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THE Born to the Unborn cried,
‘Come forth, my brother, to life, in the free and
the open world;
Come forth into light with me—and learn what
“rejoicing” means!’

But the Unborn answered low,—’And what do you mean by
And by “brother,” and “light,” and “life”?
I feel for you right and left, over and under me here:
I grope for you round about, but you answer me nowhere in
I know not why I am stirring,—am restless within my world—
The world of all that is real!
I must stifle this eager desire and conquer the throes I feel.’

‘Oh, never resist them, brother, but help them with all your
Even if life brings wailing,—the sorrow it brings shall bless;
Shall redeem and transfigure all Nature, watching to welcome
      you home.
For life is a mighty breathing, a breathing of fresh, sweet air;


Not only a beating heart, but a brain awake and aware:
A knowing of good and of truth and of beauty beyond compare.
. . .And how shall I tell you what light is,
The suns and the blue of skies?
Give Nature her way and come forth;
And what “brother” can mean shall be plain:—
Brother and sister and friend: father and mother and wife. . . .’

But again came the murmuring protest:
‘Oh, leave me in peace and be silent!
I dare not come forth of my shelter, I dread such a dangerous
Full of cloudlands and lonely places:—
And what “brother” can mean shall be plain:—
I shrink from your dazzling suns, your “home” without circling
My home is within the shadow, where none of these things are
I am safe as I am and quiet; it hurts me to stir or move;
This is all the Life I can bear. . . . .’

But the Born went on crying and calling,
And at last his brother came forth.
Shrinking and wailing he came, thinking home was broken
      and lost . . .
Only after a while he was silent; silent and drinking in
Drinking at motherhood’s breast and sinking to mother’s-arm
And then came a waking of wonder; two wide-open smiling
      clear eyes:
And a happy soft murmur of crooning—
And at last a laugh of delight. . . .

As the years went on and he grew, and could walk, run, think,
      and speak,
Did he miss the dark life he had left?
Would he fain have returned to that?
Was the life he had entered less real? And was it fuller or not?


MLA citation:

Vita. “The Unborn.” The Evergreen: A Northern Seasonal, vol. 3, Summer 1896, pp. 67-68. Evergreen Digital Edition, edited by Lorraine Janzen Kooistra, 2016-2018. Yellow Nineties 2.0, Ryerson University Centre for Digital Humanities, 2019.