Happy Poetry Month!

They Had No Poet, by Don Marquis

“Vain was the chief’s, the sage’s pride!
They had no poet and they died.” — POPE.

By Tigris, or the streams of Ind,
Ere Colchis rose, or Babylon,
Forgotten empires dreamed and sinned,
Setting tall towns against the dawn.

Which, when the proud Sun smote upon,
Flashed fire for fire and pride for pride;
Their names were . . . Ask oblivion! . .
“They had no poet, and they died.”

Queens, dusk of hair and tawny-skinned,
That loll where fellow leopards fawn . . .
Their hearts are dust before the wind,
Their loves, that shook the world, are wan!

Passion is mighty . . . but, anon,
Strong Death has Romance for his bride;
Their legends . . . Ask oblivion! . . .
“They had no poet, and they died.”

Heroes, the braggart trumps that dinned
Their futile triumphs, monarch, pawn,
Wild tribesmen, kingdoms disciplined,
Passed like a whirlwind and were gone;

They built with bronze and gold and brawn,
The inner Vision still denied;
Their conquests . . . Ask oblivion! . . .
“They had no poet, and they died.”

Dumb oracles, and priests withdrawn,
Was it but flesh they deified?
Their gods were . . . Ask oblivion! . . .
“They had no poet, and they died.”

2 comments:

Marie DeVries said...

is this basically saying that we are nothing, life is nothing, without poetry, or am I just looking at the surface, and not digging deep enough?

Noel De Vries said...

Pretty much. Life is transient without poetry, at least. History is forgotten without poetry.