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Best Famous Sidney Lanier Poems

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

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Written by Sidney Lanier | |

Nirvana

 not much chance,
completely cut loose from
purpose,
he was a young man
riding a bus
through North Carolina
on the wat to somewhere
and it began to snow
and the bus stopped 
at a little cafe
in the hills
and the passengers 
entered.
he sat at the counter with the others, he ordered and the food arived.
the meal was particularly good and the coffee.
the waitress was unlike the women he had known.
she was unaffected, there was a natural humor which came from her.
the fry cook said crazy things.
the dishwasher.
in back, laughed, a good clean pleasant laugh.
the young man watched the snow through the windows.
he wanted to stay in that cafe forever.
the curious feeling swam through him that everything was beautiful there, that it would always stay beautiful there.
then the bus driver told the passengers that it was time to board.
the young man thought, I'll just sit here, I'll just stay here.
but then he rose and followed the others into the bus.
he found his seat and looked at the cafe through the bus window.
then the bus moved off, down a curve, downward, out of the hills.
the young man looked straight foreward.
he heard the other passengers speaking of other things, or they were reading or attempting to sleep.
they had not noticed the magic.
the young man put his head to one side, closed his eyes, pretended to sleep.
there was nothing else to do- just to listen to the sound of the engine, the sound of the tires in the snow.


Written by Sidney Lanier | |

Night

 A pale enchanted moon is sinking low
Behind the dunes that fringe the shadowy lea, 
And there is haunted starlight on the flow
Of immemorial sea.
I am alone and need no more pretend Laughter or smile to hide a hungry heart; I walk with solitude as with a friend Enfolded and apart.
We tread an eerie road across the moor Where shadows weave upon their ghostly looms, And winds sing an old lyric that might lure Sad queens from ancient tombs.
I am a sister to the loveliness Of cool far hill and long-remembered shore, Finding in it a sweet forgetfulness Of all that hurt before.
The world of day, its bitterness and cark, No longer have the power to make me weep; I welcome this communion of the dark As toilers welcome sleep.


Written by Sidney Lanier | |

Ireland.

 Written for the Art Autograph during the Irish Famine, 1880.
Heartsome Ireland, winsome Ireland, Charmer of the sun and sea, Bright beguiler of old anguish, How could Famine frown on thee? As our Gulf-Stream, drawn to thee-ward, Turns him from his northward flow, And our wintry western headlands Send thee summer from their snow, Thus the main and cordial current Of our love sets over sea, -- Tender, comely, valiant Ireland, Songful, soulful, sorrowful Ireland, -- Streaming warm to comfort thee.


More great poems below...

Written by Sidney Lanier | |

Martha Washington

 Written for the "Martha Washington Court Journal".
Down cold snow-stretches of our bitter time, When windy shams and the rain-mocking sleet Of Trade have cased us in such icy rime That hearts are scarcely hot enough to beat, Thy fame, O Lady of the lofty eyes, Doth fall along the age, like as a lane Of Spring, in whose most generous boundaries Full many a frozen virtue warms again.
To-day I saw the pale much-burdened form Of Charity come limping o'er the line, And straighten from the bending of the storm And flush with stirrings of new strength divine, Such influence and sweet gracious impulse came Out of the beams of thine immortal name!


Written by Sidney Lanier | |

Night

 HEART-HIDDEN from the outer things I rose;
The spirit woke anew in nightly birth
Unto the vastness where forever glows
 The star-soul of the earth.
There all alone in primal ecstasy, Within her depths where revels never tire, The olden Beauty shines: each thought of me Is veined through with its fire.
And all my thoughts are throngs of living souls; They breathe in me, heart unto heart allied; Their joy undimmed, though when the morning tolls The planets may divide.


Written by Sidney Lanier | |

Night and Day

 When the golden day is done, 
Through the closing portal, 
Child and garden, Flower and sun, 
Vanish all things mortal.
As the blinding shadows fall As the rays diminish, Under evening's cloak they all Roll away and vanish.
Garden darkened, daisy shut, Child in bed, they slumber-- Glow-worm in the hallway rut, Mice among the lumber.
In the darkness houses shine, Parents move the candles; Till on all the night divine Turns the bedroom handles.
Till at last the day begins In the east a-breaking, In the hedges and the whins Sleeping birds a-waking.
In the darkness shapes of things, Houses, trees and hedges, Clearer grow; and sparrow's wings Beat on window ledges.
These shall wake the yawning maid; She the door shall open-- Finding dew on garden glade And the morning broken.
There my garden grows again Green and rosy painted, As at eve behind the pane From my eyes it fainted.
Just as it was shut away, Toy-like, in the even, Here I see it glow with day Under glowing heaven.
Every path and every plot, Every blush of roses, Every blue forget-me-not Where the dew reposes, "Up!" they cry, "the day is come On the smiling valleys: We have beat the morning drum; Playmate, join your allies!"


Written by Sidney Lanier | |

Night

 BURNING our hearts out with longing
 The daylight passed:
Millions and millions together,
 The stars at last!


Purple the woods where the dewdrops,
 Pearly and grey,
Wash in the cool from our faces
 The flame of day.
Glory and shadow grow one in The hazel wood: Laughter and peace in the stillness Together brood.
Hopes all unearthly are thronging In hearts of earth: Tongues of the starlight are calling Our souls to birth.
Down from the heaven its secrets Drop one by one; Where time is for ever beginning And time is done.
There light eternal is over Chaos and night: Singing with dawn lips for ever, “Let there be light!” There too for ever in twilight Time slips away, Closing in darkness and rapture Its awful day.


Written by Sidney Lanier | |

A Song Of Eternity In Time

 Once, at night, in the manor wood
My Love and I long silent stood,
Amazed that any heavens could
Decree to part us, bitterly repining.
My Love, in aimless love and grief, Reached forth and drew aside a leaf That just above us played the thief And stole our starlight that for us was shining.
A star that had remarked her pain Shone straightway down that leafy lane, And wrought his image, mirror-plain, Within a tear that on her lash hung gleaming.
"Thus Time," I cried, "is but a tear Some one hath wept 'twixt hope and fear, Yet in his little lucent sphere Our star of stars, Eternity, is beaming.
"


Written by Sidney Lanier | |

A Song Of The Future.

 Sail fast, sail fast,
Ark of my hopes, Ark of my dreams;
Sweep lordly o'er the drowned Past,
Fly glittering through the sun's strange beams;
Sail fast, sail fast.
Breaths of new buds from off some drying lea With news about the Future scent the sea: My brain is beating like the heart of Haste: I'll loose me a bird upon this Present waste; Go, trembling song, And stay not long; oh, stay not long: Thou'rt only a gray and sober dove, But thine eye is faith and thy wing is love.


Written by Sidney Lanier | |

The Raven Days

 Our hearths are gone out and our hearts are broken,
And but the ghosts of homes to us remain,
And ghastly eyes and hollow sighs give token
From friend to friend of an unspoken pain.
O Raven days, dark Raven days of sorrow, Bring to us in your whetted ivory beaks Some sign out of the far land of To-morrow, Some strip of sea-green dawn, some orange streaks.
Ye float in dusky files, forever croaking.
Ye chill our manhood with your dreary shade.
Dumb in the dark, not even God invoking, We lie in chains, too weak to be afraid.
O Raven days, dark Raven days of sorrow, Will ever any warm light come again? Will ever the lit mountains of To-morrow Begin to gleam athwart the mournful plain?


Written by Sidney Lanier | |

The Waving Of The Corn

 Ploughman, whose gnarly hand yet kindly wheeled
Thy plough to ring this solitary tree
With clover, whose round plat, reserved a-field,
In cool green radius twice my length may be --
Scanting the corn thy furrows else might yield,
To pleasure August, bees, fair thoughts, and me,
That here come oft together -- daily I,
Stretched prone in summer's mortal ecstasy,
Do stir with thanks to thee, as stirs this morn
With waving of the corn.
Unseen, the farmer's boy from round the hill Whistles a snatch that seeks his soul unsought, And fills some time with tune, howbeit shrill; The cricket tells straight on his simple thought -- Nay, 'tis the cricket's way of being still; The peddler bee drones in, and gossips naught; Far down the wood, a one-desiring dove Times me the beating of the heart of love: And these be all the sounds that mix, each morn, With waving of the corn.
From here to where the louder passions dwell, Green leagues of hilly separation roll: Trade ends where yon far clover ridges swell.
Ye terrible Towns, ne'er claim the trembling soul That, craftless all to buy or hoard or sell, From out your deadly complex quarrel stole To company with large amiable trees, Suck honey summer with unjealous bees, And take Time's strokes as softly as this morn Takes waving of the corn.


Written by Sidney Lanier | |

The Wedding

 O marriage-bells, your clamor tells
Two weddings in one breath.
SHE marries whom her love compels: -- And I wed Goodman Death! My brain is blank, my tears are red; Listen, O God: -- "I will," he said: -- And I would that I were dead.
Come groomsman Grief and bridesmaid Pain Come and stand with a ghastly twain.
My Bridegroom Death is come o'er the meres To wed a bride with bloody tears.
Ring, ring, O bells, full merrily: Life-bells to her, death-bells to me: O Death, I am true wife to thee!


Written by Sidney Lanier | |

Thou And I

 So one in heart and thought, I trow,
That thou might'st press the strings and I might draw the bow
And both would meet in music sweet,
Thou and I, I trow.


Written by Sidney Lanier | |

To Beethoven

 In o'er-strict calyx lingering,
Lay music's bud too long unblown,
Till thou, Beethoven, breathed the spring:
Then bloomed the perfect rose of tone.
O Psalmist of the weak, the strong, O Troubadour of love and strife, Co-Litanist of right and wrong, Sole Hymner of the whole of life, I know not how, I care not why, -- Thy music sets my world at ease, And melts my passion's mortal cry In satisfying symphonies.
It soothes my accusations sour 'Gainst thoughts that fray the restless soul: The stain of death; the pain of power; The lack of love 'twixt part and whole; The yea-nay of Freewill and Fate, Whereof both cannot be, yet are; The praise a poet wins too late Who starves from earth into a star; The lies that serve great parties well, While truths but give their Christ a cross; The loves that send warm souls to hell, While cold-blood neuters take no loss; Th' indifferent smile that nature's grace On Jesus, Judas, pours alike; Th' indifferent frown on nature's face When luminous lightnings strangely strike The sailor praying on his knees And spare his mate that's cursing God; How babes and widows starve and freeze, Yet Nature will not stir a clod; Why Nature blinds us in each act Yet makes no law in mercy bend, No pitfall from our feet retract, No storm cry out `Take shelter, friend;' Why snakes that crawl the earth should ply Rattles, that whoso hears may shun, While serpent lightnings in the sky, But rattle when the deed is done; How truth can e'er be good for them That have not eyes to bear its strength, And yet how stern our lights condemn Delays that lend the darkness length; To know all things, save knowingness; To grasp, yet loosen, feeling's rein; To waste no manhood on success; To look with pleasure upon pain; Though teased by small mixt social claims, To lose no large simplicity, And midst of clear-seen crimes and shames To move with manly purity; To hold, with keen, yet loving eyes, Art's realm from Cleverness apart, To know the Clever good and wise, Yet haunt the lonesome heights of Art; O Psalmist of the weak, the strong, O Troubadour of love and strife, Co-Litanist of right and wrong, Sole Hymner of the whole of life, I know not how, I care not why, Thy music brings this broil at ease, And melts my passion's mortal cry In satisfying symphonies.
Yea, it forgives me all my sins, Fits life to love like rhyme to rhyme, And tunes the task each day begins By the last trumpet-note of Time.


Written by Sidney Lanier | |

To Charlotte Cushman

 Look where a three-point star shall weave his beam
Into the slumb'rous tissue of some stream,
Till his bright self o'er his bright copy seem
Fulfillment dropping on a come-true dream;
So in this night of art thy soul doth show
Her excellent double in the steadfast flow
Of wishing love that through men's hearts doth go:
At once thou shin'st above and shin'st below.
E'en when thou strivest there within Art's sky (Each star must o'er a strenuous orbit fly), Full calm thine image in our love doth lie, A Motion glassed in a Tranquillity.
So triple-rayed, thou mov'st, yet stay'st, serene -- Art's artist, Love's dear woman, Fame's good queen!