Alfred Lord Tennyson | |
Tears, idle tears, I know not what they mean,
Tears from the depth of some divine despair
Rise in the heart, and gather to the eyes,
In looking on the happy Autumn-fields,
And thinking of the days that are no more.
Fresh as the first beam glittering on a sail,
That brings our friends up from the underworld,
Sad as the last which reddens over one
That sinks with all we love below the verge;
So sad, so fresh, the days that are no more.
Ah, sad and strange as in dark summer dawns
The earliest pipe of half-awakened birds
To dying ears, when unto dying eyes
The casement slowly grows a glimmering square;
So sad, so strange, the days that are no more.
Dear as remembered kisses after death,
And sweet as those by hopeless fancy feigned
On lips that are for others; deep as love,
Deep as first love, and wild with all regret;
O Death in Life, the days that are no more!
Emily Dickinson | |
It was not death, for I stood up,
And all the dead lie down;
It was not night, for all the bells
Put out their tongues, for noon.
It was not frost, for on my flesh
I felt siroccos crawl,--
Nor fire, for just my marble feet
Could keep a chancel cool.
And yet it tasted like them all;
The figures I have seen
Set orderly, for burial,
Reminded me of mine,
As if my life were shaven
And fitted to a frame,
And could not breathe without a key;
And 't was like midnight, some,
When everything that ticked has stopped,
And space stares, all around,
Or grisly frosts, first autumn morns,
Repeal the beating ground.
But most like chaos,--stopless, cool,--
Without a chance or spar,--
Or even a report of land
To justify despair.
John Keats | |
SEASON of mists and mellow fruitfulness!
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eaves run;
To bend with apples the moss'd cottage-trees 5
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more
And still more later flowers for the bees
Until they think warm days will never cease 10
For Summer has o'er-brimm'd their clammy cells.
Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?
Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find
Thee sitting careless on a granary floor
Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind; 15
Or on a half-reap'd furrow sound asleep
Drowsed with the fume of poppies while thy hook
Spares the next swath and all its twin¨¨d flowers;
And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep
Steady thy laden head across a brook; 20
Or by a cider-press with patient look
Thou watchest the last oozings hours by hours.
Where are the songs of Spring? Ay where are they?
Think not of them thou hast thy music too ¡ª
While barr¨¨d clouds bloom the soft-dying day 25
And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue;
Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn
Among the river sallows borne aloft
Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;
And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn; 30
Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft
The redbreast whistles from a garden-croft;
And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.
More great poems below...
Edward Estlin (E E) Cummings | |
anyone lived in a pretty how town
(with up so floating many bells down)
spring summer autumn winter
he sang his didn't he danced his did
Women and men(both little and samll)
cared for anyone not at all
they sowed their isn't they reaped their
sun moon stars rain
children guessed(but only a few
and down they forgot as up they grew
autumn winter spring summer)
that noone loved him more by more
when by now and tree by leaf
she laughed his joy she cried his grief
bird by snow and stir by still
anyone's any was all to her
someones married their everyones
laughed their cryings and did their dance
(sleep wake hope and then)they
said their nevers they slept their dream
stars rain sun moon
(and only the snow can begin to explain
how children are apt to forget to remember
with up so floating many bells down)
one day anyone died i guess
(and noone stooped to kiss his face)
busy folk buried them side by side
little by little and was by was
all by all and deep by deep
and more by moe they dream their sleep
noone and anyone earth by april
wish by spirit and if by yes
Women and men(both dong and ding)
summer sutumn winter spring
reaped their sowing and went their came
sun moon stars rain
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow | |
A MIST was driving down the British Channel,
The day was just begun,
And through the window-panes, on floor and panel,
Streamed the red autumn sun.
It glanced on flowing flag and rippling pennon, 5
And the white sails of ships;
And, from the frowning rampart, the black cannon
Hailed it with feverish lips.
Sandwich and Romney, Hastings, Hithe, and Dover,
Were all alert that day, 10
To see the French war-steamers speeding over,
When the fog cleared away.
Sullen and silent, and like couchant lions,
Their cannon, through the night,
Holding their breath, had watched, in grim defiance, 15
The sea-coast opposite.
And now they roared at drum-beat from their stations,
On every citadel;
Each answering each, with morning salutations,
That all was well.
And down the coast, all taking up the burden,
Replied the distant forts,
As if to summon from his sleep the Warden
And Lord of the Cinque Ports.
Him shall no sunshine from the fields of azure, 25
No drum-beat from the wall,
No morning gun from the black fort's embrasure,
Awaken with its call!
No more, surveying with an eye impartial
The long line of the coast, 30
Shall the gaunt figure of the old Field Marshal
Be seen upon his post!
For in the night, unseen, a single warrior,
In sombre harness mailed,
Dreaded of man, and surnamed the Destroyer, 35
The rampart wall had scaled.
He passed into the chamber of the sleeper,
The dark and silent room,
And as he entered, darker grew, and deeper,
The silence and the gloom.
He did not pause to parley or dissemble,
But smote the Warden hoar;
Ah! what a blow! that made all England tremble
And groan from shore to shore.
Meanwhile, without, the surly cannon waited, 45
The sun rose bright o'erhead;
Nothing in Nature's aspect intimated
That a great man was dead.
Wallace Stevens | |
Among twenty snowy mountains,
The only moving thing
Was the eye of the blackbird.
I was of three minds,
Like a tree
In which there are three blackbirds.
The blackbird whirled in the autumn winds.
It was a small part of the pantomime.
A man and a woman
A man and a woman and a blackbird
I do not know which to prefer,
The beauty of inflections
Or the beauty of innuendoes,
The blackbird whistling
Or just after.
Icicles filled the long window
With barbaric glass.
The shadow of the blackbird
Crossed it, to and fro.
Traced in the shadow
An indecipherable cause.
O thin men of Haddam,
Why do you imagine golden birds?
Do you not see how the blackbird
Walks around the feet
Of the women about you?
I know noble accents
And lucid, inescapable rhythms;
But I know, too,
That the blackbird is involved
In what I know.
When the blackbird flew out of sight,
It marked the edge
Of one of many circles.
At the sight of blackbirds
Flying in a green light,
Even the bawds of euphony
Would cry out sharply.
He rode over Connecticut
In a glass coach.
Once, a fear pierced him,
In that he mistook
The shadow of his equipage
The river is moving.
The blackbird must be flying.
It was evening all afternoon.
It was snowing
And it was going to snow.
The blackbird sat
In the cedar-limbs.
Percy Bysshe Shelley | |
AWAY! the moor is dark beneath the moon
Rapid clouds have drunk the last pale beam of even:
Away! the gathering winds will call the darkness soon
And profoundest midnight shroud the serene lights of heaven.
Pause not! the time is past! Every voice cries 'Away!' 5
Tempt not with one last tear thy friend's ungentle mood:
Thy lover's eye so glazed and cold dares not entreat thy stay:
Duty and dereliction guide thee back to solitude.
Away away! to thy sad and silent home;
Pour bitter tears on its desolated hearth; 10
Watch the dim shades as like ghosts they go and come
And complicate strange webs of melancholy mirth.
The leaves of wasted autumn woods shall float around thine head
The blooms of dewy Spring shall gleam beneath thy feet:
But thy soul or this world must fade in the frost that binds the dead 15
Ere midnight's frown and morning's smile ere thou and peace may meet.
The cloud shadows of midnight possess their own repose
For the weary winds are silent or the moon is in the deep;
Some respite to its turbulence unresting ocean knows;
Whatever moves or toils or grieves hath its appointed sleep.
Thou in the grave shalt rest:¡ªyet till the phantoms flee
Which that house and heath and garden made dear to thee erewhile
Thy remembrance and repentance and deep musings are not free
From the music of two voices and the light of one sweet smile.
Wang Wei | |
The mountains are cold and blue now
And the autumn waters have run all day.
By my thatch door, leaning on my staff,
I listen to cicadas in the evening wind.
Sunset lingers at the ferry,
Supper-smoke floats up from the houses.
Oh, when shall I pledge the great Hermit again
And sing a wild poem at Five Willows?
Edward Estlin (E E) Cummings | |
enter no(silence is the blood whose flesh
is singing)silence:but unsinging.
spectral such hugest how hush,one
dead leaf stirring makes a crash
-far away(as far as alive)lies
april;and i breathe-move-and-seem some
perpetually roaming whylessness-
autumn has gone:will winter never come?
o come,terrible anonymity;enfold
phantom me with the murdering minus of cold
-open this ghost with millionary knives of wind-
scatter his nothing all over what angry skies and
(very whiteness:absolute peace,
never imaginable mystery)
Siegfried Sassoon | |
ACROSS the land a faint blue veil of mist
Seems hung; the woods wear yet arrayment sober
Till frost shall make them flame; silent and whist
The drooping cherry orchards of October
Like mournful pennons hang their shrivelling leaves 5
Russet and orange: all things now decay;
Long since ye garnered in your autumn sheaves
And sad the robins pipe at set of day.
Now do ye dream of Spring when greening shaws
Confer with the shrewd breezes and of slopes 10
Flower-kirtled and of April virgin guest;
Days that ye love despite their windy flaws
Since they are woven with all joys and hopes
Whereof ye nevermore shall be possessed.
Percy Bysshe Shelley | |
RARELY rarely comest thou
Spirit of Delight!
Wherefore hast thou left me now
Many a day and night?
Many a weary night and day 5
'Tis since thou art fled away.
How shall ever one like me
Win thee back again?
With the joyous and the free
Thou wilt scoff at pain.
Spirit false! thou hast forgot
All but those who need thee not.
As a lizard with the shade
Of a trembling leaf
Thou with sorrow art dismay'd; 15
Even the sighs of grief
Reproach thee that thou art not near
And reproach thou wilt not hear.
Let me set my mournful ditty
To a merry measure; 20
Thou wilt never come for pity
Thou wilt come for pleasure:
Pity then will cut away
Those cruel wings and thou wilt stay.
I love all that thou lovest 25
Spirit of Delight!
The fresh earth in new leaves drest
And the starry night;
Autumn evening and the morn
When the golden mists are born.
I love snow and all the forms
Of the radiant frost;
I love waves and winds and storms
Which is Nature's and may be 35
Untainted by man's misery.
I love tranquil solitude
And such society
As is quiet wise and good;
Between thee and me 40
What diff'rence? but thou dost possess
The things I seek not love them less.
I love Love¡ªthough he has wings
And like light can flee
But above all other things 45
Spirit I love thee¡ª
Thou art love and life! O come!
Make once more my heart thy home!
William Cullen Bryant | |
THE MELANCHOLY days have come the saddest of the year
Of wailing winds and naked woods and meadows brown and sere;
Heaped in the hollows of the grove the autumn leaves lie dead;
They rustle to the eddying gust and to the rabbit's tread;
The robin and the wren are flown and from the shrubs the jay 5
And from the wood-top calls the crow through all the gloomy day.
Where are the flowers the fair young flowers that lately sprang and stood
In brighter light and softer airs a beauteous sisterhood?
Alas! they all are in their graves the gentle race of flowers
Are lying in their lowly beds with the fair and good of ours.
The rain is falling where they lie but the cold November rain
Calls not from out the gloomy earth the lovely ones again.
The wind-flower and the violet they perished long ago
And the brier-rose and the orchis died amid the summer glow;
But on the hill the goldenrod and the aster in the wood 15
And the blue sunflower by the brook in autumn beauty stood
Till fell the frost from the clear cold heaven as falls the plague on men
And the brightness of their smile was gone from upland glade and glen.
And now when comes the calm mild day as still such days will come
To call the squirrel and the bee from out their winter home; 20
When the sound of dropping nuts is heard though all the trees are still
And twinkle in the smoky light the waters of the rill
The south wind searches for the flowers whose fragrance late he bore
And sighs to find them in the wood and by the stream no more.
And then I think of one who in her youthful beauty died 25
The fair meek blossom that grew up and faded by my side.
In the cold moist earth we laid her when the forests cast the leaf
And we wept that one so lovely should have a life so brief:
Yet not unmeet it was that one like that young friend of ours
So gentle and so beautiful should perish with the flowers.
William Cullen Bryant | |
LET me move slowly through the street
Filled with an ever-shifting train
Amid the sound of steps that beat
The murmuring walks like autumn rain.
How fast the flitting figures come! 5
The mild the fierce the stony face;
Some bright with thoughtless smiles and some
Where secret tears have left their trace.
They pass¡ªto toil to strife to rest;
To halls in which the feast is spread; 10
To chambers where the funeral guest
In silence sits beside the dead.
And some to happy homes repair
Where children pressing cheek to cheek
With mute caresses shall declare 15
The tenderness they cannot speak.
And some who walk in calmness here
Shall shudder as they reach the door
Where one who made their dwelling dear
Its flower its light is seen no more.
Youth with pale cheek and slender frame
And dreams of greatness in thine eye!
Go'st thou to build an early name
Or early in the task to die?
Keen son of trade with eager brow! 25
Who is now fluttering in thy snare?
Thy golden fortunes tower they now
Or melt the glittering spires in air?
Who of this crowd to-night shall tread
The dance till daylight gleam again? 30
Who sorrow o'er the untimely dead?
Who writhe in throes of mortal pain?
Some famine-struck shall think how long
The cold dark hours how slow the light;
And some who flaunt amid the throng 35
Shall hide in dens of shame to-night.
Each where his tasks or pleasures call
They pass and heed each other not.
There is who heeds who holds them all
In His large love and boundless thought.
These struggling tides of life that seem
In wayward aimless course to tend
Are eddies of the mighty stream
That rolls to its appointed end.
Sara Teasdale | |
If I could have your arms tonight-
But half the world and the broken sea
Lie between you and me.
The autumn rain reverberates in the courtyard,
Beating all night against the barren stone,
The sound of useless rain in the desolate courtyard
Makes me more alone.
If you were here, if you were only here-
My blood cries out to you all night in vain
As sleepless as the rain.
Coarse the rush-mat roof
Sheltering the harvest-hut
Of the autumn rice-field;--
And my sleeves are growing wet
With the moisture dripping through.
In the mountain depths,
Treading through the crimson leaves,
Cries the wandering stag.
When I hear the lonely cry,
Sad,--how sad--the autumn is!
Anonymous | |
How do the leaves grow,
In spring, upon their stems?
Oh! the sap swells up with a drop for all,
And that is life to them.
What do the leaves do
Through the long summer hours,
They make a home for the wandering birds,
And shelter the wild flowers.
How do the leaves fade
Beneath the autumn blast?
Oh! they fairer grow before they die,
Their brightest is their last.
We, too, are like leaves,
O children! weak and small;
God knows each leaf of the forest shade:
He knows us, each and all.
Never a leaf falls
Until its part is done;
God gives us grace, like sap, and then
Some work to every one.
We, too, must grow old,
Beneath the autumn sky;
But lovelier and brighter our lives may grow,
Like leaves before they die.
Brighter with kind deeds,
With love to others given;
Till the leaf falls off from the autumn tree,
And the spirit is in heaven.
T S (Thomas Stearns) Eliot | |
O quam te memorem virgo.
STAND on the highest pavement of the stair—
Lean on a garden urn—
Weave, weave the sunlight in your hair—
Clasp your flowers to you with a pained surprise—
Fling them to the ground and turn
With a fugitive resentment in your eyes:
But weave, weave the sunlight in your hair.
So I would have had him leave,
So I would have had her stand and grieve,
So he would have left
As the soul leaves the body torn and bruised,
As the mind deserts the body it has used.
I should find
Some way incomparably light and deft,
Some way we both should understand,
Simple and faithless as a smile and shake of the hand.
She turned away, but with the autumn weather
Compelled my imagination many days,
Many days and many hours:
Her hair over her arms and her arms full of flowers.
And I wonder how they should have been together!
I should have lost a gesture and a pose.
Sometimes these cogitations still amaze
The troubled midnight and the noon’s repose.
William Cullen Bryant | |
Thou blossom bright with autumn dew,
And colored with the heaven's own blue,
That openest when the quiet light
Succeeds the keen and frosty night.
Thou comest not when violets lean
O'er wandering brooks and springs unseen,
Or columbines, in purple dressed,
Nod o'er the ground-bird's hidden nest.
Thou waitest late and com'st alone,
When woods are bare and birds are flown,
And frosts and shortening days portend
The aged year is near his end.
Then doth thy sweet and quiet eye
Look through its fringes to the sky,
Blue--blue--as if that sky let fall
A flower from its cerulean wall.
I would that thus, when I shall see
The hour of death draw near to me,
Hope, blossoming within my heart,
May look to heaven as I depart.
Robert Seymour Bridges | |
In autumn moonlight, when the white air wan
Is fragrant in the wake of summer hence,
'Tis sweet to sit entranced, and muse thereon
In melancholy and godlike indolence:
When the proud spirit, lull'd by mortal prime
To fond pretence of immortality,
Vieweth all moments from the birth of time,
All things whate'er have been or yet shall be.
And like the garden, where the year is spent,
The ruin of old life is full of yearning,
Mingling poetic rapture of lament
With flowers and sunshine of spring's sure returning;
Only in visions of the white air wan
By godlike fancy seized and dwelt upon.
W S Merwin | |
The sleep that flits on baby's eyes-does anybody know from where
it comes? Yes, there is a rumour that it has its dwelling where,
in the fairy village among shadows of the forest dimly lit with
glow-worms, there hang two shy buds of enchantment.
From there it
comes to kiss baby's eyes.
The smile that flickers on baby's lips when he sleeps-does
anybody know where it was born? Yes, there is a rumour that a young
pale beam of a crescent moon touched the edge of a vanishing autumn
cloud, and there the smile was first born in the dream of a dew
washed morning-the smile that flickers on baby's lips when he
The sweet, soft freshness hat blooms on baby's limbs-does
anybody know where it was hidden so long? Yes, when the mother was
a young girl it lay pervading her heart in tender and silent
mystery of love-the sweet, soft freshness that has bloomed on
John Greenleaf Whittier | |
"Put up the sword!" The voice of Christ once more
Speaks, in the pauses of the cannon's roar,
O'er fields of corn by fiery sickles reaped
And left dry ashes; over trenches heaped
With nameless dead; o'er cities starving slow
Under a rain of fire; through wards of woe
Down which a groaning diapason runs
From tortured brothers, husbands, lovers, sons
Of desolate women in their far-off homes
Waiting to hear the step that never comes!
O men and brothers! let that voice be heard.
War fails, try peace; put up the useless sword!
Fear not the end.
There is a story told
In Eastern tents, when autumn nights grow cold,
And round the fire the Mongol shepherds sit
With grave responses listening unto it:
Once, on the errands of his mercy bent,
Buddha, the holy and benevolent,
Met a fell monster, huge and fierce of look,
Whose awful voice the hills and forests shook,
"O son of peace!" the giant cried, "thy fate
Is sealed at last, and love shall yield to hate.
The unarmed Buddha looking, with no trace
Of fear and anger, in the monster's face,
In pity said, "Poor fiend, even thee I love.
Lo! as he spake the sky-tall terror sank
To hand-breadth size; the huge abhorrence shrank
Into the form and fashion of a dove
And where the thunder of its rage was heard,
Circling above him sweetly sang the bird:
"Hate hath no harm for love," so ran the song,
"And peace unweaponed conquers every wrong!"
William Lisle Bowles | |
Go, then, and join the murmuring city's throng!
Me thou dost leave to solitude and tears;
To busy phantasies, and boding fears,
Lest ill betide thee; but 't will not be long
Ere the hard season shall be past; till then
Live happy; sometimes the forsaken shade
Remembering, and these trees now left to fade;
Nor, mid the busy scenes and hum of men,
Wilt thou my cares forget: in heaviness
To me the hours shall roll, weary and slow,
Till mournful autumn past, and all the snow
Of winter pale, the glad hour I shall bless
That shall restore thee from the crowd again,
To the green hamlet on the peaceful plain.
Oliver Wendell Holmes | |
HER hands are cold; her face is white;
No more her pulses come and go;
Her eyes are shut to life and light;--
Fold the white vesture, snow on snow,
And lay her where the violets blow.
But not beneath a graven stone,
To plead for tears with alien eyes;
A slender cross of wood alone
Shall say, that here a maiden lies
In peace beneath the peaceful skies.
And gray old trees of hugest limb
Shall wheel their circling shadows round
To make the scorching sunlight dim
That drinks the greenness from the ground,
And drop their dead leaves on her mound.
When o'er their boughs the squirrels run,
And through their leaves the robins call,
And, ripening in the autumn sun,
The acorns and the chestnuts fall,
Doubt not that she will heed them all.
For her the morning choir shall sing
Its matins from the branches high,
And every minstrel-voice of Spring,
That trills beneath the April sky,
Shall greet her with its earliest cry.
When, turning round their dial-track,
Eastward the lengthening shadows pass,
Her little mourners, clad in black,
The crickets, sliding through the grass,
Shall pipe for her an evening mass.
At last the rootlets of the trees
Shall find the prison where she lies,
And bear the buried dust they seize
In leaves and blossoms to the skies.
So may the soul that warmed it rise!
If any, born of kindlier blood,
Should ask, What maiden lies below?
Say only this: A tender bud,
That tried to blossom in the snow,
Lies withered where the violets blow.
Paul Laurence Dunbar | |
It's all a farce,—these tales they tell
About the breezes sighing,
And moans astir o'er field and dell,
Because the year is dying.
Such principles are most absurd,—
I care not who first taught 'em;
There's nothing known to beast or bird
To make a solemn autumn.
In solemn times, when grief holds sway
With countenance distressing,
You'll note the more of black and gray
Will then be used in dressing.
Now purple tints are all around;
The sky is blue and mellow;
And e'en the grasses turn the ground
From modest green to yellow.
The seed burs all with laughter crack
On featherweed and jimson;
And leaves that should be dressed in black
Are all decked out in crimson.
A butterfly goes winging by;
A singing bird comes after;
And Nature, all from earth to sky,
Is bubbling o'er with laughter.
The ripples wimple on the rills,
Like sparkling little lasses;
The sunlight runs along the hills,
And laughs among the grasses.
The earth is just so full of fun
It really can't contain it;
And streams of mirth so freely run
The heavens seem to rain it.
Don't talk to me of solemn days
In autumn's time of splendor,
Because the sun shows fewer rays,
And these grow slant and slender.
Why, it's the climax of the year,—
The highest time of living!—
Till naturally its bursting cheer
Just melts into thanksgiving.