Maya Angelou | |
You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I'll rise.
Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
'Cause I walk like I've got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.
Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I'll rise.
Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops.
Weakened by my soulful cries.
Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don't you take it awful hard
'Cause I laugh like I've got gold mines
Diggin' in my own back yard.
You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I'll rise.
Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I've got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?
Out of the huts of history's shame
Up from a past that's rooted in pain
I'm a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
Into a daybreak that's wondrously clear
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow | |
We sat within the farm-house old,
Whose windows, looking o'er the bay,
Gave to the sea-breeze damp and cold,
An easy entrance, night and day.
Not far away we saw the port,
The strange, old-fashioned, silent town,
The lighthouse, the dismantled fort,
The wooden houses, quaint and brown.
We sat and talked until the night,
Descending, filled the little room;
Our faces faded from the sight,
Our voices only broke the gloom.
We spake of many a vanished scene,
Of what we once had thought and said,
Of what had been, and might have been,
And who was changed, and who was dead;
And all that fills the hearts of friends,
When first they feel, with secret pain,
Their lives thenceforth have separate ends,
And never can be one again;
The first slight swerving of the heart,
That words are powerless to express,
And leave it still unsaid in part,
Or say it in too great excess.
The very tones in which we spake
Had something strange, I could but mark;
The leaves of memory seemed to make
A mournful rustling in the dark.
Oft died the words upon our lips,
As suddenly, from out the fire
Built of the wreck of stranded ships,
The flames would leap and then expire.
And, as their splendor flashed and failed,
We thought of wrecks upon the main,
Of ships dismasted, that were hailed
And sent no answer back again.
The windows, rattling in their frames,
The ocean, roaring up the beach,
The gusty blast, the bickering flames,
All mingled vaguely in our speech;
Until they made themselves a part
Of fancies floating through the brain,
The long-lost ventures of the heart,
That send no answers back again.
O flames that glowed! O hearts that yearned!
They were indeed too much akin,
The drift-wood fire without that burned,
The thoughts that burned and glowed within.
In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
A stately pleasure-dome decree :
Where Alph, the sacred river, ran
Through caverns measureless to man
Down to a sunless sea.
So twice five miles of fertile ground
With walls and towers were girdled round :
And there were gardens bright with sinuous rills,
Where blossomed many an incense-bearing tree ;
And here were forests ancient as the hills,
Enfolding sunny spots of greenery.
But oh ! that deep romantic chasm which slanted
Down the green hill athwart a cedarn cover !
A savage place ! as holy and enchanted
As e'er beneath a waning moon was haunted
By woman wailing for her demon-lover !
And from this chasm, with ceaseless turmoil seething,
As if this earth in fast thick pants were breathing,
A mighty fountain momently was forced :
Amid whose swift half-intermitted burst
Huge fragments vaulted like rebounding hail,
Or chaffy grain beneath the thresher's flail :
And 'mid these dancing rocks at once and ever
It flung up momently the sacred river.
Five miles meandering with a mazy motion
Through wood and dale the sacred river ran,
Then reached the caverns measureless to man,
And sank in tumult to a lifeless ocean :
And 'mid this tumult Kubla heard from far
Ancestral voices prophesying war !
The shadow of the dome of pleasure
Floated midway on the waves ;
Where was heard the mingled measure
From the fountain and the caves.
It was a miracle of rare device,
A sunny pleasure-dome with caves of ice !
A damsel with a dulcimer
In a vision once I saw :
It was an Abyssinian maid,
And on her dulcimer she played,
Singing of Mount Abora.
Could I revive within me
Her symphony and song,
To such a deep delight 'twould win me,
That with music loud and long,
I would build that dome in air,
That sunny dome ! those caves of ice !
And all who heard should see them there,
And all should cry, Beware ! Beware !
His flashing eyes, his floating hair !
Weave a circle round him thrice,
And close your eyes with holy dread,
For he on honey-dew hath fed,
And drunk the milk of Paradise.
More great poems below...
Emily Dickinson | |
A bird came down the walk:
He did not know I saw;
He bit an angle-worm in halves
And ate the fellow, raw.
And then he drank a dew
From a convenient grass,
And then hopped sidewise to the wall
To let a beetle pass.
He glanced with rapid eyes
That hurried all abroad,--
They looked like frightened beads, I thought;
He stirred his velvet head
Like one in danger; cautious,
I offered him a crumb,
And he unrolled his feathers
And rowed him softer home
Than oars divide the ocean,
Too silver for a seam,
Or butterflies, off banks of noon,
Leap, splashless, as they swim.
George (Lord) Byron | |
THERE'S not a joy the world can give like that it takes away
When the glow of early thought declines in feeling's dull decay;
'Tis not on youth's smooth cheek the blush alone which fades so fast
But the tender bloom of heart is gone ere youth itself be past.
Then the few whose spirits float above the wreck of happiness 5
Are driven o'er the shoals of guilt or ocean of excess:
The magnet of their course is gone or only points in vain
The shore to which their shiver'd sail shall never stretch again.
Then the mortal coldness of the soul like death itself comes down;
It cannot feel for others' woes it dare not dream its own; 10
That heavy chill has frozen o'er the fountain of our tears
And though the eye may sparkle still 'tis where the ice appears.
Though wit may flash from fluent lips and mirth distract the breast
Through midnight hours that yield no more their former hope of rest
'Tis but as ivy-leaves around the ruin'd turret wreathe 15
All green and wildly fresh without but worn and gray beneath.
Oh could I feel as I have felt or be what I have been
Or weep as I could once have wept o'er many a vanish'd scene ¡ª
As springs in deserts found seem sweet all brackish though they be
So midst the wither'd waste of life those tears would flow to me! 20
Percy Bysshe Shelley | |
THE fountains mingle with the river
And the rivers with the ocean
The winds of heaven mix for ever
With a sweet emotion;
Nothing in the world is single 5
All things by a law divine
In one another's being mingle¡ª
Why not I with thine?
See the mountains kiss high heaven
And the waves clasp one another; 10
No sister-flower would be forgiven
If it disdain'd its brother;
And the sunlight clasps the earth
And the moonbeams kiss the sea¡ª
What are all these kissings worth 15
If thou kiss not me?
William Cullen Bryant | |
OH mother of a mighty race
Yet lovely in thy youthful grace!
The elder dames thy haughty peers
Admire and hate thy blooming years.
With words of shame 5
And taunts of scorn they join thy name.
For on thy cheeks the glow is spread
That tints thy morning hills with red;
Thy step¡ªthe wild deer's rustling feet
Within thy woods are not more fleet; 10
Thy hopeful eye
Is bright as thine own sunny sky.
Ay let them rail¡ªthose haughty ones
While safe thou dwellest with thy sons.
They do not know how loved thou art 15
How many a fond and fearless heart
Would rise to throw
Its life between thee and the foe.
They know not in their hate and pride
What virtues with thy children bide; 20
How true how good thy graceful maids
Make bright like flowers the valley-shades;
What generous men
Spring like thine oaks by hill and glen.
What cordial welcomes greet the guest 25
By thy lone rivers of the West;
How faith is kept and truth revered
And man is loved and God is feared
In woodland homes
And where the ocean-border foams.
There 's freedom at thy gates and rest
For Earth's down-trodden and opprest
A shelter for the hunted head
For the starved laborer toil and bread.
Power at thy bounds 35
Stops and calls back his baffled hounds.
Oh fair young mother! on thy brow
Shall sit a nobler grace than now.
Deep in the brightness of the skies
The thronging years in glory rise 40
And as they fleet
Drop strength and riches at thy feet.
Thine eye with every coming hour
Shall brighten and thy form shall tower;
And when thy sisters elder born 45
Would brand thy name with words of scorn
Before thine eye
Upon their lips the taunt shall die.
Percy Bysshe Shelley | |
NOW the last day of many days,
All beautiful and bright as thou,
The loveliest and the last, is dead:
Rise, Memory, and write its praise!
Up¡ªto thy wonted work! come, trace 5
The epitaph of glory fled,
For now the earth has changed its face,
A frown is on the heaven's brow.
We wander'd to the Pine Forest
That skirts the ocean's foam.
The lightest wind was in its nest,
The tempest in its home;
The whispering waves were half asleep,
The clouds were gone to play,
And on the bosom of the deep 15
The smile of heaven lay:
It seem'd as if the hour were one
Sent from beyond the skies
Which scatter'd from above the sun
A light of Paradise! 20
We paused amid the pines that stood
The giants of the waste,
Tortured by storms to shapes as rude
As serpents interlaced,¡ª
And soothed by every azure breath 25
That under heaven is blown,
To harmonies and hues beneath,
As tender as its own.
Now all the tree-tops lay asleep
Like green waves on the sea, 30
As still as in the silent deep
The ocean-woods may be.
How calm it was!¡ªThe silence there
By such a chain was bound,
That even the busy woodpecker 35
Made stiller by her sound
The inviolable quietness;
The breath of peace we drew
With its soft motion made not less
The calm that round us grew.
There seem'd, from the remotest seat
Of the wide mountain waste
To the soft flower beneath our feet,
A magic circle traced,¡ª
A spirit interfused around 45
A thrilling silent life;
To momentary peace it bound
Our mortal nature's strife;¡ª
And still I felt the centre of
The magic circle there 50
Was one fair form that fill'd with love
The lifeless atmosphere.
We paused beside the pools that lie
Under the forest bough;
Each seem'd as 'twere a little sky 55
Gulf'd in a world below¡ª
A firmament of purple light
Which in the dark earth lay,
More boundless than the depth of night
And purer than the day¡ª 60
In which the lovely forests grew
As in the upper air,
More perfect both in shape and hue
Than any spreading there.
There lay the glade and neighbouring lawn, 65
And through the dark-green wood
The white sun twinkling like the dawn
Out of a speckled cloud.
Sweet views which in our world above
Can never well be seen 70
Were imaged in the water's love
Of that fair forest green;
And all was interfused beneath
With an Elysian glow,
An atmosphere without a breath, 75
A softer day below.
Like one beloved, the scene had lent
To the dark water's breast
Its every leaf and lineament
With more than truth exprest; 80
Until an envious wind crept by,
Like an unwelcome thought
Which from the mind's too faithful eye
Blots one dear image out.
¡ªThough thou art ever fair and kind, 85
The forests ever green,
Less oft is peace in Shelley's mind
Than calm in waters seen!
Wallace Stevens | |
She sang beyond the genius of the sea.
The water never formed to mind or voice,
Like a body wholly body, fluttering
Its empty sleeves; and yet its mimic motion
Made constant cry, caused constantly a cry,
That was not ours although we understood,
Inhuman, of the veritable ocean.
The sea was not a mask.
No more was she.
The song and water were not medleyed sound
Even if what she sang was what she heard.
Since what she sang was uttered word by word.
It may be that in all her phrases stirred
The grinding water and the gasping wind;
But it was she and not the sea we heard.
For she was the maker of the song she sang.
The ever-hooded, tragic-gestured sea
Was merely a place by which she walked to sing.
Whose spirit is this? we said, because we knew
It was the spirit that we sought and knew
That we should ask this often as she sang.
If it was only the dark voice of the sea
That rose, or even colored by many waves;
If it was only the outer voice of sky
And cloud, of the sunken coral water-walled,
However clear, it would have been deep air,
The heaving speech of air, a summer sound
Repeated in a summer without end
And sound alone.
But it was more than that,
More even than her voice, and ours, among
The meaningless plungings of water and the wind,
Theatrical distances, bronze shadows heaped
On high horizons, mountainous atmospheres
Of sky and sea.
It was her voice that made
The sky acutest at its vanishing.
She measured to the hour its solitude.
She was the single artificer of the world
In which she sang.
And when she sang, the sea,
Whatever self it had, became the self
That was her song, for she was the maker.
As we beheld her striding there alone,
Knew that there never was a world for her
Except the one she sang and, singing, made.
Ramon Fernandez, tell me, if you know,
Why, when the singing ended and we turned
Toward the town, tell why the glassy lights,
The lights in the fishing boats at anchor there,
As night descended, tilting in the air,
Mastered the night and portioned out the sea,
Fixing emblazoned zones and fiery poles,
Arranging, deepening, enchanting night.
Oh! Blessed rage for order, pale Ramon,
The maker's rage to order words of the sea,
Words of the fragrant portals, dimly-starred,
And of ourselves and of our origins,
In ghostlier demarcations, keener sounds.
Percy Bysshe Shelley | |
THE sun is warm the sky is clear
The waves are dancing fast and bright
Blue isles and snowy mountains wear
The purple noon's transparent might:
The breath of the moist earth is light 5
Around its unexpanded buds;
Like many a voice of one delight¡ª
The winds' the birds' the ocean-floods'¡ª
The city's voice itself is soft like solitude's.
I see the deep's untrampled floor 10
With green and purple seaweeds strown;
I see the waves upon the shore
Like light dissolved in star-showers thrown.
I sit upon the sands alone;
The lightning of the noontide ocean 15
Is flashing round me and a tone
Arises from its measured motion¡ª
How sweet did any heart now share in my emotion!
Alas! I have nor hope nor health
Nor peace within nor calm around; 20
Nor that content surpassing wealth
The sage in meditation found
And walk'd with inward glory crown'd;
Nor fame nor power nor love nor leisure.
Others I see whom these surround¡ª 25
Smiling they live and call life pleasure:
To me that cup has been dealt in another measure.
Yet now despair itself is mild
Even as the winds and waters are;
I could lie down like a tired child 30
And weep away the life of care
Which I have borne and yet must bear ¡ª
Till death like sleep might steal on me
And I might feel in the warm air
My cheek grow cold and hear the sea 35
Breathe o'er my dying brain its last monotony.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow | |
THERE is no flock however watched and tended
But one dead lamb is there!
There is no fireside howsoe'er defended
But has one vacant chair!
The air is full of farewells to the dying 5
And mournings for the dead;
The heart of Rachel for her children crying
Will not be comforted!
Let us be patient! These severe afflictions
Not from the ground arise 10
But oftentimes celestial benedictions
Assume this dark disguise.
We see but dimly through the mists and vapors;
Amid these earthly damps
What seem to us but sad funereal tapers 15
May be heaven's distant lamps.
There is no Death! What seems so is transition;
This life of mortal breath
Is but a suburb of the life elysian
Whose portal we call Death.
She is not dead ¡ªthe child of our affection ¡ª
But gone unto that school
Where she no longer needs our poor protection
And Christ himself doth rule.
In that great cloister's stillness and seclusion 25
By guardian angels led
Safe from temptation safe from sin's pollution
She lives whom we call dead
Day after day we think what she is doing
In those bright realms of air; 30
Year after year her tender steps pursuing
Behold her grown more fair.
Thus do we walk with her and keep unbroken
The bond which nature gives
Thinking that our remembrance though unspoken 35
May reach her where she lives.
Not as a child shall we again behold her;
For when with raptures wild
In our embraces we again enfold her
She will not be a child; 40
But a fair maiden in her Father's mansion
Clothed with celestial grace;
And beautiful with all the soul's expansion
Shall we behold her face.
And though at times impetuous with emotion 45
And anguish long suppressed
The swelling heart heaves moaning like the ocean
That cannot be at rest ¡ª
We will be patient and assuage the feeling
We may not wholly stay; 50
By silence sanctifying not concealing
The grief that must have way.
Percy Bysshe Shelley | |
AWAY! the moor is dark beneath the moon
Rapid clouds have drunk the last pale beam of even:
Away! the gathering winds will call the darkness soon
And profoundest midnight shroud the serene lights of heaven.
Pause not! the time is past! Every voice cries 'Away!' 5
Tempt not with one last tear thy friend's ungentle mood:
Thy lover's eye so glazed and cold dares not entreat thy stay:
Duty and dereliction guide thee back to solitude.
Away away! to thy sad and silent home;
Pour bitter tears on its desolated hearth; 10
Watch the dim shades as like ghosts they go and come
And complicate strange webs of melancholy mirth.
The leaves of wasted autumn woods shall float around thine head
The blooms of dewy Spring shall gleam beneath thy feet:
But thy soul or this world must fade in the frost that binds the dead 15
Ere midnight's frown and morning's smile ere thou and peace may meet.
The cloud shadows of midnight possess their own repose
For the weary winds are silent or the moon is in the deep;
Some respite to its turbulence unresting ocean knows;
Whatever moves or toils or grieves hath its appointed sleep.
Thou in the grave shalt rest:¡ªyet till the phantoms flee
Which that house and heath and garden made dear to thee erewhile
Thy remembrance and repentance and deep musings are not free
From the music of two voices and the light of one sweet smile.
George (Lord) Byron | |
THERE be none of Beauty's daughters
With a magic like thee;
And like music on the waters
Is thy sweet voice to me:
When as if its sound were causing 5
The charmed ocean's pausing
The waves lie still and gleaming
And the lull'd winds seem dreaming:
And the midnight moon is weaving
Her bright chain o'er the deep 10
Whose breast is gently heaving
As an infant's asleep:
So the spirit bows before thee
To listen and adore thee;
With a full but soft emotion 15
Like the swell of summer's ocean.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow | |
WHEN descends on the Atlantic
Storm-wind of the equinox
Landward in his wrath he scourges
The toiling surges 5
Laden with seaweed from the rocks:
From Bermuda's reefs; from edges
Of sunken ledges
In some far-off bright Azore;
From Bahama and the dashing 10
Surges of San Salvador;
From the tumbling surf that buries
The Orkneyan skerries
Answering the hoarse Hebrides; 15
And from wrecks of ships and drifting
On the desolate rainy seas;¡ª
Ever drifting drifting drifting
On the shifting 20
Currents of the restless main;
Till in sheltered coves and reaches
Of sandy beaches
All have found repose again.
So when storms of wild emotion 25
Strike the ocean
Of the poet's soul erelong
From each cave and rocky fastness
In its vastness
Floats some fragment of a song: 30
From the far-off isles enchanted
Heaven has planted
With the golden fruit of Truth;
From the flashing surf whose vision
Gleams Elysian 35
In the tropic clime of Youth;
From the strong Will and the Endeavor
Wrestle with the tides of Fate;
From the wreck of Hopes far-scattered 40
Floating waste and desolate;¡ª
Ever drifting drifting drifting
On the shifting
Currents of the restless heart; 45
Till at length in books recorded
They like hoarded
Household words no more depart.
Percy Bysshe Shelley | |
BEST and brightest come away ¡ª
Fairer far than this fair day
Which like thee to those in sorrow
Comes to bid a sweet good-morrow
To the rough year just awake 5
In its cradle on the brake.
The brightest hour of unborn Spring
Through the winter wandering
Found it seems the halcyon morn
To hoar February born; 10
Bending from heaven in azure mirth
It kiss'd the forehead of the earth
And smiled upon the silent sea
And bade the frozen streams be free
And waked to music all their fountains 15
And breathed upon the frozen mountains
And like a prophetess of May
Strew'd flowers upon the barren way
Making the wintry world appear
Like one on whom thou smilest dear.
Away away from men and towns
To the wild woods and the downs¡ª
To the silent wilderness
Where the soul need not repress
Its music lest it should not find 25
An echo in another's mind
While the touch of Nature's art
Harmonizes heart to heart.
Radiant Sister of the Day
Awake! arise! and come away! 30
To the wild woods and the plains
To the pools where winter rains
Image all their roof of leaves
Where the pine its garland weaves
Of sapless green and ivy dun 35
Round stems that never kiss the sun;
Where the lawns and pastures be
And the sandhills of the sea;
Where the melting hoar-frost wets
The daisy-star that never sets 40
And wind-flowers and violets
Which yet join not scent to hue
Crown the pale year weak and new;
When the night is left behind
In the deep east dim and blind 45
And the blue noon is over us
And the multitudinous
Billows murmur at our feet
Where the earth and ocean meet
And all things seem only one 50
In the universal Sun.