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Poem by Stephen Vincent Benet


Going Back to School


The boat ploughed on. Now Alcatraz was past 
And all the grey waves flamed to red again 
At the dead suns last glimmer. Far and vast 
The Sausalito lights burned suddenly 
In little dots and clumps, as if a pen 
Had scrawled vague lines of gold across the hills; 
The sky was like a cup some rare wine fills, 
And stars came as he watched 
-- and he was free 
One splendid instant -- back in the great room, 
Curled in a chair with all of them beside 
And the whole world a rush of happy voices, 
With laughter beating in a clamorous tide. . . . 
Saw once again the heat of harvest fume 
Up to the empty sky in threads like glass, 
And ran, and was a part of what rejoices 
In thunderous nights of rain; lay in the grass 
Sun-baked and tired, looking through a maze 
Of tiny stems into a new green world; 
Once more knew eves of perfume, days ablaze 
With clear, dry heat on the brown, rolling fields; 
Shuddered with fearful ecstasy in bed 
Over a book of knights and bloody shields . . . 
The ship slowed, jarred and stopped. There, straight ahead, 
Were dock and fellows. Stumbling, he was whirled 
Out and away to meet them -- and his back 
Slumped to the old half-cringe, his hands fell slack; 
A big boys arm went round him -- and a twist 
Sent shattering pain along his tortured wrist, 
As a voice cried, a bloated voice and fat, 
Why its Miss Nancy! Come along, you rat!



Stephen Vincent Benet


Stephen Vincent Benet's other poems:
  1. Rain after a Vaudeville Show
  2. The City Revisited
  3. Before an Examination
  4. Nightmare Number Three
  5. The Congressmen Came out to See Bull Run


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