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Best Famous Archibald Macleish Poems

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

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by Archibald MacLeish |

Baccalaureate

 A year or two, and grey Euripides, 
And Horace and a Lydia or so, 
And Euclid and the brush of Angelo, 
Darwin on man, Vergilius on bees, 
The nose and Dialogues of Socrates, 
Don Quixote, Hudibras and Trinculo, 
How worlds are spawned and where the dead gods go,-- 
All shall be shard of broken memories.

And there shall linger other, magic things,-- 
The fog that creeps in wanly from the sea, 
The rotton harbor smell, the mystery 
Of moonlit elms, the flash of pigeon wings, 
The sunny Green, the old-world peace that clings 
About the college yard, where endlessly 
The dead go up and down. These things shall be 
Enchantment of our heart's rememberings.

And these are more than memories of youth 
Which earth's four winds of pain shall blow away; 
These are earth's symbols of eternal truth, 
Symbols of dream and imagery and flame, 
Symbols of those same verities that play 
Bright through the crumbling gold of a great name.


by Archibald MacLeish |

Two Poems from the War

 Oh, not the loss of the accomplished thing! 
Not dumb farewells, nor long relinquishment 
Of beauty had, and golden summer spent, 
And savage glory of the fluttering 
Torn banners of the rain, and frosty ring 
Of moon-white winters, and the imminent 
Long-lunging seas, and glowing students bent 
To race on some smooth beach the gull's wing:

Not these, nor all we've been, nor all we've loved, 
The pitiful familiar names, had moved 
Our hearts to weep for them; but oh, the star 
The future is! Eternity's too wan 
To give again that undefeated, far, 
All-possible irradiance of dawn.

Like moon-dark, like brown water you escape, 
O laughing mouth, O sweet uplifted lips. 
Within the peering brain old ghosts take shape; 
You flame and wither as the white foam slips 
Back from the broken wave: sometimes a start, 
A gesture of the hands, a way you own 
Of bending that smooth head above your heart,-- 
Then these are varied, then the dream is gone.

Oh, you are too much mine and flesh of me 
To seal upon the brain, who in the blood 
Are so intense a pulse, so swift a flood 
Of beauty, such unceasing instancy. 
Dear unimagined brow, unvisioned face, 
All beauty has become your dwelling place.


by Archibald MacLeish |

Poem in Prose

 This poem is for my wife.
I have made it plainly and honestly:
The mark is on it
Like the burl on the knife.

I have not made it for praise.
She has no more need for praise
Than summer has
Or the bright days.

In all that becomes a woman
Her words and her ways are beautiful:
Love's lovely duty,
the well-swept room.

Wherever she is there is sun
And time and a sweet air:
Peace is there,
Work done.

There are always curtains and flowers
And candles and baked bread
And a cloth spread
And a clean house.

Her voice when she sings is a voice
At dawn by a freshening spring
Where the wave leaps in the wind
And rejoices.

Wherever she is it is now.
It is here where the apples are:
Here in the stars,
In the quick hour.

The greatest and richest good,
My own life to live in,
This she has given me --

If giver could.


by Archibald MacLeish |

An Eternity

 There is no dusk to be, 
There is no dawn that was, 
Only there's now, and now, 
And the wind in the grass.

Days I remember of 
Now in my heart, are now; 
Days that I dream will bloom 
White the peach bough.

Dying shall never be 
Now in the windy grass; 
Now under shooken leaves 
Death never was.


by Archibald MacLeish |

You Andrew Marvell

 And here face down beneath the sun
And here upon earth's noonward height
To feel the always coming on
The always rising of the night

To feel creep up the curving east
The earthy chill of dusk and slow
Upon those under lands the vast
And ever climbing shadow grow

And strange at Ecbatan the trees
Take leaf by leaf the evening strange
The flooding dark about their knees
The mountains over Persia change

And now at Kermanshah the gate
Dark empty and the withered grass
And through the twilight now the late
Few travelers in the westward pass

And Baghdad darken and the bridge
Across the silent river gone
And through Arabia the edge
Of evening widen and steal on

And deepen on Palmyra's street
The wheel rut in the ruined stone
And Lebanon fade out and Crete
High through the clouds and overblown

And over Sicily the air
Still flashing with the landward gulls
And loom and slowly disappear
The sails above the shadowy hulls

And Spain go under the the shore
Of Africa the gilded sand
And evening vanish and no more
The low pale light across that land

Nor now the long light on the sea

And here face downward in the sun
To feel how swift how secretly
The shadow of the night comes on...


by Archibald MacLeish |

Dr. Sigmund Freud Discovers the Sea Shell

 Science, that simple saint, cannot be bothered
Figuring what anything is for:
Enough for her devotions that things are
And can be contemplated soon as gathered.

She knows how every living thing was fathered,
She calculates the climate of each star,
She counts the fish at sea, but cannot care
Why any one of them exists, fish, fire or feathered.

Why should she? Her religion is to tell
By rote her rosary of perfect answers.
Metaphysics she can leave to man:
She never wakes at night in heaven or hell

Staring at darkness. In her holy cell
There is no darkness ever: the pure candle
Burns, the beads drop briskly from her hand.

Who dares to offer Her the curled sea shell!
She will not touch it!--knows the world she sees
Is all the world there is! Her faith is perfect!

And still he offers the sea shell . . .

What surf
Of what far sea upon what unknown ground
Troubles forever with that asking sound?
What surge is this whose question never ceases?


by Archibald MacLeish |

Ars Poetica

 A poem should be palpable and mute
As a globed fruit,

Dumb
As old medallions to the thumb,

Silent as the sleeve-worn stone
Of casement ledges where the moss has grown-- 

A poem should be wordless
As the flight of birds.

 *

A poem should be motionless in time 
As the moon climbs,

Leaving, as the moon releases
Twig by twig the night-entangled trees,

Leaving, as the moon behind the winter leaves, 
Memory by memory the mind--

A poem should be motionless in time 
As the moon climbs.

 *

A poem should be equal to:
Not true.

For all the history of grief
An empty doorway and a maple leaf.

For love
The leaning grasses and two lights above the sea--

A poem should not mean
But be.


by Archibald MacLeish |

The Snowflake Which Is Now And Hence Forever

 Will it last? he says.
Is it a masterpiece?
Will generation after generation
Turn with reverence to the page?

Birdseye scholar of the frozen fish,
What would he make of the sole, clean, clear
Leap of the salmon that has disappeared?

To be, yes!--whether they like it or not!
But not to last when leap and water are forgotten,
A plank of standard pinkness in the dish.

They also live
Who swerve and vanish in the river.


by Archibald MacLeish |

The Too-Late Born

 We too, we too, descending once again
The hills of our own land, we too have heard
Far off --- Ah, que ce cor a longue haleine ---
The horn of Roland in the passages of Spain,
The first, the second blast, the failing third,
And with the third turned back and climbed once more
The steep road southward, and heard faint the sound
Of swords, of horses, the disastrous war,
And crossed the dark defile at last, and found
At Roncevaux upon the darkening plain
The dead against the dead and on the silent ground
The silent slain---