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Best Famous Holiday Poems

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

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Written by Oscar Wilde | Create an image from this poem

Hélas

To drift with every passion till my soul
Is a stringed lute on which all winds can play,
Is it for this that I have given away
Mine ancient wisdom, and austere control?
Methinks my life is a twice-written scroll
Scrawled over on some boyish holiday
With idle songs for pipe and virelay,
Which do but mar the secret of the whole.
Surely there was a time I might have trod The sunlit heights, and from life's dissonance Struck one clear chord to reach the ears of God.
Is that time dead? lo! with a little rod I did but touch the honey of romance— And must I lose a soul's inheritance?
Written by Lewis Carroll | Create an image from this poem

Acrostic

 Little maidens, when you look 
On this little story-book, 
Reading with attentive eye 
Its enticing history, 
Never think that hours of play 
Are your only HOLIDAY, 
And that in a HOUSE of joy 
Lessons serve but to annoy: 
If in any HOUSE you find 
Children of a gentle mind, 
Each the others pleasing ever-- 
Each the others vexing never-- 
Daily work and pastime daily 
In their order taking gaily-- 
Then be very sure that they 
Have a life of HOLIDAY.
Written by Walt Whitman | Create an image from this poem

A Carol of Harvest for 1867

 1
A SONG of the good green grass! 
A song no more of the city streets; 
A song of farms—a song of the soil of fields.
A song with the smell of sun-dried hay, where the nimble pitchers handle the pitch-fork; A song tasting of new wheat, and of fresh-husk’d maize.
2 For the lands, and for these passionate days, and for myself, Now I awhile return to thee, O soil of Autumn fields, Reclining on thy breast, giving myself to thee, Answering the pulses of thy sane and equable heart, Tuning a verse for thee.
O Earth, that hast no voice, confide to me a voice! O harvest of my lands! O boundless summer growths! O lavish, brown, parturient earth! O infinite, teeming womb! A verse to seek, to see, to narrate thee.
3 Ever upon this stage, Is acted God’s calm, annual drama, Gorgeous processions, songs of birds, Sunrise, that fullest feeds and freshens most the soul, The heaving sea, the waves upon the shore, the musical, strong waves, The woods, the stalwart trees, the slender, tapering trees, The flowers, the grass, the lilliput, countless armies of the grass, The heat, the showers, the measureless pasturages, The scenery of the snows, the winds’ free orchestra, The stretching, light-hung roof of clouds—the clear cerulean, and the bulging, silvery fringes, The high dilating stars, the placid, beckoning stars, The moving flocks and herds, the plains and emerald meadows, The shows of all the varied lands, and all the growths and products.
4 Fecund America! To-day, Thou art all over set in births and joys! Thou groan’st with riches! thy wealth clothes thee as with a swathing garment! Thou laughest loud with ache of great possessions! A myriad-twining life, like interlacing vines, binds all thy vast demesne! As some huge ship, freighted to water’s edge, thou ridest into port! As rain falls from the heaven, and vapors rise from earth, so have the precious values fallen upon thee, and risen out of thee! Thou envy of the globe! thou miracle! Thou, bathed, choked, swimming in plenty! Thou lucky Mistress of the tranquil barns! Thou Prairie Dame that sittest in the middle, and lookest out upon thy world, and lookest East, and lookest West! Dispensatress, that by a word givest a thousand miles—that giv’st a million farms, and missest nothing! Thou All-Acceptress—thou Hospitable—(thou only art hospitable, as God is hospitable.
) 5 When late I sang, sad was my voice; Sad were the shows around me, with deafening noises of hatred, and smoke of conflict; In the midst of the armies, the Heroes, I stood, Or pass’d with slow step through the wounded and dying.
But now I sing not War, Nor the measur’d march of soldiers, nor the tents of camps, Nor the regiments hastily coming up, deploying in line of battle.
No more the dead and wounded; No more the sad, unnatural shows of War.
Ask’d room those flush’d immortal ranks? the first forth-stepping armies? Ask room, alas, the ghastly ranks—the armies dread that follow’d.
6 (Pass—pass, ye proud brigades! So handsome, dress’d in blue—with your tramping, sinewy legs; With your shoulders young and strong—with your knapsacks and your muskets; —How elate I stood and watch’d you, where, starting off, you march’d! Pass;—then rattle, drums, again! Scream, you steamers on the river, out of whistles loud and shrill, your salutes! For an army heaves in sight—O another gathering army! Swarming, trailing on the rear—O you dread, accruing army! O you regiments so piteous, with your mortal diarrhoea! with your fever! O my land’s maimed darlings! with the plenteous bloody bandage and the crutch! Lo! your pallid army follow’d!) 7 But on these days of brightness, On the far-stretching beauteous landscape, the roads and lanes, the high-piled farm-wagons, and the fruits and barns, Shall the dead intrude? Ah, the dead to me mar not—they fit well in Nature; They fit very well in the landscape, under the trees and grass, And along the edge of the sky, in the horizon’s far margin.
Nor do I forget you, departed; Nor in winter or summer, my lost ones; But most, in the open air, as now, when my soul is rapt and at peace—like pleasing phantoms, Your dear memories, rising, glide silently by me.
8 I saw the day, the return of the Heroes; (Yet the Heroes never surpass’d, shall never return; Them, that day, I saw not.
) I saw the interminable Corps—I saw the processions of armies, I saw them approaching, defiling by, with divisions, Streaming northward, their work done, camping awhile in clusters of mighty camps.
No holiday soldiers!—youthful, yet veterans; Worn, swart, handsome, strong, of the stock of homestead and workshop, Harden’d of many a long campaign and sweaty march, Inured on many a hard-fought, bloody field.
9 A pause—the armies wait; A million flush’d, embattled conquerors wait; The world, too, waits—then, soft as breaking night, and sure as dawn, They melt—they disappear.
Exult, indeed, O lands! victorious lands! Not there your victory, on those red, shuddering fields; But here and hence your victory.
Melt, melt away, ye armies! disperse, ye blue-clad soldiers! Resolve ye back again—give up, for good, your deadly arms; Other the arms, the fields henceforth for you, or South or North, or East or West, With saner wars—sweet wars—life-giving wars.
10 Loud, O my throat, and clear, O soul! The season of thanks, and the voice of full-yielding; The chant of joy and power for boundless fertility.
All till’d and untill’d fields expand before me; I see the true arenas of my race—or first, or last, Man’s innocent and strong arenas.
I see the Heroes at other toils; I see, well-wielded in their hands, the better weapons.
11 I see where America, Mother of All, Well-pleased, with full-spanning eye, gazes forth, dwells long, And counts the varied gathering of the products.
Busy the far, the sunlit panorama; Prairie, orchard, and yellow grain of the North, Cotton and rice of the South, and Louisianian cane; Open, unseeded fallows, rich fields of clover and timothy, Kine and horses feeding, and droves of sheep and swine, And many a stately river flowing, and many a jocund brook, And healthy uplands with their herby-perfumed breezes, And the good green grass—that delicate miracle, the ever-recurring grass.
12 Toil on, Heroes! harvest the products! Not alone on those warlike fields, the Mother of All, With dilated form and lambent eyes, watch’d you.
Toil on, Heroes! toil well! Handle the weapons well! The Mother of All—yet here, as ever, she watches you.
Well-pleased, America, thou beholdest, Over the fields of the West, those crawling monsters, The human-divine inventions, the labor-saving implements: Beholdest, moving in every direction, imbued as with life, the revolving hay-rakes, The steam-power reaping-machines, and the horse-power machines, The engines, thrashers of grain, and cleaners of grain, well separating the straw—the nimble work of the patent pitch-fork; Beholdest the newer saw-mill, the southern cotton-gin, and the rice-cleanser.
Beneath thy look, O Maternal, With these, and else, and with their own strong hands, the Heroes harvest.
All gather, and all harvest; (Yet but for thee, O Powerful! not a scythe might swing, as now, in security; Not a maize-stalk dangle, as now, its silken tassels in peace.
) 13 Under Thee only they harvest—even but a wisp of hay, under thy great face, only; Harvest the wheat of Ohio, Illinois, Wisconsin—every barbed spear, under thee; Harvest the maize of Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee—each ear in its light-green sheath, Gather the hay to its myriad mows, in the odorous, tranquil barns, Oats to their bins—the white potato, the buckwheat of Michigan, to theirs; Gather the cotton in Mississippi or Alabama—dig and hoard the golden, the sweet potato of Georgia and the Carolinas, Clip the wool of California or Pennsylvania, Cut the flax in the Middle States, or hemp, or tobacco in the Borders, Pick the pea and the bean, or pull apples from the trees, or bunches of grapes from the vines, Or aught that ripens in all These States, or North or South, Under the beaming sun, and under Thee.
Written by Gregory Corso | Create an image from this poem

Destiny

 1856 

Paris, from throats of iron, silver, brass, 
Joy-thundering cannon, blent with chiming bells, 
And martial strains, the full-voiced pæan swells.
The air is starred with flags, the chanted mass Throngs all the churches, yet the broad streets swarm With glad-eyed groups who chatter, laugh, and pass, In holiday confusion, class with class.
And over all the spring, the sun-floods warm! In the Imperial palace that March morn, The beautiful young mother lay and smiled; For by her side just breathed the Prince, her child, Heir to an empire, to the purple born, Crowned with the Titan's name that stirs the heart Like a blown clarion--one more Bonaparte.
1879 Born to the purple, lying stark and dead, Transfixed with poisoned spears, beneath the sun Of brazen Africa! Thy grave is one, Fore-fated youth (on whom were visited Follies and sins not thine), whereat the world, Heartless howe'er it be, will pause to sing A dirge, to breathe a sigh, a wreath to fling Of rosemary and rue with bay-leaves curled.
Enmeshed in toils ambitious, not thine own, Immortal, loved boy-Prince, thou tak'st thy stand With early doomed Don Carlos, hand in hand With mild-browed Arthur, Geoffrey's murdered son.
Louis the Dauphin lifts his thorn-ringed head, And welcomes thee, his brother, 'mongst the dead.
Written by Edna St Vincent Millay | Create an image from this poem

The Suicide

 "Curse thee, Life, I will live with thee no more!
Thou hast mocked me, starved me, beat my body sore!
And all for a pledge that was not pledged by me,
I have kissed thy crust and eaten sparingly
That I might eat again, and met thy sneers
With deprecations, and thy blows with tears,—
Aye, from thy glutted lash, glad, crawled away,
As if spent passion were a holiday!
And now I go.
Nor threat, nor easy vow Of tardy kindness can avail thee now With me, whence fear and faith alike are flown; Lonely I came, and I depart alone, And know not where nor unto whom I go; But that thou canst not follow me I know.
" Thus I to Life, and ceased; but through my brain My thought ran still, until I spake again: "Ah, but I go not as I came,—no trace Is mine to bear away of that old grace I brought! I have been heated in thy fires, Bent by thy hands, fashioned to thy desires, Thy mark is on me! I am not the same Nor ever more shall be, as when I came.
Ashes am I of all that once I seemed.
In me all's sunk that leapt, and all that dreamed Is wakeful for alarm,—oh, shame to thee, For the ill change that thou hast wrought in me, Who laugh no more nor lift my throat to sing Ah, Life, I would have been a pleasant thing To have about the house when I was grown If thou hadst left my little joys alone! I asked of thee no favor save this one: That thou wouldst leave me playing in the sun! And this thou didst deny, calling my name Insistently, until I rose and came.
I saw the sun no more.
—It were not well So long on these unpleasant thoughts to dwell, Need I arise to-morrow and renew Again my hated tasks, but I am through With all things save my thoughts and this one night, So that in truth I seem already quite Free,and remote from thee,—I feel no haste And no reluctance to depart; I taste Merely, with thoughtful mien, an unknown draught, That in a little while I shall have quaffed.
" Thus I to Life, and ceased, and slightly smiled, Looking at nothing; and my thin dreams filed Before me one by one till once again I set new words unto an old refrain: "Treasures thou hast that never have been mine! Warm lights in many a secret chamber shine Of thy gaunt house, and gusts of song have blown Like blossoms out to me that sat alone! And I have waited well for thee to show If any share were mine,—and now I go Nothing I leave, and if I naught attain I shall but come into mine own again!" Thus I to Life, and ceased, and spake no more, But turning, straightway, sought a certain door In the rear wall.
Heavy it was, and low And dark,—a way by which none e'er would go That other exit had, and never knock Was heard thereat,—bearing a curious lock Some chance had shown me fashioned faultily, Whereof Life held content the useless key, And great coarse hinges, thick and rough with rust, Whose sudden voice across a silence must, I knew, be harsh and horrible to hear,— A strange door, ugly like a dwarf.
—So near I came I felt upon my feet the chill Of acid wind creeping across the sill.
So stood longtime, till over me at last Came weariness, and all things other passed To make it room; the still night drifted deep Like snow about me, and I longed for sleep.
But, suddenly, marking the morning hour, Bayed the deep-throated bell within the tower! Startled, I raised my head,—and with a shout Laid hold upon the latch,—and was without.
* * * * Ah, long-forgotten, well-remembered road, Leading me back unto my old abode, My father's house! There in the night I came, And found them feasting, and all things the same As they had been before.
A splendour hung Upon the walls, and such sweet songs were sung As, echoing out of very long ago, Had called me from the house of Life, I know.
So fair their raiment shone I looked in shame On the unlovely garb in which I came; Then straightway at my hesitancy mocked: "It is my father's house!" I said and knocked; And the door opened.
To the shining crowd Tattered and dark I entered, like a cloud, Seeing no face but his; to him I crept, And "Father!" I cried, and clasped his knees, and wept.
* * * * Ah, days of joy that followed! All alone I wandered through the house.
My own, my own, My own to touch, my own to taste and smell, All I had lacked so long and loved so well! None shook me out of sleep, nor hushed my song, Nor called me in from the sunlight all day long.
I know not when the wonder came to me Of what my father's business might be, And whither fared and on what errands bent The tall and gracious messengers he sent.
Yet one day with no song from dawn till night Wondering, I sat, and watched them out of sight.
And the next day I called; and on the third Asked them if I might go,—but no one heard.
Then, sick with longing, I arose at last And went unto my father,—in that vast Chamber wherein he for so many years Has sat, surrounded by his charts and spheres.
"Father," I said, "Father, I cannot play The harp that thou didst give me, and all day I sit in idleness, while to and fro About me thy serene, grave servants go; And I am weary of my lonely ease.
Better a perilous journey overseas Away from thee, than this, the life I lead, To sit all day in the sunshine like a weed That grows to naught,—I love thee more than they Who serve thee most; yet serve thee in no way.
Father, I beg of thee a little task To dignify my days,—'tis all I ask Forever, but forever, this denied, I perish.
" "Child," my father's voice replied, "All things thy fancy hath desired of me Thou hast received.
I have prepared for thee Within my house a spacious chamber, where Are delicate things to handle and to wear, And all these things are thine.
Dost thou love song? My minstrels shall attend thee all day long.
Or sigh for flowers? My fairest gardens stand Open as fields to thee on every hand.
And all thy days this word shall hold the same: No pleasure shalt thou lack that thou shalt name.
But as for tasks—" he smiled, and shook his head; "Thou hadst thy task, and laidst it by," he said.
Written by Andrew Barton Paterson | Create an image from this poem

Old Schooldays

 Awake, of Muse, the echoes of a day 
Long past, the ghosts of mem'ries manifold -- 
Youth's memories that once were green and gold 
But now, alas, are grim and ashen grey.
The drowsy schoolboy wakened up from sleep, First stays his system with substantial food, Then off for school with tasks half understood, Alas, alas, that cribs should be so cheap! The journey down to town -- 'twere long to tell The storm and riot of the rabble rout; The wild Walpurgis revel in and out That made the ferry boat a floating hell.
What time the captive locusts fairly roared: And bulldog ants, made stingless with a knife, Climbed up the seats and scared the very life From timid folk, who near jumped overboard.
The hours of lessons -- hours with feet of clay Each hour a day, each day more like a week: While hapless urchins heard with blanched cheek The words of doom "Come in on Saturday".
The master gowned and spectacled, precise, Trying to rule by methods firm and kind But always just a little bit behind The latest villainy, the last device, Born of some smoothfaced urchin's fertile brain To irritate the hapless pedagogue, And first involve him in a mental fog Then "have" him with the same old tale again.
The "bogus" fight that brought the sergeant down To that dark corner by the old brick wall, Where mimic combat and theatric brawl Made noise enough to terrify the town.
But on wet days the fray was genuine, When small boys pushed each other in the mud And fought in silence till thin streams of blood Their dirty faces would incarnadine.
The football match or practice in the park With rampant hoodlums joining in the game Till on one famous holiday there came A gang that seized the football for a lark.
Then raged the combat without rest or pause, Till one, a hero, Hawkins unafraid Regained the ball, and later on displayed His nose knocked sideways in his country's cause.
Before the mind quaint visions rise and fall, Old jokes, old students dead and gone: And some that lead us still, while some toil on As rank and file, but "Grammar" children all.
And he, the pilot, who has laid the course For all to steer by, honest, unafraid -- Truth is his beacon light, so he has made The name of the old School a living force.
Written by Les Murray | Create an image from this poem

The Dream Of Wearing Shorts Forever

 To go home and wear shorts forever
in the enormous paddocks, in that warm climate,
adding a sweater when winter soaks the grass, 

to camp out along the river bends
for good, wearing shorts, with a pocketknife,
a fishing line and matches, 

or there where the hills are all down, below the plain,
to sit around in shorts at evening
on the plank verandah - 

If the cardinal points of costume
are Robes, Tat, Rig and Scunge,
where are shorts in this compass? 

They are never Robes
as other bareleg outfits have been:
the toga, the kilt, the lava-lava
the Mahatma's cotton dhoti; 

archbishops and field marshals
at their ceremonies never wear shorts.
The very word means underpants in North America.
Shorts can be Tat, Land-Rovering bush-environmental tat, socio-political ripped-and-metal-stapled tat, solidarity-with-the-Third World tat tvam asi, likewise track-and-field shorts worn to parties and the further humid, modelling negligee of the Kingdom of Flaunt, that unchallenged aristocracy.
More plainly climatic, shorts are farmers' rig, leathery with salt and bonemeal; are sailors' and branch bankers' rig, the crisp golfing style of our youngest male National Costume.
Most loosely, they are Scunge, ancient Bengal bloomers or moth-eaten hot pants worn with a former shirt, feet, beach sand, hair and a paucity of signals.
Scunge, which is real negligee housework in a swimsuit, pyjamas worn all day, is holiday, is freedom from ambition.
Scunge makes you invisible to the world and yourself.
The entropy of costume, scunge can get you conquered by more vigorous cultures and help you notice it less.
To be or to become is a serious question posed by a work-shorts counter with its pressed stack, bulk khaki and blue, reading Yakka or King Gee, crisp with steely warehouse odour.
Satisfied ambition, defeat, true unconcern, the wish and the knack of self-forgetfulness all fall within the scunge ambit wearing board shorts of similar; it is a kind of weightlessness.
Unlike public nakedness, which in Westerners is deeply circumstantial, relaxed as exam time, artless and equal as the corsetry of a hussar regiment, shorts and their plain like are an angelic nudity, spirituality with pockets! A double updraft as you drop from branch to pool! Ideal for getting served last in shops of the temperate zone they are also ideal for going home, into space, into time, to farm the mind's Sabine acres for product and subsistence.
Now that everyone who yearned to wear long pants has essentially achieved them, long pants, which have themselves been underwear repeatedly, and underground more than once, it is time perhaps to cherish the culture of shorts, to moderate grim vigour with the knobble of bare knees, to cool bareknuckle feet in inland water, slapping flies with a book on solar wind or a patient bare hand, beneath the cadjiput trees, to be walking meditatively among green timber, through the grassy forest towards a calm sea and looking across to more of that great island and the further tropics.
Written by Marge Piercy | Create an image from this poem

My Mothers Body

 1.
The dark socket of the year the pit, the cave where the sun lies down and threatens never to rise, when despair descends softly as the snow covering all paths and choking roads: then hawkfaced pain seized you threw you so you fell with a sharp cry, a knife tearing a bolt of silk.
My father heard the crash but paid no mind, napping after lunch yet fifteen hundred miles north I heard and dropped a dish.
Your pain sunk talons in my skull and crouched there cawing, heavy as a great vessel filled with water, oil or blood, till suddenly next day the weight lifted and I knew your mind had guttered out like the Chanukah candles that burn so fast, weeping veils of wax down the chanukiya.
Those candles were laid out, friends invited, ingredients bought for latkes and apple pancakes, that holiday for liberation and the winter solstice when tops turn like little planets.
Shall you have all or nothing take half or pass by untouched? Nothing you got, Nun said the dreydl as the room stopped spinning.
The angel folded you up like laundry your body thin as an empty dress.
Your clothes were curtains hanging on the window of what had been your flesh and now was glass.
Outside in Florida shopping plazas loudspeakers blared Christmas carols and palm trees were decked with blinking lights.
Except by the tourist hotels, the beaches were empty.
Pelicans with pregnant pouches flapped overhead like pterodactyls.
In my mind I felt you die.
First the pain lifted and then you flickered and went out.
2.
I walk through the rooms of memory.
Sometimes everything is shrouded in dropcloths, every chair ghostly and muted.
Other times memory lights up from within bustling scenes acted just the other side of a scrim through which surely I could reach my fingers tearing at the flimsy curtain of time which is and isn't and will be the stuff of which we're made and unmade.
In sleep the other night I met you, seventeen your first nasty marriage just annulled, thin from your abortion, clutching a book against your cheek and trying to look older, trying to took middle class, trying for a job at Wanamaker's, dressing for parties in cast off stage costumes of your sisters.
Your eyes were hazy with dreams.
You did not notice me waving as you wandered past and I saw your slip was showing.
You stood still while I fixed your clothes, as if I were your mother.
Remember me combing your springy black hair, ringlets that seemed metallic, glittering; remember me dressing you, my seventy year old mother who was my last dollbaby, giving you too late what your youth had wanted.
3.
What is this mask of skin we wear, what is this dress of flesh, this coat of few colors and little hair? This voluptuous seething heap of desires and fears, squeaking mice turned up in a steaming haystack with their babies? This coat has been handed down, an heirloom this coat of black hair and ample flesh, this coat of pale slightly ruddy skin.
This set of hips and thighs, these buttocks they provided cushioning for my grandmother Hannah, for my mother Bert and for me and we all sat on them in turn, those major muscles on which we walk and walk and walk over the earth in search of peace and plenty.
My mother is my mirror and I am hers.
What do we see? Our face grown young again, our breasts grown firm, legs lean and elegant.
Our arms quivering with fat, eyes set in the bark of wrinkles, hands puffy, our belly seamed with childbearing, Give me your dress that I might try it on.
Oh it will not fit you mother, you are too fat.
I will not fit you mother.
I will not be the bride you can dress, the obedient dutiful daughter you would chew, a dog's leather bone to sharpen your teeth.
You strike me sometimes just to hear the sound.
Loneliness turns your fingers into hooks barbed and drawing blood with their caress.
My twin, my sister, my lost love, I carry you in me like an embryo as once you carried me.
4.
What is it we turn from, what is it we fear? Did I truly think you could put me back inside? Did I think I would fall into you as into a molten furnace and be recast, that I would become you? What did you fear in me, the child who wore your hair, the woman who let that black hair grow long as a banner of darkness, when you a proper flapper wore yours cropped? You pushed and you pulled on my rubbery flesh, you kneaded me like a ball of dough.
Rise, rise, and then you pounded me flat.
Secretly the bones formed in the bread.
I became willful, private as a cat.
You never knew what alleys I had wandered.
You called me bad and I posed like a gutter queen in a dress sewn of knives.
All I feared was being stuck in a box with a lid.
A good woman appeared to me indistinguishable from a dead one except that she worked all the time.
Your payday never came.
Your dreams ran with bright colors like Mexican cottons that bled onto the drab sheets of the day and would not bleach with scrubbing.
My dear, what you said was one thing but what you sang was another, sweetly subversive and dark as blackberries and I became the daughter of your dream.
This body is your body, ashes now and roses, but alive in my eyes, my breasts, my throat, my thighs.
You run in me a tang of salt in the creek waters of my blood, you sing in my mind like wine.
What you did not dare in your life you dare in mine.
Written by Jane Taylor | Create an image from this poem

The Holidays

 "Ah! don't you remember, 'tis almost December,
And soon will the holidays come;
Oh, 'twill be so funny, I've plenty of money,
I'll buy me a sword and a drum.
" Thus said little Harry, unwilling to tarry, Impatient from school to depart; But we shall discover, this holiday lover Knew little what was in his heart.
For when on returning, he gave up his learning, Away from his sums and his books, Though playthings surrounded, and sweetmeats abounded, Chagrin still appear'd in his looks.
Though first they delighted, his toys were now slighted, And thrown away out of his sight; He spent every morning in stretching and yawning, Yet went to bed weary at night.
He had not that treasure which really makes pleasure, (A secret discover'd by few).
You'll take it for granted, more playthings he wanted; Oh naught was something to do.
We must have employment to give us enjoyment And pass the time cheerfully away; And study and reading give pleasure, exceeding The pleasures of toys and of play.
To school now returning­to study and learning With eagerness Harry applied; He felt no aversion to books or exertion, Nor yet for the holidays sigh'd.
Written by Yehuda Amichai | Create an image from this poem

Memorial Day For The War Dead

 Memorial day for the war dead.
Add now the grief of all your losses to their grief, even of a woman that has left you.
Mix sorrow with sorrow, like time-saving history, which stacks holiday and sacrifice and mourning on one day for easy, convenient memory.
Oh, sweet world soaked, like bread, in sweet milk for the terrible toothless God.
"Behind all this some great happiness is hiding.
" No use to weep inside and to scream outside.
Behind all this perhaps some great happiness is hiding.
Memorial day.
Bitter salt is dressed up as a little girl with flowers.
The streets are cordoned off with ropes, for the marching together of the living and the dead.
Children with a grief not their own march slowly, like stepping over broken glass.
The flautist's mouth will stay like that for many days.
A dead soldier swims above little heads with the swimming movements of the dead, with the ancient error the dead have about the place of the living water.
A flag loses contact with reality and flies off.
A shopwindow is decorated with dresses of beautiful women, in blue and white.
And everything in three languages: Hebrew, Arabic, and Death.
A great and royal animal is dying all through the night under the jasmine tree with a constant stare at the world.
A man whose son died in the war walks in the street like a woman with a dead embryo in her womb.
"Behind all this some great happiness is hiding.
"
Written by T S (Thomas Stearns) Eliot | Create an image from this poem

The Naming Of Cats

 The Naming of Cats is a difficult matter,
It isn't just one of your holiday games;
You may think at first I'm as mad as a hatter
When I tell you, a cat must have THREE DIFFERENT NAMES.
First of all, there's the name that the family use daily, Such as Peter, Augustus, Alonzo or James, Such as Victor or Jonathan, George or Bill Bailey-- All of them sensible everyday names.
There are fancier names if you think they sound sweeter, Some for the gentlemen, some for the dames: Such as Plato, Admetus, Electra, Demeter-- But all of them sensible everyday names.
But I tell you, a cat needs a name that's particular, A name that's peculiar, and more dignified, Else how can he keep up his tail perpendicular, Or spread out his whiskers, or cherish his pride? Of names of this kind, I can give you a quorum, Such as Munkustrap, Quaxo, or Coricopat, Such as Bombalurina, or else Jellylorum- Names that never belong to more than one cat.
But above and beyond there's still one name left over, And that is the name that you never will guess; The name that no human research can discover-- But THE CAT HIMSELF KNOWS, and will never confess.
When you notice a cat in profound meditation, The reason, I tell you, is always the same: His mind is engaged in a rapt contemplation Of the thought, of the thought, of the thought of his name: His ineffable effable Effanineffable Deep and inscrutable singular Name.
Written by Anthony Hecht | Create an image from this poem

The Transparent Man

 I'm mighty glad to see you, Mrs.
Curtis, And thank you very kindly for this visit-- Especially now when all the others here Are having holiday visitors, and I feel A little conspicuous and in the way.
It's mainly because of Thanksgiving.
All these mothers And wives and husbands gaze at me soulfully And feel they should break up their box of chocolates For a donation, or hand me a chunk of fruitcake.
What they don't understand and never guess Is that it's better for me without a family; It's a great blessing.
Though I mean no harm.
And as for visitors, why, I have you, All cheerful, brisk and punctual every Sunday, Like church, even if the aisles smell of phenol.
And you always bring even better gifts than any On your book-trolley.
Though they mean only good, Families can become a sort of burden.
I've only got my father, and he won't come, Poor man, because it would be too much for him.
And for me, too, so it's best the way it is.
He knows, you see, that I will predecease him, Which is hard enough.
It would take a callous man To come and stand around and watch me failing.
(Now don't you fuss; we both know the plain facts.
) But for him it's even harder.
He loved my mother.
They say she looked like me; I suppose she may have.
Or rather, as I grew older I came to look More and more like she must one time have looked, And so the prospect for my father now Of losing me is like having to lose her twice.
I know he frets about me.
Dr.
Frazer Tells me he phones in every single day, Hoping that things will take a turn for the better.
But with leukemia things don't improve.
It's like a sort of blizzard in the bloodstream, A deep, severe, unseasonable winter, Burying everything.
The white blood cells Multiply crazily and storm around, Out of control.
The chemotherapy Hasn't helped much, and it makes my hair fall out.
I know I look a sight, but I don't care.
I care about fewer things; I'm more selective.
It's got so I can't even bring myself To read through any of your books these days.
It's partly weariness, and partly the fact That I seem not to care much about the endings, How things work out, or whether they even do.
What I do instead is sit here by this window And look out at the trees across the way.
You wouldn't think that was much, but let me tell you, It keeps me quite intent and occupied.
Now all the leaves are down, you can see the spare, Delicate structures of the sycamores, The fine articulation of the beeches.
I have sat here for days studying them, And I have only just begun to see What it is that they resemble.
One by one, They stand there like magnificent enlargements Of the vascular system of the human brain.
I see them there like huge discarnate minds, Lost in their meditative silences.
The trunks, branches and twigs compose the vessels That feed and nourish vast immortal thoughts.
So I've assigned them names.
There, near the path, Is the great brain of Beethoven, and Kepler Haunts the wide spaces of that mountain ash.
This view, you see, has become my Hall of Fame, It came to me one day when I remembered Mary Beth Finley who used to play with me When we were girls.
One year her parents gave her A birthday toy called "The Transparent Man.
" It was made of plastic, with different colored organs, And the circulatory system all mapped out In rivers of red and blue.
She'd ask me over And the two of us would sit and study him Together, and do a powerful lot of giggling.
I figure he's most likely the only man Either of us would ever get to know Intimately, because Mary Beth became A Sister of Mercy when she was old enough.
She must be thirty-one; she was a year Older than I, and about four inches taller.
I used to envy both those advantages Back in those days.
Anyway, I was struck Right from the start by the sea-weed intricacy, The fine-haired, silken-threaded filiations That wove, like Belgian lace, throughout the head.
But this last week it seems I have found myself Looking beyond, or through, individual trees At the dense, clustered woodland just behind them, Where those great, nameless crowds patiently stand.
It's become a sort of complex, ultimate puzzle And keeps me fascinated.
My eyes are twenty-twenty, Or used to be, but of course I can't unravel The tousled snarl of intersecting limbs, That mackled, cinder grayness.
It's a riddle Beyond the eye's solution.
Impenetrable.
If there is order in all that anarchy Of granite mezzotint, that wilderness, It takes a better eye than mine to see it.
It set me on to wondering how to deal With such a thickness of particulars, Deal with it faithfully, you understand, Without blurring the issue.
Of course I know That within a month the sleeving snows will come With cold, selective emphases, with massings And arbitrary contrasts, rendering things Deceptively simple, thickening the twigs To frosty veins, bestowing epaulets And decorations on every birch and aspen.
And the eye, self-satisfied, will be misled, Thinking the puzzle solved, supposing at last It can look forth and comprehend the world.
That's when you have to really watch yourself.
So I hope that you won't think me plain ungrateful For not selecting one of your fine books, And I take it very kindly that you came And sat here and let me rattle on this way.
Written by Robert William Service | Create an image from this poem

My Holiday

 I love the cheery bustle
Of children round the house,
The tidy maids a-hustle,
The chatter of my spouse;
The laughter and the singing,
The joy on every face:
With frequent laughter ringing,
O, Home's a happy place!

Aye, Home's a bit of heaven;
I love it every day;
My line-up of eleven
Combine to make it gay;
Yet when in June they're leaving
For Sandport by the sea,
By rights I should be grieving,
But gosh! I just fell free.
I'm left with parting kisses, The guardian of the house; The romp, it's true, one misses, I'm quiet as a mouse.
In carpet slippers stealing From room to room alone I get the strangest feeling The place is all my own.
It seems to nestle near me, It whispers in my ear; My books and pictures cheer me, Hearth never was so dear.
In peace profound I lap me, I take no stock of time, And from the dreams that hap me, I make (like this) a rhyme.
Oh, I'm ashamed of saying (And think it's mean of me), That when the kids are staying At Sandspot on the sea, And I evoke them clearly Disporting in the spray, I love them still more dearly Because .
.
.
they're far away.
Written by Jane Taylor | Create an image from this poem

The Disappointment

 In tears to her mother poor Harriet came, 
Let us listen to hear what she says:
"O see, dear mamma, it is pouring with rain, 
We cannot go out in the chaise.
"All the week I have long'd for this holiday so, And fancied the minutes were hours; And now that I'm dress'd and all ready to go, Do look at those terrible showers! " "I'm sorry, my dear, " her kind mother replied, The rain disappoints us to-day; But sorrow still more that you fret for a ride, In such an extravagant way.
"These slight disappointments are sent to prepare For what may hereafter befall; For seasons of real disappointment and care, Which commonly happen to all.
"For just like to-day with its holiday lost, Is life and its comforts at best: Our pleasures are blighted, our purposes cross'd, To teach us it is not our rest.
"And when those distresses and crosses appear, With which you may shortly be tried, You'll wonder that ever you wasted a tear On merely the loss of a ride.
"But though the world's pleasures are fleeting and vain, Religion is lasting and true; Real pleasure and peace in her paths you may gain, Nor will disappointment ensue.
"
Written by Delmore Schwartz | Create an image from this poem

Occasional Poems

 I Christmas Poem for Nancy

Noel, Noel
We live and we die
Between heaven and hell
Between the earth and the sky
And all shall be well
And all shall be unwell
And once again! all shall once again!
 All shall be well
By the ringing and the swinging
 of the great beautiful holiday bell
Of Noel! Noel!

II Salute Valentine

I'll drink to thee only with my eyes
When two are three and four,
And guzzle reality's rise and cries
And praise the truth beyond surmise
When small shots shout: More! More! More! More!

III Rabbi to Preach

Rabbi Robert Raaba will preach
 on "An Eye for an Eye"
 (an I for an I?)
(Two weeks from this week: "On the Sacred Would")
At Temple Sholem on Lake Shore Drive
- Pavel Slavensky will chant the liturgical responses
And William Leon, having now thirteen years
 will thank his parents that he exists
To celebrate his birthday of manhood, his chocolate 
Bar Mitzvah, his yum-yum kippered herring, his Russian
 Corona.