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Best Famous Kathleen Raine Poems


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

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by Kathleen Raine |

Shells

 Reaching down arm-deep into bright water 
I gathered on white sand under waves 
Shells, drifted up on beaches where I alone 
Inhabit a finite world of years and days. 
I reached my arm down a myriad years 
To gather treasure from the yester-milliennial sea-floor, 
Held in my fingers forms shaped on the day of creation. 

Building their beauty in three dimensions 
Over which the world recedes away from us, 
And in the fourth, that takes away ourselves 
From moment to moment and from year to year 
From first to last they remain in their continuous present. 
The helix revolves like a timeless thought, 
Instantaneous from apex to rim 
Like a dance whose figure is limpet or murex, 
cowrie or golden winkle. 

They sleep on the ocean floor like humming-tops 
Whose music is the mother-of-pearl octave of the rainbow, 
Harmonious shells that whisper forever in our ears, 
The world that you inhabit has not yet been created.


by Kathleen Raine |

Storm

 God in me is the fury on the bare heath
God in me shakes the interior kingdom of my heaven.
God in me is the fire wherein I burn.

God in me swirling cloud and driving rain
God in me cries a lonely nameless bird
God in me beats my head upon a stone.

God in me the four elements of storm
Raging in the shelterless landscape of the mind
Outside the barred doors of my Goneril heart.


by Kathleen Raine |

Seed

 From star to star, from sun and spring and leaf,
And almost audible flowers whose sound is silence,
And in the common meadows, springs the seed of life.

Now the lilies open, and the rose
Released by summer from the harmless graves
That, centuries deep, are in the air we breathe,
And in our earth, and in our daily bread.

External and innate dimensions hold
The living forms, but not the force of life;
For that interior and holy tree
That in the heart of hearts outlives the world
Spreads earthly shade into eternity.


by Kathleen Raine |

Introspection

 If you go deep
Into the heart
What do you find there?
Fear, fear,
Fear of the jaws of the rock,
Fear of the teeth and splinters of iron that tear
Flesh from the bone, and the moist
Blood, running unfelt
From the wound, and the hand
Suddenly moist and red.

If you go deep
Into the heart
What do you find?
Grief, grief,
Grief for the life unlived,
For the loves unloved,
For the child never to be born,
Th'unbidden anguish, when the fair moon
Rises over still summer seas, and the pain
Of sunlight scattered in vain on spring grass.

If you go deeper
Into the heart
What do you find there?
Death, death,
Death tht lets all go by,
Lets the blood flow from the wound,
Lets the night pass,
Endures the day with indifference, knowing that all must end.
Sorrow is not forever, ad sense
Endures no extremities,
Death is the last Secret implicit within you, the hidden, the deepest
Knowledge of all you will ever unfold
In this body of earth.


by Kathleen Raine |

Lament

 Where are those dazzling hills touched by the sun,
Those crags in childhood that I used to climb?
Hidden, hidden under mist is yonder mountain,
Hidden is the heart. 

A day of cloud, a lifetime falls between,
Gone are the heather moors and the pure stream,
Gone are the rocky places and the green,
Hidden, hidden under sorrow is yonder mountain,
Hidden, hidden.

O storm and gale of tears, whose blinding screen
Makes weather of grief, snow's drifting curtain
Palls th'immortal heights once seen.
Hidden, hidden is the heart,
Hidden, hidden is the heart.


by Kathleen Raine |

Lenten Flowers

 Primrose, anemone, bluebell, moss
Grow in the Kingdom of the Cross

And the ash-tree's purple bud
Dresses the spear that sheds his blood.

With the thorns that pierce his brow
Soft encircling petals grow

For in each flower the secret lies
Of the tree that crucifies.

Garden by the water clear
All must die who enter here!


by Kathleen Raine |

Confessions

 Wanting to know all
I overlooked each particle
Containing the whole
Unknowable.

Intent on one great love, perfect,
Requited and for ever,
I missed love's everywhere
Small presence, thousand-guised.

And lifelong have been reading
Book after book, searching
For wisdom, but bringing
Only my own understanding.

Forgive me, forgiver,
Whether you be infinite omniscient
Or some unnoticed other
My existence has hurt.

Being what I am
What could I do but wrong?
Yet love can bring
To heart healing
To chaos meaning.


by Kathleen Raine |

Change

 Change 
Said the sun to the moon, 
You cannot stay. 

Change 
Says the moon to the waters, 
All is flowing. 

Change 
Says the fields to the grass, 
Seed-time and harvest, 
Chaff and grain. 

You must change said, 
Said the worm to the bud, 
Though not to a rose, 

Petals fade 
That wings may rise 
Borne on the wind. 

You are changing 
said death to the maiden, your wan face 
To memory, to beauty. 

Are you ready to change? 
Says the thought to the heart, to let her pass 
All your life long 

For the unknown, the unborn 
In the alchemy 
Of the world's dream? 

You will change, 
says the stars to the sun, 
Says the night to the stars.


by Kathleen Raine |

Far-Darting Apollo

 I saw the sun step like a gentleman
Dressed in black and proud as sin.
I saw the sun walk across London 
Like a young M. P., risen to the occasion.

His step was light, his tread was dancing,
His lips were smiling, his eyes glancing.
Over the Cenotaph in Whitehall
The sun took the wicket with my skull.

The sun plays tennis in the court of Geneva
With the guts of a Finn and the head of an Emperor.
The sun plays squash in a tomb of marble,
The horses of Apocalypse are in his stable.

The sun plays a game of darts in Spain
Three by three in flight formation.
The invincible wheels of his yellow car
Are the discs that kindle the Chinese war.

The sun shows the world to the world,
Turns its own ghost on the terrified crowd,
Then plunges all images into the ocean
Of the nightly mass emotion.

Games of chance and games of skill,
All his sports are games to kill.
I saw the murderer at evening lie
Bleeding on his death-bed sky.

His hyacinth breath, his laurel hair,
His blinding sight, his moving air,
My love, my grief, my weariness, my fears
Hid from me in a night of tears.


by Kathleen Raine |

Harvest

 Day is the hero's shield,
Achilles' field,
The light days are the angels.
We the seed.

Against eternal light and gorgon's face
Day is the shield
And we the grass
Native to fields of iron, and skies of brass.