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Best Famous Richard Aldington Poems

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Written by Richard Aldington | Create an image from this poem

Childhood

 I 

The bitterness.
the misery, the wretchedness of childhood Put me out of love with God.
I can't believe in God's goodness; I can believe In many avenging gods.
Most of all I believe In gods of bitter dullness, Cruel local gods Who scared my childhood.
II I've seen people put A chrysalis in a match-box, "To see," they told me, "what sort of moth would come.
" But when it broke its shell It slipped and stumbled and fell about its prison And tried to climb to the light For space to dry its wings.
That's how I was.
Somebody found my chrysalis And shut it in a match-box.
My shrivelled wings were beaten, Shed their colours in dusty scales Before the box was opened For the moth to fly.
III I hate that town; I hate the town I lived in when I was little; I hate to think of it.
There wre always clouds, smoke, rain In that dingly little valley.
It rained; it always rained.
I think I never saw the sun until I was nine -- And then it was too late; Everything's too late after the first seven years.
The long street we lived in Was duller than a drain And nearly as dingy.
There were the big College And the pseudo-Gothic town-hall.
There were the sordid provincial shops -- The grocer's, and the shops for women, The shop where I bought transfers, And the piano and gramaphone shop Where I used to stand Staring at the huge shiny pianos and at the pictures Of a white dog looking into a gramaphone.
How dull and greasy and grey and sordid it was! On wet days -- it was always wet -- I used to kneel on a chair And look at it from the window.
The dirty yellow trams Dragged noisily along With a clatter of wheels and bells And a humming of wires overhead.
They threw up the filthy rain-water from the hollow lines And then the water ran back Full of brownish foam bubbles.
There was nothing else to see -- It was all so dull -- Except a few grey legs under shiny black umbrellas Running along the grey shiny pavements; Sometimes there was a waggon Whose horses made a strange loud hollow sound With their hoofs Through the silent rain.
And there was a grey museum Full of dead birds and dead insects and dead animals And a few relics of the Romans -- dead also.
There was a sea-front, A long asphalt walk with a bleak road beside it, Three piers, a row of houses, And a salt dirty smell from the little harbour.
I was like a moth -- Like one of those grey Emperor moths Which flutter through the vines at Capri.
And that damned little town was my match-box, Against whose sides I beat and beat Until my wings were torn and faded, and dingy As that damned little town.
IV At school it was just as dull as that dull High Street.
The front was dull; The High Street and the other street were dull -- And there was a public park, I remember, And that was damned dull, too, With its beds of geraniums no one was allowed to pick, And its clipped lawns you weren't allowed to walk on, And the gold-fish pond you mustn't paddle in, And the gate made out of a whale's jaw-bones, And the swings, which were for "Board-School children," And its gravel paths.
And on Sundays they rang the bells, From Baptist and Evangelical and Catholic churches.
They had a Salvation Army.
I was taken to a High Church; The parson's name was Mowbray, "Which is a good name but he thinks too much of it --" That's what I heard people say.
I took a little black book To that cold, grey, damp, smelling church, And I had to sit on a hard bench, Wriggle off it to kneel down when they sang psalms And wriggle off it to kneel down when they prayed, And then there was nothing to do Except to play trains with the hymn-books.
There was nothing to see, Nothing to do, Nothing to play with, Except that in an empty room upstairs There was a large tin box Containing reproductions of the Magna Charta, Of the Declaration of Independence And of a letter from Raleigh after the Armada.
There were also several packets of stamps, Yellow and blue Guatemala parrots, Blue stags and red baboons and birds from Sarawak, Indians and Men-of-war From the United States, And the green and red portraits Of King Francobello Of Italy.
V I don't believe in God.
I do believe in avenging gods Who plague us for sins we never sinned But who avenge us.
That's why I'll never have a child, Never shut up a chrysalis in a match-box For the moth to spoil and crush its brght colours, Beating its wings against the dingy prison-wall.
Written by Richard Aldington | Create an image from this poem

Goodbye!

 Come, thrust your hands in the warm earth 
And feel her strength through all your veins; 
Breathe her full odors, taste her mouth, 
Which laughs away imagined pains; 
Touch her life's womb, yet know 
This substance makes your grave also.
Shrink not; your flesh is no more sweet Than flowers which daily blow and die; Nor are your mein and dress so neat, Nor half so pure your lucid eye; And, yet, by flowers and earth I swear You're neat and pure and sweet and fair.
Written by Richard Aldington | Create an image from this poem

Images

 I

Like a gondola of green scented fruits 
Drifting along the dark canals of Venice, 
You, O exquisite one, 
Have entered into my desolate city.
II The blue smoke leaps Like swirling clouds of birds vanishing.
So my love leaps forth toward you, Vanishes and is renewed.
III A rose-yellow moon in a pale sky When the sunset is faint vermilion In the mist among the tree-boughs Art thou to me, my beloved.
IV A young beech tree on the edge of the forest Stands still in the evening, Yet shudders through all its leaves in the light air And seems to fear the stars - So are you still and so tremble.
V The red deer are high on the mountain, They are beyond the last pine trees.
And my desires have run with them.
VI The flower which the wind has shaken Is soon filled again with rain; So does my heart fill slowly with tears, Until you return.
Written by Richard Aldington | Create an image from this poem

Prelude

 How could I love you more? 
I would give up 
Even that beauty I have loved too well 
That I might love you better.
Alas, how poor the gifts that lovers give I can but give you of my flesh and strength, I can but give you these few passing days And passionate words that, since our speech began, All lovers whisper in all ladies' ears.
I try to think of some one lovely gift No lover yet in all the world has found; I think: If the cold sombre gods Were hot with love as I am Could they not endow you with a star And fix bright youth for ever in your limbs? Could they not give you all things that I lack? You should have loved a god; I am but dust.
Yet no god loves as loves this poor frail dust.
Written by Richard Aldington | Create an image from this poem

The Faun Sees Snow for the First Time

 Zeus, 
Brazen-thunder-hurler, 
Cloud-whirler, son-of-Kronos, 
Send vengeance on these Oreads 
Who strew 
White frozen flecks of mist and cloud 
Over the brown trees and the tufted grass 
Of the meadows, where the stream 
Runs black through shining banks 
Of bluish white.
Zeus, Are the halls of heaven broken up That you flake down upon me Feather-strips of marble? Dis and Styx! When I stamp my hoof The frozen-cloud-specks jam into the cleft So that I reel upon two slippery points .
.
.
Fool, to stand here cursing When I might be running!
Written by Richard Aldington | Create an image from this poem

Daisy

 Plus quan se atque suos amavit omnes, 
nunc.
.
.
- Catullus You were my playmate by the sea.
We swam together.
Your girl's body had no breasts.
We found prawns among the rocks; We liked to feel the sun and to do nothing; In the evening we played games with the others.
It made me glad to be by you.
Sometimes I kissed you, And you were always glad to kiss me; But I was afraid - I was only fourteen.
And I had quite forgotten you, You and your name.
To-day I pass through the streets.
She who touches my arms and talks with me Is - who knows? - Helen of Sparta, Dryope, Laodamia .
.
.
And there are you A whore in Oxford Street.
Written by Richard Aldington | Create an image from this poem

Bombardment

 Four days the earth was rent and torn
By bursting steel,
The houses fell about us;
Three nights we dared not sleep,
Sweating, and listening for the imminent crash
Which meant our death.
The fourth night every man, Nerve-tortured, racked to exhaustion, Slept, muttering and twitching, While the shells crashed overhead.
The fifth day there came a hush; We left our holes And looked above the wreckage of the earth To where the white clouds moved in silent lines Across the untroubled blue.
Written by Richard Aldington | Create an image from this poem

Round-Pond

 Water ruffled and speckled by galloping wind 
Which puffs and spurts it into tiny pashing breaks 
Dashed with lemon-yellow afternoon sunlight.
The shining of the sun upon the water Is like a scattering of gold crocus-petals In a long wavering irregular flight.
The water is cold to the eye As the wind to the cheek.
In the budding chestnuts Whose sticky buds glimmer and are half-burst open The starlings make their clitter-clatter; And the blackbirds in the grass Are getting as fat as the pigeons.
Too-hoo, this is brave; Even the cold wind is seeking a new mistress.
Written by Richard Aldington | Create an image from this poem

At the British Museum

 I turn the page and read: 
"I dream of silent verses where the rhyme 
Glides noiseless as an oar.
" The heavy musty air, the black desks, The bent heads and the rustling noises In the great dome Vanish .
.
.
And The sun hangs in the cobalt-blue sky, The boat drifts over the lake shallows, The fishes skim like umber shades through the undulating weeds, The oleanders drop their rosy petals on the lawns, And the swallows dive and swirl and whistle About the cleft battlements of Can Grande's castle.
.
.
Written by Richard Aldington | Create an image from this poem

Lemures

 In Nineveh 
And beyond Nineveh 
In the dusk 
They were afraid.
In Thebes of Egypt In the dust They chanted of them to the dead.
In my Lesbos and Achaia Where the God dwelt We knew them.
Now men say "They are not": But in the dusk Ere the white sun comes - A gay child that bears a white candle - I am afraid of their rustling, Of their terrible silence, The menace of their secrecy.
Written by Richard Aldington | Create an image from this poem

Epilogue

 Che son contenti nel fuoco

We are of those that Dante saw
Glad, for love's sake, among the flames of hell,
Outdaring with a kiss all-powerful wrath;
For we have passed athwart a fiercer hell,
Through gloomier, more desperate circles
Than ever Dante dreamed:
And yet love kept us glad.
Written by Richard Aldington | Create an image from this poem

The Poplar

 Why do you always stand there shivering 
Between the white stream and the road? 

The people pass through the dust 
On bicycles, in carts, in motor-cars; 
The waggoners go by at down; 
The lovers walk on the grass path at night.
Stir from your roots, walk, poplar! You are more beautiful than they are.
I know that the white wind loves you, Is always kissing you and turning up The white lining of your green petticoat.
The sky darts through you like blue rain, And the grey rain drips on your flanks And loves you.
And I have seen the moon Slip his silver penny into your pocket As you straightened your hair; And the white mist curling and hesitating Like a bashful lover about your knees.
I know you, poplar; I have watched you since I was ten.
But if you had a little real love, A little strength, You would leave your nonchalant idle lovers And go walking down the white road Behind the waggoners.
There are beautiful beeches down beyond the hill.
Will you always stand there shivering?