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Alan Seeger (1888-1916)

Sonnet XVI: Who shall Invoke her


              1Who shall invoke her, who shall be her priest,
              2With single rites the common debt to pay?
              3On some green headland fronting to the East
              4Our fairest boy shall kneel at break of day.
              5Naked, uplifting in a laden tray
              6New milk and honey and sweet-tinctured wine,
              7Not without twigs of clustering apple-spray
              8To wreath a garland for Our Lady's shrine.
              9The morning planet poised above the sea
            10Shall drop sweet influence through her drowsing lid;
            11Dew-drenched, his delicate virginity
            12Shall scarce disturb the flowers he kneels amid,
            13That, waked so lightly, shall lift up their eyes,
            14Cushion his knees, and nod between his thighs.


Online text copyright © 2003, Ian Lancashire for the Department of English, University of Toronto.
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries.

Original text: Alan Seeger, Poems, introduction by William Archer (London: Constable, 1919), p. 83. PS 3537 E26 1917 ROBA.
First publication date: 1916
RPO poem editor: Ian Lancashire
RP edition: RPO 1998.
Recent editing: 2:2002/3/21

Rhyme: ababbcbcdedeff


Other poems by Alan Seeger