Gateway to the Classics: Poems Every Child Should Know by Mary E. Burt
Poems Every Child Should Know by  Mary E. Burt

My Own Shall Come to Me

If John Burroughs (1837-1921) had never written any other poem than "My Own Shall Come to Me," he would have stood to all ages as one of the greatest of American poets. The poem is most characteristic of the tall, majestic, slow-going poet and naturalist. There is no greater line in Greek or English literature than

"I stand amid the eternal ways."

Serene I fold my hands and wait,

Nor care for wind, nor tide, nor sea.

I rave no more 'gainst time or fate,

For lo! my own shall come to me.

I stay my haste, I make delays,

For what avails this eager pace?

I stand amid the eternal ways,

And what is mine shall know my face.

Asleep, awake, by night or day

The friends I seek are seeking me;

No wind can drive my bark astray,

Nor change the tide of destiny.

What matter if I stand alone?

I wait with joy the coming years;

My heart shall reap when it has sown,

And gather up its fruit of tears.

The stars come nightly to the sky;

The tidal wave comes to the sea;

Nor time, nor space, nor deep, nor high,

Can keep my own away from me.

The waters know their own and draw

The brook that springs in yonder heights;

So flows the good with equal law

Unto the soul of pure delights.

John Burroughs.

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