David Herbert Lawrence |
I wish it were spring in the world.
Let it be spring!
Come, bubbling, surging tide of sap!
Come, rush of creation!
Come, life! surge through this mass of mortification!
Come, sweep away these exquisite, ghastly first-flowers,
which are rather last-flowers!
Come, thaw down their cool portentousness, dissolve them:
snowdrops, straight, death-veined exhalations of white and purple crocuses,
flowers of the penumbra, issue of corruption, nourished in mortification,
jets of exquisite finality;
Come, spring, make havoc of them!
I trample on the snowdrops, it gives me pleasure to tread down the jonquils,
to destroy the chill Lent lilies;
for I am sick of them, their faint-bloodedness,
slow-blooded, icy-fleshed, portentous.
I want the fine, kindling wine-sap of spring,
gold, and of inconceivably fine, quintessential brightness,
rare almost as beams, yet overwhelmingly potent,
strong like the greatest force of world-balancing.
This is the same that picks up the harvest of wheat
and rocks it, tons of grain, on the ripening wind;
the same that dangles the globe-shaped pleiads of fruit
temptingly in mid-air, between a playful thumb and finger;
oh, and suddenly, from out of nowhere, whirls the pear-bloom,
upon us, and apple- and almond- and apricot- and quince-blossom,
storms and cumulus clouds of all imaginable blossom
about our bewildered faces,
though we do not worship.
I wish it were spring
cunningly blowing on the fallen sparks, odds and ends of the old, scattered fire,
and kindling shapely little conflagrations
curious long-legged foals, and wide-eared calves, and naked sparrow-bubs.
I wish that spring
would start the thundering traffic of feet
new feet on the earth, beating with impatience.
I wish it were spring, thundering
delicate, tender spring.
I wish these brittle, frost-lovely flowers of passionate, mysterious corruption
were not yet to come still more from the still-flickering discontent.
Oh, in the spring, the bluebell bows him down for very exuberance,
exulting with secret warm excess,
bowed down with his inner magnificence!
Oh, yes, the gush of spring is strong enough
to toss the globe of earth like a ball on a water-jet
as you see a tiny celluloid ball tossing on a squirt of water
for men to shoot at, penny-a-time, in a booth at a fair.
The gush of spring is strong enough
to play with the globe of earth like a ball on a fountain;
At the same time it opens the tiny hands of the hazel
with such infinite patience.
The power of the rising, golden, all-creative sap could take the earth
and heave it off among the stars, into the invisible;
the same sets the throstle at sunset on a bough
singing against the blackbird;
comes out in the hesitating tremor of the primrose,
and betrays its candour in the round white strawberry flower,
is dignified in the foxglove, like a Red-Indian brave.
Ah come, come quickly, spring!
come and lift us towards our culmination, we myriads;
we who have never flowered, like patient cactuses.
Come and lift us to our end, to blossom, bring us to our summer
we who are winter-weary in the winter of the of the world.
Come making the chaffinch nests hollow and cosy,
come and soften the willow buds till they are puffed and furred,
then blow them over with gold.
Coma and cajole the gawky colt’s-foot flowers.
Come quickly, and vindicate us.
against too much death.
Come quickly, and stir the rotten globe of the world from within,
burst it with germination, with world anew.
Come now, to us, your adherents, who cannot flower from the ice.
All the world gleams with the lilies of death the Unconquerable,
but come, give us our turn.
Enough of the virgins and lilies, of passionate, suffocating perfume of corruption,
no more narcissus perfume, lily harlots, the blades of sensation
piercing the flesh to blossom of death.
Have done, have done with this shuddering, delicious business
of thrilling ruin in the flesh, of pungent passion, of rare, death-edged ecstasy.
Give us our turn, give us a chance, let our hour strike,
O soon, soon!
Let the darkness turn violet with rich dawn.
Let the darkness be warmed, warmed through to a ruddy violet,
incipient purpling towards summer in the world of the heart of man.
Are the violets already here!
Show me! I tremble so much to hear it, that even now
on the threshold of spring, I fear I shall die.
Show me the violets that are out.
Oh, if it be true, and the living darkness of the blood of man is purpling with violets,
if the violets are coming out from under the rack of men, winter-rotten and fallen,
we shall have spring.
Pray not to die on this Pisgah blossoming with violets.
Pray to live through.
If you catch a whiff of violets from the darkness of the shadow of man
it will be spring in the world,
it will be spring in the world of the living;
wonderment organising itself, heralding itself with the violets,
stirring of new seasons.
Ah, do not let me die on the brink of such anticipation!
Worse, let me not deceive myself.
Wallace Stevens |
Among twenty snowy mountains,
The only moving thing
Was the eye of the blackbird.
I was of three minds,
Like a tree
In which there are three blackbirds.
The blackbird whirled in the autumn winds.
It was a small part of the pantomime.
A man and a woman
A man and a woman and a blackbird
I do not know which to prefer,
The beauty of inflections
Or the beauty of innuendoes,
The blackbird whistling
Or just after.
Icicles filled the long window
With barbaric glass.
The shadow of the blackbird
Crossed it, to and fro.
Traced in the shadow
An indecipherable cause.
O thin men of Haddam,
Why do you imagine golden birds?
Do you not see how the blackbird
Walks around the feet
Of the women about you?
I know noble accents
And lucid, inescapable rhythms;
But I know, too,
That the blackbird is involved
In what I know.
When the blackbird flew out of sight,
It marked the edge
Of one of many circles.
At the sight of blackbirds
Flying in a green light,
Even the bawds of euphony
Would cry out sharply.
He rode over Connecticut
In a glass coach.
Once, a fear pierced him,
In that he mistook
The shadow of his equipage
The river is moving.
The blackbird must be flying.
It was evening all afternoon.
It was snowing
And it was going to snow.
The blackbird sat
In the cedar-limbs.
Eavan Boland |
It was the first gift he ever gave her,
buying it for five five francs in the Galeries
in pre-war Paris.
It was stifling.
A starless drought made the nights stormy.
They stayed in the city for the summer.
The met in cafes.
She was always early.
He was late.
That evening he was later.
They wrapped the fan.
He looked at his watch.
She looked down the Boulevard des Capucines.
She ordered more coffee.
She stood up.
The streets were emptying.
The heat was killing.
She thought the distance smelled of rain and lightning.
These are wild roses, appliqued on silk by hand,
darkly picked, stitched boldly, quickly.
The rest is tortoiseshell and has the reticent clear patience
of its element.
a worn-out, underwater bullion and it keeps,
even now, an inference of its violation.
The lace is overcast as if the weather
it opened for and offset had entered it.
The past is an empty cafe terrace.
An airless dusk before thunder.
A man running.
And no way to know what happened then—
none at all—unless ,of course, you improvise:
The blackbird on this first sultry morning,
in summer, finding buds, worms, fruit,
feels the heat.
Suddenly she puts out her wing—
the whole, full, flirtatious span of it.
Robert Frost |
It snowed in spring on earth so dry and warm
The flakes could find no landing place to form.
Hordes spent themselves to make it wet and cold,
And still they failed of any lasting hold.
They made no white impression on the black.
They disappeared as if earth sent them back.
Not till from separate flakes they changed at night
To almost strips and tapes of ragged white
Did grass and garden ground confess it snowed,
And all go back to winter but the road.
Next day the scene was piled and puffed and dead.
The grass lay flattened under one great tread.
Borne down until the end almost took root,
The rangey bough anticipated fruit
With snowball cupped in every opening bud.
The road alone maintained itself in mud,
Whatever its secret was of greater heat
From inward fires or brush of passing feet.
In spring more mortal singers than belong
To any one place cover us with song.
Thrush, bluebird, blackbird, sparrow, and robin throng;
Some to go further north to Hudson's Bay,
Some that have come too far north back away,
Really a very few to build and stay.
Now was seen how these liked belated snow.
the field had nowhere left for them to go;
They'd soon exhausted all there was in flying;
The trees they'd had enough of with once trying
And setting off their heavy powder load.
They could find nothing open but the road.
Sot there they let their lives be narrowed in
By thousands the bad weather made akin.
The road became a channel running flocks
Of glossy birds like ripples over rocks.
I drove them under foot in bits of flight
That kept the ground.
almost disputing right
Of way with me from apathy of wing,
A talking twitter all they had to sing.
A few I must have driven to despair
Made quick asides, but having done in air
A whir among white branches great and small
As in some too much carven marble hall
Where one false wing beat would have brought down all,
Came tamely back in front of me, the Drover,
To suffer the same driven nightmare over.
One such storm in a lifetime couldn't teach them
That back behind pursuit it couldn't reach them;
None flew behind me to be left alone.
Well, something for a snowstorm to have shown
The country's singing strength thus brought together,
the thought repressed and moody with the weather
Was none the less there ready to be freed
And sing the wildflowers up from root and seed.
Stephen Dunn |
It was no place for the faithless,
so I felt a little odd
walking the marshland with my daughters,
Canada geese all around and the blue
herons just standing there;
safe, and the abundance of swans.
The girls liked saying the words,
egret, whooping crane, and they liked
when I agreed.
The casinos were a few miles
to the east.
I liked saying craps and croupier
and sometimes I wanted to be lost
in those bright
It was April,
the gnats and black flies
weren't out yet.
The mosquitoes hadn't risen
from their stagnant pools to trouble
paradise and to give us
the great right to complain.
I loved these girls.
awaited their beauty and beauty
is what others want to own.
I'd keep that
was so sufficient just then.
"Yes," I said.
But already we were near the end.
Praise whatever you can.
Galway Kinnell |
You scream, waking from a nightmare.
When I sleepwalk
into your room, and pick you up,
and hold you up in the moonlight, you cling to me
as if clinging could save us.
I will never die, I think I exude
to you the permanence of smoke or stars,
my broken arms heal themselves around you.
I have heard you tell
the sun, don't go down, I have stood by
as you told the flower, don't grow old,
I would blow the flame out of your silver cup,
I would suck the rot from your fingernail,
I would brush your sprouting hair of the dying light,
I would scrape the rust off your ivory bones,
I would help death escape through the little ribs of your body,
I would alchemize the ashes of your cradle back into wood,
I would let nothing of you go, ever,
feel the clothes fall asleep in their hands,
and hens scratch their spell across hatchet blades,
and rats walk away from the cultures of the plague,
and iron twists weapons toward the true north,
and grease refuses to slide in the machinery of progress,
and men feel as free on earth as fleas on the bodies of men,
and lovers no longer whisper to the presence beside them in the
dark, O corpse-to-be .
And yet perhaps this is the reason you cry,
this the nightmare you wake screaming from:
in the pre-trembling of a house that falls.
In a restaurant once, everyone
quietly eating, you clambered up
on my lap: to all
the mouthfuls rising toward
all the mouths, at the top of your voice
your one word, caca! caca! caca!
and each spoonful
stopped, a moment, in midair, in its withering
you cling because
I, like you, only sooner
than you, will go down
the path of vanished alphabets,
to the other side of the darkness,
like the shoes left behind,
like the adjectives in the halting speech
of old men,
which once could call up the lost nouns.
And you yourself,
some impossible Tuesday
in the year Two Thousand and Nine, will walk out
among the black stones
of the field, in the rain,
and the stones saying
over their one word, ci-g?t, ci-g?t, ci-g?t,
and the raindrops
hitting you on the fontanel
over and over, and you standing there
unable to let them in.
If one day it happens
you find yourself with someone you love
in a caf¨¦ at one end
of the Pont Mirabeau, at the zinc bar
where white wine stands in upward opening glasses,
and if you commit then, as we did, the error
one day all this will only be memory,
as you stand
at this end of the bridge which arcs,
from love, you think, into enduring love,
learn to reach deeper
into the sorrows
to come ¨C to touch
the almost imaginary bones
under the face, to hear under the laughter
the wind crying across the black stones.
which tells you, here,
here is the world.
These temple bones.
The still undanced cadence of vanishing.
In the light the moon
sends back, I can see in your eyes
the hand that waved once
in my father's eyes, a tiny kite
wobbling far up in the twilight of his last look:
and the angel
of all mortal things lets go the string.
Back you go, into your crib.
The last blackbird lights up his gold wings: farewell.
Your eyes close inside your head,
in your dreams the hours begin to sing.
Little sleep's-head sprouting hair in the moonlight,
when I come back
we will go out together,
we will walk out together among
the ten thousand things,
each scratched too late with such knowledge, the wages
of dying is love.
Rudyard Kipling |
These are our regulations--
There's just one law for the Scout
And the first and the last, and the present and the past,
And the future and the perfect is "Look out!"
I, thou and he, look out!
We, ye and they, look out!
Though you didn't or you wouldn't
Or you hadn't or you couldn't;
You jolly well must look out!
Look out, when you start for the day
That your kit is packed to your mind;
There is no use going away
With half of it left behind.
Look out that your laces are tight,
And your boots are easy and stout,
Or you'll end with a blister at night.
(Chorus) All Patrols look out!
Look out for the birds of the air,
Look out for the beasts of the field--
They'll tell you how and where
The other side's concealed.
When the blackbird bolts from the copse,
Or the cattle are staring about,
The wise commander stops
And (chorus) All Patrols look out!
Look out when your front is clear,
And you feel you are bound to win.
Look out for your flank and your rear--
That's where surprises begin.
For the rustle that isn't a rat,
For the splash that isn't a trout,
For the boulder that may be a hat
(Chorus) All Patrols look out!
For the innocent knee-high grass,
For the ditch that never tells,
Look out! Look out ere you pass--
And look out for everything else
A sign mis-read as you run
May turn retreat to a rout--
For all things under the sun
(Chorus) All Patrols look out!
Look out where your temper goes
At the end of a losing game;
When your boots too tight for your toes;
And you answer and argue and blame.
It's the hardest part of the Low,
But it has to be learned by the Scout--
For whining and shrinking and "jaw"
(Chorus) All Patrols look out!
Austin Clarke |
Stop, stop and listen for the bough top
Is whistling and the sun is brighter
Than God's own shadow in the cup now!
Forget the hour-bell.
Will sound, Patric, as well at nightfall.
Faintly through mist of broken water
Fionn heard my melody in Norway.
He found the forest track, he brought back
This beak to gild the branch and tell, there,
Why men must welcome in the daylight.
He loved the breeze that warns the black grouse,
The shouts of gillies in the morning
When packs are counted and the swans cloud
Loch Erne, but more than all those voices
My throat rejoicing from the hawthorn.
In little cells behind a cashel,
Patric, no handbell gives a glad sound.
But knowledge is found among the branches.
Listen! That song that shakes my feathers
Will thong the leather of your satchels.
Robert William Service |
O meadow lark, so wild and free,
It cannot be, it cannot be,
That men to merchandise your spell
Do close you in a wicker hell!
O hedgerow thrush so mad with glee,
it cannot be, it cannot be,
They rape you from your hawthorn foam
To make a cell of steel your home!
O blackbird in the orchard tree,
In cannot be, it cannot be,
That devils in a narrow cage
Would prison your melodic rage!
O you who live for liberty,
Can you believe that it can be,
That we of freedom's faith destroy
In dungeons, innocence and joy?
O decent folk who read this page,
If you should own a bird in cage,
Throw wide the door, - God gave it wings:
Then hear how in your heart it sings!
Alfred Lord Tennyson |
‘The Bull, the Fleece are cramm’d, and not a room
For love or money.
Let us picnic there
At Audley Court.
I spoke, while Audley feast
Humm’d like a hive all round the narrow quay,
To Francis, with a basket on his arm,
To Francis just alighted from the boat,
And breathing of the sea.
‘With all my heart,’
Then we shoulder’d thro’ the swarm,
And rounded by the stillness of the beach
To where the bay runs up its latest horn.
We left the dying ebb that faintly lipp’d
The flat red granite; so by many a sweep
Of meadow smooth from aftermath we reach’d
The griffin-guarded gates, and pass’d thro’ all
The pillar’d dusk of sounding sycamores,
And cross’d the garden to the gardener’s lodge,
With all its casements bedded, and its walls
And chimneys muffled in the leafy vine.
There, on a slope of orchard, Francis laid
A damask napkin wrought with horse and hound,
Brought out a dusky loaf that smelt of home,
And, half-cut-down, a pasty costly-made,
Where quail and pigeon, lark and leveret lay,
Like fossils of the rock, with golden yolks
Imbedded and injellied; last, with these,
A flask of cider from his father’s vats,
Prime, which I knew; and so we sat and eat
And talk’d old matters over; who was dead,
Who married, who was like to be, and how
The races went, and who would rent the hall:
Then touch’d upon the game, how scarce it was
This season; glancing thence, discuss’d the farm,
The four-field system, and the price of grain;
And struck upon the corn-laws, where we split,
And came again together on the king
With heated faces; till he laugh’d aloud;
And, while the blackbird on the pippin hung
To hear him, clapt his hand in mine and sang–
‘Oh! who would fight and march and countermarch,
Be shot for sixpence in a battle-field,
And shovell’d up into some bloody trench
Where no one knows? but let me live my life.
‘Oh! who would cast and balance at a desk,
Perch’d like a crow upon a three-legg’d stool,
Till all his juice is dried, and all his joints
Are full of chalk? but let me live my life.
‘Who’d serve the state? for if I carved my name
Upon the cliffs that guard my native land,
I might as well have traced it in the sands;
The sea wastes all: but let me live my life.
‘Oh! who would love? I woo’d a woman once,
But she was sharper than an eastern wind,
And all my heart turn’d from her, as a thorn
Turns from the sea; but let me live my life.
He sang his song, and I replied with mine:
I found it in a volume, all of songs,
Knock’d down to me, when old Sir Robert’s pride,
His books–the more the pity, so I said–
Came to the hammer here in March–and this–
I set the words, and added names I knew.
‘Sleep, Ellen Aubrey, sleep, and dream of me:
Sleep, Ellen, folded in thy sister’s arm,
And sleeping, haply dream her arm is mine.
‘Sleep, Ellen, folded in Emilia’s arm;
Emilia, fairer than all else but thou,
For thou art fairer than all else that is.
‘Sleep, breathing health and peace upon her breast:
Sleep, breathing love and trust against her lip:
I go to-night: I come to-morrow morn.
‘I go, but I return: I would I were
The pilot of the darkness and the dream.
Sleep, Ellen Aubrey, love, and dream of me.
So sang we each to either, Francis Hale,
The farmer’s son, who lived across the bay,
My friend; and I, that having wherewithal,
And in the fallow leisure of my life
A rolling stone of here and everywhere,
Did what I would; but ere the night we rose
And saunter’d home beneath a moon, that, just
In crescent, dimly rain’d about the leaf
Twilights of airy silver, till we reach’d
The limit of the hills; and as we sank
From rock to rock upon the glooming quay,
The town was hush’d beneath us: lower down
The bay was oily calm; the harbour-buoy,
Sole star of phosphorescence in the calm,
With one green sparkle ever and anon
Dipt by itself, and we were glad at heart.