C S Lewis |
Angelic minds, they say, by simple intelligence
Behold the Forms of nature.
Unerringly the Archtypes, all the verities
Which mortals lack or indirectly learn.
Transparent in primordial truth, unvarying,
Pure Earthness and right Stonehood from their clear,
High eminence are seen; unveiled, the seminal
Huge Principles appear.
The Tree-ness of the tree they know-the meaning of
Arboreal life, how from earth's salty lap
The solar beam uplifts it; all the holiness
Enacted by leaves' fall and rising sap;
But never an angel knows the knife-edged severance
Of sun from shadow where the trees begin,
The blessed cool at every pore caressing us
-An angel has no skin.
They see the Form of Air; but mortals breathing it
Drink the whole summer down into the breast.
The lavish pinks, the field new-mown, the ravishing
Sea-smells, the wood-fire smoke that whispers Rest.
The tremor on the rippled pool of memory
That from each smell in widening circles goes,
The pleasure and the pang --can angels measure it?
An angel has no nose.
The nourishing of life, and how it flourishes
On death, and why, they utterly know; but not
The hill-born, earthy spring, the dark cold bilberries.
The ripe peach from the southern wall still hot
Full-bellied tankards foamy-topped, the delicate
Half-lyric lamb, a new loaf's billowy curves,
Nor porridge, nor the tingling taste of oranges.
—An angel has no nerves.
Far richer they! I know the senses' witchery
Guards us like air, from heavens too big to see;
Imminent death to man that barb'd sublimity
And dazzling edge of beauty unsheathed would be.
Yet here, within this tiny, charmed interior,
This parlour of the brain, their Maker shares
With living men some secrets in a privacy
Forever ours, not theirs.
Lucy Maud Montgomery |
Let those who will of friendship sing,
And to its guerdon grateful be,
But I a lyric garland bring
To crown thee, O, mine enemy!
Thanks, endless thanks, to thee I owe
For that my lifelong journey through
Thine honest hate has done for me
What love perchance had failed to do.
I had not scaled such weary heights
But that I held thy scorn in fear,
And never keenest lure might match
The subtle goading of thy sneer.
Thine anger struck from me a fire
That purged all dull content away,
Our mortal strife to me has been
Unflagging spur from day to day.
And thus, while all the world may laud
The gifts of love and loyalty,
I lay my meed of gratitude
Before thy feet, mine enemy!
Robert William Service |
Let poets piece prismatic words,
Give me the jewelled joy of birds!
What ecstasy moves them to sing?
Is it the lyric glee of Spring,
The dewy rapture of the rose?
Is it the worship born in those
Who are of Nature's self a part,
The adoration of the heart?
Is it the mating mood in them
That makes each crystal note a gem?
Oh mocking bird and nightingale,
Oh mavis, lark and robin - hail!
Tell me what perfect passion glows
In your inspired arpeggios?
A thrush is thrilling as I write
Its obligato of delight;
And in its fervour, as in mine,
I fathom tenderness divine,
And pity those of earthy ear
Who cannot hear .
who cannot hear.
Let poets pattern pretty words:
For lovely largesse - bless you, Birds!
More great poems below...
Joyce Kilmer |
(For Eleanor Rogers Cox)
For blows on the fort of evil
That never shows a breach,
For terrible life-long races
To a goal no foot can reach,
For reckless leaps into darkness
With hands outstretched to a star,
There is jubilation in Heaven
Where the great dead poets are.
There is joy over disappointment
And delight in hopes that were vain.
Each poet is glad there was no cure
To stop his lonely pain.
For nothing keeps a poet
In his high singing mood
Like unappeasable hunger
For unattainable food.
So fools are glad of the folly
That made them weep and sing,
And Keats is thankful for Fanny Brawne
And Drummond for his king.
They know that on flinty sorrow
And failure and desire
The steel of their souls was hammered
To bring forth the lyric fire.
Lord Byron and Shelley and Plunkett,
McDonough and Hunt and Pearse
See now why their hatred of tyrants
Was so insistently fierce.
Is Freedom only a Will-o'-the-wisp
To cheat a poet's eye?
Be it phantom or fact, it's a noble cause
In which to sing and to die!
So not for the Rainbow taken
And the magical White Bird snared
The poets sing grateful carols
In the place to which they have fared;
But for their lifetime's passion,
The quest that was fruitless and long,
They chorus their loud thanksgiving
To the thorn-crowned Master of Song.
Robert William Service |
Since I have come to years sedate
I see with more and more acumen
The bitter irony of Fate,
The vanity of all things human.
Why, just to-day some fellow said,
As I surveyed Fame's outer portal:
"By gad! I thought that you were dead.
Poor me, who dreamed to be immortal!
But that's the way with many men
Whose name one fancied time-defying;
We thought that they were dust and then
We found them living by their dying.
Like dogs we penmen have our day,
To brief best-sellerdom elected;
And then, "thumbs down," we slink away
And die forgotten and neglected.
Ah well, my lyric fling I've had;
A thousand bits of verse I've minted;
And some, alas! were very bad,
And some, alack! were best unprinted.
But if I've made my muse a bawd
(Since I am earthy as a ditch is),
I'll answer humbly to my God:
Most men at times have toyed with bitches.
Yes, I have played with Lady Rhyme,
And had a long and lovely innings;
And when the Umpire calls my time
I'll blandly quit and take my winnings.
I'll hie me to some Sleepydale,
And feed the ducks and pat the poodles,
And prime my paunch with cakes and ale,
And blether with the village noodles.
And then some day you'll idly scan
The Times obituary column,
And say: "Dear me, the poor old man!"
And for a moment you'll look solemn.
"So all this time he's been alive -
In realms of rhyme a second-rater .
But gad! to live to ninety-five:
Let's toast his ghost - a sherry, waiter!"
Robert William Service |
I've made my Will.
I don't believe
In luxury and wealth;
And to those loving ones who grieve
My age and frailing health
I give the meed to soothe their ways
That they may happy be,
And pass serenely all their days
In snug security.
That duty done, I leave behind
The all I have to give
To crippled children and the blind
Who lamentably live;
Hoping my withered hand may freight
To happiness a few
Poor innocents whom cruel fate
Has cheated of their due.
A am no grey philanthropist,
Too humble is my lot
Yet how I'm glad to give the grist
My singing mill has brought.
For I have had such lyric days,
So rich, so full, so sweet,
That I with gratitude and praise
Would make my life complete.
I'VE MADE MY WILL: now near the end,
At peace with all mankind,
To children lame I would be friend,
And brother to the blind .
And if there be a God, I pray
He bless my last bequest,
And in His love and pity say:
Joyce Kilmer |
From what old ballad, or from what rich frame
Did you descend to glorify the earth?
Was it from Chaucer's singing book you came?
Or did Watteau's small brushes give you birth?
Nothing so exquisite as that slight hand
Could Raphael or Leonardo trace.
Nor could the poets know in Fairyland
The changing wonder of your lyric face.
I would possess a host of lovely things,
But I am poor and such joys may not be.
So God who lifts the poor and humbles kings
Sent loveliness itself to dwell with me.
Sidney Lanier |
A pale enchanted moon is sinking low
Behind the dunes that fringe the shadowy lea,
And there is haunted starlight on the flow
Of immemorial sea.
I am alone and need no more pretend
Laughter or smile to hide a hungry heart;
I walk with solitude as with a friend
Enfolded and apart.
We tread an eerie road across the moor
Where shadows weave upon their ghostly looms,
And winds sing an old lyric that might lure
Sad queens from ancient tombs.
I am a sister to the loveliness
Of cool far hill and long-remembered shore,
Finding in it a sweet forgetfulness
Of all that hurt before.
The world of day, its bitterness and cark,
No longer have the power to make me weep;
I welcome this communion of the dark
As toilers welcome sleep.
Olu Oguibe |
Song of Sorrow
for rosa diez
si només, però, aquesta
llum parada poguès durar
I shall sing you a song of
Sorrow when the moment comes.
It is the way of poets.
He will come bearing along his voice
Like the lament of an old guitar.
Only night shall fall; another day dawn.
I shall sing you a tearful song.
In the desert the rain fell on me.
Bushfires danced their way through
The undergrowth of my verse.
Your footfall soft as felt, you
Stepped into the light and
Asked the poet for a song.
I shall sing you a lyric of pain.
The blue moon peers through the foliage
Of your eyelashes.
The minstrel hawks
His tears through the streets of night.
A household god is asking for water;
An old god is pleading at your door.
There's a white rose on your breast.
It is the fortune of poets;
I shall sing you a song.
Untie the fresh leaves of dawn,
I want to make my journey short.
I will go upon the hill and cast my little net,
Decorate the river of your morning with petals;
I shall speak the words of songs.
It is the destiny of poets.
I shall sing you
A song of sorrow
When the moment comes.
Joyce Kilmer |
Serene and beautiful and very wise,
Most erudite in curious Grecian lore,
You lay and read your learned books, and bore
A weight of unshed tears and silent sighs.
The song within your heart could never rise
Until love bade it spread its wings and soar.
Nor could you look on Beauty's face before
A poet's burning mouth had touched your eyes.
Love is made out of ecstasy and wonder;
Love is a poignant and accustomed pain.
It is a burst of Heaven-shaking thunder;
It is a linnet's fluting after rain.
Love's voice is through your song; above and under
And in each note to echo and remain.
Because Mankind is glad and brave and young,
Full of gay flames that white and scarlet glow,
All joys and passions that Mankind may know
By you were nobly felt and nobly sung.
Because Mankind's heart every day is wrung
By Fate's wild hands that twist and tear it so,
Therefore you echoed Man's undying woe,
A harp Aeolian on Life's branches hung.
So did the ghosts of toiling children hover
About the piteous portals of your mind;
Your eyes, that looked on glory, could discover
The angry scar to which the world was blind:
And it was grief that made Mankind your lover,
And it was grief that made you love Mankind.
Before Christ left the Citadel of Light,
To tread the dreadful way of human birth,
His shadow sometimes fell upon the earth
And those who saw it wept with joy and fright.
"Thou art Apollo, than the sun more bright!"
"Our music is of little worth,
But thrill our blood with thy creative mirth
Thou god of song, thou lord of lyric might!"
O singing pilgrim! who could love and follow
Your lover Christ, through even love's despair,
You knew within the cypress-darkened hollow
The feet that on the mountain are so fair.
For it was Christ that was your own Apollo,
And thorns were in the laurel on your hair.
Robert William Service |
The world is sadly sick, they say,
And plagued by woe and pain.
But look! How looms my garden gay,
With blooms in golden reign!
With lyric music in the air,
Of joy fulfilled in song,
I can't believe that anywhere
Is hate and harm and wrong.
A paradise my garden is,
And there my day is spent;
A steep myself in sunny bliss,
Feeling that I am truly part
Of peace so rapt and still,
There's not a care within my heart .
How can the world be ill?
Aye, though the land be sick they say,
And named unto pain,
My garden never was so gay,
So innocent, so sane.
My roses mock at misery,
My thrushes vie in song .
When only beauty I can see,
How can the world be wrong?
Robert William Service |
I like to think that when I fall,
A rain-drop in Death's shoreless sea,
This shelf of books along the wall,
Beside my bed, will mourn for me.
Aye, my taste is queer.
Some of my bards you may disdain.
Shakespeare and Milton are not here;
Shelly and Keats you seek in vain.
Wordsworth, Tennyson, Browning too,
Remarkably are not in view.
Who are they? Omar first you see,
With Vine and Rose and Nightingale,
Voicing my pet philosphy
Of Wine and Song.
Then Reading Gaol,
Where Fate a gruesome pattern makes,
And dawn-light shudders as it wakes.
The Ancient Mariner is next,
With eerie and terrific text;
The Burns, with pawky human touch -
Poor devil! I have loved him much.
And now a gay quartette behold:
Bret Harte and Eugene Field are here;
And Henly, chanting brave and bold,
And Chesteron, in praise of Beer.
Lastly come valiant Singers three;
To whom this strident Day belongs:
Kipling, to whom I bow the knee,
Masefield, with rugged sailor songs.
And to my lyric troupe I add
With greatful heart - The Shropshire Lad.
Behold my minstrels, just eleven.
For half my life I've loved them well.
And though I have no hope of Heaven,
And more than Highland fear of Hell,
May I be damned if on this shelf
ye find a rhyme I made myself.
Joyce Kilmer |
(For Shaemas O Sheel)
One winter night a Devil came and sat upon my bed,
His eyes were full of laughter for his heart was full of crime.
"Why don't you take up fancy work, or embroidery?" he said,
"For a needle is as manly a tool as a pen that makes a rhyme!"
"You little ugly Devil," said I, "go back to Hell
For the idea you express I will not listen to:
I have trouble enough with poetry and poverty as well,
Without having to pay attention to orators like you.
"When you say of the making of ballads and songs
that it is woman's work
You forget all the fighting poets that have been in every land.
There was Byron who left all his lady-loves to fight against the
And David, the Singing King of the Jews,
who was born with a sword in his hand.
It was yesterday that Rupert Brooke went out to the Wars and died,
And Sir Philip Sidney's lyric voice was as sweet as his arm was
And Sir Walter Raleigh met the axe as a lover meets his bride,
Because he carried in his soul the courage of his song.
"And there is no consolation so quickening to the
As the warmth and whiteness that come from the lines of noble poetry.
It is strong joy to read it when the wounds of the spirit smart,
It puts the flame in a lonely breast where only ashes be.
It is strong joy to read it, and to make it is a thing
That exalts a man with a sacreder pride than any pride on earth.
For it makes him kneel to a broken slave and set his foot on a king,
And it shakes the walls of his little soul with the echo of God's
"There was the poet Homer had the sorrow to be
Yet a hundred people with good eyes would listen to him all night;
For they took great enjoyment in the heaven of his mind,
And were glad when the old blind poet let them share his powers
And there was Heine lying on his mattress all day long,
He had no wealth, he had no friends, he had no joy at all,
Except to pour his sorrow into little cups of song,
And the world finds in them the magic wine that his broken heart
"And these are only a couple of names from a list
of a thousand score
Who have put their glory on the world in poverty and pain.
And the title of poet's a noble thing, worth living and dying for,
Though all the devils on earth and in Hell spit at me their disdain.
It is stern work, it is perilous work, to thrust your hand in the
And pull out a spark of immortal flame to warm the hearts of men:
But Prometheus, torn by the claws and beaks whose task is never
Would be tortured another eternity to go stealing fire again.
Emma Lazarus |
A dream of interlinking hands, of feet
Tireless to spin the unseen, fairy woof
Of the entangling waltz.
Bright eyebeams meet,
Gay laughter echoes from the vaulted roof.
Warm perfumes rise; the soft unflickering glow
Of branching lights sets off the changeful charms
Of glancing gems, rich stuffs, the dazzling snow
Of necks unkerchieft, and bare, clinging arms.
Hark to the music! How beneath the strain
Of reckless revelry, vibrates and sobs
One fundamental chord of constant pain,
The pulse-beat of the poet's heart that throbs.
So yearns, though all the dancing waves rejoice,
The troubled sea's disconsolate, deep voice.
Who shall proclaim the golden fable false
Of Orpheus' miracles? This subtle strain
Above our prose-world's sordid loss and gain
Lightly uplifts us.
With the rhythmic waltz,
The lyric prelude, the nocturnal song
Of love and languor, varied visions rise,
That melt and blend to our enchanted eyes.
The Polish poet who sleeps silenced long,
The seraph-souled musician, breathes again
Eternal eloquence, immortal pain.
Revived the exalted face we know so well,
The illuminated eyes, the fragile frame,
Slowly consuming with its inward flame,
We stir not, speak not, lest we break the spell.
A voice was needed, sweet and true and fine
As the sad spirit of the evening breeze,
Throbbing with human passion, yet devine
As the wild bird's untutored melodies.
A voice for him 'neath twilight heavens dim,
Who mourneth for his dead, while round him fall
The wan and noiseless leaves.
A voice for him
Who sees the first green sprout, who hears the call
Of the first robin on the first spring day.
A voice for all whom Fate hath set apart,
Who, still misprized, must perish by the way,
Longing with love, for that they lack the art
Of their own soul's expression.
For all these
Sing the unspoken hope, the vague, sad reveries.
Then Nature shaped a poet's heart--a lyre
From out whose chords the lightest breeze that blows
Drew trembling music, wakening sweet desire.
How shall she cherish him? Behold! she throws
This precious, fragile treasure in the whirl
Of seething passions; he is scourged and stung,
Must dive in storm-vext seas, if but one pearl
Of art or beauty therefrom may be wrung.
No pure-browed pensive nymph his Muse shall be,
An amazon of thought with sovereign eyes,
Whose kiss was poison, man-brained, worldy-wise,
Inspired that elfin, delicate harmony.
Rich gain for us! But with him is it well?
The poet who must sound earth, heaven, and hell!
Billy Jno Hope |
this might be the swan song
i have traveled beyond misty mountains
spilled my seed on the hungry rock
prolific like sin
to the serpent edge of youth
once my head rolled in the streets
motors crashing by
inches from my intoxication
a fleshful laugh echoed in time
a mad initiation as part of the door
to the unrepentant lyric
i cracked the demon-s egg
tattooed pandora-s eye
with rage, blissillusion
a life, my methadone(placebo)