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.