Verse > Anthologies > Harriet Monroe, ed. > The New Poetry: An Anthology
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Harriet Monroe, ed. (1860–1936).  The New Poetry: An Anthology.  1917.
 
261. Prayer for Pain
 
By John G. Neihardt
 
 
I DO not pray for peace nor ease,
  Nor truce from sorrow:
No suppliant on servile knees
  Begs here against to-morrow!
 
Lean flame against lean flame we flash,        5
  O Fates that meet me fair;
Blue steel against blue steel we clash—
  Lay on, and I shall dare!
 
But Thou of deeps the awful Deep,
  Thou Breather in the clay,        10
Grant this my only prayer—Oh, keep
  My soul from turning gray!
 
For until now, whatever wrought
  Against my sweet desires,
My days were smitten harps strung taut,        15
  My nights were slumberous lyres.
 
And howsoe’er the hard blow rang
  Upon my battered shield,
Some lark-like, soaring spirit sang
  Above my battle-field.        20
 
And through my soul of stormy night
  The zigzag blue flame ran.
I asked no odds—I fought my fight—
  Events against a man.
 
But now—at last—the gray mist chokes        25
  And numbs me. Leave me pain!
Oh, let me feel the biting strokes,
  That I may fight again!
 

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