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.
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!
More great poems below...
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.
Love, let me thank you for this!
Now we have drifted apart,
Wandered away from the sea,—
For the fresh touch of your kiss,
For the young warmth of your heart,
For your youth given to me.
Thanks: for the curls of your hair,
Softer than silk to the hand,
For the clear gaze of your eyes.
For yourself: delicate, fair,
Seen as you lay on the sand,
Under the violet skies.
Thanks: for the words that you said,—
Secretly, tenderly sweet,
All through the tropical day,
Till, when the sunset was red,
I, who lay still at your feet,
Felt my life ebbing away,
Weary and worn with desire,
Only yourself could console.
Love let me thank you for this!
For that fierce fervour and fire
Burnt through my lips to my soul
From the white heat of your kiss!
You were the essence of Spring,
Wayward and bright as a flame:
Though we have drifted apart,
Still how the syllables sing
Mixed in your musical name,
Deep in the well of my heart!
Once in the lingering light,
Thrown from the west on the Sea,
Laid you your garments aside,
Slender and goldenly bright,
Glimmered your beauty, set free,
Bright as a pearl in the tide.
Once, ere the thrill of the dawn
Silvered the edge of the sea,
I, who lay watching you rest,—
Pale in the chill of the morn
Found you still dreaming of me
Stilled by love's fancies possessed.
Fallen on sorrowful days,
Love, let me thank you for this,
You were so happy with me!
Wrapped in Youth's roseate haze,
Wanting no more than my kiss
By the blue edge of the sea!
Ah, for those nights on the sand
Under the palms by the sea,
For the strange dream of those days
Spent in the passionate land,
For your youth given to me,
I am your debtor always!
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe | |
[This fine poem is introduced in the second
book of Wilhelm Meister.
"WHAT tuneful strains salute mine ear
Without the castle walls?
Oh, let the song re-echo here,
Within our festal halls!"
Thus spake the king, the page out-hied;
The boy return'd; the monarch cried:
"Admit the old man yonder!"
"All hail, ye noble lords to-night!
All hail, ye beauteous dames!
Star placed by star! What heavenly sight!
Whoe'er can tell their names?
Within this glittering hall sublime,
Be closed, mine eyes! 'tis not the time
For me to feast my wonder.
The minstrel straightway closed his eyes,
And woke a thrilling tone;
The knights look'd on in knightly guise,
Fair looks tow'rd earth were thrown.
The monarch, ravish'd by the strain,
Bade them bring forth a golden chain,
To be his numbers' guerdon.
"The golden chain give not to me,
But give the chain to those
In whose bold face we shiver'd see
The lances of our foes.
Or give it to thy chancellor there;
With other burdens he may bear
This one more golden burden.
"I sing, like birds of blithesome note,
That in the branches dwell;
The song that rises from the throat
Repays the minstrel well.
One boon I'd crave, if not too bold--
One bumper in a cup of gold
Be as my guerdon given.
The bowl he raised, the bowl he quaff'd:
"Oh drink, with solace fraught!
Oh, house thrice-blest, where such a draught
A trifling gift is thought!
When Fortune smiles, remember me,
And as I thank you heartily,
As warmly thank ye Heaven!"
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.
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
Robert Pinsky | |
Not a "window on the world"
But as we call you,
A box a tube
Terrarium of dreams and wonders.
Coffer of shades, ordained
Cotillion of phosphors
Or liquid crystal
Homey miracle, tub
Of acquiescence, vein of defiance.
Your patron in the pantheon would be Hermes
Quick one, little thief, escort
Of the dying and comfort of the sick,
In a blue glow my father and little sister sat
Snuggled in one chair watching you
Their wife and mother was sick in the head
I scorned you and them as I scorned so much
Now I like you best in a hotel room,
Before I have to face an audience: behind
The doors of the armoire, box
Within a box--Tom & Jerry, or also brilliant
And reassuring, Oprah Winfrey.
Thank you, for I watched, I watched
Sid Caesar speaking French and Japanese not
Through knowledge but imagination,
His quickness, and Thank You, I watched live
Jackie Robinson stealing
Home, the image--O strung shell--enduring
Fleeter than light like these words we
Remember in, they too winged
At the helmet and ankles.
John Matthew | |
When she smiles she sends happiness
A million pleasant thrills of the heart
To parched souls thirsting for love
In the vast desert of human affairs.
Oh, is there in this world such a heart?
So pure in its expression of joy, smiles
I know not how to thank you dear God
For this wonderful creation of yours.
What makes Muskan’s smile so beautiful?
Is it the deep pain and hurt she is hiding?
Wringing the joys from the sadness of life
Throwing away the bland fiber and rinds.
John Matthew | |
You will realize this wisdom,
When you are my age, and experience,
Gained from being in vexing situations,
Yet, being out of it.
You do the same,
There is a joy in detachment,
Forsaking instant pleasures, pains,
For things deeper and enduring.
Don’t be a slave to the work,
Of smart slave-drivers in cubicles,
Instead explore the works of men,
Who have experienced the truths,
And distilled in their words, wisdoms,
Which may grate your ears now.
Like me, don’t be prey to sudden,
Rushes of anger that comes over cables,
And with emails and posts demolish,
Without thinking of consequences -
I have done that and am living to regret.
Don’t drink bottled and sealed lifestyles,
Its sugar, water and carbon dioxide,
Will dither you, disorient you, and sap you,
And don’t eat fast food with loose change,
They will suck you into their assembly line.
Lastly do not try to see with closed eyes,
And hear with deaf ears, keep them open.
The music and rhythm can corrupt,
And make sinning seem so tempting.
The age of innocence, son, is gone,
Every man is a mercenary army.
If you follow this advise, son,
When you are mature and wise as me,
You will say, one day, “Thank you Papa,
For your words of advice, wisdom,
To my children, too, I will pass this wisdom.
William Matthews | |
I read to the entire plebe class,
in two batches.
Twice the hall filled
with bodies dressed alike, each toting
a copy of my book.
What would my
shrink say, if I had one, about
such a dream, if it were a dream?
Question and answer time.
"Sir," a cadet yelled from the balcony,
and gave his name and rank, and then,
closing his parentheses, yelled
"Why do your poems give
me a headache when I try
to understand them?" he asked.
you want that?" I have a gift for
gentle jokes to defuse tension,
but this was not the time to use it.
"I try to write as well as I can
what it feels like to be human,"
I started, picking my way care-
fully, for he and I were, after
all, pained by the same dumb longings.
"I try to say what I don't know
how to say, but of course I can't
get much of it down at all.
By now I was sweating bullets.
"I don't want my poems to be hard,
unless the truth is, if there is
" Silence hung in the hall
like a heavy fabric.
"Sir," he yelled.
Ogden Nash | |
They tell me that euphoria is the feeling of feeling wonderful,
well, today I feel euphorian,
Today I have the agility of a Greek god and the appetitite of a
Yes, today I may even go forth without my galoshes,
Today I am a swashbuckler, would anybody like me to buckle
This is my euphorian day,
I will ring welkins and before anybody answers I will run away.
I will tame me a caribou
And bedeck it with marabou.
I will pen me my memoirs.
Ah youth, youth! What euphorian days them was!
I wasn't much of a hand for the boudoirs,
I was generally to be found where the food was.
Does anybody want any flotsam?
Does anybody want any jetsam?
I can getsam.
I can play chopsticks on the Wurlitzer,
I can speak Portuguese like a Berlitzer.
I can don or doff my shoes without tying or untying the laces because
I am wearing moccasins,
And I practically know the difference between serums and antitoccasins.
Kind people, don't think me purse-proud, don't set me down as
I'm just a little euphorious.
Barry Tebb | |
Empty chocolate boxes, a pillowcase with an orange at the bottom,
Nuts and tinsel with its idiosyncratic rustle and brilliant sheen
And the reflection in it of paper-chains hand-made and stuck with
Flour-paste stretching from the light-bowl to every corner of the room.
Father Christmas himself was plastic and his vast stomach painted red
With a bulging sack behind his back and he was stuck in the middle
Of a very large cake.
The icing was royal and you could see the
Whites of many eggs in the glister of its surface and on the
Upright piano the music of Jingle Bells lay open.
With aching hands I wrote thank you notes for socks to sainted aunts
And played on Nutwood Common with Rupert until Tiger Lily’s father,
The Great Conjuror, waved his wand and brought me home to the last
Coal fire in Leeds, suddenly dying.
I got through a whole packet of sweet cigarettes with pink tips
Dipped in cochineal and a whole quarter of sherbet lemons at a sitting
And there was a full bottle of Portello to go at, the colour
Of violet ink and tasting of night air and threepenny bits
Which lasted until the last gas-lamp in Leeds went out.
I had collected enough cardboard milk-tops to make a set of
Matchstick spinners and with my box of Rainbow Chalks drew circles
On my top, red, white and Festival of Britain blue and made it spin
All the way to the last bin-yard in Leeds while they pulled it down.
I was a very small teddy-bear crouched on a huge and broken chair
Ready to be put out into the wide world and my mother was there
To see me off.
The light in her eyes was out, there was no fire
In her heart and the binyard where I played was empty space.