English Poem “The Need to Love” of poet Alan Seeger complete poem with summery for Students.

The Need to Love

Alan Seeger

The need to love that all the stars obey

Entered my heart and banished all beside.

Bare were the gardens where I used to stray;

Faded the flowers that one time satisfied.

Before the beauty of the west on fire,

The moonlit hills from cloister-casements viewed

Cloud-like arose the image of desire,

And cast out peace and maddened solitude.

I sought the City and the hopes it held:

With smoke and brooding vapors intercurled,

As the thick roofs and walls close-paralleled

Shut out the fair horizons of the world—

A truant from the fields and rustic joy,

In my changed thought that image even so

Shut out the gods I worshipped as a boy

And all the pure delights I used to know.

Often the veil has trembled at some tide

Of lovely reminiscence and revealed

How much of beauty Nature holds beside

Sweet lips that sacrifice and arms that yield:

Clouds, window-framed, beyond the huddled eaves

When summer cumulates their golden chains,

Or from the parks the smell of burning leaves,

Fragrant of childhood in the country lanes,

An organ-grinder’s melancholy tune

In rainy streets, or from an attic sill

The blue skies of a windy afternoon

Where our kites climbed once from some grassy hill:

And my soul once more would be wrapped entire

In the pure peace and blessing of those years.

Before the fierce infection of Desire

Had ravaged all the flesh. Through starting tears

Shone that lost Paradise; but, if it did,

Again ere long the prison-shades would fall

That Youth condemns itself to walk amid,

So narrow, but so beautiful withal.

And I have followed Fame with less devotion,

And kept no real ambition but to see

Rise from the foam of Nature’s sunlit ocean

My dream of palpable divinity;

And aught the world contends for to mine eye

Seemed not so real a meaning of success

As only once to clasp before I die

My vision of embodied happiness.

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