Before an Examination by Stephen Vincent Benet

Before an Examination

The little letters dance across the page,
Flaunt and retire, and trick the tired eyes;
Sick of the strain, the glaring light, I rise
Yawning and stretching, full of empty rage
At the dull maunderings of a long dead sage,
Fling up the windows, fling aside his lies;
Choosing to breathe, not stifle and be wise,
And let the air pour in upon my cage.

The breeze blows cool and there are stars and stars
Beyond the dark, soft masses of the elms
That whisper things in windy tones and light.
They seem to wheel for dim, celestial wars;
And I — I hear the clash of silver helms
Ring icy-clear from the far deeps of night

Stephen Vincent Benet 1898-1943

Stephen Vincent Benet
Born: 22 July 1898, Pennsylvania, USA
Nationality: American
Died: 13 March 1943, New York, USA

Benet was a poet, short story writer, and novelist best known for his book-length poem of the American Civil War, “John Brown’s Body” (1928) for which he received the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry.

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