Verse > Anthologies > Harriet Monroe, ed. > Poetry: A Magazine of Verse, 1912–22
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Harriet Monroe, ed. (1860–1936).  Poetry: A Magazine of Verse.  1912–22.
 
Creeds
By John H. Gavin
 
I
MEN build rough high walls
Along straight narrow lines
And call them—Creeds.
 
Men carve distorted shapes
Upon the rough high walls        5
And call them—Truth.
 
Men put fantastic rags
On those distorted shapes
And call them—Beauty.
 
Men keep, forever,        10
Within those rough high walls
And call it—Right.
 
Men manacle their minds,
Fearful lest they scale the rough high walls
And be free.        15
 
Men blind their eyes,
Fearful lest they see the mysterious world
And be wise.
 
Men deafen their ears,
Fearful lest they hear        20
Enthralling music calling them beyond
And go.
 
Men creep onward
Between those rough high walls,
Those grotesque walls, those queer-decked walls,        25
And call themselves saved.
 
II
I am not saved,
But, friend, weep not my lot;
For I was born of sun and earth,
And the stars are relatives of mine.        30
 
I am brother to the wind,
And the sea is a sister of mine.
 
I am kinsman to the wolf,
And the lamb is a cousin of mine.
 
The blood of the eagle is part of me,        35
Part of me is blood of the dove.
The blood of the lark flows through my veins,
And the venomous blood of the snake.
 
My mother nestles the pine,
The columbine, aster and rose.        40
 
My mother fosters the oak,
And the violet suckles her.
 
My mother gives life to the palm,
And the poppy grows red at her breast.
 
Yes, and nothing trammels me—        45
Save men, my most beloved fools!
 
Men would deafen my ears, blinder my eyes,
Manacle my mind!
 
Ah, my kindred, I’ll have no walls around me!—
No rough high walls, no queer-decked walls.        50
 
 
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