Maya Angelou | |
Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I'm not cute or built to suit a fashion model's size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I'm telling lies.
It's in the reach of my arms
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I'm a woman
I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.
It's the fire in my eyes,
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing in my waist,
And the joy in my feet.
I'm a woman
Men themselves have wondered
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can't touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them
They say they still can't see.
It's in the arch of my back,
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I'm a woman
Now you understand
Just why my head's not bowed.
I don't shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passing
It ought to make you proud.
It's in the click of my heels,
The bend of my hair,
the palm of my hand,
The need of my care,
'Cause I'm a woman
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!"
More great poems below...
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.
Wallace Stevens | |
The poem of the mind in the act of finding
What will suffice.
It has not always had
To find: the scene was set; it repeated what
Was in the script.
Then the theatre was changed
To something else.
Its past was a souvenir.
It has to be living, to learn the speech of the place.
It has to face the men of the time and to meet
The women of the time.
It has to think about war
And it has to find what will suffice.
To construct a new stage.
It has to be on that stage,
And, like an insatiable actor, slowly and
With meditation, speak words that in the ear,
In the delicatest ear of the mind, repeat,
Exactly, that which it wants to hear, at the sound
Of which, an invisible audience listens,
Not to the play, but to itself, expressed
In an emotion as of two people, as of two
Emotions becoming one.
The actor is
A metaphysician in the dark, twanging
An instrument, twanging a wiry string that gives
Sounds passing through sudden rightnesses, wholly
Containing the mind, below which it cannot descend,
Beyond which it has no will to rise.
Be the finding of a satisfaction, and may
Be of a man skating, a woman dancing, a woman
The poem of the act of the mind.
Wallace Stevens | |
Poetry is the supreme fiction, madame.
Take the moral law and make a nave of it
And from the nave build haunted heaven.
The conscience is converted into palms,
Like windy citherns hankering for hymns.
We agree in principle.
The opposing law and make a peristyle,
And from the peristyle project a masque
Beyond the planets.
Thus, our bawdiness,
Unpurged by epitaph, indulged at last,
Is equally converted into palms,
Squiggling like saxophones.
And palm for palm,
Madame, we are where we began.
Therefore, that in the planetary scene
Your disaffected flagellants, well-stuffed,
Smacking their muzzy bellies in parade,
Proud of such novelties of the sublime,
Such tink and tank and tunk-a-tunk-tunk,
May, merely may, madame, whip from themselves
A jovial hullabaloo among the spheres.
This will make widows wince.
But fictive things
Wink as they will.
Wink most when widows wince.
Wallace Stevens | |
Among twenty snowy mountains,
The only moving thing
Was the eye of the blackbird.
I was of three minds,
Like a tree
In which there are three blackbirds.
The blackbird whirled in the autumn winds.
It was a small part of the pantomime.
A man and a woman
A man and a woman and a blackbird
I do not know which to prefer,
The beauty of inflections
Or the beauty of innuendoes,
The blackbird whistling
Or just after.
Icicles filled the long window
With barbaric glass.
The shadow of the blackbird
Crossed it, to and fro.
Traced in the shadow
An indecipherable cause.
O thin men of Haddam,
Why do you imagine golden birds?
Do you not see how the blackbird
Walks around the feet
Of the women about you?
I know noble accents
And lucid, inescapable rhythms;
But I know, too,
That the blackbird is involved
In what I know.
When the blackbird flew out of sight,
It marked the edge
Of one of many circles.
At the sight of blackbirds
Flying in a green light,
Even the bawds of euphony
Would cry out sharply.
He rode over Connecticut
In a glass coach.
Once, a fear pierced him,
In that he mistook
The shadow of his equipage
The river is moving.
The blackbird must be flying.
It was evening all afternoon.
It was snowing
And it was going to snow.
The blackbird sat
In the cedar-limbs.
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.
Elizabeth Barrett Browning | |
I LEFT thee last a child at heart
A woman scarce in years:
I come to thee a solemn corpse
Which neither feels nor fears.
I have no breath to use in sighs; 5
They laid the dead-weights on mine eyes
To seal them safe from tears.
Look on me with thine own calm look:
I meet it calm as thou.
No look of thine can change this smile 10
Or break thy sinful vow:
I tell thee that my poor scorn'd heart
Is of thine earth¡ªthine earth¡ªa part:
It cannot vex thee now.
I have pray'd for thee with bursting sob 15
When passion's course was free;
I have pray'd for thee with silent lips
In the anguish none could see;
They whisper'd oft 'She sleepeth soft'¡ª
But I only pray'd for thee.
Go to! I pray for thee no more:
The corpse's tongue is still;
Its folded fingers point to heaven
But point there stiff and chill:
No farther wrong no farther woe 25
Hath licence from the sin below
Its tranquil heart to thrill.
I charge thee by the living's prayer
And the dead's silentness
To wring from out thy soul a cry 30
Which God shall hear and bless!
Lest Heaven's own palm droop in my hand
And pale among the saints I stand
A saint companionless.
Sappho | |
Some an army of horsemen some an army on foot
and some say a fleet of ships is the loveliest sight
on this dark earth; but I say it is what-
ever you desire:
and it it possible to make this perfectly clear
to all; for the woman who far surpassed all others
in her beauty Helen left her husband --
the best of all men --
behind and sailed far away to Troy; she did not spare
a single thought for her child nor for her dear parents
but [the goddess of love] led her astray
reminds me now of Anactoria
although far away
--Translated by Josephine Balmer
The Bible | |
“This is at last bone of my bones
And flesh of my flesh.
This one will be called Woman,
Because from man this one was taken.
There was an old woman, and what do you think?
She lived upon nothing but victuals and drink;
Victuals and drink were the chief of her diet,
And yet this old woman could never be quiet.
There was a little woman, as I've been told,
Who was not very young, nor yet very old;
Now this little woman her living got
By selling codlins, hot, hot, hot!
There was an old woman tossed in a basket,
Seventeen times as high as the moon;
But where she was going no mortal could tell,
For under her arm she carried a broom.
"Old woman, old woman, old woman,"said I,
"Whither, oh whither, oh whither so high?"
"To sweep the cobwebs from the sky;
And I'll be with you by-and-by.
"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.
| by . You can read it on PoetrySoup.com' st_url='http://www.poetrysoup.com/famous/poem/22545/Thats_All' st_title='That's All'>|
There was an old woman sat spinning,
And that's the first beginning;
She had a calf,
And that's half;
She took it by the tail,
And threw it over the wall,
And that's all!
I had a little hobby-horse,
And it was dapple gray;
Its head was made of pea-straw,
Its tail was made of hay.
I sold it to an old woman
For a copper groat;
And I'll not sing my song again
Without another coat.
There was an old woman, as I've heard tell,
She went to market her eggs for to sell;
She went to market all on a market-day,
And she fell asleep on the King's highway.
There came by a pedlar whose name was Stout,
He cut her petticoats all round about;
He cut her petticoats up to the knees,
Which made the old woman to shiver and freeze.
When the little old woman first did wake,
She began to shiver and she began to shake;
She began to wonder and she began to cry,
"Lauk a mercy on me, this can't be I!
"But if it be I, as I hope it be,
I've a little dog at home, and he'll know me;
If it be I, he'll wag his little tail,
And if it be not I, he'll loudly bark and wail.
Home went the little woman all in the dark;
Up got the little dog, and he began to bark;
He began to bark, so she began to cry,
"Lauk a mercy on me, this is none of I!"
There came an old woman from France
Who taught grown-up children to dance;
But they were so stiff,
She sent them home in a sniff,
This sprightly old woman from France.
There was an old woman of Gloucester,
Whose parrot two guineas it cost her,
But its tongue never ceasing,
Was vastly displeasing
To the talkative woman of Gloucester.
There was an old woman of Harrow,
Who visited in a wheelbarrow;
And her servant before,
Knocked loud at each door,
To announce the old woman of Harrow.
There was an old woman of Leeds,
Who spent all her time in good deeds;
She worked for the poor
Till her fingers were sore,
This pious old woman of Leeds!
There was an old woman in Surrey,
Who was morn, noon, and night in a hurry;
Called her husband a fool,
Drove the children to school,
The worrying old woman of Surrey.