To the West

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Not to the crowded East,
   Where, in a well-worn groove,
Like the harnessed wheel of a great machine,
   The trammelled mind must move--
Where Thought must follow the fashion of Thought,
Or be counted vulgar and set at naught.

Not to the languid South,
   Where the mariners of the brain
Are lured by the Sirens of the Sense,
   And wrecked upon its main -
Where Thought is rocked, on the sweet wind's breath
To a torpid sleep that ends in death.

But to the mighty West,
   That chosen realm of God,
Where Nature reaches her hands to men,
   And Freedom walks abroad -
Where mind is King, and fashion is naught,
There shall the New World look for thought

To the West, the beautiful West,
   She shall look, and not in vain -
For out of its broad and boundless store
   Come muscle, and nerve, and brain.
Let the bards of the East and the South be dumb -
For out of the West shall the Poets come.

They shall come with souls as great
   As the cradle where they were rocked;
They shall come with brows that are touched with fire
   Like the gods with whom they have walked;
They shall come from the West in royal state,
The Singers and Thinkers for whom we wait.

by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

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