Best Famous Amy Lowell Poems

Here is a collection of the all-time best famous Amy Lowell poems. This is a select list of the best famous Amy Lowell poetry. Reading, writing, and enjoying famous Amy Lowell poetry (as well as classical and contemporary poems) is a great past time. These top poems are the best examples of Amy Lowell poems.

Search for the best famous Amy Lowell poems, articles about Amy Lowell poems, poetry blogs, or anything else Amy Lowell poem related using the PoetrySoup search engine at the top of the page.

See Also:
Written by Amy Lowell | Create an image from this poem


 I know a country laced with roads,
They join the hills and they span the brooks,
They weave like a shuttle between broad fields,
And slide discreetly through hidden nooks.
They are canopied like a Persian dome And carpeted with orient dyes.
They are myriad-voiced, and musical, And scented with happiest memories.
O Winding roads that I know so well, Every twist and turn, every hollow and hill! They are set in my heart to a pulsing tune Gay as a honey-bee humming in June.
'T is the rhythmic beat of a horse's feet And the pattering paws of a sheep-dog bitch; 'T is the creaking trees, and the singing breeze, And the rustle of leaves in the road-side ditch.
A cow in a meadow shakes her bell And the notes cut sharp through the autumn air, Each chattering brook bears a fleet of leaves Their cargo the rainbow, and just now where The sun splashed bright on the road ahead A startled rabbit quivered and fled.
O Uphill roads and roads that dip down! You curl your sun-spattered length along, And your march is beaten into a song By the softly ringing hoofs of a horse And the panting breath of the dogs I love.
The pageant of Autumn follows its course And the blue sky of Autumn laughs above.
And the song and the country become as one, I see it as music, I hear it as light; Prismatic and shimmering, trembling to tone, The land of desire, my soul's delight.
And always it beats in my listening ears With the gentle thud of a horse's stride, With the swift-falling steps of many dogs, Following, following at my side.
O Roads that journey to fairyland! Radiant highways whose vistas gleam, Leading me on, under crimson leaves, To the opaline gates of the Castles of Dream.
Written by Amy Lowell | Create an image from this poem

Sunshine through a Cobwebbed Window

 What charm is yours, you faded old-world tapestries,
Of outworn, childish mysteries,
Vague pageants woven on a web of dream!
And we, pushing and fighting in the turbid stream
Of modern life, find solace in your tarnished broideries.
Old lichened halls, sun-shaded by huge cedar-trees, The layered branches horizontal stretched, like Japanese Dark-banded prints.
Carven cathedrals, on a sky Of faintest colour, where the gothic spires fly And sway like masts, against a shifting breeze.
Worm-eaten pages, clasped in old brown vellum, shrunk From over-handling, by some anxious monk.
Or Virgin's Hours, bright with gold and graven With flowers, and rare birds, and all the Saints of Heaven, And Noah's ark stuck on Ararat, when all the world had sunk.
They soothe us like a song, heard in a garden, sung By youthful minstrels, on the moonlight flung In cadences and falls, to ease a queen, Widowed and childless, cowering in a screen Of myrtles, whose life hangs with all its threads unstrung.
Written by Amy Lowell | Create an image from this poem


 Happiness, to some, elation;
Is, to others, mere stagnation.
Days of passive somnolence, At its wildest, indolence.
Hours of empty quietness, No delight, and no distress.
Happiness to me is wine, Effervescent, superfine.
Full of tang and fiery pleasure, Far too hot to leave me leisure For a single thought beyond it.
Drunk! Forgetful! This the bond: it Means to give one's soul to gain Life's quintessence.
Even pain Pricks to livelier living, then Wakes the nerves to laugh again, Rapture's self is three parts sorrow.
Although we must die to-morrow, Losing every thought but this; Torn, triumphant, drowned in bliss.
Happiness: We rarely feel it.
I would buy it, beg it, steal it, Pay in coins of dripping blood For this one transcendent good.
Written by Amy Lowell | Create an image from this poem

Number 3 on the Docket

 The lawyer, are you?
Well! I ain't got nothin' to say.
Nothin'! I told the perlice I hadn't nothin'.
They know'd real well 'twas me.
Ther warn't no supposin', Ketchin' me in the woods as they did, An' me in my house dress.
Folks don't walk miles an' miles In the drifted snow, With no hat nor wrap on 'em Ef everythin's all right, I guess.
All right? Ha! Ha! Ha! Nothin' warn't right with me.
Never was.
Oh, Lord! Why did I do it? Why ain't it yesterday, and Ed here agin? Many's the time I've set up with him nights When he had cramps, or rheumatizm, or somethin'.
I used ter nurse him same's ef he was a baby.
I wouldn't hurt him, I love him! Don't you dare to say I killed him.
'Twarn't me! Somethin' got aholt o' me.
I couldn't help it.
Oh, what shall I do! What shall I do! Yes, Sir.
No, Sir.
I beg your pardon, I -- I -- Oh, I'm a wicked woman! An' I'm desolate, desolate! Why warn't I struck dead or paralyzed Afore my hands done it.
Oh, my God, what shall I do! No, Sir, ther ain't no extenuatin' circumstances, An' I don't want none.
I want a bolt o' lightnin' To strike me dead right now! Oh, I'll tell yer.
But it won't make no diff'rence.
Nothin' will.
Yes, I killed him.
Why do yer make me say it? It's cruel! Cruel! I killed him because o' th' silence.
The long, long silence, That watched all around me, And he wouldn't break it.
I tried to make him, Time an' agin, But he was terrible taciturn, Ed was.
He never spoke 'cept when he had to, An' then he'd only say "yes" and "no".
You can't even guess what that silence was.
I'd hear it whisperin' in my ears, An' I got frightened, 'twas so thick, An' al'ays comin' back.
Ef Ed would ha' talked sometimes It would ha' driven it away; But he never would.
He didn't hear it same as I did.
You see, Sir, Our farm was off'n the main road, And set away back under the mountain; And the village was seven mile off, Measurin' after you'd got out o' our lane.
We didn't have no hired man, 'Cept in hayin' time; An' Dane's place, That was the nearest, Was clear way 'tother side the mountain.
They used Marley post-office An' ours was Benton.
Ther was a cart-track took yer to Dane's in Summer, An' it warn't above two mile that way, But it warn't never broke out Winters.
I used to dread the Winters.
Seem's ef I couldn't abear to see the golden-rod bloomin'; Winter'd come so quick after that.
You don't know what snow's like when yer with it Day in an' day out.
Ed would be out all day loggin', An' I set at home and look at the snow Layin' over everythin'; It 'ud dazzle me blind, Till it warn't white any more, but black as ink.
Then the quiet 'ud commence rushin' past my ears Till I most went mad listenin' to it.
Many's the time I've dropped a pan on the floor Jest to hear it clatter.
I was most frantic when dinner-time come An' Ed was back from the woods.
I'd ha' give my soul to hear him speak.
But he'd never say a word till I asked him Did he like the raised biscuits or whatever, An' then sometimes he'd jest nod his answer.
Then he'd go out agin, An' I'd watch him from the kitchin winder.
It seemed the woods come marchin' out to meet him An' the trees 'ud press round him an' hustle him.
I got so I was scared o' th' trees.
I thought they come nearer, Every day a little nearer, Closin' up round the house.
I never went in t' th' woods Winters, Though in Summer I liked 'em well enough.
It warn't so bad when my little boy was with us.
He used to go sleddin' and skatin', An' every day his father fetched him to school in the pung An' brought him back agin.
We scraped an' scraped fer Neddy, We wanted him to have a education.
We sent him to High School, An' then he went up to Boston to Technology.
He was a minin' engineer, An' doin' real well, A credit to his bringin' up.
But his very first position ther was an explosion in the mine.
And I'm glad! I'm glad! He ain't here to see me now.
Neddy! Neddy! I'm your mother still, Neddy.
Don't turn from me like that.
I can't abear it.
I can't! I can't! What did you say? Oh, yes, Sir.
I'm here.
I'm very sorry, I don't know what I'm sayin'.
No, Sir, Not till after Neddy died.
'Twas the next Winter the silence come, I don't remember noticin' it afore.
That was five year ago, An' it's been gittin' worse an' worse.
I asked Ed to put in a telephone.
I thought ef I felt the whisperin' comin' on I could ring up some o' th' folks.
But Ed wouldn't hear of it.
He said we'd paid so much for Neddy We couldn't hardly git along as 'twas.
An' he never understood me wantin' to talk.
Well, this year was worse'n all the others; We had a terrible spell o' stormy weather, An' the snow lay so thick You couldn't see the fences even.
Out o' doors was as flat as the palm o' my hand, Ther warn't a hump or a holler Fer as you could see.
It was so quiet The snappin' o' the branches back in the wood-lot Sounded like pistol shots.
Ed was out all day Same as usual.
An' it seemed he talked less'n ever.
He didn't even say `Good-mornin'', once or twice, An' jest nodded or shook his head when I asked him things.
On Monday he said he'd got to go over to Benton Fer some oats.
I'd oughter ha' gone with him, But 'twas washin' day An' I was afeared the fine weather'd break, An' I couldn't do my dryin'.
All my life I'd done my work punctual, An' I couldn't fix my conscience To go junketin' on a washin'-day.
I can't tell you what that day was to me.
It dragged an' dragged, Fer ther warn't no Ed ter break it in the middle Fer dinner.
Every time I stopped stirrin' the water I heerd the whisperin' all about me.
I stopped oftener'n I should To see ef 'twas still ther, An' it al'ays was.
An' gittin' louder It seemed ter me.
Once I threw up the winder to feel the wind.
That seemed most alive somehow.
But the woods looked so kind of menacin' I closed it quick An' started to mangle's hard's I could, The squeakin' was comfortin'.
Well, Ed come home 'bout four.
I seen him down the road, An' I run out through the shed inter th' barn To meet him quicker.
I hollered out, `Hullo!' But he didn't say nothin', He jest drove right in An' climbed out o' th' sleigh An' commenced unharnessin'.
I asked him a heap o' questions; Who he'd seed An' what he'd done.
Once in a while he'd nod or shake, But most o' th' time he didn't do nothin'.
'Twas gittin' dark then, An' I was in a state, With the loneliness An' Ed payin' no attention Like somethin' warn't livin'.
All of a sudden it come, I don't know what, But I jest couldn't stand no more.
It didn't seem 's though that was Ed, An' it didn't seem as though I was me.
I had to break a way out somehow, Somethin' was closin' in An' I was stiflin'.
Ed's loggin' axe was ther, An' I took it.
Oh, my God! I can't see nothin' else afore me all the time.
I run out inter th' woods, Seemed as ef they was pullin' me; An' all the time I was wadin' through the snow I seed Ed in front of me Where I'd laid him.
An' I see him now.
There! There! What you holdin' me fer? I want ter go to Ed, He's bleedin'.
Stop holdin' me.
I got to go.
I'm comin', Ed.
I'll be ther in a minit.
Oh, I'm so tired! (Faints)
Written by Amy Lowell | Create an image from this poem

In Darkness

 Must all of worth be travailled for, and those
Life's brightest stars rise from a troubled sea?
Must years go by in sad uncertainty
Leaving us doubting whose the conquering blows,
Are we or Fate the victors? Time which shows
All inner meanings will reveal, but we
Shall never know the upshot.
Ours to be Wasted with longing, shattered in the throes, The agonies of splendid dreams, which day Dims from our vision, but each night brings back; We strive to hold their grandeur, and essay To be the thing we dream.
Sudden we lack The flash of insight, life grows drear and gray, And hour follows hour, nerveless, slack.
Written by Amy Lowell | Create an image from this poem


 An arid daylight shines along the beach
Dried to a grey monotony of tone,
And stranded jelly-fish melt soft upon
The sun-baked pebbles, far beyond their reach
Sparkles a wet, reviving sea.
Here bleach The skeletons of fishes, every bone Polished and stark, like traceries of stone, The joints and knuckles hardened each to each.
And they are dead while waiting for the sea, The moon-pursuing sea, to come again.
Their hearts are blown away on the hot breeze.
Only the shells and stones can wait to be Washed bright.
For living things, who suffer pain, May not endure till time can bring them ease.
Written by Amy Lowell | Create an image from this poem

A Ballad of Footmen

 Now what in the name of the sun and the stars
Is the meaning of this most unholy of wars?
Do men find life so full of humour and joy
That for want of excitement they smash up the toy?
Fifteen millions of soldiers with popguns and horses
All bent upon killing, because their "of courses"
Are not quite the same.
All these men by the ears, And nine nations of women choking with tears.
It is folly to think that the will of a king Can force men to make ducks and drakes of a thing They value, and life is, at least one supposes, Of some little interest, even if roses Have not grown up between one foot and the other.
What a marvel bureaucracy is, which can smother Such quite elementary feelings, and tag A man with a number, and set him to wag His legs and his arms at the word of command Or the blow of a whistle! He's certainly damned, Fit only for mince-meat, if a little gold lace And an upturned moustache can set him to face Bullets, and bayonets, and death, and diseases, Because some one he calls his Emperor, pleases.
If each man were to lay down his weapon, and say, With a click of his heels, "I wish you Good-day," Now what, may I ask, could the Emperor do? A king and his minions are really so few.
Angry? Oh, of course, a most furious Emperor! But the men are so many they need not mind his temper, or The dire results which could not be inflicted.
With no one to execute sentence, convicted Is just the weak wind from an old, broken bellows.
What lackeys men are, who might be such fine fellows! To be killing each other, unmercifully, At an order, as though one said, "Bring up the tea.
" Or is it that tasting the blood on their jaws They lap at it, drunk with its ferment, and laws So patiently builded, are nothing to drinking More blood, any blood.
They don't notice its stinking.
I don't suppose tigers do, fighting cocks, sparrows, And, as to men -- what are men, when their marrows Are running with blood they have gulped; it is plain Such excellent sport does not recollect pain.
Toll the bells in the steeples left standing.
Half-mast The flags which meant order, for order is past.
Take the dust of the streets and sprinkle your head, The civilization we've worked for is dead.
Squeeze into this archway, the head of the line Has just swung round the corner to `Die Wacht am Rhein'.
Written by Amy Lowell | Create an image from this poem

In Answer to a Request

 You ask me for a sonnet.
Ah, my Dear, Can clocks tick back to yesterday at noon? Can cracked and fallen leaves recall last June And leap up on the boughs, now stiff and sere? For your sake, I would go and seek the year, Faded beyond the purple ranks of dune, Blown sands of drifted hours, which the moon Streaks with a ghostly finger, and her sneer Pulls at my lengthening shadow.
Yes, 'tis that! My shadow stretches forward, and the ground Is dark in front because the light's behind.
It is grotesque, with such a funny hat, In watching it and walking I have found More than enough to occupy my mind.
I cannot turn, the light would make me blind.
Written by Amy Lowell | Create an image from this poem


 A face seen passing in a crowded street,
A voice heard singing music, large and free;
And from that moment life is changed, and we
Become of more heroic temper, meet
To freely ask and give, a man complete
Radiant because of faith, we dare to be
What Nature meant us.
Brave idolatry Which can conceive a hero! No deceit, No knowledge taught by unrelenting years, Can quench this fierce, untamable desire.
We know that what we long for once achieved Will cease to satisfy.
Be still our fears; If what we worship fail us, still the fire Burns on, and it is much to have believed.
Written by Amy Lowell | Create an image from this poem


 Be not angry with me that I bear
Your colours everywhere,
All through each crowded street,
And meet
The wonder-light in every eye,
As I go by.
Each plodding wayfarer looks up to gaze, Blinded by rainbow haze, The stuff of happiness, No less, Which wraps me in its glad-hued folds Of peacock golds.
Before my feet the dusty, rough-paved way Flushes beneath its gray.
My steps fall ringed with light, So bright, It seems a myriad suns are strown About the town.
Around me is the sound of steepled bells, And rich perfumed smells Hang like a wind-forgotten cloud, And shroud Me from close contact with the world.
I dwell impearled.
You blazon me with jewelled insignia.
A flaming nebula Rims in my life.
And yet You set The word upon me, unconfessed To go unguessed.
Written by Amy Lowell | Create an image from this poem

The Red Lacquer Music-Stand

 A music-stand of crimson lacquer, long since brought
In some fast clipper-ship from China, quaintly wrought
With bossed and carven flowers and fruits in blackening gold,
The slender shaft all twined about and thickly scrolled
With vine leaves and young twisted tendrils, whirling, curling,
Flinging their new shoots over the four wings, and swirling
Out on the three wide feet in golden lumps and streams;
Petals and apples in high relief, and where the seams
Are worn with handling, through the polished crimson sheen,
Long streaks of black, the under lacquer, shine out clean.
Four desks, adjustable, to suit the heights of players Sitting to viols or standing up to sing, four layers Of music to serve every instrument, are there, And on the apex a large flat-topped golden pear.
It burns in red and yellow, dusty, smouldering lights, When the sun flares the old barn-chamber with its flights And skips upon the crystal knobs of dim sideboards, Legless and mouldy, and hops, glint to glint, on hoards Of scythes, and spades, and dinner-horns, so the old tools Are little candles throwing brightness round in pools.
With Oriental splendour, red and gold, the dust Covering its flames like smoke and thinning as a gust Of brighter sunshine makes the colours leap and range, The strange old music-stand seems to strike out and change; To stroke and tear the darkness with sharp golden claws; To dart a forked, vermilion tongue from open jaws; To puff out bitter smoke which chokes the sun; and fade Back to a still, faint outline obliterate in shade.
Creeping up the ladder into the loft, the Boy Stands watching, very still, prickly and hot with joy.
He sees the dusty sun-mote slit by streaks of red, He sees it split and stream, and all about his head Spikes and spears of gold are licking, pricking, flicking, Scratching against the walls and furniture, and nicking The darkness into sparks, chipping away the gloom.
The Boy's nose smarts with the pungence in the room.
The wind pushes an elm branch from before the door And the sun widens out all along the floor, Filling the barn-chamber with white, straightforward light, So not one blurred outline can tease the mind to fright.
"O All ye Works of the Lord, Bless ye the Lord; Praise Him, and Magnify Him for ever.
O let the Earth Bless the Lord; Yea, let it Praise Him, and Magnify Him for ever.
O ye Mountains and Hills, Bless ye the Lord; Praise Him, and Magnify Him for ever.
O All ye Green Things upon the Earth, Bless ye the Lord; Praise Him, and Magnify Him for ever.
" The Boy will praise his God on an altar builded fair, Will heap it with the Works of the Lord.
In the morning air, Spices shall burn on it, and by their pale smoke curled, Like shoots of all the Green Things, the God of this bright World Shall see the Boy's desire to pay his debt of praise.
The Boy turns round about, seeking with careful gaze An altar meet and worthy, but each table and chair Has some defect, each piece is needing some repair To perfect it; the chairs have broken legs and backs, The tables are uneven, and every highboy lacks A handle or a drawer, the desks are bruised and worn, And even a wide sofa has its cane seat torn.
Only in the gloom far in the corner there The lacquer music-stand is elegant and rare, Clear and slim of line, with its four wings outspread, The sound of old quartets, a tenuous, faint thread, Hanging and floating over it, it stands supreme -- Black, and gold, and crimson, in one twisted scheme! A candle on the bookcase feels a draught and wavers, Stippling the white-washed walls with dancing shades and quavers.
A bed-post, grown colossal, jigs about the ceiling, And shadows, strangely altered, stain the walls, revealing Eagles, and rabbits, and weird faces pulled awry, And hands which fetch and carry things incessantly.
Under the Eastern window, where the morning sun Must touch it, stands the music-stand, and on each one Of its broad platforms is a pyramid of stones, And metals, and dried flowers, and pine and hemlock cones, An oriole's nest with the four eggs neatly blown, The rattle of a rattlesnake, and three large brown Butternuts uncracked, six butterflies impaled With a green luna moth, a snake-skin freshly scaled, Some sunflower seeds, wampum, and a bloody-tooth shell, A blue jay feather, all together piled pell-mell The stand will hold no more.
The Boy with humming head Looks once again, blows out the light, and creeps to bed.
The Boy keeps solemn vigil, while outside the wind Blows gustily and clear, and slaps against the blind.
He hardly tries to sleep, so sharp his ecstasy It burns his soul to emptiness, and sets it free For adoration only, for worship.
Dedicate, His unsheathed soul is naked in its novitiate.
The hours strike below from the clock on the stair.
The Boy is a white flame suspiring in prayer.
Morning will bring the sun, the Golden Eye of Him Whose splendour must be veiled by starry cherubim, Whose Feet shimmer like crystal in the streets of Heaven.
Like an open rose the sun will stand up even, Fronting the window-sill, and when the casement glows Rose-red with the new-blown morning, then the fire which flows From the sun will fall upon the altar and ignite The spices, and his sacrifice will burn in perfumed light.
Over the music-stand the ghosts of sounds will swim, `Viols d'amore' and `hautbois' accorded to a hymn.
The Boy will see the faintest breath of angels' wings Fanning the smoke, and voices will flower through the strings.
He dares no farther vision, and with scalding eyes Waits upon the daylight and his great emprise.
The cold, grey light of dawn was whitening the wall When the Boy, fine-drawn by sleeplessness, started his ritual.
He washed, all shivering and pointed like a flame.
He threw the shutters open, and in the window-frame The morning glimmered like a tarnished Venice glass.
He took his Chinese pastilles and put them in a mass Upon the mantelpiece till he could seek a plate Worthy to hold them burning.
Alas! He had been late In thinking of this need, and now he could not find Platter or saucer rare enough to ease his mind.
The house was not astir, and he dared not go down Into the barn-chamber, lest some door should be blown And slam before the draught he made as he went out.
The light was growing yellower, and still he looked about.
A flash of almost crimson from the gilded pear Upon the music-stand, startled him waiting there.
The sun would rise and he would meet it unprepared, Labelled a fool in having missed what he had dared.
He ran across the room, took his pastilles and laid Them on the flat-topped pear, most carefully displayed To light with ease, then stood a little to one side, Focussed a burning-glass and painstakingly tried To hold it angled so the bunched and prismed rays Should leap upon each other and spring into a blaze.
Sharp as a wheeling edge of disked, carnation flame, Gem-hard and cutting upward, slowly the round sun came.
The arrowed fire caught the burning-glass and glanced, Split to a multitude of pointed spears, and lanced, A deeper, hotter flame, it took the incense pile Which welcomed it and broke into a little smile Of yellow flamelets, creeping, crackling, thrusting up, A golden, red-slashed lily in a lacquer cup.
"O ye Fire and Heat, Bless ye the Lord; Praise Him, and Magnify Him for ever.
O ye Winter and Summer, Bless ye the Lord; Praise Him, and Magnify Him for ever.
O ye Nights and Days, Bless ye the Lord; Praise Him, and Magnify Him for ever.
O ye Lightnings and Clouds, Bless ye the Lord; Praise Him, and Magnify Him for ever.
" A moment so it hung, wide-curved, bright-petalled, seeming A chalice foamed with sunrise.
The Boy woke from his dreaming.
A spike of flame had caught the card of butterflies, The oriole's nest took fire, soon all four galleries Where he had spread his treasures were become one tongue Of gleaming, brutal fire.
The Boy instantly swung His pitcher off the wash-stand and turned it upside down.
The flames drooped back and sizzled, and all his senses grown Acute by fear, the Boy grabbed the quilt from his bed And flung it over all, and then with aching head He watched the early sunshine glint on the remains Of his holy offering.
The lacquer stand had stains Ugly and charred all over, and where the golden pear Had been, a deep, black hole gaped miserably.
His dear Treasures were puffs of ashes; only the stones were there, Winking in the brightness.
The clock upon the stair Struck five, and in the kitchen someone shook a grate.
The Boy began to dress, for it was getting late.
Written by Amy Lowell | Create an image from this poem


 As I would free the white almond from the green husk
So would I strip your trappings off,
And fingering the smooth and polished kernel I should see that in my hands glittered a gem beyond counting.
Written by Amy Lowell | Create an image from this poem

New York at Night

 A near horizon whose sharp jags
Cut brutally into a sky
Of leaden heaviness, and crags
Of houses lift their masonry
Ugly and foul, and chimneys lie
And snort, outlined against the gray
Of lowhung cloud.
I hear the sigh The goaded city gives, not day Nor night can ease her heart, her anguished labours stay.
Below, straight streets, monotonous, From north and south, from east and west, Stretch glittering; and luminous Above, one tower tops the rest And holds aloft man's constant quest: Time! Joyless emblem of the greed Of millions, robber of the best Which earth can give, the vulgar creed Has seared upon the night its flaming ruthless screed.
O Night! Whose soothing presence brings The quiet shining of the stars.
O Night! Whose cloak of darkness clings So intimately close that scars Are hid from our own eyes.
Beggars By day, our wealth is having night To burn our souls before altars Dim and tree-shadowed, where the light Is shed from a young moon, mysteriously bright.
Where art thou hiding, where thy peace? This is the hour, but thou art not.
Will waking tumult never cease? Hast thou thy votary forgot? Nature forsakes this man-begot And festering wilderness, and now The long still hours are here, no jot Of dear communing do I know; Instead the glaring, man-filled city groans below!
Written by Amy Lowell | Create an image from this poem

The Cross-Roads

 A bullet through his heart at dawn.
On the table a letter signed with a woman's name.
A wind that goes howling round the house, and weeping as in shame.
Cold November dawn peeping through the windows, cold dawn creeping over the floor, creeping up his cold legs, creeping over his cold body, creeping across his cold face.
A glaze of thin yellow sunlight on the staring eyes.
Wind howling through bent branches.
A wind which never dies down.
Howling, wailing.
The gazing eyes glitter in the sunlight.
The lids are frozen open and the eyes glitter.
The thudding of a pick on hard earth.
A spade grinding and crunching.
Overhead, branches writhing, winding, interlacing, unwinding, scattering; tortured twinings, tossings, creakings.
Wind flinging branches apart, drawing them together, whispering and whining among them.
A waning, lobsided moon cutting through black clouds.
A stream of pebbles and earth and the empty spade gleams clear in the moonlight, then is rammed again into the black earth.
Tramping of feet.
Men and horses.
Squeaking of wheels.
"Whoa! Ready, Jim?" "All ready.
" Something falls, settles, is still.
Suicides have no coffin.
"Give us the stake, Jim.
" Pound! Pound! "He'll never walk.
Nailed to the ground.
" An ash stick pierces his heart, if it buds the roots will hold him.
He is a part of the earth now, clay to clay.
Overhead the branches sway, and writhe, and twist in the wind.
He'll never walk with a bullet in his heart, and an ash stick nailing him to the cold, black ground.
Six months he lay still.
Six months.
And the water welled up in his body, and soft blue spots chequered it.
He lay still, for the ash stick held him in place.
Six months! Then her face came out of a mist of green.
Pink and white and frail like Dresden china, lilies-of-the-valley at her breast, puce-coloured silk sheening about her.
Under the young green leaves, the horse at a foot-pace, the high yellow wheels of the chaise scarcely turning, her face, rippling like grain a-blowing, under her puce-coloured bonnet; and burning beside her, flaming within his correct blue coat and brass buttons, is someone.
What has dimmed the sun? The horse steps on a rolling stone; a wind in the branches makes a moan.
The little leaves tremble and shake, turn and quake, over and over, tearing their stems.
There is a shower of young leaves, and a sudden-sprung gale wails in the trees.
The yellow-wheeled chaise is rocking -- rocking, and all the branches are knocking -- knocking.
The sun in the sky is a flat, red plate, the branches creak and grate.
She screams and cowers, for the green foliage is a lowering wave surging to smother her.
But she sees nothing.
The stake holds firm.
The body writhes, the body squirms.
The blue spots widen, the flesh tears, but the stake wears well in the deep, black ground.
It holds the body in the still, black ground.
Two years! The body has been in the ground two years.
It is worn away; it is clay to clay.
Where the heart moulders, a greenish dust, the stake is thrust.
Late August it is, and night; a night flauntingly jewelled with stars, a night of shooting stars and loud insect noises.
Down the road to Tilbury, silence -- and the slow flapping of large leaves.
Down the road to Sutton, silence -- and the darkness of heavy-foliaged trees.
Down the road to Wayfleet, silence -- and the whirring scrape of insects in the branches.
Down the road to Edgarstown, silence -- and stars like stepping-stones in a pathway overhead.
It is very quiet at the cross-roads, and the sign-board points the way down the four roads, endlessly points the way where nobody wishes to go.
A horse is galloping, galloping up from Sutton.
Shaking the wide, still leaves as he goes under them.
Striking sparks with his iron shoes; silencing the katydids.
Morgan riding to a child-birth over Tilbury way; riding to deliver a woman of her first-born son.
One o'clock from Wayfleet bell tower, what a shower of shooting stars! And a breeze all of a sudden, jarring the big leaves and making them jerk up and down.
Morgan's hat is blown from his head, the horse swerves, and curves away from the sign-post.
An oath -- spurs -- a blurring of grey mist.
A quick left twist, and the gelding is snorting and racing down the Tilbury road with the wind dropping away behind him.
The stake has wrenched, the stake has started, the body, flesh from flesh, has parted.
But the bones hold tight, socket and ball, and clamping them down in the hard, black ground is the stake, wedged through ribs and spine.
The bones may twist, and heave, and twine, but the stake holds them still in line.
The breeze goes down, and the round stars shine, for the stake holds the fleshless bones in line.
Twenty years now! Twenty long years! The body has powdered itself away; it is clay to clay.
It is brown earth mingled with brown earth.
Only flaky bones remain, lain together so long they fit, although not one bone is knit to another.
The stake is there too, rotted through, but upright still, and still piercing down between ribs and spine in a straight line.
Yellow stillness is on the cross-roads, yellow stillness is on the trees.
The leaves hang drooping, wan.
The four roads point four yellow ways, saffron and gamboge ribbons to the gaze.
A little swirl of dust blows up Tilbury road, the wind which fans it has not strength to do more; it ceases, and the dust settles down.
A little whirl of wind comes up Tilbury road.
It brings a sound of wheels and feet.
The wind reels a moment and faints to nothing under the sign-post.
Wind again, wheels and feet louder.
Wind again -- again -- again.
A drop of rain, flat into the dust.
Drop! -- Drop! Thick heavy raindrops, and a shrieking wind bending the great trees and wrenching off their leaves.
Under the black sky, bowed and dripping with rain, up Tilbury road, comes the procession.
A funeral procession, bound for the graveyard at Wayfleet.
Feet and wheels -- feet and wheels.
And among them one who is carried.
The bones in the deep, still earth shiver and pull.
There is a quiver through the rotted stake.
Then stake and bones fall together in a little puffing of dust.
Like meshes of linked steel the rain shuts down behind the procession, now well along the Wayfleet road.
He wavers like smoke in the buffeting wind.
His fingers blow out like smoke, his head ripples in the gale.
Under the sign-post, in the pouring rain, he stands, and watches another quavering figure drifting down the Wayfleet road.
Then swiftly he streams after it.
It flickers among the trees.
He licks out and winds about them.
Over, under, blown, contorted.
Spindrift after spindrift; smoke following smoke.
There is a wailing through the trees, a wailing of fear, and after it laughter -- laughter -- laughter, skirling up to the black sky.
Lightning jags over the funeral procession.
A heavy clap of thunder.
Then darkness and rain, and the sound of feet and wheels.
Written by Amy Lowell | Create an image from this poem


 You want to know what's the matter with me, do yer?
My! ain't men blinder'n moles?
It ain't nothin' new, be sure o' that.
Why, ef you'd had eyes you'd ha' seed Me changin' under your very nose, Each day a little diff'rent.
But you never see nothin', you don't.
Don't touch me, Jake, Don't you dars't to touch me, I ain't in no humour.
That's what's come over me; Jest a change clear through.
You lay still, an' I'll tell yer, I've had it on my mind to tell yer Fer some time.
It's a strain livin' a lie from mornin' till night, An' I'm goin' to put an end to it right now.
An' don't make any mistake about one thing, When I married yer I loved yer.
Why, your voice 'ud make Me go hot and cold all over, An' your kisses most stopped my heart from beatin'.
Lord! I was a silly fool.
But that's the way 'twas.
Well, I married yer An' thought Heav'n was comin' To set on the door-step.
Heav'n didn't do no settin', Though the first year warn't so bad.
The baby's fever threw you off some, I guess, An' then I took her death real hard, An' a mopey wife kind o' disgusts a man.
I ain't blamin' yer exactly.
But that's how 'twas.
Do lay quiet, I know I'm slow, but it's harder to say 'n I thought.
There come a time when I got to be More wife agin than mother.
The mother part was sort of a waste When we didn't have no other child.
But you'd got used ter lots o' things, An' you was all took up with the farm.
Many's the time I've laid awake Watchin' the moon go clear through the elm-tree, Out o' sight.
I'd foller yer around like a dog, An' set in the chair you'd be'n settin' in, Jest to feel its arms around me, So long's I didn't have yours.
It preyed on me, I guess, Longin' and longin' While you was busy all day, and snorin' all night.
Yes, I know you're wide awake now, But now ain't then, An' I guess you'll think diff'rent When I'm done.
Do you mind the day you went to Hadrock? I didn't want to stay home for reasons, But you said someone 'd have to be here 'Cause Elmer was comin' to see t' th' telephone.
An' you never see why I was so set on goin' with yer, Our married life hadn't be'n any great shakes, Still marriage is marriage, an' I was raised God-fearin'.
But, Lord, you didn't notice nothin', An' Elmer hangin' around all Winter! 'Twas a lovely mornin'.
The apple-trees was jest elegant With their blossoms all flared out, An' there warn't a cloud in the sky.
You went, you wouldn't pay no 'tention to what I said, An' I heard the Ford chuggin' for most a mile, The air was so still.
Then Elmer come.
It's no use your frettin', Jake, I'll tell you all about it.
I know what I'm doin', An' what's worse, I know what I done.
Elmer fixed th' telephone in about two minits, An' he didn't seem in no hurry to go, An' I don't know as I wanted him to go either, I was awful mad at your not takin' me with yer, An' I was tired o' wishin' and wishin' An' gittin' no comfort.
I guess it ain't necessary to tell yer all the things.
He stayed to dinner, An' he helped me do the dishes, An' he said a home was a fine thing, An' I said dishes warn't a home Nor yet the room they're in.
He said a lot o' things, An' I fended him off at first, But he got talkin' all around me, Clost up to the things I'd be'n thinkin', What's the use o' me goin' on, Jake, You know.
He got all he wanted, An' I give it to him, An' what's more, I'm glad! I ain't dead, anyway, An' somebody thinks I'm somethin'.
Keep away, Jake, You can kill me to-morrer if you want to, But I'm goin' to have my say.
Funny thing! Guess I ain't made to hold a man.
Elmer ain't be'n here for mor'n two months.
I don't want to pretend nothin', Mebbe if he'd be'n lately I shouldn't have told yer.
I'll go away in the mornin', o' course.
What you want the light fer? I don't look no diff'rent.
Ain't the moon bright enough To look at a woman that's deceived yer by? Don't, Jake, don't, you can't love me now! It ain't a question of forgiveness.
Why! I'd be thinkin' o' Elmer ev'ry minute; It ain't decent.
Oh, my God! It ain't decent any more either way!