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The Beggar's Valentine

Vachel Lindsay 1879 (Springfield) – 1931 (Springfield)

Kiss me and comfort my heart
Maiden honest and fine.
I am the pilgrim boy
Lame, but hunting the shrine;

Fleeing away from the sweets,
Seeking the dust and rain,
Sworn to the staff and road,
Scorning pleasure and pain;

Nevertheless my mouth
Would rest like a bird an hour
And find in your curls a nest
And find in your breast a bower:

Nevertheless my eyes
Would lose themselves in your own,
Rivers that seek the sea,
Angels before the throne:

Kiss me and comfort my heart,
For love can never be mine:
Passion, hunger and pain,
These are the only wine

Of the pilgrim bound to the road.
He would rob no man of his own.
Your heart is another's I know,
Your honor is his alone.

The feasts of a long drawn love,
The feasts of a wedded life,
The harvests of patient years,
And hearthstone and children and wife:

These are your lords I know.
These can never be mine —
This is the price I pay
For the foolish search for the shrine:

This is the price I pay
For the joy of my midnight prayers,
Kneeling beneath the moon
With hills for my altar stairs;

This is the price I pay
For the throb of the mystic wings,
When the dove of God comes down
And beats round my heart and sings;

This is the price I pay
For the light I shall some day see
At the ends of the infinite earth
When truth shall come to me.

And what if my body die
Before I meet the truth?
The road is dear, more dear
Than love or life or youth.

The road, it is the road,
Mystical, endless, kind,
Mother of visions vast,
Mother of soul and mind;

Mother of all of me
But the blood that cries for a mate —
That cries for a farewell kiss
From the child of God at the gate.

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

1:38 min read
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Vachel Lindsay

Nicholas Vachel Lindsay was an American poet. more…

All Vachel Lindsay poems | Vachel Lindsay Books

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