The Awakening (Marquis)

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For works with similar titles, see The Awakening.
The Awakening
by Don Marquis
Published in the collection Dreams and Dust (1915).

THE steam, the reek, the fume, of prayer
Blown outward for a million years,
Becomes a mist between the spheres,
And waking Sentience struggles there.

Prayer still creates the boon we pray;
And gods we've hoped for, from those hopes
Will gain sufficient form one day
And in full godhood storm the slopes
Where ancient Chaos, stark and gray,
Already trembles for his sway.

When that the restless worlds would fly
Their wish created rapid wings,
But not till aeons had passed by
With dower of many idler things;
And when dumb flesh demanded speech
Speech struggled to the lips at last;--
Now the unpeopled Void, and vast,

Clean to that uttermost blank beach
Whereto the boldest thought may reach
That voyages from the vaguest past--
(Dim realm and ultimate of space)--
Is vexed and troubled, stirs and shakes,
In prescience of a god that wakes,
Born of man's wish to see God's face!

The endless, groping, dumb desires,--
The climbing incense thick and sweet,
The lovely purpose that aspires,
The wraiths of vapor wing'd and fleet
That rise and run with eager feet
Forth from a myriad altar fires:
All these become a mist that fills
The vales and chasms nebular;
A shaping Soul that moves and thrills
The wastes between red star and star!


This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published before January 1, 1923.

The author died in 1937, so this work is also in the public domain in countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 75 years or less. This work may also be in the public domain in countries and areas with longer native copyright terms that apply the rule of the shorter term to foreign works.