Christina Rossetti | |
A fool I was to sleep at noon,
And wake when night is chilly
Beneath the comfortless cold moon;
A fool to pluck my rose too soon,
A fool to snap my lily.
My garden-plot I have not kept;
Faded and all-forsaken,
I weep as I have never wept:
Oh it was summer when I slept,
It's winter now I waken.
Talk what you please of future spring
And sun-warm'd sweet to-morrow:—
Stripp'd bare of hope and everything,
No more to laugh, no more to sing,
I sit alone with sorrow.
Phillis Wheatley | |
To show the lab'ring bosom's deep intent,
And thought in living characters to paint,
When first thy pencil did those beauties give,
And breathing figures learnt from thee to live,
How did those prospects give my soul delight,
A new creation rushing on my sight?
Still, wond'rous youth! each noble path pursue,
On deathless glories fix thine ardent view:
Still may the painter's and the poet's fire
To aid thy pencil, and thy verse conspire!
And may the charms of each seraphic theme
Conduct thy footsteps to immortal fame!
High to the blissful wonders of the skies
Elate thy soul, and raise thy wishful eyes.
Thrice happy, when exalted to survey
That splendid city, crown'd with endless day,
Whose twice six gates on radiant hinges ring:
Celestial Salem blooms in endless spring.
Calm and serene thy moments glide along,
And may the muse inspire each future song!
Still, with the sweets of contemplation bless'd,
May peace with balmy wings your soul invest!
But when these shades of time are chas'd away,
And darkness ends in everlasting day,
On what seraphic pinions shall we move,
And view the landscapes in the realms above?
There shall thy tongue in heav'nly murmurs flow,
And there my muse with heav'nly transport glow:
No more to tell of Damon's tender sighs,
Or rising radiance of Aurora's eyes,
For nobler themes demand a nobler strain,
And purer language on th' ethereal plain.
Cease, gentle muse! the solemn gloom of night
Now seals the fair creation from my sight.
Edgar Allan Poe | |
THOU wast that all to me love
For which my soul did pine --
A green isle in the sea love
A fountain and a shrine
All wreathed with fairy fruits and flowers
And all the flowers were mine.
Ah dream too bright to last!
Ah starry Hope! that didst arise
But to be overcast!
A voice from out the Future cries
"On! on!" -- but o'er the Past
(Dim gulf!) my spirit hovering lies
Mute motionless aghast!
For alas! alas! with me
The light of Life is o'er!
No more -- no more -- no more --
(Such language holds the solemn sea
To the sands upon the shore)
Shall bloom the thunder-blasted tree
Or the stricken eagle soar!
And all my days are trances
And all my nightly dreams
Are where thy grey eye glances
And where thy footstep gleams --
In what ethereal dances
By what eternal streams.
More great poems below...
William Blake | |
HEAR the voice of the Bard
Who present past and future sees;
Whose ears have heard
The Holy Word
That walk'd among the ancient trees; 5
Calling the laps¨¨d soul
And weeping in the evening dew;
That might control
The starry pole
And fallen fallen light renew! 10
'O Earth O Earth return!
Arise from out the dewy grass!
Night is worn
And the morn
Rises from the slumbrous mass.
'Turn away no more;
Why wilt thou turn away?
The starry floor
The watery shore
Is given thee till the break of day.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow | |
What the Heart of the Young Man Said to the Psalmist
TELL me not in mournful numbers
Life is but an empty dream!¡ª
For the soul is dead that slumbers
And things are not what they seem.
Life is real! Life is earnest! 5
And the grave is not its goal;
Dust thou art to dust returnest
Was not spoken of the soul.
Not enjoyment and not sorrow
Is our destined end or way; 10
But to act that each to-morrow
Find us farther than to-day.
Art is long and Time is fleeting
And our hearts though stout and brave
Still like muffled drums are beating 15
Funeral marches to the grave.
In the world's broad field of battle
In the bivouac of Life
Be not like dumb driven cattle!
Be a hero in the strife! 20
Trust no Future howe'er pleasant!
Let the dead Past bury its dead!
Act ¡ªact in the living Present!
Heart within and God o'erhead!
Lives of great men all remind us 25
We can make our lives sublime
And departing leave behind us
Footprints on the sands of time;
Footprints that perhaps another
Sailing o'er life's solemn main 30
A forlorn and shipwrecked brother
Seeing shall take heart again.
Let us then be up and doing
With a heart for any fate;
Still achieving still pursuing 35
Learn to labor and to wait.
Ralph Waldo Emerson | |
SHINES the last age the next with hope is seen
To-day slinks poorly off unmarked between:
Future or Past no richer secret folds
O friendless Present! than thy bosom holds.
William Cullen Bryant | |
HOW shall I know thee in the sphere which keeps
The disembodied spirits of the dead
When all of thee that time could wither sleeps
And perishes among the dust we tread?
For I shall feel the sting of ceaseless pain 5
If there I meet thy gentle presence not;
Nor hear the voice I love nor read again
In thy serenest eyes the tender thought.
Will not thy own meek heart demand me there?
That heart whose fondest throbs to me were given¡ª 10
My name on earth was ever in thy prayer
And wilt thou never utter it in heaven?
In meadows fanned by heaven's life-breathing wind
In the resplendence of that glorious sphere
And larger movements of the unfettered mind 15
Wilt thou forget the love that joined us here?
The love that lived through all the stormy past
And meekly with my harsher nature bore
And deeper grew and tenderer to the last
Shall it expire with life and be no more? 20
A happier lot than mine and larger light
Await thee there for thou hast bowed thy will
In cheerful homage to the rule of right
And lovest all and renderest good for ill.
For me the sordid cares in which I dwell 25
Shrink and consume my heart as heat the scroll;
And wrath has left its scar¡ªthat fire of hell
Has left its frightful scar upon my soul.
Yet though thou wear'st the glory of the sky
Wilt thou not keep the same belov¨¨d name 30
The same fair thoughtful brow and gentle eye
Lovelier in heaven's sweet climate yet the same?
Shalt thou not teach me in that calmer home
The wisdom that I learned so ill in this¡ª
The wisdom which is love¡ªtill I become 35
Thy fit companion in that land of bliss?
The Bible | |
I know the plans that I have for you,
Plans for prosperity and peace
Never for evil or calamity,
But a future hope never to cease
Then you shall come and call upon me
And will bow your knee to pray
And I will hear you and heed your call
To be by your side right away
Then you will find me when you seek,
If you seek with all your heart
For I shall reveal myself to you,
From you, I will not depart.
Scripture Poem © Copyright Of M.
Ehsan Sehgal | |
"Be bold to express your feelings of affection rather than killing your dreams yourself, no matter whatever answer you get, but then doors are open for your future.
Ehsan Sehgal | |
I will never search your past
Future will no bother me
Because its other name is today
The present, you are mine
Your life, love, respect, honour
Your health, wealth and worth
Make your destiny
Your all actions will be counted
Today, the present, it is your future too.
Anonymous | |
Thine eye is on me always,
Thou knowest the way I take;
Thou seest me when I’m sleeping,
Thou seest me when I wake.
Thine arm is round about me,
Thy hand is underneath;
Thy love will still preserve me,
If I Thy laws do keep.
Thou art my present helper,—
Be Thou my daily guide;
Then I’ll be safe for ever,
Whatever may betide.
Oh! help me, dearest Father,
To walk in wisdom’s way,
That I, Thy loving child, may be
Through every future day,
And, by my loving actions, prove
That He who guardeth me is Love.
Anonymous | |
The little, smoky vapors
Produce the drops of rain;
These little drops commingle,
And form the boundless main.
Then, drops compose the fountains;
And little grains of sand
Compose the mighty mountains,
That high above us stand.
The little atoms, it is said,
Compose the solid earth;
Such truths will show, if rightly read,
What little things are worth.
For, as the sea of drops is made,
So it is Heaven’s plan,
That atoms should compose the globe,
And actions mark the man.
The little seconds soon pass by,
And leave our time the less;
And on these moments, as they fly,
Hang woe or happiness.
For, as the present hour is spent,
So must the future be;
Each action lives, in its effect,
Through all eternity.
The little sins and follies,
That lead the soul astray,
Leave stains, that tears of penitence,
May never wash away.
And little acts of charity,
And little deeds of love,
May make this world a paradise,
Like to that world above.
In the land of Huros, Rameses and Sesostris,
But in the time of the Latins and when ruddy Rome
Upraised in bronze and gold her wasted emperors,
This is the hour when the infinite penetrates the heart of man.
Like the elected orb of the great sacred haloes
With which the head of future saints should be encircled,
The moon in blossom smiles her ethereal dreams
In sidereal incense brushing against the holy land.
Far in the blue sands of the biblical desert,
Reclining in her secrecy and beatitude,
The Egyptian monster, with her half-open eye,
Gazes at eternity amid the solitude.
Not a breath in the night. But, at times, persistently,
The distant howling of an old beast that roams
And with long-drawn snuffling, turned horizonwards,
Scents the tragic exhalmations of Herod's great crime.
Margaret Atwood | |
Cruising these residential Sunday
streets in dry August sunlight:
what offends us is
the houses in pedantic rows, the planted
sanitary trees, assert
levelness of surface like a rebuke
to the dent in our car door.
No shouting here, or
shatter of glass; nothing more abrupt
than the rational whine of a power mower
cutting a straight swath in the discouraged grass.
But though the driveways neatly
by being even, the roofs all display
the same slant of avoidance to the hot sky,
the smell of spilled oil a faint
sickness lingering in the garages,
a splash of paint on brick surprising as a bruise,
a plastic hose poised in a vicious
coil; even the too-fixed stare of the wide windows
give momentary access to
the landscape behind or under
the future cracks in the plaster
when the houses, capsized, will slide
obliquely into the clay seas, gradual as glaciers
that right now nobody notices.
That is where the City Planners
with the insane faces of political conspirators
are scattered over unsurveyed
territories, concealed from each other,
each in his own private blizzard;
guessing directions, they sketch
transitory lines rigid as wooden borders
on a wall in the white vanishing air
tracing the panic of suburb
order in a bland madness of snows
Erin Belieu | |
upholstered in gift-wrap fabric, chromed
in places, design possibility
for the future canned ham.
wonderful, circa I993.
I've assumed a great many things:
the perversity of choices, affairs
I did or did not have.
But let the record show
that I was happy.
O let the hideous chair
stand! For the Chinese apothecary
with his roots and fluids;
for Paoul at the bank;
for the young woman in Bailey's Drug,
expert on henna; and Warren Beatty,
tough, sleek stray.
For Fluff and Flo,
drunk at noon, and the Am Vets lady
reading her Vogue, the cholos
on the corner where the 57 bus comes by,
for their gratifying, cool appraisal
and courtly manner when I pass.
Let the seat be comfortable
but let the chair be hideous
and stand against the correct,
hygienic, completely proper
subdued in taxidermied elegance.
Let me have in any future
some hideous thing to love,
here Boston, MA, 8 Farrington Ave.
William Cullen Bryant | |
Love's worshippers alone can know
The thousand mysteries that are his;
His blazing torch, his twanging bow,
His blooming age are mysteries.
A charming science--but the day
Were all too short to con it o'er;
So take of me this little lay,
A sample of its boundless lore.
As once, beneath the fragrant shade
Of myrtles breathing heaven's own air,
The children, Love and Folly, played--
A quarrel rose betwixt the pair.
Love said the gods should do him right--
But Folly vowed to do it then,
And struck him, o'er the orbs of sight,
So hard, he never saw again.
His lovely mother's grief was deep,
She called for vengeance on the deed;
A beauty does not vainly weep,
Nor coldly does a mother plead.
A shade came o'er the eternal bliss
That fills the dwellers of the skies;
Even stony-hearted Nemesis,
And Rhadamanthus, wiped their eyes.
"Behold," she said, "this lovely boy,"
While streamed afresh her graceful tears,
"Immortal, yet shut out from joy
And sunshine, all his future years.
The child can never take, you see,
A single step without a staff--
The harshest punishment would be
Too lenient for the crime by half.
All said that Love had suffered wrong,
And well that wrong should be repaid;
Then weighed the public interest long,
And long the party's interest weighed.
And thus decreed the court above--
"Since Love is blind from Folly's blow,
Let Folly be the guide of Love,
Where'er the boy may choose to go.
W S Merwin | |
In a dream I returned to the river of bees
Five orange trees by the bridge and
Beside two mills my house
Into whose courtyard a blind man followed
The goats and stood singing
Of what was older
Soon it will be fifteen years
He was old he will have fallen into his eyes
I took my eyes
A long way to the calenders
Room after room asking how shall I live
One of the ends is made of streets
One man processions carry through it
Empty bottles their
Images of hope
It was offered to me by name
Once once and once
In the same city I was born
Asking what shall I say
He will have fallen into his mouth
Men think they are better than grass
I return to his voice rising like a forkful of hay
He was old he is not real nothing is real
Nor the noise of death drawing water
We are the echo of the future
On the door it says what to do to survive
But we were not born to survive
Only to live
W S Merwin | |
Now that we are sinding you to The End
That great god
That we who follow you invented forgiveness
And forgive nothing
I write as though you could understand
And I could say it
One must always pretend something
Among the dying
When you have left the seas nodding on their stalks
Empty of you
Tell him that we were made
On another day
The bewilderment will diminish like an echo
Winding along your inner mountains
Unheard by us
And find its way out
Leaving behind it the future
When you will not see again
The whale calves trying the light
Consider what you will find in the black garden
And its court
The sea cows the Great Auks the gorillas
The irreplaceable hosts ranged countless
And fore-ordaining as stars
Join your work to theirs
That it is we who are important
John Greenleaf Whittier | |
I write my name as one,
On sands by waves o'errun
Or winter's frosted pane,
Traces a record vain.
Oblivion's blankness claims
Wiser and better names,
And well my own may pass
As from the strand or glass.
Wash on, O waves of time!
Melt, noons, the frosty rime!
Welcome the shadow vast,
The silence that shall last!
When I and all who know
And love me vanish so,
What harm to them or me
Will the lost memory be?
If any words of mine,
Through right of life divine,
Remain, what matters it
Whose hand the message writ?
Why should the "crowner's quest"
Sit on my worst or best?
Why should the showman claim
The poor ghost of my name?
Yet, as when dies a sound
Its spectre lingers round,
Haply my spent life will
Leave some faint echo still.
A whisper giving breath
Of praise or blame to death,
Soothing or saddening such
As loved the living much.
Therefore with yearnings vain
And fond I still would fain
A kindly judgment seek,
A tender thought bespeak.
And, while my words are read,
Let this at least be said:
"Whate'er his life's defeatures,
He loved his fellow-creatures.
"If, of the Law's stone table,
To hold he scarce was able
The first great precept fast,
He kept for man the last.
"Through mortal lapse and dulness
What lacks the Eternal Fulness,
If still our weakness can
Love Him in loving man?
"Age brought him no despairing
Of the world's future faring;
In human nature still
He found more good than ill.
"To all who dumbly suffered,
His tongue and pen he offered;
His life was not his own,
Nor lived for self alone.
"Hater of din and riot
He lived in days unquiet;
And, lover of all beauty,
Trod the hard ways of duty.
"He meant no wrong to any
He sought the good of many,
Yet knew both sin and folly, --
May God forgive him wholly!"
Taja Kramberger | |
My dear students,
little pigeons from the Forja factory in Buenos Aires.
The institution we built together has become
a hangar for hanging pieces of discounted meat.
Go out into the world with bright faces –
leave the twilight of ignorance and dullness, you have experienced all
that is necessary to understand the meaning
and responsibility of the creative person in the world.
Göttingen 1937, Tlatelolco 1968, Koper 2010.
Important burnt-out sites of hopes and comprehensions,
the only worthy investments in the future.
Nothing can excuse the actions of madness,
what is left after is merely the disinfectant
smell of crime and some newly
Beware of them! The smiles
on their faces
are veils of death.
© Taja Kramberger, Z roba klifa / From the Edge of a Cliff, CSK, Ljubljana, 2011
© Translation by Špela Drnovšek Zorko, 2012
Edna St Vincent Millay | |
Sweet love, sweet thorn, when lightly to my heart
I took your thrust, whereby I since am slain,
And lie disheveled in the grass apart,
A sodden thing bedrenched by tears and rain,
While rainy evening drips to misty night,
And misty night to cloudy morning clears,
And clouds disperse across the gathering light,
And birds grow noisy, and the sun appears
Had I bethought me then, sweet love, sweet thorn,
How sharp an anguish even at the best,
When all's requited and the future sworn,
The happy Hour can leave within the breast,
I had not so come running at the call
Of one whoe loves me little, if at all.
Edna St Vincent Millay | |
And do you think that love itself,
Living in such an ugly house,
Can prosper long?
We meet and part;
Our talk is all of heres and nows,
Our conduct likewise; in no act
Is any future, any past;
Under our sly, unspoken pact,
I KNOW with whom I saw you last,
But I say nothing; and you know
At six-fifteen to whom I go—
Can even love be treated so?
I KNOW, but I do not insist,
Having stealth and tact, thought not enough,
What hour your eye is on your wrist.
No wild appeal, no mild rebuff
Deflates the hour, leaves the wine flat—
Yet if YOU drop the picked-up book
To intercept my clockward look—
Tell me, can love go on like that?
Even the bored, insulted heart,
That signed so long and tight a lease,
Can BREAK it CONTRACT, slump in peace.
Petrarch | |
L' avara Babilonia ha colmo 'l sacco.
HE PREDICTS TO ROME THE ARRIVAL OF SOME GREAT PERSONAGE WHO WILL BRING HER BACK TO HER OLD VIRTUE.
Covetous Babylon of wrath divine
By its worst crimes has drain'd the full cup now,
And for its future Gods to whom to bow
Not Pow'r nor Wisdom ta'en, but Love and Wine.
Though hoping reason, I consume and pine,
Yet shall her crown deck some new Soldan's brow,
Who shall again build up, and we avow
One faith in God, in Rome one head and shrine.
Her idols shall be shatter'd, in the dust
Her proud towers, enemies of Heaven, be hurl'd,
Her wardens into flames and exile thrust,
Fair souls and friends of virtue shall the world
Possess in peace; and we shall see it made
All gold, and fully its old works display'd.
Petrarch | |
In mezzo di duo amanti onesta altera.
LAURA TURNING TO SALUTE HIM, THE SUN, THROUGH JEALOUSY, WITHDREW BEHIND A CLOUD.
'Tween two fond lovers I a lady spied,
Virtuous but haughty, and with her that lord,
By gods above and men below adored—
The sun on this, myself upon that side—
Soon as she found herself the sphere denied
Of her bright friend, on my fond eyes she pour'd
A flood of life and joy, which hope restored
Less cold to me will be her future pride.
Suddenly changed itself to cordial mirth
The jealous fear to which at his first sight
So high a rival in my heart gave birth;
As suddenly his sad and rueful plight
[Pg 107]From further scrutiny a small cloud veil'd,
So much it ruffled him that then he fail'd.
Petrarch | |
Quella per cui con Sorga ho cangiat' Arno.
HE ATTEMPTS TO PAINT HER BEAUTIES, BUT NOT HER VIRTUES.
She, for whose sake fair Arno I resign,
And for free poverty court-affluence spurn,
Has known to sour the precious sweets to turn
On which I lived, for which I burn and pine.
Though since, the vain attempt has oft been mine
That future ages from my song should learn
Her heavenly beauties, and like me should burn,
My poor verse fails her sweet face to define.
The gifts, though all her own, which others share,
Which were but stars her bright sky scatter'd o'er,
Haply of these to sing e'en I might dare;
But when to the diviner part I soar,
[Pg 266]To the dull world a brief and brilliant light,
Courage and wit and art are baffled quite.