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Best Famous Cold As Ice Poems

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Written by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe | Create an image from this poem

THE BRIDE OF CORINTH

 [First published in Schiller's Horen, in connection 
with a
friendly contest in the art of ballad-writing between the two
great poets, to which many of their finest works are owing.
] ONCE a stranger youth to Corinth came, Who in Athens lived, but hoped that he From a certain townsman there might claim, As his father's friend, kind courtesy.
Son and daughter, they Had been wont to say Should thereafter bride and bridegroom be.
But can he that boon so highly prized, Save tis dearly bought, now hope to get? They are Christians and have been baptized, He and all of his are heathens yet.
For a newborn creed, Like some loathsome weed, Love and truth to root out oft will threat.
Father, daughter, all had gone to rest, And the mother only watches late; She receives with courtesy the guest, And conducts him to the room of state.
Wine and food are brought, Ere by him besought; Bidding him good night.
she leaves him straight.
But he feels no relish now, in truth, For the dainties so profusely spread; Meat and drink forgets the wearied youth, And, still dress'd, he lays him on the bed.
Scarce are closed his eyes, When a form in-hies Through the open door with silent tread.
By his glimmering lamp discerns he now How, in veil and garment white array'd, With a black and gold band round her brow, Glides into the room a bashful maid.
But she, at his sight, Lifts her hand so white, And appears as though full sore afraid.
"Am I," cries she, "such a stranger here, That the guest's approach they could not name? Ah, they keep me in my cloister drear, Well nigh feel I vanquish'd by my shame.
On thy soft couch now Slumber calmly thou! I'll return as swiftly as I came.
" "Stay, thou fairest maiden!" cries the boy, Starting from his couch with eager haste: "Here are Ceres', Bacchus' gifts of joy; Amor bringest thou, with beauty grac'd! Thou art pale with fear! Loved one let us here Prove the raptures the Immortals taste.
" "Draw not nigh, O Youth! afar remain! Rapture now can never smile on me; For the fatal step, alas! is ta'en, Through my mother's sick-bed phantasy.
Cured, she made this oath: 'Youth and nature both Shall henceforth to Heav'n devoted be.
' "From the house, so silent now, are driven All the gods who reign'd supreme of yore; One Invisible now rules in heaven, On the cross a Saviour they adore.
Victims slay they here, Neither lamb nor steer, But the altars reek with human gore.
" And he lists, and ev'ry word he weighs, While his eager soul drinks in each sound: "Can it be that now before my gaze Stands my loved one on this silent ground? Pledge to me thy troth! Through our father's oath: With Heav'ns blessing will our love be crown'd.
" "Kindly youth, I never can be thine! 'Tis my sister they intend for thee.
When I in the silent cloister pine, Ah, within her arms remember me! Thee alone I love, While love's pangs I prove; Soon the earth will veil my misery.
" "No! for by this glowing flame I swear, Hymen hath himself propitious shown: Let us to my fathers house repair, And thoult find that joy is not yet flown, Sweetest, here then stay, And without delay Hold we now our wedding feast alone!" Then exchange they tokens of their truth; She gives him a golden chain to wear, And a silver chalice would the youth Give her in return of beauty rare.
"That is not for me; Yet I beg of thee, One lock only give me of thy hair.
" Now the ghostly hour of midnight knell'd, And she seem'd right joyous at the sign; To her pallid lips the cup she held, But she drank of nought but blood-red wine.
For to taste the bread There before them spread, Nought he spoke could make the maid incline.
To the youth the goblet then she brought,-- He too quaff'd with eager joy the bowl.
Love to crown the silent feast he sought, Ah! full love-sick was the stripling's soul.
From his prayer she shrinks, Till at length he sinks On the bed and weeps without control.
And she comes, and lays her near the boy: "How I grieve to see thee sorrowing so! If thou think'st to clasp my form with joy, Thou must learn this secret sad to know; Yes! the maid, whom thou Call'st thy loved one now, Is as cold as ice, though white as snow.
" Then he clasps her madly in his arm, While love's youthful might pervades his frame: "Thou might'st hope, when with me, to grow warm, E'en if from the grave thy spirit came! Breath for breath, and kiss! Overflow of bliss! Dost not thou, like me, feel passion's flame?" Love still closer rivets now their lips, Tears they mingle with their rapture blest, From his mouth the flame she wildly sips, Each is with the other's thought possess'd.
His hot ardour's flood Warms her chilly blood, But no heart is beating in her breast.
In her care to see that nought went wrong, Now the mother happen'd to draw near; At the door long hearkens she, full long, Wond'ring at the sounds that greet her ear.
Tones of joy and sadness, And love's blissful madness, As of bride and bridegroom they appear, From the door she will not now remove 'Till she gains full certainty of this; And with anger hears she vows of love, Soft caressing words of mutual bliss.
"Hush! the ****'s loud strain! But thoult come again, When the night returns!"--then kiss on kiss.
Then her wrath the mother cannot hold, But unfastens straight the lock with ease "In this house are girls become so bold, As to seek e'en strangers' lusts to please?" By her lamp's clear glow Looks she in,--and oh! Sight of horror!--'tis her child she sees.
Fain the youth would, in his first alarm, With the veil that o'er her had been spread, With the carpet, shield his love from harm; But she casts them from her, void of dread, And with spirit's strength, In its spectre length, Lifts her figure slowly from the bed.
"Mother! mother!"--Thus her wan lips say: "May not I one night of rapture share? From the warm couch am I chased away? Do I waken only to despair? It contents not thee To have driven me An untimely shroud of death to wear? "But from out my coffin's prison-bounds By a wond'rous fate I'm forced to rove, While the blessings and the chaunting sounds That your priests delight in, useless prove.
Water, salt, are vain Fervent youth to chain, Ah, e'en Earth can never cool down love! "When that infant vow of love was spoken, Venus' radiant temple smiled on both.
Mother! thou that promise since hast broken, Fetter'd by a strange, deceitful oath.
Gods, though, hearken ne'er, Should a mother swear To deny her daughter's plighted troth.
From my grave to wander I am forc'd, Still to seek The Good's long-sever'd link, Still to love the bridegroom I have lost, And the life-blood of his heart to drink; When his race is run, I must hasten on, And the young must 'neath my vengeance sink, "Beauteous youth! no longer mayst thou live; Here must shrivel up thy form so fair; Did not I to thee a token give, Taking in return this lock of hair? View it to thy sorrow! Grey thoult be to-morrow, Only to grow brown again when there.
"Mother, to this final prayer give ear! Let a funeral pile be straightway dress'd; Open then my cell so sad and drear, That the flames may give the lovers rest! When ascends the fire From the glowing pyre, To the gods of old we'll hasten, blest.
" 1797.
Written by Aleister Crowley | Create an image from this poem

The Neophyte

 To-night I tread the unsubstantial way
That looms before me, as the thundering night
Falls on the ocean: I must stop, and pray
One little prayer, and then - what bitter fight
Flames at the end beyond the darkling goal?
These are my passions that my feet must read;
This is my sword, the fervour of my soul;
This is my Will, the crown upon my head.
For see! the darkness beckons: I have gone, Before this terrible hour, towards the gloom, Braved the wild dragon, called the tiger on With whirling cries of pride, sought out the tomb Where lurking vampires battened, and my steel Has wrought its splendour through the gates of death My courage did not falter: now I feel My heart beat wave-wise, and my throat catch breath As if I choked; some horror creeps between The spirit of my will and its desire, Some just reluctance to the Great Unseen That coils its nameless terrors, and its dire Fear round my heart; a devil cold as ice Breathes somewhere, for I feel his shudder take My veins: some deadlier asp or cockatrice Slimes in my senses: I am half awake, Half automatic, as I move along Wrapped in a cloud of blackness deep as hell, Hearing afar some half-forgotten song As of disruption; yet strange glories dwell Above my head, as if a sword of light, Rayed of the very Dawn, would strike within The limitations of this deadly night That folds me for the sign of death and sin - O Light! descend! My feet move vaguely on In this amazing darkness, in the gloom That I can touch with trembling sense.
There shone Once, in my misty memory, in the womb Of some unformulated thought, the flame And smoke of mighty pillars; yet my mind Is clouded with the horror of this same Path of the wise men: for my soul is blind Yet: and the foemen I have never feared I could not see (if such should cross the way), And therefore I am strange: my soul is seared With desolation of the blinding day I have come out from: yes, that fearful light Was not the Sun: my life has been the death, This death may be the life: my spirit sight Knows that at last, at least.
My doubtful breath Is breathing in a nobler air; I know, I know it in my soul, despite of this, The clinging darkness of the Long Ago, Cruel as death, and closer than a kiss, This horror of great darkness.
I am come Into this darkness to attain the light: To gain my voice I make myself as dumb: That I may see I close my outer sight: So, I am here.
My brows are bent in prayer: I kneel already in the Gates of Dawn; And I am come, albeit unaware, To the deep sanctuary: my hope is drawn From wells profounder than the very sea.
Yea, I am come, where least I guessed it so, Into the very Presence of the Three That Are beyond all Gods.
And now I know What spiritual Light is drawing me Up to its stooping splendour.
In my soul I feel the Spring, the all-devouring Dawn, Rush with my Rising.
There, beyond the goal, The Veil is rent! Yes: let the veil be drawn.
Written by Conrad Aiken | Create an image from this poem

ZUDORA

Here on the pale beach, in the darkness; 
With the full moon just to rise; 
They sit alone, and look over the sea, 
Or into each other's eyes.
.
.
She pokes her parasol into the sleepy sand, Or sifts the lazy whiteness through her hand.
'A lovely night,' he says, 'the moon, Comes up for you and me.
Just like a blind old spotlight there, Fizzing across the sea!' She pays no heed, nor even turns her head: He slides his arm around her waist instead.
'Why don't we do a sketch together-- Those songs you sing are swell.
Where did you get them, anyway? They suit you awfully well.
' She will not turn to him--will not resist.
Impassive, she submits to being kissed.
'My husband wrote all four of them.
You know,--my husband drowned.
He was always sickly, soon depressed.
.
.
' But still she hears the sound Of a stateroom door shut hard, and footsteps going Swiftly and steadily, and the dark sea flowing.
She hears the dark sea flowing, and sees his eyes Hollow with disenchantment, sick surprise,-- And hate of her whom he had loved too well.
.
.
She lowers her eyes, demurely prods a shell.
'Yes.
We might do an act together.
That would be very nice.
' He kisses her passionately, and thinks She's carnal, but cold as ice.
Written by Elizabeth Bishop | Create an image from this poem

Giant Snail

 The rain has stopped.
The waterfall will roar like that all night.
I have come out to take a walk and feed.
My body--foot, that is--is wet and cold and covered with sharp gravel.
It is white, the size of a dinner plate.
I have set myself a goal, a certain rock, but it may well be dawn before I get there.
Although I move ghostlike and my floating edges barely graze the ground, I am heavy, heavy, heavy.
My white muscles are already tired.
I give the impression of mysterious ease, but it is only with the greatest effort of my will that I can rise above the smallest stones and sticks.
And I must not let myself be dis- tracted by those rough spears of grass.
Don't touch them.
Draw back.
Withdrawal is always best.
The rain has stopped.
The waterfall makes such a noise! (And what if I fall over it?) The mountains of black rock give off such clouds of steam! Shiny streamers are hanging down their sides.
When this occurs, we have a saying that the Snail Gods have come down in haste.
I could never descend such steep escarp- ments, much less dream of climbing them.
That toad was too big, too, like me.
His eyes beseeched my love.
Our proportions horrify our neighbors.
Rest a minute; relax.
Flattened to the ground, my body is like a pallid, decomposing leaf.
What's that tapping on my shell? Nothing.
Let's go on.
My sides move in rhythmic waves, just off the ground, from front to back, the wake of a ship, wax-white water, or a slowly melting floe.
I am cold, cold, cold as ice.
My blind, white bull's head was a Cretan scare-head; degenerate, my four horns that can't attack.
The sides of my mouth are now my hands.
They press the earth and suck it hard.
Ah, but I know my shell is beautiful, and high, and glazed, and shining.
I know it well, although I have not seen it.
Its curled white lip is of the finest enamel.
Inside, it is as smooth as silk, and I, I fill it to perfection.
My wide wake shines, now it is growing dark.
I leave a lovely opalescent ribbon: I know this.
But O! I am too big.
I feel it.
Pity me.
If and when I reach the rock, I shall go into a certain crack there for the night.
The waterfall below will vibrate through my shell and body all night long.
In that steady pulsing I can rest.
All night I shall be like a sleeping ear.
Written by Robert William Service | Create an image from this poem

Wrestling Match

 What guts he had, the Dago lad
Who fought that Frenchman grim with guile;
For nigh an hour they milled like mad,
And mauled the mat in rare old style.
Then up and launched like catapults, And tangled, twisted, clinched and clung, Then tossed in savage somersaults, And hacked and hammered, ducked and swung; And groaned and grunted, sighed and cried, Now knotted tight, now springing free; To bend each other's bones they tried, Their faces crisped in agony.
.
.
.
Then as a rage rose, with tiger-bound, They clashed and smashed, and flailed and flung, And tripped and slipped, with hammer-pound, And streamin sweat and straining lung, The mighty mob roared out their joy, And wild I heard a wench near-by Shriek to the Frenchman: "Atta Boy! Go to it, Jo-jo - kill the guy.
" The boy from Rome was straight and slim, And swift and springy as a bow; The man from Metz was gaunt and grim, But all the tricks he seemed to know.
'Twixt knee and calf with scissors-lock, He gripped the lad's arm like a vice; The prisoned hand went white as chalk, And limp as death and cold as ice.
And then he tried to break the wrist, And kidney-pounded with his knee, But with a cry and lightning twist The Roman youth had wrested free.
.
.
.
Then like mad bulls they hooked and mauled, And blindly butted, bone on bone; Spread-eagled on the mat they sprawled, And writhed and rocked with bitter moan.
Then faltered to their feet and hung Upon the ropes with eyes of woe; And then the Frenchman stooped and flung The wop among the mob below, Who helped to hoist him back again, With cheers and jeers and course cat-calls, To where the Gaul with might and main Hung poised to kick his genitals And drop him senseless in the ring.
.
.
.
And then an old man cried: "My son!" The maddened mob began to fling Their chairs about - the fight was done.
Soft silver sandals tapped the sea; Palms listened to the lack of sound; The lucioles were lilting free, The peace was precious and profound.
Oh had it been an evil dream? .
.
.
A chapel of the Saints I sought, And thee before the alter gleam I clasped my hands and thought and thought.
.
.
.
Written by Conrad Aiken | Create an image from this poem

Turns And Movies: Zudora

 Here on the pale beach, in the darkness; 
With the full moon just to rise; 
They sit alone, and look over the sea, 
Or into each other's eyes.
.
.
She pokes her parasol into the sleepy sand, Or sifts the lazy whiteness through her hand.
'A lovely night,' he says, 'the moon, Comes up for you and me.
Just like a blind old spotlight there, Fizzing across the sea!' She pays no heed, nor even turns her head: He slides his arm around her waist instead.
'Why don't we do a sketch together— Those songs you sing are swell.
Where did you get them, anyway? They suit you awfully well.
' She will not turn to him—will not resist.
Impassive, she submits to being kissed.
'My husband wrote all four of them.
You know,—my husband drowned.
He was always sickly, soon depressed.
.
.
' But still she hears the sound Of a stateroom door shut hard, and footsteps going Swiftly and steadily, and the dark sea flowing.
She hears the dark sea flowing, and sees his eyes Hollow with disenchantment, sick surprise,— And hate of her whom he had loved too well.
.
.
She lowers her eyes, demurely prods a shell.
'Yes.
We might do an act together.
That would be very nice.
' He kisses her passionately, and thinks She's carnal, but cold as ice.
Written by Robert William Service | Create an image from this poem

The Search

 I bought a young and lovely bride,
 Paying her father gold;
Lamblike she rested by my side,
 As cold as ice is cold.
No love in her could I awake, Even for pity's sake.
I bought rich books I could not read, And pictures proud and rare; Reproachfully they seemed to plead And hunger for my care; But to their beauty I was blind, Even as is a hind.
The bearded merchants heard my cry: 'I'll give all I posses If only, only I can buy A little happiness.
' Alas! I sought without avail: They had not that for sale.
I gave my riches to the poor And dared the desert lone; Now of God's heaven I am sure Though I am rag and bone .
.
.
Aye, richer than the Aga Khan, At last--a happy man.