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Thursday, January 31, 2008

Bones by Carl Sandburg

Sling me under the sea.
Pack me down in the salt and wet.
No farmer’s plow shall touch my bones.
No Hamlet hold my jaws and speak
How jokes are gone and empty is my mouth.
Long, green-eyed scavengers shall pick my eyes,
Purple fish play hide-and-seek,
And I shall be song of thunder, crash of sea,
Down on the floors of salt and wet.
Sling me … under the sea.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

To A Lady by George Etherege

It is not, Celia, in our power
To say how long our love will last;
It may be we within this hour
May lose those joys we now do taste:
The blessed, that immortal be,
From change in love are only free.

Then, since we mortal lovers are,
Ask not how long our love will last;
But while it does, let us take care
Each minute be with pleasure past.
Were it not madness to deny
To live, because w'are sure to die?

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

A Sea Dirge by WIlliam Shakespeare

Full fathom five thy father lies:
Of his bones are coral made;
Those are pearls that were his eyes:
Nothing of him that doth fade
But doth suffer a sea-change
Into something rich and strange.
Sea-nymphs hourly ring his knell:
Hark! now I hear them,—
Ding-dong, bell.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Against Indifference by Charles Webbe

More love or more disdain I crave;
Sweet, be not still indifferent:
O send me quickly to my grave,
Or else afford me more content!
Or love or hate me more or less,
For love abhors all lukewarmness.

Give me a tempest if 'twill drive
Me to the place where I would be;
Or if you'll have me still alive,
Confess you will be kind to me.
Give hopes of bliss or dig my grave:
More love or more disdain I crave.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

The Height of the Ridiculous by Oliver Wendell Holmes

I wrote some lines once on a time
In wondrous merry mood,
And thought, as usual, men would say
They were exceeding good.

They were so queer, so very queer,
I laughed as I would die;
Albeit, in the general way,
A sober man am I.

I called my servant, and he came;
How kind it was of him
To mind a slender man like me,
He of the mighty limb.

“These to the printer,” I exclaimed,
And, in my humorous way,
I added (as a trifling jest,)
“There ’ll be the devil to pay.”

He took the paper, and I watched,
And saw him peep within;
At the first line he read, his face
Was all upon the grin.

He read the next; the grin grew broad,
And shot from ear to ear;
He read the third; a chuckling noise
I now began to hear.

The fourth; he broke into a roar;
The fifth; his waistband split;
The sixth; he burst five buttons off,
And tumbled in a fit.

Ten days and nights, with sleepless eye,
I watched that wretched man,
And since, I never dare to write
As funny as I can.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Blueberries by Frank Prentice Rand

Upon the hills of Garlingtown
Beneath the summer sky,
In many pleasant pastures
On sunny slopes and high,
Their skins abloom with dusty blue,
Asleep, the berries lie.

And all the lads of Garlingtown,
And all the lasses too,
Still climb the tranquil hillsides,
A merry, barefoot crew;
Still homeward plod with unfilled pails
And mouths of berry blue.

And all the birds of Garlingtown,
When flocking back to nest,
Remember well the patches
Where berries are the best;
They pick the ripest ones at dawn
And leave the lads the rest.

Upon the hills of Garlingtown
When berry-time was o’er,
I looked into the sunset,
And saw an open door,
And from the hills of Garlingtown
I went, and came no more.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

My Prime of Youth by Chidiock Tichborne

My prime of youth is but a frost of cares,
My feast of joy is but a dish of pain,
My crop of corn is but a field of tares,
And all my good is but vain hope of gain.
The day is gone and I yet I saw no sun,
And now I live, and now my life is done.

The spring is past, and yet it hath not sprung,
The fruit is dead, and yet the leaves are green,
My youth is gone, and yet I am but young,
I saw the world, and yet I was not seen,
My thread is cut, and yet it was not spun,
And now I live, and now my life is done.
I sought my death and found it in my womb,
I lookt for life and saw it was a shade,
I trode the earth and knew it was my tomb,
And now I die, and now I am but made.
The glass is full, and now the glass is run,
And now I live, and now my life is done.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

When in disgrace - Sonnet 29 by William Shakespeare

When in disgrace with fortune and men’s eyes
I all alone beweep my outcast state,
And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries,
And look upon myself, and curse my fate,
Wishing me like to one more rich in hope,
Featur’d like him, like him with friends possess’d,
Desiring this man’s art, and that man’s scope,
With what I most enjoy contented least;
Yet in these thoughts myself almost despising,
Haply I think on thee,—and then my state,
Like to the lark at break of day arising
From sullen earth, sings hymns at heaven’s gate;
For thy sweet love remember’d such wealth brings
That then I scorn to change my state with kings.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Storm by Max Michelson

Storm,
Wild one,
Take me in your whirl,
In your giddy reel,
In your shot-like leaps and flights.
Hear me call—stop and hear.
I know you, blusterer; I know you, wild one—
I know your mysterious call.

Monday, January 21, 2008

The Hour of Twilight by George William Russell

When the unquiet hours depart
And far away their tumults cease,
Within the twilight of the heart
We bathe in peace, are stilled with peace.

The fire that slew us through the day
For angry deed or sin of sense
Now is the star and homeward ray
To us who bow in penitence.

We kiss the lips of bygone pain
And find a secret sweet in them:
The thorns once dripped with shadowy rain
Are bright upon each diadem.

Ceases the old pathetic strife,
The struggle with the scarlet sin:
The mad enchanted laugh of life
Tempts not the soul that sees within.

No riotous and fairy song
Allures the prodigals who bow
Within the home of law, and throng
Before the mystic Father now,

Where faces of the elder years,
High souls absolved from grief and sin,
Leaning from out ancestral spheres
Beckon the wounded spirit in.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

The First Snow-Fall by James Russell Lowell

The snow had begun in the gloaming,
And busily all the night
Had been heaping field and highway
With a silence deep and white.

Every pine and fir and hemlock
Wore ermine too dear for an earl,
And the poorest twig on the elm-tree
Was ridged inch deep with pearl.

From sheds new-roofed with Carrara
Came Chanticleer’s muffled crow,
The stiff rails softened to swan’s-down,
And still fluttered down the snow.

I stood and watched by the window
The noiseless work of the sky,
And the sudden flurries of snow-birds,
Like brown leaves whirling by.

I thought of a mound in sweet Auburn
Where a little headstone stood;
How the flakes were folding it gently,
As did robins the babes in the wood.

Up spoke our own little Mabel,
Saying, “Father, who makes it snow?”
And I told of the good All-father
Who cares for us here below.

Again I looked at the snow-fall,
And thought of the leaden sky
That arched o’er our first great sorrow,
When that mound was heaped so high.

I remembered the gradual patience
That fell from that cloud like snow,
Flake by flake, healing and hiding
The scar that renewed our woe.

And again to the child I whispered,
“The snow that husheth all,
Darling, the merciful Father
Alone can make it fall!”

Then, with eyes that saw not, I kissed her;
And she, kissing back, could not know
That my kiss was given to her sister,
Folded close under deepening snow.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Asleep by John Keats

Asleep! O sleep a little while, white pearl!
And let me kneel, and let me pray to thee,
And let me call Heaven’s blessing on thine eyes,
And let me breathe into the happy air,
That doth enfold and touch thee all about,
Vows of my slavery, my giving up,
My sudden adoration, my great love!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

To a Mistress Dying by William Davenant

Lover. Your beauty, ripe and calm and fresh
As eastern summers are,
Must now, forsaking time and flesh,
Add light to some small star.

Philosopher. Whilst she yet lives, were stars decay'd,
Their light by hers relief might find;
But Death will lead her to a shade
Where Love is cold and Beauty blind.

Lover. Lovers, whose priests all poets are,
Think every mistress, when she dies,
Is changed at least into a star:
And who dares doubt the poets wise?

Philosopher. But ask not bodies doom'd to die
To what abode they go;
Since Knowledge is but Sorrow's spy,
It is not safe to know.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Sonnet 28 by William Shakespeare

How can I then return in happy plight,
That am debarr'd the benefit of rest?
When day's oppression is not eased by night,
But day by night, and night by day, oppress'd?
And each, though enemies to either's reign,
Do in consent shake hands to torture me;
The one by toil, the other to complain
How far I toil, still farther off from thee.
I tell the day, to please them thou art bright
And dost him grace when clouds do blot the heaven:
So flatter I the swart-complexion'd night,
When sparkling stars twire not thou gild'st the even.
But day doth daily draw my sorrows longer
And night doth nightly make grief's strength seem stronger.

Monday, January 14, 2008

The Night-piece: To Julia by Robert Herrick

Her eyes the glow-worm lend thee,
The shooting stars attend thee;
And the elves also,
Whose little eyes glow
Like the sparks of fire, befriend thee.

No Will-o'-the-wisp mislight thee,
Nor snake or slow-worm bite thee;
But on, on thy way
Not making a stay,
Since ghost there 's none to affright thee.

Let not the dark thee cumber:
What though the moon does slumber?
The stars of the night
Will lend thee their light
Like tapers clear without number.

Then, Julia, let me woo thee,
Thus, thus to come unto me;
And when I shall meet
Thy silv'ry feet,
My soul I'll pour into thee.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Song by John Gay

O ruddier than the cherry!
O sweeter than the berry!
O nymph more bright
Than moonshine night,
Like kidlings blithe and merry!
Ripe as the melting cluster!
No lily has such lustre;
Yet hard to tame
As raging flame,
And fierce as storms that bluster!

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Small and Early by Tudor Jenks

When Dorothy and I took tea, we sat upon the floor;
No matter how much tea I drank, she always gave me more;
Our table was the scarlet box in which her tea-set came;
Our guests, an armless one-eyed doll, a wooden horse gone lame.
She poured out nothing, very fast,—the tea-pot tipped on high,—
And in the bowl found sugar lumps unseen by my dull eye.
She added rich (pretended) cream—it seemed a wilful waste,
For though she overflowed the cup, it did not change the taste.
She asked, “Take milk?” or “Sugar?” and though I answered, “No,”
She put them in, and told me that I “must take it so!”
She ’d say “Another cup, Papa?” and I, “No, thank you, Ma’am,”
But then I had to take it—her courtesy was sham.
Still, being neither green, nor black, nor English-breakfast tea,
It did not give her guests the “nerves”—whatever those may be.
Though often I upset my cup, she only minded when
I would mistake the empty cups for those she ’d filled again.
She tasted my cup gingerly, for fear I ’d burn my tongue;
Indeed, she really hurt my pride—she made me feel so young.
I must have drunk some twoscore cups, and Dorothy sixteen,
Allowing only needful time to pour them, in between.
We stirred with massive pewter spoons, and sipped in courtly ease,
With all the ceremony of the stately Japanese.
At length she put the cups away. “Goodnight, Papa,” she said;
And I went to a real tea, and Dorothy to bed.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Wanderers by James Hebblethwaite

As I rose in the early dawn,
While stars were fading white,
I saw upon a grassy slope
A camp-fire burning bright;
With tent behind and blaze before
Three loggers in a row
Sang all together joyously—
Pull up the stakes and go!

As I rode on by Eagle Hawk,
The wide blue deep of air,
The wind among the glittering leaves,
The flowers so sweet and fair,
The thunder of the rude salt waves,
The creek’s soft overflow,
All joined in chorus to the words—
Pull up the stakes and go!

Now by the tent on forest skirt,
By odour of the earth,
By sight and scent of morning smoke,
By evening camp-fire’s mirth,
By deep-sea call and foaming green,
By new stars’ gleam and glow,
By summer trails in antique lands—
Pull up the stakes and go!

The world is wide and we are young,
The sounding marches beat,
And passion pipes her sweetest call
In lane and field and street;
So rouse the chorus, brothers all,
We’ll something have to show
When death comes round and strikes our tent—
Pull up the stakes and go!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

An Arab Love-Song by Francis Thompson

The hunch├Ęd camels of the night
Trouble the bright
And silver waters of the moon.
The Maiden of the Morn will soon
Through Heaven stray and sing,
Star gathering.

Now while the dark about our loves is strewn,
Light of my dark, blood of my heart, O come!
And night will catch her breath up, and be dumb.

Leave thy father, leave thy mother
And thy brother;
Leave the black tents of thy tribe apart!
Am I not thy father and thy brother,
And thy mother?
And thou—what needest with thy tribe's black tents
Who hast the red pavilion of my heart?

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Country Road by Marie Louise Hersey

I can't forget a gaunt grey barn
Like a face without an eye
That kept recurring by field and tarn
Under a Cape Cod sky.

I can’t forget a woman’s hand,
Roughened and scarred by toil
That beckoned clear-eyed children tanned
By sun and wind and soil.

Beauty and hardship, bent and bound
Under the selfsame yoke:
Babies with bare knees plump and round
And stooping women folk.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Old Ships by David Morton

There is a memory stays upon old ships,
A weightless cargo in the musty hold,—
Of bright lagoons and prow-caressing lips,
Of stormy midnights,—and a tale untold.
They have remembered islands in the dawn,
And windy capes that tried their slender spars,
And tortuous channels where their keels have gone,
And calm blue nights of stillness and the stars.

Ah, never think that ships forget a shore,
Or bitter seas, or winds that made them wise;
There is a dream upon them, evermore;—
And there be some who say that sunk ships rise
To seek familiar harbors in the night,
Blowing in mists, their spectral sails like light.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

The Owl and the Pussycat by Edward Lear

The Owl and the Pussy-cat went to sea
In a beautiful pea green boat,
They took some honey, and plenty of money,
Wrapped up in a five pound note.
The Owl looked up to the stars above,
And sang to a small guitar,
'O lovely Pussy! O Pussy my love,
What a beautiful Pussy you are,
You are,
You are!
What a beautiful Pussy you are!'

Pussy said to the Owl, 'You elegant fowl!
How charmingly sweet you sing!
O let us be married! too long we have tarried:
But what shall we do for a ring?'
They sailed away, for a year and a day,
To the land where the Bong-tree grows
And there in a wood a Piggy-wig stood
With a ring at the end of his nose,
His nose,
His nose,
With a ring at the end of his nose.

'Dear pig, are you willing to sell for one shilling
Your ring?' Said the Piggy, 'I will.'
So they took it away, and were married next day
By the Turkey who lives on the hill.
They dined on mince, and slices of quince,
Which they ate with a runcible spoon;
And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand,
They danced by the light of the moon,
The moon,
The moon,
They danced by the light of the moon.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

The Builder by Willard Wattles

Smoothing a cypress beam
With a scarred hand,
I saw a carpenter
In a far land.

Down past the flat roofs
Poured the white sun;
But still he bent his back,
The patient one.

And I paused surprised
In that queer place
To find an old man
With a haunting face.

"Who art thou, carpenter,
Of the bowed head;
And what buildest thou?"
"Heaven," he said.