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Dust of the Street
This cosmic dust beneath our feet Rising to hurry down the street, Borne by the wind and blown astray In its erratic, senseless way, Is the same stuff as you and I— With knowledge and desire put by. Thousands of times since time began It has been used for making man, Freighted like us with every sense Of spirit and intelligence, To walk the world and know the fine Large consciousness of things divine. These wandering atoms in their day Perhaps have passed this very way, With eager step and flowerlike face, With lovely ardor, poise, and grace, On what delightful errands bent, Passionate, generous, and intent,— An angel still, though veiled and gloved, Made to love us and to be loved. Friends, when the summons comes for me To turn my back (reluctantly) On this delightful play, I claim Only one thing in friendship's name; And you will not decline a task So slight, when it is all I ask: Scatter my ashes in the street Where avenue and crossway meet. I beg you of your charity, No granite and cement for me, To needlessly perpetuate An unimportant name and date. Others may wish to lay them down On some fair hillside far from town, Where slim white birches wave and gleam Beside a shadowy woodland stream, Or in luxurious beds of fern, But I would have my dust return To the one place it loved the best In days when it was happiest.
Bliss Carman's other poems:
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