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.
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.
More great poems below...
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
Petrarch | |
I' vo piangendo i miei passati tempi.
HE HUMBLY CONFESSES THE ERRORS OF HIS PAST LIFE, AND PRAYS FOR DIVINE GRACE.
Weeping, I still revolve the seasons flown
In vain idolatry of mortal things;
Not soaring heavenward; though my soul had wings
[Pg 315]Which might, perchance, a glorious flight have shown.
O Thou, discerner of the guilt I own,
Giver of life immortal, King of Kings,
Heal Thou the wounded heart which conscience stings:
It looks for refuge only to thy throne.
Thus, although life was warfare and unrest,
Be death the haven of peace; and if my day
Was vain—yet make the parting moment blest!
Through this brief remnant of my earthly way,
And in death's billows, be thy hand confess'd;
Full well Thou know'st, this hope is all my stay!
Still do I mourn the years for aye gone by,
Which on a mortal love I lavishèd,
Nor e'er to soar my pinions balancèd,
Though wing'd perchance no humble height to fly.
Thou, Dread Invisible, who from on high
Look'st down upon this suffering erring head,
Oh, be thy succour to my frailty sped,
And with thy grace my indigence supply!
My life in storms and warfare doom'd to spend,
Harbour'd in peace that life may I resign:
It's course though idle, pious be its end!
Oh, for the few brief days, which yet are mine,
And for their close, thy guiding hand extend!
Thou know'st on Thee alone my heart's firm hopes recline.
Petrarch | |
Apollo, s' ancor vive il bel desio.
HE COMPARES HER TO A LAUREL, WHICH HE SUPPLICATES APOLLO TO DEFEND.
O Phœbus, if that fond desire remains,
Which fired thy breast near the Thessalian wave;
If those bright tresses, which such pleasure gave,
Through lapse of years thy memory not disdains;
From sluggish frosts, from rude inclement rains.
Which last the while thy beams our region leave,
That honour'd sacred tree from peril save,
Whose name of dear accordance waked our pains!
And, by that amorous hope which soothed thy care,
What time expectant thou wert doom'd to sigh
Dispel those vapours which disturb our sky!
So shall we both behold our favorite fair
With wonder, seated on the grassy mead,
And forming with her arms herself a shade.
[Pg 38] If live the fair desire, Apollo, yet
Which fired thy spirit once on Peneus' shore,
And if the bright hair loved so well of yore
In lapse of years thou dost not now forget,
From the long frost, from seasons rude and keen,
Which last while hides itself thy kindling brow,
Defend this consecrate and honour'd bough,
Which snared thee erst, whose slave I since have been.
And, by the virtue of the love so dear
Which soothed, sustain'd thee in that early strife,
Our air from raw and lowering vapours clear:
So shall we see our lady, to new life
Restored, her seat upon the greensward take,
Where her own graceful arms a sweet shade o'er her make.
Obi Nwakanma | |
ICICLES fall from trees, molten with age,
without memory - they stand aloof in their
nakedness - they limber;
like the gods terrified into silence,
like tall brooding deities looming out of the
The forest hugs them
carves them into stones,
Etches them into the slow
eastern landscape: rivers, hills
the slow running water,
times broken inscapes…
The willows are burdened with ice
the white shrouds of burial spread
upon the earth's ravaged face; the eyes
unseeing, the mouth unspeaking,
a gust of wind proclaims the anger of
immemorial ages; the cycle, the
eternal ritual of mystical returns -
The cypress - whitening -
boneless; wearing her best habit,
a pale green in the forest of ghosts -
And so I walk through this windless night
through the narrow imponderable road
through the silence - the silence of trees -
I hear not even the gust of wind
I hear only the quiet earth, thawing underneath;
I hear the slow silent death of winter -
where the sun is yellowest.
But above, Monadnock looms
like some angry Moloch, her
white nipple seizing the space
drained of all milk.
A she-devil beckoning to worshippers
seductive - her arm stretching outwards -
to this lonely pilgrim
lost in the mist:
Behold the school of wild bucks
Behold the meeting of incarnate
Behold the lost souls bearing tapers
in rags of rich damask,
Down Thomas - the saint of
unbelievers - down the road to bliss
Down to the red house, uncertain
like a beggar's bowl hanging unto the cliff
of withdrawn pledges, where the well is
I have dared to live
beneath the great untamed.
To every good, to every
flicker of stars along the pine
To every tussle with lucid dusk,
To every moonlit pledge, to
every turn made to outleap
I have desired to listen - to listen -
to the ripening of seasons.
This is ONE of a continuing sequence.