Friday, April 10, 2020

Poetry Month: #10 Ode by Arthur O'Shaughnessy

“Painting is poetry that is seen rather than felt, and poetry is painting that is felt rather than seen.”
― Leonardo da Vinci

This musical and inspirational poem is one of my favorites. O'Shaughnessy is a British poet who died too early and has been largely forgotten except for these three verses from a much longer poem.

Read by Scottlynn Ernestine Ballard, 2019 Illinois State Champion runner-up in a Poetry OutLoud performance


by Arthur O’Shaughnessy

We are the music-makers,
   and we are the dreamers of dreams,
Wandering by lone sea-breakers,
   and sitting by desolate streams;
World-losers and world forsakers,
   on whom the pale moon gleams:
Yet we are the movers & shakers
   of the world forever it seems.

With wonderful deathless ditties
  We build up the world’s great cities,
And out of a fabulous story,
   We fashion an empire’s glory.
One man with a dream at pleasure,
   Shall go forth and conquer a crown,
And three with a new song’s measure
   Can trample an empire down.

We, in the ages lying
   in the buried past of the earth,
Built Nineveh with our sighing,
   and Babel itself with our mirth;
And o’erthrew them with prophesying
  to the old of the new world’s worth;
For each age is a dream that is dying
  or one that is coming to birth.


  1. Thank you for sharing this 'dithy' this morning!

    I too like the idea of 'dancing on dynamite' -- Ray Bradbury says that every morning he awakens and imagines he leaps into a minefield to see what explodes...

  2. Well, I think you might know how I feel about poetry. And I delight in having friends who make space for poetry in their lives.