I have a rendezvous with Death
At some disputed barricade,
When Spring comes back with rustling shade
And apple-blossoms fill the air—
I have a rendezvous with Death
When Spring brings back blue days and fair.

It may be he shall take my hand
And lead me into his dark land
And close my eyes and quench my breath—
It may be I shall pass him still.
I have a rendezvous with Death
On some scarred slope of battered hill
When Spring comes round again this year
And the first meadow-flowers appear.

God knows ’twere better to be deep
Pillowed in silk and scented down,
Where Love throbs out in blissful sleep,
Pulse nigh to pulse, and breath to breath,
Where hushed awakenings are dear…
But I’ve a rendezvous with Death
At midnight in some flaming town,
When Spring trips north again this year,
And I to my pledged word am true,
I shall not fail that rendezvous.

Analysis, meaning and summary of Alan Seeger's poem I Have A Rendezvous With Death

16 Comments

  1. patricia says:

    I memorized this poem as a small child (I’m american) and was so moved to read it again that tears were pouring. In an way, Alan Seeger was my first poetic love.

  2. Alex Brossart says:

    I love this Poem and I heard at the same place Nathan did.

  3. Nathan says:

    I first heard this poem when it was used for the astounding Gears of War 2 trailer “Rendezvous.” Minding that only the beginning parts of select stanzas were used in the trailer, it fit perfectly with the apocalyptic world of Gears of War, and the constant certainty of death. Alan Seeger most definitely embraced death. And I believe that quality makes him more noble than most people can ever be.

  4. human53 says:

    My only brother, Ken, commited suicide in November many years ago. He had a copy of this poem in his wallet. It is hauntingly beautiful, yet sad.

  5. matt says:

    Yo Tim stop thinking your the show- Seeger most definetly embraced death, in 1915 he wrote a letter from the front saying, “If it must be, let it come in the heat of action. Why flinch? It is by far the noblest form in which death can come. It is in a sense almost a privilege. . . .” found that off english.emory.edu if you wanna check it out

  6. matt says:

    Yo Tim stop thinking that your the show- Seeger most definetly embraced death he wrote a letter in 1915 saying, “If it must be, let it come in the heat of action. Why flinch? It is by far the noblest form in which death can come. It is in a sense almost a privilege. . . .” found that off of english.emory.edu if you want to check it out for yourself

  7. Asaad says:

    Beautifully Sad!

  8. Leslie Horewinkle says:

    As “Das Boot” is the penultimate anti-war film.

    Seeger’s poem is the ultimate anti-war poem.

    The last two verses are especially haunting.

  9. Adriana says:

    I remember studying this poem in high school. The first line came to me over coffee this morning, so I reread the poem. This young man certainly prefers life over death (much better to be home comfy in bed next to a loved one), he may even fear it, but this poem also speaks of responsibility and honor. He feels that death is imenent, I’m sure, because WWI casualties were staggering. It may have been premonition, but going “over there” late in the war almost certainly meant you weren’t coming back. I’d forgotten how haunting this poem is.

  10. ABO ALI says:

    I HAVE A RENDEZVOUS WITH DEATH

  11. Tim says:

    Tracy N. – He most certainly feared death. He was an
    Infantryman in the poison gas filled
    Trenches.
    Byron – Premonition?…..read above

    Tom – JFK was a president that REALLY pissed off the
    mob. No prophecy there.

  12. Tracy N. says:

    He did not fear death, he embraced it.

  13. Byron says:

    A premonition? Alan Seeger died July 4th 1916.

  14. Ebony says:

    Excellent poem. I have just come accross whilst studying WW1 in school. Through analysing this poem, I have to say it is one of my favourites, very touching.

  15. William says:

    everyone should write poetry and should respect what it stands fo because people who hate poetry probably don’t know how to write it themselves.

  16. Tom says:

    John F. Kennedy, newly married, told Jacqueline that “Rendezvous With Death” was his favorite poem.

    It almost seems like a self-fulfilling prophecy eh?

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