Edwin Arlington Robinson | |
Miniver Cheevy, child of scorn,
Grew lean while he assailed the seasons;
He wept that he was ever born,
And he had reasons.
Miniver loved the days of old
When swords were bright and steeds were prancing;
The vision of a warrior bold
Would set him dancing.
Miniver sighed for what was not,
And dreamed, and rested from his labors;
He dreamed of Thebes and Camelot,
And Priam's neighbors.
Miniver mourned the ripe renown
That made so many a name so fragrant;
He mourned Romance, now on the town,
And Art, a vagrant.
Miniver loved the Medici,
Albeit he had never seen one;
He would have sinned incessantly
Could he have been one.
Miniver cursed the commonplace
And eyed a khaki suit with loathing;
He missed the mediæval grace
Of iron clothing.
Miniver scorned the gold he sought
But sore annoyed was he without it;
Miniver thought, and thought, and thought,
And thought about it.
Miniver Cheevy, born too late,
Scratched his head and kept on thinking;
Miniver coughed, and called it fate,
And kept on drinking.
Wallace Stevens | |
There is a great river this side of Stygia
Before one comes to the first black cataracts
And trees that lack the intelligence of trees.
In that river, far this side of Stygia,
The mere flowing of the water is a gayety,
Flashing and flashing in the sun.
On its banks,
No shadow walks.
The river is fateful,
Like the last one.
But there is no ferryman.
He could not bend against its propelling force.
It is not to be seen beneath the appearances
That tell of it.
The steeple at Farmington
Stands glistening and Haddam shines and sways.
It is the third commonness with light and air,
A curriculum, a vigor, a local abstraction .
Call it, one more, a river, an unnamed flowing,
Space-filled, reflecting the seasons, the folk-lore
Of each of the senses; call it, again and again,
The river that flows nowhere, like a sea.
A R Ammons | |
Silver will lie where she lies
sun-out, whatever turning the world does,
longeared in her ashen, earless,
indifferent to sores and greengage colic,
where oats need not
bleached by crystals of her trembling time:
beyond all brunt of seasons, blind
forever to all blinds,
brooks still she may wraith over broken
fields after winter
or roll in the rye-green fields:
old mule, no defense but a mule’s against
flat-toothed, sold to a stranger, shot by a
not my hand she nuzzled the seasoning-salt from.
More great poems below...
A R Ammons | |
This is just a place:
we go around, distanced,
yearly in a star's
daily into and out of
direct light and
slanting through the
quadrant seasons: deep
space begins at our
heels, nearly rousing
us loose: we look up
or out so high, sight's
silk almost draws us away:
this is just a place:
currents worry themselves
coiled and free in airs
and oceans: water picks
up mineral shadow and
plasm into billions of
designs, frames: trees,
grains, bacteria: but
is love a reality we
made here ourselves--
and grief--did we design
that--or do these,
like currents, whine
in and out among us merely
as we arrive and go:
this is just a place:
the reality we agree with,
that agrees with us,
outbounding this, arrives
to touch, joining with
us from far away:
our home which defines
us is elsewhere but not
so far away we have
this is just a place.
Oliver Wendell Holmes | |
OH for one hour of youthful joy!
Give back my twentieth spring!
I'd rather laugh, a bright-haired boy,
Than reign, a gray-beard king.
Off with the spoils of wrinkled age!
Away with Learning's crown!
Tear out life's Wisdom-written page,
And dash its trophies down!
One moment let my life-blood stream
From boyhood's fount of flame!
Give me one giddy, reeling dream
Of life all love and fame!
My listening angel heard the prayer,
And, calmly smiling, said,
"If I but touch thy silvered hair
Thy hasty wish hath sped.
"But is there nothing in thy track,
To bid thee fondly stay,
While the swift seasons hurry back
To find the wished-for day?"
"Ah, truest soul of womankind!
Without thee what were life ?
One bliss I cannot leave behind:
I'll take-- my-- precious-- wife!"
The angel took a sapphire pen
And wrote in rainbow dew,
The man would be a boy again,
And be a husband too!
"And is there nothing yet unsaid,
Before the change appears?
Remember, all their gifts have fled
With those dissolving years.
"Why, yes;" for memory would recall
My fond paternal joys;
"I could not bear to leave them all--
I'll take-- my-- girl-- and-- boys.
The smiling angel dropped his pen,--
"Why, this will never do;
The man would be a boy again,
And be a father too!"
And so I laughed,-- my laughter woke
The household with its noise,--
And wrote my dream, when morning broke,
To please the gray-haired boys.
Oliver Wendell Holmes | |
THIS is the ship of pearl, which, poets feign,
Sails the unshadowed main,--
The venturous bark that flings
On the sweet summer wind its purpled wings
In gulfs enchanted, where the Siren sings,
And coral reefs lie bare,
Where the cold sea-maids rise to sun their streaming hair.
Its webs of living gauze no more unfurl;
Wrecked is the ship of pearl!
And every chambered cell,
Where its dim dreaming life was wont to dwell,
As the frail tenant shaped his growing shell,
Before thee lies revealed,--
Its irised ceiling rent, its sunless crypt unsealed!
Year after year beheld the silent toil
That spread his lustrous coil;
Still, as the spiral grew,
He left the past year's dwelling for the new,
Stole with soft step its shining archway through,
Built up its idle door,
Stretched in his last-found home, and knew the old no more.
Thanks for the heavenly message brought by thee,
Child of the wandering sea,
Cast from her lap, forlorn!
From thy dead lips a clearer note is born
Than ever Triton blew from wreathèd horn!
While on mine ear it rings,
Through the deep caves of thought I hear a voice that sings:--
Build thee more stately mansions, O my soul,
As the swift seasons roll!
Leave thy low-vaulted past!
Let each new temple, nobler than the last,
Shut thee from heaven with a dome more vast,
Till thou at length art free,
Leaving thine outgrown shell by life's unresting sea!
Mihai Eminescu | |
"Forest, trusted friend and true,
Forest dear, how do you do?
Since the day i saw you last
Many, many years have passed
And though you still steadfast stand
I have traveled many a land.
"Yea, and I, what have I done?
Watched the years their seasons run;
Heard the squalls that through me groan
Ere my singing birds have flown;
Heard the creaking of my bough
Neath the mounted winter snows.
Yea indeed, what have I done?
Done as I have always done;
Felt my summer leaves re-growing,
Heard the village girls who going
By the path that meets the spring
Melancholy do in a sing.
"Forest, though the tempests blow,
The years come and the years go,
And the seasons wax and wane,
You are ever young again.
"What of seasons, when for ages
All the sky my lake engages;
What of years ill or good,
When the sap mounts in the wood;
What of years or ill,
When the Danube rolls on still.
Only man is always changing,
O'er the world forever ranging;
We each do our place retain,
As we were, so we remain;
Oceans, rivers, mountains high
And the stars that light the sky,
Saturn with its whirling rings,
And the forest with its springs.
English version by Corneliu M.
Transcribed by Cristinel Sebe
10, Focsani, Romania
Edna St Vincent Millay | |
I know I am but summer to your heart,
And not the full four seasons of the year;
And you must welcome from another part
Such noble moods as are not mine, my dear.
No gracious weight of golden fruits to sell
Have I, nor any wise and wintry thing;
And I have loved you all too long and well
To carry still the high sweet breast of Spring.
Wherefore I say: O love, as summer goes,
I must be gone, steal forth with silent drums,
That you may hail anew the bird and rose
When I come back to you, as summer comes.
Else will you seek, at some not distant time,
Even your summer in another clime.
Edna St Vincent Millay | |
Mindful of you the sodden earth in spring,
And all the flowers that in the springtime grow,
And dusty roads, and thistles, and the slow
Rising of the round moon, all throats that sing
The summer through, and each departing wing,
And all the nests that the bared branches show,
And all winds that in any weather blow,
And all the storms that the four seasons bring.
You go no more on your exultant feet
Up paths that only mist and morning knew,
Or watch the wind, or listen to the beat
Of a bird's wings too high in air to view,—
But you were something more than young and sweet
And fair,—and the long year remembers you.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe | |
What we sing in company
Soon from heart to heart will fly.
THE Gesellige Lieder, which I have angicisled
as above, as several of them cannot be called convivial songs, are
separated by Goethe from his other songs, and I have adhered to
the same arrangement.
The Ergo bibamus is a well-known drinking
song in Germany, where it enjoys vast popularity.
ON THE NEW YEAR.
[Composed for a merry party that used to meet,
in 1802, at Goethe's house.
FATE now allows us,
'Twixt the departing
And the upstarting,
Happy to be;
And at the call of
Future and perish'd
Moments we see.
Seasons of anguish,--
Ah, they must ever
Truth from woe sever,
Love and joy part;
Days still more worthy
Soon will unite us,
Fairer songs light us,
Strength'ning the heart.
We, thus united,
Think of, with gladness,
Rapture and sadness,
Sorrow now flies.
Oh, how mysterious
Old the connection,
New-born the prize!
Thank, for this, Fortune,
Thank all that kindly
Fate may bestow!
Revel in change's
Love far sincerer,
More heartfelt glow!
Over the old one,
Sad and dejected,
Others may view;
But, on us gently
Shineth a true one,
And to the new one
We, too, are new.
As a fond couple
'Midst the dance veering,
So let affection
Guide thro' life's mazy
Pathways so hazy
Into the year!
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe | |
FAR explore the mountain hollow,
High in air the clouds then follow!
To each brook and vale the Muse
Thousand times her call renews.
Soon as a flow'ret blooms in spring,
It wakens many a strain;
And when Time spreads his fleeting wing,
The seasons come again.
J R R Tolkien | |
In the willow-meads of Tasarinan I walked in the Spring.
Ah! The sight and smell of the Spring in Nantasarion!
And I said that was good.
I wandered in Summer in the elm-woods of Ossiriand.
Ah! The light and the music in the Summer by the Seven Rivers of Ossir!
And I thought that was best.
To the beeches of Neldoreth I came in the Autumn.
Ah! The gold and red and the sighing of leaves in the Autumn in Taur-na-neldor!
It was more than my desire.
To the pine-trees upon the highland of Dorthonion I climbed in Winter.
Ah! The wind and the whiteness and the black branches of Winter upon Orod-na-Thon!
My voice went up and sang in the sky.
And now all those lands lie under the wave,
And I walk in Ambarona, in Tauremorna, in Aldalome,
In my own land, in the country of Fangorn,
Where the roots are long,
And the years lie thicker than leaves
James A Emanuel | |
In town to sell his fruit, he saw her—
Françoise in her summer slacks—
turning to him, coming back
to feel the swelling plums,
one held in each soft hand, breast-high,
above them her eyes enclosing him
in quietness brushed up to colors,
urgings green, thrustings yellow.
A vine-like touch, her promise seemed all profit,
surplus to lay aside and store,
quick harvest if he collapsed his stand,
pulled down his crates, rolled away his canvas:
full bounty if he washed his hands and followed,
trailing her fragrances
of melons in their prime, of berries bursting.
She turned to go, her scent adrift
as if from glistenings in soil turned off a spade.
His yearning had no time
to plant and cultivate
and wait for rain,
yet he was quick to catch a peach about to fall—
that brightness of his wrist
costing the moment that concealed her in the crowd;
and yet a perfect peach lay in his hand,
his only means to feel the way good seasons end.
A lucky day, he thought,
begins with plums.
R S Thomas | |
Looking upon this tree with its quaint pretension
Of holding the earth, a leveret, in its claws,
Or marking the texture of its living bark,
A grey sea wrinkled by the winds of years,
I understand whence this man's body comes,
In veins and fibres, the bare boughs of bone,
The trellised thicket, where the heart, that robin,
Greets with a song the seasons of the blood.
But where in meadow or mountain shall I match
The individual accent of the speech
That is the ear's familiar? To what sun attribute
The honeyed warmness of his smile?
To which of the deciduous brood is german
The angel peeping from the latticed eye?
Marilyn L Taylor | |
She simply settled down in one piece right where she was,
in the sand of a long-vanished lake edge or stream--and died.
When I put my hand up to my face
I can trace her heavy jawbone and the sockets
of her eyes under my skin.
And in the dark
I sometimes feel her trying to uncurl
from where she sank into mudbound sleep
on that soft and temporary shore
so staggeringly long ago, time
had not yet cut its straight line
through the tangle of the planet,
nor taken up the measured sweep
that stacks the days and seasons
into an ordered past.
But I can feel her stirring
in the core of me, trying to rise up
from the deep hollow where she fell—
wanting to prowl on long callused toes
to see what made that shadow move,
to face the creature in the dark thicket
needing to know if this late-spreading dawn
will bring handfuls of berries, black
as blood, or the sting of snow,
or the steady slap of sand and weed
that wraps itself like fur
around the body.
Edmund Spenser | |
My loue is now awake out of her dreame,
and her fayre eyes like stars that dimmed were
With darksome cloud, now shew theyr goodly beams
More bright then Hesperus his head doth rere.
Come now ye damzels, daughters of delight,
Helpe quickly her to dight,
But first come ye fayre houres which were begot
In loues sweet paradice, of Day and Night,
Which doe the seasons of the yeare allot,
And al that euer in this world is fayre
Doe make and still repayre.
And ye three handmayds of the Cyprian Queene,
The which doe still adorne her beauties pride,
Helpe to addorne my beautifullest bride
And as ye her array, still throw betweene
Some graces to be seene,
And as ye vse to Venus, to her sing,
The whiles the woods shal answer & your eccho ring
Christina Rossetti | |
The irresponsive silence of the land,
The irresponsive sounding of the sea,
Speak both one message of one sense to me:--
Aloof, aloof, we stand aloof, so stand
Thou too aloof bound with the flawless band
Of inner solitude; we bind not thee;
But who from thy self-chain shall set thee free?
What heart shall touch thy heart? what hand thy hand?--
And I am sometimes proud and sometimes meek,
And sometimes I remember days of old
When fellowship seemed not so far to seek
And all the world and I seemed much less cold,
And at the rainbow's foot lay surely gold,
And hope felt strong and life itself not weak.
Thus am I mine own prison.
Around me free and sunny and at ease:
Or if in shadow, in a shade of trees
Which the sun kisses, where the gay birds sing
And where all winds make various murmuring;
Where bees are found, with honey for the bees;
Where sounds are music, and where silences
Are music of an unlike fashioning.
Then gaze I at the merrymaking crew,
And smile a moment and a moment sigh
Thinking: Why can I not rejoice with you?
But soon I put the foolish fancy by:
I am not what I have nor what I do;
But what I was I am, I am even I.
Therefore myself is that one only thing
I hold to use or waste, to keep or give;
My sole possession every day I live,
And still mine own despite Time's winnowing.
Ever mine own, while moons and seasons bring
From crudeness ripeness mellow and sanitive;
Ever mine own, till Death shall ply his sieve;
And still mine own, when saints break grave and sing.
And this myself as king unto my King
I give, to Him Who gave Himself for me;
Who gives Himself to me, and bids me sing
A sweet new song of His redeemed set free;
he bids me sing: O death, where is thy sting?
And sing: O grave, where is thy victory?
Christina Rossetti | |
It is a land with neither night nor day,
Nor heat nor cold, nor any wind, nor rain,
Nor hills nor valleys; but one even plain
Stretches thro' long unbroken miles away:
While thro' the sluggish air a twilight grey
Broodeth; no moons or seasons wax and wane,
No ebb and flow are there among the main,
No bud-time no leaf-falling there for aye,
No ripple on the sea, no shifting sand,
No beat of wings to stir the stagnant space,
And loveless sea: no trace of days before,
No guarded home, no time-worn restingplace
No future hope no fear forevermore.
Christina Rossetti | |
It's a weary life, it is, she said:
Doubly blank in a woman's lot:
I wish and I wish I were a man:
Or, better then any being, were not:
Were nothing at all in all the world,
Not a body and not a soul:
Not so much as a grain of dust
Or a drop of water from pole to pole.
Still the world would wag on the same,
Still the seasons go and come:
Blossoms bloom as in days of old,
Cherries ripen and wild bees hum.
None would miss me in all the world,
How much less would care or weep:
I should be nothing, while all the rest
Would wake and weary and fall asleep.
Oscar Wilde | |
The seasons send their ruin as they go,
For in the spring the narciss shows its head
Nor withers till the rose has flamed to red,
And in the autumn purple violets blow,
And the slim crocus stirs the winter snow;
Wherefore yon leafless trees will bloom again
And this grey land grow green with summer rain
And send up cowslips for some boy to mow.
But what of life whose bitter hungry sea
Flows at our heels, and gloom of sunless night
Covers the days which never more return?
Ambition, love and all the thoughts that burn
We lose too soon, and only find delight
In withered husks of some dead memory.
Elinor Wylie | |
Let us quarrel for these reasons:
You detest the salt which seasons
My speech .
and all my lights go out
In the cold poison of your doubt.
I love Shelley .
you love Keats
Something parts and something meets.
I love salads .
you love chops;
Something goes and something stops.
Something hides its face and cries;
Something shivers; something dies.
I love blue ribbons brought from fairs;
You love sitting splitting hairs.
I love truth, and so do you .
Tell me, is it truly true?
Robert William Service | |
Tell me, Tramp, where I may go
To be free from human woe;
Say where I may hope to find
Ease of heart and peace of mind;
Is thee not some isle you know
Where I may leave Care behind?
So spoke one is sore distress,
And I answered softly: "Yes,
There's an isle so sweet and kind
So to clemency inclined,
So serene in loveliness
That the blind may lead the blind.
"Where there is no shade of fear,
For the sun shines all the year,
And there hangs on every tree
Fruit and food for you an me:
With each dawn so crystal clear
How like heaven earth can be!
"Where in mild and friendly clime
You will lose all count of time,
See the seasons blend in one,
Under sovereignty of sun;
Day with day resolve in rhyme,
Reveries and nothing done.
"You will mock the ocean roar,
Knowing you will evermore
Bide beside a lorn lagoon,
Listen to the ripples croon
On the muteness of the shore,
Silver-shattered in the moon.
"Come, let's quit this sorry strife,
Seek a sweeter, saner life,
Go so far, so very far
It just seems another star.
Go where joy and love are rife,
Go where peace and plenty are.
But he answered: "Brother, no,
To your isle I'll never go,
For the pity in my heart
Will not let me live apart
From God's world of want and woe:
I will stay and play my part,
Strive and suffer .
Be it so.
Jane Taylor | |
In tears to her mother poor Harriet came,
Let us listen to hear what she says:
"O see, dear mamma, it is pouring with rain,
We cannot go out in the chaise.
"All the week I have long'd for this holiday so,
And fancied the minutes were hours;
And now that I'm dress'd and all ready to go,
Do look at those terrible showers! "
"I'm sorry, my dear, " her kind mother replied,
The rain disappoints us to-day;
But sorrow still more that you fret for a ride,
In such an extravagant way.
"These slight disappointments are sent to prepare
For what may hereafter befall;
For seasons of real disappointment and care,
Which commonly happen to all.
"For just like to-day with its holiday lost,
Is life and its comforts at best:
Our pleasures are blighted, our purposes cross'd,
To teach us it is not our rest.
"And when those distresses and crosses appear,
With which you may shortly be tried,
You'll wonder that ever you wasted a tear
On merely the loss of a ride.
"But though the world's pleasures are fleeting and vain,
Religion is lasting and true;
Real pleasure and peace in her paths you may gain,
Nor will disappointment ensue.
Jean Toomer | |
Boll-weevil's coming, and the winter's cold,
Made cotton-stalks look rusty, seasons old,
And cotton, scarce as any southern snow,
Was vanishing; the branch, so pinched and slow,
Failed in its function as the autumn rake;
Drouth fighting soil had caused the soil to take
All water from the streams; dead birds were found
In wells a hundred feet below the ground--
Such was the season when the flower bloomed.
Old folks were startled, and it soon assumed
Something it had never seen before:
Brown eyes that loved without a trace of fear,
Beauty so sudden for that time of year.
Henry Vaughan | |
Love, the world's life! What a sad death
Thy absence is to lose our breath
At once and die, is but to live
Enlarged, without the scant reprieve
Of pulse and air: whose dull returns
And narrow circles the soul mourns.
But to be dead alive, and still
To wish, but never have our will:
To be possessed, and yet to miss;
To wed a true but absent bliss:
Are lingering tortures, and their smart
Dissects and racks and grinds the heart!
As soul and body in that state
Which unto us seems separate,
Cannot be said to live, until
Reunion; which days fulfil
And slow-paced seasons: so in vain
Through hours and minutes (Time's long train,)
I look for thee, and from thy sight,
As from my soul, for life and light.
For till thine eyes shine so on me,
Mine are fast-closed and will not see.