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Poem by Joyce Kilmer

To A Young Poet Who Killed Himself

When you had played with life a space
And made it drink and lust and sing,
You flung it back into Gods face
And thought you did a noble thing.
Lo, I have lived and loved, you said,
And sung to fools too dull to hear me.
Now for a cool and grassy bed
With violets in blossom near me.
Well, rest is good for weary feet,
Although they ran for no great prize;
And violets are very sweet,
Although their roots are in your eyes.
But hark to what the earthworms say
Who share with you your muddy haven:
The fight was on -- you ran away.
You are a coward and a craven.
The rug is ruined where you bled;
It was a dirty way to die!
To put a bullet through your head
And make a silly woman cry!
You could not vex the merry stars
Nor make them heed you, dead or living.
Not all your puny anger mars
Gods irresistible forgiving.
Yes, God forgives and men forget,
And youre forgiven and forgotten.
You might be gaily sinning yet
And quick and fresh instead of rotten.
And when you think of love and fame
And all that might have come to pass,
Then dont you feel a little shame?
And dont you think you were an ass?

Joyce Kilmer

Joyce Kilmer's other poems:
  1. In Memory
  2. The Proud Poet
  3. Mid-ocean in War-time
  4. The Robe of Christ
  5. Pennies

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