Wang Wei | |
When he was a youth of fifteen or twenty,
He chased a wild horse, he caught him and rode him,
He shot the white-browed mountain tiger,
He defied the yellow-bristled Horseman of Ye.
Fighting single- handed for a thousand miles,
With his naked dagger he could hold a multitude.
Granted that the troops of China were as swift as heaven's thunder
And that Tartar soldiers perished in pitfalls fanged with iron,
General Wei Qing's victory was only a thing of chance.
And General Li Guang's thwarted effort was his fate, not his fault.
Since this man's retirement he is looking old and worn:
Experience of the world has hastened his white hairs.
Though once his quick dart never missed the right eye of a bird,
Now knotted veins and tendons make his left arm like an osier.
He is sometimes at the road-side selling melons from his garden,
He is sometimes planting willows round his hermitage.
His lonely lane is shut away by a dense grove,
His vacant window looks upon the far cold mountains
But, if he prayed, the waters would come gushing for his men
And never would he wanton his cause away with wine.
War-clouds are spreading, under the Helan Range;
Back and forth, day and night, go feathered messages;
In the three River Provinces, the governors call young men --
And five imperial edicts have summoned the old general.
So he dusts his iron coat and shines it like snow-
Waves his dagger from its jade hilt in a dance of starry steel.
He is ready with his strong northern bow to smite the Tartar chieftain --
That never a foreign war-dress may affront the Emperor.
There once was an aged Prefect, forgotten and far away,
Who still could manage triumph with a single stroke.
Barry Tebb | |
What ghosts haunt
These streets of perpetual night?
Riverbanks fractured with splinters of glass condominiums
For nouveam riche merchant bankers
Black-tied bouncers man clubland glitz casinos
Novotel, Valley Park Motel, the Hilton:
Hot tubs, saunas, swim spas, en suite
Satellite TV, conference rooms, disco dinners.
I knew Len, the tubby taxi man
With his retirement dreams of visiting
The world’s great galleries:
‘Titian, Leonardo, Goya,
I’ve lived all my life in the house I was born in
All my life I’ve saved for this trip’
The same house he was done to death in
Tortured by three fourteen year olds,
Made headlines for one night, another
Murder to add to Beeston’s five this year.
Yorkshire Forward advertises nation-wide
The north’s attractions for business expansion
Nothing fits together any more
Addicts in doorways trying to score
The new Porsches and the new poor
Air-conditioned thirty-foot limos, fibre-optic lit,
Uniformed chauffeurs fully trained in close protection
And anti-hijack techniques, simply the best –
See for yourself in mirrored ceilings.
See for yourself the screaming youth
Soaring psychotic one Sunday afternoon
Staggering round the new coach station
"I’ll beat him to death the day I see him next"
Fifty yards away Millgarth police station’s
Fifty foot banner proclaims ‘Let’s fight crime together’
I am no poet for this age
I cannot drain nostalgia from my blood
Henry Vaughan | |
Hail sacred shades! cool, leavy House!
Chaste treasurer of all my vows,
And wealth! on whose soft bosom laid
My love's fair steps I first betrayed:
Henceforth no melancholy flight,
No sad wing, or hoarse bird of night,
Disturb this air, no fatal throat
Of raven, or owl, awake the note
Of our laid echo, no voice dwell
Within these leaves, but Philomel.
The poisonous ivy here no more
His false twists on the oak shall score,
Only the woodbine here may twine
As th'emblem of her love and mine;
Th'amorous sun shall here convey
His best beams, in thy shades to play;
The active air, the gentlest showers
Shall from his wings rain on thy flowers;
And the moon from her dewy locks
Shall deck thee with her brightest drops:
What ever can a fancy move,
Or feed the eye; be on this Grove;
And when at last the winds and tears
Of Heaven, with the consuming years,
Shall these green curls bring to decay,
And clothe thee in an aged gray:
(If ought a lover can foresee;
Or if we poets, prophets be)
From hence transplant'd, thou shalt stand
A fresh Grove in th'Elysian land;
Where (most blest pair!) as here on earth
Thou first didst eye our growth and birth;
So there again, thou'lt see us move
In our first innocence, and love:
And in thy shades, as now, so then,
We'll kiss, and smile, and walk again.
More great poems below...
Anne Kingsmill Finch | |
Good Heav'n, I thank thee, since it was design'd
I shou'd be fram'd, but of the weaker kinde,
That yet, my Soul, is rescu'd from the Love
Of all those Trifles, which their Passions move.
Pleasures, and Praise, and Plenty haue with me
But their just value.
If allow'd they be,
Freely, and thankfully as much I tast,
As will not reason, or Religion wast.
If they're deny'd, I on my selfe can Liue,
And slight those aids, unequal chance does give.
When in the Sun, my wings can be display'd,
And in retirement, I can bless the shade.
John Lindley | |
Wheeling them in,
the yard gate at half-mast
with its ticking hinge,
the tin bucket with a hairnet of webs,
the privy door ajar,
the path gloved with moss
ploughed by metal
through a scalped tyre -
in the shadows of the hood,
in the ripped silk
of the rocking, buckled pram,
none of the dead clocks moving.
And carrying them in
to a kitchen table,
a near-lifetime’s Woodies
coating each cough,
he will tickle them awake;
will hold like primitive headphones
the tinkling shells to each ear,
select and apply unfailingly
the right tool to the right cog
and with movements
as unpredictable as the pram’s
will wind and counter-wind
the scrap to metronomic life.
And at the pub,
at the Grey Horse or Houldsworth,
furtive as unpaid tax,
Rolex and Timex
and brands beneath naming
will change hands for the price of a bevy,
a fish supper
or a down payment
on early retirement
on a horse called Clockwork
running in the three-thirty at Aintree.
Robert Lowell | |
What was is.
The boys in my old gang
are senior partners.
They start up
bald like baby birds
to embrace retirement.
At the altar of surrender
I met you
in the hour of credulity.
How your misfortune came our clearly
to us at twenty.
At the gingerbread casino
how innocent the nights we made it.
on our Vesuvio martinis
with no vermouth but vodka
to sweeten the dry gin-
the lash across my face
that night we adored.
soon every night and all
when your sweet amorous
Philip Freneau | |
A HERMIT'S house beside a stream
With forests planted round,
Whatever it to you may seem
More real happiness I deem
Than if I were a monarch crowned.
A cottage I could call my own
Remote from domes of care;
A little garden, walled with stone,
The wall with ivy overgrown,
A limpid fountain near,
Would more substantial joys afford,
More real bliss impart
Than all the wealth that misers hoard,
Than vanquished worlds, or worlds restored--
Mere cankers of the heart!
Vain, foolish man! how vast thy pride,
How little can your wants supply!--
'Tis surely wrong to grasp so wide--
You act as if you only had
To triumph--not to die!
Du Fu | by Du Fu. You can read it on PoetrySoup.com' st_url='http://www.poetrysoup.com/famous/poem/23251/In_Abbot_Zans_Room_at_Dayun_Temple_Four_Poems_4' st_title='In Abbot Zan's Room at Dayun Temple: Four Poems (4)'>|
Boy draw water well shining
Agile container rise hand
Wet sprinkle not soak earth
Sweep surpass like without broom
Bright rosy clouds shining again pavilion
Clear mist lift high window
Lean fill cover path flower
Dance end steps willow
Difficulty world affair compel
Hide away right time after
Meet talk agree deep heart
How can all restrain mouth
Offer goodbye return cane riding crop
Temporary part end turn head
Vast expanse mud defile person
Listen country many dogs
Although not free yoke
Sometimes come rest rush about
Near you like white snow
Grasp hot upset how be
The boy draws shining water from the well,
He nimbly lifts the bucket to his hand.
He sprinkles water without soaking the earth,
And sweeps so well as if no broom had passed.
The rosy dawn again lights the pagoda,
The clearing mist lifts from the higher windows.
Leaning blossoms cover over the path,
Dancing willow leaves reach down to the steps.
I'm driven by these troublesome affairs,
Retirement from the world must be put off.
We've met and talked, our deepest hearts agreeing,
How can our mouths be forced completely shut?
I say goodbye and fetch my riding crop,
Parting for now, I turn my head at the last.
There's so much mud that can defile a man,
Just listen to all the dogs throughout the land.
Although I cannot get free from this yoke,
I'll sometimes come to rest from all the bustle.
Your presence, Abbot, acts just like white snow,
How can I be upset to grasp what's hot?
Anne Bronte | |
O, let me be alone a while,
No human form is nigh.
And may I sing and muse aloud,
No mortal ear is by.
Away! ye dreams of earthly bliss,
Ye earthly cares begone:
Depart! ye restless wandering thoughts,
And let me be alone!
One hour, my spirit, stretch thy wings,
And quit this joyless sod,
Bask in the sunshine of the sky,
And be alone with God!
William Cowper | |
Fresh fields and woods! the Earth's fair face,
God's foot-stool, and man's dwelling-place.
I ask not why the first Believer
Did love to be a country liver?
Who to secure pious content
Did pitch by groves and wells his tent;
Where he might view the boundless sky,
And all those glorious lights on high;
With flying meteors, mists and show'rs,
Subjected hills, trees, meads and flow'rs;
And ev'ry minute bless the King
And wise Creator of each thing.
I ask not why he did remove
To happy Mamre's holy grove,
Leaving the cities of the plain
To Lot and his successless train?
All various lusts in cities still
Are found; they are the thrones of ill;
The dismal sinks, where blood is spill'd,
Cages with much uncleanness fill'd.
But rural shades are the sweet fense
Of piety and innocence.
They are the Meek's calm region, where
Angels descend and rule the sphere,
Where heaven lies leiger, and the dove
Duly as dew, comes from above.
If Eden be on Earth at all,
'Tis that, which we the country call.
William Cowper | |
Far from the world, O Lord, I flee,
From strife and tumult far;
From scenes where Satan wages still
His most successful war.
The calm retreat, the silent shade,
With prayer and praise agree;
And seem, by Thy sweet bounty made,
For those who follow Thee.
There if Thy Spirit touch the soul,
And grace her mean abode,
Oh, with what peace, and joy, and love,
She communes with her God!
There like the nightingale she pours
Her solitary lays;
Nor asks a witness of her song,
Nor thirsts for human praise.
Author and Guardian of my life,
Sweet source of light Divine,
And, -- all harmonious names in one, --
My Saviour! Thou art mine.
What thanks I owe Thee, and what love,
A boundless, endless store,
Shall echo through the realms above,
When time shall be no more.