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Best Famous Dedication Poems

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Written by Anna Akhmatova | Create an image from this poem


 Not under foreign skies
 Nor under foreign wings protected -
 I shared all this with my own people
 There, where misfortune had abandoned us.
[1961] INSTEAD OF A PREFACE During the frightening years of the Yezhov terror, I spent seventeen months waiting in prison queues in Leningrad.
One day, somehow, someone 'picked me out'.
On that occasion there was a woman standing behind me, her lips blue with cold, who, of course, had never in her life heard my name.
Jolted out of the torpor characteristic of all of us, she said into my ear (everyone whispered there) - 'Could one ever describe this?' And I answered - 'I can.
' It was then that something like a smile slid across what had previously been just a face.
[The 1st of April in the year 1957.
Leningrad] DEDICATION Mountains fall before this grief, A mighty river stops its flow, But prison doors stay firmly bolted Shutting off the convict burrows And an anguish close to death.
Fresh winds softly blow for someone, Gentle sunsets warm them through; we don't know this, We are everywhere the same, listening To the scrape and turn of hateful keys And the heavy tread of marching soldiers.
Waking early, as if for early mass, Walking through the capital run wild, gone to seed, We'd meet - the dead, lifeless; the sun, Lower every day; the Neva, mistier: But hope still sings forever in the distance.
The verdict.
Immediately a flood of tears, Followed by a total isolation, As if a beating heart is painfully ripped out, or, Thumped, she lies there brutally laid out, But she still manages to walk, hesitantly, alone.
Where are you, my unwilling friends, Captives of my two satanic years? What miracle do you see in a Siberian blizzard? What shimmering mirage around the circle of the moon? I send each one of you my salutation, and farewell.
[March 1940] INTRODUCTION [PRELUDE] It happened like this when only the dead Were smiling, glad of their release, That Leningrad hung around its prisons Like a worthless emblem, flapping its piece.
Shrill and sharp, the steam-whistles sang Short songs of farewell To the ranks of convicted, demented by suffering, As they, in regiments, walked along - Stars of death stood over us As innocent Russia squirmed Under the blood-spattered boots and tyres Of the black marias.
I You were taken away at dawn.
I followed you As one does when a corpse is being removed.
Children were crying in the darkened house.
A candle flared, illuminating the Mother of God.
The cold of an icon was on your lips, a death-cold sweat On your brow - I will never forget this; I will gather To wail with the wives of the murdered streltsy (1) Inconsolably, beneath the Kremlin towers.
Moscow] II Silent flows the river Don A yellow moon looks quietly on Swanking about, with cap askew It sees through the window a shadow of you Gravely ill, all alone The moon sees a woman lying at home Her son is in jail, her husband is dead Say a prayer for her instead.
III It isn't me, someone else is suffering.
I couldn't.
Not like this.
Everything that has happened, Cover it with a black cloth, Then let the torches be removed.
IV Giggling, poking fun, everyone's darling, The carefree sinner of Tsarskoye Selo (2) If only you could have foreseen What life would do with you - That you would stand, parcel in hand, Beneath the Crosses (3), three hundredth in line, Burning the new year's ice With your hot tears.
Back and forth the prison poplar sways With not a sound - how many innocent Blameless lives are being taken away.
[1938] V For seventeen months I have been screaming, Calling you home.
I've thrown myself at the feet of butchers For you, my son and my horror.
Everything has become muddled forever - I can no longer distinguish Who is an animal, who a person, and how long The wait can be for an execution.
There are now only dusty flowers, The chinking of the thurible, Tracks from somewhere into nowhere And, staring me in the face And threatening me with swift annihilation, An enormous star.
[1939] VI Weeks fly lightly by.
Even so, I cannot understand what has arisen, How, my son, into your prison White nights stare so brilliantly.
Now once more they burn, Eyes that focus like a hawk, And, upon your cross, the talk Is again of death.
Spring] VII THE VERDICT The word landed with a stony thud Onto my still-beating breast.
Nevermind, I was prepared, I will manage with the rest.
I have a lot of work to do today; I need to slaughter memory, Turn my living soul to stone Then teach myself to live again.
But how.
The hot summer rustles Like a carnival outside my window; I have long had this premonition Of a bright day and a deserted house.
[22 June 1939.
Fontannyi Dom (4)] VIII TO DEATH You will come anyway - so why not now? I wait for you; things have become too hard.
I have turned out the lights and opened the door For you, so simple and so wonderful.
Assume whatever shape you wish.
Burst in Like a shell of noxious gas.
Creep up on me Like a practised bandit with a heavy weapon.
Poison me, if you want, with a typhoid exhalation, Or, with a simple tale prepared by you (And known by all to the point of nausea), take me Before the commander of the blue caps and let me glimpse The house administrator's terrified white face.
I don't care anymore.
The river Yenisey Swirls on.
The Pole star blazes.
The blue sparks of those much-loved eyes Close over and cover the final horror.
[19 August 1939.
Fontannyi Dom] IX Madness with its wings Has covered half my soul It feeds me fiery wine And lures me into the abyss.
That's when I understood While listening to my alien delirium That I must hand the victory To it.
However much I nag However much I beg It will not let me take One single thing away: Not my son's frightening eyes - A suffering set in stone, Or prison visiting hours Or days that end in storms Nor the sweet coolness of a hand The anxious shade of lime trees Nor the light distant sound Of final comforting words.
[14 May 1940.
Fontannyi Dom] X CRUCIFIXION Weep not for me, mother.
I am alive in my grave.
A choir of angels glorified the greatest hour, The heavens melted into flames.
To his father he said, 'Why hast thou forsaken me!' But to his mother, 'Weep not for me.
' [1940.
Fontannyi Dom] 2.
Magdalena smote herself and wept, The favourite disciple turned to stone, But there, where the mother stood silent, Not one person dared to look.
Tashkent] EPILOGUE 1.
I have learned how faces fall, How terror can escape from lowered eyes, How suffering can etch cruel pages Of cuneiform-like marks upon the cheeks.
I know how dark or ash-blond strands of hair Can suddenly turn white.
I've learned to recognise The fading smiles upon submissive lips, The trembling fear inside a hollow laugh.
That's why I pray not for myself But all of you who stood there with me Through fiercest cold and scorching July heat Under a towering, completely blind red wall.
The hour has come to remember the dead.
I see you, I hear you, I feel you: The one who resisted the long drag to the open window; The one who could no longer feel the kick of familiar soil beneath her feet; The one who, with a sudden flick of her head, replied, 'I arrive here as if I've come home!' I'd like to name you all by name, but the list Has been removed and there is nowhere else to look.
So, I have woven you this wide shroud out of the humble words I overheard you use.
Everywhere, forever and always, I will never forget one single thing.
Even in new grief.
Even if they clamp shut my tormented mouth Through which one hundred million people scream; That's how I wish them to remember me when I am dead On the eve of my remembrance day.
If someone someday in this country Decides to raise a memorial to me, I give my consent to this festivity But only on this condition - do not build it By the sea where I was born, I have severed my last ties with the sea; Nor in the Tsar's Park by the hallowed stump Where an inconsolable shadow looks for me; Build it here where I stood for three hundred hours And no-one slid open the bolt.
Listen, even in blissful death I fear That I will forget the Black Marias, Forget how hatefully the door slammed and an old woman Howled like a wounded beast.
Let the thawing ice flow like tears From my immovable bronze eyelids And let the prison dove coo in the distance While ships sail quietly along the river.
[March 1940.
Fontannyi Dom] FOOTNOTES 1 An elite guard which rose up in rebellion against Peter the Great in 1698.
Most were either executed or exiled.
2 The imperial summer residence outside St Petersburg where Ahmatova spent her early years.
3 A prison complex in central Leningrad near the Finland Station, called The Crosses because of the shape of two of the buildings.
4 The Leningrad house in which Ahmatova lived.
Written by Wole Soyinka | Create an image from this poem



for Moremi, 1963

Earth will not share the rafter's envy; dung floors
Break, not the gecko's slight skin, but its fall
Taste this soil for death and plumb her deep for life

As this yam, wholly earthed, yet a living tuber
To the warmth of waters, earthed as springs
As roots of baobab, as the hearth.
The air will not deny you.
Like a top Spin you on the navel of the storm, for the hoe That roots the forests plows a path for squirrels.
Be ageless as dark peat, but only that rain's Fingers, not the feet of men, may wash you over.
Long wear the sun's shadow; run naked to the night.
Peppers green and red—child—your tongue arch To scorpion tail, spit straight return to danger's threats Yet coo with the brown pigeon, tendril dew between your lips.
Shield you like the flesh of palms, skyward held Cuspids in thorn nesting, insealed as the heart of kernel— A woman's flesh is oil—child, palm oil on your tongue Is suppleness to life, and wine of this gourd From self-same timeless run of runnels as refill Your podlings, child, weaned from yours we embrace Earth's honeyed milk, wine of the only rib.
Now roll your tongue in honey till your cheeks are Swarming honeycombs—your world needs sweetening, child.
Camwood round the heart, chalk for flight Of blemish—see? it dawns!—antimony beneath Armpits like a goddess, and leave this taste Long on your lips, of salt, that you may seek None from tears.
This, rain-water, is the gift Of gods—drink of its purity, bear fruits in season.
Fruits then to your lips: haste to repay The debt of birth.
Yield man-tides like the sea And ebbing, leave a meaning of the fossilled sands.
Written by Rabindranath Tagore | Create an image from this poem

A Moments Indulgence

 I ask for a moment's indulgence to sit by thy side.
The works that I have in hand I will finish afterwards.
Away from the sight of thy face my heart knows no rest nor respite, and my work becomes an endless toil in a shoreless sea of toil.
Today the summer has come at my window with its sighs and murmurs; and the bees are plying their minstrelsy at the court of the flowering grove.
Now it is time to sit quite, face to face with thee, and to sing dedication of life in this silent and overflowing leisure.
Written by Lewis Carroll | Create an image from this poem


 Inscribed to a Dear Child:
In Memory of Golden Summer Hours
And Whispers of a Summer Sea 

Girt with a boyish garb for boyish task,
Eager she wields her spade: yet loves as well
Rest on a friendly knee, intent to ask
The tale he loves to tell.
Rude spirits of the seething outer strife, Unmeet to read her pure and simple spright, Deem if you list, such hours a waste of life, Empty of all delight! Chat on, sweet Maid, and rescue from annoy Hearts that by wiser talk are unbeguiled.
Ah, happy he who owns that tenderest joy, The heart-love of a child!
Written by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe | Create an image from this poem


 The morn arrived; his footstep quickly scared

The gentle sleep that round my senses clung,
And I, awak'ning, from my cottage fared,

And up the mountain side with light heart sprung;
At every step I felt my gaze ensnared

By new-born flow'rs that full of dew-drops hung;
The youthful day awoke with ecstacy,
And all things quicken'd were, to quicken me.
And as I mounted, from the valley rose A streaky mist, that upward slowly spread, Then bent, as though my form it would enclose, Then, as on pinions, soar'd above my head: My gaze could now on no fair view repose, in mournful veil conceal'd, the world seem'd dead; The clouds soon closed around me, as a tomb, And I was left alone in twilight gloom.
At once the sun his lustre seem'd to pour, And through the mist was seen a radiant light; Here sank it gently to the ground once more, There parted it, and climb'd o'er wood and height.
How did I yearn to greet him as of yore, After the darkness waxing doubly bright! The airy conflict ofttimes was renew'd, Then blinded by a dazzling glow I stood.
Ere long an inward impulse prompted me A hasty glance with boldness round to throw; At first mine eyes had scarcely strength to see, For all around appear'd to burn and glow.
Then saw I, on the clouds borne gracefully, A godlike woman hov'ring to and fro.
In life I ne'er had seen a form so fair-- She gazed at me, and still she hover'd there.
"Dost thou not know me?" were the words she said In tones where love and faith were sweetly bound; "Knowest thou not Her who oftentimes hath shed The purest balsam in each earthly wound? Thou knows't me well; thy panting heart I led To join me in a bond with rapture crown'd.
Did I not see thee, when a stripling, yearning To welcome me with tears, heartfelt and burning?" "Yes!" I exclaim'd, whilst, overcome with joy, I sank to earth; "I long have worshipp'd thee; Thou gav'st me rest, when passions rack'd the boy, Pervading ev'ry limb unceasingly; Thy heav'nly pinions thou didst then employ The scorching sunbeams to ward off from me.
From thee alone Earth's fairest gifts I gain'd, Through thee alone, true bliss can be obtain'd.
"Thy name I know not; yet I hear thee nam'd By many a one who boasts thee as his own; Each eye believes that tow'rd thy form 'tis aim'd, Yet to most eyes thy rays are anguish-sown.
Ah! whilst I err'd, full many a friend I claim'd, Now that I know thee, I am left alone; With but myself can I my rapture share, I needs must veil and hide thy radiance fair.
She smiled, and answering said: "Thou see'st how wise, How prudent 'twas but little to unveil! Scarce from the clumsiest cheat are clear'd thine eyes, Scarce hast thou strength thy childish bars to scale, When thou dost rank thee 'mongst the deities, And so man's duties to perform would'st fail! How dost thou differ from all other men? Live with the world in peace, and know thee then!" "Oh, pardon me," I cried, "I meant it well: Not vainly did'st thou bless mine eyes with light; For in my blood glad aspirations swell, The value of thy gifts I know aright! Those treasures in my breast for others dwell, The buried pound no more I'll hide from sight.
Why did I seek the road so anxiously, If hidden from my brethren 'twere to be?" And as I answer'd, tow'rd me turn'd her face, With kindly sympathy, that god-like one; Within her eye full plainly could I trace What I had fail'd in, and what rightly done.
She smiled, and cured me with that smile's sweet grace, To new-born joys my spirit soar'd anon; With inward confidence I now could dare To draw yet closer, and observe her there.
Through the light cloud she then stretch'd forth her hand, As if to bid the streaky vapour fly: At once it seemed to yield to her command, Contracted, and no mist then met mine eye.
My glance once more survey'd the smiling land, Unclouded and serene appear'd the sky.
Nought but a veil of purest white she held, And round her in a thousand folds it swell'd.
"I know thee, and I know thy wav'ring will.
I know the good that lives and glows in thee!"-- Thus spake she, and methinks I hear her still-- "The prize long destined, now receive from me; That blest one will be safe from ev'ry ill, Who takes this gift with soul of purity,--" The veil of Minstrelsy from Truth's own hand, Of sunlight and of morn's sweet fragrance plann'd.
"And when thou and thy friends at fierce noon-day Are parched with heat, straight cast it in the air! Then Zephyr's cooling breath will round you play, Distilling balm and flowers' sweet incense there; The tones of earthly woe will die away, The grave become a bed of clouds so fair, To sing to rest life's billows will be seen, The day be lovely, and the night serene.
"-- Come, then, my friends! and whensoe'er ye find Upon your way increase life's heavy load; If by fresh-waken'd blessings flowers are twin'd Around your path, and golden fruits bestow'd, We'll seek the coming day with joyous mind! Thus blest, we'll live, thus wander on our road And when our grandsons sorrow o'er our tomb, Our love, to glad their bosoms, still shall bloom.
Written by Henry Kendall | Create an image from this poem

Leaves From Australian Forests - Dedication

To her who, cast with me in trying days, 
Stood in the place of health and power and praise;- 
Who, when I thought all light was out, became 
A lamp of hope that put my fears to shame;- 
Who faced for love's sole sake the life austere 
That waits upon the man of letters here;- 
Who, unawares, her deep affection showed, 
By many a touching little wifely mode;- 
Whose spirit, self-denying, dear, divine, 
Its sorrows hid, so it might lessen mine, - 
To her, my bright, best friend, I dedicate 
This book of songs. 'Twill help to compensate 
For much neglect. The act, if not the rhyme, 
Will touch her heart, and lead her to the time 
Of trials past. That which is most intense 
Within these leaves is of her influence; 

And if aught here is sweetened with a tone 
Sincere, like love, it came of love alone.
Written by Robert Lowell | Create an image from this poem

For the Union Dead

 "Relinquunt Omnia Servare Rem Publicam.
" The old South Boston Aquarium stands in a Sahara of snow now.
Its broken windows are boarded.
The bronze weathervane cod has lost half its scales.
The airy tanks are dry.
Once my nose crawled like a snail on the glass; my hand tingled to burst the bubbles drifting from the noses of the cowed, compliant fish.
My hand draws back.
I often sigh still for the dark downward and vegetating kingdom of the fish and reptile.
One morning last March, I pressed against the new barbed and galvanized fence on the Boston Common.
Behind their cage, yellow dinosaur steamshovels were grunting as they cropped up tons of mush and grass to gouge their underworld garage.
Parking spaces luxuriate like civic sandpiles in the heart of Boston.
A girdle of orange, Puritan-pumpkin colored girders braces the tingling Statehouse, shaking over the excavations, as it faces Colonel Shaw and his bell-cheeked Negro infantry on St.
Gaudens' shaking Civil War relief, propped by a plank splint against the garage's earthquake.
Two months after marching through Boston, half the regiment was dead; at the dedication, William James could almost hear the bronze Negroes breathe.
Their monument sticks like a fishbone in the city's throat.
Its Colonel is as lean as a compass-needle.
He has an angry wrenlike vigilance, a greyhound's gently tautness; he seems to wince at pleasure, and suffocate for privacy.
He is out of bounds now.
He rejoices in man's lovely, peculiar power to choose life and die-- when he leads his black soldiers to death, he cannot bend his back.
On a thousand small town New England greens, the old white churches hold their air of sparse, sincere rebellion; frayed flags quilt the graveyards of the Grand Army of the Republic.
The stone statues of the abstract Union Soldier grow slimmer and younger each year-- wasp-waisted, they doze over muskets and muse through their sideburns .
Shaw's father wanted no monument except the ditch, where his son's body was thrown and lost with his "niggers.
" The ditch is nearer.
There are no statues for the last war here; on Boylston Street, a commercial photograph shows Hiroshima boiling over a Mosler Safe, the "Rock of Ages" that survived the blast.
Space is nearer.
When I crouch to my television set, the drained faces of Negro school-children rise like balloons.
Colonel Shaw is riding on his bubble, he waits for the bless?d break.
The Aquarium is gone.
Everywhere, giant finned cars nose forward like fish; a savage servility slides by on grease.
Written by Rainer Maria Rilke | Create an image from this poem


 I have great faith in all things not yet spoken.
I want my deepest pious feelings freed.
What no one yet has dared to risk and warrant will be for me a challenge I must meet.
If this presumptious seems, God, may I be forgiven.
For what I want to say to you is this: my efforts shall be like a driving force, quite without anger, without timidness as little children show their love for you.
With these outflowing, river-like, with deltas that spread like arms to reach the open sea, with the recurrent tides that never cease will I acknowledge you, will I proclaim you as no one ever has before.
And if this should be arrogance, so let me arrogant be to justify my prayer that stands so serious and so alone before your forehead, circled by the clouds.
Written by Rg Gregory | Create an image from this poem

eight roundels

 (roundel: variation of the rondeau
consisting of three stanzas of three
lines each, linked together with but
two rhymes and a refrain at the end
of the first and third group)

the blind rose today's fullness is tomorrow's gone (the next day after no one knows) last year's dream now feeds upon what blindly grows imagine if you like a rose on which no likely sun has shone a darkness chokes it (just suppose) the die though's cast - a marathon of hopes endeavours then bestows dawn's right to spill its colours on what blindly grows 2.
squeaking there are so few words left now to grow green on - my vocabulary's stumped for a hard-edged phrase to let you know my truth's not been gazumped love itself of course is blandly thumped each time it suits you to imagine no fruits are guilty for their being scrumped if you can't be honest with me - better go if dumped is what you wish then i'll be dumped excuse me if i go on squeaking though my truth's not been gazumped 3.
ease of mind the world spins - today i have migraine the peace i seek is never less than ill striving's no answer to the bumptious pain that is love's overspill wanting warmth encourages the chill relaxation breeds its bitter strain the worst of all crimes is - i love you still hope itself by nature is inane i squat in a box dismembered from such will to let me find the ease of mind again that is love's overspill 4.
a roundel for ptolemy the earth is not the system's centre- so ok heliocentric - well our sun's a midget spawning galaxies blow our minds away space then equal to a digit the mightiest telescope's a widget science at best hard guessing gone astray no genius stretch beyond a second's fidget ptolemy discarded yet may have his say infinity takes a hologram to bridge it each shard of us contains the cosmos - space then equal to a digit 5.
reflection everything you do is my reflection the hurts you cause are my pain inside out blame's no matter for a close inspection your guilt turns mine about love itself is many hands of doubt it cannot be without it breeds rejection its silences result in one big shout i am left with nothing but dejection what's gold in me has nowhere to get out love's pride is fatal to correction my guilt turns yours about 6.
the round the round understands the fluidity of order how the thing lit up and the shadow can't compete how the centre is that version of the border the moment makes complete notice each face around a space at times replete with insights given to no one else as warder but not condemned when those insights retreat impermanence is eternity's recorder - with an intricate sense of pattern power can't delete the round honours those cracks in the divine disorder the moment makes complete 7.
the actor acting is not the true self's dissipation but not its preening either - outside the role it honours it best fights shy of reputation - being what prometheus stole it is a distant spark of that first live coal a conscious glimpse of human desperation rekindled as a longing to console the waning spirit or the shattered dedication actors are allies of the delphic hole for good or ill they echo human expectation being what prometheus stole 8.
roundels in honour of the round (i) when energy was born it asked this question which way dear parents do i go from here mum fluttered indifferently (i blame exhaustion) dad pointed with his sexual gear so energy thrust straight ahead and fostered fear at once its dreaded source became a bastion too holy to be doubted - mum flipped a gear she sought revenge on dad for his lewd suggestion taking too long of course - things went nuclear the scale of the damage was too much to ingest when dad pointed with his sexual gear (ii) she sat with her flowing skirt spread out on the earth and tore the garment into strips from toe to waist laying them to point around the wide world's girth my way the truth flows best dad laughed his head off at the pointless waste and energy itself was seized by powerful mirth perhaps mum's petalled skirt was not well placed in time mishandled plenty breeds its dearth dad's roisterous one-way-ism was disgraced energy began to sense what mum was worth her way the truth flows best
Written by Rudyard Kipling | Create an image from this poem


 To the City of Bombay

The Cities are full of pride,
 Challenging each to each --
This from her mountain-side,
 That from her burthened beach.
They count their ships full tale -- Their corn and oil and wine, Derrick and loom and bale, And rampart's gun-flecked line; City by City they hail: "Hast aught to match with mine?" And the men that breed from them They traffic up and down, But cling to their cities' hem As a child to their mother's gown.
When they talk with the stranger bands, Dazed and newly alone; When they walk in the stranger lands, By roaring streets unknown; Blessing her where she stands For strength above their own.
(On high to hold her fame That stands all fame beyond, By oath to back the same, Most faithful-foolish-fond; Making her mere-breathed name Their bond upon their bond.
) So thank I God my birth Fell not in isles aside -- Waste headlands of the earth, Or warring tribes untried -- But that she lent me worth And gave me right to pride.
Surely in toil or fray Under an alien sky, Comfort it is to say: "Of no mean city am I!" (Neither by service nor fee Come I to mine estate -- Mother of Cities to me, For I was born in her gate, Between the palms and the sea, Where the world-end steamers wait.
) Now for this debt I owe, And for her far-borne cheer Must I make haste and go With tribute to her pier.
And she shall touch and remit After the use of kings (Orderly, ancient, fit) My deep-sea plunderings, And purchase in all lands.
And this we do for a sign Her power is over mine, And mine I hold at her hands!
Written by Edgar Bowers | Create an image from this poem

Dedication for a House

 We, who were long together homeless, raise
Brick walls, wood floors, a roof, and windows up
To what sustained us in those threatening days
Unto this end.
Alas, that this bright cup Be empty of the care and life of him Who should have made it overflow its brim.
Written by Rainer Maria Rilke | Create an image from this poem

Dedication To M..

 Swing of the heart.
O firmly hung, fastened on what invisible branch.
Who, who gave you the push, that you swung with me into the leaves? How near I was to the exquisite fruits.
But not-staying is the essence of this motion.
Only the nearness, only toward the forever-too-high, all at once the possible nearness.
Vicinities, then from an irresistibly swung-up-to place --already, once again, lost--the new sight, the outlook.
And now: the commanded return back and across and into equilbrium's arms.
Below, in between, hesitation, the pull of earth, the passage through the turning-point of the heavy--, past it: and the catapult stretches, weighted with the heart's curiosity, to the other side, opposite, upward.
Again how different, how new! How they envy each other at the ends of the rope, these opposite halves of pleasure.
Or, shall I dare it: these quarters?--And include, since it witholds itself, that other half-circle, the one whose impetus pushes the swing? I'm not just imagining it, as the mirror of my here-and-now arc.
Guess nothing.
It will be newer someday.
But from endpoint to endpoint of the arc that I have most dared, I already fully possess it: overflowings from me plunge over to it and fill it, stretch it apart, almost.
And my own parting, when the force that pushes me someday stops, makes it all the more near.
Written by Rainer Maria Rilke | Create an image from this poem


These to His Memory--since he held them dear, 
Perchance as finding there unconsciously 
Some image of himself--I dedicate, 
I dedicate, I consecrate with tears-- 
These Idylls.
And indeed He seems to me Scarce other than my king's ideal knight, `Who reverenced his conscience as his king; Whose glory was, redressing human wrong; Who spake no slander, no, nor listened to it; Who loved one only and who clave to her--' Her--over all whose realms to their last isle, Commingled with the gloom of imminent war, The shadow of His loss drew like eclipse, Darkening the world.
We have lost him: he is gone: We know him now: all narrow jealousies Are silent; and we see him as he moved, How modest, kindly, all-accomplished, wise, With what sublime repression of himself, And in what limits, and how tenderly; Not swaying to this faction or to that; Not making his high place the lawless perch Of winged ambitions, nor a vantage-ground For pleasure; but through all this tract of years Wearing the white flower of a blameless life, Before a thousand peering littlenesses, In that fierce light which beats upon a throne, And blackens every blot: for where is he, Who dares foreshadow for an only son A lovelier life, a more unstained, than his? Or how should England dreaming of HIS sons Hope more for these than some inheritance Of such a life, a heart, a mind as thine, Thou noble Father of her Kings to be, Laborious for her people and her poor-- Voice in the rich dawn of an ampler day-- Far-sighted summoner of War and Waste To fruitful strifes and rivalries of peace-- Sweet nature gilded by the gracious gleam Of letters, dear to Science, dear to Art, Dear to thy land and ours, a Prince indeed, Beyond all titles, and a household name, Hereafter, through all times, Albert the Good.
Break not, O woman's-heart, but still endure; Break not, for thou art Royal, but endure, Remembering all the beauty of that star Which shone so close beside Thee that ye made One light together, but has past and leaves The Crown a lonely splendour.
May all love, His love, unseen but felt, o'ershadow Thee, The love of all Thy sons encompass Thee, The love of all Thy daughters cherish Thee, The love of all Thy people comfort Thee, Till God's love set Thee at his side again!
Written by Robert Burns | Create an image from this poem

113. A Dedication to Gavin Hamilton Esq

 EXPECT na, sir, in this narration,
A fleechin, fleth’rin Dedication,
To roose you up, an’ ca’ you guid,
An’ sprung o’ great an’ noble bluid,
Because ye’re surnam’d like His Grace—
Perhaps related to the race:
Then, when I’m tir’d-and sae are ye,
Wi’ mony a fulsome, sinfu’ lie,
Set up a face how I stop short,
For fear your modesty be hurt.
This may do—maun do, sir, wi’ them wha Maun please the great folk for a wamefou; For me! sae laigh I need na bow, For, Lord be thankit, I can plough; And when I downa yoke a naig, Then, Lord be thankit, I can beg; Sae I shall say—an’ that’s nae flatt’rin— It’s just sic Poet an’ sic Patron.
The Poet, some guid angel help him, Or else, I fear, some ill ane skelp him! He may do weel for a’ he’s done yet, But only—he’s no just begun yet.
The Patron (sir, ye maun forgie me; I winna lie, come what will o’ me), On ev’ry hand it will allow’d be, He’s just—nae better than he should be.
I readily and freely grant, He downa see a poor man want; What’s no his ain, he winna tak it; What ance he says, he winna break it; Ought he can lend he’ll no refus’t, Till aft his guidness is abus’d; And rascals whiles that do him wrang, Ev’n that, he does na mind it lang; As master, landlord, husband, father, He does na fail his part in either.
But then, nae thanks to him for a’that; Nae godly symptom ye can ca’ that; It’s naething but a milder feature Of our poor, sinfu’ corrupt nature: Ye’ll get the best o’ moral works, ’Mang black Gentoos, and pagan Turks, Or hunters wild on Ponotaxi, Wha never heard of orthodoxy.
That he’s the poor man’s friend in need, The gentleman in word and deed, It’s no thro’ terror of damnation; It’s just a carnal inclination.
Morality, thou deadly bane, Thy tens o’ thousands thou hast slain! Vain is his hope, whase stay an’ trust is In moral mercy, truth, and justice! No—stretch a point to catch a plack: Abuse a brother to his back; Steal through the winnock frae a whore, But point the rake that taks the door; Be to the poor like ony whunstane, And haud their noses to the grunstane; Ply ev’ry art o’ legal thieving; No matter—stick to sound believing.
Learn three-mile pray’rs, an’ half-mile graces, Wi’ weel-spread looves, an’ lang, wry faces; Grunt up a solemn, lengthen’d groan, And damn a’ parties but your own; I’ll warrant they ye’re nae deceiver, A steady, sturdy, staunch believer.
O ye wha leave the springs o’ Calvin, For gumlie dubs of your ain delvin! Ye sons of Heresy and Error, Ye’ll some day squeel in quaking terror, When Vengeance draws the sword in wrath.
And in the fire throws the sheath; When Ruin, with his sweeping besom, Just frets till Heav’n commission gies him; While o’er the harp pale Misery moans, And strikes the ever-deep’ning tones, Still louder shrieks, and heavier groans! Your pardon, sir, for this digression: I maist forgat my Dedication; But when divinity comes ’cross me, My readers still are sure to lose me.
So, sir, you see ’twas nae daft vapour; But I maturely thought it proper, When a’ my works I did review, To dedicate them, sir, to you: Because (ye need na tak it ill), I thought them something like yoursel’.
Then patronize them wi’ your favor, And your petitioner shall ever—— I had amaist said, ever pray, But that’s a word I need na say; For prayin, I hae little skill o’t, I’m baith dead-sweer, an’ wretched ill o’t; But I’se repeat each poor man’s pray’r, That kens or hears about you, sir.
—— “May ne’er Misfortune’s gowling bark, Howl thro’ the dwelling o’ the clerk! May ne’er his genrous, honest heart, For that same gen’rous spirit smart! May Kennedy’s far-honour’d name Lang beet his hymeneal flame, Till Hamiltons, at least a dizzen, Are frae their nuptial labours risen: Five bonie lasses round their table, And sev’n braw fellows, stout an’ able, To serve their king an’ country weel, By word, or pen, or pointed steel! May health and peace, with mutual rays, Shine on the ev’ning o’ his days; Till his wee, curlie John’s ier-oe, When ebbing life nae mair shall flow, The last, sad, mournful rites bestow!” I will not wind a lang conclusion, With complimentary effusion; But, whilst your wishes and endeavours Are blest with Fortune’s smiles and favours, I am, dear sir, with zeal most fervent, Your much indebted, humble servant.
But if (which Pow’rs above prevent) That iron-hearted carl, Want, Attended, in his grim advances, By sad mistakes, and black mischances, While hopes, and joys, and pleasures fly him, Make you as poor a dog as I am, Your humble servant then no more; For who would humbly serve the poor? But, by a poor man’s hopes in Heav’n! While recollection’s pow’r is giv’n— If, in the vale of humble life, The victim sad of fortune’s strife, I, thro’ the tender-gushing tear, Should recognise my master dear; If friendless, low, we meet together, Then, sir, your hand—my Friend and Brother!
Written by Rainer Maria Rilke | Create an image from this poem


 for Moremi, 1963

Earth will not share the rafter's envy; dung floors
Break, not the gecko's slight skin, but its fall
Taste this soil for death and plumb her deep for life

As this yam, wholly earthed, yet a living tuber
To the warmth of waters, earthed as springs
As roots of baobab, as the hearth.
The air will not deny you.
Like a top Spin you on the navel of the storm, for the hoe That roots the forests plows a path for squirrels.
Be ageless as dark peat, but only that rain's Fingers, not the feet of men, may wash you over.
Long wear the sun's shadow; run naked to the night.
Peppers green and red—child—your tongue arch To scorpion tail, spit straight return to danger's threats Yet coo with the brown pigeon, tendril dew between your lips.
Shield you like the flesh of palms, skyward held Cuspids in thorn nesting, insealed as the heart of kernel— A woman's flesh is oil—child, palm oil on your tongue Is suppleness to life, and wine of this gourd From self-same timeless run of runnels as refill Your podlings, child, weaned from yours we embrace Earth's honeyed milk, wine of the only rib.
Now roll your tongue in honey till your cheeks are Swarming honeycombs—your world needs sweetening, child.
Camwood round the heart, chalk for flight Of blemish—see? it dawns!—antimony beneath Armpits like a goddess, and leave this taste Long on your lips, of salt, that you may seek None from tears.
This, rain-water, is the gift Of gods—drink of its purity, bear fruits in season.
Fruits then to your lips: haste to repay The debt of birth.
Yield man-tides like the sea And ebbing, leave a meaning of the fossilled sands.