Philip Larkin | |
Standing under the fobbed
Impendent belly of Time
Tell me the truth, I said,
Teach me the way things go.
All the other lads there
Were itching to have a bash,
But I thought wanting unfair:
It and finding out clash.
So he patted my head, booming Boy,
There's no green in your eye:
Sit here and watch the hail
Of occurence clobber life out
To a shape no one sees -
Dare you look at that straight?
Oh thank you, I said, Oh yes please,
And sat down to wait.
Half life is over now,
And I meet full face on dark mornings
The bestial visor, bent in
By the blows of what happened to happen.
What does it prove? Sod all.
In this way I spent youth,
Tracing the trite untransferable
William Lisle Bowles | |
AS slowly wanders thy forsaken stream,
Wenbeck! the mossy-scatter'd rocks among,
In fancy's ear still making plaintive song
To the dark woods above: ah! sure I seem
To meet some friendly Genius in the gloom,
And in each breeze a pitying voice I hear
Like sorrow's sighs upon misfortune's tomb.
Ah! soothing are your quiet scenes -- the tear
Of him who passes weary on his way
Shall thank you, as he turns to bid adieu:
Onward a cheerless pilgrim he may stray,
Yet oft as musing memory shall review
The scenes that cheer'd his path with fairer ray,
Delightful haunts, he will remember you.
Walter de la Mare | |
Smith, “I really cannot
Tell you, Dr.
The most peculiar pain I’m in—
I think it’s in my bones.
Jones, “Oh, Mr.
We have a simple cure for that;
It is to take them out.
He laid forthwith poor Mr.
Close-clamped upon the table,
And, cold as stone, took out his bones
As fast as he was able.
Smith said, “Thank you, thank you, thank you,”
And wished him a good-day;
And with his parcel ‘neath his arm
He slowly moved away.
Mark Van Doren | |
Whatever I have left unsaid
When I am dead
O'muse forgive me.
You were always there,
like light, like air.
Those great good things
of which the least bird sings,
So why not I?
Yet thank you even then,
Sweet muse, Amen.
Little Jenny Wren fell sick,
Upon a time;
In came Robin Redbreast
And brought her cake and wine.
"Eat well of my cake, Jenny,
Drink well of my wine.
"Thank you, Robin, kindly,
You shall be mine.
Jenny she got well,
And stood upon her feet,
And told Robin plainly
She loved him not a bit.
Robin being angry,
Hopped upon a twig,
Saying, "Out upon you! Fie upon you!
Pussy-cat sits by the fire;
How can she be fair?
In walks the little dog;
Says: "Pussy, are you there?
How do you do, Mistress Pussy?
Mistress Pussy, how d'ye do?"
"I thank you kindly, little dog,
I fare as well as you!"
"Old woman, old woman, shall we go a-shearing?"
"Speak a little louder, sir, I am very thick of hearing.
"Old woman, old woman, shall I kiss you dearly?"
"Thank you, kind sir, I hear you very clearly.
Steve Kowit | |
Now that I've unplugged the phone,
no one can reach me--
At least for this one afternoon
they will have to get by without my advice
Now nobody else is going to call
& ask in a tentative voice
if I haven't yet heard that she's dead,
that woman I once loved--
nothing but ashes scattered over a city
that barely itself any longer exists.
Yes, thank you, I've heard.
It had been too lovely a morning.
That in itself should have warned me.
The sun lit up the tangerines
& the blazing poinsettias
like so many candles.
For one afternoon they will have to forgive me.
I am busy watching things happen again
that happened a long time ago.
as I lean back in Josephine's lawnchair
under a sky of incredible blue,
broken--if that is the word for it--
by a few billowing clouds,
all white & unspeakably lovely,
drifting out of one nothingness into another.
Judith Viorst | |
I'm learning to say thank you.
And I'm learning to say please.
And I'm learning to use Kleenex,
Not my sweater, when I sneeze.
And I'm learning not to dribble.
And I'm learning not to slurp.
And I'm learning (though it sometimes really hurts me)
Not to burp.
And I'm learning to chew softer
When I eat corn on the cob.
And I'm learning that it's much
Much easier to be a slob.
Allen Ginsberg | |
Hey Father Death, I'm flying home
Hey poor man, you're all alone
Hey old daddy, I know where I'm going
Father Death, Don't cry any more
Mama's there, underneath the floor
Brother Death, please mind the store
Old Aunty Death Don't hide your bones
Old Uncle Death I hear your groans
O Sister Death how sweet your moans
O Children Deaths go breathe your breaths
Sobbing breasts'll ease your Deaths
Pain is gone, tears take the rest
Genius Death your art is done
Lover Death your body's gone
Father Death I'm coming home
Guru Death your words are true
Teacher Death I do thank you
For inspiring me to sing this Blues
Buddha Death, I wake with you
Dharma Death, your mind is new
Sangha Death, we'll work it through
Suffering is what was born
Ignorance made me forlorn
Tearful truths I cannot scorn
Father Breath once more farewell
Birth you gave was no thing ill
My heart is still, as time will tell.
July 8, 1976 (Over Lake Michigan)
Rg Gregory | |
(an ascetic poem for karen's birthday)
fancy having a birthday on a thursday
when you do the buying of the doughnuts
and others lick their sticky fingers
thinking good old karen letting
us share the eating of her birthday
not me of course - i sit at home (alone)
reflecting it is purification day
today and i do not have a doughnut
thank you karen for letting me have
a taste of self-denial on your birthday
and such a spiritual gain- in this way
you and i share the high-church position
while others lick the sugar off their lips
guzzling their souls away benightedly
with you great circe in your birthday play
luckily i have no envy of doughnuts
i sit here (alone) appreciating the pure
a step aside from doughy lust and greed
enjoying your birthday in its proper light
-a time of abstinence starvation longing
George Herbert | |
Sweetest of sweets, I thank you: when displeasure
Did through my body wound my mind,
You took me thence, and in your house of pleasure
A dainty lodging me assigned.
Now I in you without a body move,
Rising and falling with your wings:
We both together sweetly live and love,
Yet say sometimes, "God help poor Kings".
Comfort, I'll die; for if you post from me
Sure I shall do so, and much more:
But if I travel in your company,
You know the way to heaven's door.
Bob Hicok | |
Who cleaned up the Last Supper?
These would be my people.
Maybe hung over, wanting
desperately a better job,
standing with rags
in hand as the window
beckons with hills
of yellow grass.
In Da Vinci,
the blue robed apostle
gesturing at Christ
is saying, give Him the check.
What a mess they've made
of their faith.
would put a busboy
on earth to roam
among the waiters
and remind them to share
who finished one
half eaten olive
and scooped the rest
into her pockets,
walked her tiny pride home
to children who looked
at her smile and saw
the salvation of a meal.
All that week
at work she ignored
customers who talked
of Rome and silk
though she couldn't stop
thinking of this man
who said thank you
each time she filled
Randall Jarrell | |
The postman comes when I am still in bed.
"Postman, what do you have for me today?"
I say to him.
(But really I'm in bed.
Then he says - what shall I have him say?
"This letter says that you are president
Of - this word here; it's a republic.
Tell them I can't answer right away.
"It's your duty.
" No, I'd rather just be sick.
Then he tells me there are letters saying everything
That I can think of that I want for them to say.
I say, "Well, thank you very much.
He is ashamed, and turns and walks away.
If I can think of it, it isn't what I want.
I want .
I want a ship from some near star
To land in the yard, and beings to come out
And think to me: "So this is where you are!
" Except that they won't do,
I thought of them.
And yet somewhere there must be
Something that's different from everything.
All that I've never thought of - think of me!
Edgar Lee Masters | |
Rhodes' slave! Selling shoes and gingham,
Flour and bacon, overalls, clothing, all day long
For fourteen hours a day for three hundred and thirteen days
For more than twenty years.
Saying "Yes'm" and "Yes, sir", and "Thank you"
A thousand times a day, and all for fifty dollars a month.
Living in this stinking room in the rattle-trap "Commercial.
And compelled to go to Sunday School, and to listen
To the Rev.
Abner Peet one hundred and four times a year
For more than an hour at a time,
Because Thomas Rhodes ran the church
As well as the store and the bank.
So while I was tying my neck-tie that morning
I suddenly saw myself in the glass:
My hair all gray, my face like a sodden pie.
So I cursed and cursed: You damned old thing
You cowardly dog! You rotten pauper!
You Rhodes' slave! Till Roger Baughman
Thought I was having a fight with some one,
And looked through the transom just in time
To see me fall on the floor in a heap
From a broken vein in my head.
Edgar Lee Masters | |
I would I had thrust my hands of flesh
Into the disk-flowers bee-infested,
Into the mirror-like core of fire
Of the light of life, the sun of delight.
For what are anthers worth or petals
Or halo-rays? Mockeries, shadows
Of the heart of the flower, the central flame!
All is yours, young passer-by;
Enter the banquet room with the thought;
Don't sidle in as if you were doubtful
Whether you're welcome -- the feast is yours!
Nor take but a little, refusing more
With a bashful "Thank you," when you're hungry.
Is your soul alive? Then let it feed!
Leave no balconies where you can climb;
Nor milk-white bosoms where you can rest;
Nor golden heads with pillows to share;
Nor wine cups while the wine is sweet;
Nor ecstasies of body or soul,
You will die, no doubt, but die while living
In depths of azure, rapt and mated,
Kissing the queen-bee, Life!
Edgar Lee Masters | |
You never understood, O unknown one,
Why it was I repaid
Your devoted friendship and delicate ministrations
First with diminished thanks,
Afterward by gradually withdrawing my presence from you,
So that I might not be compelled to thank you,
And then with silence which followed upon
Our final Separation.
You had cured my diseased soul.
But to cure it
You saw my disease, you knew my secret,
And that is why I fled from you.
For though when our bodies rise from pain
We kiss forever the watchful hands
That gave us wormwood, while we shudder
For thinking of the wormwood,
A soul that's cured is a different matter,
For there we'd blot from memory
The soft-toned words, the searching eyes,
And stand forever oblivious,
Not so much of the sorrow itself
As of the hand that healed it.
Robert Louis Stevenson | |
Thank you, pretty cow, that made
Pleasant milk to soak my bread,
Every day and every night,
Warm, and fresh, and sweet, and white.
Do not chew the hemlock rank,
Growing on the weedy bank;
But the yellow cowslips eat;
They perhaps will make it sweet.
Where the purple violet grows,
Where the bubbling water flows,
Where the grass is fresh and fine,
Pretty cow, go there to dine.
Robert William Service | |
The songs I made from joy of earth
In wanton wandering,
Are rapturous with Maytime mirth
And ectasy of Spring.
But all the songs I sing today
Take tediously the ear:
Novemberishly dark are they
With mortuary fear.
For half a century has gone
Since first I rang a rhyme;
And that is long to linger on
The tolerance of Time.
This blue-veined hand with which I write
Yet answers to my will;
Though four-score years I count to-night
I am unsilent still.
"Senile old fool!" I hear you say;
"Beside the dying fire
You huddle and stiff-fingered play
Your tired and tinny lyre.
Well, though your patience I may try,
Bear with me yet awhile,
And though you scorn my singing I
Will thank you with a smile.
For I such soul-delighting joy
Have found in simple rhyme,
Since first a happy-hearted boy
I coaxed a word to chime,
That ere I tryst with Mother Earth
Let from my heart arise
A song of youth and starry mirth .
Then close my eyes.
Katherine Mansfield | |
After all the rain, the sun
Shines on hill and grassy mead;
Fly into the garden, child,
You are very glad indeed.
For the days have been so dull,
Oh, so special dark and drear,
That you told me, "Mr.
Has forgotten we live here.
Dew upon the lily lawn,
Dew upon the garden beds;
Daintly from all the leaves
Pop the little primrose heads.
And the violets in the copse
With their parasols of green
Take a little peek at you;
They're the bluest you have seen.
On the lilac tree a bird
Singing first a little not,
Then a burst of happy song
Bubbles in his lifted throat.
O the sun, the comfy sun!
This the song that you must sing,
"Thank you for the birds, the flowers,
Thank you, sun, for everything.