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Best Famous John Gould Fletcher Poems

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Written by John Gould Fletcher |

Sleep

 Do you give yourself to me utterly,

Body and no-body, flesh and no-flesh

Not as a fugitive, blindly or bitterly, 

But as a child might, with no other wish?

Yes, utterly.
Then I shall bear you down my estuary, Carry you and ferry you to burial mysteriously, Take you and receive you, Consume you, engulf you, In the huge cave, my belly, lave you With huger waves continually.
And you shall cling and clamber there And slumber there, in that dumb chamber, Beat with my blood's beat, hear my heart move Blindly in bones that ride above you, Delve in my flesh, dissolved and bedded, Through viewless valves embodied so – Till daylight, the expulsion and awakening, The riving and the driving forth, Life with remorseless forceps beckoning – Pangs and betrayal of harsh birth.

Written by John Gould Fletcher |

Sleep

 In the night of weariness 
let me give myself up to sleep without struggle, 
resting my trust upon thee.
Let me not force my flagging spirit into a poor preparation for thy worship.
It is thou who drawest the veil of night upon the tired eyes of the day to renew its sight in a fresher gladness of awakening.

Written by John Gould Fletcher |

Spring

 Birds' love and birds' song
Flying here and there,
Birds' songand birds' love
And you with gold for hair!
Birds' songand birds' love
Passing with the weather,
Men's song and men's love,
To love once and forever.
Men's love and birds' love, And women's love and men's! And you my wren with a crown of gold, You my queen of the wrens! You the queen of the wrens -- We'll be birds of a feather, I'll be King of the Queen of the wrens, And all in a nest together.

Written by John Gould Fletcher |

Sleep

 she was a short one
getting fat and she had once been
beautiful and
she drank the wine
she drank the wine in bed and
talked and screamed and cursed at
me
and i told her 
please, I need some
sleep.
-sleep? sleep? ya son of a bitch, ya never sleep, ya don't need any sleep! I buried her one morning early I carried her down the sides of the Hollywood Hills brambles and rabbits and rocks running in front of me and by the time I'd dug the ditch and stuck her in belly down and put the dirt back on the sun was up and it was warm and the flies were lazy and I could hardly see anything out of my eyes everything was so warm and yellow.
I managed to drive home and I got into bed and I slept for 5 days and 4 nights.
from "poems written before jumping out of an 8 story window" - 1966

Written by John Gould Fletcher |

Lincoln

 I 

Like a gaunt, scraggly pine 
Which lifts its head above the mournful sandhills; 
And patiently, through dull years of bitter silence, 
Untended and uncared for, starts to grow.
Ungainly, labouring, huge, The wind of the north has twisted and gnarled its branches; Yet in the heat of midsummer days, when thunderclouds ring the horizon, A nation of men shall rest beneath its shade.
And it shall protect them all, Hold everyone safe there, watching aloof in silence; Until at last one mad stray bolt from the zenith Shall strike it in an instant down to earth.
II There was a darkness in this man; an immense and hollow darkness, Of which we may not speak, nor share with him, nor enter; A darkness through which strong roots stretched downwards into the earth Towards old things: Towards the herdman-kings who walked the earth and spoke with God, Towards the wanderers who sought for they knew not what, and found their goal at last; Towards the men who waited, only waited patiently when all seemed lost, Many bitter winters of defeat; Down to the granite of patience These roots swept, knotted fibrous roots, prying, piercing, seeking, And drew from the living rock and the living waters about it The red sap to carry upwards to the sun.
Not proud, but humble, Only to serve and pass on, to endure to the end through service; For the ax is laid at the roots of the trees, and all that bring not forth good fruit Shall be cut down on the day to come and cast into the fire.
III There is a silence abroad in the land to-day, And in the hearts of men, a deep and anxious silence; And, because we are still at last, those bronze lips slowly open, Those hollow and weary eyes take on a gleam of light.
Slowly a patient, firm-syllabled voice cuts through the endless silence Like labouring oxen that drag a plow through the chaos of rude clay-fields: "I went forward as the light goes forward in early spring, But there were also many things which I left behind.
"Tombs that were quiet; One, of a mother, whose brief light went out in the darkness, One, of a loved one, the snow on whose grave is long falling, One, only of a child, but it was mine.
"Have you forgot your graves? Go, question them in anguish, Listen long to their unstirred lips.
From your hostages to silence, Learn there is no life without death, no dawn without sun-setting, No victory but to him who has given all.
" IV The clamour of cannon dies down, the furnace-mouth of the battle is silent.
The midwinter sun dips and descends, the earth takes on afresh its bright colours.
But he whom we mocked and obeyed not, he whom we scorned and mistrusted, He has descended, like a god, to his rest.
Over the uproar of cities, Over the million intricate threads of life wavering and crossing, In the midst of problems we know not, tangling, perplexing, ensnaring, Rises one white tomb alone.
Beam over it, stars, Wrap it round, stripes -- stripes red for the pain that he bore for you -- Enfold it forever, O flag, rent, soiled, but repaired through your anguish; Long as you keep him there safe, the nations shall bow to your law.
Strew over him flowers: Blue forget-me-nots from the north, and the bright pink arbutus From the east, and from the west rich orange blossom, And from the heart of the land take the passion-flower; Rayed, violet, dim, With the nails that pierced, the cross that he bore and the circlet, And beside it there lay also one lonely snow-white magnolia, Bitter for remembrance of the healing which has passed.

Written by John Gould Fletcher |

Melancholy

 HENCE, all you vain delights,
 As short as are the nights
 Wherein you spend your folly!
There 's naught in this life sweet,
If men were wise to see't,
 But only melancholy--
 O sweetest melancholy!
Welcome, folded arms and fixed eyes,
A sight that piercing mortifies,
A look that 's fasten'd to the ground,
A tongue chain'd up without a sound!

Fountain-heads and pathless groves,
Places which pale passion loves!
Moonlight walks, when all the fowls
Are warmly housed, save bats and owls!
 A midnight bell, a parting groan--
 These are the sounds we feed upon:
Then stretch our bones in a still gloomy valley,
Nothing 's so dainty sweet as lovely melancholy.

Written by John Gould Fletcher |

Away Delights

 AWAY, delights! go seek some other dwelling,
 For I must die.
Farewell, false love! thy tongue is ever telling Lie after lie.
For ever let me rest now from thy smarts; Alas, for pity go And fire their hearts That have been hard to thee! Mine was not so.
Never again deluding love shall know me, For I will die; And all those griefs that think to overgrow me Shall be as I: For ever will I sleep, while poor maids cry-- 'Alas, for pity stay, And let us die With thee! Men cannot mock us in the clay.
'

Written by John Gould Fletcher |

Spring

 To what purpose, April, do you return again?
Beauty is not enough.
You can no longer quiet me with the redness Of little leaves opening stickily.
I know what I know.
The sun is hot on my neck as I observe The spikes of the crocus.
The smell of the earth is good.
It is apparent that there is no death.
But what does that signify? Not only under ground are the brains of men Eaten by maggots.
Life in itself Is nothing, An empty cup, a flight of uncarpeted stairs.
It is not enough that yearly, down this hill, April Comes like an idiot, babbling and strewing flowers.

Written by John Gould Fletcher |

Take Oh Take Those Lips Away

 Take, oh take those lips away,
That so sweetly were forsworn,
And those eyes, the break of day,
Lights that do mislead the morn:
But my kisses bring again,
Seals of love, but sealed in vain.
Hide, oh hide those hills of snow, Which thy frozen bosom bears, On whose tops the pinks that grow Are yet of those that April wears.
But first set my poor heart free, Bound in those icy chains by thee.

Written by John Gould Fletcher |

Hence All You Vain Delights from the Nice Valour

 Hence, all you vain delights,
As short as are the nights
Wherein you spend your folly:
There's nought in this life sweet,
If man were wise to see't,
But only melancholy,
O sweetest melancholy!
Welcome, folded arms, and fixed eyes,
A sigh that piercing mortifies,
A look that's fastened to the ground,
A tongue chained up without a sound;
Fountain-heads, and pathless groves,
Places which pale passion loves;
Moonlight walks, when all the fowls
Are warmly housed, save bats and owls;
A midnight bell, a parting groan:
These are the sounds we feed upon;
Then stretch our bones in a still gloomy valley,
Nothing's so dainty sweet as lovely melancholy.

Written by John Gould Fletcher |

Weep no more

 WEEP no more, nor sigh, nor groan,
Sorrow calls no time that 's gone:
Violets pluck'd, the sweetest rain
Makes not fresh nor grow again.
Trim thy locks, look cheerfully; Fate's hid ends eyes cannot see.
Joys as winged dreams fly fast, Why should sadness longer last? Grief is but a wound to woe;

Written by John Gould Fletcher |

Sleep

 COME, Sleep, and with thy sweet deceiving
Lock me in delight awhile;
Let some pleasing dreams beguile
All my fancies; that from thence
I may feel an influence
All my powers of care bereaving!

Though but a shadow, but a sliding,
Let me know some little joy!
We that suffer long annoy
Are contented with a thought
Through an idle fancy wrought:
O let my joys have some abiding!

Written by John Gould Fletcher |

Spring

 When daisies pied, and violets blue, 
And lady-smocks all silver-white, 
And cuckoo-buds of yellow hue 
Do paint the meadows with delight, 
The cuckoo then, on every tree, 
Mocks married men, for thus sings he: 
'Cuckoo! 
Cuckoo, cuckoo!' O word of fear, 
Unpleasing to a married ear.
When shepherds pipe on oaten straws, And merry larks are ploughmen's clocks, When turtles tread, and rooks, and daws, And maidens bleach their summer smocks, The cuckoo then, on every tree, Mocks married men, for thus sings he: 'Cuckoo! Cuckoo, cuckoo!' O word of fear, Unpleasing to a married ear.

Written by John Gould Fletcher |

Aspatias Song

 LAY a garland on my herse
 Of the dismal yew;
Maidens, willow branches bear;
 Say, I died true.
My love was false, but I was firm From my hour of birth.
Upon my buried body lie Lightly, gentle earth!

Written by John Gould Fletcher |

Care-charming Sleep

 Care-charming Sleep, thou easer of all woes,
Brother to Death, sweetly thyself dispose
On this afflicted prince; fall like a cloud
In gentle showers; give nothing that is loud
Or painful to his slumbers; easy, sweet,
And as a purling stream, thou son of Night,
Pass by his troubled senses; sing his pain,
Like hollow murmuring wind or silver rain;
Into this prince gently, oh gently slide,
And kiss him into slumbers like a bride.