Verse > Anthologies > Louis Untermeyer, ed. > Modern American Poetry
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Louis Untermeyer, ed. (1885–1977). Modern American Poetry.  1919.
 
Don Marquis. 1878–
 
71. Unrest
 
A FIERCE unrest seethes at the core 
    Of all existing things: 
It was the eager wish to soar 
    That gave the gods their wings. 
  
From what flat wastes of cosmic slime,         5
    And stung by what quick fire, 
Sunward the restless races climb!— 
    Men risen out of mire! 
  
There throbs through all the worlds that are 
    This heart-beat hot and strong,  10
And shaken systems, star by star, 
    Awake and glow in song. 
  
But for the urge of this unrest 
    These joyous spheres are mute; 
But for the rebel in his breast  15
    Had man remained a brute. 
  
When baffled lips demanded speech, 
    Speech trembled into birth— 
(One day the lyric word shall reach 
    From earth to laughing earth.)—  20
  
When man's dim eyes demanded light, 
    The light he sought was born— 
His wish, a Titan, scaled the height 
    And flung him back the morn! 
  
From deed to dream, from dream to deed,  25
    From daring hope to hope, 
The restless wish, the instant need, 
    Still lashed him up the slope! 
    .    .    .    .    .    .
I sing no governed firmament,
 
    Cold, ordered, regular—  30
I sing the stinging discontent 
    That leaps from star to star! 
 
 
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