Wallace Stevens | |
One must have a mind of winter
To regard the frost and the boughs
Of the pine-trees crusted with snow;
And have been cold a long time
To behold the junipers shagged with ice,
The spruces rough in the distant glitter
Of the January sun; and not to think
Of any misery in the sound of the wind,
In the sound of a few leaves,
Which is the sound of the land
Full of the same wind
That is blowing in the same bare place
For the listener, who listens in the snow,
And, nothing himself, beholds
Nothing that is not there and the nothing that is.
Julie Hill Alger | |
The new war is a week old.
Bombs fall on Baghdad,
missiles on Tel Aviv.
The voice on the radio says
the armament dealers of Europe
are hopeful that a longer war
will be good for business.
They say, as fighting continues
there will be wear and tear
must be manufactured,
as well as replacements
for equipment blown apart,
shattered, set afire.
Prudently, the merchants
consult their spreadsheets.
They guard against euphoria
and prepare for a possible
downside to this bonanza:
the Allies are shooting
at their best customer,
If he loses
their market will be depressed.
There is also a danger of
restrictions on sales
to angry dictators.
the longterm effects of the war
may not all be positive.
Pablo Neruda | |
I do not love you except because I love you;
I go from loving to not loving you,
From waiting to not waiting for you
My heart moves from cold to fire.
I love you only because it's you the one I love;
I hate you deeply, and hating you
Bend to you, and the measure of my changing love for you
Is that I do not see you but love you blindly.
Maybe January light will consume
My heart with its cruel
Ray, stealing my key to true calm.
In this part of the story I am the one who
Dies, the only one, and I will die of love because I love you,
Because I love you, Love, in fire and blood.
Dale Harcombe | |
Your ears will never hear sounds
that to me are ordinary as air.
From the hour that you were born
the tight white shell of silence
closed around you.
You edged away from friendship.
Silence clung and stung like sand,
smothering words before they could
Sand has a brittle sound
as it stutters underfoot.
But you are no longer like sand.
Though your ears will still never hear,
words gather, demanding as seagulls.
Now, you stretch wings towards the sky.
Glide closer to other lives.
Reach them with the rising tide
of your imperfect speech.
*first published Westerly 1993 - Republished Central Western Daily January 12, 1996
recently republished in ‘On Common Water’ the Ginninderra 10th birthday anthology
David Lehman | |
We have a name for it
in the South:
It means we've known
each other so long
it doesn't matter
that he's an asshole
in my opinion
or I'm an asshole
in his opinion
And I want you to know
I'm not from the South
and you're not my buddy
and it doesn't matter
Edwin Morgan | |
My shadow --
I woke to a wind swirling the curtains light and dark
and the birds twittering on the roofs, I lay cold
in the early light in my room high over London.
What fear was it that made the wind sound like a fire
so that I got up and looked out half-asleep
at the calm rows of street-lights fading far below?
Only the wind blew.
But in the dream I woke from, you
came running through the traffic, tugging me, clinging
to my elbow, your eyes spoke
what I could not grasp --
Nothing, if you were here!
The wind of the early quiet
merges slowly now with a thousand rolling wheels.
The lights are out, the air is loud.
It is an ordinary January day.
My shadow, do you hear the streets?
Are you at my heels? Are you here?
And I throw back the sheets.
Ogden Nash | |
In January everything freezes.
We have two children.
Both are she'ses.
This is our January rule:
One girl in bed, and one in school.
In February the blizzard whirls.
We own a pair of little girls.
Blessings upon of each the head ----
The one in school and the one in bed.
March is the month of cringe and bluster.
Each of our children has a sister.
They cling together like Hansel and Gretel,
With their noses glued to the benzoin kettle.
April is made of impetuous waters
And doctors looking down throats of daughters.
If we had a son too, and a thoroughbred,
We'd have a horse,
And a boy,
And two girls
Dorothy Parker | |
The days will rally, wreathing
Their crazy tarantelle;
And you must go on breathing,
But I'll be safe in hell.
Like January weather,
The years will bite and smart,
And pull your bones together
To wrap your chattering heart.
The pretty stuff you're made of
Will crack and crease and dry.
The thing you are afraid of
Will look from every eye.
You will go faltering after
The bright, imperious line,
And split your throat on laughter,
And burn your eyes with brine.
You will be frail and musty
With peering, furtive head,
Whilst I am young and lusty
Among the roaring dead.
Robert William Service | |
(16th January 1949)
I thank whatever gods may be
For all the happiness that's mine;
That I am festive, fit and free
To savour women, wit and wine;
That I may game of golf enjoy,
And have a formidable drive:
In short, that I'm a gay old boy
Though I be
My daughter thinks.
because I'm old
(I'm not a crock, when all is said),
I mustn't let my feet get cold,
And should wear woollen socks in bed;
A worsted night-cap too, forsooth!
To humour her I won't contrive:
A man is in his second youth
When he is
At four-score years old age begins,
And not till then, I warn my wife;
At eighty I'll recant my sins,
And live a staid and sober life.
But meantime let me whoop it up,
And tell the world that I'm alive:
Fill to the brim the bubbly cup -
Here's health to
Robert William Service | |
I have done with love and lust,
I reck not for gold or fame;
I await familiar dust
These frail fingers to reclaim:
Not for me the tiger flame.
Not for me the furnace glow,
Rage of fire and ashen doom;
To sweet earth my bones bestow
Where above a lowly tomb
January roses bloom.
Fools and fools and fools are you
Who your dears to fires confide;
Give to Mother Earth her due:
Flesh may waste but bone will bide,--
Let loved ones lie side by side.
Let God's Acre ever dream;
Shed your tears and blossoms bring;
On age-burnished bone will gleam
Crucifix and wedding ring:
Graves are for sweet comforting.
Curst be those who my remains
Hurl to horror of the flames!
Robert William Service | |
Here is this vale of sweet abiding,
My ultimate and dulcet home,
That gently dreams above the chiding
of restless and impatient foam;
Beyond the hazards of hell weather,
The harceling of wind and sea,
With timbers morticed tight together
My old hulk havens happily.
The dawn exultantly discloses
My lawn lit with mimosa gold;
The joy of January roses
Is with me when rich lands are cold;
Serene with bells of beauty chiming,
This dream domain to be belongs,
By sweet conspiracy of rhyming,
And virtue of some idle songs.
I thank the gracious Lord of Living
Who gave me power and will to write:
May I be worthy of His giving
And win to merit in His sight.
O merciful and mighty Master,
Though I have faltered in the past,
Your scribe I be.
Let me be faithful to the last.
Anne Sexton | |
I was wrapped in black
fur and white fur and
you undid me and then
you placed me in gold light
and then you crowned me,
while snow fell outside
the door in diagonal darts.
While a ten-inch snow
came down like stars
in small calcium fragments,
we were in our own bodies
(that room that will bury us)
and you were in my body
(that room that will outlive us)
and at first I rubbed your
feet dry with a towel
becuase I was your slave
and then you called me princess.
I stood up in my gold skin
and I beat down the psalms
and I beat down the clothes
and you undid the bridle
and you undid the reins
and I undid the buttons,
the bones, the confusions,
the New England postcards,
the January ten o’clcik night,
and we rose up like wheat,
acre after acre of gold,
and we harvested,
Emily Dickinson | |
A Drunkard cannot meet a Cork
Without a Revery --
And so encountering a Fly
This January Day
Jamaicas of Remembrance stir
That send me reeling in --
The moderate drinker of Delight
Does not deserve the spring --
Of juleps, part are the Jug
And more are in the joy --
Your connoisseur in Liquours
Consults the Bumble Bee --
Emily Dickinson | |
What care the Dead, for Chanticleer --
What care the Dead for Day?
'Tis late your Sunrise vex their face --
And Purple Ribaldry -- of Morning
Pour as blank on them
As on the Tier of Wall
The Mason builded, yesterday,
And equally as cool --
What care the Dead for Summer?
The Solstice had no Sun
Could waste the Snow before their Gate --
And knew One Bird a Tune --
Could thrill their Mortised Ear
Of all the Birds that be --
This One -- beloved of Mankind
Henceforward cherished be --
What care the Dead for Winter?
Themselves as easy freeze --
June Noon -- as January Night --
As soon the South -- her Breeze
Of Sycamore -- or Cinnamon --
Deposit in a Stone
And put a Stone to keep it Warm --
Give Spices -- unto Men --
Carl Sandburg | |
I KNOW a Jew fish crier down on Maxwell Street with a
voice like a north wind blowing over corn stubble
He dangles herring before prospective customers evincing
a joy identical with that of Pavlowa dancing.
His face is that of a man terribly glad to be selling fish,
terribly glad that God made fish, and customers to
whom he may call his wares, from a pushcart.
Charles Baudelaire | |
O muse of my heart, lover of palaces,
Will you bring, when January lets loose its sleet
And its black evenings without solace,
An ember to warm my violet feet?
What will revive your bruised shoulders,
The nocturnal rays that pierce the shutters?
When you cannot feel your palace, just your empty billfold,
How will you harvest the gold of azure vaults and gutters?
You should, to earn your bread today
Like a choir boy with a censer to wave,
Sings hymns with feeling but without belief.
Or, a starving rip-off artist, selling your charm
And your laughter shades the tears so no one sees the harm
In bringing to bloom an ordinary rat, a vulgar thief.
Eavan Boland | |
These are outsiders, always.
these iron inklings of an Irish January,
whose light happened
thousands of years before
our pain did; they are, they have always been
They keep their distance.
Under them remains
a place where you found
you were human, and
a landscape in which you know you are mortal.
And a time to choose between them.
I have chosen:
out of myth in history I move to be
part of that ordeal
who darkness is
only now reaching me from those fields,
those rivers, those roads clotted as
firmaments with the dead.
How slowly they die
as we kneel beside them, whisper in their ear.
And we are too late.
We are always too late.
Richard Brautigan | |
I go to bed in Los Angeles thinking
Pissing a few moments ago
I looked down at my penis
Knowing it has been inside
you twice today makes me
January 15, 1967
Richard Brautigan | |
I don't care how God-damn smart
these guys are: I'm bored.
It's been raining like hell all day long
and there's nothing to do.
Written January 24, 1967
while poet-in-residence at
the California Institute of