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Best Famous Baby Poems

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

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Written by Sylvia Plath | Create an image from this poem

A Birthday Present

 What is this, behind this veil, is it ugly, is it beautiful?
It is shimmering, has it breasts, has it edges?

I am sure it is unique, I am sure it is what I want.
When I am quiet at my cooking I feel it looking, I feel it thinking 'Is this the one I am too appear for, Is this the elect one, the one with black eye-pits and a scar? Measuring the flour, cutting off the surplus, Adhering to rules, to rules, to rules.
Is this the one for the annunciation? My god, what a laugh!' But it shimmers, it does not stop, and I think it wants me.
I would not mind if it were bones, or a pearl button.
I do not want much of a present, anyway, this year.
After all I am alive only by accident.
I would have killed myself gladly that time any possible way.
Now there are these veils, shimmering like curtains, The diaphanous satins of a January window White as babies' bedding and glittering with dead breath.
O ivory! It must be a tusk there, a ghost column.
Can you not see I do not mind what it is.
Can you not give it to me? Do not be ashamed--I do not mind if it is small.
Do not be mean, I am ready for enormity.
Let us sit down to it, one on either side, admiring the gleam, The glaze, the mirrory variety of it.
Let us eat our last supper at it, like a hospital plate.
I know why you will not give it to me, You are terrified The world will go up in a shriek, and your head with it, Bossed, brazen, an antique shield, A marvel to your great-grandchildren.
Do not be afraid, it is not so.
I will only take it and go aside quietly.
You will not even hear me opening it, no paper crackle, No falling ribbons, no scream at the end.
I do not think you credit me with this discretion.
If you only knew how the veils were killing my days.
To you they are only transparencies, clear air.
But my god, the clouds are like cotton.
Armies of them.
They are carbon monoxide.
Sweetly, sweetly I breathe in, Filling my veins with invisibles, with the million Probable motes that tick the years off my life.
You are silver-suited for the occasion.
O adding machine----- Is it impossible for you to let something go and have it go whole? Must you stamp each piece purple, Must you kill what you can? There is one thing I want today, and only you can give it to me.
It stands at my window, big as the sky.
It breathes from my sheets, the cold dead center Where split lives congeal and stiffen to history.
Let it not come by the mail, finger by finger.
Let it not come by word of mouth, I should be sixty By the time the whole of it was delivered, and to numb to use it.
Only let down the veil, the veil, the veil.
If it were death I would admire the deep gravity of it, its timeless eyes.
I would know you were serious.
There would be a nobility then, there would be a birthday.
And the knife not carve, but enter Pure and clean as the cry of a baby, And the universe slide from my side.
Written by James Tate | Create an image from this poem

Dream On

 Some people go their whole lives
without ever writing a single poem.
Extraordinary people who don't hesitate to cut somebody's heart or skull open.
They go to baseball games with the greatest of ease.
and play a few rounds of golf as if it were nothing.
These same people stroll into a church as if that were a natural part of life.
Investing money is second nature to them.
They contribute to political campaigns that have absolutely no poetry in them and promise none for the future.
They sit around the dinner table at night and pretend as though nothing is missing.
Their children get caught shoplifting at the mall and no one admits that it is poetry they are missing.
The family dog howls all night, lonely and starving for more poetry in his life.
Why is it so difficult for them to see that, without poetry, their lives are effluvial.
Sure, they have their banquets, their celebrations, croquet, fox hunts, their sea shores and sunsets, their cocktails on the balcony, dog races, and all that kissing and hugging, and don't forget the good deeds, the charity work, nursing the baby squirrels all through the night, filling the birdfeeders all winter, helping the stranger change her tire.
Still, there's that disagreeable exhalation from decaying matter, subtle but everpresent.
They walk around erect like champions.
They are smooth-spoken and witty.
When alone, rare occasion, they stare into the mirror for hours, bewildered.
There was something they meant to say, but didn't: "And if we put the statue of the rhinoceros next to the tweezers, and walk around the room three times, learn to yodel, shave our heads, call our ancestors back from the dead--" poetrywise it's still a bust, bankrupt.
You haven't scribbled a syllable of it.
You're a nowhere man misfiring the very essence of your life, flustering nothing from nothing and back again.
The hereafter may not last all that long.
Radiant childhood sweetheart, secret code of everlasting joy and sorrow, fanciful pen strokes beneath the eyelids: all day, all night meditation, knot of hope, kernel of desire, pure ordinariness of life seeking, through poetry, a benediction or a bed to lie down on, to connect, reveal, explore, to imbue meaning on the day's extravagant labor.
And yet it's cruel to expect too much.
It's a rare species of bird that refuses to be categorized.
Its song is barely audible.
It is like a dragonfly in a dream-- here, then there, then here again, low-flying amber-wing darting upward then out of sight.
And the dream has a pain in its heart the wonders of which are manifold, or so the story is told.
Written by Robert Pinsky | Create an image from this poem

Impossible To Tell

 to Robert Hass and in memory of Elliot Gilbert


Slow dulcimer, gavotte and bow, in autumn,
Bashõ and his friends go out to view the moon;
In summer, gasoline rainbow in the gutter,

The secret courtesy that courses like ichor
Through the old form of the rude, full-scale joke,
Impossible to tell in writing.
"Bashõ" He named himself, "Banana Tree": banana After the plant some grateful students gave him, Maybe in appreciation of his guidance Threading a long night through the rules and channels Of their collaborative linking-poem Scored in their teacher's heart: live, rigid, fluid Like passages etched in a microscopic cicuit.
Elliot had in his memory so many jokes They seemed to breed like microbes in a culture Inside his brain, one so much making another It was impossible to tell them all: In the court-culture of jokes, a top banana.
Imagine a court of one: the queen a young mother, Unhappy, alone all day with her firstborn child And her new baby in a squalid apartment Of too few rooms, a different race from her neighbors.
She tells the child she's going to kill herself.
She broods, she rages.
Hoping to distract her, The child cuts capers, he sings, he does imitations Of different people in the building, he jokes, He feels if he keeps her alive until the father Gets home from work, they'll be okay till morning.
It's laughter versus the bedroom and the pills.
What is he in his efforts but a courtier? Impossible to tell his whole delusion.
In the first months when I had moved back East From California and had to leave a message On Bob's machine, I used to make a habit Of telling the tape a joke; and part-way through, I would pretend that I forgot the punchline, Or make believe that I was interrupted-- As though he'd be so eager to hear the end He'd have to call me back.
The joke was Elliot's, More often than not.
The doctors made the blunder That killed him some time later that same year.
One day when I got home I found a message On my machine from Bob.
He had a story About two rabbis, one of them tall, one short, One day while walking along the street together They see the corpse of a Chinese man before them, And Bob said, sorry, he forgot the rest.
Of course he thought that his joke was a dummy, Impossible to tell--a dead-end challenge.
But here it is, as Elliot told it to me: The dead man's widow came to the rabbis weeping, Begging them, if they could, to resurrect him.
Shocked, the tall rabbi said absolutely not.
But the short rabbi told her to bring the body Into the study house, and ordered the shutters Closed so the room was night-dark.
Then he prayed Over the body, chanting a secret blessing Out of Kabala.
"Arise and breathe," he shouted; But nothing happened.
The body lay still.
So then The little rabbi called for hundreds of candles And danced around the body, chanting and praying In Hebrew, then Yiddish, then Aramaic.
He prayed In Turkish and Egyptian and Old Galician For nearly three hours, leaping about the coffin In the candlelight so that his tiny black shoes Seemed not to touch the floor.
With one last prayer Sobbed in the Spanish of before the Inquisition He stopped, exhausted, and looked in the dead man's face.
Panting, he raised both arms in a mystic gesture And said, "Arise and breathe!" And still the body Lay as before.
Impossible to tell In words how Elliot's eyebrows flailed and snorted Like shaggy mammoths as--the Chinese widow Granting permission--the little rabbi sang The blessing for performing a circumcision And removed the dead man's foreskin, chanting blessings In Finnish and Swahili, and bathed the corpse From head to foot, and with a final prayer In Babylonian, gasping with exhaustion, He seized the dead man's head and kissed the lips And dropped it again and leaping back commanded, "Arise and breathe!" The corpse lay still as ever.
At this, as when Bashõ's disciples wind Along the curving spine that links the renga Across the different voices, each one adding A transformation according to the rules Of stasis and repetition, all in order And yet impossible to tell beforehand, Elliot changes for the punchline: the wee Rabbi, still panting, like a startled boxer, Looks at the dead one, then up at all those watching, A kind of Mel Brooks gesture: "Hoo boy!" he says, "Now that's what I call really dead.
" O mortal Powers and princes of earth, and you immortal Lords of the underground and afterlife, Jehovah, Raa, Bol-Morah, Hecate, Pluto, What has a brilliant, living soul to do with Your harps and fires and boats, your bric-a-brac And troughs of smoking blood? Provincial stinkers, Our languages don't touch you, you're like that mother Whose small child entertained her to beg her life.
Possibly he grew up to be the tall rabbi, The one who washed his hands of all those capers Right at the outset.
Or maybe he became The author of these lines, a one-man renga The one for whom it seems to be impossible To tell a story straight.
It was a routine Procedure.
When it was finished the physicians Told Sandra and the kids it had succeeded, But Elliot wouldn't wake up for maybe an hour, They should go eat.
The two of them loved to bicker In a way that on his side went back to Yiddish, On Sandra's to some Sicilian dialect.
He used to scold her endlessly for smoking.
When she got back from dinner with their children The doctors had to tell them about the mistake.
Oh swirling petals, falling leaves! The movement Of linking renga coursing from moment to moment Is meaning, Bob says in his Haiku book.
Oh swirling petals, all living things are contingent, Falling leaves, and transient, and they suffer.
But the Universal is the goal of jokes, Especially certain ethnic jokes, which taper Down through the swirling funnel of tongues and gestures Toward their preposterous Ithaca.
There's one A journalist told me.
He heard it while a hero Of the South African freedom movement was speaking To elderly Jews.
The speaker's own right arm Had been blown off by right-wing letter-bombers.
He told his listeners they had to cast their ballots For the ANC--a group the old Jews feared As "in with the Arabs.
" But they started weeping As the old one-armed fighter told them their country Needed them to vote for what was right, their vote Could make a country their children could return to From London and Chicago.
The moved old people Applauded wildly, and the speaker's friend Whispered to the journalist, "It's the Belgian Army Joke come to life.
" I wish I could tell it To Elliot.
In the Belgian Army, the feud Between the Flemings and Walloons grew vicious, So out of hand the army could barely function.
Finally one commander assembled his men In one great room, to deal with things directly.
They stood before him at attention.
"All Flemings," He ordered, "to the left wall.
" Half the men Clustered to the left.
"Now all Walloons," he ordered, "Move to the right.
" An equal number crowded Against the right wall.
Only one man remained At attention in the middle: "What are you, soldier?" Saluting, the man said, "Sir, I am a Belgian.
" "Why, that's astonishing, Corporal--what's your name?" Saluting again, "Rabinowitz," he answered: A joke that seems at first to be a story About the Jews.
But as the renga describes Religious meaning by moving in drifting petals And brittle leaves that touch and die and suffer The changing winds that riffle the gutter swirl, So in the joke, just under the raucous music Of Fleming, Jew, Walloon, a courtly allegiance Moves to the dulcimer, gavotte and bow, Over the banana tree the moon in autumn-- Allegiance to a state impossible to tell.
Written by Maya Angelou | Create an image from this poem

Woman Work

 I've got the children to tend
The clothes to mend
The floor to mop
The food to shop
Then the chicken to fry
The baby to dry
I got company to feed
The garden to weed
I've got shirts to press
The tots to dress
The can to be cut
I gotta clean up this hut
Then see about the sick
And the cotton to pick.
Shine on me, sunshine Rain on me, rain Fall softly, dewdrops And cool my brow again.
Storm, blow me from here With your fiercest wind Let me float across the sky 'Til I can rest again.
Fall gently, snowflakes Cover me with white Cold icy kisses and Let me rest tonight.
Sun, rain, curving sky Mountain, oceans, leaf and stone Star shine, moon glow You're all that I can call my own.
Written by Gwendolyn Brooks | Create an image from this poem

The Mother

 Abortions will not let you forget.
You remember the children you got that you did not get, The damp small pulps with a little or with no hair, The singers and workers that never handled the air.
You will never neglect or beat Them, or silence or buy with a sweet.
You will never wind up the sucking-thumb Or scuttle off ghosts that come.
You will never leave them, controlling your luscious sigh, Return for a snack of them, with gobbling mother-eye.
I have heard in the voices of the wind the voices of my dim killed children.
I have contracted.
I have eased My dim dears at the breasts they could never suck.
I have said, Sweets, if I sinned, if I seized Your luck And your lives from your unfinished reach, If I stole your births and your names, Your straight baby tears and your games, Your stilted or lovely loves, your tumults, your marriages, aches, and your deaths, If I poisoned the beginnings of your breaths, Believe that even in my deliberateness I was not deliberate.
Though why should I whine, Whine that the crime was other than mine?-- Since anyhow you are dead.
Or rather, or instead, You were never made.
But that too, I am afraid, Is faulty: oh, what shall I say, how is the truth to be said? You were born, you had body, you died.
It is just that you never giggled or planned or cried.
Believe me, I loved you all.
Believe me, I knew you, though faintly, and I loved, I loved you All.
Written by Charles Bukowski | Create an image from this poem

A Man

 George was lying in his trailer, flat on his back, watching a small portable T.
V.
His dinner dishes were undone, his breakfast dishes were undone, he needed a shave, and ash from his rolled cigarettes dropped onto his undershirt.
Some of the ash was still burning.
Sometimes the burning ash missed the undershirt and hit his skin, then he cursed, brushing it away.
There was a knock on the trailer door.
He got slowly to his feet and answered the door.
It was Constance.
She had a fifth of unopened whiskey in a bag.
"George, I left that son of a bitch, I couldn't stand that son of a bitch anymore.
" "Sit down.
" George opened the fifth, got two glasses, filled each a third with whiskey, two thirds with water.
He sat down on the bed with Constance.
She took a cigarette out of her purse and lit it.
She was drunk and her hands trembled.
"I took his damn money too.
I took his damn money and split while he was at work.
You don't know how I've suffered with that son of a bitch.
" " Lemme have a smoke," said George.
She handed it to him and as she leaned near, George put his arm around her, pulled her over and kissed her.
"You son of a bitch," she said, "I missed you.
" "I miss those good legs of yours , Connie.
I've really missed those good legs.
" "You still like 'em?" "I get hot just looking.
" "I could never make it with a college guy," said Connie.
"They're too soft, they're milktoast.
And he kept his house clean.
George , it was like having a maid.
He did it all.
The place was spotless.
You could eat beef stew right off the crapper.
He was antisceptic, that's what he was.
" "Drink up, you'll feel better.
" "And he couldn't make love.
" "You mean he couldn't get it up?" "Oh he got it up, he got it up all the time.
But he didn't know how to make a woman happy, you know.
He didn't know what to do.
All that money, all that education, he was useless.
" "I wish I had a college education.
" "You don't need one.
You have everything you need, George.
" "I'm just a flunkey.
All the shit jobs.
" "I said you have everything you need, George.
You know how to make a woman happy.
" "Yeh?" "Yes.
And you know what else? His mother came around! His mother! Two or three times a week.
And she'd sit there looking at me, pretending to like me but all the time she was treating me like I was a whore.
Like I was a big bad whore stealing her son away from her! Her precious Wallace! Christ! What a mess!" "He claimed he loved me.
And I'd say, 'Look at my pussy, Walter!' And he wouldn't look at my pussy.
He said, 'I don't want to look at that thing.
' That thing! That's what he called it! You're not afraid of my pussy, are you, George?" "It's never bit me yet.
" "But you've bit it, you've nibbled it, haven't you George?" "I suppose I have.
" "And you've licked it , sucked it?" "I suppose so.
" "You know damn well, George, what you've done.
" "How much money did you get?" "Six hundred dollars.
" "I don't like people who rob other people, Connie.
" "That's why you're a fucking dishwasher.
You're honest.
But he's such an ass, George.
And he can afford the money, and I've earned it.
.
.
him and his mother and his love, his mother-love, his clean l;ittle wash bowls and toilets and disposal bags and breath chasers and after shave lotions and his little hard-ons and his precious love-making.
All for himself, you understand, all for himself! You know what a woman wants, George.
" "Thanks for the whiskey, Connie.
Lemme have another cigarette.
" George filled them up again.
"I missed your legs, Connie.
I've really missed those legs.
I like the way you wear those high heels.
They drive me crazy.
These modern women don't know what they're missing.
The high heel shapes the calf, the thigh, the ass; it puts rythm into the walk.
It really turns me on!" "You talk like a poet, George.
Sometimes you talk like that.
You are one hell of a dishwasher.
" "You know what I'd really like to do?" "What?" "I'd like to whip you with my belt on the legs, the ass, the thighs.
I'd like to make you quiver and cry and then when you're quivering and crying I'd slam it into you pure love.
" "I don't want that, George.
You've never talked like that to me before.
You've always done right with me.
" "Pull your dress up higher.
" "What?" "Pull your dress up higher, I want to see more of your legs.
" "You like my legs, don't you, George?" "Let the light shine on them!" Constance hiked her dress.
"God christ shit," said George.
"You like my legs?" "I love your legs!" Then george reached across the bed and slapped Constance hard across the face.
Her cigarette flipped out of her mouth.
"what'd you do that for?" "You fucked Walter! You fucked Walter!" "So what the hell?" "So pull your dress up higher!" "No!" "Do what I say!" George slapped again, harder.
Constance hiked her skirt.
"Just up to the panties!" shouted George.
"I don't quite want to see the panties!" "Christ, george, what's gone wrong with you?" "You fucked Walter!" "George, I swear, you've gone crazy.
I want to leave.
Let me out of here, George!" "Don't move or I'll kill you!" "You'd kill me?" "I swear it!" George got up and poured himself a shot of straight whiskey, drank it, and sat down next to Constance.
He took the cigarette and held it against her wrist.
She screamed.
HE held it there, firmly, then pulled it away.
"I'm a man , baby, understand that?" "I know you're a man , George.
" "Here, look at my muscles!" george sat up and flexed both of his arms.
"Beautiful, eh ,baby? Look at that muscle! Feel it! Feel it!" Constance felt one of the arms, then the other.
"Yes, you have a beautiful body, George.
" "I'm a man.
I'm a dishwasher but I'm a man, a real man.
" "I know it, George.
" "I'm not the milkshit you left.
" "I know it.
" "And I can sing, too.
You ought to hear my voice.
" Constance sat there.
George began to sing.
He sang "Old man River.
" Then he sang "Nobody knows the trouble I've seen.
" He sang "The St.
Louis Blues.
" He sasng "God Bless America," stopping several times and laughing.
Then he sat down next to Constance.
He said, "Connie, you have beautiful legs.
" He asked for another cigarette.
He smoked it, drank two more drinks, then put his head down on Connie's legs, against the stockings, in her lap, and he said, "Connie, I guess I'm no good, I guess I'm crazy, I'm sorry I hit you, I'm sorry I burned you with that cigarette.
" Constance sat there.
She ran her fingers through George's hair, stroking him, soothing him.
Soon he was asleep.
She waited a while longer.
Then she lifted his head and placed it on the pillow, lifted his legs and straightened them out on the bed.
She stood up, walked to the fifth, poured a jolt of good whiskey in to her glass, added a touch of water and drank it sown.
She walked to the trailer door, pulled it open, stepped out, closed it.
She walked through the backyard, opened the fence gate, walked up the alley under the one o'clock moon.
The sky was clear of clouds.
The same skyful of clouds was up there.
She got out on the boulevard and walked east and reached the entrance of The Blue Mirror.
She walked in, and there was Walter sitting alone and drunk at the end of the bar.
She walked up and sat down next to him.
"Missed me, baby?" she asked.
Walter looked up.
He recognized her.
He didn't answer.
He looked at the bartender and the bartender walked toward them They all knew eachother.
Written by Rita Dove | Create an image from this poem

Adolescence II

 Although it is night, I sit in the bathroom, waiting.
Sweat prickles behind my knees, the baby-breasts are alert.
Venetian blinds slice up the moon; the tiles quiver in pale strips.
Then they come, the three seal men with eyes as round As dinner plates and eyelashes like sharpened tines.
They bring the scent of licorice.
One sits in the washbowl, One on the bathtub edge; one leans against the door.
"Can you feel it yet?" they whisper.
I don't know what to say, again.
They chuckle, Patting their sleek bodies with their hands.
"Well, maybe next time.
" And they rise, Glittering like pools of ink under moonlight, And vanish.
I clutch at the ragged holes They leave behind, here at the edge of darkness.
Night rests like a ball of fur on my tongue.
Written by Langston Hughes | Create an image from this poem

Life Is Fine

 I went down to the river,
I set down on the bank.
I tried to think but couldn't, So I jumped in and sank.
I came up once and hollered! I came up twice and cried! If that water hadn't a-been so cold I might've sunk and died.
But it was Cold in that water! It was cold! I took the elevator Sixteen floors above the ground.
I thought about my baby And thought I would jump down.
I stood there and I hollered! I stood there and I cried! If it hadn't a-been so high I might've jumped and died.
But it was High up there! It was high! So since I'm still here livin', I guess I will live on.
I could've died for love-- But for livin' I was born Though you may hear me holler, And you may see me cry-- I'll be dogged, sweet baby, If you gonna see me die.
Life is fine! Fine as wine! Life is fine!
Written by Edward Taylor | Create an image from this poem

Dream On

 Some people go their whole lives
without ever writing a single poem.
Extraordinary people who don't hesitate to cut somebody's heart or skull open.
They go to baseball games with the greatest of ease.
and play a few rounds of golf as if it were nothing.
These same people stroll into a church as if that were a natural part of life.
Investing money is second nature to them.
They contribute to political campaigns that have absolutely no poetry in them and promise none for the future.
They sit around the dinner table at night and pretend as though nothing is missing.
Their children get caught shoplifting at the mall and no one admits that it is poetry they are missing.
The family dog howls all night, lonely and starving for more poetry in his life.
Why is it so difficult for them to see that, without poetry, their lives are effluvial.
Sure, they have their banquets, their celebrations, croquet, fox hunts, their sea shores and sunsets, their cocktails on the balcony, dog races, and all that kissing and hugging, and don't forget the good deeds, the charity work, nursing the baby squirrels all through the night, filling the birdfeeders all winter, helping the stranger change her tire.
Still, there's that disagreeable exhalation from decaying matter, subtle but everpresent.
They walk around erect like champions.
They are smooth-spoken and witty.
When alone, rare occasion, they stare into the mirror for hours, bewildered.
There was something they meant to say, but didn't: "And if we put the statue of the rhinoceros next to the tweezers, and walk around the room three times, learn to yodel, shave our heads, call our ancestors back from the dead--" poetrywise it's still a bust, bankrupt.
You haven't scribbled a syllable of it.
You're a nowhere man misfiring the very essence of your life, flustering nothing from nothing and back again.
The hereafter may not last all that long.
Radiant childhood sweetheart, secret code of everlasting joy and sorrow, fanciful pen strokes beneath the eyelids: all day, all night meditation, knot of hope, kernel of desire, pure ordinariness of life seeking, through poetry, a benediction or a bed to lie down on, to connect, reveal, explore, to imbue meaning on the day's extravagant labor.
And yet it's cruel to expect too much.
It's a rare species of bird that refuses to be categorized.
Its song is barely audible.
It is like a dragonfly in a dream-- here, then there, then here again, low-flying amber-wing darting upward then out of sight.
And the dream has a pain in its heart the wonders of which are manifold, or so the story is told.
Written by Allen Ginsberg | Create an image from this poem

Sunflower Sutra

I walked on the banks of the tincan banana dock and sat down under the huge shade of a Southern Pacific locomotive to look for the sunset over the box house hills and cry.
Jack Kerouac sat beside me on a busted rusty iron pole, companion, we thought the same thoughts of the soul, bleak and blue and sad-eyed, surrounded by the gnarled steel roots of trees of machinery.
The only water on the river mirrored the red sky, sun sank on top of final Frisco peaks, no fish in that stream, no hermit in those mounts, just ourselves rheumy-eyed and hung-over like old bums on the riverbank, tired and wily.
Look at the Sunflower, he said, there was a dead gray shadow against the sky, big as a man, sitting dry on top of a pile of ancient sawdust-- --I rushed up enchanted--it was my first sunflower, memories of Blake--my visions--Harlem and Hells of the Eastern rivers, bridges clanking Joes greasy Sandwiches, dead baby carriages, black treadless tires forgotten and unretreaded, the poem of the riverbank, condoms & pots, steel knives, nothing stainless, only the dank muck and the razor-sharp artifacts passing into the past-- and the gray Sunflower poised against the sunset, crackly bleak and dusty with the smut and smog and smoke of olden locomotives in its eye-- corolla of bleary spikes pushed down and broken like a battered crown, seeds fallen out of its face, soon-to-be-toothless mouth of sunny air, sunrays obliterated on its hairy head like a dried wire spiderweb, leaves stuck out like arms out of the stem, gestures from the sawdust root, broke pieces of plaster fallen out of the black twigs, a dead fly in its ear, Unholy battered old thing you were, my sunflower O my soul, I loved you then! The grime was no man's grime but death and human locomotives, all that dress of dust, that veil of darkened railroad skin, that smog of cheek, that eyelid of black mis'ry, that sooty hand or phallus or protuberance of artificial worse-than-dirt--industrial-- modern--all that civilization spotting your crazy golden crown-- and those blear thoughts of death and dusty loveless eyes and ends and withered roots below, in the home-pile of sand and sawdust, rubber dollar bills, skin of machinery, the guts and innards of the weeping coughing car, the empty lonely tincans with their rusty tongues alack, what more could I name, the smoked ashes of some cock cigar, the cunts of wheelbarrows and the milky breasts of cars, wornout asses out of chairs & sphincters of dynamos--all these entangled in your mummied roots--and you standing before me in the sunset, all your glory in your form! A perfect beauty of a sunflower! a perfect excellent lovely sunflower existence! a sweet natural eye to the new hip moon, woke up alive and excited grasping in the sunset shadow sunrise golden monthly breeze! How many flies buzzed round you innocent of your grime, while you cursed the heavens of your railroad and your flower soul? Poor dead flower? when did you forget you were a flower? when did you look at your skin and decide you were an impotent dirty old locomotive? the ghost of a locomotive? the specter and shade of a once powerful mad American locomotive? You were never no locomotive, Sunflower, you were a sunflower! And you Locomotive, you are a locomotive, forget me not! So I grabbed up the skeleton thick sunflower and stuck it at my side like a scepter, and deliver my sermon to my soul, and Jack's soul too, and anyone who'll listen, --We're not our skin of grime, we're not our dread bleak dusty imageless locomotive, we're all golden sunflowers inside, blessed by our own seed & hairy naked accomplishment-bodies growing into mad black formal sunflowers in the sunset, spied on by our eyes under the shadow of the mad locomotive riverbank sunset Frisco hilly tincan evening sitdown vision.
Written by Frank Bidart | Create an image from this poem

California Plush

 The only thing I miss about Los Angeles

is the Hollywood Freeway at midnight, windows down and
radio blaring
bearing right into the center of the city, the Capitol Tower
on the right, and beyond it, Hollywood Boulevard
blazing

--pimps, surplus stores, footprints of the stars

--descending through the city
 fast as the law would allow

through the lights, then rising to the stack
out of the city
to the stack where lanes are stacked six deep

 and you on top; the air
 now clean, for a moment weightless

 without memories, or
 need for a past.
The need for the past is so much at the center of my life I write this poem to record my discovery of it, my reconciliation.
It was in Bishop, the room was done in California plush: we had gone into the coffee shop, were told you could only get a steak in the bar: I hesitated, not wanting to be an occasion of temptation for my father but he wanted to, so we entered a dark room, with amber water glasses, walnut tables, captain's chairs, plastic doilies, papier-mâché bas-relief wall ballerinas, German memorial plates "bought on a trip to Europe," Puritan crosshatch green-yellow wallpaper, frilly shades, cowhide booths-- I thought of Cambridge: the lovely congruent elegance of Revolutionary architecture, even of ersatz thirties Georgian seemed alien, a threat, sign of all I was not-- to bode order and lucidity as an ideal, if not reality-- not this California plush, which also I was not.
And so I made myself an Easterner, finding it, after all, more like me than I had let myself hope.
And now, staring into the embittered face of my father, again, for two weeks, as twice a year, I was back.
The waitress asked us if we wanted a drink.
Grimly, I waited until he said no.
.
.
Before the tribunal of the world I submit the following document: Nancy showed it to us, in her apartment at the model, as she waited month by month for the property settlement, her children grown and working for their father, at fifty-three now alone, a drink in her hand: as my father said, "They keep a drink in her hand": Name Wallace du Bois Box No 128 Chino, Calif.
Date July 25 ,19 54 Mr Howard Arturian I am writing a letter to you this afternoon while I'm in the mood of writing.
How is everything getting along with you these fine days, as for me everything is just fine and I feel great except for the heat I think its lot warmer then it is up there but I don't mind it so much.
I work at the dairy half day and I go to trade school the other half day Body & Fender, now I am learning how to spray paint cars I've already painted one and now I got another car to paint.
So now I think I've learned all I want after I have learned all this.
I know how to straighten metals and all that.
I forgot to say "Hello" to you.
The reason why I am writing to you is about a job, my Parole Officer told me that he got letter from and that you want me to go to work for you.
So I wanted to know if its truth.
When I go to the Board in Feb.
I'll tell them what I want to do and where I would like to go, so if you want me to work for you I'd rather have you sent me to your brother John in Tonapah and place to stay for my family.
The Old Lady says the same thing in her last letter that she would be some place else then in Bishop, thats the way I feel too.
and another thing is my drinking problem.
I made up my mind to quit my drinking, after all what it did to me and what happen.
This is one thing I'll never forget as longs as I live I never want to go through all this mess again.
This sure did teach me lot of things that I never knew before.
So Howard you can let me know soon as possible.
I sure would appreciate it.
P.
S From Your Friend I hope you can read my Wally Du Bois writing.
I am a little nervous yet --He and his wife had given a party, and one of the guests was walking away just as Wallace started backing up his car.
He hit him, so put the body in the back seat and drove to a deserted road.
There he put it before the tires, and ran back and forth over it several times.
When he got out of Chino, he did, indeed, never do that again: but one child was dead, his only son, found with the rest of the family immobile in their beds with typhoid, next to the mother, the child having been dead two days: he continued to drink, and as if it were the Old West shot up the town a couple of Saturday nights.
"So now I think I've learned all I want after I have learned all this: this sure did teach me a lot of things that I never knew before.
I am a little nervous yet.
" It seems to me an emblem of Bishop-- For watching the room, as the waitresses in their back-combed, Parisian, peroxided, bouffant hairdos, and plastic belts, moved back and forth I thought of Wallace, and the room suddenly seemed to me not uninteresting at all: they were the same.
Every plate and chair had its congruence with all the choices creating these people, created by them--by me, for this is my father's chosen country, my origin.
Before, I had merely been anxious, bored; now, I began to ask a thousand questions.
.
.
He was, of course, mistrustful, knowing I was bored, knowing he had dragged me up here from Bakersfield after five years of almost managing to forget Bishop existed.
But he soon became loquacious, ordered a drink, and settled down for an afternoon of talk.
.
.
He liked Bishop: somehow, it was to his taste, this hard-drinking, loud, visited-by-movie-stars town.
"Better to be a big fish in a little pond.
" And he was: when they came to shoot a film, he entertained them; Miss A--, who wore nothing at all under her mink coat; Mr.
M--, good horseman, good shot.
"But when your mother let me down" (for alcoholism and infidelity, she divorced him) "and Los Angeles wouldn't give us water any more, I had to leave.
We were the first people to grow potatoes in this valley.
" When he began to tell me that he lost control of the business because of the settlement he gave my mother, because I had heard it many times, in revenge, I asked why people up here drank so much.
He hesitated.
"Bored, I guess.
--Not much to do.
" And why had Nancy's husband left her? In bitterness, all he said was: "People up here drink too damn much.
" And that was how experience had informed his life.
"So now I think I've learned all I want after I have learned all this: this sure did teach me a lot of things that I never knew before.
I am a little nervous yet.
" Yet, as my mother said, returning, as always, to the past, "I wouldn't change any of it.
It taught me so much.
Gladys is such an innocent creature: you look into her face and somehow it's empty, all she worries about are sales and the baby.
her husband's too good!" It's quite pointless to call this rationalization: my mother, for uncertain reasons, has had her bout with insanity, but she's right: the past in maiming us, makes us, fruition is also destruction: I think of Proust, dying in a cork-linked room, because he refuses to eat because he thinks that he cannot write if he eats because he wills to write, to finish his novel --his novel which recaptures the past, and with a kind of joy, because in the debris of the past, he has found the sources of the necessities which have led him to this room, writing --in this strange harmony, does he will for it to have been different? And I can't not think of the remorse of Oedipus, who tries to escape, to expiate the past by blinding himself, and then, when he is dying, sees that he has become a Daimon --does he, discovering, at last, this cruel coherence created by "the order of the universe" --does he will anything reversed? I look at my father: as he drinks his way into garrulous, shaky defensiveness, the debris of the past is just debris--; whatever I reason, it is a desolation to watch.
.
.
must I watch? He will not change; he does not want to change; every defeated gesture implies the past is useless, irretrievable.
.
.
--I want to change: I want to stop fear's subtle guidance of my life--; but, how can I do that if I am still afraid of its source?
Written by Lucy Maud Montgomery | Create an image from this poem

November Evening

 Come, for the dusk is our own; let us fare forth together,
With a quiet delight in our hearts for the ripe, still, autumn weather,
Through the rustling valley and wood and over the crisping meadow,
Under a high-sprung sky, winnowed of mist and shadow.
Sharp is the frosty air, and through the far hill-gaps showing Lucent sunset lakes of crocus and green are glowing; 'Tis the hour to walk at will in a wayward, unfettered roaming, Caring for naught save the charm, elusive and swift, of the gloaming.
Watchful and stirless the fields as if not unkindly holding Harvested joys in their clasp, and to their broad bosoms folding Baby hopes of a Spring, trusted to motherly keeping, Thus to be cherished and happed through the long months of their sleeping.
Silent the woods are and gray; but the firs than ever are greener, Nipped by the frost till the tang of their loosened balsam is keener; And one little wind in their boughs, eerily swaying and swinging, Very soft and low, like a wandering minstrel is singing.
Beautiful is the year, but not as the springlike maiden Garlanded with her hopes­rather the woman laden With wealth of joy and grief, worthily won through living, Wearing her sorrow now like a garment of praise and thanksgiving.
Gently the dark comes down over the wild, fair places, The whispering glens in the hills, the open, starry spaces; Rich with the gifts of the night, sated with questing and dreaming, We turn to the dearest of paths where the star of the homelight is gleaming.
Written by James Weldon Johnson | Create an image from this poem

Listen Lord: A Prayer

 O Lord, we come this morning
Knee-bowed and body-bent
Before Thy throne of grace.
O Lord--this morning-- Bow our hearts beneath our knees, And our knees in some lonesome valley.
We come this morning-- Like empty pitchers to a full fountain, With no merits of our own.
O Lord--open up a window of heaven, And lean out far over the battlements of glory, And listen this morning.
Lord, have mercy on proud and dying sinners-- Sinners hanging over the mouth of hell, Who seem to love their distance well.
Lord--ride by this morning-- Mount Your milk-white horse, And ride-a this morning-- And in Your ride, ride by old hell, Ride by the dingy gates of hell, And stop poor sinners in their headlong plunge.
And now, O Lord, this man of God, Who breaks the bread of life this morning-- Shadow him in the hollow of Thy hand, And keep him out of the gunshot of the devil.
Take him, Lord--this morning-- Wash him with hyssop inside and out, Hang him up and drain him dry of sin.
Pin his ear to the wisdom-post, And make his words sledge hammers of truth-- Beating on the iron heart of sin.
Lord God, this morning-- Put his eye to the telescope of eternity, And let him look upon the paper walls of time.
Lord, turpentine his imagination, Put perpetual motion in his arms, Fill him full of the dynamite of Thy power, Anoint him all over with the oil of Thy salvation, And set his tongue on fire.
And now, O Lord-- When I've done drunk my last cup of sorrow-- When I've been called everything but a child of God-- When I'm done traveling up the rough side of the mountain-- O--Mary's Baby-- When I start down the steep and slippery steps of death-- When this old world begins to rock beneath my feet-- Lower me to my dusty grave in peace To wait for that great gittin'-up morning--Amen.
Written by Mary Darby Robinson | Create an image from this poem

The Alien Boy

 'Twas on a Mountain, near the Western Main
An ALIEN dwelt.
A solitary Hut Built on a jutting crag, o'erhung with weeds, Mark'd the poor Exile's home.
Full ten long years The melancholy wretch had liv'd unseen By all, save HENRY, a lov'd, little Son The partner of his sorrows.
On the day When Persecution, in the sainted guise Of Liberty, spread wide its venom'd pow'r, The brave, Saint HUBERT, fled his Lordly home, And, with his baby Son, the mountain sought.
Resolv'd to cherish in his bleeding breast The secret of his birth, Ah! birth too high For his now humbled state, from infancy He taught him, labour's task: He bade him chear The dreary day of cold adversity By patience and by toil.
The Summer morn Shone on the pillow of his rushy bed; The noontide, sultry hour, he fearless past On the shagg'd eminence; while the young Kid Skipp'd, to the cadence of his minstrelsy.
At night young HENRY trimm'd the faggot fire While oft, Saint HUBERT, wove the ample net To snare the finny victim.
Oft they sang And talk'd, while sullenly the waves would sound Dashing the sandy shore.
Saint HUBERT'S eyes Would swim in tears of fondness, mix'd with joy, When he observ'd the op'ning harvest rich Of promis'd intellect, which HENRY'S soul, Whate'er the subject of their talk, display'd.
Oft, the bold Youth, in question intricate, Would seek to know the story of his birth; Oft ask, who bore him: and with curious skill Enquire, why he, and only one beside, Peopled the desart mountain ? Still his Sire Was slow of answer, and, in words obscure, Varied the conversation.
Still the mind Of HENRY ponder'd; for, in their lone hut, A daily journal would Saint HUBERT make Of his long banishment: and sometimes speak Of Friends forsaken, Kindred, massacred;-- Proud mansions, rich domains, and joyous scenes For ever faded,--lost! One winter time, 'Twas on the Eve of Christmas, the shrill blast Swept o'er the stormy main.
The boiling foam Rose to an altitude so fierce and strong That their low hovel totter'd.
Oft they stole To the rock's margin, and with fearful eyes Mark'd the vex'd deep, as the slow rising moon Gleam'd on the world of waters.
'Twas a scene Would make a Stoic shudder! For, amid The wavy mountains, they beheld, alone , A LITTLE BOAT, now scarcely visible; And now not seen at all; or, like a buoy, Bounding, and buffetting, to reach the shore! Now the full Moon, in crimson lustre shone Upon the outstretch'd Ocean.
The black clouds Flew stiffly on, the wild blast following, And, as they flew, dimming the angry main With shadows horrible ! Still, the small boat Struggled amid the waves, a sombre speck Upon the wide domain of howling Death! Saint HUBERT sigh'd ! while HENRY'S speaking eye Alternately the stormy scene survey'd And his low hovel's safety.
So past on The hour of midnight,--and, since first they knew The solitary scene, no midnight hour E'er seem'd so long and weary.
While they stood, Their hands fast link'd together, and their eyes Fix'd on the troublous Ocean, suddenly The breakers, bounding on the rocky shore, Left the small wreck; and crawling on the side Of the rude crag,--a HUMAN FORM was seen! And now he climb'd the foam-wash'd precipice, And now the slip'ry weeds gave way, while he Descended to the sands: The moon rose high-- The wild blast paus'd, and the poor shipwreck'd Man Look'd round aghast, when on the frowning steep He marked the lonely exiles.
Now he call'd But he was feeble, and his voice was lost Amid the din of mingling sounds that rose From the wild scene of clamour.
Down the steep Saint HUBRET hurried, boldly venturous, Catching the slimy weeds, from point to point, And unappall'd by peril.
At the foot Of the rude rock, the fainting mariner Seiz'd on his outstretch'd arm; impatient, wild, With transport exquisite ! But ere they heard The blest exchange of sounds articulate, A furious billow, rolling on the steep, Engulph'd them in Oblivion! On the rock Young HENRY stood; with palpitating heart, And fear-struck, e'en to madness ! Now he call'd, Louder and louder, as the shrill blast blew; But, mid the elemental strife of sounds, No human voice gave answer ! The clear moon No longer quiver'd on the curling main, But, mist-encircled, shed a blunted light, Enough to shew all things that mov'd around, Dreadful, but indistinctly ! The black weeds Wav'd, as the night-blast swept them; and along The rocky shore the breakers, sounding low Seem'd like the whisp'ring of a million souls Beneath the green-deep mourning.
Four long hours The lorn Boy listen'd ! four long tedious hours Pass'd wearily away, when, in the East The grey beam coldly glimmer'd.
All alone Young HENRY stood aghast : his Eye wide fix'd; While his dark locks, uplifted by the storm Uncover'd met its fury.
On his cheek Despair sate terrible ! For, mid the woes, Of poverty and toil, he had not known, Till then, the horror-giving chearless hour Of TOTAL SOLITUDE! He spoke--he groan'd, But no responsive voice, no kindred tone Broke the dread pause: For now the storm had ceas'd, And the bright Sun-beams glitter'd on the breast Of the green placid Ocean.
To his Hut The lorn Boy hasten'd; there the rushy couch, The pillow still indented, met his gaze And fix'd his eye in madness.
--From that hour A maniac wild, the Alien Boy has been; His garb with sea-weeds fring'd, and his wan cheek The tablet of his mind, disorder'd, chang'd, Fading, and worn with care.
And if, by chance, A Sea-beat wand'rer from the outstretch'd main Views the lone Exile, and with gen'rous zeal Hastes to the sandy beach, he suddenly Darts 'mid the cavern'd cliffs, and leaves pursuit To track him, where no footsteps but his own, Have e'er been known to venture ! YET HE LIVES A melancholy proof that Man may bear All the rude storms of Fate, and still suspire By the wide world forgotten!
Written by John Betjeman | Create an image from this poem

Christmas

 The bells of waiting Advent ring,
The Tortoise stove is lit again
And lamp-oil light across the night
Has caught the streaks of winter rain
In many a stained-glass window sheen
From Crimson Lake to Hookers Green.
The holly in the windy hedge And round the Manor House the yew Will soon be stripped to deck the ledge, The altar, font and arch and pew, So that the villagers can say 'The church looks nice' on Christmas Day.
Provincial Public Houses blaze, Corporation tramcars clang, On lighted tenements I gaze, Where paper decorations hang, And bunting in the red Town Hall Says 'Merry Christmas to you all'.
And London shops on Christmas Eve Are strung with silver bells and flowers As hurrying clerks the City leave To pigeon-haunted classic towers, And marbled clouds go scudding by The many-steepled London sky.
And girls in slacks remember Dad, And oafish louts remember Mum, And sleepless children's hearts are glad.
And Christmas-morning bells say 'Come!' Even to shining ones who dwell Safe in the Dorchester Hotel.
And is it true, This most tremendous tale of all, Seen in a stained-glass window's hue, A Baby in an ox's stall ? The Maker of the stars and sea Become a Child on earth for me ? And is it true ? For if it is, No loving fingers tying strings Around those tissued fripperies, The sweet and silly Christmas things, Bath salts and inexpensive scent And hideous tie so kindly meant, No love that in a family dwells, No carolling in frosty air, Nor all the steeple-shaking bells Can with this single Truth compare - That God was man in Palestine And lives today in Bread and Wine.