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Best Famous Funeral Poems

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

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12
Written by Walt Whitman | Create an image from this poem

To Think of Time

 1
TO think of time—of all that retrospection! 
To think of to-day, and the ages continued henceforward! 

Have you guess’d you yourself would not continue? 
Have you dreaded these earth-beetles? 
Have you fear’d the future would be nothing to you?

Is to-day nothing? Is the beginningless past nothing? 
If the future is nothing, they are just as surely nothing.
To think that the sun rose in the east! that men and women were flexible, real, alive! that everything was alive! To think that you and I did not see, feel, think, nor bear our part! To think that we are now here, and bear our part! 2 Not a day passes—not a minute or second, without an accouchement! Not a day passes—not a minute or second, without a corpse! The dull nights go over, and the dull days also, The soreness of lying so much in bed goes over, The physician, after long putting off, gives the silent and terrible look for an answer, The children come hurried and weeping, and the brothers and sisters are sent for, Medicines stand unused on the shelf—(the camphor-smell has long pervaded the rooms,) The faithful hand of the living does not desert the hand of the dying, The twitching lips press lightly on the forehead of the dying, The breath ceases, and the pulse of the heart ceases, The corpse stretches on the bed, and the living look upon it, It is palpable as the living are palpable.
The living look upon the corpse with their eye-sight, But without eye-sight lingers a different living, and looks curiously on the corpse.
3 To think the thought of Death, merged in the thought of materials! To think that the rivers will flow, and the snow fall, and fruits ripen, and act upon others as upon us now—yet not act upon us! To think of all these wonders of city and country, and others taking great interest in them—and we taking no interest in them! To think how eager we are in building our houses! To think others shall be just as eager, and we quite indifferent! (I see one building the house that serves him a few years, or seventy or eighty years at most, I see one building the house that serves him longer than that.
) Slow-moving and black lines creep over the whole earth—they never cease—they are the burial lines, He that was President was buried, and he that is now President shall surely be buried.
4 A reminiscence of the vulgar fate, A frequent sample of the life and death of workmen, Each after his kind: Cold dash of waves at the ferry-wharf—posh and ice in the river, half-frozen mud in the streets, a gray, discouraged sky overhead, the short, last daylight of Twelfth-month, A hearse and stages—other vehicles give place—the funeral of an old Broadway stage-driver, the cortege mostly drivers.
Steady the trot to the cemetery, duly rattles the death-bell, the gate is pass’d, the new-dug grave is halted at, the living alight, the hearse uncloses, The coffin is pass’d out, lower’d and settled, the whip is laid on the coffin, the earth is swiftly shovel’d in, The mound above is flatted with the spades—silence, A minute—no one moves or speaks—it is done, He is decently put away—is there anything more? He was a good fellow, free-mouth’d, quick-temper’d, not bad-looking, able to take his own part, witty, sensitive to a slight, ready with life or death for a friend, fond of women, gambled, ate hearty, drank hearty, had known what it was to be flush, grew low-spirited toward the last, sicken’d, was help’d by a contribution, died, aged forty-one years—and that was his funeral.
Thumb extended, finger uplifted, apron, cape, gloves, strap, wet-weather clothes, whip carefully chosen, boss, spotter, starter, hostler, somebody loafing on you, you loafing on somebody, headway, man before and man behind, good day’s work, bad day’s work, pet stock, mean stock, first out, last out, turning-in at night; To think that these are so much and so nigh to other drivers—and he there takes no interest in them! 5 The markets, the government, the working-man’s wages—to think what account they are through our nights and days! To think that other working-men will make just as great account of them—yet we make little or no account! The vulgar and the refined—what you call sin, and what you call goodness—to think how wide a difference! To think the difference will still continue to others, yet we lie beyond the difference.
To think how much pleasure there is! Have you pleasure from looking at the sky? have you pleasure from poems? Do you enjoy yourself in the city? or engaged in business? or planning a nomination and election? or with your wife and family? Or with your mother and sisters? or in womanly housework? or the beautiful maternal cares? —These also flow onward to others—you and I flow onward, But in due time, you and I shall take less interest in them.
Your farm, profits, crops,—to think how engross’d you are! To think there will still be farms, profits, crops—yet for you, of what avail? 6 What will be, will be well—for what is, is well, To take interest is well, and not to take interest shall be well.
The sky continues beautiful, The pleasure of men with women shall never be sated, nor the pleasure of women with men, nor the pleasure from poems, The domestic joys, the daily housework or business, the building of houses—these are not phantasms—they have weight, form, location; Farms, profits, crops, markets, wages, government, are none of them phantasms, The difference between sin and goodness is no delusion, The earth is not an echo—man and his life, and all the things of his life, are well-consider’d.
You are not thrown to the winds—you gather certainly and safely around yourself; Yourself! Yourself! Yourself, forever and ever! 7 It is not to diffuse you that you were born of your mother and father—it is to identify you; It is not that you should be undecided, but that you should be decided; Something long preparing and formless is arrived and form’d in you, You are henceforth secure, whatever comes or goes.
The threads that were spun are gather’d, the weft crosses the warp, the pattern is systematic.
The preparations have every one been justified, The orchestra have sufficiently tuned their instruments—the baton has given the signal.
The guest that was coming—he waited long, for reasons—he is now housed, He is one of those who are beautiful and happy—he is one of those that to look upon and be with is enough.
The law of the past cannot be eluded, The law of the present and future cannot be eluded, The law of the living cannot be eluded—it is eternal, The law of promotion and transformation cannot be eluded, The law of heroes and good-doers cannot be eluded, The law of drunkards, informers, mean persons—not one iota thereof can be eluded.
8 Slow moving and black lines go ceaselessly over the earth, Northerner goes carried, and Southerner goes carried, and they on the Atlantic side, and they on the Pacific, and they between, and all through the Mississippi country, and all over the earth.
The great masters and kosmos are well as they go—the heroes and good-doers are well, The known leaders and inventors, and the rich owners and pious and distinguish’d, may be well, But there is more account than that—there is strict account of all.
The interminable hordes of the ignorant and wicked are not nothing, The barbarians of Africa and Asia are not nothing, The common people of Europe are not nothing—the American aborigines are not nothing, The infected in the immigrant hospital are not nothing—the murderer or mean person is not nothing, The perpetual successions of shallow people are not nothing as they go, The lowest prostitute is not nothing—the mocker of religion is not nothing as he goes.
9 Of and in all these things, I have dream’d that we are not to be changed so much, nor the law of us changed, I have dream’d that heroes and good-doers shall be under the present and past law, And that murderers, drunkards, liars, shall be under the present and past law, For I have dream’d that the law they are under now is enough.
If otherwise, all came but to ashes of dung, If maggots and rats ended us, then Alarum! for we are betray’d! Then indeed suspicion of death.
Do you suspect death? If I were to suspect death, I should die now, Do you think I could walk pleasantly and well-suited toward annihilation? 10 Pleasantly and well-suited I walk, Whither I walk I cannot define, but I know it is good, The whole universe indicates that it is good, The past and the present indicate that it is good.
How beautiful and perfect are the animals! How perfect the earth, and the minutest thing upon it! What is called good is perfect, and what is called bad is just as perfect, The vegetables and minerals are all perfect, and the imponderable fluids are perfect; Slowly and surely they have pass’d on to this, and slowly and surely they yet pass on.
11 I swear I think now that everything without exception has an eternal Soul! The trees have, rooted in the ground! the weeds of the sea have! the animals! I swear I think there is nothing but immortality! That the exquisite scheme is for it, and the nebulous float is for it, and the cohering is for it; And all preparation is for it! and identity is for it! and life and materials are altogether for it
Written by Randall Jarrell | Create an image from this poem

Next Day

 Moving from Cheer to Joy, from Joy to All,
I take a box
And add it to my wild rice, my Cornish game hens.
The slacked or shorted, basketed, identical Food-gathering flocks Are selves I overlook.
Wisdom, said William James, Is learning what to overlook.
And I am wise If that is wisdom.
Yet somehow, as I buy All from these shelves And the boy takes it to my station wagon, What I've become Troubles me even if I shut my eyes.
When I was young and miserable and pretty And poor, I'd wish What all girls wish: to have a husband, A house and children.
Now that I'm old, my wish Is womanish: That the boy putting groceries in my car See me.
It bewilders me he doesn't see me.
For so many years I was good enough to eat: the world looked at me And its mouth watered.
How often they have undressed me, The eyes of strangers! And, holding their flesh within my flesh, their vile Imaginings within my imagining, I too have taken The chance of life.
Now the boy pats my dog And we start home.
Now I am good.
The last mistaken, Ecstatic, accidental bliss, the blind Happiness that, bursting, leaves upon the palm Some soap and water-- It was so long ago, back in some Gay Twenties, Nineties, I don't know .
.
.
Today I miss My lovely daughter Away at school, my sons away at school, My husband away at work--I wish for them.
The dog, the maid, And I go through the sure unvarying days At home in them.
As I look at my life, I am afraid Only that it will change, as I am changing: I am afraid, this morning, of my face.
It looks at me From the rear-view mirror, with the eyes I hate, The smile I hate.
Its plain, lined look Of gray discovery Repeats to me: "You're old.
" That's all, I'm old.
And yet I'm afraid, as I was at the funeral I went to yesterday.
My friend's cold made-up face, granite among its flowers, Her undressed, operated-on, dressed body Were my face and body.
As I think of her and I hear her telling me How young I seem; I am exceptional; I think of all I have.
But really no one is exceptional, No one has anything, I'm anybody, I stand beside my grave Confused with my life, that is commonplace and solitary.
Written by Ogden Nash | Create an image from this poem

The Boy Who Laughed At Santa Claus

 In Baltimore there lived a boy.
He wasn't anybody's joy.
Although his name was Jabez Dawes, His character was full of flaws.
In school he never led his classes, He hid old ladies' reading glasses, His mouth was open when he chewed, And elbows to the table glued.
He stole the milk of hungry kittens, And walked through doors marked NO ADMITTANCE.
He said he acted thus because There wasn't any Santa Claus.
Another trick that tickled Jabez Was crying 'Boo' at little babies.
He brushed his teeth, they said in town, Sideways instead of up and down.
Yet people pardoned every sin, And viewed his antics with a grin, Till they were told by Jabez Dawes, 'There isn't any Santa Claus!' Deploring how he did behave, His parents swiftly sought their grave.
They hurried through the portals pearly, And Jabez left the funeral early.
Like whooping cough, from child to child, He sped to spread the rumor wild: 'Sure as my name is Jabez Dawes There isn't any Santa Claus!' Slunk like a weasel of a marten Through nursery and kindergarten, Whispering low to every tot, 'There isn't any, no there's not!' The children wept all Christmas eve And Jabez chortled up his sleeve.
No infant dared hang up his stocking For fear of Jabez' ribald mocking.
He sprawled on his untidy bed, Fresh malice dancing in his head, When presently with scalp-a-tingling, Jabez heard a distant jingling; He heard the crunch of sleigh and hoof Crisply alighting on the roof.
What good to rise and bar the door? A shower of soot was on the floor.
What was beheld by Jabez Dawes? The fireplace full of Santa Claus! Then Jabez fell upon his knees With cries of 'Don't,' and 'Pretty Please.
' He howled, 'I don't know where you read it, But anyhow, I never said it!' 'Jabez' replied the angry saint, 'It isn't I, it's you that ain't.
Although there is a Santa Claus, There isn't any Jabez Dawes!' Said Jabez then with impudent vim, 'Oh, yes there is, and I am him! Your magic don't scare me, it doesn't' And suddenly he found he wasn't! From grimy feet to grimy locks, Jabez became a Jack-in-the-box, An ugly toy with springs unsprung, Forever sticking out his tongue.
The neighbors heard his mournful squeal; They searched for him, but not with zeal.
No trace was found of Jabez Dawes, Which led to thunderous applause, And people drank a loving cup And went and hung their stockings up.
All you who sneer at Santa Claus, Beware the fate of Jabez Dawes, The saucy boy who mocked the saint.
Donner and Blitzen licked off his paint.
Written by T S (Thomas Stearns) Eliot | Create an image from this poem

Four Quartets 2: East Coker

 I

In my beginning is my end.
In succession Houses rise and fall, crumble, are extended, Are removed, destroyed, restored, or in their place Is an open field, or a factory, or a by-pass.
Old stone to new building, old timber to new fires, Old fires to ashes, and ashes to the earth Which is already flesh, fur and faeces, Bone of man and beast, cornstalk and leaf.
Houses live and die: there is a time for building And a time for living and for generation And a time for the wind to break the loosened pane And to shake the wainscot where the field-mouse trots And to shake the tattered arras woven with a silent motto.
In my beginning is my end.
Now the light falls Across the open field, leaving the deep lane Shuttered with branches, dark in the afternoon, Where you lean against a bank while a van passes, And the deep lane insists on the direction Into the village, in the electric heat Hypnotised.
In a warm haze the sultry light Is absorbed, not refracted, by grey stone.
The dahlias sleep in the empty silence.
Wait for the early owl.
In that open field If you do not come too close, if you do not come too close, On a summer midnight, you can hear the music Of the weak pipe and the little drum And see them dancing around the bonfire The association of man and woman In daunsinge, signifying matrimonie— A dignified and commodiois sacrament.
Two and two, necessarye coniunction, Holding eche other by the hand or the arm Whiche betokeneth concorde.
Round and round the fire Leaping through the flames, or joined in circles, Rustically solemn or in rustic laughter Lifting heavy feet in clumsy shoes, Earth feet, loam feet, lifted in country mirth Mirth of those long since under earth Nourishing the corn.
Keeping time, Keeping the rhythm in their dancing As in their living in the living seasons The time of the seasons and the constellations The time of milking and the time of harvest The time of the coupling of man and woman And that of beasts.
Feet rising and falling.
Eating and drinking.
Dung and death.
Dawn points, and another day Prepares for heat and silence.
Out at sea the dawn wind Wrinkles and slides.
I am here Or there, or elsewhere.
In my beginning.
II What is the late November doing With the disturbance of the spring And creatures of the summer heat, And snowdrops writhing under feet And hollyhocks that aim too high Red into grey and tumble down Late roses filled with early snow? Thunder rolled by the rolling stars Simulates triumphal cars Deployed in constellated wars Scorpion fights against the Sun Until the Sun and Moon go down Comets weep and Leonids fly Hunt the heavens and the plains Whirled in a vortex that shall bring The world to that destructive fire Which burns before the ice-cap reigns.
That was a way of putting it—not very satisfactory: A periphrastic study in a worn-out poetical fashion, Leaving one still with the intolerable wrestle With words and meanings.
The poetry does not matter.
It was not (to start again) what one had expected.
What was to be the value of the long looked forward to, Long hoped for calm, the autumnal serenity And the wisdom of age? Had they deceived us Or deceived themselves, the quiet-voiced elders, Bequeathing us merely a receipt for deceit? The serenity only a deliberate hebetude, The wisdom only the knowledge of dead secrets Useless in the darkness into which they peered Or from which they turned their eyes.
There is, it seems to us, At best, only a limited value In the knowledge derived from experience.
The knowledge imposes a pattern, and falsifies, For the pattern is new in every moment And every moment is a new and shocking Valuation of all we have been.
We are only undeceived Of that which, deceiving, could no longer harm.
In the middle, not only in the middle of the way But all the way, in a dark wood, in a bramble, On the edge of a grimpen, where is no secure foothold, And menaced by monsters, fancy lights, Risking enchantment.
Do not let me hear Of the wisdom of old men, but rather of their folly, Their fear of fear and frenzy, their fear of possession, Of belonging to another, or to others, or to God.
The only wisdom we can hope to acquire Is the wisdom of humility: humility is endless.
The houses are all gone under the sea.
The dancers are all gone under the hill.
III O dark dark dark.
They all go into the dark, The vacant interstellar spaces, the vacant into the vacant, The captains, merchant bankers, eminent men of letters, The generous patrons of art, the statesmen and the rulers, Distinguished civil servants, chairmen of many committees, Industrial lords and petty contractors, all go into the dark, And dark the Sun and Moon, and the Almanach de Gotha And the Stock Exchange Gazette, the Directory of Directors, And cold the sense and lost the motive of action.
And we all go with them, into the silent funeral, Nobody's funeral, for there is no one to bury.
I said to my soul, be still, and let the dark come upon you Which shall be the darkness of God.
As, in a theatre, The lights are extinguished, for the scene to be changed With a hollow rumble of wings, with a movement of darkness on darkness, And we know that the hills and the trees, the distant panorama And the bold imposing façade are all being rolled away— Or as, when an underground train, in the tube, stops too long between stations And the conversation rises and slowly fades into silence And you see behind every face the mental emptiness deepen Leaving only the growing terror of nothing to think about; Or when, under ether, the mind is conscious but conscious of nothing— I said to my soul, be still, and wait without hope For hope would be hope for the wrong thing; wait without love, For love would be love of the wrong thing; there is yet faith But the faith and the love and the hope are all in the waiting.
Wait without thought, for you are not ready for thought: So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing.
Whisper of running streams, and winter lightning.
The wild thyme unseen and the wild strawberry, The laughter in the garden, echoed ecstasy Not lost, but requiring, pointing to the agony Of death and birth.
You say I am repeating Something I have said before.
I shall say it again.
Shall I say it again? In order to arrive there, To arrive where you are, to get from where you are not, You must go by a way wherein there is no ecstasy.
In order to arrive at what you do not know You must go by a way which is the way of ignorance.
In order to possess what you do not possess You must go by the way of dispossession.
In order to arrive at what you are not You must go through the way in which you are not.
And what you do not know is the only thing you know And what you own is what you do not own And where you are is where you are not.
IV The wounded surgeon plies the steel That questions the distempered part; Beneath the bleeding hands we feel The sharp compassion of the healer's art Resolving the enigma of the fever chart.
Our only health is the disease If we obey the dying nurse Whose constant care is not to please But to remind of our, and Adam's curse, And that, to be restored, our sickness must grow worse.
The whole earth is our hospital Endowed by the ruined millionaire, Wherein, if we do well, we shall Die of the absolute paternal care That will not leave us, but prevents us everywhere.
The chill ascends from feet to knees, The fever sings in mental wires.
If to be warmed, then I must freeze And quake in frigid purgatorial fires Of which the flame is roses, and the smoke is briars.
The dripping blood our only drink, The bloody flesh our only food: In spite of which we like to think That we are sound, substantial flesh and blood— Again, in spite of that, we call this Friday good.
V So here I am, in the middle way, having had twenty years— Twenty years largely wasted, the years of l'entre deux guerres Trying to use words, and every attempt Is a wholly new start, and a different kind of failure Because one has only learnt to get the better of words For the thing one no longer has to say, or the way in which One is no longer disposed to say it.
And so each venture Is a new beginning, a raid on the inarticulate With shabby equipment always deteriorating In the general mess of imprecision of feeling, Undisciplined squads of emotion.
And what there is to conquer By strength and submission, has already been discovered Once or twice, or several times, by men whom one cannot hope To emulate—but there is no competition— There is only the fight to recover what has been lost And found and lost again and again: and now, under conditions That seem unpropitious.
But perhaps neither gain nor loss.
For us, there is only the trying.
The rest is not our business.
Home is where one starts from.
As we grow older The world becomes stranger, the pattern more complicated Of dead and living.
Not the intense moment Isolated, with no before and after, But a lifetime burning in every moment And not the lifetime of one man only But of old stones that cannot be deciphered.
There is a time for the evening under starlight, A time for the evening under lamplight (The evening with the photograph album).
Love is most nearly itself When here and now cease to matter.
Old men ought to be explorers Here or there does not matter We must be still and still moving Into another intensity For a further union, a deeper communion Through the dark cold and the empty desolation, The wave cry, the wind cry, the vast waters Of the petrel and the porpoise.
In my end is my beginning.
Written by Allen Ginsberg | Create an image from this poem

Death and Fame

 When I die
I don't care what happens to my body
throw ashes in the air, scatter 'em in East River
bury an urn in Elizabeth New Jersey, B'nai Israel Cemetery
But l want a big funeral
St.
Patrick's Cathedral, St.
Mark's Church, the largest synagogue in Manhattan First, there's family, brother, nephews, spry aged Edith stepmother 96, Aunt Honey from old Newark, Doctor Joel, cousin Mindy, brother Gene one eyed one ear'd, sister- in-law blonde Connie, five nephews, stepbrothers & sisters their grandchildren, companion Peter Orlovsky, caretakers Rosenthal & Hale, Bill Morgan-- Next, teacher Trungpa Vajracharya's ghost mind, Gelek Rinpoche, there Sakyong Mipham, Dalai Lama alert, chance visiting America, Satchitananda Swami Shivananda, Dehorahava Baba, Karmapa XVI, Dudjom Rinpoche, Katagiri & Suzuki Roshi's phantoms Baker, Whalen, Daido Loorie, Qwong, Frail White-haired Kapleau Roshis, Lama Tarchen -- Then, most important, lovers over half-century Dozens, a hundred, more, older fellows bald & rich young boys met naked recently in bed, crowds surprised to see each other, innumerable, intimate, exchanging memories "He taught me to meditate, now I'm an old veteran of the thousand day retreat --" "I played music on subway platforms, I'm straight but loved him he loved me" "I felt more love from him at 19 than ever from anyone" "We'd lie under covers gossip, read my poetry, hug & kiss belly to belly arms round each other" "I'd always get into his bed with underwear on & by morning my skivvies would be on the floor" "Japanese, always wanted take it up my bum with a master" "We'd talk all night about Kerouac & Cassady sit Buddhalike then sleep in his captain's bed.
" "He seemed to need so much affection, a shame not to make him happy" "I was lonely never in bed nude with anyone before, he was so gentle my stomach shuddered when he traced his finger along my abdomen nipple to hips-- " "All I did was lay back eyes closed, he'd bring me to come with mouth & fingers along my waist" "He gave great head" So there be gossip from loves of 1948, ghost of Neal Cassady commin- gling with flesh and youthful blood of 1997 and surprise -- "You too? But I thought you were straight!" "I am but Ginsberg an exception, for some reason he pleased me.
" "I forgot whether I was straight gay queer or funny, was myself, tender and affectionate to be kissed on the top of my head, my forehead throat heart & solar plexus, mid-belly.
on my prick, tickled with his tongue my behind" "I loved the way he'd recite 'But at my back allways hear/ time's winged chariot hurrying near,' heads together, eye to eye, on a pillow --" Among lovers one handsome youth straggling the rear "I studied his poetry class, 17 year-old kid, ran some errands to his walk-up flat, seduced me didn't want to, made me come, went home, never saw him again never wanted to.
.
.
" "He couldn't get it up but loved me," "A clean old man.
" "He made sure I came first" This the crowd most surprised proud at ceremonial place of honor-- Then poets & musicians -- college boys' grunge bands -- age-old rock star Beatles, faithful guitar accompanists, gay classical con- ductors, unknown high Jazz music composers, funky trum- peters, bowed bass & french horn black geniuses, folksinger fiddlers with dobro tamborine harmonica mandolin auto- harp pennywhistles & kazoos Next, artist Italian romantic realists schooled in mystic 60's India, Late fauve Tuscan painter-poets, Classic draftsman Massa- chusets surreal jackanapes with continental wives, poverty sketchbook gesso oil watercolor masters from American provinces Then highschool teachers, lonely Irish librarians, delicate biblio- philes, sex liberation troops nay armies, ladies of either sex "I met him dozens of times he never remembered my name I loved him anyway, true artist" "Nervous breakdown after menopause, his poetry humor saved me from suicide hospitals" "Charmant, genius with modest manners, washed sink, dishes my studio guest a week in Budapest" Thousands of readers, "Howl changed my life in Libertyville Illinois" "I saw him read Montclair State Teachers College decided be a poet-- " "He turned me on, I started with garage rock sang my songs in Kansas City" "Kaddish made me weep for myself & father alive in Nevada City" "Father Death comforted me when my sister died Boston l982" "I read what he said in a newsmagazine, blew my mind, realized others like me out there" Deaf & Dumb bards with hand signing quick brilliant gestures Then Journalists, editors's secretaries, agents, portraitists & photo- graphy aficionados, rock critics, cultured laborors, cultural historians come to witness the historic funeral Super-fans, poetasters, aging Beatnicks & Deadheads, autograph- hunters, distinguished paparazzi, intelligent gawkers Everyone knew they were part of 'History" except the deceased who never knew exactly what was happening even when I was alive February 22, 1997
Written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow | Create an image from this poem

A Psalm of Life

What the Heart of the Young Man Said to the Psalmist


TELL me not in mournful numbers  
Life is but an empty dream!¡ª 
For the soul is dead that slumbers  
And things are not what they seem.
Life is real! Life is earnest! 5 And the grave is not its goal; Dust thou art to dust returnest Was not spoken of the soul.
Not enjoyment and not sorrow Is our destined end or way; 10 But to act that each to-morrow Find us farther than to-day.
Art is long and Time is fleeting And our hearts though stout and brave Still like muffled drums are beating 15 Funeral marches to the grave.
In the world's broad field of battle In the bivouac of Life Be not like dumb driven cattle! Be a hero in the strife! 20 Trust no Future howe'er pleasant! Let the dead Past bury its dead! Act ¡ªact in the living Present! Heart within and God o'erhead! Lives of great men all remind us 25 We can make our lives sublime And departing leave behind us Footprints on the sands of time; Footprints that perhaps another Sailing o'er life's solemn main 30 A forlorn and shipwrecked brother Seeing shall take heart again.
Let us then be up and doing With a heart for any fate; Still achieving still pursuing 35 Learn to labor and to wait.
Written by Edgar Allan Poe | Create an image from this poem

The Conqueror Worm

Lo! 't is a gala night

Within the lonesome latter years!
An angel throng bewinged bedight

In veils and drowned in tears 
Sit in a theatre to see

A play of hopes and fears 
While the orchestra breathes fitfully

The music of the spheres.
Mimes in the form of God on high Mutter and mumble low And hither and thither fly - Mere puppets they who come and go At bidding of vast formless things That shift the scenery to and fro Flapping from out their Condor wings Invisible Woe! That motley drama! - oh be sure It shall not be forgot! With its Phantom chased for evermore By a crowd that seize it not Through a circle that ever returneth in To the self-same spot And much of Madness and more of Sin And Horror the soul of the plot.
But see amid the mimic rout A crawling shape intrude! A blood-red thing that writhes from out The scenic solitude! It writhes! - it writhes! - with mortal pangs The mimes become its food And the seraphs sob at vermin fangs In human gore imbued.
Out - out are the lights - out all! And over each quivering form The curtain a funeral pall Comes down with the rush of a storm And the angels all pallid and wan Uprising unveiling affirm That the play is the tragedy "Man" And its hero the Conqueror Worm.
Written by Alfred Lord Tennyson | Create an image from this poem

The Lady of Shalott

ON either side the river lie

Long fields of barley and of rye, 
That clothe the wold and meet the sky; 
And thro' the field the road runs by 
To many-tower'd Camelot; 5 
And up and down the people go, 
Gazing where the lilies blow 
Round an island there below, 
The island of Shalott.
Willows whiten, aspens quiver, 10 Little breezes dusk and shiver Thro' the wave that runs for ever By the island in the river Flowing down to Camelot.
Four gray walls, and four gray towers, 15 Overlook a space of flowers, And the silent isle imbowers The Lady of Shalott.
By the margin, willow-veil'd, Slide the heavy barges trail'd 20 By slow horses; and unhail'd The shallop flitteth silken-sail'd Skimming down to Camelot: But who hath seen her wave her hand? Or at the casement seen her stand? 25 Or is she known in all the land, The Lady of Shalott? Only reapers, reaping early In among the bearded barley, Hear a song that echoes cheerly 30 From the river winding clearly, Down to tower'd Camelot: And by the moon the reaper weary, Piling sheaves in uplands airy, Listening, whispers ''Tis the fairy 35 Lady of Shalott.
' PART II There she weaves by night and day A magic web with colours gay.
She has heard a whisper say, A curse is on her if she stay 40 To look down to Camelot.
She knows not what the curse may be, And so she weaveth steadily, And little other care hath she, The Lady of Shalott.
45 And moving thro' a mirror clear That hangs before her all the year, Shadows of the world appear.
There she sees the highway near Winding down to Camelot: 50 There the river eddy whirls, And there the surly village-churls, And the red cloaks of market girls, Pass onward from Shalott.
Sometimes a troop of damsels glad, 55 An abbot on an ambling pad, Sometimes a curly shepherd-lad, Or long-hair'd page in crimson clad, Goes by to tower'd Camelot; And sometimes thro' the mirror blue 60 The knights come riding two and two: She hath no loyal knight and true, The Lady of Shalott.
But in her web she still delights To weave the mirror's magic sights, 65 For often thro' the silent nights A funeral, with plumes and lights, And music, went to Camelot: Or when the moon was overhead, Came two young lovers lately wed; 70 'I am half sick of shadows,' said The Lady of Shalott.
PART III A bow-shot from her bower-eaves, He rode between the barley-sheaves, The sun came dazzling thro' the leaves, 75 And flamed upon the brazen greaves Of bold Sir Lancelot.
A red-cross knight for ever kneel'd To a lady in his shield, That sparkled on the yellow field, 80 Beside remote Shalott.
The gemmy bridle glitter'd free, Like to some branch of stars we see Hung in the golden Galaxy.
The bridle bells rang merrily 85 As he rode down to Camelot: And from his blazon'd baldric slung A mighty silver bugle hung, And as he rode his armour rung, Beside remote Shalott.
90 All in the blue unclouded weather Thick-jewell'd shone the saddle-leather, The helmet and the helmet-feather Burn'd like one burning flame together, As he rode down to Camelot.
95 As often thro' the purple night, Below the starry clusters bright, Some bearded meteor, trailing light, Moves over still Shalott.
His broad clear brow in sunlight glow'd; 100 On burnish'd hooves his war-horse trode; From underneath his helmet flow'd His coal-black curls as on he rode, As he rode down to Camelot.
From the bank and from the river 105 He flash'd into the crystal mirror, 'Tirra lirra,' by the river Sang Sir Lancelot.
She left the web, she left the loom, She made three paces thro' the room, 110 She saw the water-lily bloom, She saw the helmet and the plume, She look'd down to Camelot.
Out flew the web and floated wide; The mirror crack'd from side to side; 115 'The curse is come upon me!' cried The Lady of Shalott.
PART IV In the stormy east-wind straining, The pale yellow woods were waning, The broad stream in his banks complaining, 120 Heavily the low sky raining Over tower'd Camelot; Down she came and found a boat Beneath a willow left afloat, And round about the prow she wrote 125 The Lady of Shalott.
And down the river's dim expanse¡ª Like some bold seer in a trance, Seeing all his own mischance¡ª With a glassy countenance 130 Did she look to Camelot.
And at the closing of the day She loosed the chain, and down she lay; The broad stream bore her far away, The Lady of Shalott.
135 Lying, robed in snowy white That loosely flew to left and right¡ª The leaves upon her falling light¡ª Thro' the noises of the night She floated down to Camelot: 140 And as the boat-head wound along The willowy hills and fields among, They heard her singing her last song, The Lady of Shalott.
Heard a carol, mournful, holy, 145 Chanted loudly, chanted lowly, Till her blood was frozen slowly, And her eyes were darken'd wholly, Turn'd to tower'd Camelot; For ere she reach'd upon the tide 150 The first house by the water-side, Singing in her song she died, The Lady of Shalott.
Under tower and balcony, By garden-wall and gallery, 155 A gleaming shape she floated by, Dead-pale between the houses high, Silent into Camelot.
Out upon the wharfs they came, Knight and burgher, lord and dame, 160 And round the prow they read her name, The Lady of Shalott.
Who is this? and what is here? And in the lighted palace near Died the sound of royal cheer; 165 And they cross'd themselves for fear, All the knights at Camelot: But Lancelot mused a little space; He said, 'She has a lovely face; God in His mercy lend her grace, 170 The Lady of Shalott.
'
Written by Richard Brautigan | Create an image from this poem

Coffee

 Sometimes life is merely a matter of coffee and whatever intimacy a cup of coffee
affords.
I once read something about coffee.
The thing said that coffee is good for you; it stimulates all the organs.
I thought at first this was a strange way to put it, and not altogether pleasant, but as time goes by I have found out that it makes sense in its own limited way.
I'll tell you what I mean.
Yesterday morning I went over to see a girl.
I like her.
Whatever we had going for us is gone now.
She does not care for me.
I blew it and wish I hadn't.
I rang the door bell and waited on the stairs.
I could hear her moving around upstairs.
The way she moved I could tell that she was getting up.
I had awakened her.
Then she came down the stairs.
I could feel her approach in my stomach.
Every step she took stirred my feelings and lead indirectly to her opening the door.
She saw me and it did not please her.
Once upon a time it pleased her very much, last week.
I wonder where it went, pretending to be naive.
"I feel strange now," she said.
"I don't want to talk.
" "I want a cup of coffee," I said, because it was the last thing in the world that I wanted.
I said it in such a way that it sounded as if I were reading her a telegram from somebody else, a person who really wanted a cup of coffee, who cared about nothing else.
"All right," she said.
I followed her up the stairs.
It was ridiculous.
She had just put some clothes on.
They had not quite adjusted themselves to her body.
I could tell you about her ass.
We went into the kitchen.
She took a jar of instant coffee off the shelf and put it on the table.
She placed a cup next to it, and a spoon.
I looked at them.
She put a pan full of water on the stove and turned the gas on under it.
All this time she did not say a word.
Her clothes adjusted themselves to her body.
I won't.
She left the kitchen.
Then she went down the stairs and outside to see if she had any mail.
I didn't remember seeing any.
She came back up the stairs and went into another room.
She closed the door after her.
I looked at the pan full of water on the stove.
I knew that it would take a year before the water started to boil.
It was now October and there was too much water in the pan.
That was the problem.
I threw half of the water into the sink.
The water would boil faster now.
It would take only six months.
The house was quiet.
I looked out the back porch.
There were sacks of garbage there.
I stared at the garbage and tried to figure out what she had been eating lately by studying the containers and peelings and stuff.
I couldn't tell a thing.
It was now March.
The water started to boil.
I was pleased by this.
I looked at the table.
There was the jar of instant coffee, the empty cup and the spoon all laid out like a funeral service.
These are the things that you need to make a cup of coffee.
When I left the house ten minutes later, the cup of coffee safely inside me like a grave, I said, "Thank you for the cup of coffee.
" "You're welcome," she said.
Her voice came from behind a closed door.
Her voice sounded like another telegram.
It was really time for me to leave.
I spent the rest of the day not making coffee.
It was a comfort.
And evening came, I had dinner in a restaurant and went to a bar.
I had some drinks and talked to some people.
We were bar people and said bar things.
None of them remembered, and the bar closed.
It was two o'clock in the morning.
I had to go outside.
It was foggy and cold in San Francisco.
I wondered about the fog and felt very human and exposed.
I decided to go visit another girl.
We had not been friends for over a year.
Once we were very close.
I wondered what she was thinking about now.
I went to her house.
She didn't have a door bell.
That was a small victory.
One must keep track of all the small victories.
I do, anyway.
She answered the door.
She was holding a robe in front of her.
She didn't believe that she was seeing me.
"What do you want?" she said, believing now that she was seeing me.
I walked right into the house.
She turned and closed the door in such a way that I could see her profile.
She had not bothered to wrap the robe completely around herself.
She was just holding the robe in front of herself.
I could see an unbroken line of body running from her head to her feet.
It looked kind of strange.
Perhaps because it was so late at night.
"What do you want?" she said.
"I want a cup of coffee," I said.
What a funny thing to say, to say again for a cup of coffee was not what I really wanted.
She looked at me and wheeled slightly on the profile.
She was not pleased to see me.
Let the AMA tell us that time heals.
I looked at the unbroken line of her body.
"Why don't you have a cup of coffee with me?" I said.
"I feel like talking to you.
We haven't talked for a long time.
" She looked at me and wheeled slightly on the profile.
I stared at the unbroken line of her body.
This was not good.
"It's too late," she said.
"I have to get up in the morning.
If you want a cup of coffee, there's instant in the kitchen.
I have to go to bed.
" The kitchen light was on.
I looked down the hall into the kitchen.
I didn't feel like going into the kitchen and having another cup of coffee by myself.
I didn't feel like going to anybody else's house and asking them for a cup of coffee.
I realized that the day had been committed to a very strange pilgrimage, and I had not planned it that way.
At least the jar of instant coffee was not on the table, beside an empty white cup and a spoon.
They say in the spring a young man's fancy turns to thoughts of love.
Perhaps if he has enough time left over, his fancy can even make room for a cup of coffee.
-from Revenge of the Lawn
Written by Jonathan Swift | Create an image from this poem

A Satirical Elegy on the Death of a Late Famous General

His Grace! impossible! what dead!
Of old age too, and in his bed!
And could that mighty warrior fall?
And so inglorious, after all!
Well, since he's gone, no matter how,
The last loud trump must wake him now:
And, trust me, as the noise grows stronger,
He'd wish to sleep a little longer.
And could he be indeed so old As by the newspapers we're told? Threescore, I think, is pretty high; 'Twas time in conscience he should die.
This world he cumbered long enough; He burnt his candle to the snuff; And that's the reason, some folks think, He left behind so great a s---k.
Behold his funeral appears, Nor widow's sighs, nor orphan's tears, Wont at such times each heart to pierce, Attend the progress of his hearse.
But what of that, his friends may say, He had those honors in his day.
True to his profit and his pride, He made them weep before he died.
Come hither, all ye empty things, Ye bubbles raised by breath of kings; Who float upon the tide of state, Come hither, and behold your fate.
Let pride be taught by this rebuke, How very mean a thing's a Duke; From all his ill-got honors flung, Turned to that dirt from whence he sprung.
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