that which sets us apart

yet brings us together





by Stephen Vincent Benet

My mind’s a map. A mad sea-captain drew it
Under a flowing moon until he knew it;
Winds with brass trumpets, puffy-cheeked as jugs,
And states bright-patterned like Arabian rugs.
“Here there be tygers.” “Here we buried Jim.”
Here is the strait where eyeless fishes swim
About their buried idol, drowned so cold
He weeps away his eyes in salt and gold.
A country like the dark side of the moon,
A cider-apple country, harsh and boon,
A country savage as a chestnut-rind,
A land of hungry sorcerers.
Your mind?

—Your mind is water through an April night,
A cherry-branch, plume-feathery with its white,
A lavender as fragrant as your words,
A room where Peace and Honor talk like birds,
Sewing bright coins upon the tragic cloth
Of heavy Fate, and Mockery, like a moth,
Flutters and beats about those lovely things.
You are the soul, enchanted with its wings,
The single voice that raises up the dead
To shake the pride of angels.
I have said.


(image from explorepahistory.com):

Portrait of Stephen Vincent Benet

Stephen Vincent Benet,  (1898 – 1943)

was an American poet and author.

His writing mostly focused on American life and history.

He is the recipient of two Pulitzer Prizes for poetry:

the first during his lifetime (1929) for the poem, John Brown’s Body

and the second posthumously (1948) for his unfinished poem, Western Star .