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,
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,
And shaken systems, star by star,
Awake and glow in song.
But for the urge of this unrest
These joyous spheres were mute;
But for the rebel in his breast
Had man remained a brute.
When baffled lips demanded speech,
Speech trembled into birth–
(One day the lyric world shall reach
From earth to laughing earth)–
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,
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–
I sing the stinging discontent
That leaps from star to star!
-Don Marquis, 1878-1937