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Monday, December 31, 2007

I Come Singing by Jacob Auslander

I come singing the keen sweet smell of grass
Cut after rain,
And the cool ripple of drops that pass
Over the grain,
And the drenched light drifting across the plain.

I come chanting the mad bloom of the fall.
And the swallows
Rallying in clans to the rapid call
From the hollows,
And the wet west wind swooping down on the swallows.

I come shrilling the sharp white of December,
The night like quick steel
Swung by a gust in its plunge through the pallid ember
Of dusk, and the heel
Of the fierce green dark grinding the stars like steel.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Lone Dog by Irene Rutherford Mcleod

I'm a lean dog, a keen dog, a wild dog, and lone;
I'm a rough dog, a tough dog, hunting on my own;
I'm a bad dog, a mad dog, teasing silly sheep;
I love to sit and bay the moon, to keep fat souls from sleep.

I'll never be a lap dog, licking dirty feet,
A sleek dog, a meek dog, cringing for my meat,
Not for me the fireside, the well-filled plate,
But shut door, and sharp stone, and cuff and kick, and hate.

Not for me the other dogs, running by my side,
Some have run a short while, but none of them would bide.
O mine is still the lone trail, the hard trail, the best,
Wide wind, and wild stars, and hunger of the quest!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

The Movies by Florence Kiper Frank

She knows a cheap release
From worry and from pain—
The cowboys spur their horses
Over the unending plain.

The tenement rooms are small;
Their walls press on the brain.
Oh, the dip of the galloping horses
On the limitless, wind-swept plain!

Friday, December 28, 2007

Sea-Shell Murmurs by Eugene Lee-Hamilton

The hollow sea-shell, which for years hath stood
On dusty shelves, when held against the ear
Proclaims its stormy parents; and we hear
The faint far murmur of the breaking flood.
We hear the sea. The sea? It is the blood
In our own veins, impetuous and near,
And pulses keeping pace with hope and fear
And with our feeling’s every shifting mood.
Lo, in my heart I hear, as in a shell,
The murmur of a world beyond the grave,
Distinct, distinct, though faint and far it be.
Thou fool; this echo is a cheat as well,—
The hum of earthly instincts; and we crave
A world unreal as the shell-heard sea.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Interlude by Edith Sitwell

Amid this hot green glowing gloom
A word falls with a raindrop's boom...

Like baskets of ripe fruit in air
The bird-songs seem, suspended where

Those goldfinches—the ripe warm lights
Peck slyly at them—take quick flights.

My feet are feathered like a bird
Among the shadows scarcely heard;

I bring you branches green with dew
And fruits that you may crown anew

Your whirring waspish-gilded hair
Amid this cornucopia—

Until your warm lips bear the stains
And bird-blood leap within your veins.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Genesis by John Hall Ingham

Did Chaos form,—and water, air, and fire,
Rocks, trees, the worm, work toward Humanity,—
That Man at last, beneath the churchyard spire,
Might be once more the worm, the rock, the tree?

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

If Spirits Walk by Sophie Jewett

If spirits walk, love, when the night climbs slow
The slant footpath where we were wont to go,
Be sure that I shall take the selfsame way
To the hill-crest, and shoreward, down the gray,
Sheer, gravelled slope, where vetches straggling grow.

Look for me not when gusts of winter blow,
When at thy pane beat hands of sleet and snow;
I would not come thy dear eyes to affray,
If spirits walk.

But when, in June, the pines are whispering low,
And when their breath plays with thy bright hair so
As some one’s fingers once were used to play—
That hour when birds leave song, and children pray,
Keep the old tryst, sweetheart, and thou shalt know
If spirits walk.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Winter Nights by Thomas Campion

Now winter nights enlarge
The number of their hours,
And clouds their storms discharge
Upon the airy towers.
Let now the chimneys blaze
And cups o'erflow with wine;
Let well-tuned words amaze
With harmony divine.
Now yellow waxen lights
Shall wait on honey love,
While youthful revels, masques, and courtly sights
Sleep's leaden spells remove.

This time doth well dispense
With lovers' long discourse;
Much speech hath some defence,
Though beauty no remorse.
All do not all things well;
Some measures comely tread,
Some knotted riddles tell,
Some poems smoothly read.
The summer hath his joys,
And winter his delights;
Though love and all his pleasures are but toys,
They shorten tedious nights.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

A Glee for Winter by Alfred Domett

Hence, rude Winter! crabbed old fellow,
Never merry, never mellow!
Well-a-day! in rain and snow
What will keep one’s heart aglow?
Groups of kinsmen, old and young,
Oldest they old friends among;
Groups of friends, so old and true
That they seem our kinsmen too;
These all merry all together
Charm away chill Winter weather.

What will kill this dull old fellow?
Ale that’s bright, and wine that’s mellow!
Dear old songs for ever new;
Some true love, and laughter too;
Pleasant wit, and harmless fun,
And a dance when day is done.
Music, friends so true and tried,
Whisper’d love by warm fireside,
Mirth at all times all together,
Make sweet May of Winter weather.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Night-Wind by Beatrix Demarest Lloyd

Like some great pearl from out the Orient,
Upheld by unseen hands,—in its rich weight
An offering to adorn a queen’s proud state
That offering to adorn a queen’s proud state
That some dependent princeling did present,—
The moon slow rises into night’s dark tent.
The pulseless air, with longings vague befreight,
Now quickens ’neath her gaze, now doth inflate
The still-poised midnight clouds in heaven pent.
With jealous haste he draws them o’er her face,
And by his right forbids all other eyes
To note her beauty and to praise her grace;
Then up on lover’s wings to her he flies
Impatient for the joy of her embrace;
And to the earth are wafted down his sighs.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Character of a Happy Life by Sir Henry Wotton

How happy is he born and taught
That serveth not another's will;
Whose armour is his honest thought
And simple truth his utmost skill;

Whose passions not his masters are;
Whose soul is still prepared for death,
Not tied unto the world with care
Of public fame, or private breath;

Who envies none that chance doth raise,
Or vice; who never understood
How deepest wounds are given by praise,
Nor rules of state, but rules of good;

Who hath his life from rumours freed,
Whose conscience is his strong retreat;
Whose state can neither flatterers feed,
Nor ruin make accusers great;

Who God doth late and early pray
More of His grace than gifts to lend;
And entertains the harmless day
With a well-chosen book or friend;

—This man is freed from servile bands
Of hope to rise, or fear to fall;
Lord of himself, though not of lands;
And having nothing, yet hath all.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Remorseful Apology by Robert Burns

The friend whom, wild from Wisdom's way,
The fumes of wine infuriate send,
(Not moony madness more astray)
Who but deplores that hapless friend?

Mine was th' insensate frenzied part,
Ah! why should I such scenes outlive?
Scenes so abhorrent to my heart!-
'Tis thine to pity and forgive.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Believe Me, If All Those Endearing Young Charms by Thomas Moore

Believe me, if all those endearing young charms,
Which I gaze on so fondly to-day,
Were to change by to-morrow, and fleet in my arms,
Live fairy-gifts fading away,
Thou wouldst still be adored, as this moment thou art,
Let thy loveliness fade as it will,
And around the dear ruin each wish of my heart
Would entwine itself verdantly still.

It is not while beauty and youth are thine own,
And thy cheeks unprofaned by a tear,
That the fervour and faith of a soul can be known,
To which time will but make thee more dear!
No, the heart that has truly loved never forgets,
But as truly loves on to the close,
As the sunflower turns on her god when he sets
The same look which she turned when he rose!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

A Windflower by Bliss Carman

Between the roadside and the wood,
Between the dawning and the dew,
A tiny flower before the wind,
Ephemeral in time, I grew.

The chance of straying feet came by,—
Nor death nor love nor any name
Known among men in all their lands,—
Yet failure put desire to shame.

To-night can bring no healing now,
The calm of yesternight is gone;
Surely the wind is but the wind,
And I a broken waif thereon.

How fair my thousand brothers wave
Upon the floor of God’s abode:
Whence came that careless wanderer
Between the woodside and the road!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

To France by Frederick George Scott

What is the gift we have given thee, Sister?
What is the trust we have laid in thy hand?
Hearts of our bravest, our best, and our dearest,
Blood of our blood we have sown in thy land.

What for all time will the harvest be, Sister?
What will spring up from the seed that is sown?
Freedom and peace and goodwill among Nations,
Love that will bind us with love all our own.

Bright is the path that is opening before us,
Upward and onward it mounts through the night:
Sword shall not sever the bonds that unite us
Leading the world to the fullness of light.

Sorrow hath made thee more beautiful, Sister,
Nobler and purer than ever before;
We who are chastened by sorrow and anguish
Hail thee as sister and queen evermore.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Birthday Verses by Thomas Hood

Good morrow to the golden morning,
Good morrow to the world's delight—
I've come to bless thy life's beginning,
Since it makes my own so bright!
I have brought no roses, sweetest,
I could find no flowers, dear,—
It was when all sweets were over
Thou wert born to bless the year.
But I've brought thee jewels, dearest,
In thy bonny locks to shine,—
And if love shows in their glances,
They have learn'd that look of mine!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Ebb by Edna St.Vincent Millay

I know what my heart is like
Since your love died:
It is like a hollow ledge
Holding a little pool
Left there by the tide,
A little tepid pool,
Drying inward from the edge.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Snow Song by Sara Teasdale

Fairy snow, fairy snow,
Blowing, blowing everywhere,
Would that I
Too, could fly
Lightly, lightly through the air.

Like a wee, crystal star
I should drift, I should blow
Near, more near,
To my dear
Where he comes through the snow.

I should fly to my love
Like a flake in the storm,
I should die,
I should die,
On his lips that are warm.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The Solitary-Hearted by Hartley Coleridge

She was a queen of noble Nature's crowning,
A smile of hers was like an act of grace;
She had no winsome looks, no pretty frowning,
Like daily beauties of the vulgar race:
But if she smiled, a light was on her face,
A clear, cool kindliness, a lunar beam
Of peaceful radiance, silvering o'er the stream
Of human thought with unabiding glory;
Not quite a waking truth, not quite a dream,
A visitation, bright and transitory.

But she is changed,—hath felt the touch of sorrow,
No love hath she, no understanding friend;
O grief! when Heaven is forced of earth to borrow
What the poor niggard earth has not to lend;
But when the stalk is snapt, the rose must bend.
The tallest flower that skyward rears its head
Grows from the common ground, and there must shed
Its delicate petals. Cruel fate, too surely,
That they should find so base a bridal bed,
Who lived in virgin pride, so sweet and purely.

She had a brother, and a tender father,
And she was loved, but not as others are
From whom we ask return of love,—but rather
As one might love a dream; a phantom fair
Of something exquisitely strange and rare,
Which all were glad to look on, men and maids,
Yet no one claim'd—as oft, in dewy glades,
The peering primrose, like a sudden gladness,
Gleams on the soul, yet unregarded fades;—
The joy is ours, but all its own the sadness.

'Tis vain to say—her worst of grief is only
The common lot, which all the world have known;
To her 'tis more, because her heart is lonely,
And yet she hath no strength to stand alone,—
Once she had playmates, fancies of her own,
And she did love them. They are past away
As Fairies vanish at the break of day;
And like a spectre of an age departed,
Or unsphered Angel wofully astray,
She glides along—the solitary-hearted.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Flying Fish by Mary McNeil Fenollosa

Out where the sky and the sky-blue sea
Merge in a mist of sheen,
There started a vision of silver things,
A leap and a quiver, a flash of wings
The sky and the sea between.

Is it of birds from the blue above,
Or fish from the depths that be?
Or is it the ghosts
In silver hosts
Of birds that were drowned at sea?

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Fire and Ice by Robert Frost

Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I've tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Eulalie by Edgar Allen Poe

I dwelt alone
In a world of moan,
And my soul was a stagnant tide,
Till the fair and gentle Eulalie became my blushing bride -
Till the yellow-haired young Eulalie became my smiling bride.

Ah, less - less bright
The stars of the night
Than the eyes of the radiant girl!
That the vapor can make
With the moon-tints of purple and pearl,
Can vie with the modest Eulalie's most unregarded curl -
Can compare with the bright-eyed Eulalie's most humble and careless curl.

Now Doubt - now Pain
Come never again,
For her soul gives me sigh for sigh,
And all day long
Shines, bright and strong,
Astarte within the sky,
While ever to her dear Eulalie upturns her matron eye -
While ever to her young Eulalie upturns her violet eye.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

The Purple Cow by Gelett Burgess

I never saw a Purple Cow,
I never hope to see one;
But I can tell you, anyhow,
I'd rather see than be one.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Ode To Autumn by John Keats

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
To bend with apples the moss’d cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For Summer has o’er-brimm’d their clammy cells.


Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?
Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find
Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,
Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;
Or on a half-reap’d furrow sound asleep,
Drows’d with the fume of poppies, while thy hook
Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers:
And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep
Steady thy laden head across a brook;
Or by a cyder-press, with patient look,
Thou watchest the last oozings hours by hours.


Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they?
Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,—
While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day,
And touch the stubble plains with rosy hue;
Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn
Among the river sallows, borne aloft
Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;
And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;
Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft
The red-breast whistles from a garden-croft;
And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

One day is there of the series by Emily Dickinson

One day is there of the series
Termed Thanksgiving day,
Celebrated part at table,
Part in memory.

Neither patriarch nor pussy,
I dissect the play;
Seems it, to my hooded thinking,
Reflex holiday.

Had there been no sharp subtraction
From the early sum,
Not an acre or a caption
Where was once a room,

Not a mention, whose small pebble
Wrinkled any bay,—
Unto such, were such assembly,
’T were Thanksgiving day.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Song by Sara Teasdale

Let it be forgotten, as a flower is forgotten,
Forgotten as a fire that once was singing gold.
Let it be forgotten forever and ever—
Time is a kind friend, he will make us old.

If anyone asks, say it was forgotten
Long and long ago—
As a flower, as a fire, as a hushed footfall
In a long forgotten snow.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Song by Bliss Carman

Love, by that loosened hair
Well now I know
Where the lost Lilith went
So long ago.

Love, by those starry eyes
I understand
How the sea maidens lure
Mortals from land.

Love, by that welling laugh
Joy claims his own
Sea-born and wind-wayward
Child of the sun.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Sweet-and-Twenty by William Shakespeare

O mistress mine, where are you roaming?
O, stay and hear! your true love's coming,
That can sing both high and low:
Trip no further, pretty sweeting;
Journeys end in lovers meeting,
Every wise man's son doth know.

What is love? 'tis not hereafter;
Present mirth hath present laughter;
What's to come is still unsure:
In delay there lies no plenty;
Then come kiss me, sweet-and-twenty!
Youth's a stuff will not endure.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Invocation by Clara Shanafelt

O glass-blower of time,
Hast blown all shapes at thy fire?
Canst thou no lovelier bell,
No clearer bubble, clear as delight, inflate me—
Worthy to hold such wine
As was never yet trod from the grape,
Since the stars shed their light, since the moon
Troubled the night with her beauty?

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Bath by Carl Sandburg

A man saw the whole world as a grinning skull and cross-bones. The rose flesh of life shriveled from all faces. Nothing counts. Everything is a fake. Dust to dust and ashes to ashes and then an old darkness and a useless silence. So he saw it all. Then he went to a Mischa Elman concert. Two hours waves of sound beat on his eardrums. Music washed something or other inside him. Music broke down and rebuilt something or other in his head and heart. He joined in five encores for the young Russian Jew with the fiddle. When he got outside his heels hit the sidewalk a new way. He was the same man in the same world as before. Only there was a singing fire and a climb of roses everlastingly over the world he looked on.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Sweet and Low by Alfred Tennyson

Sweet and low, sweet and low,
Wind of the western sea,
Low, low, breathe and blow,
Wind of the western sea!
Over the rolling waters go,
Come from the dying moon, and blow,
Blow him again to me;
While my little one, while my pretty one, sleeps.

Sleep and rest, sleep and rest,
Father will come to thee soon;
Rest, rest, on mother’s breast,
Father will come to thee soon;
Father will come to his babe in the nest,
Silver sails all out of the west
Under the silver moon:
Sleep, my little one, sleep, my pretty one, sleep.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Dance Figure by Ezra Pound

Dark-eyed,
O woman of my dreams,
Ivory sandaled,
There is none like thee among the dancers,
None with swift feet.

I have not found thee in the tents,
In the broken darkness.
I have not found thee at the well-head
Among the women with pitchers.

Thine arms are as a young sapling under the bark;
Thy face as a river with lights.

White as an almond are thy shoulders;
As new almonds stripped from the husk.

They guard thee not with eunuchs;
Not with bars of copper.
Gilt turquoise and silver are in the place of thy rest.
A brown robe, with threads of gold woven in patterns, hast thou gathered about thee,
O Nathat-Ikanaie, “Tree-at-the-river.”

As a rillet among the sedge are thy hands upon me;
Thy fingers a frosted stream.

Thy maidens are white like pebbles;
Their music about thee!

There is none like thee among the dancers;
None with swift feet.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Red-headed Restaurant Cashier by Carl Sandburg

Shake back your hair, O red-headed girl.
Let go your laughter and keep your two proud freckles on your chin.
Somewhere is a man looking for a red-headed girl and some day maybe he will look into your eyes for a restaurant cashier and find a lover, maybe.
Around and around go ten thousand men hunting a red headed girl with two freckles on her chin.
I have seen them hunting, hunting.
Shake back your hair; let go your laughter.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Dedication to his Golden Treasury by Francis T. Palgrave

TO
ALFRED TENNYSON
POET LAUREATE

This book in its progress has recalled often to my memory a man with whose friendship we were once honoured, to whom no region of English Literature was unfamiliar, and who, whilst rich in all the noble gifts of Nature, was most eminently distinguished by the noblest and the rarest,—just judgment and high-hearted patriotism. It would have been hence a peculiar pleasure and pride to dedicate what I have endeavoured to make a true national Anthology of three centuries to Henry Hallam. But he is beyond the reach of any human tokens of love and reverence; and I desire therefore to place before it a name united with his by associations which, whilst Poetry retains her hold on the minds of Englishmen, are not likely to be forgotten.

Your encouragement, given while traversing the wild scenery of Treryn Dinas, led me to begin the work; and it has been completed under your advice and assistance. For the favour now asked I have thus a second reason: and to this I may add, the homage which is your right as Poet, and the gratitude due to a Friend, whose regard I rate at no common value.

Permit me, then, to inscribe to yourself a book which, I hope, may be found by many a lifelong fountain of innocent and exalted pleasure; a source of animation to friends when they meet; and able to sweeten solitude itself with best society,—with the companionship of the wise and the good, with the beauty which the eye cannot see, and the music only heard in silence. If this collection proves a storehouse of delight to Labour and to Poverty,—if it teaches those indifferent to the Poets to love them, and those who love them to love them more, the aim and the desire entertained in framing it will be fully accomplished.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock by T.S. Eliot

S’io credesse che mia risposta fosse
A persona che mai tornasse al mondo,
Questa fiamma staria senza piu scosse.
Ma perciocche giammai di questo fondo
Non torno vivo alcun, s’i’odo il vero,
Senza tema d’infamia ti rispondo.


Let us go then, you and I,
When the evening is spread out against the sky
Like a patient etherised upon a table;
Let us go, through certain half-deserted streets,
The muttering retreats
Of restless nights in one-night cheap hotels
And sawdust restaurants with oyster-shells:
Streets that follow like a tedious argument
Of insidious intent
To lead you to an overwhelming question …
Oh, do not ask, “What is it?”
Let us go and make our visit.

In the room the women come and go
Talking of Michelangelo.

The yellow fog that rubs its back upon the window-panes,
The yellow smoke that rubs its muzzle on the window-panes
Licked its tongue into the corners of the evening,
Lingered upon the pools that stand in drains,
Let fall upon its back the soot that falls from chimneys,
Slipped by the terrace, made a sudden leap,
And seeing that it was a soft October night,
Curled once about the house, and fell asleep.

And indeed there will be time
For the yellow smoke that slides along the street,
Rubbing its back upon the window-panes;
There will be time, there will be time
To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet;
There will be time to murder and create,
And time for all the works and days of hands
That lift and drop a question on your plate;
Time for you and time for me,
And time yet for a hundred indecisions,
And for a hundred visions and revisions,
Before the taking of a toast and tea.

In the room the women come and go
Talking of Michelangelo.

And indeed there will be time
To wonder, “Do I dare?” and, “Do I dare?”
Time to turn back and descend the stair,
With a bald spot in the middle of my hair—
[They will say: “How his hair is growing thin!”]
My morning coat, my collar mounting firmly to the chin,
My necktie rich and modest, but asserted by a simple pin—
[They will say: “But how his arms and legs are thin!”]
Do I dare
Disturb the universe?
In a minute there is time
For decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse.

For I have known them all already, known them all:—
Have known the evenings, mornings, afternoons,
I have measured out my life with coffee spoons;
I know the voices dying with a dying fall
Beneath the music from a farther room.
So how should I presume?

And I have known the eyes already, known them all—
The eyes that fix you in a formulated phrase,
And when I am formulated, sprawling on a pin,
When I am pinned and wriggling on the wall,
Then how should I begin
To spit out all the butt-ends of my days and ways?
And how should I presume?

And I have known the arms already, known them all—
Arms that are braceleted and white and bare
[But in the lamplight, downed with light brown hair!]
It is perfume from a dress
That makes me so digress?
Arms that lie along a table, or wrap about a shawl.
And should I then presume?
And how should I begin?
. . . . .
Shall I say, I have gone at dusk through narrow streets
And watched the smoke that rises from the pipes
Of lonely men in shirt-sleeves, leaning out of windows?…

I should have been a pair of ragged claws
Scuttling across the floors of silent seas.
. . . . .
And the afternoon, the evening, sleeps so peacefully!
Smoothed by long fingers,
Asleep … tired … or it malingers,
Stretched on the floor, here beside you and me.
Should I, after tea and cakes and ices,
Have the strength to force the moment to its crisis?
But though I have wept and fasted, wept and prayed,
Though I have seen my head [grown slightly bald] brought in upon a platter,
I am no prophet—and here’s no great matter;
I have seen the moment of my greatness flicker,
And I have seen the eternal Footman hold my coat, and snicker,
And in short, I was afraid.

And would it have been worth it, after all,
After the cups, the marmalade, the tea,
Among the porcelain, among some talk of you and me,
Would it have been worth while,
To have bitten off the matter with a smile,
To have squeezed the universe into a ball
To roll it toward some overwhelming question,
To say: “I am Lazarus, come from the dead,
Come back to tell you all, I shall tell you all”—
If one, settling a pillow by her head,
Should say: “That is not what I meant at all.
That is not it, at all.”

And would it have been worth it, after all,
Would it have been worth while,
After the sunsets and the dooryards and the sprinkled streets,
After the novels, after the teacups, after the skirts that trail along the floor—
And this, and so much more?—
It is impossible to say just what I mean!
But as if a magic lantern threw the nerves in patterns on a screen:
Would it have been worth while
If one, settling a pillow or throwing off a shawl,
And turning toward the window, should say:
“That is not it at all,
That is not what I meant, at all.”
. . . . .
No! I am not Prince Hamlet, nor was meant to be;
Am an attendant lord, one that will do
To swell a progress, start a scene or two,
Advise the prince; no doubt, an easy tool,
Deferential, glad to be of use,
Politic, cautious, and meticulous;
Full of high sentence, but a bit obtuse;
At times, indeed, almost ridiculous—
Almost, at times, the Fool.

I grow old … I grow old …
I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.

Shall I part my hair behind? Do I dare to eat a peach?
I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach.
I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each.

I do not think that they will sing to me.

I have seen them riding seaward on the waves
Combing the white hair of the waves blown back
When the wind blows the water white and black.

We have lingered in the chambers of the sea
By sea-girls wreathed with seaweed red and brown
Till human voices wake us, and we drown.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Silence by Thomas Hood

There is a silence where hath been no sound,
There is a silence where no sound may be,
In the cold grave—under the deep, deep sea,
Or in wide desert where no life is found,
Which hath been mute, and still must sleep profound;
No voice is hush'd—no life treads silently,
But clouds and cloudy shadows wander free,
That never spoke, over the idle ground:
But in green ruins, in the desolate walls
Of antique palaces, where Man hath been,
Though the dun fox or wild hy├Žna calls,
And owls, that flit continually between,
Shriek to the echo, and the low winds moan—
There the true Silence is, self-conscious and alone.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Song by Aphra Behn

Love in fantastic triumph sate
Whilst bleeding hearts around him flow'd,
For whom fresh pains he did create
And strange tyrannic power he show'd:
From thy bright eyes he took his fires,
Which round about in sport he hurl'd;
But 'twas from mine he took desires
Enough t' undo the amorous world.

From me he took his sighs and tears,
From thee his pride and cruelty;
From me his languishments and fears,
And every killing dart from thee.
Thus thou and I the god have arm'd
And set him up a deity;
But my poor heart alone is harm'd,
Whilst thine the victor is, and free!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

An Old Story by Edwin Arlington Robinson

Strange that I did not know him then,
That friend of mine!
I did not even show him then
One friendly sign;

But cursed him for the ways he had
To make me see
My envy of the praise he had
For praising me.

I would have rid the earth of him
Once, in my pride!...
I never knew the worth of him
Until he died.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

The Tropics by Douglas B. W. Sladen

Love we the warmth and light of tropic lands,
The strange bright fruit, the feathery fanspread leaves,
The glowing mornings and the mellow eves,
The strange shells scattered on the golden sands,
The curious handiwork of Eastern hands,
The little carts ambled by humpbacked beeves,
The narrow outrigged native boat which cleaves,
Unscathed, the surf outside the coral strands.
Love we the blaze of color, the rich red
Of broad tiled-roof and turban, the bright green
Of plantain-frond and paddy-field, nor dread
The fierceness of the noon. The sky serene,
The chill-less air, quaint sights, and tropic trees,
Seem like a dream fulfilled of lotus-ease.

Friday, November 9, 2007

A Silent Mouth by Cathal O'Bryne

O little green leaf on the bough, you hear the lark in morn,
You hear the grey feet of the wind stir in the shimmering corn,
You hear, low down in the grass,
The Singing Sidhe as they pass,
Do you ever hear, O little green flame,
My loved one calling, whispering my name?

O little green leaf on the bough, like my lips you must ever be dumb,
For a maiden may never speak until love to her heart says “Come.”
A mouth in its silence is sweet
But my heart cries loud when we meet,
And I turn my head with a bitter sigh
When the boy who has stolen my love, unheeding, goes by.

I have made my heart as the stones in the street for his tread,
I have made my love as the shadow that falls from his dear gold head,
But the stones with his footsteps ring,
And the shadow keeps following,
And just as the quiet shadow goes ever beside or before,
So must I go silent and lonely and loveless for evermore.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Recuerdo by Edna St.Vincent Millay

We were very tired, we were very merry--
We had gone back and forth all night on the ferry.
It was bare and bright, and smelled like a stable--
But we looked into a fire, we leaned across a table,
We lay on a hilltop underneath the moon;
And the whistles kept blowing, and the dawn came soon.

We were very tired, we were very merry--
We had gone back and forth all night on the ferry,
And you ate an apple, and I ate a pear,
From a dozen of each we had bought somewhere;
And the sky went wan, and the wind came cold,
And the sun rose dripping, a bucketful of gold.

We were very tired, we were very merry,
We had gone back and forth all night on the ferry,
We hailed "Good morrow, mother!" to a shawl-covered head,
And bought a morning paper, which neither of us read;
And she wept, "God bless you!" for the apples and pears,
And we gave her all our money but our subway fares.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Sonnet by Arthur Davison Ficke

There are strange shadows fostered of the moon,
More numerous than the clear-cut shade of day....
Go forth, when all the leaves whisper of June,
Into the dusk of swooping bats at play;
Or go into that late November dusk
When hills take on the noble lines of death,
And on the air the faint, astringent musk
Of rotting leaves pours vaguely troubling breath.
Then shall you see shadows whereof the sun,
Knows nothing—aye, a thousand shadows there
Shall leap and flicker and stir and stay and run,
Like petrels of the changing foul or fair;
Like ghosts of twilight, of the moon, of him
Whose homeland lies past each horizon's rim....

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

The Secret by Cosmo Monkhouse

She passes in her beauty bright
Amongst the mean, amongst the gay,
And all are brighter for the sight,
And bless her as she goes her way.

And now a gleam of pity pours,
And now a spark of spirit flies,
Uncounted, from the unlock’d stores
Of her rich lips and precious eyes.

And all men look, and all men smile,
But no man looks on her as I:
They mark her for a little while,
But I will watch her till I die.

And if I wonder now and then
Why this so strange a thing should be—
That she be seen by wiser men
And only duly lov’d by me:

I only wait a little longer,
And watch her radiance in the room;
Here making light a little stronger,
And there obliterating gloom,

(Like one who, in a tangled way,
Watches the broken sun fall through,
Turning to gold the faded spray,
And making diamonds of dew).

Until at last, as my heart burns,
She gathers all her scatter’d light,
And undivided radiance turns
Upon me like a sea of light.

And then I know they see in part
That which God lets me worship whole:
He gives them glances of her heart,
But me, the sunshine of her soul.

Monday, November 5, 2007

She Hears the Storm by Thomas Hardy

There was a time in former years—
While my roof-tree was his—
When I should have been distressed by fears
At such a night as this.

I should have murmured anxiously,
“The pricking rain strikes cold;
His road is bare of hedge or tree,
And he is getting old.”

But now the fitful chimney-roar,
The drone of Thorncombe trees,
The Froom in flood upon the moor,
The mud of Mellstock Leaze,

The candle slanting sooty wick’d,
The thuds upon the thatch,
The eaves-drops on the window flicked,
The clacking garden-hatch,

And what they mean to wayfarers,
I scarcely heed or mind;
He has won that storm-tight roof of hers
Which Earth grants all her kind.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

O White Wind, numbing the World by Christopher J. Brennan

O white wind, numbing the world
to a mask of suffering hate!
and thy goblin pipes have skirl’d
all night, at my broken gate.

O heart, be hidden and kept
in a half-light colour’d and warm,
and call on thy dreams that have slept
to charm thee from hate and harm.

They are gone, for I might not keep;
my sense is beaten and dinn’d;
there is no peace but a grey sleep
in the pause of the wind.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Where My Books go by William Butler Yeats

All the words that I utter,
And all the words that I write,
Must spread out their wings untiring,
And never rest in their flight,
Till they come where your sad, sad heart is,
And sing to you in the night,
Beyond where the waters are moving,
Storm-darken'd or starry bright.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Parted by Siegfried Sassoon

Sleepless I listen to the surge and drone
And drifting roar of the town’s undertone;
Till through quiet falling rain I hear the bells
Tolling and chiming their brief tune that tells
Day’s midnight end. And from the day that’s over
No flashes of delight I can recover;
But only dreary winter streets, and faces
Of people moving in loud clanging places:
And I in my loneliness, longing for you...

For all I did to-day, and all I’ll do
To-morrow, in this city of intense
Arteried activities that throb and strive,
Is but a beating down of that suspense
Which holds me from your arms.
I am alive
Only that I may find you at the end
Of these slow-striking hours I toil to spend,
Putting each one behind me, knowing but this—
That all my days are turning toward your kiss;
That all expectancy awaits the deep
Consoling passion of your eyes, that keep
Their radiance for my coming, and their peace
For when I find in you my love’s release.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Sonnet by Charles Harpur

She loves me! From her own bliss-breathing lips
The live confession came, like rich perfume
From crimson petals bursting into bloom!
And still my heart at the remembrance skips
Like a young lion, and my tongue too trips
As drunk with joy! while every object seen
In life’s diurnal round wears in its mien
A clear assurance that no doubts eclipse.
And if the common things of nature now
Are like old faces flushed with new delight,
Much more the consciousness of that rich vow
Deepens the beauteous, and refines the bright,
While throned I seem on love’s divinest height
’Mid all the glories glowing round its brow.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Dream Land by Christina Rossetti

Where sunless rivers weep
Their waves into the deep,
She sleeps a charmed sleep:
Awake her not.
Led by a single star,
She came from very far
To seek where shadows are
Her pleasant lot.

She left the rosy morn,
She left the fields of corn,
For twilight cold and lorn
And water springs.
Through sleep, as through a veil,
She sees the sky look pale,
And hears the nightingale
That sadly sings.

Rest, rest, a perfect rest
Shed over brow and breast;
Her face is toward the west,
The purple land.
She cannot see the grain
Ripening on hill and plain;
She cannot feel the rain
Upon her hand.

Rest, rest, for evermore
Upon a mossy shore;
Rest, rest at the heart's core
Till time shall cease:
Sleep that no pain shall wake;
Night that no morn shall break
Till joy shall overtake
Her perfect peace.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The Garret by Ezra Pound

Come let us pity those who are better off than we are.
Come, my friend, and remember
that the rich have butlers and no friends,
And we have friends and no butlers.
Come let us pity the married and the unmarried.

Dawn enters with little feet
like a gilded Pavlova,
And I am near my desire.
Nor has life in it aught better
Than this hour of clear coolness,
the hour of waking together.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Liebesweh by Dora Wilcox

Ah, my heart, the storm and sadness!
Wind that moans, uncomforted,
Requiem for Love that’s dead’
Love that’s dead!
Leafless trees that sough and sigh,
Gloom of earth, and grey of sky,
Ah, my heart, what storm and sadness!

Ah, my heart, those sweet Septembers!
Ah, the glory and the glow
Of the Spring-tides long ago,
Long ago!
Gleam of gold, and glint of green
On the grassy hillsides seen,
Ah, my heart, those sweet Septembers!

Ah, my heart, on sweet soft pinions,
Spring, the lov’d one, hovers nigh,
She shall settle by-and-by,
By-and-by!
But the hills shall shine in vain,
Love, alas, comes not again,
Ah, my heart, on sweet soft pinions!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Bedtime by Francis Robert Rosslyn

’Tis bedtime; say your hymn, and bid “Good-night;
God bless Mamma, Papa, and dear ones all.”
Your half-shut eyes beneath your eyelids fall,
Another minute, you will shut them quite.
Yes, I will carry you, put out the light,
And tuck you up, although you are so tall!
What will you give me, sleepy one, and call
My wages, if I settle you all right?
I laid her golden curls upon my arm,
I drew her little feet within my hand,
Her rosy palms were joined in trustful bliss,
Her heart next mine beat gently, soft and warm
She nestled to me, and, by Love’s command,
Paid me my precious wages—“Baby’s Kiss.”

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Goblin Revel by Siegfried Sassoon

In gold and grey, with fleering looks of sin,
I watch them come; by two, by three, by four,
Advancing slow, with loutings they begin
Their woven measure, widening from the door;
While music-men behind are straddling in
With flutes to brisk their feet across the floor,—
And jangled dulcimers, and fiddles thin
That taunt the twirling antic through once more.

They pause, and hushed to whispers, steal away.
With cunning glances; silent go their shoon
On creakless stairs; but far away the dogs
Bark at some lonely farm: and haply they
Have clambered back into the dusky moon
That sinks beyond the marshes loud with frogs.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Dirge by Madison Cawein

What shall her silence keep
Under the sun?
Here, where the willows weep
And waters run;
Here, where she lies asleep,
And all is done.

Lights, when the tree-top swings;
Scents that are sown;
Sounds of the wood-bird’s wings;
And the bee’s drone:
These be her comfortings
Under the stone.

What shall watch o’er her here
When day is fled?
Here, when the night is near
And skies are red;
Here, where she lieth dear
And young and dead.

Shadows, and winds that spill
Dew, and the tune
Of the wild whippoorwill,
And the white moon,—
These be the watchers still
Over her stone.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

The Storm by G. O. Warren

She reached for sunset fires,
And lived with stars and the sea,
The mountains for her temple,
The storm for priest had she.

Together a libation
They poured to the God she knew,
Such wine as ageless heavens
And lonely wisdom brew.

Now she has done with worship,
For her all rites are the same;
Yet the storm keeps green forever
The moss upon her name.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

The Plougher by Padraic Colum

Sunset and silence! A man: around him earth savage, earth broken;
Beside him two horses—a plough!

Earth savage, earth broken, the brutes, the dawn man there in the sunset,
And the Plough that is twin to the Sword, that is founder of cities!

"Brute-tamer, plough-maker, earth-breaker! Can'st hear?
There are ages between us.
"Is it praying you are as you stand there alone in the sunset?

"Surely our sky-born gods can be naught to you, earth child and earth master?
"Surely your thoughts are of Pan, or of Wotan, or Dana?

"Yet, why give thought to the gods? Has Pan led your brutes where they stumble?
"Has Dana numbed pain of the child-bed, or Wotan put hands to your plough?

"What matter your foolish reply! O, man, standing lone and bowed earthward,
"Your task is a day near its close. Give thanks to the night-giving God."
. . .

Slowly the darkness falls, the broken lands blend with the savage;
The brute-tamer stands by the brutes, a head's breadth only above them.

A head's breadth? Ay, but therein is hell's depth, and the height up to heaven,
And the thrones of the gods and their halls, their chariots, purples, and splendors.