English Poem “An Ode to Antares” of poet Alan Seeger complete poem with summery for Students.

An Ode to Antares

Alan Seeger

At dusk, when lowlands where dark waters glide

Robe in gray mist, and through the greening hills

The hoot-owl calls his mate, and whippoorwills

Clamor from every copse and orchard-side,

I watched the red star rising in the East,

And while his fellows of the flaming sign

From prisoning daylight more and more released,

Lift their pale lamps, and, climbing higher, higher,

Out of their locks the waters of the Line

Shaking in clouds of phosphorescent fire,

Rose in the splendor of their curving flight,

Their dolphin leap across the austral night,

From windows southward opening on the sea

What eyes, I wondered, might be watching, too,

Orbed in some blossom-laden balcony.

Where, from the garden to the rail above,

As though a lover’s greeting to his love

Should borrow body and form and hue

And tower in torrents of floral flame,

The crimson bougainvillea grew,

What starlit brow uplifted to the same

Majestic regress of the summering sky,

What ultimate thing — hushed, holy, throned as high

Above the currents that tarnish and profane

As silver summits are whose pure repose

No curious eyes disclose

Nor any footfalls stain,

But round their beauty on azure evenings

Only the oreads go on gauzy wings,

Only the oreads troop with dance and song

And airy beings in rainbow mists who throng

Out of those wonderful worlds that lie afar

Betwixt the outmost cloud and the nearest star.

Like the moon, sanguine in the orient night

Shines the red flower in her beautiful hair.

Her breasts are distant islands of delight

Upon a sea where all is soft and fair.

Those robes that make a silken sheath

For each lithe attitude that flows beneath,

Shrouding in scented folds sweet warmths and tumid flowers,

Call them far clouds that half emerge

Beyond a sunset ocean’s utmost verge,

Hiding in purple shade and downpour of soft showers

Enchanted isles by mortal foot untrod,

And there in humid dells resplendent orchids nod;

There always from serene horizons blow

Soul-easing gales and there all spice-trees grow

That Phoenix robbed to line his fragrant nest

Each hundred years in Araby the Blest.

Star of the South that now through orient mist

At nightfall off Tampico or Belize

Greetest the sailor rising from those seas

Where first in me, a fond romanticist,

The tropic sunset’s bloom on cloudy piles

Cast out industrious cares with dreams of fabulous isles —

Thou lamp of the swart lover to his tryst,

O’er planted acres at the jungle’s rim

Reeking with orange-flower and tuberose,

Dear to his eyes thy ruddy splendor glows

Among the palms where beauty waits for him;

Bliss too thou bringst to our greening North,

Red scintillant through cherry-blossom rifts,

Herald of summer-heat, and all the gifts

And all the joys a summer can bring forth —-

Be thou my star, for I have made my aim

To follow loveliness till autumn-strown

Sunder the sinews of this flower-like frame

As rose-leaves sunder when the bud is blown.

Ay, sooner spirit and sense disintegrate

Than reconcilement to a common fate

Strip the enchantment from a world so dressed

In hues of high romance. I cannot rest

While aught of beauty in any path untrod

Swells into bloom and spreads sweet charms abroad

Unworshipped of my love. I cannot see

In Life’s profusion and passionate brevity

How hearts enamored of life can strain too much

In one long tension to hear, to see, to touch.

Now on each rustling night-wind from the South

Far music calls; beyond the harbor mouth

Each outbound argosy with sail unfurled

May point the path through this fortuitous world

That holds the heart from its desire. Away!

Where tinted coast-towns gleam at close of day,

Where squares are sweet with bells, or shores thick set

With bloom and bower, with mosque and minaret.

Blue peaks loom up beyond the coast-plains here,

White roads wind up the dales and disappear,

By silvery waters in the plains afar

Glimmers the inland city like a star,

With gilded gates and sunny spires ablaze

And burnished domes half-seen through luminous haze,

Lo, with what opportunity Earth teems!

How like a fair its ample beauty seems!

Fluttering with flags its proud pavilions rise:

What bright bazaars, what marvelous merchandise,

Down seething alleys what melodious din,

What clamor importuning from every booth!

At Earth’s great market where Joy is trafficked in

Buy while thy purse yet swells with golden Youth!

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