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Best Famous Laura Riding Jackson Poems

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by Laura Riding Jackson |

The Quids

 The little quids, the million quids,
The everywhere, everything, always quids,
The atoms of the Monoton—
Each turned three essences where it stood
And ground a gisty dust from its neighbors' edges
Until a powdery thoughtfall stormed in and out,
The cerebration of a slippery quid enterprise.
Each quid stirred.
The united quids Waved through a sinuous decision.
The quids, that had never done anything before But be, be, be, be, be, The quids resolved to predicate And dissipate in a little grammar.
Oh, the Monoton didn't care, For whatever they did— The Monoton's contributing quids— The Monoton would always remain the same.
A quid here and there gyrated in place-position, While many essential quids turned inside-out For the fun of it And a few refused to be anything but Simple, unpredicated copulatives.
Little by little, this commotion of quids, By threes, by tens, by casual millions, Squirming within the state of things— The metaphysical acrobats, The naked, immaterial quids— Turned inside on themselves And came out dressed, Each similar quid of the inward same, Each similar quid dressed in a different way— The quid's idea of a holiday.
The quids could never tell what was happening.
But the Monoton felt itself differently the same In its different parts.
The silly quids upon their rambling exercise Never knew, could never tell What their pleasure was about, What their carnival was like, Being in, being in, being always in Where they never could get out Of the everywhere, everything, always in, To derive themselves from the Monoton.
But I know, with a quid inside of me, But I know what a quid's disguise is like, Being one myself, The gymnastic device That a quid puts on for exercise.
And so should the trees, And so should the worms, And so should you, And all the other predicates, And all the other accessories Of the quid's masquerade.


by Laura Riding Jackson |

With The Face

 With the face goes a mirror
As with the mind a world.
Likeness tells the doubting eye That strangeness is not strange.
At an early hour and knowledge Identity not yet familiar Looks back upon itself from later, And seems itself.
To-day seems now.
With reality-to-be goes time.
With the mind goes a world.
Wit the heart goes a weather.
With the face goes a mirror As with the body a fear.
Young self goes staring to the wall Where dumb futurity speaks calm, And between then and then Forebeing grows of age.
The mirror mixes with the eye.
Soon will it be the very eye.
Soon will the eye that was The very mirror be.
Death, the final image, will shine Transparently not otherwise Than as the dark sun described With such faint brightnesses.


by Laura Riding Jackson |

The Simple Line

 The secrets of the mind convene splendidly,
Though the mind is meek.
To be aware inwardly of brain and beauty Is dark too recognizable.
Thought looking out on thought Makes one an eye: Which it shall be, both decide.
One is with the mind alone, The other is with other thoughts gone To be seen from afar and not known.
When openly these inmost sights Flash and speak fully, Each head at home shakes hopelessly Of being never ready to see self And sees a universe too soon.
The immense surmise swims round and round And heads grow wise With their own bigness beatified In cosmos, and the idiot size Of skulls spells Nature on the ground, While ears listening the wrong way report Echoes first and hear words before sounds Because the mind, being quiet, seems late.
By ears words are copied into books, By letters minds are taught self-ignorance.
From mouths spring forth vocabularies To the assemblage of strange objects Grown foreign to the faithful countryside Of one king, poverty, Of one line, humbleness.
Unavowed and false horizons claim pride For spaces in the head The native head sees outside.
The flood of wonder rushing from the eyes Returns lesson by lesson.
The mind, shrunken of time, Overflows too soon.
The complete vision is the same As when the world-wideness began Worlds to describe The excessiveness of man.
But man's right portion rejects The surplus in the whole.
This much, made secret first, Now makes The knowable, which was Thought's previous flesh, And gives instruction of substance to its intelligence As far as flesh itself, As bodies upon themselves to where Understanding is the head And the identity of breath and breathing are established And the voice opening to cry: I know, Closes around the entire declaration With this evidence of immortality— The total silence to say: I am dead.
For death is all ugly, all lovely, Forbids mysteries to make Science of splendor, or any separate disclosing Of beauty to the mind out of body's book That page by page flutters a world in fragments, Permits no scribbling in of more Where spaces are, Only to look.
Body as Body lies more than still.
The rest seems nothing and nothing is If nothing need be.
But if need be, Thought not divided anyway Answers itself, thinking All open and everything.
Dead is the mind that parted each head.
But now the secrets of the mind convene Without pride, without pain To any onlookers.
What they ordain alone Cannot be known The ordinary way of eyes and ears But only prophesied If an unnatural mind, refusing to divide, Dies immediately Of too plain beauty Foreseen within too suddenly, And lips break open of astonishment Upon the living mouth and rehearse Death, that seems a simple verse And, of all ways to know, Dead or alive, easiest.


by Laura Riding Jackson |

The Poets Corner

 Here where the end of bone is no end of song
And the earth is bedecked with immortality
In what was poetry
And now is pride beside
And nationality,
Here is a battle with no bravery
But if the coward's tongue has gone
Swording his own lusty lung.
Listen if there is victory Written into a library Waving the books in banners Soldierly at last, for the lines Go marching on, delivered of the soul.
And happily may they rest beyond Suspicion now, the incomprehensibles Traitorous in such talking As chattered over their countries' boundaries.
The graves are gardened and the whispering Stops at the hedges, there is singing Of it in the ranks, there is a hush Where the ground has limits And the rest is loveliness.
And loveliness? Death has an understanding of it Loyal to many flags And is a silent ally of any country Beset in its mortal heart With immortal poetry.


by Laura Riding Jackson |

In Due Form

 I do not doubt you.
I know you love me.
It is a fact of your indoor face, A true fancy of your muscularity.
Your step is confident.
Your look is thorough.
Your stay-beside-me is a pillow To roll over on And sleep as on my own upon.
But make me a statement In due form on endless foolscap Witnessed before a notary And sent by post, registered, To be signed for on receipt And opened under oath to believe; An antique paper missing from my strong-box, A bond to clutch when hail tortures the chimney And lightning circles redder round the city, And your brisk step and thorough look Are gallant but uncircumstantial, And not mentionable in a doom-book.


by Laura Riding Jackson |

Yes And No

 Across a continent imaginary
Because it cannot be discovered now
Upon this fully apprehended planet—
No more applicants considered,
Alas, alas—

Ran an animal unzoological,
Without a fate, without a fact,
Its private history intact
Against the travesty
Of an anatomy.
Not visible not invisible, Removed by dayless night, Did it ever fly its ground Out of fancy into light, Into space to replace Its unwritable decease? Ah, the minutes twinkle in and out And in and out come and go One by one, none by none, What we know, what we don't know.


by Laura Riding Jackson |

The World And I

 This is not exactly what I mean
Any more than the sun is the sun.
But how to mean more closely If the sun shines but approximately? What a world of awkwardness! What hostile implements of sense! Perhaps this is as close a meaning As perhaps becomes such knowing.
Else I think the world and I Must live together as strangers and die— A sour love, each doubtful whether Was ever a thing to love the other.
No, better for both to be nearly sure Each of each—exactly where Exactly I and exactly the world Fail to meet by a moment, and a word.