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Best Famous Science Poems

Here is a collection of the all-time best famous Science poems. This is a select list of the best famous Science poetry. Reading, writing, and enjoying famous Science poetry (as well as classical and contemporary poems) is a great past time. These top poems are the best examples of science poems.

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Written by William Wordsworth | Create an image from this poem

The Tables Turned

An Evening Scene on the Same Subject

Up! up! my Friend, and quit your books;
Or surely you'll grow double:
Up! up! my Friend, and clear your looks;
Why all this toil and trouble?

The sun, above the mountain's head,
A freshening lustre mellow
Through all the long green fields has spread,
His first sweet evening yellow.
Books! 'tis a dull and endless strife: Come, hear the woodland linnet, How sweet his music! on my life, There's more of wisdom in it.
And hark! how blithe the throstle sings! He, too, is no mean preacher: Come forth into the light of things, Let Nature be your Teacher.
She has a world of ready wealth, Our minds and hearts to bless— Spontaneous wisdom breathed by health, Truth breathed by cheerfulness.
One impulse from a vernal wood May teach you more of man, Of moral evil and of good, Than all the sages can.
Sweet is the lore which Nature brings; Our meddling intellect Mis-shapes the beauteous forms of things:— We murder to dissect.
Enough of Science and of Art; Close up those barren leaves; Come forth, and bring with you a heart That watches and receives.
Written by Allen Ginsberg | Create an image from this poem

Hospital Window

At gauzy dusk, thin haze like cigarette smoke 
ribbons past Chrysler Building's silver fins 
tapering delicately needletopped, Empire State's 
taller antenna filmed milky lit amid blocks 
black and white apartmenting veil'd sky over Manhattan, 
offices new built dark glassed in blueish heaven--The East 
50's & 60's covered with castles & watertowers, seven storied 
tar-topped house-banks over York Avenue, late may-green trees 
surrounding Rockefellers' blue domed medical arbor-- 
Geodesic science at the waters edge--Cars running up 
East River Drive, & parked at N.
Y.
Hospital's oval door where perfect tulips flower the health of a thousand sick souls trembling inside hospital rooms.
Triboro bridge steel-spiked penthouse orange roofs, sunset tinges the river and in a few Bronx windows, some magnesium vapor brilliances're spotted five floors above E 59th St under grey painted bridge trestles.
Way downstream along the river, as Monet saw Thames 100 years ago, Con Edison smokestacks 14th street, & Brooklyn Bridge's skeined dim in modern mists-- Pipes sticking up to sky nine smokestacks huge visible-- U.
N.
Building hangs under an orange crane, & red lights on vertical avenues below the trees turn green at the nod of a skull with a mild nerve ache.
Dim dharma, I return to this spectacle after weeks of poisoned lassitude, my thighs belly chest & arms covered with poxied welts, head pains fading back of the neck, right eyebrow cheek mouth paralyzed--from taking the wrong medicine, sweated too much in the forehead helpless, covered my rage from gorge to prostate with grinding jaw and tightening anus not released the weeping scream of horror at robot Mayaguez World self ton billions metal grief unloaded Pnom Penh to Nakon Thanom, Santiago & Tehran.
Fresh warm breeze in the window, day's release >from pain, cars float downside the bridge trestle and uncounted building-wall windows multiplied a mile deep into ash-delicate sky beguile my empty mind.
A seagull passes alone wings spread silent over roofs.
- May 20, 1975 Mayaguez Crisis
Written by Elizabeth Barrett Browning | Create an image from this poem

The Deserted Garden

I MIND me in the days departed, 
How often underneath the sun 
With childish bounds I used to run 
To a garden long deserted.
The beds and walks were vanish'd quite; 5 And wheresoe'er had struck the spade, The greenest grasses Nature laid, To sanctify her right.
I call'd the place my wilderness, For no one enter'd there but I.
10 The sheep look'd in, the grass to espy, And pass'd it ne'ertheless.
The trees were interwoven wild, And spread their boughs enough about To keep both sheep and shepherd out, 15 But not a happy child.
Adventurous joy it was for me! I crept beneath the boughs, and found A circle smooth of mossy ground Beneath a poplar-tree.
20 Old garden rose-trees hedged it in, Bedropt with roses waxen-white, Well satisfied with dew and light, And careless to be seen.
Long years ago, it might befall, 25 When all the garden flowers were trim, The grave old gardener prided him On these the most of all.
Some Lady, stately overmuch, Here moving with a silken noise, 30 Has blush'd beside them at the voice That liken'd her to such.
Or these, to make a diadem, She often may have pluck'd and twined; Half-smiling as it came to mind, 35 That few would look at them.
O, little thought that Lady proud, A child would watch her fair white rose, When buried lay her whiter brows, And silk was changed for shroud!¡ª 40 Nor thought that gardener (full of scorns For men unlearn'd and simple phrase) A child would bring it all its praise, By creeping through the thorns! To me upon my low moss seat, 45 Though never a dream the roses sent Of science or love's compliment, I ween they smelt as sweet.
It did not move my grief to see The trace of human step departed: 50 Because the garden was deserted, The blither place for me! Friends, blame me not! a narrow ken Hath childhood 'twixt the sun and sward: We draw the moral afterward¡ª 55 We feel the gladness then.
And gladdest hours for me did glide In silence at the rose-tree wall: A thrush made gladness musical Upon the other side.
60 Nor he nor I did e'er incline To peck or pluck the blossoms white:¡ª How should I know but that they might Lead lives as glad as mine? To make my hermit-home complete, 65 I brought clear water from the spring Praised in its own low murmuring, And cresses glossy wet.
And so, I thought, my likeness grew (Without the melancholy tale) 70 To 'gentle hermit of the dale,' And Angelina too.
For oft I read within my nook Such minstrel stories; till the breeze Made sounds poetic in the trees, 75 And then I shut the book.
If I shut this wherein I write, I hear no more the wind athwart Those trees, nor feel that childish heart Delighting in delight.
80 My childhood from my life is parted, My footstep from the moss which drew Its fairy circle round: anew The garden is deserted.
Another thrush may there rehearse 85 The madrigals which sweetest are; No more for me!¡ªmyself afar Do sing a sadder verse.
Ah me! ah me! when erst I lay In that child's-nest so greenly wrought, 90 I laugh'd unto myself and thought, 'The time will pass away.
' And still I laugh'd, and did not fear But that, whene'er was pass'd away The childish time, some happier play 95 My womanhood would cheer.
I knew the time would pass away; And yet, beside the rose-tree wall, Dear God, how seldom, if at all, Did I look up to pray! 100 The time is past: and now that grows The cypress high among the trees, And I behold white sepulchres As well as the white rose,¡ª When wiser, meeker thoughts are given, 105 And I have learnt to lift my face, Reminded how earth's greenest place The colour draws from heaven,¡ª It something saith for earthly pain, But more for heavenly promise free, 110 That I who was, would shrink to be That happy child again.
Written by Emily Dickinson | Create an image from this poem

A light exists in spring

A light exists in spring
   Not present on the year
At any other period.
When March is scarcely here A color stands abroad On solitary hills That science cannot overtake, But human nature feels.
It waits upon the lawn; It shows the furthest tree Upon the furthest slope we know; It almost speaks to me.
Then, as horizons step, Or noons report away, Without the formula of sound, It passes, and we stay: A quality of loss Affecting our content, As trade had suddenly encroached Upon a sacrament.
Written by Marianne Moore | Create an image from this poem

Marriage

 This institution,
perhaps one should say enterprise
out of respect for which
one says one need not change one's mind
about a thing one has believed in,
requiring public promises
of one's intention
to fulfill a private obligation:
I wonder what Adam and Eve
think of it by this time,
this firegilt steel
alive with goldenness;
how bright it shows --
"of circular traditions and impostures,
committing many spoils,"
requiring all one's criminal ingenuity
to avoid!
Psychology which explains everything
explains nothing
and we are still in doubt.
Eve: beautiful woman -- I have seen her when she was so handsome she gave me a start, able to write simultaneously in three languages -- English, German and French and talk in the meantime; equally positive in demanding a commotion and in stipulating quiet: "I should like to be alone;" to which the visitor replies, "I should like to be alone; why not be alone together?" Below the incandescent stars below the incandescent fruit, the strange experience of beauty; its existence is too much; it tears one to pieces and each fresh wave of consciousness is poison.
"See her, see her in this common world," the central flaw in that first crystal-fine experiment, this amalgamation which can never be more than an interesting possibility, describing it as "that strange paradise unlike flesh, gold, or stately buildings, the choicest piece of my life: the heart rising in its estate of peace as a boat rises with the rising of the water;" constrained in speaking of the serpent -- that shed snakeskin in the history of politeness not to be returned to again -- that invaluable accident exonerating Adam.
And he has beauty also; it's distressing -- the O thou to whom, from whom, without whom nothing -- Adam; "something feline, something colubrine" -- how true! a crouching mythological monster in that Persian miniature of emerald mines, raw silk -- ivory white, snow white, oyster white and six others -- that paddock full of leopards and giraffes -- long lemonyellow bodies sown with trapezoids of blue.
Alive with words, vibrating like a cymbal touched before it has been struck, he has prophesied correctly -- the industrious waterfall, "the speedy stream which violently bears all before it, at one time silent as the air and now as powerful as the wind.
" "Treading chasms on the uncertain footing of a spear," forgetting that there is in woman a quality of mind which is an instinctive manifestation is unsafe, he goes on speaking in a formal, customary strain of "past states," the present state, seals, promises, the evil one suffered, the good one enjoys, hell, heaven, everything convenient to promote one's joy.
" There is in him a state of mind by force of which, perceiving what it was not intended that he should, "he experiences a solemn joy in seeing that he has become an idol.
" Plagued by the nightingale in the new leaves, with its silence -- not its silence but its silences, he says of it: "It clothes me with a shirt of fire.
" "He dares not clap his hands to make it go on lest it should fly off; if he does nothing, it will sleep; if he cries out, it will not understand.
" Unnerved by the nightingale and dazzled by the apple, impelled by "the illusion of a fire effectual to extinguish fire," compared with which the shining of the earth is but deformity -- a fire "as high as deep as bright as broad as long as life itself," he stumbles over marriage, "a very trivial object indeed" to have destroyed the attitude in which he stood -- the ease of the philosopher unfathered by a woman.
Unhelpful Hymen! "a kind of overgrown cupid" reduced to insignificance by the mechanical advertising parading as involuntary comment, by that experiment of Adam's with ways out but no way in -- the ritual of marriage, augmenting all its lavishness; its fiddle-head ferns, lotus flowers, opuntias, white dromedaries, its hippopotamus -- nose and mouth combined in one magnificent hopper, "the crested screamer -- that huge bird almost a lizard," its snake and the potent apple.
He tells us that "for love that will gaze an eagle blind, that is like a Hercules climbing the trees in the garden of the Hesperides, from forty-five to seventy is the best age," commending it as a fine art, as an experiment, a duty or as merely recreation.
One must not call him ruffian nor friction a calamity -- the fight to be affectionate: "no truth can be fully known until it has been tried by the tooth of disputation.
" The blue panther with black eyes, the basalt panther with blue eyes, entirely graceful -- one must give them the path -- the black obsidian Diana who "darkeneth her countenance as a bear doth, causing her husband to sigh," the spiked hand that has an affection for one and proves it to the bone, impatient to assure you that impatience is the mark of independence not of bondage.
"Married people often look that way" -- "seldom and cold, up and down, mixed and malarial with a good day and bad.
" "When do we feed?" We occidentals are so unemotional, we quarrel as we feed; one's self is quite lost, the irony preserved in "the Ahasuerus t?te ? t?te banquet" with its "good monster, lead the way," with little laughter and munificence of humor in that quixotic atmosphere of frankness in which "Four o'clock does not exist but at five o'clock the ladies in their imperious humility are ready to receive you"; in which experience attests that men have power and sometimes one is made to feel it.
He says, "what monarch would not blush to have a wife with hair like a shaving-brush? The fact of woman is not `the sound of the flute but every poison.
'" She says, "`Men are monopolists of stars, garters, buttons and other shining baubles' -- unfit to be the guardians of another person's happiness.
" He says, "These mummies must be handled carefully -- `the crumbs from a lion's meal, a couple of shins and the bit of an ear'; turn to the letter M and you will find that `a wife is a coffin,' that severe object with the pleasing geometry stipulating space and not people, refusing to be buried and uniquely disappointing, revengefully wrought in the attitude of an adoring child to a distinguished parent.
" She says, "This butterfly, this waterfly, this nomad that has `proposed to settle on my hand for life.
' -- What can one do with it? There must have been more time in Shakespeare's day to sit and watch a play.
You know so many artists are fools.
" He says, "You know so many fools who are not artists.
" The fact forgot that "some have merely rights while some have obligations," he loves himself so much, he can permit himself no rival in that love.
She loves herself so much, she cannot see herself enough -- a statuette of ivory on ivory, the logical last touch to an expansive splendor earned as wages for work done: one is not rich but poor when one can always seem so right.
What can one do for them -- these savages condemned to disaffect all those who are not visionaries alert to undertake the silly task of making people noble? This model of petrine fidelity who "leaves her peaceful husband only because she has seen enough of him" -- that orator reminding you, "I am yours to command.
" "Everything to do with love is mystery; it is more than a day's work to investigate this science.
" One sees that it is rare -- that striking grasp of opposites opposed each to the other, not to unity, which in cycloid inclusiveness has dwarfed the demonstration of Columbus with the egg -- a triumph of simplicity -- that charitive Euroclydon of frightening disinterestedness which the world hates, admitting: "I am such a cow, if I had a sorrow, I should feel it a long time; I am not one of those who have a great sorrow in the morning and a great joy at noon;" which says: "I have encountered it among those unpretentious proteg?s of wisdom, where seeming to parade as the debater and the Roman, the statesmanship of an archaic Daniel Webster persists to their simplicity of temper as the essence of the matter: `Liberty and union now and forever;' the book on the writing-table; the hand in the breast-pocket.
"
Written by William Wordsworth | Create an image from this poem

THE TABLES TURNED;

An Evening Scene, on the same Subject,

  Up! up! my friend, and clear your looks,
  Why all this toil and trouble?
  Up! up! my friend, and quit your books,
  Or surely you'll grow double.

  The sun, above the mountain's head,
  A freshening lustre mellow
  Through all the long green fields has spread,
  His first sweet evening yellow.

  Books! 'tis dull and endless strife,
  Come, here the woodland linnet,
  How sweet his music; on my life
  There's more of wisdom in it.

  And hark! how blithe the throstle sings!
  And he is no mean preacher;
  Come forth into the light of things,
  Let Nature be your teacher.

  She has a world of ready wealth,
  Our minds and hearts to bless—
  Spontaneous wisdom breathed by health,
  Truth breathed by chearfulness.

  One impulse from a vernal wood
  May teach you more of man;
  Of moral evil and of good,
  Than all the sages can.

  Sweet is the lore which nature brings;
  Our meddling intellect
  Mishapes the beauteous forms of things;
  —We murder to dissect.

  Enough of science and of art;
  Close up these barren leaves;
  Come forth, and bring with you a heart
  That watches and receives.

ANIMAL TRANQUILLITY & DECAY

A SKETCH.

                  The little hedge-row birds
  That peck along the road, regard him not.
  He travels on, and in his face, his step,
  His gait, is one expression; every limb,
  His look and bending figure, all bespeak
  A man who does not move with pain, but moves
  With thought—He is insensibly subdued
  To settled quiet: he is one by whom
  All effort seems forgotten, one to whom
  Long patience has such mild composure given,
  That patience now doth seem a thing, of which
  He hath no need.
He is by nature led
  To peace so perfect, that the young behold
  With envy, what the old man hardly feels.
  —I asked him whither he was bound, and what
  The object of his journey; he replied
  That he was going many miles to take
  A last leave of his son, a mariner,
  Who from a sea-fight had been brought to Falmouth,
  And there was lying in an hospital.

Written by Phillis Wheatley | Create an image from this poem

To a Lady on the Death of Her Husband

Grim monarch! see, depriv'd of vital breath,
A young physician in the dust of death:
Dost thou go on incessant to destroy,
Our griefs to double, and lay waste our joy?
"Enough" thou never yet wast known to say,
Though millions die, the vassals of thy sway:
Nor youth, nor science, nor the ties of love,
Nor aught on earth thy flinty heart can move.
The friend, the spouse from his dire dart to save, In vain we ask the sovereign of the grave.
Fair mourner, there see thy lov'd Leonard laid, And o'er him spread the deep impervious shade; Clos'd are his eyes, and heavy fetters keep His senses bound in never-waking sleep, Till time shall cease, till many a starry world Shall fall from heav'n, in dire confusion hurl'd, Till nature in her final wreck shall lie, And her last groan shall rend the azure sky: Not, not till then his active soul shall claim His body, a divine immortal frame.
But see the softly-stealing tears apace Pursue each other down the mourner's face; But cease thy tears, bid ev'ry sigh depart, And cast the load of anguish from thine heart: From the cold shell of his great soul arise, And look beyond, thou native of the skies; There fix thy view, where fleeter than the wind Thy Leonard mounts, and leaves the earth behind.
Thyself prepare to pass the vale of night To join for ever on the hills of light: To thine embrace his joyful sprit moves To thee, the partner of his earthly loves; He welcomes thee to pleasures more refin'd, And better suited to th' immortal mind.
Written by Edgar Allan Poe | Create an image from this poem

Sonnet -- To Science

Science! true daughter of Old Time thou art!
Who alterest all things with thy peering eyes.
Why preyest thou thus upon the poet's heart Vulture whose wings are dull realities? How should he love thee? or how deem thee wise Who wouldst not leave him in his wandering To seek for treasure in the jewelled skies Albeit he soared with an undaunted wing? Hast thou not dragged Diana from her car? And driven the Hamadryad from the wood To seek a shelter in some happier star? Hast thou not torn the Naiad from her flood The Elfin from the green grass and from me The summer dream beneath the tamarind tree?
Written by Walt Whitman | Create an image from this poem

To You

 WHOEVER you are, I fear you are walking the walks of dreams, 
I fear these supposed realities are to melt from under your feet and hands; 
Even now, your features, joys, speech, house, trade, manners, troubles, follies, costume,
 crimes, dissipate away from you, 
Your true Soul and Body appear before me, 
They stand forth out of affairs—out of commerce, shops, law, science, work, forms,
 clothes, the house, medicine, print, buying, selling, eating, drinking, suffering, dying.
Whoever you are, now I place my hand upon you, that you be my poem; I whisper with my lips close to your ear, I have loved many women and men, but I love none better than you.
O I have been dilatory and dumb; I should have made my way straight to you long ago; I should have blabb’d nothing but you, I should have chanted nothing but you.
I will leave all, and come and make the hymns of you; None have understood you, but I understand you; None have done justice to you—you have not done justice to yourself; None but have found you imperfect—I only find no imperfection in you; None but would subordinate you—I only am he who will never consent to subordinate you; I only am he who places over you no master, owner, better, God, beyond what waits intrinsically in yourself.
Painters have painted their swarming groups, and the centre figure of all; From the head of the centre figure spreading a nimbus of gold-color’d light; But I paint myriads of heads, but paint no head without its nimbus of gold-color’d light; From my hand, from the brain of every man and woman it streams, effulgently flowing forever.
O I could sing such grandeurs and glories about you! You have not known what you are—you have slumber’d upon yourself all your life; Your eye-lids have been the same as closed most of the time; What you have done returns already in mockeries; (Your thrift, knowledge, prayers, if they do not return in mockeries, what is their return?) The mockeries are not you; Underneath them, and within them, I see you lurk; I pursue you where none else has pursued you; Silence, the desk, the flippant expression, the night, the accustom’d routine, if these conceal you from others, or from yourself, they do not conceal you from me; The shaved face, the unsteady eye, the impure complexion, if these balk others, they do not balk me, The pert apparel, the deform’d attitude, drunkenness, greed, premature death, all these I part aside.
There is no endowment in man or woman that is not tallied in you; There is no virtue, no beauty, in man or woman, but as good is in you; No pluck, no endurance in others, but as good is in you; No pleasure waiting for others, but an equal pleasure waits for you.
As for me, I give nothing to any one, except I give the like carefully to you; I sing the songs of the glory of none, not God, sooner than I sing the songs of the glory of you.
Whoever you are! claim your own at any hazard! These shows of the east and west are tame, compared to you; These immense meadows—these interminable rivers—you are immense and interminable as they; These furies, elements, storms, motions of Nature, throes of apparent dissolution—you are he or she who is master or mistress over them, Master or mistress in your own right over Nature, elements, pain, passion, dissolution.
The hopples fall from your ankles—you find an unfailing sufficiency; Old or young, male or female, rude, low, rejected by the rest, whatever you are promulges itself; Through birth, life, death, burial, the means are provided, nothing is scanted; Through angers, losses, ambition, ignorance, ennui, what you are picks its way.
Written by Judith Sargent Murray | Create an image from this poem

from On the Equality of the Sexes Part I

That minds are not alike, full well I know,
This truth each day's experience will show.
To heights surprising some great spirits soar, With inborn strength mysterious depths explore; Their eager gaze surveys the path of light, Confessed it stood to Newton's piercing sight, Deep science, like a bashful maid retires, And but the ardent breast her worth inspires; By perseverance the coy fair is won, And Genius, led by Study, wears the crown.
But some there are who wish not to improve, Who never can the path of knowledge love, Whose souls almost with the dull body one, With anxious care each mental pleasure shun.
Weak is the leveled, enervated mind, And but while here to vegetate designed.
The torpid spirit mingling with its clod Can scarcely boast its origin from God.
Stupidly dull—they move progressing on— They eat, and drink, and all their work is done, While others, emulous of sweet applause, Industrious seek for each event a cause, Tracing the hidden springs whence knowledge flows, Which nature all in beauteous order shows.
Yet cannot I their sentiments imbibe Who this distinction to the sex ascribe, As if a woman's form must needs enroll A weak, a servile, an inferior soul; And that the guise of man must still proclaim Greatness of mind, and him, to be the same.
Yet as the hours revolve fair proofs arise Which the bright wreath of growing fame supplies, And in past times some men have sunk so low, That female records nothing less can show.
But imbecility is still confined, And by the lordly sex to us consigned.
They rob us of the power t'improve, And then declare we only trifles love.
Yet haste the era when the world shall know That such distinctions only dwell below.
The soul unfettered to no sex confined, Was for the abodes of cloudless day designed.
Meantime we emulate their manly fires, Though erudition all their thoughts inspires, Yet nature with equality imparts, And noble passions, swell e'en female hearts.
Written by Robinson Jeffers | Create an image from this poem

The Silent Shepherds

 What's the best life for a man?
--Never to have been born, sings the choros, and the next best
Is to die young.
I saw the Sybil at Cumae Hung in her cage over the public street-- What do you want, Sybil? I want to die.
Apothanein Thelo.
Apothanein Thelo.
Apothanein Thelo.
You have got your wish.
But I meant life, not death.
What's the best life for a man? To ride in the wind.
To ride horses and herd cattle In solitary places above the ocean on the beautiful mountain, and come home hungry in the evening And eat and sleep.
He will live in the wild wind and quick rain, he will not ruin his eyes with reading, Nor think too much.
However, we must have philosophers.
I will have shepherds for my philosophers, Tall dreary men lying on the hills all night Watching the stars, let their dogs watch the sheep.
And I'll have lunatics For my poets, strolling from farm to farm, wild liars distorting The country news into supernaturalism-- For all men to such minds are devils or gods--and that increases Man's dignity, man's importance, necessary lies Best told by fools.
I will have no lawyers nor constables Each man guard his own goods: there will be manslaughter, But no more wars, no more mass-sacrifice.
Nor I'll have no doctors, Except old women gathering herbs on the mountain, Let each have her sack of opium to ease the death-pains.
That would be a good world, free and out-doors.
But the vast hungry spirit of the time Cries to his chosen that there is nothing good Except discovery, experiment and experience and discovery: To look truth in the eyes, To strip truth naked, let our dogs do our living for us But man discover.
It is a fine ambition, But the wrong tools.
Science and mathematics Run parallel to reality, they symbolize it, they squint at it, They never touch it: consider what an explosion Would rock the bones of men into little white fragments and unsky the world If any mind for a moment touch truth.
Written by Stanley Kunitz | Create an image from this poem

The Science Of The Night

 I touch you in the night, whose gift was you,
My careless sprawler,
And I touch you cold, unstirring, star-bemused,
That have become the land of your self-strangeness.
What long seduction of the bone has led you Down the imploring roads I cannot take Into the arms of ghosts I never knew, Leaving my manhood on a rumpled field To guard you where you lie so deep In absent-mindedness, Caught in the calcium snows of sleep? And even should I track you to your birth Through all the cities of your mortal trial, As in my jealous thought I try to do, You would escape me--from the brink of earth Take off to where the lawless auroras run, You with your wild and metaphysic heart.
My touch is on you, who are light-years gone.
We are not souls but systems, and we move In clouds of our unknowing like great nebulae.
Our very motives swirl and have their start With father lion and with mother crab.
Dreamer, my own lost rib, Whose planetary dust is blowing Past archipelagoes of myth and light What far Magellans are you mistress of To whom you speed the pleasure of your art? As through a glass that magnifies my loss I see the lines of your spectrum shifting red, The universe expanding, thinning out, Our worlds flying, oh flying, fast apart.
From hooded powers and from abstract flight I summon you, your person and your pride.
Fall to me now from outer space, Still fastened desperately to my side; Through gulfs of streaming air Bring me the mornings of the milky ways Down to my threshold in your drowsy eyes; And by the virtue of your honeyed word Restore the liquid language of the moon, That in gold mines of secrecy you delve.
Awake! My whirling hands stay at the noon, Each cell within my body holds a heart And all my hearts in unison strike twelve.
Written by Marge Piercy | Create an image from this poem

What Are Big Girls Made Of?

 The construction of a woman:
a woman is not made of flesh 
of bone and sinew 
belly and breasts, elbows and liver and toe.
She is manufactured like a sports sedan.
She is retooled, refitted and redesigned every decade.
Cecile had been seduction itself in college.
She wriggled through bars like a satin eel, her hips and ass promising, her mouth pursed in the dark red lipstick of desire.
She visited in '68 still wearing skirts tight to the knees, dark red lipstick, while I danced through Manhattan in mini skirt, lipstick pale as apricot milk, hair loose as a horse's mane.
Oh dear, I thought in my superiority of the moment, whatever has happened to poor Cecile? She was out of fashion, out of the game, disqualified, disdained, dis- membered from the club of desire.
Look at pictures in French fashion magazines of the 18th century: century of the ultimate lady fantasy wrought of silk and corseting.
Paniers bring her hips out three feet each way, while the waist is pinched and the belly flattened under wood.
The breasts are stuffed up and out offered like apples in a bowl.
The tiny foot is encased in a slipper never meant for walking.
On top is a grandiose headache: hair like a museum piece, daily ornamented with ribbons, vases, grottoes, mountains, frigates in full sail, balloons, baboons, the fancy of a hairdresser turned loose.
The hats were rococo wedding cakes that would dim the Las Vegas strip.
Here is a woman forced into shape rigid exoskeleton torturing flesh: a woman made of pain.
How superior we are now: see the modern woman thin as a blade of scissors.
She runs on a treadmill every morning, fits herself into machines of weights and pulleys to heave and grunt, an image in her mind she can never approximate, a body of rosy glass that never wrinkles, never grows, never fades.
She sits at the table closing her eyes to food hungry, always hungry: a woman made of pain.
A cat or dog approaches another, they sniff noses.
They sniff asses.
They bristle or lick.
They fall in love as often as we do, as passionately.
But they fall in love or lust with furry flesh, not hoop skirts or push up bras rib removal or liposuction.
It is not for male or female dogs that poodles are clipped to topiary hedges.
If only we could like each other raw.
If only we could love ourselves like healthy babies burbling in our arms.
If only we were not programmed and reprogrammed to need what is sold us.
Why should we want to live inside ads? Why should we want to scourge our softness to straight lines like a Mondrian painting? Why should we punish each other with scorn as if to have a large ass were worse than being greedy or mean? When will women not be compelled to view their bodies as science projects, gardens to be weeded, dogs to be trained? When will a woman cease to be made of pain?
Written by Walt Whitman | Create an image from this poem

As a Strong Bird on Pinions Free

 1
AS a strong bird on pinions free, 
Joyous, the amplest spaces heavenward cleaving, 
Such be the thought I’d think to-day of thee, America, 
Such be the recitative I’d bring to-day for thee.
The conceits of the poets of other lands I bring thee not, Nor the compliments that have served their turn so long, Nor rhyme—nor the classics—nor perfume of foreign court, or indoor library; But an odor I’d bring to-day as from forests of pine in the north, in Maine—or breath of an Illinois prairie, With open airs of Virginia, or Georgia, or Tennessee—or from Texas uplands, or Florida’s glades, With presentment of Yellowstone’s scenes, or Yosemite; And murmuring under, pervading all, I’d bring the rustling sea-sound, That endlessly sounds from the two great seas of the world.
And for thy subtler sense, subtler refrains, O Union! Preludes of intellect tallying these and thee—mind-formulas fitted for thee—real, and sane, and large as these and thee; Thou, mounting higher, diving deeper than we knew—thou transcendental Union! By thee Fact to be justified—blended with Thought; Thought of Man justified—blended with God: Through thy Idea—lo! the immortal Reality! Through thy Reality—lo! the immortal Idea! 2 Brain of the New World! what a task is thine! To formulate the Modern.
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Out of the peerless grandeur of the modern, Out of Thyself—comprising Science—to recast Poems, Churches, Art, (Recast—may-be discard them, end them—May-be their work is done—who knows?) By vision, hand, conception, on the background of the mighty past, the dead, To limn, with absolute faith, the mighty living present.
(And yet, thou living, present brain! heir of the dead, the Old World brain! Thou that lay folded, like an unborn babe, within its folds so long! Thou carefully prepared by it so long!—haply thou but unfoldest it—only maturest it; It to eventuate in thee—the essence of the by-gone time contain’d in thee; Its poems, churches, arts, unwitting to themselves, destined with reference to thee, The fruit of all the Old, ripening to-day in thee.
) 3 Sail—sail thy best, ship of Democracy! Of value is thy freight—’tis not the Present only, The Past is also stored in thee! Thou holdest not the venture of thyself alone—not of thy western continent alone; Earth’s résumé entire floats on thy keel, O ship—is steadied by thy spars; With thee Time voyages in trust—the antecedent nations sink or swim with thee; With all their ancient struggles, martyrs, heroes, epics, wars, thou bear’st the other continents; Theirs, theirs as much as thine, the destination-port triumphant: —Steer, steer with good strong hand and wary eye, O helmsman—thou carryest great companions, Venerable, priestly Asia sails this day with thee, And royal, feudal Europe sails with thee.
4 Beautiful World of new, superber Birth, that rises to my eyes, Like a limitless golden cloud, filling the western sky; Emblem of general Maternity, lifted above all; Sacred shape of the bearer of daughters and sons; Out of thy teeming womb, thy giant babes in ceaseless procession issuing, Acceding from such gestation, taking and giving continual strength and life; World of the Real! world of the twain in one! World of the Soul—born by the world of the real alone—led to identity, body, by it alone; Yet in beginning only—incalculable masses of composite, precious materials, By history’s cycles forwarded—by every nation, language, hither sent, Ready, collected here—a freer, vast, electric World, to be constructed here, (The true New World—the world of orbic Science, Morals, Literatures to come,) Thou Wonder World, yet undefined, unform’d—neither do I define thee; How can I pierce the impenetrable blank of the future? I feel thy ominous greatness, evil as well as good; I watch thee, advancing, absorbing the present, transcending the past; I see thy light lighting and thy shadow shadowing, as if the entire globe; But I do not undertake to define thee—hardly to comprehend thee; I but thee name—thee prophecy—as now! I merely thee ejaculate! Thee in thy future; Thee in thy only permanent life, career—thy own unloosen’d mind—thy soaring spirit; Thee as another equally needed sun, America—radiant, ablaze, swift-moving, fructifying all; Thee! risen in thy potent cheerfulness and joy—thy endless, great hilarity! (Scattering for good the cloud that hung so long—that weigh’d so long upon the mind of man, The doubt, suspicion, dread, of gradual, certain decadence of man;) Thee in thy larger, saner breeds of Female, Male—thee in thy athletes, moral, spiritual, South, North, West, East, (To thy immortal breasts, Mother of All, thy every daughter, son, endear’d alike, forever equal;) Thee in thy own musicians, singers, artists, unborn yet, but certain; Thee in thy moral wealth and civilization (until which thy proudest material wealth and civilization must remain in vain;) Thee in thy all-supplying, all-enclosing Worship—thee in no single bible, saviour, merely, Thy saviours countless, latent within thyself—thy bibles incessant, within thyself, equal to any, divine as any; Thee in an education grown of thee—in teachers, studies, students, born of thee; Thee in thy democratic fetes, en masse—thy high original festivals, operas, lecturers, preachers; Thee in thy ultimata, (the preparations only now completed—the edifice on sure foundations tied,) Thee in thy pinnacles, intellect, thought—thy topmost rational joys—thy love, and godlike aspiration, In thy resplendent coming literati—thy full-lung’d orators—thy sacerdotal bards—kosmic savans, These! these in thee, (certain to come,) to-day I prophecy.
5 Land tolerating all—accepting all—not for the good alone—all good for thee; Land in the realms of God to be a realm unto thyself; Under the rule of God to be a rule unto thyself.
(Lo! where arise three peerless stars, To be thy natal stars, my country—Ensemble—Evolution—Freedom, Set in the sky of Law.
) Land of unprecedented faith—God’s faith! Thy soil, thy very subsoil, all upheav’d; The general inner earth, so long, so sedulously draped over, now and hence for what it is, boldly laid bare, Open’d by thee to heaven’s light, for benefit or bale.
Not for success alone; Not to fair-sail unintermitted always; The storm shall dash thy face—the murk of war, and worse than war, shall cover thee all over; (Wert capable of war—its tug and trials? Be capable of peace, its trials; For the tug and mortal strain of nations come at last in peace—not war;) In many a smiling mask death shall approach, beguiling thee—thou in disease shalt swelter; The livid cancer spread its hideous claws, clinging upon thy breasts, seeking to strike thee deep within; Consumption of the worst—moral consumption—shall rouge thy face with hectic: But thou shalt face thy fortunes, thy diseases, and surmount them all, Whatever they are to-day, and whatever through time they may be, They each and all shall lift, and pass away, and cease from thee; While thou, Time’s spirals rounding—out of thyself, thyself still extricating, fusing, Equable, natural, mystical Union thou—(the mortal with immortal blent,) Shalt soar toward the fulfilment of the future—the spirit of the body and the mind, The Soul—its destinies.
The Soul, its destinies—the real real, (Purport of all these apparitions of the real;) In thee, America, the Soul, its destinies; Thou globe of globes! thou wonder nebulous! By many a throe of heat and cold convuls’d—(by these thyself solidifying;) Thou mental, moral orb! thou New, indeed new, Spiritual World! The Present holds thee not—for such vast growth as thine—for such unparallel’d flight as thine, The Future only holds thee, and can hold thee.
Written by Edwin Arlington Robinson | Create an image from this poem

Octaves

 I 

We thrill too strangely at the master's touch;
We shrink too sadly from the larger self
Which for its own completeness agitates
And undetermines us; we do not feel -- 
We dare not feel it yet -- the splendid shame
Of uncreated failure; we forget,
The while we groan, that God's accomplishment
Is always and unfailingly at hand.
II Tumultuously void of a clean scheme Whereon to build, whereof to formulate, The legion life that riots in mankind Goes ever plunging upward, up and down, Most like some crazy regiment at arms, Undisciplined of aught but Ignorance, And ever led resourcelessly along To brainless carnage by drunk trumpeters.
III To me the groaning of world-worshippers Rings like a lonely music played in hell By one with art enough to cleave the walls Of heaven with his cadence, but without The wisdom or the will to comprehend The strangeness of his own perversity, And all without the courage to deny The profit and the pride of his defeat.
IV While we are drilled in error, we are lost Alike to truth and usefulness.
We think We are great warriors now, and we can brag Like Titans; but the world is growing young, And we, the fools of time, are growing with it: -- We do not fight to-day, we only die; We are too proud of death, and too ashamed Of God, to know enough to be alive.
V There is one battle-field whereon we fall Triumphant and unconquered; but, alas! We are too fleshly fearful of ourselves To fight there till our days are whirled and blurred By sorrow, and the ministering wheels Of anguish take us eastward, where the clouds Of human gloom are lost against the gleam That shines on Thought's impenetrable mail.
VI When we shall hear no more the cradle-songs Of ages -- when the timeless hymns of Love Defeat them and outsound them -- we shall know The rapture of that large release which all Right science comprehends; and we shall read, With unoppressed and unoffended eyes, That record of All-Soul whereon God writes In everlasting runes the truth of Him.
VII The guerdon of new childhood is repose: -- Once he has read the primer of right thought, A man may claim between two smithy strokes Beatitude enough to realize God's parallel completeness in the vague And incommensurable excellence That equitably uncreates itself And makes a whirlwind of the Universe.
VIII There is no loneliness: -- no matter where We go, nor whence we come, nor what good friends Forsake us in the seeming, we are all At one with a complete companionship; And though forlornly joyless be the ways We travel, the compensate spirit-gleams Of Wisdom shaft the darkness here and there, Like scattered lamps in unfrequented streets.
IX When one that you and I had all but sworn To be the purest thing God ever made Bewilders us until at last it seems An angel has come back restigmatized, -- Faith wavers, and we wonder what there is On earth to make us faithful any more, But never are quite wise enough to know The wisdom that is in that wonderment.
X Where does a dead man go? -- The dead man dies; But the free life that would no longer feed On fagots of outburned and shattered flesh Wakes to a thrilled invisible advance, Unchained (or fettered else) of memory; And when the dead man goes it seems to me 'T were better for us all to do away With weeping, and be glad that he is gone.
XI So through the dusk of dead, blank-legended, And unremunerative years we search To get where life begins, and still we groan Because we do not find the living spark Where no spark ever was; and thus we die, Still searching, like poor old astronomers Who totter off to bed and go to sleep, To dream of untriangulated stars.
XII With conscious eyes not yet sincere enough To pierce the glimmered cloud that fluctuates Between me and the glorifying light That screens itself with knowledge, I discern The searching rays of wisdom that reach through The mist of shame's infirm credulity, And infinitely wonder if hard words Like mine have any message for the dead.
XIII I grant you friendship is a royal thing, But none shall ever know that royalty For what it is till he has realized His best friend in himself.
'T is then, perforce, That man's unfettered faith indemnifies Of its own conscious freedom the old shame, And love's revealed infinitude supplants Of its own wealth and wisdom the old scorn.
XIV Though the sick beast infect us, we are fraught Forever with indissoluble Truth, Wherein redress reveals itself divine, Transitional, transcendent.
Grief and loss, Disease and desolation, are the dreams Of wasted excellence; and every dream Has in it something of an ageless fact That flouts deformity and laughs at years.
XV We lack the courage to be where we are: -- We love too much to travel on old roads, To triumph on old fields; we love too much To consecrate the magic of dead things, And yieldingly to linger by long walls Of ruin, where the ruinous moonlight That sheds a lying glory on old stones Befriends us with a wizard's enmity.
XVI Something as one with eyes that look below The battle-smoke to glimpse the foeman's charge, We through the dust of downward years may scan The onslaught that awaits this idiot world Where blood pays blood for nothing, and where life Pays life to madness, till at last the ports Of gilded helplessness be battered through By the still crash of salvatory steel.
XVII To you that sit with Sorrow like chained slaves, And wonder if the night will ever come, I would say this: The night will never come, And sorrow is not always.
But my words Are not enough; your eyes are not enough; The soul itself must insulate the Real, Or ever you do cherish in this life -- In this life or in any life -- repose.
XVIII Like a white wall whereon forever breaks Unsatisfied the tumult of green seas, Man's unconjectured godliness rebukes With its imperial silence the lost waves Of insufficient grief.
This mortal surge That beats against us now is nothing else Than plangent ignorance.
Truth neither shakes Nor wavers; but the world shakes, and we shriek.
XIX Nor jewelled phrase nor mere mellifluous rhyme Reverberates aright, or ever shall, One cadence of that infinite plain-song Which is itself all music.
Stronger notes Than any that have ever touched the world Must ring to tell it -- ring like hammer-blows, Right-echoed of a chime primordial, On anvils, in the gleaming of God's forge.
XX The prophet of dead words defeats himself: Whoever would acknowledge and include The foregleam and the glory of the real, Must work with something else than pen and ink And painful preparation: he must work With unseen implements that have no names, And he must win withal, to do that work, Good fortitude, clean wisdom, and strong skill.
XXI To curse the chilled insistence of the dawn Because the free gleam lingers; to defraud The constant opportunity that lives Unchallenged in all sorrow; to forget For this large prodigality of gold That larger generosity of thought, -- These are the fleshly clogs of human greed, The fundamental blunders of mankind.
XXII Forebodings are the fiends of Recreance; The master of the moment, the clean seer Of ages, too securely scans what is, Ever to be appalled at what is not; He sees beyond the groaning borough lines Of Hell, God's highways gleaming, and he knows That Love's complete communion is the end Of anguish to the liberated man.
XXIII Here by the windy docks I stand alone, But yet companioned.
There the vessel goes, And there my friend goes with it; but the wake That melts and ebbs between that friend and me Love's earnest is of Life's all-purposeful And all-triumphant sailing, when the ships Of Wisdom loose their fretful chains and swing Forever from the crumbled wharves of Time.