James Agee

Sonnet IV

I have been fashioned on a chain of flesh
Whose ancient lengths are immolate to dust:
Frail though that dust be as the dew's mesh
The morning mars, it holds me to a trust:
My flesh that was, long as this flesh knew life,
Strove, and was valiant, still strove, and was naught:
Now it is mine to wage their valiant strife
And failing seek still what they ever sought.
I have been given wings they never wore.
I have been given hope they never knew.
And they were brave, who can be brave no more.
And they that live are kind as they are few.
˜Tis mine to touch with deathlessness their clay:
And I shall fail, and join those I betray.