A E Housman | |
On the idle hill of summer,
Sleepy with the flow of streams,
Far I hear the steady drummer
Drumming like a noise in dreams.
Far and near and low and louder
On the roads of earth go by,
Dear to friends and food for powder,
Soldiers marching, all to die.
East and west on fields forgotten
Bleach the bones of comrades slain,
Lovely lads and dead and rotten;
None that go return again.
Far the calling bugles hollo,
High the screaming fife replies,
Gay the files of scarlet follow:
Woman bore me, I will rise.
Emma Lazarus | |
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles.
From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips.
"Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"
Thomas Hardy | |
Woman much missed, how you call to me, call to me,
Saying that now you are not as you were
When you had changed from the one who was all to me,
But as at first, when our day was fair.
Can it be you that I hear? Let me view you, then,
Standing as when I drew near to the town
Where you would wait for me: yes, as I knew you then,
Even to the original air-blue gown!
Or is it only the breeze in its listlessness
Travelling across the wet mead to me here,
You being ever dissolved to wan wistlessness,
Heard no more again far or near?
Thus I; faltering forward,
Leaves around me falling,
Wind oozing thin through the thorn from norward,
And the woman calling.
Sylvia Plath | |
If the moon smiled, she would resemble you.
You leave the same impression
Of something beautiful, but annihilating.
Both of you are great light borrowers.
Her O-mouth grieves at the world; yours is unaffected,
And your first gift is making stone out of everything.
I wake to a mausoleum; you are here,
Ticking your fingers on the marble table, looking for cigarettes,
Spiteful as a woman, but not so nervous,
And dying to say something unanswerable.
The moon, too, abases her subjects
But in the daytime she is ridiculous.
Your dissatisfactions, on the other hand,
Arrive through the mailslot with loving regularity,
White and blank, expansive as carbon monoxide.
No day is safe from news of you,
Walking about in Africa maybe, but thinking of me.
Edward Estlin (E E) Cummings | |
are leaves few this.
is these a or
scratchily over which of earth dragged once
; were who skies clutch an of poor
how colding hereless.
air theres what immense
live without every dancing.
ly a child's eyes float silently down
more than two those that and that noing our
gone snow gone
alive and shall be:cities may overflow(am
was)assassinating whole grassblades five
ideas can swallow a man;three words im
-prison a woman for all her now:but we've
such freedom such intense digestion so
much greenness only dying makes us grow
John Donne | |
GO and catch a falling star,
Get with child a mandrake root,
Tell me where all past years are,
Or who cleft the Devil's foot;
Teach me to hear mermaids singing, 5
Or to keep off envy's stinging,
Serves to advance an honest mind.
If thou be'st born to strange sights, 10
Things invisible to see,
Ride ten thousand days and nights
Till Age snow white hairs on thee;
Thou, when thou return'st, wilt tell me
All strange wonders that befell thee, 15
Lives a woman true and fair.
If thou find'st one, let me know;
Such a pilgrimage were sweet.
Yet do not; I would not go,
Though at next door we might meet.
Though she were true when you met her,
And last till you write your letter,
Yet she 25
False, ere I come, to two or three.
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.
Richard Wilbur | |
A woman I have never seen before
Steps from the darkness of her town-house door
At just that crux of time when she is made
So beautiful that she or time must fade.
What use to claim that as she tugs her gloves
A phantom heraldry of all the loves
Blares from the lintel? That the staggered sun
Forgets, in his confusion, how to run?
Still, nothing changes as her perfect feet
Click down the walk that issues in the street,
Leaving the stations of her body there
Like whips that map the countries of the air.
Anne Kingsmill Finch | |
'Tis true I write and tell me by what Rule
I am alone forbid to play the fool
To follow through the Groves a wand'ring Muse
And fain'd Idea's for my pleasures chuse
Why shou'd it in my Pen be held a fault
Whilst Mira paints her face, to paint a thought
Whilst Lamia to the manly Bumper flys
And borrow'd Spiritts sparkle in her Eyes
Why shou'd itt be in me a thing so vain
To heat with Poetry my colder Brain?
But I write ill and there-fore shou'd forbear
Does Flavia cease now at her fortieth year
In ev'ry Place to lett that face be seen
Which all the Town rejected at fifteen
Each Woman has her weaknesse; mind [sic] indeed
Is still to write tho' hopelesse to succeed
Nor to the Men is this so easy found
Ev'n in most Works with which the Witts abound
(So weak are all since our first breach with Heav'n)
Ther's lesse to be Applauded than forgiven.
Anne Kingsmill Finch | |
This is to the crown and blessing of my life,
The much loved husband of a happy wife;
To him whose constant passion found the art
To win a stubborn and ungrateful heart,
And to the world by tenderest proof discovers
They err, who say that husbands can't be lovers.
With such return of passion, as is due,
Daphnis I love, Daphinis my thoughts pursue;
Daphnis, my hopes and joys are bounded all in you.
Even I, for Daphnis' and my promise' sake,
What I in woman censure, undertake.
But this from love, not vanity proceeds;
You know who writes, and I who 'tis that reads.
Judge not my passion by my want of skill:
Many love well, though they express it ill;
And I your censure could with pleasure bear,
Would you but soon return, and speak it here.
Constantine P Cavafy | |
In the prologue to her Alexiad,
Anna Comnena laments her widowhood.
Her soul is dizzy.
"And with rivers
of tears," she tells us "I wet
Alas for the waves" in her life,
"alas for the revolts.
" Pain burns her
"to the the bones and the marrow and the cleaving of the soul.
But it seems the truth is, that this ambitious woman
knew only one great sorrow;
she only had one deep longing
(though she does not admit it) this haughty Greek woman,
that she was never able, despite all her dexterity,
to acquire the Kingship; but it was taken
almost out of her hands by the insolent John.
G K Chesterton | |
I do not cry, beloved, neither curse.
Silence and strength, these two at least are good.
He gave me sun and start and aught He could,
But not a woman's love; for that is hers.
He sealed her heart from sage and questioner --
Yea, with seven seals, as he has sealed the grave.
And if she give it to a drunken slave,
The Day of Judgment shall not challenge her.
Only this much: if one, deserving well,
Touching your thin young hands and making suit,
Feel not himself a crawling thing, a brute,
Buried and bricked in a forgotten hell;
Prophet and poet be he over sod,
Prince among angels in the highest place,
God help me, I will smite him on the face,
Before the glory of the face of God.
William Henry Davies | |
when the body of a woman dissolves
within are the three feared faces
the man who dares to trace them comes
to grief - but nothing personal is meant
waves and particles transvest - vulva
breast and womb are sexless doors
beyond whose suck a sensual light
swings life round its little finger
William Henry Davies | |
This life is sweetest; in this wood
I hear no children cry for food;
I see no woman, white with care;
No man, with muscled wasting here.
No doubt it is a selfish thing
To fly from human suffering;
No doubt he is a selfish man,
Who shuns poor creatures, sad and wan.
But 'tis a wretched life to face
Hunger in almost every place;
Cursed with a hand that's empty, when
The heart is full to help all men.
Can I admire the statue great,
When living men starve at its feet!
Can I admire the park's green tree,
A roof for homeless misery!
Stephen Vincent Benet | |
Here, where men's eyes were empty and as bright
As the blank windows set in glaring brick,
When the wind strengthens from the sea -- and night
Drops like a fog and makes the breath come thick;
By the deserted paths, the vacant halls,
One may see figures, twisted shades and lean,
Like the mad shapes that crawl an Indian screen,
Or paunchy smears you find on prison walls.
Turn the knob gently! There's the Thumbless Man,
Still weaving glass and silk into a dream,
Although the wall shows through him -- and the Khan
Journeys Cathay beside a paper stream.
A Rabbit Woman chitters by the door --
-- Chilly the grave-smell comes from the turned sod --
Come -- lift the curtain -- and be cold before
The silence of the eight men who were God!
Edwin Arlington Robinson | |
No more with overflowing light
Shall fill the eyes that now are faded,
Nor shall another's fringe with night
Their woman-hidden world as they did.
No more shall quiver down the days
The flowing wonder of her ways,
Whereof no language may requite
The shifting and the many-shaded.
The grace, divine, definitive,
Clings only as a faint forestalling;
The laugh that love could not forgive
Is hushed, and answers to no calling;
The forehead and the little ears
Have gone where Saturn keeps the years;
The breast where roses could not live
Has done with rising and with falling.
The beauty, shattered by the laws
That have creation in their keeping,
No longer trembles at applause,
Or over children that are sleeping;
And we who delve in beauty's lore
Know all that we have known before
Of what inexorable cause
Makes Time so vicious in his reaping.
Edwin Arlington Robinson | |
Once, when I wandered in the woods alone,
An old man tottered up to me and said,
“Come, friend, and see the grave that I have made
” There was in the tone
Of his complaint such quaver and such moan
That I took pity on him and obeyed,
And long stood looking where his hands had laid
An ancient woman, shrunk to skin and bone.
Far out beyond the forest I could hear
The calling of loud progress, and the bold
Incessant scream of commerce ringing clear;
But though the trumpets of the world were glad,
It made me lonely and it made me sad
To think that Amaryllis had grown old.
Edwin Arlington Robinson | |
The Deacon thought.
“I know them,” he began,
“And they are all you ever heard of them—
Allurable to no sure theorem,
The scorn or the humility of man.
You say ‘Can I believe it?’—and I can;
And I’m unwilling even to condemn
The benefaction of a stratagem
Like hers—and I’m a Presbyterian.
“Though blind, with but a wandering hour to live,
He felt the other woman in the fur
That now the wife had on.
Could she forgive
All that? Apparently.
Her rings were gone,
Of course; and when he found that she had none,
He smiled—as he had never smiled at her.
George William Russell | |
HIS head within my bosom lay,
But yet his spirit slipped not through:
I only felt the burning clay
That withered for the cooling dew.
It was but pity when I spoke
And called him to my heart for rest,
And half a mother’s love that woke
Feeling his head upon my breast:
And half the lion’s tenderness
To shield her cubs from hurt or death,
Which, when the serried hunters press,
Makes terrible her wounded breath.
But when the lips I breathed upon
Asked for such love as equals claim—
I looked where all the stars were gone
Burned in the day’s immortal flame.
“Come thou like yon great dawn to me
From darkness vanquished, battles done:
Flame unto flame shall flow and be
Within thy heart and mine as one.
Ella Wheeler Wilcox | |
As I go and shop, sir!
If a car I stop, sir!
Where you chance to sit,
And you want to read, sir!
Never mind or heed, sir!
I’ll not care a bit.
For it’s now aesthetic
To be quite athletic.
That’s our fad, you know.
I can hold the strap, sir!
And keep off your lap, sir!
As we jolting go.
If you read on blindly,
I shall take it kindly,
All the car’s not mine.
But, if you sit and stare, sir!
At my eyes and hair, sir!
I must draw the line.
If the stare is meant, sir!
For a compliment, sir!
As we jog through town,
Allow me to suggest, sir!
A woman oft looks best, sir!
When she’s sitting down.