Edna St Vincent Millay |
I should like to rise and go
Where the golden apples grow;--
Where below another sky
Parrot islands anchored lie,
And, watched by cockatoos and goats,
Lonely Crusoes building boats;--
Where in sunshine reaching out
Eastern cities, miles about,
Are with mosque and minaret
Among sandy gardens set,
And the rich goods from near and far
Hang for sale in the bazaar;--
Where the Great Wall round China goes,
And on one side the desert blows,
And with the voice and bell and drum,
Cities on the other hum;--
Where are forests hot as fire,
Wide as England, tall as a spire,
Full of apes and cocoa-nuts
And the negro hunters' huts;--
Where the knotty crocodile
Lies and blinks in the Nile,
And the red flamingo flies
Hunting fish before his eyes;--
Where in jungles near and far,
Man-devouring tigers are,
Lying close and giving ear
Lest the hunt be drawing near,
Or a comer-by be seen
Swinging in the palanquin;--
Where among the desert sands
Some deserted city stands,
All its children, sweep and prince,
Grown to manhood ages since,
Not a foot in street or house,
Not a stir of child or mouse,
And when kindly falls the night,
In all the town no spark of light.
There I'll come when I'm a man
With a camel caravan;
Light a fire in the gloom
Of some dusty dining-room;
See the pictures on the walls,
Heroes fights and festivals;
And in a corner find the toys
Of the old Egyptian boys.
Robert Lowell |
Only teaching on Tuesdays, book-worming
in pajamas fresh from the washer each morning,
I hog a whole house on Boston's
"hardly passionate Marlborough Street,"
where even the man
scavenging filth in the back alley trash cans,
has two children, a beach wagon, a helpmate,
and is "a young Republican.
I have a nine months' daughter,
young enough to be my granddaughter.
Like the sun she rises in her flame-flamingo infants' wear.
These are the tranquilized Fifties,
and I am forty.
Ought I to regret my seedtime?
I was a fire-breathing Catholic C.
and made my manic statement,
telling off the state and president, and then
sat waiting sentence in the bull pen
beside a negro boy with curlicues
of marijuana in his hair.
Given a year,
I walked on the roof of the West Street Jail, a short
enclosure like my school soccer court,
and saw the Hudson River once a day
through sooty clothesline entanglements
and bleaching khaki tenements.
Strolling, I yammered metaphysics with Abramowitz,
a jaundice-yellow ("it's really tan")
and fly-weight pacifist,
he wore rope shoes and preferred fallen fruit.
He tried to convert Bioff and Brown,
the Hollywood pimps, to his diet.
Hairy, muscular, suburban,
wearing chocolate double-breasted suits,
they blew their tops and beat him black and blue.
I was so out of things, I'd never heard
of the Jehovah's Witnesses.
"Are you a C.
?" I asked a fellow jailbird.
"No," he answered, "I'm a J.
He taught me the "hospital tuck,"
and pointed out the T-shirted back
of Murder Incorporated's Czar Lepke,
there piling towels on a rack,
or dawdling off to his little segregated cell full
of things forbidden to the common man:
a portable radio, a dresser, two toy American
flags tied together with a ribbon of Easter palm.
Flabby, bald, lobotomized,
he drifted in a sheepish calm,
where no agonizing reappraisal
jarred his concentration on the electric chair
hanging like an oasis in his air
of lost connections.
Emily Dickinson |
Autumn -- overlooked my Knitting --
Dyes -- said He -- have I --
Could disparage a Flamingo --
Show Me them -- said I --
Cochineal -- I chose -- for deeming
It resemble Thee --
And the little Border -- Dusker --
For resembling Me --
Ruth Padel |
the ivory ghost
of a halter.
commas behind the ear.
"Taller, by half a head,
than my Lord Walsingham.
His Devon-cream brogue,
mussed in her mud.
The Queen leans forward,
a rosy envelope of civet.
whispering seed pearls.
Her own sleeve
rubs that speck of dirt
on his cheek.
ornamental fruit baskets
swing in the smoke.
"It is our pleasure
to have our servant trained
some longer time
" Stamp out
marks of the Irish.
Their saffron smocks.
All curroughs, bards
stuck on low spikes,
an avenue of heads to
the war tent.
sold to the Canaries.
hung in their own hair
on city walls.
like ghosts crying
out of their graves.
William Carlos (WCW) Williams |
You know there is not much
that I desire, a few chrysanthemums
half lying on the grass, yellow
and brown and white, the
talk of a few people, the trees,
an expanse of dried leaves perhaps
with ditches among them.
But there comes
between me and these things
or even a look—well placed,
so that I am confused, twisted
four ways and—left flat,
unable to lift the food to
my own mouth:
Here is what they say: Come!
and come! and come! And if
I do not go I remain stale to
myself and if I go—
I have watched
the city from a distance at night
and wondered why I wrote no poem.
the city is ablaze for you
and you stand and look at it.
And they are right.
no good in the world except out of
a woman and certain women alone
But what if
I arrive like a turtle,
with my house on my back or
a fish ogling from under water?
It will not do.
I must be
steaming with love, colored
like a flamingo.
To have legs and a silly head
and to smell, pah! like a flamingo
that soils its own feathers behind.
Must I go home filled
with a bad poem?
And they say:
Who can answer these things
till he has tried? Your eyes
are half closed, you are a child,
oh, a sweet one, ready to play
but I will make a man of you and
with love on his shoulder—!
And in the marshes
the crickets run
on the sunny dike's top and
make burrows there, the water
reflects the reeds and the reeds
move on their stalks and rattle drily.
Emily Dickinson |
How the old Mountains drip with Sunset
How the Hemlocks burn --
How the Dun Brake is draped in Cinder
By the Wizard Sun --
How the old Steeples hand the Scarlet
Till the Ball is full --
Have I the lip of the Flamingo
That I dare to tell?
Then, how the Fire ebbs like Billows --
Touching all the Grass
With a departing -- Sapphire -- feature --
As a Duchess passed --
How a small Dusk crawls on the Village
Till the Houses blot
And the odd Flambeau, no men carry
Glimmer on the Street --
How it is Night -- in Nest and Kennel --
And where was the Wood --
Just a Dome of Abyss is Bowing
Into Solitude --
These are the Visions flitted Guido --
Titian -- never told --
Domenichino dropped his pencil --
Paralyzed, with Gold --
Carl Sandburg |
BECAUSE I have called to you
as the flame flamingo calls,
or the want of a spotted hawk
because in the dusk
the warblers shoot the running
waters of short songs to the
the cry here is wing to wing
and song to song—
I am waiting,
waiting with the flame flamingo,
the spotted hawk, the running water
waiting for you.