Morning Worship

Mark Van Doren 1894 (Vermilion County) – 1972 (Torrington)



I wake and hearing it raining.
Were I dead, what would I give
Lazily to lie here,
Like this, and live?

Or better yet: birdsong,
Brightening and spreading --
How far would I come then
To be at the world's wedding?

Now that I lie, though,
Listening, living,
(Oh, but not forever,
Oh, end arriving)

How shall I praise them:
All the sweet beings
Eternally that outlive
Me and my dying?

Mountains, I mean; wind, water, air;
Grass, and huge trees; clouds, flowers,
And thunder, and night.

Turtles, I mean, and toads; hawks, herons, owls;
Graveyards, and towns, and trout; roads, gardens,
Red berries, and deer.

Lightning, I mean, and eagles; fences; snow;
Sunrise, and ferns; waterfalls, serpents,
Green islands, and sleep.

Horses, I mean; butterflies, whales;
Mosses, and stars and gravelly
Rivers, and fruit.

Oceans, I mean; black valleys; corn;
Brambles, and cliffs; rock, dirt, dust, ice;
And warnings of flood.

How shall I name them?
And in what order?
Each would be first.
Omission is murder.

Maidens, I mean, and apples; needles; leaves;
Worms, and planers, and clover; whirlwinds; dew;
Bulls; geese --

Stop. Lie still.
You will never be done.
Leave them all there.
Old lover. Live on.

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

Modified on March 18, 2023

1:01 min read
74

Quick analysis:

Scheme ABXX XAXA CADA EXBA FXX XXX CXX XXX XXX EDXD XXX XXFX
Closest metre Iambic trimeter
Characters 1,153
Words 203
Stanzas 12
Stanza Lengths 4, 4, 4, 4, 3, 3, 3, 3, 3, 4, 3, 4

Mark Van Doren

Mark Van Doren was an American poet, writer and a critic, apart from being a scholar and a professor of English at Columbia University for nearly 40 years, where he inspired a generation of influential writers and thinkers including Thomas Merton, Robert Lax, John Berryman, and Beat Generation writers such as Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac. more…

All Mark Van Doren poems | Mark Van Doren Books

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