Gerard Manley Hopkins | |
The fine delight that fathers thought; the strong
Spur, live and lancing like the blowpipe flame,
Breathes once and, quenchèd faster than it came,
Leaves yet the mind a mother of immortal song.
Nine months she then, nay years, nine years she long
Within her wears, bears, cares and moulds the same:
The widow of an insight lost she lives, with aim
Now known and hand at work now never wrong.
Sweet fire the sire of muse, my soul needs this;
I want the one rapture of an inspiration.
O then if in my lagging lines you miss
The roll, the rise, the carol, the creation,
My winter world, that scarcely breathes that bliss
Now, yields you, with some sighs, our explanation.
George William Russell | |
LIGHTEST of dancers, with no thought
Thy glimmering feet beat on my heart,
Gayest of singers, with no care
Waking to beauty the still air,
More than the labours of our art,
More than our wisdom can impart,
Thine idle ecstasy hath taught.
Lost long in solemn ponderings,
With the blind shepherd mind for guide,
The uncreated joy in you
Hath lifted up my heart unto
The morning stars in their first pride,
And the angelic joys that glide
High upon heaven-uplifted wings.
Ella Wheeler Wilcox | |
Not like a daring, bold, aggressive boy,
Is inspiration, eager to pursue,
But rather like a maiden, fond, yet coy,
Who gives herself to him who best doth woo.
Once she may smile, or thrice, thy soul to fire,
In passing by, but when she turns her face,
Thou must persist and seek her with desire,
If thou wouldst win the favor of her grace.
And if, like some winged bird she cleaves the air,
And leaves thee spent and stricken on the earth,
Still must thou strive to follow even there,
That she may know thy valor and thy worth.
Then shall she come unveiling all her charms,
Giving thee joy for pain, and smiles for tears;
Then shalt thou clasp her with possessing arms,
The while she murmurs music in thine ears.
But ere her kiss has faded from thy cheek,
She shall flee from thee over hill and glade,
So must thou seek and ever seek and seek
For each new conquest of this phantom maid.
Sir Walter Raleigh | |
I was a Poet!
But I did not know it,
Neither did my Mother,
Nor my Sister nor my Brother.
The Rich were not aware of it;
The Poor took no care of it.
The Reverend Mr.
Never knew it.
The High did not suspect it;
The Low could not detect it.
Said it was obviously untrue.
Said I was off my head:
(This from a Colonial
Was really a good testimonial.
Still everybody seemed to think
That genius owes a good deal to drink.
So that is how
I am not a poet now,
My inspiration has run dry.
It is no sort of use
To cultivate the Muse
If vulgar people
Can't tell a village pump from a church steeple.
I am merely apologizing
For the lack of the surprising
In what I write
I am quite well-meaning,
But a lot of things are always intervening
What I mean
And what it is said
I had in my head.
It is all very puzzling.
Says Poets need muzzling.
Paul Laurence Dunbar | |
I like to hear of wealth and gold,
And El Doradoes in their glory;
I like for silks and satins bold
To sweep and rustle through a story.
The nightingale is sweet of song;
The rare exotic smells divinely;
And knightly men who stride along,
The role heroic carry finely.
But then, upon the other hand,
Our minds have got a way of running
To things that aren't quite so grand,
Which, maybe, we are best in shunning.
For some of us still like to see
The poor man in his dwelling narrow,
The hollyhock, the bumblebee,
The meadow lark, and chirping sparrow.
We like the man who soars and sings
With high and lofty inspiration;
But he who sings of common things
Shall always share our admiration.
Dejan Stojanovic | |
There can be no forced inspiration,
But there can be mergers with the world
There can be a flowing of feelings
Quiet, yet overwhelming
Flying outside to unite
Flying inside to find
The melody of the moment
When the yellow corona appears on the horizon
And blue light appears over the mountain
And the world becomes mellow
Hospitable and generous,
And you fly into the heart of the mountain
To find an egg of an unborn bird
Able to break out and fly as a newborn eagle
David Lehman | |
Some people confuse inspiration with lightning
not me I know it comes from the lungs and air
you breathe it in you breathe it out it circulates
it's the breath of my being the wind across the face
of the waters yes but it's also something that comes
at my command like a turkey club sandwich
with a cup of split pea soup or like tones
from Benny Goodman's clarinet my clarinet
the language that never fails to respond
some people think you need to be pure of heart
not true it comes to the pure and impure alike
the patient and impatient the lovers the onanists
and the virgins you just need to be able to listen
and talk at the same time and you'll hear it like
the long-delayed revelation at the end of the novel
which turns out to be something simple a traumatic
moment that fascinated us more when it was only
a fragment an old song a strange noise a mistake
of hearing a phone that wouldn't stop ringing
David Lehman | |
The sky was a midnight blue
velvet cloth draping
a birdcage and no moon
but the breeze was whistling
and the sound of a car
on Valentine Place was
the rush of a waterfall
on the phone in New York City
and that's when the muse
turned up with curly brown locks
she was a poet, too, and wanted
me to give her an assignment
she was willing to trade
fifteen minutes of inspiration
in return for a phone call
from Frank O'Hara in heaven
sipping espresso and Irish whiskey
and then a morning swim
we had so much energy those days
we needed to burn some up
before we could paint
Robert William Service | |
In youth when oft my muse was dumb,
My fancy nighly dead,
To make my inspiration come
I stood upon my head;
And thus I let the blood down flow
Into my cerebellum,
And published every Spring or so
Slim tomes in vellum.
Alas! I am rheumatic now,
Grey is my crown;
I can no more with brooding brow
I fear I might in such a pose
Burst brain blood-vessel;
And that would be a woeful close
To my rhyme wrestle.
If to write verse I must reverse
I fear I'm stymied;
In ink of prose I must immerse
A pen de-rhymèd.
No more to spank the lyric lyre
Like Keats or Browning,
May I inspire the Sacred Fire
Robert William Service | |
The Spanish women don't wear slacks
Because their hips are too enormous.
'Tis true each bulbous bosom lacks
No inspiration that should warm us;
But how our ardor seems to freeze
When we behold their bulgy knees!
Their starry eyes and dusky hair,
Their dazzling teeth in smile so gracious,
I love, but oh I wish they were
Not so confoundedly curvacious.
I'm sure I would prefer them willowy,
Instead of obviously pillowy.
It may be that they're plump because
The caballeros like them that way;
Since men are lean and Nature's laws
Of contrast sway them to the fat way:
For few their dames as much adore, as
The señors love their sleek señoras.
Well, each according to his taste.
The dons prefer their women lardy,
But me, I likes a tiny waist,
And breast that fits a hand that's hardy:
In short, my bottom money backs
The baby who looks well in slacks.
Isaac Watts | |
Prophecy and inspiration.
'Twas by an order from the Lord
The ancient prophets spoke his word;
His Spirit did their tongues inspire,
And warmed their hearts with heav'nly fire.
The works and wonders which they wrought
Confirmed the messages they brought;
The prophet's pen succeeds his breath,
To save the holy words from death.
Great God, mine eyes with pleasure look
On the dear volume of thy book;
There my Redeemer's face I see,
And read his name who died for me.
Let the false raptures of the mind
Be lost, and vanish in the wind;
Here I can fix my hope secure;
This is thy word, and must endure.
Robert Francis | |
O Man! what Inspiration was thy Guide,
Who taught thee Light and Air thus to divide;
To let in all the useful Beams of Day,
Yet force, as subtil Winds, without thy Shash to stay;
T'extract from Embers by a strange Device,
Then polish fair these Flakes of solid Ice;
Which, silver'd o'er, redouble all in place,
And give thee back thy well or ill-complexion'd Face.
To Vessels blown exceed the gloomy Bowl,
Which did the Wine's full excellence controul,
These shew the Body, whilst you taste the Soul.
Its colour sparkles Motion, lets thee see,
Tho' yet th' Excess the Preacher warns to flee,
Lest Men at length as clearly spy through Thee.