General Editor: Marc R. Plamondon

Representative Poetry Online, edition 6.0, is a web anthology of 4,800 poems in English and French by over 700 poets spanning 1400 years.  more about RPO
 
New poet: Émile Nelligan

 

 

 

 

Abou Ben Adhem

2Awoke one night from a deep dream of peace,
3And saw, within the moonlight in his room,
4Making it rich, and like a lily in bloom,
5An angel writing in a book of gold:--
6Exceeding peace had made Ben Adhem bold,
7And to the presence in the room he said,
8"What writest thou?"--The vision raised its head,
9And with a look made of all sweet accord,
10Answered, "The names of those who love the Lord."
11"And is mine one?" said Abou. "Nay, not so,"
12Replied the angel. Abou spoke more low,
13But cheerly still; and said, "I pray thee, then,
14Write me as one that loves his fellow men."
15      The angel wrote, and vanished. The next night
16It came again with a great wakening light,
17And showed the names whom love of God had blest,
18And lo! Ben Adhem's name led all the rest.

Notes

1] Based on a story in D'Herbelot's Bibliothèque Orientale (1781). Back to Line
 What thou lovest well remains,
                  the rest is dross
What thou lov'st well shall not be reft from thee
What thou lov'st well is thy true heritage
Whose world, or mine or theirs
                or is it of none?
First came the seen, then thus the palpable
    Elysium, though it were in the halls of hell,
What thou lovest well is thy true heritage
What thou lov'st well shall not be reft from thee
Ezra Pound Pisan Cantos, LXXXI
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