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The Wanderer



The Wanderer - Alan Seeger

 To see the clouds his spirit yearned toward so 
Over new mountains piled and unploughed waves, 
Back of old-storied spires and architraves 
To watch Arcturus rise or Fomalhaut,

And roused by street-cries in strange tongues when day 
Flooded with gold some domed metropolis, 
Between new towers to waken and new bliss 
Spread on his pillow in a wondrous way:

These were his joys. Oft under bulging crates, 
Coming to market with his morning load, 
The peasant found him early on his road 
To greet the sunrise at the city-gates,---

There where the meadows waken in its rays, 
Golden with mist, and the great roads commence, 
And backward, where the chimney-tops are dense, 
Cathedral-arches glimmer through the haze.

White dunes that breaking show a strip of sea, 
A plowman and his team against the blue 
Swiss pastures musical with cowbells, too, 
And poplar-lined canals in Picardie,

And coast-towns where the vultures back and forth
Sail in the clear depths of the tropic sky,
And swallows in the sunset where they fly
Over gray Gothic cities in the north,

And the wine-cellar and the chorus there,
The dance-hall and a face among the crowd,---
Were all delights that made him sing aloud 
For joy to sojourn in a world so fair.

Back of his footsteps as he journeyed fell 
Range after range; ahead blue hills emerged. 
Before him tireless to applaud it surged 
The sweet interminable spectacle.

And like the west behind a sundown sea 
Shone the past joys his memory retraced, 
And bright as the blue east he always faced 
Beckoned the loves and joys that were to be.

From every branch a blossom for his brow 
He gathered, singing down Life's flower-lined road, 
And youth impelled his spirit as he strode 
Like winged Victory on the galley's prow.

That Loveliness whose being sun and star,
Green Earth and dawn and amber evening robe,
That lamp whereof the opalescent globe
The season's emulative splendors are,

That veiled divinity whose beams transpire 
From every pore of universal space,
As the fair soul illumes the lovely face---
That was his guest, his passion, his desire.

His heart the love of Beauty held as hides 
One gem most pure a casket of pure gold. 
It was too rich a lesser thing to bold;
It was not large enough for aught besides.

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