Verse > Anthologies > Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. > An American Anthology, 1787–1900
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Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908).  An American Anthology, 1787–1900.  1900.
 
1280. Choir Practice
 
By Ernest Crosby
 
 
AS I sit on a log here in the woods among the clean-faced beeches,
The trunks of the trees seem to me like the pipes of a mighty organ,
Thrilling my soul with wave on wave of the harmonies of the universal anthem—
The grand, divine, eonic “I am” chorus.
 
The red squirrel scolding in yonder hickory tree,        5
The flock of blackbirds chattering in council overhead,
The monotonous crickets in the unseen meadow,
Even the silent ants travelling their narrow highway with enormous burdens at my feet—
All, like choristers, sing in the green-arched cathedral
The heaven-prompted mystery, “I am, I am.”        10
The rays of sunshine shoot down through the branches and touch the delicate ferns and the blades of coarse grass piercing up through last year’s dead leaves,
And all cry out together, “I am.”
 
We used to call upon all these works of the Lord to praise the Lord, and they did praise Him.
But now they praise no longer, for they have been taught a new song, and with one accord they chant the “I am.”
 
I too would learn the new music, and I begin hesitatingly to take part in the world-wide choir practice.        15
After all these quiet private rehearsals,
At last in my own place you may look for me also in the final, vast, eternal chorus.
And we, all of us, as you see us, are but mouth-pieces.
Who is it that behind and beneath sings ever through us, now whispering, now thundering, “I am”?
 

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