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Vachel Lindsay

To live in mankind is far more than to live in a name.

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Never be a cynic, even a gentle one. Never help out a sneer, even at the devil.

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I am unjust, but I can strive for justice. My life's unkind, but I can vote for kindness. I, the unloving, say life should be lovely. I, that am blind, cry out against my blindness.

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A Prayer to All the Dead among Mine Own People

Are these your presences, my clan from Heaven?
Are these your hands upon my wounded soul?
Mine own, mine own, blood of my blood be with me,
Fly by my path till you have made me whole!

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To Reformers in Despair

'Tis not too late to build our young land right,
Cleaner than Holland, courtlier than Japan,
Devout like early Rome, with hearths like hers,
Hearths that will recreate the breed called man.

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Look You, I'll Go Pray

Look you, I'll go pray,
My shame is crying,
My soul is gray and faint,
My faith is dying.
Look you, I'll go pray —
"Sweet Mary, make me clean,
Thou rainstorm of the soul,
Thou wine from worlds unseen."

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The Encyclopaedia

"If I could set the moon upon
This table," said my friend,
"Among the standard poets
And brouchures without end,
And noble prints of old Japan,
How empty they would seem,
By that encyclopaedia
Of whim and glittering dream."

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The Lion

The Lion is a kingly beast.
He likes a Hindu for a feast.
And if no Hindu he can get,
The lion-family is upset.

He cuffs his wife and bites her ears
Till she is nearly moved to tears.
Then some explorer finds the den
And all is family peace again.

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What the Gray-Winged Fairy Said

The moon's a gong, hung in the wild,
Whose song the fays hold dear.
Of course you do not hear it, child.
It takes a FAIRY ear.

The full moon is a splendid gong
That beats as night grows still.
It sounds above the evening song
Of dove or whippoorwill.

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What the Rattlesnake Said

The moon's a little prairie-dog.
He shivers through the night.
He sits upon his hill and cries
For fear that I will bite.

The sun's a broncho. He's afraid
Like every other thing,
And trembles, morning, noon and night,
Lest I should spring, and sting.

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