Too much gone wrong –
No Muse, no song.
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.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
FAR explore the mountain hollow,
High in air the clouds then follow!
To each brook and vale the Muse
Thousand times her call renews.
Soon as a flow'ret blooms in spring,
It wakens many a strain;
And when Time spreads his fleeting wing,
The seasons come again.
Thou shalt not all die; for while Love's fire shines
Upon his altar, men shall read thy lines;
And learn'd musicians shall, to honour Herrick's
Fame, and his name, both set and sing his lyrics.
To his book's end this last line he'd have placed:--
Jocund his Muse was, but his Life was chaste.
O hour of my muse: why do you leave me,
Wounding me by the wingbeats of your flight?
Alone: what shall I use my mouth to utter?
How shall I pass my days? And how my nights?
I have no one to love.
I have no home.
There is no center to sustain my life.
All things to which I give myself grow rich
and leave me spent, impoverished, alone.
O, let me be alone a while,
No human form is nigh.
And may I sing and muse aloud,
No mortal ear is by.
Away! ye dreams of earthly bliss,
Ye earthly cares begone:
Depart! ye restless wandering thoughts,
And let me be alone!
One hour, my spirit, stretch thy wings,
And quit this joyless sod,
Bask in the sunshine of the sky,
And be alone with God!
When the shy star goes forth in heaven
All maidenly, disconsolate,
Hear you amid the drowsy even
One who is singing by your gate.
His song is softer than the dew
And he is come to visit you.
O bend no more in revery
When he at eventide is calling.
Nor muse: Who may this singer be
Whose song about my heart is falling?
Know you by this, the lover's chant,
'Tis I that am your visitant.
Since to the country first I came,
I have lost my former flame;
And, methinks, I not inherit,
As I did, my ravish'd spirit.
If I write a verse or two,
'Tis with very much ado;
In regard I want that wine
Which should conjure up a line.
Yet, though now of Muse bereft,
I have still the manners left
For to thank you, noble sir,
For those gifts you do confer
Upon him, who only can
Be in prose a grateful man.
My Muse in meads has spent her many hours
Sitting, and sorting several sorts of flowers,
To make for others garlands; and to set
On many a head here, many a coronet.
But amongst all encircled here, not one
Gave her a day of coronation;
Till you, sweet mistress, came and interwove
A laurel for her, ever young as Love.
You first of all crown'd her; she must, of due,
Render for that, a crown of life to you.
ONE’S-SELF I sing—a simple, separate Person;
Yet utter the word Democratic, the word En-masse.
Of Physiology from top to toe I sing;
Not physiognomy alone, nor brain alone, is worthy for the muse—I say the
Form complete is worthier far;
The Female equally with the male I sing.
Of Life immense in passion, pulse, and power,
Cheerful—for freest action form’d, under the laws divine,
The Modern Man I sing.
Billy Jno Hope
folly cracked the mirror
a soul gasping wound
voodoo induced vertigo
in the cracks
between art and blasphemy
paralyzing paranoia of becoming
the vision that heals
cast shadows to douse the flames
i betrayed my muse
i wallowed in nostalgic fumes
blood clots from yesteryears insurrection mad dissident desire found wanting a rage dissipating in the twilight of friendship a facade evolved.
The lover in these poems
as husband, lover
analyst & muse,
as father, son
& maybe even God
& surely death.
All this is true.
The man you turn to
in the dark
is many men.
This is an open secret
& yet agree to hide
they might then
hide it from themselves.
I will not hide.
I write in the nude.
I name names.
I am I.
The doctor's name is Love.
Donne, the delight of Phoebus and each Muse
Who, to thy one, all other brains refuse;
Whose every work of thy most early wit
Came forth example, and remains so yet;
Longer a-knowing than most wits do live;
And which no affection praise enough can give!
To it, thy language, letters, arts, best life,
Which might with half mankind maintain a strife.
All which I meant to praise, and yet I would;
But leave, because I cannot as I should!
Say, muse divine, can hostile scenes delight
The warrior's bosom in the fields of fight?
Lo! here the christian and the hero join
With mutual grace to form the man divine.
In H-----D see with pleasure and surprise,
Where valour kindles, and where virtue lies:
Go, hero brave, still grace the post of fame,
And add new glories to thine honour'd name,
Still to the field, and still to virtue true:
Britannia glories in no son like you.
Arthur Hugh Clough
It is not sweet content, be sure,
That moves the nobler Muse to song,
Yet when could truth come whole and pure
From hearts that inly writhe with wrong?
'T is not the calm and peaceful breast
That sees or reads the problem true;
They only know, on whom 't has prest
Too hard to hope to solve it too.
Our ills are worse than at their ease
These blameless happy souls suspect,
They only study the disease,
Alas, who live not to detect.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Virtue runs before the muse
And defies her skill,
She is rapt, and doth refuse
To wait a painter's will.
Virtue cannot bend her,
Just to please a poet's pride,
To parade her splendor.
The bard must be with good intent
No more his, but hers,
Throw away his pen and paint,
Kneel with worshippers.
Then, perchance, a sunny ray
From the heaven of fire,
His lost tools may over-pay,
And better his desire.
It’s a jade branch on the floor, broken in two, love,
or a stain raised on the lapped grains of a suede glove.
It’s the lace, blown by a strong breeze, of an old gown
with the cranes crying at night, lost in their long sound.
It’s a vase made from the noon light in a closed place,
and it falls, shatters the sharp edge of a jewel case.
It’s the Muse, mute with a shell clenched in her left hand,
a refrain deep in its coils, joined to the dead sand.