Edgar Allan Poe | |
It was many and many a year ago
In a kingdom by the sea
That a maiden there lived whom you may know
By the name of ANNABEL LEE;
And this maiden she lived with no other thought
Than to love and be loved by me.
I was a child and she was a child
In this kingdom by the sea;
But we loved with a love that was more than love-
I and my Annabel Lee;
With a love that the winged seraphs of heaven
Coveted her and me.
And this was the reason that long ago
In this kingdom by the sea
A wind blew out of a cloud chilling
My beautiful Annabel Lee;
So that her highborn kinsman came
And bore her away from me
To shut her up in a sepulchre
In this kingdom by the sea.
The angels not half so happy in heaven
Went envying her and me-
Yes!- that was the reason (as all men know
In this kingdom by the sea)
That the wind came out of the cloud by night
Chilling and killing my Annabel Lee.
But our love it was stronger by far than the love
Of those who were older than we-
Of many far wiser than we-
And neither the angels in heaven above
Nor the demons down under the sea
Can ever dissever my soul from the soul
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee.
For the moon never beams without bringing me dreams
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And the stars never rise but I feel the bright eyes
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And so all the night-tide I lie down by the side
Of my darling- my darling- my life and my bride
In the sepulchre there by the sea
In her tomb by the sounding sea.
Fleda Brown | |
Sometimes I feel her easing further into her grave,
resigned, as always, and I have to come to her rescue.
Like now, when I have so much else to do.
she'd want a poem.
She would have been proud, of course,
of all its mystery, involving her, but scared a little.
Her eyes would have filled with tears.
It always comes
to that, I don't know why I bother.
and she's gone down a well of raw feeling, and I'm left
I avert my eyes, to keep from scaring her.
On her dresser is one of those old glass bottles
of Jergen's Lotion with the black label, a little round
bottle of Mum deodorant, a white plastic tray
with Avon necklaces and earrings, pennies, paper clips,
and a large black coat button.
I appear to be very
interested in these objects, even interested in the sun
through the blinds.
It falls across her face, and not,
as she changes the bed.
She would rather have clean sheets
than my poem, but as long as I don't bother her, she's glad
to know I care.
She's talked my father into taking
a drive later, stopping for an A & W root beer.
She is dreaming of foam on the glass, the tray propped
on the car window.
And trees, farmhouses, the expanse
of the world as seen from inside the car.
It is no
use to try to get her out to watch airplanes
take off, or walk a trail, or hear this poem
and offer anything more than "Isn't that sweet!"
Right now bombs are exploding in Kosovo, students
shot in Colorado, and my mother is wearing a root beer
Her eyes are unfocused, everything's root beer.
I write root beer, root beer, to make her happy.
from Breathing In, Breathing Out, Anhinga Press, 2002
© 2000, Fleda Brown
(first published in The Southern Review, 36 )
Alfred Lord Tennyson | |
Tears, idle tears, I know not what they mean,
Tears from the depth of some divine despair
Rise in the heart, and gather to the eyes,
In looking on the happy Autumn-fields,
And thinking of the days that are no more.
Fresh as the first beam glittering on a sail,
That brings our friends up from the underworld,
Sad as the last which reddens over one
That sinks with all we love below the verge;
So sad, so fresh, the days that are no more.
Ah, sad and strange as in dark summer dawns
The earliest pipe of half-awakened birds
To dying ears, when unto dying eyes
The casement slowly grows a glimmering square;
So sad, so strange, the days that are no more.
Dear as remembered kisses after death,
And sweet as those by hopeless fancy feigned
On lips that are for others; deep as love,
Deep as first love, and wild with all regret;
O Death in Life, the days that are no more!
More great poems below...
Alexander Pope | |
How happy he, who free from care
The rage of courts, and noise of towns;
Contented breathes his native air,
In his own grounds.
Whose herds with milk, whose fields with bread,
Whose flocks supply him with attire,
Whose trees in summer yield him shade,
In winter fire.
Blest! who can unconcern'dly find
Hours, days, and years slide swift away,
In health of body, peace of mind,
Quiet by day,
Sound sleep by night; study and ease
Together mix'd; sweet recreation,
And innocence, which most does please,
Thus let me live, unheard, unknown;
Thus unlamented let me die;
Steal from the world, and not a stone
Tell where I lie.
Thomas Hardy | |
I leant upon a coppice gate
When Frost was spectre-gray,
And Winter's dregs made desolate
The weakening eye of day.
The tangled bine-stems scored the sky
Like strings of broken lyres,
And all mankind that haunted nigh
Had sought their household fires.
The land's sharp features seemed to be
The Century's corpse outleant,
His crypt the cloudy canopy,
The wind his death-lament.
The ancient pulse of germ and birth
Was shrunken hard and dry,
And every spirit upon earth
Seemed fevourless as I.
At once a voice arose among
The bleak twigs overhead
In a full-hearted evensong
Of joy illimited;
An aged thrush, frail, gaunt, and small,
In blast-beruffled plume,
Had chosen thus to fling his soul
Upon the growing gloom.
So little cause for carolings
Of such ecstatic sound
Was written on terrestrial things
Afar or nigh around,
That I could think there trembled through
His happy good-night air
Some blessed Hope, whereof he knew
And I was unaware.
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.
Emily Dickinson | |
"Going to him! Happy letter! Tell him--
Tell him the page I didn't write;
Tell him I only said the syntax,
And left the verb and the pronoun out.
Tell him just how the fingers hurried
Then how they waded, slow, slow, slow-
And then you wished you had eyes in your pages,
So you could see what moved them so.
"Tell him it wasn't a practised writer,
You guessed, from the way the sentence toiled;
You could hear the bodice tug, behind you,
As if it held but the might of a child;
You almost pitied it, you, it worked so.
Tell him--No, you may quibble there,
For it would split his heart to know it,
And then you and I were silenter.
"Tell him night finished before we finished
And the old clock kept neighing 'day!'
And you got sleepy and begged to be ended--
What could it hinder so, to say?
Tell him just how she sealed you, cautious
But if he ask where you are hid
Until to-morrow,--happy letter!
Gesture, coquette, and shake your head!"
John Donne | |
DEAR love for nothing less than thee
Would I have broke this happy dream;
It was a theme
For reason much too strong for fantasy.
Therefore thou waked'st me wisely; yet 5
My dream thou brok'st not but continued'st it.
Thou art so true that thoughts of thee suffice
To make dreams truths and fables histories;
Enter these arms for since thou thought'st it best
Not to dream all my dream let 's act the rest.
As lightning or a taper's light
Thine eyes and not thy noise waked me;
Yet I thought thee¡ª
For thou lov'st truth¡ªan angel at first sight;
But when I saw thou saw'st my heart 15
And knew'st my thoughts beyond an angel's art
When thou knew'st what I dreamt when thou knew'st when
Excess of joy would wake me and cam'st then
I must confess it could not choose but be
Profane to think thee anything but thee.
Coming and staying show'd thee thee
But rising makes me doubt that now
Thou art not thou.
That Love is weak where Fear 's as strong as he;
'Tis not all spirit pure and brave 25
If mixture it of Fear Shame Honour have.
Perchance as torches which must ready be
Men light and put out so thou deal'st with me.
Thou cam'st to kindle go'st to come: then I
Will dream that hope again but else would die.
William Blake | |
THE sun descending in the west
The evening star does shine;
The birds are silent in their nest.
And I must seek for mine.
The moon like a flower 5
In heaven's high bower
With silent delight
Sits and smiles on the night.
Farewell green fields and happy grove
Where flocks have took delight: 10
Where lambs have nibbled silent move
The feet of angels bright;
Unseen they pour blessing
And joy without ceasing
On each bud and blossom 15
And each sleeping bosom.
They look in every thoughtless nest
Where birds are cover'd warm;
They visit caves of every beast
To keep them all from harm: 20
If they see any weeping
That should have been sleeping
They pour sleep on their head
And sit down by their bed.
When wolves and tigers howl for prey 25
They pitying stand and weep
Seeking to drive their thirst away
And keep them from the sheep.
But if they rush dreadful
The angels most heedful 30
Receive each mild spirit
New worlds to inherit.
And there the lion's ruddy eyes
Shall flow with tears of gold:
And pitying the tender cries 35
And walking round the fold:
Saying 'Wrath by His meekness
And by His health sickness
Are driven away
From our immortal day.
'And now beside thee bleating lamb
I can lie down and sleep
Or think on Him who bore thy name
Graze after thee and weep.
For wash'd in life's river 45
My bright mane for ever
Shall shine like the gold
As I guard o'er the fold.
Phillis Wheatley | |
While deep you mourn beneath the cypress-shade
The hand of Death, and your dear daughter laid
In dust, whose absence gives your tears to flow,
And racks your bosom with incessant woe,
Let Recollection take a tender part,
Assuage the raging tortures of your heart,
Still the wild tempest of tumultuous grief,
And pour the heav'nly nectar of relief:
Suspend the sigh, dear Sir, and check the groan,
Divinely bright your daughter's Virtues shone:
How free from scornful pride her gentle mind,
Which ne'er its aid to indigence declin'd!
Expanding free, it sought the means to prove
Unfailing charity, unbounded love!
She unreluctant flies to see no more
Her dear-lov'd parents on earth's dusky shore:
Impatient heav'n's resplendent goal to gain,
She with swift progress cuts the azure plain,
Where grief subsides, where changes are no more,
And life's tumultuous billows cease to roar;
She leaves her earthly mansion for the skies,
Where new creations feast her wond'ring eyes.
To heav'n's high mandate cheerfully resign'd
She mounts, and leaves the rolling globe behind;
She, who late wish'd that Leonard might return,
Has ceas'd to languish, and forgot to mourn;
To the same high empyreal mansions come,
She joins her spouse, and smiles upon the tomb:
And thus I hear her from the realms above:
"Lo! this the kingdom of celestial love!
"Could ye, fond parents, see our present bliss,
"How soon would you each sigh, each fear dismiss?
"Amidst unutter'd pleasures whilst I play
"In the fair sunshine of celestial day,
"As far as grief affects an happy soul
"So far doth grief my better mind controul,
"To see on earth my aged parents mourn,
"And secret wish for T-----! to return:
"Let brighter scenes your ev'ning-hours employ:
"Converse with heav'n, and taste the promis'd joy"
Elizabeth Barrett Browning | |
ALL are not taken; there are left behind
Living Belov¨¨ds tender looks to bring
And make the daylight still a happy thing
And tender voices to make soft the wind:
But if it were not so¡ªif I could find 5
No love in all this world for comforting
Nor any path but hollowly did ring
Where 'dust to dust' the love from life disjoin'd;
And if before those sepulchres unmoving
I stood alone (as some forsaken lamb 10
Goes bleating up the moors in weary dearth)
Crying 'Where are ye O my loved and loving?'¡ª
I know a voice would sound 'Daughter I AM.
Can I suffice for Heaven and not for earth?'
William Blake | |
PIPING down the valleys wild
Piping songs of pleasant glee
On a cloud I saw a child
And he laughing said to me:
'Pipe a song about a Lamb!' 5
So I piped with merry cheer.
'Piper pipe that song again;'
So I piped: he wept to hear.
'Drop thy pipe thy happy pipe;
Sing thy songs of happy cheer!' 10
So I sung the same again
While he wept with joy to hear.
'Piper sit thee down and write
In a book that all may read.
So he vanish'd from my sight; 15
And I pluck'd a hollow reed
And I made a rural pen
And I stain'd the water clear
And I wrote my happy songs
Every child may joy to hear.
John Keats | |
IN a drear-nighted December
Too happy happy tree
Thy branches ne'er remember
Their green felicity:
The north cannot undo them 5
With a sleety whistle through them;
Nor frozen thawings glue them
From budding at the prime.
In a drear-nighted December
Too happy happy brook 10
Thy bubblings ne'er remember
Apollo's summer look;
But with a sweet forgetting
They stay their crystal fretting
Never never petting 15
About the frozen time.
Ah! would 'twere so with many
A gentle girl and boy!
But were there ever any
Writhed not at pass¨¨d joy? 20
To know the change and feel it
When there is none to heal it
Nor numb¨¨d sense to steal it
Was never said in rhyme.
Phillis Wheatley | |
From dark abodes to fair etherial light
Th' enraptur'd innocent has wing'd her flight;
On the kind bosom of eternal love
She finds unknown beatitude above.
This known, ye parents, nor her loss deplore,
She feels the iron hand of pain no more;
The dispensations of unerring grace,
Should turn your sorrows into grateful praise;
Let then no tears for her henceforward flow,
No more distress'd in our dark vale below,
Her morning sun, which rose divinely bright,
Was quickly mantled with the gloom of night;
But hear in heav'n's blest bow'rs your Nancy fair,
And learn to imitate her language there.
"Thou, Lord, whom I behold with glory crown'd,
"By what sweet name, and in what tuneful sound
"Wilt thou be prais'd? Seraphic pow'rs are faint
"Infinite love and majesty to paint.
"To thee let all their graceful voices raise,
"And saints and angels join their songs of praise.
Perfect in bliss she from her heav'nly home
Looks down, and smiling beckons you to come;
Why then, fond parents, why these fruitless groans?
Restrain your tears, and cease your plaintive moans.
Freed from a world of sin, and snares, and pain,
Why would you wish your daughter back again?
Let hope your grief control,
And check the rising tumult of the soul.
Calm in the prosperous, and adverse day,
Adore the God who gives and takes away;
Eye him in all, his holy name revere,
Upright your actions, and your hearts sincere,
Till having sail'd through life's tempestuous sea,
And from its rocks, and boist'rous billows free,
Yourselves, safe landed on the blissful shore,
Shall join your happy babe to part no more.
Emily Dickinson | |
God gave a loaf to every bird,
But just a crumb to me;
I dare not eat it, though I starve,--
My poignant luxury
To own it, touch it, prove the feat
That made the pellet mine,--
Too happy in my sparrow chance
For ampler coveting.
It might be famine all around,
I could not miss an ear,
Such plenty smiles upon my board,
My garner shows so fair.
I wonder how the rich may feel,--
An Indiaman--an Earl?
I deem that I with but a crumb
Am sovereign of them all.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow | |
THE SHADES of night were falling fast
As through an Alpine village passed
A youth who bore 'mid snow and ice
A banner with the strange device
His brow was sad; his eye beneath
Flashed like a falchion from its sheath
And like a silver clarion rung
The accents of that unknown tongue
In happy homes he saw the light
Of household fires gleam warm and bright;
Above the spectral glaciers shone
And from his lips escaped a groan
Try not the Pass! the old man said;
Dark lowers the tempest overhead,
The roaring torrent is deep and wide!
And loud that clarion voice replied
Oh, stay, the maiden said and rest
Thy weary head upon this breast!
A tear stood in his bright blue eye
But still he answered with a sigh
Beware the pine-tree's withered branch!
Beware the awful avalanche!
This was the peasant's last Good-night
A voice replied far up the height
At break of day as heavenward
The pious monks of Saint Bernard
Uttered the oft-repeated prayer
A voice cried through the startled air
A traveller by the faithful hound
Half-buried in the snow was found
Still grasping in his hand of ice
That banner with the strange device
There in the twilight cold and gray
Lifeless but beautiful he lay
And from the sky serene and far
A voice fell like a falling star
Alfred Lord Tennyson | |
COME down, O maid, from yonder mountain height:
What pleasure lives in height (the shepherd sang),
In height and cold, the splendour of the hills?
But cease to move so near the Heavens, and cease
To glide a sunbeam by the blasted Pine, 5
To sit a star upon the sparkling spire;
And come, for Love is of the valley, come,
For Love is of the valley, come thou down
And find him; by the happy threshold, he,
Or hand in hand with Plenty in the maize, 10
Or red with spirted purple of the vats,
Or foxlike in the vine; nor cares to walk
With Death and Morning on the silver horns,
Nor wilt thou snare him in the white ravine,
Nor find him dropt upon the firths of ice, 15
That huddling slant in furrow-cloven falls
To roll the torrent out of dusky doors:
But follow; let the torrent dance thee down
To find him in the valley; let the wild
Lean-headed Eagles yelp alone, and leave 20
The monstrous ledges there to slope, and spill
Their thousand wreaths of dangling water-smoke,
That like a broken purpose waste in air:
So waste not thou; but come; for all the vales
Await thee; azure pillars of the hearth 25
Arise to thee; the children call, and I
Thy shepherd pipe, and sweet is every sound,
Sweeter thy voice, but every sound is sweet;
Myriads of rivulets hurrying thro' the lawn,
The moan of doves in immemorial elms, 30
And murmuring of innumerable bees.
Wang Wei | |
In a happy reign there should be no hermits;
The wise and able should consult together.
So you, a man of the eastern mountains,
Gave up your life of picking herbs
And came all the way to the Gate of Gold --
But you found your devotion unavailing.
To spend the Day of No Fire on one of the southern rivers,
You have mended your spring clothes here in these northern cities.
I pour you the farewell wine as you set out from the capital --
Soon I shall be left behind here by my bosomfriend.
In your sail-boat of sweet cinnamon-wood
You will float again toward your own thatch door,
Led along by distant trees
To a sunset shining on a far-away town.
What though your purpose happened to fail,
Doubt not that some of us can hear high music.
I send nor balms nor cor'sives to your wound:
Your fate hath found
A gentler and more agile hand to tend
The cure of that which is but corporal; 5
And doubtful days which were named critical
Have made their fairest flight
And now are out of sight.
Yet doth some wholesome physic for the mind
Wrapp'd in this paper lie 10
Which in the taking if you misapply
You are unkind.
Your covetous hand
Happy in that fair honour it hath gain'd
Must now be rein'd.
True valour doth her own renown command
In one full action; nor have you now more
To do than be a husband of that store.
Think but how dear you bought
This fame which you have caught: 20
Such thoughts will make you more in love with truth.
'Tis wisdom and that high
For men to use their fortune reverently
Even in youth.
William Cullen Bryant | |
LET me move slowly through the street
Filled with an ever-shifting train
Amid the sound of steps that beat
The murmuring walks like autumn rain.
How fast the flitting figures come! 5
The mild the fierce the stony face;
Some bright with thoughtless smiles and some
Where secret tears have left their trace.
They pass¡ªto toil to strife to rest;
To halls in which the feast is spread; 10
To chambers where the funeral guest
In silence sits beside the dead.
And some to happy homes repair
Where children pressing cheek to cheek
With mute caresses shall declare 15
The tenderness they cannot speak.
And some who walk in calmness here
Shall shudder as they reach the door
Where one who made their dwelling dear
Its flower its light is seen no more.
Youth with pale cheek and slender frame
And dreams of greatness in thine eye!
Go'st thou to build an early name
Or early in the task to die?
Keen son of trade with eager brow! 25
Who is now fluttering in thy snare?
Thy golden fortunes tower they now
Or melt the glittering spires in air?
Who of this crowd to-night shall tread
The dance till daylight gleam again? 30
Who sorrow o'er the untimely dead?
Who writhe in throes of mortal pain?
Some famine-struck shall think how long
The cold dark hours how slow the light;
And some who flaunt amid the throng 35
Shall hide in dens of shame to-night.
Each where his tasks or pleasures call
They pass and heed each other not.
There is who heeds who holds them all
In His large love and boundless thought.
These struggling tides of life that seem
In wayward aimless course to tend
Are eddies of the mighty stream
That rolls to its appointed end.
Galway Kinnell | |
We walk across the snow,
The stars can be faint,
The moon can be eating itself out,
There can be meteors flaring to death on earth,
The Northern Lights can be blooming and seething
And tearing themselves apart all night,
We walk arm in arm, and we are happy.
You in whose ultimate madness we live,
You flinging yourself out into the emptiness,
You - like us - great an instant,
O only universe we know, forgive us.
Sappho | |
I have not had one word from her
Frankly I wish I were dead
When she left she wept
a great deal; she said to me This parting must be
endured, Sappho. I go unwillingly.
I said Go, and be happy
but remember (you know
well) whom you leave shackled by love
If you forget me think
of our gifts to Aphrodite
and all the loveliness that we shared
all the violet tiaras,
braided rosebuds, dill and
crocus twined around your young neck
myrrh poured on your head
and on soft mats girls with
all that they most wished for beside them
while no voices chanted
choruses without ours,
no woodlot bloomed in spring without song...
--Translated by Mary Barnard
Sara Teasdale | |
There never was a mood of mine,
Gay or heart-broken, luminous or dull,
But you could ease me of its fever
And give it back to me more beutiful.
In many another soul I broke the bread,
And drank the wine and played the happy guest,
But I was lonely, I remembered you;
The heart belong to him who knew it best.
Sara Teasdale | |
Perhaps if Death is kind, and there can be returning,
We will come back to earth some fragrant night,
And take these lanes to find the sea, and bending
Breathe the same honeysuckle, low and white.
We will come down at night to these resounding beaches
And the long gentle thunder of the sea,
Here for a single hour in the wide starlight
We shall be happy, for the dead are free.
The Bible | |
“Do not enter into judgment with your servant;
For before you no one alive can be righteous.
“O Jehovah, do not in your indignation reprove me,
Nor in your rage correct me.
For your own arrows have sunk themselves deep into me,
And upon me your hand is come down.
There is no sound spot in my flesh because of your denunciation.
There is no peace in my bones on account of my sin.
For my own errors have passed over my head;
Like a heavy load they are too heavy for me.
My wounds have become stinky, they have festered,
Because of my foolishness.
I have become disconcerted, I have bowed low to an extreme degree;
All day long I have walked about sad.
“Look! With error I was brought forth with birth pains,
And in sin my mother conceived me.
“May you purify me from sin with hyssop, that I may be clean;
May you wash me, that I may become whiter even than snow.
“Conceal your face from my sins,
And wipe out even all my errors.
51:5, 7, 9.
“Happy is the one whose revolt is pardoned, whose sin is covered.
Happy is the man to whose account Jehovah does not put error,
And in whose spirit there is no deceit.
My sin I finally confessed to you, and my error I did not cover.
I said: ‘I shall make confession over my transgressions to Jehovah.
And you yourself pardoned the error of my sins.