Sylvia Plath | |
Will it go on? ----
My mind a rock,
No fingers to grip, no tongue,
My god the iron lung
That loves me, pumps
Dust bags in and out,
Let me relapse
While the day outside glides by like ticker tape.
The night brings violets,
Tapestries of eyes,
The soft anonymous
Talkers: 'You all right?'
The starched, inaccessible breast.
Dead egg, I lie
On a whole world I cannot touch,
At the white, tight
Drum of my sleeping couch
Photographs visit me-
My wife, dead and flat, in 1920 furs,
Mouth full of pearls,
As flat as she, who whisper 'We're your daughters.
The still waters
Wrap my lips,
Eyes, nose and ears,
Cellophane I cannot crack.
On my bare back
I smile, a buddha, all
Falling from me like rings
Hugging their lights.
Of the magnolia,
Drunk on its own scents,
Asks nothing of life.
Erica Jong | |
If you ask him he will talk for hours--
how at fourteen he hammered signs, fingers
raw with cold, and later painted bowers
in ladies' boudoirs; how he played checkers
for two weeks in jail, and lived on dark bread;
how he fled the border to a country
which disappeared wars ago; unfriended
crossed a continent while this century
He seldom speaks of painting now.
Young men have time and theories; old men work.
He has painted countless portraits.
nameless faces, made glistening in oil, smirk
above anonymous mantelpieces.
The turpentine has a familiar smell,
but his hand trembles with odd, new palsies.
Perched on the maulstick, it nears the easel.
He has come to like his resignation.
In his sketch books, ink-dark cossacks hear
the snorts of horses in the crunch of snow.
His pen alone recalls that years ago,
one horseman set his teeth and aimed his spear
which, poised, seemed pointed straight to pierce the sun.
Don Paterson | |
In the same way that the mindless diamond keeps
one spark of the planet's early fires
trapped forever in its net of ice,
it's not love's later heat that poetry holds,
but the atom of the love that drew it forth
from the silence: so if the bright coal of his love
begins to smoulder, the poet hears his voice
suddenly forced, like a bar-room singer's -- boastful
with his own huge feeling, or drowned by violins;
but if it yields a steadier light, he knows
the pure verse, when it finally comes, will sound
like a mountain spring, anonymous and serene.
Beneath the blue oblivious sky, the water
sings of nothing, not your name, not mine.
Delmore Schwartz | |
Tired and unhappy, you think of houses
Soft-carpeted and warm in the December evening,
While snow's white pieces fall past the window,
And the orange firelight leaps.
A young girl sings
That song of Gluck where Orpheus pleads with Death;
Her elders watch, nodding their happiness
To see time fresh again in her self-conscious eyes:
The servants bring in the coffee, the children go to bed,
Elder and younger yawn and go to bed,
The coals fade and glow, rose and ashen,
It is time to shake yourself! and break this
Banal dream, and turn your head
Where the underground is charged, where the weight
Of the lean building is seen,
Where close in the subway rush, anonymous
In the audience, well-dressed or mean,
So many surround you, ringing your fate,
Caught in an anger exact as a machine!
Emily Dickinson | |
Superfluous were the Sun
When Excellence be dead
He were superfluous every Day
For every Day be said
That syllable whose Faith
Just saves it from Despair
And whose "I'll meet You" hesitates
If Love inquire "Where"?
Upon His dateless Fame
Our Periods may lie
As Stars that drop anonymous
From an abundant sky.
Emily Dickinson | |
I sometimes drop it, for a Quick --
The Thought to be alive --
Anonymous Delight to know --
And Madder -- to conceive --
Consoles a Woe so monstrous
That did it tear all Day,
Without an instant's Respite --
'Twould look too far -- to Die --
John Berryman | |
Cedars and the westward sun.
The darkening sky.
A man alone
Watches beside the fallen wall
The evening multitudes of sin
Crowd in upon us all.
For when the light fails they begin
Nocturnal sabotage among
The outcast and the loose of tongue,
The lax in walk, the murderers:
Our twilight universal curse.
Children are faultless in the wood,
If they are later made
Scandal and index to their time,
It is that twilight brings for bread
The faculty of crime.
Only the idiot and the dead
Stand by, while who were young before
Wage insolent and guilty war
By night within that ancient house,
Immense, black, damned, anonymous.
John Betjeman | |
This is the time of day when we in the Mens's ward
Think "one more surge of the pain and I give up the fight.
Whe he who strggles for breath can struggle less strongly:
This is the time of day which is worse than night.
A haze of thunder hangs on the hospital rose-beds,
A doctors' foursome out of the links is played,
Safe in her sitting-room Sister is putting her feet up:
This is the time of day when we feel betrayed.
Below the windows, loads of loving relations
Rev in the car park, changing gear at the bend,
Making for home and a nice big tea and the telly:
"Well, we've done what we can.
It can't be long till the end.
This is the time of day when the weight of bedclothes
Is harder to bear than a sharp incision of steel.
The endless anonymous croak of a cheap transistor
Intesifies the lonely terror I feel.