Best Famous Bible Poems

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

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12
Written by Robert Frost | Create an image from this poem

Maple

 Her teacher's certainty it must be Mabel
Made Maple first take notice of her name.
She asked her father and he told her, "Maple— Maple is right.
" "But teacher told the school There's no such name.
" "Teachers don't know as much As fathers about children, you tell teacher.
You tell her that it's M-A-P-L-E.
You ask her if she knows a maple tree.
Well, you were named after a maple tree.
Your mother named you.
You and she just saw Each other in passing in the room upstairs, One coming this way into life, and one Going the other out of life—you know? So you can't have much recollection of her.
She had been having a long look at you.
She put her finger in your cheek so hard It must have made your dimple there, and said, 'Maple.
' I said it too: 'Yes, for her name.
' She nodded.
So we're sure there's no mistake.
I don't know what she wanted it to mean, But it seems like some word she left to bid you Be a good girl—be like a maple tree.
How like a maple tree's for us to guess.
Or for a little girl to guess sometime.
Not now—at least I shouldn't try too hard now.
By and by I will tell you all I know About the different trees, and something, too, About your mother that perhaps may help.
" Dangerous self-arousing words to sow.
Luckily all she wanted of her name then Was to rebuke her teacher with it next day, And give the teacher a scare as from her father.
Anything further had been wasted on her, Or so he tried to think to avoid blame.
She would forget it.
She all but forgot it.
What he sowed with her slept so long a sleep, And came so near death in the dark of years, That when it woke and came to life again The flower was different from the parent seed.
It carne back vaguely at the glass one day, As she stood saying her name over aloud, Striking it gently across her lowered eyes To make it go well with the way she looked.
What was it about her name? Its strangeness lay In having too much meaning.
Other names, As Lesley, Carol, Irma, Marjorie, Signified nothing.
Rose could have a meaning, But hadn't as it went.
(She knew a Rose.
) This difference from other names it was Made people notice it—and notice her.
(They either noticed it, or got it wrong.
) Her problem was to find out what it asked In dress or manner of the girl who bore it.
If she could form some notion of her mother— What she bad thought was lovely, and what good.
This was her mother's childhood home; The house one story high in front, three stories On the end it presented to the road.
(The arrangement made a pleasant sunny cellar.
) Her mother's bedroom was her father's still, Where she could watch her mother's picture fading.
Once she found for a bookmark in the Bible A maple leaf she thought must have been laid In wait for her there.
She read every word Of the two pages it was pressed between, As if it was her mother speaking to her.
But forgot to put the leaf back in closing And lost the place never to read again.
She was sure, though, there had been nothing in it.
So she looked for herself, as everyone Looks for himself, more or less outwardly.
And her self-seeking, fitful though it was, May still have been what led her on to read, And think a little, and get some city schooling.
She learned shorthand, whatever shorthand may Have had to do with it--she sometimes wondered.
So, till she found herself in a strange place For the name Maple to have brought her to, Taking dictation on a paper pad And, in the pauses when she raised her eyes, Watching out of a nineteenth story window An airship laboring with unshiplike motion And a vague all-disturbing roar above the river Beyond the highest city built with hands.
Someone was saying in such natural tones She almost wrote the words down on her knee, "Do you know you remind me of a tree-- A maple tree?" "Because my name is Maple?" "Isn't it Mabel? I thought it was Mabel.
" "No doubt you've heard the office call me Mabel.
I have to let them call me what they like.
" They were both stirred that he should have divined Without the name her personal mystery.
It made it seem as if there must be something She must have missed herself.
So they were married, And took the fancy home with them to live by.
They went on pilgrimage once to her father's (The house one story high in front, three stories On the side it presented to the road) To see if there was not some special tree She might have overlooked.
They could find none, Not so much as a single tree for shade, Let alone grove of trees for sugar orchard.
She told him of the bookmark maple leaf In the big Bible, and all she remembered of the place marked with it—"Wave offering, Something about wave offering, it said.
" "You've never asked your father outright, have you?" "I have, and been Put off sometime, I think.
" (This was her faded memory of the way Once long ago her father had put himself off.
) "Because no telling but it may have been Something between your father and your mother Not meant for us at all.
" "Not meant for me? Where would the fairness be in giving me A name to carry for life and never know The secret of?" "And then it may have been Something a father couldn't tell a daughter As well as could a mother.
And again It may have been their one lapse into fancy 'Twould be too bad to make him sorry for By bringing it up to him when be was too old.
Your father feels us round him with our questing, And holds us off unnecessarily, As if he didn't know what little thing Might lead us on to a discovery.
It was as personal as be could be About the way he saw it was with you To say your mother, bad she lived, would be As far again as from being born to bearing.
" "Just one look more with what you say in mind, And I give up"; which last look came to nothing.
But though they now gave up the search forever, They clung to what one had seen in the other By inspiration.
It proved there was something.
They kept their thoughts away from when the maples Stood uniform in buckets, and the steam Of sap and snow rolled off the sugarhouse.
When they made her related to the maples, It was the tree the autumn fire ran through And swept of leathern leaves, but left the bark Unscorched, unblackened, even, by any smoke.
They always took their holidays in autumn.
Once they came on a maple in a glade, Standing alone with smooth arms lifted up, And every leaf of foliage she'd worn Laid scarlet and pale pink about her feet.
But its age kept them from considering this one.
Twenty-five years ago at Maple's naming It hardly could have been a two-leaved seedling The next cow might have licked up out at pasture.
Could it have been another maple like it? They hovered for a moment near discovery, Figurative enough to see the symbol, But lacking faith in anything to mean The same at different times to different people.
Perhaps a filial diffidence partly kept them From thinking it could be a thing so bridal.
And anyway it came too late for Maple.
She used her hands to cover up her eyes.
"We would not see the secret if we could now: We are not looking for it any more.
" Thus had a name with meaning, given in death, Made a girl's marriage, and ruled in her life.
No matter that the meaning was not clear.
A name with meaning could bring up a child, Taking the child out of the parents' hands.
Better a meaningless name, I should say, As leaving more to nature and happy chance.
Name children some names and see what you do.
Written by Robert William Service | Create an image from this poem

The Ghosts

 Smith, great writer of stories, drank; found it immortalized his pen;
Fused in his brain-pan, else a blank, heavens of glory now and then;
Gave him the magical genius touch; God-given power to gouge out, fling
Flat in your face a soul-thought -- Bing!
Twiddle your heart-strings in his clutch.
"Bah!" said Smith, "let my body lie stripped to the buff in swinish shame, If I can blaze in the radiant sky out of adoring stars my name.
Sober am I nonentitized; drunk am I more than half a god.
Well, let the flesh be sacrificed; spirit shall speak and shame the clod.
Who would not gladly, gladly give Life to do one thing that will live?" Smith had a friend, we'll call him Brown; dearer than brothers were those two.
When in the wassail Smith would drown, Brown would rescue and pull him through.
When Brown was needful Smith would lend; so it fell as the years went by, Each on the other would depend: then at the last Smith came to die.
There Brown sat in the sick man's room, still as a stone in his despair; Smith bent on him his eyes of doom, shook back his lion mane of hair; Said: "Is there one in my chosen line, writer of forthright tales my peer? Look in that little desk of mine; there is a package, bring it here.
Story of stories, gem of all; essence and triumph, key and clue; Tale of a loving woman's fall; soul swept hell-ward, and God! it's true.
I was the man -- Oh, yes, I've paid, paid with mighty and mordant pain.
Look! here's the masterpiece I've made out of my sin, my manhood slain.
Art supreme! yet the world would stare, know my mistress and blaze my shame.
I have a wife and daughter -- there! take it and thrust it in the flame.
" Brown answered: "Master, you have dipped pen in your heart, your phrases sear.
Ruthless, unflinching, you have stripped naked your soul and set it here.
Have I not loved you well and true? See! between us the shadows drift; This bit of blood and tears means You -- oh, let me have it, a parting gift.
Sacred I'll hold it, a trust divine; sacred your honour, her dark despair; Never shall it see printed line: here, by the living God I swear.
" Brown on a Bible laid his hand; Smith, great writer of stories, sighed: "Comrade, I trust you, and understand.
Keep my secret!" And so he died.
Smith was buried -- up soared his sales; lured you his books in every store; Exquisite, whimsy, heart-wrung tales; men devoured them and craved for more.
So when it slyly got about Brown had a posthumous manuscript, Jones, the publisher, sought him out, into his pocket deep he dipped.
"A thousand dollars?" Brown shook his head.
"The story is not for sale, " he said.
Jones went away, then others came.
Tempted and taunted, Brown was true.
Guarded at friendship's shrine the fame of the unpublished story grew and grew.
It's a long, long lane that has no end, but some lanes end in the Potter's field; Smith to Brown had been more than friend: patron, protector, spur and shield.
Poor, loving-wistful, dreamy Brown, long and lean, with a smile askew, Friendless he wandered up and down, gaunt as a wolf, as hungry too.
Brown with his lilt of saucy rhyme, Brown with his tilt of tender mirth Garretless in the gloom and grime, singing his glad, mad songs of earth: So at last with a faith divine, down and down to the Hunger-line.
There as he stood in a woeful plight, tears a-freeze on his sharp cheek-bones, Who should chance to behold his plight, but the publisher, the plethoric Jones; Peered at him for a little while, held out a bill: "NOW, will you sell?" Brown scanned it with his twisted smile: "A thousand dollars! you go to hell!" Brown enrolled in the homeless host, sleeping anywhere, anywhen; Suffered, strove, became a ghost, slave of the lamp for other men; For What's-his-name and So-and-so in the abyss his soul he stripped, Yet in his want, his worst of woe, held he fast to the manuscript.
Then one day as he chewed his pen, half in hunger and half despair, Creaked the door of his garret den; Dick, his brother, was standing there.
Down on the pallet bed he sank, ashen his face, his voice a wail: "Save me, brother! I've robbed the bank; to-morrow it's ruin, capture, gaol.
Yet there's a chance: I could to-day pay back the money, save our name; You have a manuscript, they say, worth a thousand -- think, man! the shame.
.
.
.
" Brown with his heart pain-pierced the while, with his stern, starved face, and his lips stone-pale, Shuddered and smiled his twisted smile: "Brother, I guess you go to gaol.
" While poor Brown in the leer of dawn wrestled with God for the sacred fire, Came there a woman weak and wan, out of the mob, the murk, the mire; Frail as a reed, a fellow ghost, weary with woe, with sorrowing; Two pale souls in the legion lost; lo! Love bent with a tender wing, Taught them a joy so deep, so true, it seemed that the whole-world fabric shook, Thrilled and dissolved in radiant dew; then Brown made him a golden book, Full of the faith that Life is good, that the earth is a dream divinely fair, Lauding his gem of womanhood in many a lyric rich and rare; Took it to Jones, who shook his head: "I will consider it," he said.
While he considered, Brown's wife lay clutched in the tentacles of pain; Then came the doctor, grave and grey; spoke of decline, of nervous strain; Hinted Egypt, the South of France -- Brown with terror was tiger-gripped.
Where was the money? What the chance? Pitiful God! .
.
.
the manuscript! A thousand dollars! his only hope! he gazed and gazed at the garret wall.
.
.
.
Reached at last for the envelope, turned to his wife and told her all.
Told of his friend, his promise true; told like his very heart would break: "Oh, my dearest! what shall I do? shall I not sell it for your sake?" Ghostlike she lay, as still as doom; turned to the wall her weary head; Icy-cold in the pallid gloom, silent as death .
.
.
at last she said: "Do! my husband? Keep your vow! Guard his secret and let me die.
.
.
.
Oh, my dear, I must tell you now -- the women he loved and wronged was I; Darling! I haven't long to live: I never told you -- forgive, forgive!" For a long, long time Brown did not speak; sat bleak-browed in the wretched room; Slowly a tear stole down his cheek, and he kissed her hand in the dismal gloom.
To break his oath, to brand her shame; his well-loved friend, his worshipped wife; To keep his vow, to save her name, yet at the cost of what? Her life! A moment's space did he hesitate, a moment of pain and dread and doubt, Then he broke the seals, and, stern as fate, unfolded the sheets and spread them out.
.
.
.
On his knees by her side he limply sank, peering amazed -- each page was blank.
(For oh, the supremest of our art are the stories we do not dare to tell, Locked in the silence of the heart, for the awful records of Heav'n and Hell.
) Yet those two in the silence there, seemed less weariful than before.
Hark! a step on the garret stair, a postman knocks at the flimsy door.
"Registered letter!" Brown thrills with fear; opens, and reads, then bends above: "Glorious tidings! Egypt, dear! The book is accepted -- life and love.
"
Written by William Butler Yeats | Create an image from this poem

All Souls Night

 Epilogue to "A Vision'

MIDNIGHT has come, and the great Christ Church Bell
And may a lesser bell sound through the room;
And it is All Souls' Night,
And two long glasses brimmed with muscatel
Bubble upon the table.
A ghost may come; For it is a ghost's right, His element is so fine Being sharpened by his death, To drink from the wine-breath While our gross palates drink from the whole wine.
I need some mind that, if the cannon sound From every quarter of the world, can stay Wound in mind's pondering As mummies in the mummy-cloth are wound; Because I have a marvellous thing to say, A certain marvellous thing None but the living mock, Though not for sober ear; It may be all that hear Should laugh and weep an hour upon the clock.
Horton's the first I call.
He loved strange thought And knew that sweet extremity of pride That's called platonic love, And that to such a pitch of passion wrought Nothing could bring him, when his lady died, Anodyne for his love.
Words were but wasted breath; One dear hope had he: The inclemency Of that or the next winter would be death.
Two thoughts were so mixed up I could not tell Whether of her or God he thought the most, But think that his mind's eye, When upward turned, on one sole image fell; And that a slight companionable ghost, Wild with divinity, Had so lit up the whole Immense miraculous house The Bible promised us, It seemed a gold-fish swimming in a bowl.
On Florence Emery I call the next, Who finding the first wrinkles on a face Admired and beautiful, And knowing that the future would be vexed With 'minished beauty, multiplied commonplace, preferred to teach a school Away from neighbour or friend, Among dark skins, and there permit foul years to wear Hidden from eyesight to the unnoticed end.
Before that end much had she ravelled out From a discourse in figurative speech By some learned Indian On the soul's journey.
How it is whirled about, Wherever the orbit of the moon can reach, Until it plunge into the sun; And there, free and yet fast, Being both Chance and Choice, Forget its broken toys And sink into its own delight at last.
And I call up MacGregor from the grave, For in my first hard springtime we were friends.
Although of late estranged.
I thought him half a lunatic, half knave, And told him so, but friendship never ends; And what if mind seem changed, And it seem changed with the mind, When thoughts rise up unbid On generous things that he did And I grow half contented to be blind! He had much industry at setting out, Much boisterous courage, before loneliness Had driven him crazed; For meditations upon unknown thought Make human intercourse grow less and less; They are neither paid nor praised.
but he d object to the host, The glass because my glass; A ghost-lover he was And may have grown more arrogant being a ghost.
But names are nothing.
What matter who it be, So that his elements have grown so fine The fume of muscatel Can give his sharpened palate ecstasy No living man can drink from the whole wine.
I have mummy truths to tell Whereat the living mock, Though not for sober ear, For maybe all that hear Should laugh and weep an hour upon the clock.
Such thought -- such thought have I that hold it tight Till meditation master all its parts, Nothing can stay my glance Until that glance run in the world's despite To where the damned have howled away their hearts, And where the blessed dance; Such thought, that in it bound I need no other thing, Wound in mind's wandering As mummies in the mummy-cloth are wound.
Oxford, Autumn 1920
Written by John Betjeman | Create an image from this poem

Diary of a Church Mouse

 Here among long-discarded cassocks,
Damp stools, and half-split open hassocks,
Here where the vicar never looks
I nibble through old service books.
Lean and alone I spend my days Behind this Church of England baize.
I share my dark forgotten room With two oil-lamps and half a broom.
The cleaner never bothers me, So here I eat my frugal tea.
My bread is sawdust mixed with straw; My jam is polish for the floor.
Christmas and Easter may be feasts For congregations and for priests, And so may Whitsun.
All the same, They do not fill my meagre frame.
For me the only feast at all Is Autumn's Harvest Festival, When I can satisfy my want With ears of corn around the font.
I climb the eagle's brazen head To burrow through a loaf of bread.
I scramble up the pulpit stair And gnaw the marrows hanging there.
It is enjoyable to taste These items ere they go to waste, But how annoying when one finds That other mice with pagan minds Come into church my food to share Who have no proper business there.
Two field mice who have no desire To be baptized, invade the choir.
A large and most unfriendly rat Comes in to see what we are at.
He says he thinks there is no God And yet he comes .
.
.
it's rather odd.
This year he stole a sheaf of wheat (It screened our special preacher's seat), And prosperous mice from fields away Come in to hear our organ play, And under cover of its notes Ate through the altar's sheaf of oats.
A Low Church mouse, who thinks that I Am too papistical, and High, Yet somehow doesn't think it wrong To munch through Harvest Evensong, While I, who starve the whole year through, Must share my food with rodents who Except at this time of the year Not once inside the church appear.
Within the human world I know Such goings-on could not be so, For human beings only do What their religion tells them to.
They read the Bible every day And always, night and morning, pray, And just like me, the good church mouse, Worship each week in God's own house, But all the same it's strange to me How very full the church can be With people I don't see at all Except at Harvest Festival.
Written by G K Chesterton | Create an image from this poem

The Latest School

 See the flying French depart
Like the bees of Bonaparte,
Swarming up with a most venomous vitality.
Over Baden and Bavaria, And Brighton and Bulgaria, Thus violating Belgian neutrality.
And the injured Prussian may Not unreasonably say "Why, it cannot be so small a nationality Since Brixton and Batavia, Bolivia and Belgravia, Are bursting with the Belgian neutrality.
" By pure Alliteration You may trace this curious nation, And respect this somewhat scattered Principality; When you see a B in Both You may take your Bible oath You are violating Belgian neutrality.
Written by Victor Hugo | Create an image from this poem

TO SOME BIRDS FLOWN AWAY

 ("Enfants! Oh! revenez!") 
 
 {XXII, April, 1837} 


 Children, come back—come back, I say— 
 You whom my folly chased away 
 A moment since, from this my room, 
 With bristling wrath and words of doom! 
 What had you done, you bandits small, 
 With lips as red as roses all? 
 What crime?—what wild and hapless deed? 
 What porcelain vase by you was split 
 To thousand pieces? Did you need 
 For pastime, as you handled it, 
 Some Gothic missal to enrich 
 With your designs fantastical? 
 Or did your tearing fingers fall 
 On some old picture? Which, oh, which 
 Your dreadful fault? Not one of these; 
 Only when left yourselves to please 
 This morning but a moment here 
 'Mid papers tinted by my mind 
 You took some embryo verses near— 
 Half formed, but fully well designed 
 To open out. Your hearts desire 
 Was but to throw them on the fire, 
 Then watch the tinder, for the sight 
 Of shining sparks that twinkle bright 
 As little boats that sail at night, 
 Or like the window lights that spring 
 From out the dark at evening. 
 
 'Twas all, and you were well content. 
 Fine loss was this for anger's vent— 
 A strophe ill made midst your play, 
 Sweet sound that chased the words away 
 In stormy flight. An ode quite new, 
 With rhymes inflated—stanzas, too, 
 That panted, moving lazily, 
 And heavy Alexandrine lines 
 That seemed to jostle bodily, 
 Like children full of play designs 
 That spring at once from schoolroom's form. 
 Instead of all this angry storm, 
 Another might have thanked you well 
 For saving prey from that grim cell, 
 That hollowed den 'neath journals great, 
 Where editors who poets flout 
 With their demoniac laughter shout. 
 And I have scolded you! What fate 
 For charming dwarfs who never meant 
 To anger Hercules! And I 
 Have frightened you!—My chair I sent 
 Back to the wall, and then let fly 
 A shower of words the envious use— 
 "Get out," I said, with hard abuse, 
 "Leave me alone—alone I say." 
 Poor man alone! Ah, well-a-day, 
 What fine result—what triumph rare! 
 As one turns from the coffin'd dead 
 So left you me:—I could but stare 
 Upon the door through which you fled— 
 I proud and grave—but punished quite. 
 And what care you for this my plight!— 
 You have recovered liberty, 
 Fresh air and lovely scenery, 
 The spacious park and wished-for grass; 
lights 
 And gratefully to sing. 
 
 E'e 
 A blade to watch what comes to pass; 
 Blue sky, and all the spring can show; 
 Nature, serenely fair to see; 
 The book of birds and spirits free, 
 God's poem, worth much more than mine, 
 Where flowers for perfect stanzas shine— 
 Flowers that a child may pluck in play, 
 No harsh voice frightening it away. 
 And I'm alone—all pleasure o'er— 
 Alone with pedant called "Ennui," 
 For since the morning at my door 
 Ennui has waited patiently. 
 That docto-r-London born, you mark, 
 One Sunday in December dark, 
 Poor little ones—he loved you not, 
 And waited till the chance he got 
 To enter as you passed away, 
 And in the very corner where 
 You played with frolic laughter gay, 
 He sighs and yawns with weary air. 
 
 What can I do? Shall I read books, 
 Or write more verse—or turn fond looks 
 Upon enamels blue, sea-green, 
 And white—on insects rare as seen 
 Upon my Dresden china ware? 
 Or shall I touch the globe, and care 
 To make the heavens turn upon 
 Its axis? No, not one—not one 
 Of all these things care I to do; 
 All wearies me—I think of you. 
 In truth with you my sunshine fled, 
 And gayety with your light tread— 
 Glad noise that set me dreaming still. 
 'Twas my delight to watch your will, 
 And mark you point with finger-tips 
 To help your spelling out a word; 
 To see the pearls between your lips 
 When I your joyous laughter heard; 
 Your honest brows that looked so true, 
 And said "Oh, yes!" to each intent; 
 Your great bright eyes, that loved to view 
 With admiration innocent 
 My fine old Sèvres; the eager thought 
 That every kind of knowledge sought; 
 The elbow push with "Come and see!" 
 
 Oh, certes! spirits, sylphs, there be, 
 And fays the wind blows often here; 
 The gnomes that squat the ceiling near, 
 In corners made by old books dim; 
 The long-backed dwarfs, those goblins grim 
 That seem at home 'mong vases rare, 
 And chat to them with friendly air— 
 Oh, how the joyous demon throng 
 Must all have laughed with laughter long 
 To see you on my rough drafts fall, 
 My bald hexameters, and all 
 The mournful, miserable band, 
 And drag them with relentless hand 
 From out their box, with true delight 
 To set them each and all a-light, 
 And then with clapping hands to lean 
 Above the stove and watch the scene, 
 How to the mass deformed there came 
 A soul that showed itself in flame! 
 
 Bright tricksy children—oh, I pray 
 Come back and sing and dance away, 
 And chatter too—sometimes you may, 
 A giddy group, a big book seize— 
 Or sometimes, if it so you please, 
 With nimble step you'll run to me 
 And push the arm that holds the pen, 
 Till on my finished verse will be 
 A stroke that's like a steeple when 
 Seen suddenly upon a plain. 
 My soul longs for your breath again 
 To warm it. Oh, return—come here 
 With laugh and babble—and no fear 
 When with your shadow you obscure 
 The book I read, for I am sure, 
 Oh, madcaps terrible and dear, 
 That you were right and I was wrong. 
 But who has ne'er with scolding tongue 
 Blamed out of season. Pardon me! 
 You must forgive—for sad are we. 
 
 The young should not be hard and cold 
 And unforgiving to the old. 
 Children each morn your souls ope out 
 Like windows to the shining day, 
 Oh, miracle that comes about, 
 The miracle that children gay 
 Have happiness and goodness too, 
 Caressed by destiny are you, 
 Charming you are, if you but play. 
 But we with living overwrought, 
 And full of grave and sombre thought, 
 Are snappish oft: dear little men, 
 We have ill-tempered days, and then, 
 Are quite unjust and full of care; 
 It rained this morning and the air 
 Was chill; but clouds that dimm'd the sky 
 Have passed. Things spited me, and why? 
 But now my heart repents. Behold 
 What 'twas that made me cross, and scold! 
 All by-and-by you'll understand, 
 When brows are mark'd by Time's stern hand; 
 Then you will comprehend, be sure, 
 When older—that's to say, less pure. 
 
 The fault I freely own was mine. 
 But oh, for pardon now I pine! 
 Enough my punishment to meet, 
 You must forgive, I do entreat 
 With clasped hands praying—oh, come back, 
 Make peace, and you shall nothing lack. 
 See now my pencils—paper—here, 
 And pointless compasses, and dear 
 Old lacquer-work; and stoneware clear 
 Through glass protecting; all man's toys 
 So coveted by girls and boys. 
 Great China monsters—bodies much 
 Like cucumbers—you all shall touch. 
 I yield up all! my picture rare 
 Found beneath antique rubbish heap, 
 My great and tapestried oak chair 
 I will from you no longer keep. 
 You shall about my table climb, 
 And dance, or drag, without a cry 
 From me as if it were a crime. 
 Even I'll look on patiently 
 If you your jagged toys all throw 
 Upon my carved bench, till it show 
 The wood is torn; and freely too, 
 I'll leave in your own hands to view, 
 My pictured Bible—oft desired— 
 But which to touch your fear inspired— 
 With God in emperor's robes attired. 
 
 Then if to see my verses burn, 
 Should seem to you a pleasant turn, 
 Take them to freely tear away 
 Or burn. But, oh! not so I'd say, 
 If this were Méry's room to-day. 
 That noble poet! Happy town, 
 Marseilles the Greek, that him doth own! 
 Daughter of Homer, fair to see, 
 Of Virgil's son the mother she. 
 To you I'd say, Hold, children all, 
 Let but your eyes on his work fall; 
 These papers are the sacred nest 
 In which his crooning fancies rest; 
 To-morrow winged to Heaven they'll soar, 
 For new-born verse imprisoned still 
 In manuscript may suffer sore 
 At your small hands and childish will, 
 Without a thought of bad intent, 
 Of cruelty quite innocent. 
 You wound their feet, and bruise their wings, 
 And make them suffer those ill things 
 That children's play to young birds brings. 
 
 But mine! no matter what you do, 
 My poetry is all in you; 
 You are my inspiration bright 
 That gives my verse its purest light. 
 Children whose life is made of hope, 
 Whose joy, within its mystic scope, 
 Owes all to ignorance of ill, 
 You have not suffered, and you still 
 Know not what gloomy thoughts weigh down 
 The poet-writer weary grown. 
 What warmth is shed by your sweet smile! 
 How much he needs to gaze awhile 
 Upon your shining placid brow, 
 When his own brow its ache doth know; 
 With what delight he loves to hear 
 Your frolic play 'neath tree that's near, 
 Your joyous voices mixing well 
 With his own song's all-mournful swell! 
 Come back then, children! come to me, 
 If you wish not that I should be 
 As lonely now that you're afar 
 As fisherman of Etrétat, 
 Who listless on his elbow leans 
 Through all the weary winter scenes, 
 As tired of thought—as on Time flies— 
 And watching only rainy skies! 
 
 MRS. NEWTON CROSLAND. 


 




Written by Jonathan Swift | Create an image from this poem

The Beasts Confession

 To the Priest, on Observing how most Men mistake their own Talents
When beasts could speak (the learned say, 
They still can do so ev'ry day),
It seems, they had religion then,
As much as now we find in men.
It happen'd, when a plague broke out (Which therefore made them more devout), The king of brutes (to make it plain, Of quadrupeds I only mean) By proclamation gave command, That ev'ry subject in the land Should to the priest confess their sins; And thus the pious wolf begins: "Good father, I must own with shame, That often I have been to blame: I must confess, on Friday last, Wretch that I was! I broke my fast: But I defy the basest tongue To prove I did my neighbour wrong; Or ever went to seek my food By rapine, theft, or thirst of blood.
" The ass, approaching next, confess'd That in his heart he lov'd a jest: A wag he was, he needs must own, And could not let a dunce alone: Sometimes his friend he would not spare, And might perhaps be too severe: But yet, the worst that could be said, He was a wit both born and bred; And, if it be a sin or shame, Nature alone must bear the blame: One fault he hath, is sorry for't, His ears are half a foot too short; Which could he to the standard bring, He'd show his face before the King: Then for his voice, there's none disputes That he's the nightingale of brutes.
The swine with contrite heart allow'd, His shape and beauty made him proud: In diet was perhaps too nice, But gluttony was ne'er his vice: In ev'ry turn of life content, And meekly took what fortune sent: Inquire through all the parish round, A better neighbour ne'er was found: His vigilance might some displease; 'Tis true he hated sloth like peas.
The mimic ape began his chatter, How evil tongues his life bespatter: Much of the cens'ring world complain'd, Who said, his gravity was feign'd: Indeed, the strictness of his morals Engag'd him in a hundred quarrels: He saw, and he was griev'd to see't, His zeal was sometimes indiscreet: He found his virtues too severe For our corrupted times to bear: Yet, such a lewd licentious age Might well excuse a Stoic's rage.
The goat advanc'd with decent pace; And first excus'd his youthful face; Forgiveness begg'd that he appear'd ('Twas nature's fault) without a beard.
'Tis true, he was not much inclin'd To fondness for the female kind; Not, as his enemies object, From chance, or natural defect; Not by his frigid constitution, But through a pious resolution; For he had made a holy vow Of chastity as monks do now; Which he resolv'd to keep for ever hence, As strictly too, as doth his Reverence.
Apply the tale, and you shall find, How just it suits with human kind.
Some faults we own: but, can you guess? Why?--virtues carried to excess, Wherewith our vanity endows us, Though neither foe nor friend allows us.
The lawyer swears, you may rely on't, He never squeez'd a needy client; And this he makes his constant rule, For which his brethren call him fool: His conscience always was so nice, He freely gave the poor advice; By which he lost, he may affirm, A hundred fees last Easter term.
While others of the learned robe Would break the patience of a Job; No pleader at the bar could match His diligence and quick dispatch; Ne'er kept a cause, he well may boast, Above a term or two at most.
The cringing knave, who seeks a place Without success, thus tells his case: Why should he longer mince the matter? He fail'd because he could not flatter; He had not learn'd to turn his coat, Nor for a party give his vote: His crime he quickly understood; Too zealous for the nation's good: He found the ministers resent it, Yet could not for his heart repent it.
The chaplain vows he cannot fawn, Though it would raise him to the lawn: He pass'd his hours among his books; You find it in his meagre looks: He might, if he were worldly wise, Preferment get and spare his eyes: But own'd he had a stubborn spirit, That made him trust alone in merit: Would rise by merit to promotion; Alas! a mere chimeric notion.
The doctor, if you will believe him, Confess'd a sin; and God forgive him! Call'd up at midnight, ran to save A blind old beggar from the grave: But see how Satan spreads his snares; He quite forgot to say his prayers.
He cannot help it for his heart Sometimes to act the parson's part: Quotes from the Bible many a sentence, That moves his patients to repentance: And, when his med'cines do no good, Supports their minds with heav'nly food, At which, however well intended, He hears the clergy are offended; And grown so bold behind his back, To call him hypocrite and quack.
In his own church he keeps a seat; Says grace before and after meat; And calls, without affecting airs, His household twice a day to prayers.
He shuns apothecaries' shops; And hates to cram the sick with slops: He scorns to make his art a trade; Nor bribes my lady's fav'rite maid.
Old nurse-keepers would never hire To recommend him to the squire; Which others, whom he will not name, Have often practis'd to their shame.
The statesman tells you with a sneer, His fault is to be too sincere; And, having no sinister ends, Is apt to disoblige his friends.
The nation's good, his master's glory, Without regard to Whig or Tory, Were all the schemes he had in view; Yet he was seconded by few: Though some had spread a hundred lies, 'Twas he defeated the Excise.
'Twas known, though he had borne aspersion, That standing troops were his aversion: His practice was, in ev'ry station, To serve the King, and please the nation.
Though hard to find in ev'ry case The fittest man to fill a place: His promises he ne'er forgot, But took memorials on the spot: His enemies, for want of charity, Said he affected popularity: 'Tis true, the people understood, That all he did was for their good; Their kind affections he has tried; No love is lost on either side.
He came to Court with fortune clear, Which now he runs out ev'ry year: Must, at the rate that he goes on, Inevitably be undone: Oh! if his Majesty would please To give him but a writ of ease, Would grant him licence to retire, As it hath long been his desire, By fair accounts it would be found, He's poorer by ten thousand pound.
He owns, and hopes it is no sin, He ne'er was partial to his kin; He thought it base for men in stations To crowd the Court with their relations; His country was his dearest mother, And ev'ry virtuous man his brother; Through modesty or awkward shame (For which he owns himself to blame), He found the wisest man he could, Without respect to friends or blood; Nor ever acts on private views, When he hath liberty to choose.
The sharper swore he hated play, Except to pass an hour away: And well he might; for, to his cost, By want of skill he always lost; He heard there was a club of cheats, Who had contriv'd a thousand feats; Could change the stock, or cog a die, And thus deceive the sharpest eye: Nor wonder how his fortune sunk, His brothers fleece him when he's drunk.
I own the moral not exact; Besides, the tale is false in fact; And so absurd, that could I raise up From fields Elysian fabling Aesop; I would accuse him to his face For libelling the four-foot race.
Creatures of ev'ry kind but ours Well comprehend their natural pow'rs; While we, whom reason ought to sway, Mistake our talents ev'ry day.
The ass was never known so stupid To act the part of Tray or Cupid; Nor leaps upon his master's lap, There to be strok'd, and fed with pap, As Aesop would the world persuade; He better understands his trade: Nor comes, whene'er his lady whistles; But carries loads, and feeds on thistles.
Our author's meaning, I presume, is A creature bipes et implumis; Wherein the moralist design'd A compliment on human kind: For here he owns, that now and then Beasts may degenerate into men.
Written by Walt Whitman | Create an image from this poem

As a Strong Bird on Pinions Free

 1
AS a strong bird on pinions free, 
Joyous, the amplest spaces heavenward cleaving, 
Such be the thought I’d think to-day of thee, America, 
Such be the recitative I’d bring to-day for thee.
The conceits of the poets of other lands I bring thee not, Nor the compliments that have served their turn so long, Nor rhyme—nor the classics—nor perfume of foreign court, or indoor library; But an odor I’d bring to-day as from forests of pine in the north, in Maine—or breath of an Illinois prairie, With open airs of Virginia, or Georgia, or Tennessee—or from Texas uplands, or Florida’s glades, With presentment of Yellowstone’s scenes, or Yosemite; And murmuring under, pervading all, I’d bring the rustling sea-sound, That endlessly sounds from the two great seas of the world.
And for thy subtler sense, subtler refrains, O Union! Preludes of intellect tallying these and thee—mind-formulas fitted for thee—real, and sane, and large as these and thee; Thou, mounting higher, diving deeper than we knew—thou transcendental Union! By thee Fact to be justified—blended with Thought; Thought of Man justified—blended with God: Through thy Idea—lo! the immortal Reality! Through thy Reality—lo! the immortal Idea! 2 Brain of the New World! what a task is thine! To formulate the Modern.
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Out of the peerless grandeur of the modern, Out of Thyself—comprising Science—to recast Poems, Churches, Art, (Recast—may-be discard them, end them—May-be their work is done—who knows?) By vision, hand, conception, on the background of the mighty past, the dead, To limn, with absolute faith, the mighty living present.
(And yet, thou living, present brain! heir of the dead, the Old World brain! Thou that lay folded, like an unborn babe, within its folds so long! Thou carefully prepared by it so long!—haply thou but unfoldest it—only maturest it; It to eventuate in thee—the essence of the by-gone time contain’d in thee; Its poems, churches, arts, unwitting to themselves, destined with reference to thee, The fruit of all the Old, ripening to-day in thee.
) 3 Sail—sail thy best, ship of Democracy! Of value is thy freight—’tis not the Present only, The Past is also stored in thee! Thou holdest not the venture of thyself alone—not of thy western continent alone; Earth’s résumé entire floats on thy keel, O ship—is steadied by thy spars; With thee Time voyages in trust—the antecedent nations sink or swim with thee; With all their ancient struggles, martyrs, heroes, epics, wars, thou bear’st the other continents; Theirs, theirs as much as thine, the destination-port triumphant: —Steer, steer with good strong hand and wary eye, O helmsman—thou carryest great companions, Venerable, priestly Asia sails this day with thee, And royal, feudal Europe sails with thee.
4 Beautiful World of new, superber Birth, that rises to my eyes, Like a limitless golden cloud, filling the western sky; Emblem of general Maternity, lifted above all; Sacred shape of the bearer of daughters and sons; Out of thy teeming womb, thy giant babes in ceaseless procession issuing, Acceding from such gestation, taking and giving continual strength and life; World of the Real! world of the twain in one! World of the Soul—born by the world of the real alone—led to identity, body, by it alone; Yet in beginning only—incalculable masses of composite, precious materials, By history’s cycles forwarded—by every nation, language, hither sent, Ready, collected here—a freer, vast, electric World, to be constructed here, (The true New World—the world of orbic Science, Morals, Literatures to come,) Thou Wonder World, yet undefined, unform’d—neither do I define thee; How can I pierce the impenetrable blank of the future? I feel thy ominous greatness, evil as well as good; I watch thee, advancing, absorbing the present, transcending the past; I see thy light lighting and thy shadow shadowing, as if the entire globe; But I do not undertake to define thee—hardly to comprehend thee; I but thee name—thee prophecy—as now! I merely thee ejaculate! Thee in thy future; Thee in thy only permanent life, career—thy own unloosen’d mind—thy soaring spirit; Thee as another equally needed sun, America—radiant, ablaze, swift-moving, fructifying all; Thee! risen in thy potent cheerfulness and joy—thy endless, great hilarity! (Scattering for good the cloud that hung so long—that weigh’d so long upon the mind of man, The doubt, suspicion, dread, of gradual, certain decadence of man;) Thee in thy larger, saner breeds of Female, Male—thee in thy athletes, moral, spiritual, South, North, West, East, (To thy immortal breasts, Mother of All, thy every daughter, son, endear’d alike, forever equal;) Thee in thy own musicians, singers, artists, unborn yet, but certain; Thee in thy moral wealth and civilization (until which thy proudest material wealth and civilization must remain in vain;) Thee in thy all-supplying, all-enclosing Worship—thee in no single bible, saviour, merely, Thy saviours countless, latent within thyself—thy bibles incessant, within thyself, equal to any, divine as any; Thee in an education grown of thee—in teachers, studies, students, born of thee; Thee in thy democratic fetes, en masse—thy high original festivals, operas, lecturers, preachers; Thee in thy ultimata, (the preparations only now completed—the edifice on sure foundations tied,) Thee in thy pinnacles, intellect, thought—thy topmost rational joys—thy love, and godlike aspiration, In thy resplendent coming literati—thy full-lung’d orators—thy sacerdotal bards—kosmic savans, These! these in thee, (certain to come,) to-day I prophecy.
5 Land tolerating all—accepting all—not for the good alone—all good for thee; Land in the realms of God to be a realm unto thyself; Under the rule of God to be a rule unto thyself.
(Lo! where arise three peerless stars, To be thy natal stars, my country—Ensemble—Evolution—Freedom, Set in the sky of Law.
) Land of unprecedented faith—God’s faith! Thy soil, thy very subsoil, all upheav’d; The general inner earth, so long, so sedulously draped over, now and hence for what it is, boldly laid bare, Open’d by thee to heaven’s light, for benefit or bale.
Not for success alone; Not to fair-sail unintermitted always; The storm shall dash thy face—the murk of war, and worse than war, shall cover thee all over; (Wert capable of war—its tug and trials? Be capable of peace, its trials; For the tug and mortal strain of nations come at last in peace—not war;) In many a smiling mask death shall approach, beguiling thee—thou in disease shalt swelter; The livid cancer spread its hideous claws, clinging upon thy breasts, seeking to strike thee deep within; Consumption of the worst—moral consumption—shall rouge thy face with hectic: But thou shalt face thy fortunes, thy diseases, and surmount them all, Whatever they are to-day, and whatever through time they may be, They each and all shall lift, and pass away, and cease from thee; While thou, Time’s spirals rounding—out of thyself, thyself still extricating, fusing, Equable, natural, mystical Union thou—(the mortal with immortal blent,) Shalt soar toward the fulfilment of the future—the spirit of the body and the mind, The Soul—its destinies.
The Soul, its destinies—the real real, (Purport of all these apparitions of the real;) In thee, America, the Soul, its destinies; Thou globe of globes! thou wonder nebulous! By many a throe of heat and cold convuls’d—(by these thyself solidifying;) Thou mental, moral orb! thou New, indeed new, Spiritual World! The Present holds thee not—for such vast growth as thine—for such unparallel’d flight as thine, The Future only holds thee, and can hold thee.
Written by The Bible | Create an image from this poem

2 Corinthians 9: 6-8

The one who sows sparingly
From that he shall reap,
But he who sows generously
Will be blessed with all he needs
Let each one give as he has chosen
With a heart of gratitude,
Not with grumbling or reluctance,
But with a cheerful attitude
And God is able to make all grace
Abound toward you
So you will be fully equipped
And be blessed in all you do.

Scripture Poem © Copyright Of M.
S.
Lowndes
Written by Edwin Arlington Robinson | Create an image from this poem

London Bridge

 “Do I hear them? Yes, I hear the children singing—and what of it? 
Have you come with eyes afire to find me now and ask me that? 
If I were not their father and if you were not their mother, 
We might believe they made a noise….
What are you—driving at!” “Well, be glad that you can hear them, and be glad they are so near us,— For I have heard the stars of heaven, and they were nearer still.
All within an hour it is that I have heard them calling, And though I pray for them to cease, I know they never will; For their music on my heart, though you may freeze it, will fall always, Like summer snow that never melts upon a mountain-top.
Do you hear them? Do you hear them overhead—the children—singing? Do you hear the children singing?… God, will you make them stop!” “And what now in His holy name have you to do with mountains? We’re back to town again, my dear, and we’ve a dance tonight.
Frozen hearts and falling music? Snow and stars, and—what the devil! Say it over to me slowly, and be sure you have it right.
” “God knows if I be right or wrong in saying what I tell you, Or if I know the meaning any more of what I say.
All I know is, it will kill me if I try to keep it hidden— Well, I met him….
Yes, I met him, and I talked with him—today.
” “You met him? Did you meet the ghost of someone you had poisoned, Long ago, before I knew you for the woman that you are? Take a chair; and don’t begin your stories always in the middle.
Was he man, or was he demon? Anyhow, you’ve gone too far To go back, and I’m your servant.
I’m the lord, but you’re the master.
Now go on with what you know, for I’m excited.
” “Do you mean— Do you mean to make me try to think that you know less than I do?” “I know that you foreshadow the beginning of a scene.
Pray be careful, and as accurate as if the doors of heaven Were to swing or to stay bolted from now on for evermore.
” “Do you conceive, with all your smooth contempt of every feeling, Of hiding what you know and what you must have known before? Is it worth a woman’s torture to stand here and have you smiling, With only your poor fetish of possession on your side? No thing but one is wholly sure, and that’s not one to scare me; When I meet it I may say to God at last that I have tried.
And yet, for all I know, or all I dare believe, my trials Henceforward will be more for you to bear than are your own; And you must give me keys of yours to rooms I have not entered.
Do you see me on your threshold all my life, and there alone? Will you tell me where you see me in your fancy—when it leads you Far enough beyond the moment for a glance at the abyss?” “Will you tell me what intrinsic and amazing sort of nonsense You are crowding on the patience of the man who gives you—this? Look around you and be sorry you’re not living in an attic, With a civet and a fish-net, and with you to pay the rent.
I say words that you can spell without the use of all your letters; And I grant, if you insist, that I’ve a guess at what you meant.
” “Have I told you, then, for nothing, that I met him? Are you trying To be merry while you try to make me hate you?” “Think again, My dear, before you tell me, in a language unbecoming To a lady, what you plan to tell me next.
If I complain, If I seem an atom peevish at the preference you mention— Or imply, to be precise—you may believe, or you may not, That I’m a trifle more aware of what he wants than you are.
But I shouldn’t throw that at you.
Make believe that I forgot.
Make believe that he’s a genius, if you like,—but in the meantime Don’t go back to rocking-horses.
There, there, there, now.
” “Make believe! When you see me standing helpless on a plank above a whirlpool, Do I drown, or do I hear you when you say it? Make believe? How much more am I to say or do for you before I tell you That I met him! What’s to follow now may be for you to choose.
Do you hear me? Won’t you listen? It’s an easy thing to listen….
” “And it’s easy to be crazy when there’s everything to lose.
” “If at last you have a notion that I mean what I am saying, Do I seem to tell you nothing when I tell you I shall try? If you save me, and I lose him—I don’t know—it won’t much matter.
I dare say that I’ve lied enough, but now I do not lie.
” “Do you fancy me the one man who has waited and said nothing While a wife has dragged an old infatuation from a tomb? Give the thing a little air and it will vanish into ashes.
There you are—piff! presto!” “When I came into this room, It seemed as if I saw the place, and you there at your table, As you are now at this moment, for the last time in my life; And I told myself before I came to find you, ‘I shall tell him, If I can, what I have learned of him since I became his wife.
’ And if you say, as I’ve no doubt you will before I finish, That you have tried unceasingly, with all your might and main, To teach me, knowing more than I of what it was I needed, Don’t think, with all you may have thought, that you have tried in vain; For you have taught me more than hides in all the shelves of knowledge Of how little you found that’s in me and was in me all along.
I believed, if I intruded nothing on you that I cared for, I’d be half as much as horses,—and it seems that I was wrong; I believed there was enough of earth in me, with all my nonsense Over things that made you sleepy, to keep something still awake; But you taught me soon to read my book, and God knows I have read it— Ages longer than an angel would have read it for your sake.
I have said that you must open other doors than I have entered, But I wondered while I said it if I might not be obscure.
Is there anything in all your pedigrees and inventories With a value more elusive than a dollar’s? Are you sure That if I starve another year for you I shall be stronger To endure another like it—and another—till I’m dead?” “Has your tame cat sold a picture?—or more likely had a windfall? Or for God’s sake, what’s broke loose? Have you a bee-hive in your head? A little more of this from you will not be easy hearing Do you know that? Understand it, if you do; for if you won’t….
What the devil are you saying! Make believe you never said it, And I’ll say I never heard it….
Oh, you….
If you….
” “If I don’t?” “There are men who say there’s reason hidden somewhere in a woman, But I doubt if God himself remembers where the key was hung.
” “He may not; for they say that even God himself is growing.
I wonder if He makes believe that He is growing young; I wonder if He makes believe that women who are giving All they have in holy loathing to a stranger all their lives Are the wise ones who build houses in the Bible….
” “Stop—you devil!” “…Or that souls are any whiter when their bodies are called wives.
If a dollar’s worth of gold will hoop the walls of hell together, Why need heaven be such a ruin of a place that never was? And if at last I lied my starving soul away to nothing, Are you sure you might not miss it? Have you come to such a pass That you would have me longer in your arms if you discovered That I made you into someone else….
Oh!…Well, there are worse ways.
But why aim it at my feet—unless you fear you may be sorry….
There are many days ahead of you.
” “I do not see those days.
” “I can see them.
Granted even I am wrong, there are the children.
And are they to praise their father for his insight if we die? Do you hear them? Do you hear them overhead—the children—singing? Do you hear them? Do you hear the children?” “Damn the children!” “Why? What have they done?…Well, then,—do it….
Do it now, and have it over.
” “Oh, you devil!…Oh, you….
” “No, I’m not a devil, I’m a prophet— One who sees the end already of so much that one end more Would have now the small importance of one other small illusion, Which in turn would have a welcome where the rest have gone before.
But if I were you, my fancy would look on a little farther For the glimpse of a release that may be somewhere still in sight.
Furthermore, you must remember those two hundred invitations For the dancing after dinner.
We shall have to shine tonight.
We shall dance, and be as happy as a pair of merry spectres, On the grave of all the lies that we shall never have to tell; We shall dance among the ruins of the tomb of our endurance, And I have not a doubt that we shall do it very well.
There!—I’m glad you’ve put it back; for I don’t like it.
Shut the drawer now.
No—no—don’t cancel anything.
I’ll dance until I drop.
I can’t walk yet, but I’m going to….
Go away somewhere, and leave me….
Oh, you children! Oh, you children!…God, will they never stop!”
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