poem index

Arthur's Anthology of English Poetry

Laurence Lerner
To be or not to be, that is the question
To justify the ways of God to men
There was a time when meadow grove and stream
The dropping of the daylight in the west
Otters below and moorhens on the top
Had fallen in Lyonesse about their Lord.

There was a time when moorhens on the top
To justify the daylight in the west,
To be or not to be about their Lord
Had fallen in Lyonesse from God to men;
Otters below and meadow grove and stream,
The dropping of the day, that is the question.

A time when Lyonesse and grove and stream
To be the daylight in the west on top 
When meadow otters fallen about their Lord
To justify the moorhens is the question
Or not to be the dropping God to men
There was below the ways that is a time.

To be in Lyonesse, that is the question
To justify the otters, is the question
The dropping of the meadows, is the question

I do not know the answer to the question

There was a time when moorhens in the west
There was a time when daylight on the top
There was a time when God was not a question

There was a time when poets

                         Then I came

From A.R.T.H.U.R. by Laurence Lerner. Copyright © 1974 by Laurence Levine. Reprinted by permission of the University of Massachusetts Press. All rights reserved.

Laurence Lerner