CreationEarth Nature Photos
Submit Poems
Get Your Premium Membership

Best Famous R S Thomas Poems

Here is a collection of the all-time best famous R S Thomas poems. This is a select list of the best famous R S Thomas poetry. Reading, writing, and enjoying famous R S Thomas poetry (as well as classical and contemporary poems) is a great past time. These top poems are the best examples of R S Thomas poems.

Search for the best famous R S Thomas poems, articles about R S Thomas poems, poetry blogs, or anything else R S Thomas poem related using the PoetrySoup search engine at the top of the page.

See also:

Written by Thomas Campbell |

Ode to Winter

 When first the fiery-mantled sun 
His heavenly race begun to run; 
Round the earth and ocean blue, 
His children four the Seasons flew.
First, in green apparel dancing, The young Spring smiled with angel grace; Rosy summer next advancing, Rushed into her sire's embrace:- Her blue-haired sire, who bade her keep For ever nearest to his smile, On Calpe's olive-shaded steep, On India's citron-covered isles: More remote and buxom-brown, The Queen of vintage bowed before his throne, A rich pomegranate gemmed her gown, A ripe sheaf bound her zone.
But howling Winter fled afar, To hills that prop the polar star, And lives on deer-borne car to ride With barren darkness at his side, Round the shore where loud Lofoden Whirls to death the roaring whale, Round the hall where runic Odin Howls his war-song to the gale; Save when adown the ravaged globe He travels on his native storm, Deflowering Nature's grassy robe, And trampling on her faded form:- Till light's returning lord assume The shaft the drives him to his polar field, Of power to pierce his raven plume And crystal-covered shield.
Oh, sire of storms! whose savage ear The Lapland drum delights to hear, When frenzy with her blood-shot eye Implores thy dreadful deity, Archangel! power of desolation! Fast descending as thou art, Say, hath mortal invocation Spells to touch thy stony heart? Then, sullen Winter, hear my prayer, And gently rule the ruined year; Nor chill the wanders bosom bare, Nor freeze the wretch's falling tear;- To shuddering Want's unmantled bed Thy horror-breathing agues cease to lead, And gently on the orphan head Of innocence descend.
- But chiefly spare, O king of clouds! The sailor on his airy shrouds; When wrecks and beacons strew the steep, And specters walk along the deep.
Milder yet thy snowy breezes Pour on yonder tented shores, Where the Rhine's broad billow freezes, Or the Dark-brown Danube roars.
Oh, winds of winter! List ye there To many a deep and dying groan; Or start, ye demons of the midnight air, At shrieks and thunders louder than your own.
Alas! Even unhallowed breath May spare the victim fallen low; But man will ask no truce of death,- No bounds to human woe.

Written by Dylan Thomas |

Poem In October

 It was my thirtieth year to heaven
Woke to my hearing from harbour and neighbour wood
 And the mussel pooled and the heron
 Priested shore
 The morning beckon
With water praying and call of seagull and rook
And the knock of sailing boats on the net webbed wall
 Myself to set foot
 That second
 In the still sleeping town and set forth.
My birthday began with the water- Birds and the birds of the winged trees flying my name Above the farms and the white horses And I rose In rainy autumn And walked abroad in a shower of all my days.
High tide and the heron dived when I took the road Over the border And the gates Of the town closed as the town awoke.
A springful of larks in a rolling Cloud and the roadside bushes brimming with whistling Blackbirds and the sun of October Summery On the hill's shoulder, Here were fond climates and sweet singers suddenly Come in the morning where I wandered and listened To the rain wringing Wind blow cold In the wood faraway under me.
Pale rain over the dwindling harbour And over the sea wet church the size of a snail With its horns through mist and the castle Brown as owls But all the gardens Of spring and summer were blooming in the tall tales Beyond the border and under the lark full cloud.
There could I marvel My birthday Away but the weather turned around.
It turned away from the blithe country And down the other air and the blue altered sky Streamed again a wonder of summer With apples Pears and red currants And I saw in the turning so clearly a child's Forgotten mornings when he walked with his mother Through the parables Of sun light And the legends of the green chapels And the twice told fields of infancy That his tears burned my cheeks and his heart moved in mine.
These were the woods the river and sea Where a boy In the listening Summertime of the dead whispered the truth of his joy To the trees and the stones and the fish in the tide.
And the mystery Sang alive Still in the water and singingbirds.
And there could I marvel my birthday Away but the weather turned around.
And the true Joy of the long dead child sang burning In the sun.
It was my thirtieth Year to heaven stood there then in the summer noon Though the town below lay leaved with October blood.
O may my heart's truth Still be sung On this high hill in a year's turning.

Written by Thomas Hood |

November

 No sun - no moon! 
No morn - no noon - 
No dawn - no dusk - no proper time of day.
No warmth, no cheerfulness, no healthful ease, No comfortable feel in any member - No shade, no shine, no butterflies, no bees, No fruits, no flowers, no leaves, no birds! - November!

Written by T S (Thomas Stearns) Eliot |

Four Quartets 2: East Coker

 I

In my beginning is my end.
In succession Houses rise and fall, crumble, are extended, Are removed, destroyed, restored, or in their place Is an open field, or a factory, or a by-pass.
Old stone to new building, old timber to new fires, Old fires to ashes, and ashes to the earth Which is already flesh, fur and faeces, Bone of man and beast, cornstalk and leaf.
Houses live and die: there is a time for building And a time for living and for generation And a time for the wind to break the loosened pane And to shake the wainscot where the field-mouse trots And to shake the tattered arras woven with a silent motto.
In my beginning is my end.
Now the light falls Across the open field, leaving the deep lane Shuttered with branches, dark in the afternoon, Where you lean against a bank while a van passes, And the deep lane insists on the direction Into the village, in the electric heat Hypnotised.
In a warm haze the sultry light Is absorbed, not refracted, by grey stone.
The dahlias sleep in the empty silence.
Wait for the early owl.
In that open field If you do not come too close, if you do not come too close, On a summer midnight, you can hear the music Of the weak pipe and the little drum And see them dancing around the bonfire The association of man and woman In daunsinge, signifying matrimonie— A dignified and commodiois sacrament.
Two and two, necessarye coniunction, Holding eche other by the hand or the arm Whiche betokeneth concorde.
Round and round the fire Leaping through the flames, or joined in circles, Rustically solemn or in rustic laughter Lifting heavy feet in clumsy shoes, Earth feet, loam feet, lifted in country mirth Mirth of those long since under earth Nourishing the corn.
Keeping time, Keeping the rhythm in their dancing As in their living in the living seasons The time of the seasons and the constellations The time of milking and the time of harvest The time of the coupling of man and woman And that of beasts.
Feet rising and falling.
Eating and drinking.
Dung and death.
Dawn points, and another day Prepares for heat and silence.
Out at sea the dawn wind Wrinkles and slides.
I am here Or there, or elsewhere.
In my beginning.
II What is the late November doing With the disturbance of the spring And creatures of the summer heat, And snowdrops writhing under feet And hollyhocks that aim too high Red into grey and tumble down Late roses filled with early snow? Thunder rolled by the rolling stars Simulates triumphal cars Deployed in constellated wars Scorpion fights against the Sun Until the Sun and Moon go down Comets weep and Leonids fly Hunt the heavens and the plains Whirled in a vortex that shall bring The world to that destructive fire Which burns before the ice-cap reigns.
That was a way of putting it—not very satisfactory: A periphrastic study in a worn-out poetical fashion, Leaving one still with the intolerable wrestle With words and meanings.
The poetry does not matter.
It was not (to start again) what one had expected.
What was to be the value of the long looked forward to, Long hoped for calm, the autumnal serenity And the wisdom of age? Had they deceived us Or deceived themselves, the quiet-voiced elders, Bequeathing us merely a receipt for deceit? The serenity only a deliberate hebetude, The wisdom only the knowledge of dead secrets Useless in the darkness into which they peered Or from which they turned their eyes.
There is, it seems to us, At best, only a limited value In the knowledge derived from experience.
The knowledge imposes a pattern, and falsifies, For the pattern is new in every moment And every moment is a new and shocking Valuation of all we have been.
We are only undeceived Of that which, deceiving, could no longer harm.
In the middle, not only in the middle of the way But all the way, in a dark wood, in a bramble, On the edge of a grimpen, where is no secure foothold, And menaced by monsters, fancy lights, Risking enchantment.
Do not let me hear Of the wisdom of old men, but rather of their folly, Their fear of fear and frenzy, their fear of possession, Of belonging to another, or to others, or to God.
The only wisdom we can hope to acquire Is the wisdom of humility: humility is endless.
The houses are all gone under the sea.
The dancers are all gone under the hill.
III O dark dark dark.
They all go into the dark, The vacant interstellar spaces, the vacant into the vacant, The captains, merchant bankers, eminent men of letters, The generous patrons of art, the statesmen and the rulers, Distinguished civil servants, chairmen of many committees, Industrial lords and petty contractors, all go into the dark, And dark the Sun and Moon, and the Almanach de Gotha And the Stock Exchange Gazette, the Directory of Directors, And cold the sense and lost the motive of action.
And we all go with them, into the silent funeral, Nobody's funeral, for there is no one to bury.
I said to my soul, be still, and let the dark come upon you Which shall be the darkness of God.
As, in a theatre, The lights are extinguished, for the scene to be changed With a hollow rumble of wings, with a movement of darkness on darkness, And we know that the hills and the trees, the distant panorama And the bold imposing façade are all being rolled away— Or as, when an underground train, in the tube, stops too long between stations And the conversation rises and slowly fades into silence And you see behind every face the mental emptiness deepen Leaving only the growing terror of nothing to think about; Or when, under ether, the mind is conscious but conscious of nothing— I said to my soul, be still, and wait without hope For hope would be hope for the wrong thing; wait without love, For love would be love of the wrong thing; there is yet faith But the faith and the love and the hope are all in the waiting.
Wait without thought, for you are not ready for thought: So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing.
Whisper of running streams, and winter lightning.
The wild thyme unseen and the wild strawberry, The laughter in the garden, echoed ecstasy Not lost, but requiring, pointing to the agony Of death and birth.
You say I am repeating Something I have said before.
I shall say it again.
Shall I say it again? In order to arrive there, To arrive where you are, to get from where you are not, You must go by a way wherein there is no ecstasy.
In order to arrive at what you do not know You must go by a way which is the way of ignorance.
In order to possess what you do not possess You must go by the way of dispossession.
In order to arrive at what you are not You must go through the way in which you are not.
And what you do not know is the only thing you know And what you own is what you do not own And where you are is where you are not.
IV The wounded surgeon plies the steel That questions the distempered part; Beneath the bleeding hands we feel The sharp compassion of the healer's art Resolving the enigma of the fever chart.
Our only health is the disease If we obey the dying nurse Whose constant care is not to please But to remind of our, and Adam's curse, And that, to be restored, our sickness must grow worse.
The whole earth is our hospital Endowed by the ruined millionaire, Wherein, if we do well, we shall Die of the absolute paternal care That will not leave us, but prevents us everywhere.
The chill ascends from feet to knees, The fever sings in mental wires.
If to be warmed, then I must freeze And quake in frigid purgatorial fires Of which the flame is roses, and the smoke is briars.
The dripping blood our only drink, The bloody flesh our only food: In spite of which we like to think That we are sound, substantial flesh and blood— Again, in spite of that, we call this Friday good.
V So here I am, in the middle way, having had twenty years— Twenty years largely wasted, the years of l'entre deux guerres Trying to use words, and every attempt Is a wholly new start, and a different kind of failure Because one has only learnt to get the better of words For the thing one no longer has to say, or the way in which One is no longer disposed to say it.
And so each venture Is a new beginning, a raid on the inarticulate With shabby equipment always deteriorating In the general mess of imprecision of feeling, Undisciplined squads of emotion.
And what there is to conquer By strength and submission, has already been discovered Once or twice, or several times, by men whom one cannot hope To emulate—but there is no competition— There is only the fight to recover what has been lost And found and lost again and again: and now, under conditions That seem unpropitious.
But perhaps neither gain nor loss.
For us, there is only the trying.
The rest is not our business.
Home is where one starts from.
As we grow older The world becomes stranger, the pattern more complicated Of dead and living.
Not the intense moment Isolated, with no before and after, But a lifetime burning in every moment And not the lifetime of one man only But of old stones that cannot be deciphered.
There is a time for the evening under starlight, A time for the evening under lamplight (The evening with the photograph album).
Love is most nearly itself When here and now cease to matter.
Old men ought to be explorers Here or there does not matter We must be still and still moving Into another intensity For a further union, a deeper communion Through the dark cold and the empty desolation, The wave cry, the wind cry, the vast waters Of the petrel and the porpoise.
In my end is my beginning.

Written by Thomas Moore |

Believe Me If All Those Endearing Young Charms

Believe me, if all those endearing young charms,
   Which I gaze on so fondly today,
Were to change by tomorrow, and fleet in my arms,
   Like 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 fervor 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.

Written by T S (Thomas Stearns) Eliot |

Portrait of a Lady

 Thou hast committed—
Fornication: but that was in another country,
And besides, the wench is dead.
The Jew of Malta.
I AMONG the smoke and fog of a December afternoon You have the scene arrange itself—as it will seem to do— With “I have saved this afternoon for you”; And four wax candles in the darkened room, Four rings of light upon the ceiling overhead, An atmosphere of Juliet’s tomb Prepared for all the things to be said, or left unsaid.
We have been, let us say, to hear the latest Pole Transmit the Preludes, through his hair and fingertips.
“So intimate, this Chopin, that I think his soul Should be resurrected only among friends Some two or three, who will not touch the bloom That is rubbed and questioned in the concert room.
” —And so the conversation slips Among velleities and carefully caught regrets Through attenuated tones of violins Mingled with remote cornets And begins.
“You do not know how much they mean to me, my friends, And how, how rare and strange it is, to find In a life composed so much, so much of odds and ends, [For indeed I do not love it .
.
.
you knew? you are not blind! How keen you are!] To find a friend who has these qualities, Who has, and gives Those qualities upon which friendship lives.
How much it means that I say this to you— Without these friendships—life, what cauchemar!” Among the windings of the violins And the ariettes Of cracked cornets Inside my brain a dull tom-tom begins Absurdly hammering a prelude of its own, Capricious monotone That is at least one definite “false note.
” —Let us take the air, in a tobacco trance, Admire the monuments, Discuss the late events, Correct our watches by the public clocks.
Then sit for half an hour and drink our bocks.
II Now that lilacs are in bloom She has a bowl of lilacs in her room And twists one in his fingers while she talks.
“Ah, my friend, you do not know, you do not know What life is, you who hold it in your hands”; (Slowly twisting the lilac stalks) “You let it flow from you, you let it flow, And youth is cruel, and has no remorse And smiles at situations which it cannot see.
” I smile, of course, And go on drinking tea.
“Yet with these April sunsets, that somehow recall My buried life, and Paris in the Spring, I feel immeasurably at peace, and find the world To be wonderful and youthful, after all.
” The voice returns like the insistent out-of-tune Of a broken violin on an August afternoon: “I am always sure that you understand My feelings, always sure that you feel, Sure that across the gulf you reach your hand.
You are invulnerable, you have no Achilles’ heel.
You will go on, and when you have prevailed You can say: at this point many a one has failed.
But what have I, but what have I, my friend, To give you, what can you receive from me? Only the friendship and the sympathy Of one about to reach her journey’s end.
I shall sit here, serving tea to friends.
.
.
” I take my hat: how can I make a cowardly amends For what she has said to me? You will see me any morning in the park Reading the comics and the sporting page.
Particularly I remark An English countess goes upon the stage.
A Greek was murdered at a Polish dance, Another bank defaulter has confessed.
I keep my countenance, I remain self-possessed Except when a street piano, mechanical and tired Reiterates some worn-out common song With the smell of hyacinths across the garden Recalling things that other people have desired.
Are these ideas right or wrong? III The October night comes down; returning as before Except for a slight sensation of being ill at ease I mount the stairs and turn the handle of the door And feel as if I had mounted on my hands and knees.
“And so you are going abroad; and when do you return? But that’s a useless question.
You hardly know when you are coming back, You will find so much to learn.
” My smile falls heavily among the bric-à-brac.
“Perhaps you can write to me.
” My self-possession flares up for a second; This is as I had reckoned.
“I have been wondering frequently of late (But our beginnings never know our ends!) Why we have not developed into friends.
” I feel like one who smiles, and turning shall remark Suddenly, his expression in a glass.
My self-possession gutters; we are really in the dark.
“For everybody said so, all our friends, They all were sure our feelings would relate So closely! I myself can hardly understand.
We must leave it now to fate.
You will write, at any rate.
Perhaps it is not too late.
I shall sit here, serving tea to friends.
” And I must borrow every changing shape To find expression .
.
.
dance, dance Like a dancing bear, Cry like a parrot, chatter like an ape.
Let us take the air, in a tobacco trance— Well! and what if she should die some afternoon, Afternoon grey and smoky, evening yellow and rose; Should die and leave me sitting pen in hand With the smoke coming down above the housetops; Doubtful, for a while Not knowing what to feel or if I understand Or whether wise or foolish, tardy or too soon.
.
.
Would she not have the advantage, after all? This music is successful with a “dying fall” Now that we talk of dying— And should I have the right to smile?

Written by Thomas Hardy |

The Darkling Thrush

I leant upon a coppice gate
     When Frost was spectre-gray,
And Winter's dregs made desolate
     The weakening eye of day.
The tangled bine-stems scored the sky Like strings of broken lyres, And all mankind that haunted nigh Had sought their household fires.
The land's sharp features seemed to be The Century's corpse outleant, His crypt the cloudy canopy, The wind his death-lament.
The ancient pulse of germ and birth Was shrunken hard and dry, And every spirit upon earth Seemed fevourless as I.
At once a voice arose among The bleak twigs overhead In a full-hearted evensong Of joy illimited; An aged thrush, frail, gaunt, and small, In blast-beruffled plume, Had chosen thus to fling his soul Upon the growing gloom.
So little cause for carolings Of such ecstatic sound Was written on terrestrial things Afar or nigh around, That I could think there trembled through His happy good-night air Some blessed Hope, whereof he knew And I was unaware.

Written by Thomas Campbell |

Love And Madness

 Hark ! from the battlements of yonder tower
The solemn bell has tolled the midnight hour !
Roused from drear visions of distempered sleep,
Poor Broderick wakes—in solitude to weep !

"Cease, Memory; cease (the friendless mourner cried)
To probe the bosom too severely tried !
Oh ! ever cease, my pensive thoughts, to stray
Through tie bright fields of Fortune's better day,
When youthful Hope, the music of the mind,
Tuned all its charms, and Errington was kind !

Yet, can I cease, while glows this trembling frame,
In sighs to speak thy melancholy name !
I hear thy spirit wail in every storm !
In midniglit shades I view thy passing form !
Pale as in that sad hour when doomed to feel !
Deep in thy perjured heart, the bloody steel !

Demons of Vengeance ! ye, at whose command
I grasped the sword with more than woman's hand
Say ye, did Pity's trembling voice control,
Or horror damp the purpose of my soul ? 
No ! my wild heart sat smiling o'er the plan,
'Till Hate fulfilled what baffled love began !

Yes ; let the clay-cold breast that never knew 
One tender pang to generous nature true,
Half-mingling pity with the gall of scorn,
Condemn this heart, that bled in love forlorn !

And ye, proud fair, whose soul no gladness warms,
Save Rapture's homage to your conscious charms !
Delighted idols of a gaudy train,
Ill can your blunter feelings guess the pain,
When the fond, faithful heart, inspired to prove
Friendship refined, the calm delight of Love,
Feels all its tender strings with anguish torn,
And bleeds at perjured Pride's inhuman scorn.
Say, then, did pitying Heaven condemn the deed, When Vengeance bade thee, faithless lover! bleed ? Long had I watched thy dark foreboding brow, What time thy bosom scorned its dearest vow ! Sad, though I wept the friend, the lover changed, Still thy cold look was scornful and estranged, Till from thy pity, love, and shelter thrown, I wandered hopeless, friendless, and alone ! Oh ! righteous Heaven ! 't was then my tortured soul First gave to wrath unlimited control ! Adieu the silent look ! the streaming eye ! The murmured plaint ! the deep heart-heaving sigh ! Long-slumbering Vengeance wakes to better deeds ; He shrieks, he falls, the perjured lover bleeds ! Now the last laugh of agony is o'er, And pale in blood he sleeps, to wake no more ! 'T is done ! the flame of hate no longer burns : Nature relents, but, ah! too late returns! Why does my soul this gush of fondness feel ? Trembling and faint, I drop the guilty steel ! Cold on my heart the hand of terror lies, And shades of horror close my languid eyes ! Oh ! 't was a deed of Murder's deepest grain ! Could Broderick's soul so true to wrath remain ? A friend long true, a once fond lover fell ? Where Love was fostered could not Pity dwell ? Unhappy youth ! while you pale cresscent glows To watch on silent Nature's deep repose, Thy sleepless spirit, breathing from the tomb , Foretells my fate, and summons me to come ! Once more I see thy sheeted spectre stand , Roll the dim eye, and wave the paly hand ! Soon may this fluttering spark of vital flame Forsake its languid melancholy frame ! Soon may these eyes their trembling lustre close, Welcome the dreamless night of long repose ! Soon may this woe-worn spirit seek the bourne Where, lulled to slumber, Grief forgets to mourn !"

Written by Dylan Thomas |

Poem On His Birthday

 In the mustardseed sun,
By full tilt river and switchback sea
 Where the cormorants scud,
In his house on stilts high among beaks
 And palavers of birds
This sandgrain day in the bent bay's grave
 He celebrates and spurns
His driftwood thirty-fifth wind turned age;
 Herons spire and spear.
Under and round him go Flounders, gulls, on their cold, dying trails, Doing what they are told, Curlews aloud in the congered waves Work at their ways to death, And the rhymer in the long tongued room, Who tolls his birthday bell, Toils towards the ambush of his wounds; Herons, steeple stemmed, bless.
In the thistledown fall, He sings towards anguish; finches fly In the claw tracks of hawks On a seizing sky; small fishes glide Through wynds and shells of drowned Ship towns to pastures of otters.
He In his slant, racking house And the hewn coils of his trade perceives Herons walk in their shroud, The livelong river's robe Of minnows wreathing around their prayer; And far at sea he knows, Who slaves to his crouched, eternal end Under a serpent cloud, Dolphins dive in their turnturtle dust, The rippled seals streak down To kill and their own tide daubing blood Slides good in the sleek mouth.
In a cavernous, swung Wave's silence, wept white angelus knells.
Thirty-five bells sing struck On skull and scar where his loves lie wrecked, Steered by the falling stars.
And to-morrow weeps in a blind cage Terror will rage apart Before chains break to a hammer flame And love unbolts the dark And freely he goes lost In the unknown, famous light of great And fabulous, dear God.
Dark is a way and light is a place, Heaven that never was Nor will be ever is always true, And, in that brambled void, Plenty as blackberries in the woods The dead grow for His joy.
There he might wander bare With the spirits of the horseshoe bay Or the stars' seashore dead, Marrow of eagles, the roots of whales And wishbones of wild geese, With blessed, unborn God and His Ghost, And every soul His priest, Gulled and chanter in young Heaven's fold Be at cloud quaking peace, But dark is a long way.
He, on the earth of the night, alone With all the living, prays, Who knows the rocketing wind will blow The bones out of the hills, And the scythed boulders bleed, and the last Rage shattered waters kick Masts and fishes to the still quick starts, Faithlessly unto Him Who is the light of old And air shaped Heaven where souls grow wild As horses in the foam: Oh, let me midlife mourn by the shrined And druid herons' vows The voyage to ruin I must run, Dawn ships clouted aground, Yet, though I cry with tumbledown tongue, Count my blessings aloud: Four elements and five Senses, and man a spirit in love Tangling through this spun slime To his nimbus bell cool kingdom come And the lost, moonshine domes, And the sea that hides his secret selves Deep in its black, base bones, Lulling of spheres in the seashell flesh, And this last blessing most, That the closer I move To death, one man through his sundered hulks, The louder the sun blooms And the tusked, ramshackling sea exults; And every wave of the way And gale I tackle, the whole world then, With more triumphant faith That ever was since the world was said, Spins its morning of praise, I hear the bouncing hills Grow larked and greener at berry brown Fall and the dew larks sing Taller this thunderclap spring, and how More spanned with angles ride The mansouled fiery islands! Oh, Holier then their eyes, And my shining men no more alone As I sail out to die.

Written by T S (Thomas Stearns) Eliot |

Gus: The Theatre Cat

 Gus is the Cat at the Theatre Door.
His name, as I ought to have told you before, Is really Asparagus.
That's such a fuss To pronounce, that we usually call him just Gus.
His coat's very shabby, he's thin as a rake, And he suffers from palsy that makes his paw shake.
Yet he was, in his youth, quite the smartest of Cats-- But no longer a terror to mice and to rats.
For he isn't the Cat that he was in his prime; Though his name was quite famous, he says, in its time.
And whenever he joins his friends at their club (Which takes place at the back of the neighbouring pub) He loves to regale them, if someone else pays, With anecdotes drawn from his palmiest days.
For he once was a Star of the highest degree-- He has acted with Irving, he's acted with Tree.
And he likes to relate his success on the Halls, Where the Gallery once gave him seven cat-calls.
But his grandest creation, as he loves to tell, Was Firefrorefiddle, the Fiend of the Fell.
"I have played," so he says, "every possible part, And I used to know seventy speeches by heart.
I'd extemporize back-chat, I knew how to gag, And I knew how to let the cat out of the bag.
I knew how to act with my back and my tail; With an hour of rehearsal, I never could fail.
I'd a voice that would soften the hardest of hearts, Whether I took the lead, or in character parts.
I have sat by the bedside of poor Little Nell; When the Curfew was rung, then I swung on the bell.
In the Pantomime season I never fell flat, And I once understudied Dick Whittington's Cat.
But my grandest creation, as history will tell, Was Firefrorefiddle, the Fiend of the Fell.
" Then, if someone will give him a toothful of gin, He will tell how he once played a part in East Lynne.
At a Shakespeare performance he once walked on pat, When some actor suggested the need for a cat.
He once played a Tiger--could do it again-- Which an Indian Colonel purused down a drain.
And he thinks that he still can, much better than most, Produce blood-curdling noises to bring on the Ghost.
And he once crossed the stage on a telegraph wire, To rescue a child when a house was on fire.
And he says: "Now then kittens, they do not get trained As we did in the days when Victoria reigned.
They never get drilled in a regular troupe, And they think they are smart, just to jump through a hoop.
" And he'll say, as he scratches himself with his claws, "Well, the Theatre's certainly not what it was.
These modern productions are all very well, But there's nothing to equal, from what I hear tell, That moment of mystery When I made history As Firefrorefiddle, the Fiend of the Fell.
"

Written by Thomas Hardy |

Hap

If but some vengeful god would call to me
From up the sky, and laugh:  "Thou suffering thing,
Know that thy sorrow is my ecstasy,
That thy love's loss is my hate's profiting!"

Then would I bear it, clench myself, and die,
Steeled by the sense of ire unmerited;
Half-eased in that a Powerfuller than I
Had willed and meted me the tears I shed.
But not so.
How arrives it joy lies slain, And why unblooms the best hope ever sown? —Crass Casualty obstructs the sun and rain, And dicing Time for gladness casts a moan.
.
.
.
These purblind Doomsters had as readily strown Blisses about my pilgrimage as pain.

Written by T S (Thomas Stearns) Eliot |

Whispers of Immortality

 WEBSTER was much possessed by death
And saw the skull beneath the skin;
And breastless creatures under ground
Leaned backward with a lipless grin.
Daffodil bulbs instead of balls Stared from the sockets of the eyes! He knew that thought clings round dead limbs Tightening its lusts and luxuries.
Donne, I suppose, was such another Who found no substitute for sense, To seize and clutch and penetrate; Expert beyond experience, He knew the anguish of the marrow The ague of the skeleton; No contact possible to flesh Allayed the fever of the bone.
.
.
.
.
.
Grishkin is nice: her Russian eye Is underlined for emphasis; Uncorseted, her friendly bust Gives promise of pneumatic bliss.
The couched Brazilian jaguar Compels the scampering marmoset With subtle effluence of cat; Grishkin has a maisonette; The sleek Brazilian jaguar Does not in its arboreal gloom Distil so rank a feline smell As Grishkin in a drawing-room.
And even the Abstract Entities Circumambulate her charm; But our lot crawls between dry ribs To keep our metaphysics warm.

Written by Sir Thomas Wyatt |

They Flee from Me

They flee from me that sometime did me seek
   With naked foot stalking in my chamber.
I have seen them gentle tame and meek That now are wild and do not remember That sometime they put themselves in danger To take bread at my hand; and now they range Busily seeking with a continual change.
Thanked be fortune, it hath been otherwise Twenty times better; but once in special, In thin array after a pleasant guise, When her loose gown from her shoulders did fall, And she me caught in her arms long and small; And therewithal sweetly did me kiss, And softly said, Dear heart, how like you this? It was no dream, I lay broad waking.
But all is turned thorough my gentleness Into a strange fashion of forsaking; And I have leave to go of her goodness And she also to use newfangleness.
But since that I so kindely am served, I would fain know what she hath deserved.

Written by T S (Thomas Stearns) Eliot |

Journey Of The Magi

 'A cold coming we had of it,
Just the worst time of the year
For a journey, and such a journey:
The ways deep and the weather sharp,
The very dead of winter.
' And the camels galled, sore-footed, refractory, Lying down in the melting snow.
There were times we regretted The summer palaces on slopes, the terraces, And the silken girls bringing sherbet.
Then the camel men cursing and grumbling And running away, and wanting their liquor and women, And the night-fires going out, and the lack of shelters, And the cities hostile and the towns unfriendly And the villages dirty and charging high prices: A hard time we had of it.
At the end we preferred to travel all night, Sleeping in snatches, With the voices singing in our ears, saying That this was all folly.
Then at dawn we came down to a temperate valley, Wet, below the snow line, smelling of vegetation; With a running stream and a water-mill beating the darkness, And three trees on the low sky, And an old white horse galloped in away in the meadow.
Then we came to a tavern with vine-leaves over the lintel, Six hands at an open door dicing for pieces of silver, And feet kicking the empty wine-skins.
But there was no imformation, and so we continued And arrived at evening, not a moment too soon Finding the place; it was (you may say) satisfactory.
All this was a long time ago, I remember, And I would do it again, but set down This set down This: were we led all that way for Birth or Death? There was a Birth, certainly, We had evidence and no doubt.
I had seen birth and death, But had thought they were different; this Birth was Hard and bitter agony for us, like Death, our death.
We returned to our places, these Kingdoms, But no longer at ease here, in the old dispensation, With an alien people clutching their gods.
I should be glad of another death.

Written by Thomas Chatterton |

February

 Begin, my muse, the imitative lay, 
Aonian doxies sound the thrumming string; 
Attempt no number of the plaintive Gay, 
Let me like midnight cats, or Collins sing.
If in the trammels of the doleful line The bounding hail, or drilling rain descend; Come, brooding Melancholy, pow'r divine, And ev'ry unform'd mass of words amend.
Now the rough goat withdraws his curling horns, And the cold wat'rer twirls his circling mop: Swift sudden anguish darts thro' alt'ring corns, And the spruce mercer trembles in his shop.
Now infant authors, madd'ning for renown, Extend the plume, and him about the stage, Procure a benefit, amuse the town, And proudly glitter in a title page.
Now, wrapt in ninefold fur, his squeamish grace Defies the fury of the howling storm; And whilst the tempest whistles round his face, Exults to find his mantled carcase warm.
Now rumbling coaches furious drive along, Full of the majesty of city dames, Whose jewels sparkling in the gaudy throng, Raise strange emotions and invidious flames.
Now Merit, happy in the calm of place, To mortals as a highlander appears, And conscious of the excellence of lace, With spreading frogs and gleaming spangles glares.
Whilst Envy, on a tripod seated nigh, In form a shoe-boy, daubs the valu'd fruit, And darting lightnings from his vengeful eye, Raves about Wilkes, and politics, and Bute.
Now Barry, taller than a grenadier, Dwindles into a stripling of eighteen; Or sabled in Othello breaks the ear, Exerts his voice, and totters to the scene.
Now Foote, a looking-glass for all mankind, Applies his wax to personal defects; But leaves untouch'd the image of the mind, His art no mental quality reflects.
Now Drury's potent kind extorts applause, And pit, box, gallery, echo, "how divine!" Whilst vers'd in all the drama's mystic laws, His graceful action saves the wooden line.
Now-- but what further can the muses sing? Now dropping particles of water fall; Now vapours riding on the north wind's wing, With transitory darkness shadow all.
Alas! how joyless the descriptive theme, When sorrow on the writer's quiet preys And like a mouse in Cheshire cheese supreme, Devours the substance of the less'ning bays.
Come, February, lend thy darkest sky.
There teach the winter'd muse with clouds to soar; Come, February, lift the number high; Let the sharp strain like wind thro' alleys roar.
Ye channels, wand'ring thro' the spacious street, In hollow murmurs roll the dirt along, With inundations wet the sabled feet, Whilst gouts responsive, join th'elegiac song.
Ye damsels fair, whose silver voices shrill, Sound thro' meand'ring folds of Echo's horn; Let the sweet cry of liberty be still, No more let smoking cakes awake the morn.
O, Winter! Put away the snowy pride; O, Spring! Neglect the cowslip and the bell; O, Summer! Throw thy pears and plums aside; O, Autumn! Bid the grape with poison swell.
The pension'd muse of Johnson is no more! Drown'd in a butt of wine his genius lies; Earth! Ocean! Heav'n! The wond'rous loss deplore, The dregs of nature with her glory dies.
What iron Stoic can suppress the tear; What sour reviewer read with vacant eye! What bard but decks his literary bier! Alas! I cannot sing-- I howl-- I cry--