William Butler Yeats |
I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made;
Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honey-bee,
And live alone in the bee-loud glade.
And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,
Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;
There midnight's all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,
And evening full of the linnet's wings.
I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements gray,
I hear it in the deep heart's core.
Emily Dickinson |
The earth has many keys,
Where melody is not
Is the unknown peninsula.
Beauty is nature's fact.
But witness for her land,
And witness for her sea,
The cricket is her utmost
Of elegy to me.
Anne Sexton |
If you danced from midnight
to six A.
who would understand?
The runaway boy
who chucks it all
to live on the Boston Common
on speed and saltines,
pissing in the duck pond,
rapping with the street priest,
trading talk like blows,
another missing person,
The paralytic's wife
who takes her love to town,
sitting on the bar stool,
downing stingers and peanuts,
singing "That ole Ace down in the hole,"
from Boston to Paris
watching the movie with dawn
coming up like statues of honey,
having partaken of champagne and steak
while the world turned like a toy globe,
those murderers of the nightgown
who tunes into a new neighborhood,
having misplaced the past,
having thrown out someone else's
credit cards and monogrammed watch,
The drunken poet
(a genius by daylight)
who places long-distance calls
at three A.
and then lets you sit
holding the phone while he vomits
(he calls it "The Night of the Long Knives")
getting his kicks out of the death call,
listening to his heart
thumping like a June bug,
listening on his transistor
to Long John Nebel arguing from New York,
lying on his bed like a stone table,
The night nurse
with her eyes slit like Venetian blinds,
she of the tubes and the plasma,
listening to the heart monitor,
the death cricket bleeping,
she who calls you "we"
and keeps vigil like a ballistic missile,
this king had twelve daughters,
each more beautiful than the other.
They slept together, bed by bed
in a kind of girls' dormitory.
At night the king locked and bolted the door
How could they possibly escape?
Yet each morning their shoes
were danced to pieces.
Each was as worn as an old jockstrap.
The king sent out a proclamation
that anyone who could discover
where the princesses did their dancing
could take his pick of the litter.
However there was a catch.
If he failed, he would pay with his life.
Well, so it goes.
Many princes tried,
each sitting outside the dormitory,
the door ajar so he could observe
what enchantment came over the shoes.
But each time the twelve dancing princesses
gave the snoopy man a Mickey Finn
and so he was beheaded.
Poof! Like a basketball.
It so happened that a poor soldier
heard about these strange goings on
and decided to give it a try.
On his way to the castle
he met an old old woman.
Age, for a change, was of some use.
She wasn't stuffed in a nursing home.
She told him not to drink a drop of wine
and gave him a cloak that would make
him invisible when the right time came.
And thus he sat outside the dorm.
The oldest princess brought him some wine
but he fastened a sponge beneath his chin,
looking the opposite of Andy Gump.
The sponge soaked up the wine,
and thus he stayed awake.
He feigned sleep however
and the princesses sprang out of their beds
and fussed around like a Miss America Contest.
Then the eldest went to her bed
and knocked upon it and it sank into the earth.
They descended down the opening
one after the other.
They crafty soldier
put on his invisisble cloak and followed.
Yikes, said the youngest daughter,
something just stepped on my dress.
But the oldest thought it just a nail.
Next stood an avenue of trees,
each leaf make of sterling silver.
The soldier took a leaf for proof.
The youngest heard the branch break
and said, Oof! Who goes there?
But the oldest said, Those are
the royal trumpets playing triumphantly.
The next trees were made of diamonds.
He took one that flickered like Tinkerbell
and the youngest said: Wait up! He is here!
But the oldest said: Trumpets, my dear.
Next they came to a lake where lay
twelve boats with twelve enchanted princes
waiting to row them to the underground castle.
The soldier sat in the youngest's boat
and the boat was as heavy as if an icebox
had been added but the prince did not suspect.
Next came the ball where the shoes did duty.
The princesses danced like taxi girls at Roseland
as if those tickets would run right out.
They were painted in kisses with their secret hair
and though the soldier drank from their cups
they drank down their youth with nary a thought.
Cruets of champagne and cups full of rubies.
They danced until morning and the sun came up
naked and angry and so they returned
by the same strange route.
went forward through the dormitory and into
his waiting chair to feign his druggy sleep.
That morning the soldier, his eyes fiery
like blood in a wound, his purpose brutal
as if facing a battle, hurried with his answer
as if to the Sphinx.
The shoes! The shoes!
The soldier told.
He brought forth
the silver leaf, the diamond the size of a plum.
He had won.
The dancing shoes would dance
The princesses were torn from
their night life like a baby from its pacifier.
Because he was old he picked the eldest.
At the wedding the princesses averted their eyes
and sagged like old sweatshirts.
Now the runaways would run no more and never
again would their hair be tangled into diamonds,
never again their shoes worn down to a laugh,
never the bed falling down into purgatory
to let them climb in after
with their Lucifer kicking.
Margaret Atwood |
Gone are the days
when you could walk on water.
When you could walk.
The days are gone.
Only one day remains,
the one you're in.
The memory is no friend.
It can only tell you
what you no longer have:
a left hand you can use,
two feet that walk.
All the brain's gadgets.
The one hand that still works
grips, won't let go.
That is not a train.
There is no cricket.
Let's not panic.
Let's talk about axes,
which kinds are good,
the many names of wood.
This is how to build
a house, a boat, a tent.
No use; the toolbox
refuses to reveal its verbs;
the rasp, the plane, the awl,
revert to sullen metal.
Do you recognize anything? I said.
Yes, you said.
Better to watch the stream
that flows across the floor
and is made of sunlight,
the forest made of shadows;
better to watch the fireplace
which is now a beach.
William Cullen Bryant |
Yet one smile more, departing, distant sun!
One mellow smile through the soft vapoury air,
Ere, o'er the frozen earth, the loud winds ran,
Or snows are sifted o'er the meadows bare.
One smile on the brown hills and naked trees,
And the dark rocks whose summer wreaths are cast,
And the blue Gentian flower, that, in the breeze,
Nods lonely, of her beauteous race the last.
Yet a few sunny days, in which the bee
Shall murmur by the hedge that skim the way,
The cricket chirp upon the russet lea,
And man delight to linger in thy ray.
Yet one rich smile, and we will try to bear
The piercing winter frost, and winds, and darkened air.
Henry Lawson |
You ask me to be gay and glad
While lurid clouds of danger loom,
And vain and bad and gambling mad,
Australia races to her doom.
You bid me sing the light and fair,
The dance, the glance on pleasure's wings –
While you have wives who will not bear,
And beer to drown the fear of things.
A war with reason you would wage
To be amused for your short span,
Until your children's heritage
Is claimed for China by Japan.
The football match, the cricket score,
The "scraps", the tote, the mad'ning Cup –
You drunken fools that evermore
"To-morrow morning" sober up!
I see again with haggard eyes,
The thirsty land, the wasted flood;
Unpeopled plains beyond the skies,
And precious streams that run to mud;
The ruined health, the wasted wealth,
In our mad cities by the seas,
The black race suicide by stealth,
The starved and murdered industries!
You bid me make a farce of day,
And make a mockery of death;
While not five thousand miles away
The yellow millions pant for breath!
But heed me now, nor ask me this –
Lest you too late should wake to find
That hopeless patriotism is
The strongest passion in mankind!
You'd think the seer sees, perhaps,
While staring on from days like these,
Politeness in the conquering Japs,
Or mercy in the banned Chinese!
I mind the days when parents stood,
And spake no word, while children ran
From Christian lanes and deemed it good
To stone a helpless Chinaman.
I see the stricken city fall,
The fathers murdered at their doors,
The sack, the massacre of all
Save healthy slaves and paramours –
The wounded hero at the stake,
The pure girl to the leper's kiss –
God, give us faith, for Christ's own sake
To kill our womankind ere this.
I see the Bushman from Out Back,
From mountain range and rolling downs,
And carts race on each rough bush track
With food and rifles from the towns;
I see my Bushmen fight and die
Amongst the torn blood-spattered trees,
And hear all night the wounded cry
For men! More men and batteries!
I see the brown and yellow rule
The southern lands and southern waves,
White children in the heathen school,
And black and white together slaves;
I see the colour-line so drawn
(I see it plain and speak I must),
That our brown masters of the dawn
Might, aye, have fair girls for their lusts!
With land and life and race at stake –
No matter which race wronged, or how –
Let all and one Australia make
A superhuman effort now.
Clear out the blasting parasites,
The paid-for-one-thing manifold,
And curb the goggled "social-lights"
That "scorch" to nowhere with our gold.
Store guns and ammunition first,
Build forts and warlike factories,
Sink bores and tanks where drought is worst,
Give over time to industries.
The outpost of the white man's race,
Where next his flag shall be unfurled,
Make clean the place! Make strong the place!
Call white men in from all the world!
A R Ammons |
You'll rejoice at how many kinds of shit there are:
gosling shit (which J.
Williams said something
was as green as), fish shit (the generality), trout
shit, rainbow trout shit (for the nice), mullet shit,
sand dab shit, casual sloth shit, elephant shit
(awesome as process or payload), wildebeest shit,
horse shit (a favorite), caterpillar shit (so many dark
kinds, neatly pelleted as mint seed), baby rhinoceros
shit, splashy jaybird shit, mockingbird shit
(dive-bombed with the aim of song), robin shit that
oozes white down lawnchairs or down roots under roosts,
chicken shit and chicken mite shit, pelican shit, gannet
shit (wholesome guano), fly shit (periodic), cockatoo
shit, dog shit (past catalog or assimilation),
cricket shit, elk (high plains) shit, and
tiny scribbled little shrew shit, whale shit (what
a sight, deep assumption), mandril shit (blazing
blast off), weasel shit (wiles' waste), gazelle shit,
magpie shit (total protein), tiger shit (too acid
to contemplate), moral eel and manta ray shit, eerie
shark shit, earthworm shit (a soilure), crab shit,
wolf shit upon the germicidal ice, snake shit, giraffe
shit that accelerates, secretary bird shit, turtle
shit suspension invites, remora shit slightly in
advance of the shark shit, hornet shit (difficult to
assess), camel shit that slaps the ghastly dry
siliceous, frog shit, beetle shit, bat shit (the
marmoreal), contemptible cat shit, penguin shit,
hermit crab shit, prairie hen shit, cougar shit, eagle
shit (high totem stuff), buffalo shit (hardly less
lofty), otter shit, beaver shit (from the animal of
alluvial dreams)—a vast ordure is a broken down
cloaca—macaw shit, alligator shit (that floats the Nile
along), louse shit, macaque, koala, and coati shit,
antelope shit, chuck-will's-widow shit, alpaca shit
(very high stuff), gooney bird shit, chigger shit, bull
shit (the classic), caribou shit, rasbora, python, and
razorbill shit, scorpion shit, man shit, laswing
fly larva shit, chipmunk shit, other-worldly wallaby
shit, gopher shit (or broke), platypus shit, aardvark
shit, spider shit, kangaroo and peccary shit, guanaco
shit, dolphin shit, aphid shit, baboon shit (that leopards
induce), albatross shit, red-headed woodpecker (nine
inches long) shit, tern shit, hedgehog shit, panda shit,
seahorse shit, and the shit of the wasteful gallinule.
Jorie Graham |
Shall I move the flowers again?
Shall I put them further to the left
into the light?
Win that fix it, will that arrange the
Faint cricket in the dried-out bush.
As I approach, my footfall in the leaves
drowns out the cricket-chirping I was
coming close to hear
Yellow sky with black leaves rearranging it.
Wind rearranging the black leaves in it.
But anyway I am indoors, of course, and this is a pane, here,
and I have arranged the flowers for you
Have taken the dead cordless ones, the yellow bits past apogee,
the faded cloth, the pollen-free abandoned marriage-hymn
back out, leaving the few crisp blooms to swagger, winglets, limpid
Shall I arrange these few remaining flowers?
Shall I rearrange these gossamer efficiencies?
Please don't touch me with your skin.
Please let the thing evaporate.
Please tell me clearly what it is.
The party is so loud downstairs, bristling with souvenirs.
It's a philosophy of life, of course,
drinks fluorescent, whips of syntax in the air
above the heads -- how small they seem from here,
the bobbing universal heads, stuffing the void with eloquence,
and also tiny merciless darts
It's pulled on tight, the air they breathe and rip.
It's like a prize the way it's stretched on tight
over the voices, keeping them intermingling, forcing the breaths to
cunning little hermeneutic cupola,
dome of occasion in which the thoughts re-
group, the footprints stall and gnaw in tiny ruts,
the napkins wave, are waved , the honeycombing
thoughts are felt to dialogue, a form of self-
congratulation, no?, or is it suffering? I'm a bit
dizzy up here rearranging things,
they will come up here soon, and need a setting for their fears,
and loves, an architecture for their evolutionary
morphic needs -- what will they need if I don't make the place? --
what will they know to miss?, what cry out for, what feel the bitter
for? A bit dizzy from the altitude of everlastingness,
the tireless altitudes of the created place,
in which to make a life -- a liberty -- the hollow, fetishized, and starry
a bit gossamer with dream, a vortex of evaporations,
oh little dream, invisible city, invisible hill
I make here on the upper floors for you --
down there, where you are entertained, where you are passing
time, there's glass and moss on air,
there's the feeling of being numerous, mouths submitting to air, lips
and dreams of sense, tongues, hinges, forceps clicking
in anticipation ofas if the moment, freeze-burned by accuracies--of
could be thawed open into life again
by gladnesses, by rectitude -- no, no -- by the sinewy efforts at
sincerity -- can't you feel it gliding round you,
mutating, yielding the effort-filled phrases of your talk to air,
compounding, stemming them, honeying-open the sheerest
the rightness seems to root, in the air, in the compact indoor sky,
and the rest, all round, feels like desert, falls away,
and you have the sensation of muscular timeliness,and you feel the calligraphic in you reach out like a soul
into the midst of others, in conversation,
gloved by desire, into the tiny carnage
of opinionsSo dizzy.
Life buzzing beneath me
though my feeling says the hive is gone, queen gone,
the continuum continuing beneath, busy, earnest, in con-
Shall I prepare.
Shall I put this further
to the left, shall I move the light, the point-of-view, the shades are
drawn, to cast a glow resembling disappearance, slightly red,
will that fix it, will that make clear the task, the trellised ongoingness
and all these tiny purposes, these parables, this marketplace
of tightening truths?
Oh knit me that am crumpled dust,
the heap is all dispersed.
Knit me that am.
philosophy and mean by that the pane.
Let us look out again.
The yellow sky.
With black leaves rearranging it
Craig Raine |
(for Rona, Jeremy, Sam & Grace)
All the lizards are asleep--
perched pagodas with tiny triangular tiles,
each milky lid a steamed-up window.
Inside, the heart repeats itself like a sleepy gong,
summoning nothing to nothing.
In winter time, the zoo reverts to metaphor,
God's poetry of boredom:
the cobra knits her Fair-Isle skin,
rattlers titter over the same joke.
All of them endlessly finish spaghetti.
The python runs down like a spring,
and time stops on some ancient Sabbath.
Pythagorean bees are shut inside the hive,
which hymns and hums like Sunday chapel--
drowsy thoughts in a wrinkled brain.
The fire's gone out--
crocodiles lie like wet beams,
cross-hatched by flames that no one can remember.
Grasshoppers shiver, chafe their limbs
and try to keep warm,
crouching on their marks perpetually.
The African cricket is trussed like a cold chicken:
the sneeze of movement returns it to the same position,
in the same body.
There is no change.
The rumple-headed lion has nowhere to go
and snoozes in his grimy combinations.
A chaise lounge with missing castors,
the walrus is stuck forever on his rock.
Sleepily, the seals play crib,
scoring on their upper lips.
The chimps kill fleas and time,
sewing nothing to nothing
Vultures in their shabby Sunday suits
fidget with broken umbrellas,
while the ape beats his breast
and yodels out repentance.
Their feet are an awful dream of bunions--
but the buffalo's brazil nut bugle-horns
can never sound reveille.
A E Housman |
Twice a week the winter thorough
Here stood I to keep the goal:
Football then was fighting sorrow
For the young man's soul.
Now in Maytime to the wicket
Out I march with bat and pad:
See the son of grief at cricket
Trying to be glad.
Try I will; no harm in trying:
Wonder 'tis how little mirth
Keeps the bones of man from lying
On the bed of earth.