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Best Famous Alan Seeger Poems

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by Alan Seeger | |

I Have A Rendezvous With Death

 I have a rendezvous with Death
At some disputed barricade,
When Spring comes back with rustling shade
And apple-blossoms fill the air— 
I have a rendezvous with Death
When Spring brings back blue days and fair.
It may be he shall take my hand And lead me into his dark land And close my eyes and quench my breath— It may be I shall pass him still.
I have a rendezvous with Death On some scarred slope of battered hill When Spring comes round again this year And the first meadow-flowers appear.
God knows 'twere better to be deep Pillowed in silk and scented down, Where Love throbs out in blissful sleep, Pulse nigh to pulse, and breath to breath, Where hushed awakenings are dear.
.
.
But I've a rendezvous with Death At midnight in some flaming town, When Spring trips north again this year, And I to my pledged word am true, I shall not fail that rendezvous.


by Alan Seeger | |

At the Tomb of Napoleon

 I stood beside his sepulchre whose fame, 
Hurled over Europe once on bolt and blast, 
Now glows far off as storm-clouds overpast 
Glow in the sunset flushed with glorious flame.
Has Nature marred his mould? Can Art acclaim No hero now, no man with whom men side As with their hearts' high needs personified? There are will say, One such our lips could name; Columbia gave him birth.
Him Genius most Gifted to rule.
Against the world's great man Lift their low calumny and sneering cries The Pharisaic multitude, the host Of piddling slanderers whose little eyes Know not what greatness is and never can.


by Alan Seeger | |

Coucy

 The rooks aclamor when one enters here 
Startle the empty towers far overhead; 
Through gaping walls the summer fields appear, 
Green, tan, or, poppy-mingled, tinged with red.
The courts where revel rang deep grass and moss Cover, and tangled vines have overgrown The gate where banners blazoned with a cross Rolled forth to toss round Tyre and Ascalon.
Decay consumes it.
The old causes fade.
And fretting for the contest many a heart Waits their Tyrtaeus to chant on the new.
Oh, pass him by who, in this haunted shade Musing enthralled, has only this much art, To love the things the birds and flowers love too.


by Alan Seeger | |

After an Epigram of Clement Marot

 The lad I was I longer now 
Nor am nor shall be evermore.
Spring's lovely blossoms from my brow Have shed their petals on the floor.
Thou, Love, hast been my lord, thy shrine Above all gods' best served by me.
Dear Love, could life again be mine How bettered should that service be!


by Alan Seeger | |

All Thats Not Love . . .

 All that's not love is the dearth of my days, 
The leaves of the volume with rubric unwrit, 
The temple in times without prayer, without praise, 
The altar unset and the candle unlit.
Let me survive not the lovable sway Of early desire, nor see when it goes The courts of Life's abbey in ivied decay, Whence sometime sweet anthems and incense arose.
The delicate hues of its sevenfold rings The rainbow outlives not; their yellow and blue The butterfly sees not dissolve from his wings, But even with their beauty life fades from them too.
No more would I linger past Love's ardent bounds Nor live for aught else but the joy that it craves, That, burden and essence of all that surrounds, Is the song in the wind and the smile on the waves.


by Alan Seeger | |

Antinous

 Stretched on a sunny bank he lay at rest, 
Ferns at his elbow, lilies round his knees, 
With sweet flesh patterned where the cool turf pressed, 
Flowerlike crept o'er with emerald aphides.
Single he couched there, to his circling flocks Piping at times some happy shepherd's tune, Nude, with the warm wind in his golden locks, And arched with the blue Asian afternoon.
Past him, gorse-purpled, to the distant coast Rolled the clear foothills.
There his white-walled town, There, a blue band, the placid Euxine lay.
Beyond, on fields of azure light embossed He watched from noon till dewy eve came down The summer clouds pile up and fade away


by Alan Seeger | |

Kyrenaikos

 Lay me where soft Cyrene rambles down 
In grove and garden to the sapphire sea; 
Twine yellow roses for the drinker's crown; 
Let music reach and fair heads circle me, 
Watching blue ocean where the white sails steer 
Fruit-laden forth or with the wares and news 
Of merchant cities seek our harbors here, 
Careless how Corinth fares, how Syracuse; 
But here, with love and sleep in her caress, 
Warm night shall sink and utterly persuade 
The gentle doctrine Aristippus bare, -- 
Night-winds, and one whose white youth's loveliness, 
In a flowered balcony beside me laid, 
Dreams, with the starlight on her fragrant hair.


by Alan Seeger | |

Lyonesse

 In Lyonesse was beauty enough, men say: 
Long Summer loaded the orchards to excess, 
And fertile lowlands lengthening far away, 
In Lyonesse.
Came a term to that land's old favoredness: Past the sea-walls, crumbled in thundering spray, Rolled the green waves, ravening, merciless.
Through bearded boughs immobile in cool decay, Where sea-bloom covers corroding palaces, The mermaid glides with a curious glance to-day, In Lyonesse.


by Alan Seeger | |

Sonnet 04

 If I was drawn here from a distant place, 
'Twas not to pray nor hear our friend's address, 
But, gazing once more on your winsome face, 
To worship there Ideal Loveliness.
On that pure shrine that has too long ignored The gifts that once I brought so frequently I lay this votive offering, to record How sweet your quiet beauty seemed to me.
Enchanting girl, my faith is not a thing By futile prayers and vapid psalm-singing To vent in crowded nave and public pew.
My creed is simple: that the world is fair, And beauty the best thing to worship there, And I confess it by adoring you.


by Alan Seeger | |

Sonnet 05

 Seeing you have not come with me, nor spent 
This day's suggestive beauty as we ought, 
I have gone forth alone and been content 
To make you mistress only of my thought.
And I have blessed the fate that was so kind In my life's agitations to include This moment's refuge where my sense can find Refreshment, and my soul beatitude.
Oh, be my gentle love a little while! Walk with me sometimes.
Let me see you smile.
Watching some night under a wintry sky, Before the charge, or on the bed of pain, These blessed memories shall revive again And be a power to cheer and fortify


by Alan Seeger | |

Broceliande

 Broceliande! in the perilous beauty of silence and menacing shade, 
Thou art set on the shores of the sea down the haze 
of horizons untravelled, unscanned.
Untroubled, untouched with the woes of this world are the moon-marshalled hosts that invade Broceliande.
Only at dusk, when lavender clouds in the orient twilight disband, Vanishing where all the blue afternoon they have drifted in solemn parade, Sometimes a whisper comes down on the wind from the valleys of Fairyland ---- Sometimes an echo most mournful and faint like the horn of a huntsman strayed, Faint and forlorn, half drowned in the murmur of foliage fitfully fanned, Breathes in a burden of nameless regret till I startle, disturbed and affrayed: Broceliande -- Broceliande -- Broceliande.
.
.


by Alan Seeger | |

I Loved...

 I loved illustrious cities and the crowds 
That eddy through their incandescent nights.
I loved remote horizons with far clouds Girdled, and fringed about with snowy heights.
I loved fair women, their sweet, conscious ways Of wearing among hands that covet and plead The rose ablossom at the rainbow's base That bounds the world's desire and all its need.
Nature I worshipped, whose fecundity Embraces every vision the most fair, Of perfect benediction.
From a boy I gloated on existence.
Earth to me Seemed all-sufficient and my sojourn there One trembling opportunity for joy.


by Alan Seeger | |

On a Theme in the Greek Anthology

 Thy petals yet are closely curled, 
Rose of the world, 
Around their scented, golden core; 
Nor yet has Summer purpled o'er 
Thy tender clusters that begin 
To swell within 
The dewy vine-leaves' early screen 
Of sheltering green.
O hearts that are Love's helpless prey, While yet you may, Fly, ere the shaft is on the string! The fire that now is smouldering Shall be the conflagration soon Whose paths are strewn With torment of blanched lips and eyes That agonize.


by Alan Seeger | |

On the Cliffs Newport

 Tonight a shimmer of gold lies mantled o'er 
Smooth lovely Ocean.
Through the lustrous gloom A savor steals from linden trees in bloom And gardens ranged at many a palace door.
Proud walls rise here, and, where the moonbeams pour Their pale enchantment down the dim coast-line, Terrace and lawn, trim hedge and flowering vine, Crown with fair culture all the sounding shore.
How sweet, to such a place, on such a night, From halls with beauty and festival a-glare, To come distract and, stretched on the cool turf, Yield to some fond, improbable delight, While the moon, reddening, sinks, and all the air Sighs with the muffled tumult of the surf!


by Alan Seeger | |

Rendezvous

 I have a rendezvous with Death
At some disputed barricade,
I have a rendezvous with Death
At some disputed barricade,
When Spring comes back with rustling shade
And apple-blossoms fill the air--
I have a rendezvous with Death
When Spring brings back blue days and fair.
It may be he shall take my hand And lead me into his dark land And close my eyes and quench my breath-- It may be I shall pass him still.
I have a rendezvous with Death On some scarred slope of battered hill, When Spring comes round again this year And the first meadow-flowers appear.
God knows 'twere better to be deep Pillowed in silk and scented down, Where love throbs out in blissful sleep, Pulse nigh to pulse, and breath to breath, Where hushed awakenings are dear .
.
.
But I've a rendezvous with Death At midnight in some flaming town, When Spring trips north again this year, And I to my pledged word am true, I shall not fail that rendezvous.


by Alan Seeger | |

Resurgam

 Exiled afar from youth and happy love, 
If Death should ravish my fond spirit hence 
I have no doubt but, like a homing dove, 
It would return to its dear residence, 
And through a thousand stars find out the road 
Back into earthly flesh that was its loved abode.


by Alan Seeger | |

Sonnet 01

 Sidney, in whom the heyday of romance 
Came to its precious and most perfect flower, 
Whether you tourneyed with victorious lance 
Or brought sweet roundelays to Stella's bower, 
I give myself some credit for the way 
I have kept clean of what enslaves and lowers, 
Shunned the ideals of our present day 
And studied those that were esteemed in yours; 
For, turning from the mob that buys Success 
By sacrificing all Life's better part, 
Down the free roads of human happiness 
I frolicked, poor of purse but light of heart, 
And lived in strict devotion all along 
To my three idols -- Love and Arms and Song.


by Alan Seeger | |

Sonnet 02

 Not that I always struck the proper mean 
Of what mankind must give for what they gain, 
But, when I think of those whom dull routine 
And the pursuit of cheerless toil enchain, 
Who from their desk-chairs seeing a summer cloud 
Race through blue heaven on its joyful course 
Sigh sometimes for a life less cramped and bowed, 
I think I might have done a great deal worse; 
For I have ever gone untied and free, 
The stars and my high thoughts for company; 
Wet with the salt-spray and the mountain showers, 
I have had the sense of space and amplitude, 
And love in many places, silver-shoed, 
Has come and scattered all my path with flowers.


by Alan Seeger | |

Sonnet 03

 Why should you be astonished that my heart, 
Plunged for so long in darkness and in dearth, 
Should be revived by you, and stir and start 
As by warm April now, reviving Earth? 
I am the field of undulating grass 
And you the gentle perfumed breath of Spring, 
And all my lyric being, when you pass, 
Is bowed and filled with sudden murmuring.
I asked you nothing and expected less, But, with that deep, impassioned tenderness Of one approaching what he most adores, I only wished to lose a little space All thought of my own life, and in its place To live and dream and have my joy in yours.


by Alan Seeger | |

Sonnet 06

 Oh, you are more desirable to me 
Than all I staked in an impulsive hour, 
Making my youth the sport of chance, to be 
Blighted or torn in its most perfect flower; 
For I think less of what that chance may bring 
Than how, before returning into fire, 
To make my dearest memory of the thing 
That is but now my ultimate desire.
And in old times I should have prayed to her Whose haunt the groves of windy Cyprus were, To prosper me and crown with good success My will to make of you the rose-twined bowl From whose inebriating brim my soul Shall drink its last of earthly happiness.