirt,

And all that spawn and die in it.

Open my ears to music; let

Me thrill with Spring’s first flutes and drums—

But never let me dare forget

The bitter ballads of the slums.

From compromise and things half done,

Keep me with stern and stubborn pride;

And when at last the fight is won,

God, keep me still unsatisfied.