Best Famous Herring Poems

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

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

American Feuillage

 AMERICA always! 
Always our own feuillage! 
Always Florida’s green peninsula! Always the priceless delta of Louisiana! Always the
 cotton-fields of Alabama and Texas! 
Always California’s golden hills and hollows—and the silver mountains of New
 Mexico!
 Always soft-breath’d Cuba! 
Always the vast slope drain’d by the Southern Sea—inseparable with the slopes
 drain’d
 by the Eastern and Western Seas;
The area the eighty-third year of These States—the three and a half millions of
 square
 miles; 
The eighteen thousand miles of sea-coast and bay-coast on the main—the thirty
 thousand
 miles of
 river navigation, 
The seven millions of distinct families, and the same number of dwellings—Always
 these,
 and
 more, branching forth into numberless branches; 
Always the free range and diversity! always the continent of Democracy! 
Always the prairies, pastures, forests, vast cities, travelers, Kanada, the snows;
Always these compact lands—lands tied at the hips with the belt stringing the huge
 oval
 lakes; 
Always the West, with strong native persons—the increasing density there—the
 habitans,
 friendly, threatening, ironical, scorning invaders; 
All sights, South, North, East—all deeds, promiscuously done at all times, 
All characters, movements, growths—a few noticed, myriads unnoticed, 
Through Mannahatta’s streets I walking, these things gathering;
On interior rivers, by night, in the glare of pine knots, steamboats wooding up; 
Sunlight by day on the valley of the Susquehanna, and on the valleys of the Potomac and
 Rappahannock, and the valleys of the Roanoke and Delaware; 
In their northerly wilds, beasts of prey haunting the Adirondacks, the hills—or
 lapping
 the
 Saginaw waters to drink; 
In a lonesome inlet, a sheldrake, lost from the flock, sitting on the water, rocking
 silently; 
In farmers’ barns, oxen in the stable, their harvest labor done—they rest
 standing—they are too tired;
Afar on arctic ice, the she-walrus lying drowsily, while her cubs play around; 
The hawk sailing where men have not yet sail’d—the farthest polar sea, ripply,
 crystalline, open, beyond the floes; 
White drift spooning ahead, where the ship in the tempest dashes; 
On solid land, what is done in cities, as the bells all strike midnight together; 
In primitive woods, the sounds there also sounding—the howl of the wolf, the scream
 of the
 panther, and the hoarse bellow of the elk;
In winter beneath the hard blue ice of Moosehead Lake—in summer visible through the
 clear
 waters, the great trout swimming; 
In lower latitudes, in warmer air, in the Carolinas, the large black buzzard floating
 slowly,
 high
 beyond the tree tops, 
Below, the red cedar, festoon’d with tylandria—the pines and cypresses, growing
 out
 of the
 white sand that spreads far and flat; 
Rude boats descending the big Pedee—climbing plants, parasites, with color’d
 flowers
 and
 berries, enveloping huge trees, 
The waving drapery on the live oak, trailing long and low, noiselessly waved by the wind;
The camp of Georgia wagoners, just after dark—the supper-fires, and the cooking and
 eating
 by
 whites and negroes, 
Thirty or forty great wagons—the mules, cattle, horses, feeding from troughs, 
The shadows, gleams, up under the leaves of the old sycamore-trees—the
 flames—with
 the
 black smoke from the pitch-pine, curling and rising; 
Southern fishermen fishing—the sounds and inlets of North Carolina’s
 coast—the
 shad-fishery and the herring-fishery—the large sweep-seines—the windlasses on
 shore
 work’d by horses—the clearing, curing, and packing-houses; 
Deep in the forest, in piney woods, turpentine dropping from the incisions in the
 trees—There
 are the turpentine works,
There are the negroes at work, in good health—the ground in all directions is
 cover’d
 with
 pine straw: 
—In Tennessee and Kentucky, slaves busy in the coalings, at the forge, by the
 furnace-blaze, or
 at the corn-shucking; 
In Virginia, the planter’s son returning after a long absence, joyfully welcom’d
 and
 kiss’d by the aged mulatto nurse; 
On rivers, boatmen safely moor’d at night-fall, in their boats, under shelter of high
 banks, 
Some of the younger men dance to the sound of the banjo or fiddle—others sit on the
 gunwale,
 smoking and talking;
Late in the afternoon, the mocking-bird, the American mimic, singing in the Great Dismal
 Swamp—there are the greenish waters, the resinous odor, the plenteous moss, the
 cypress
 tree,
 and the juniper tree; 
—Northward, young men of Mannahatta—the target company from an excursion
 returning
 home at
 evening—the musket-muzzles all bear bunches of flowers presented by women; 
Children at play—or on his father’s lap a young boy fallen asleep, (how his lips
 move! how
 he smiles in his sleep!) 
The scout riding on horseback over the plains west of the Mississippi—he ascends a
 knoll
 and
 sweeps his eye around; 
California life—the miner, bearded, dress’d in his rude costume—the stanch
 California
 friendship—the sweet air—the graves one, in passing, meets, solitary, just
 aside the
 horsepath;
Down in Texas, the cotton-field, the negro-cabins—drivers driving mules or oxen
 before
 rude
 carts—cotton bales piled on banks and wharves; 
Encircling all, vast-darting, up and wide, the American Soul, with equal
 hemispheres—one
 Love,
 one Dilation or Pride; 
—In arriere, the peace-talk with the Iroquois, the aborigines—the calumet, the
 pipe
 of
 good-will, arbitration, and indorsement, 
The sachem blowing the smoke first toward the sun and then toward the earth, 
The drama of the scalp-dance enacted with painted faces and guttural exclamations,
The setting out of the war-party—the long and stealthy march, 
The single-file—the swinging hatchets—the surprise and slaughter of enemies; 
—All the acts, scenes, ways, persons, attitudes of These States—reminiscences,
 all
 institutions, 
All These States, compact—Every square mile of These States, without excepting a
 particle—you also—me also, 
Me pleas’d, rambling in lanes and country fields, Paumanok’s fields,
Me, observing the spiral flight of two little yellow butterflies, shuffling between each
 other,
 ascending high in the air; 
The darting swallow, the destroyer of insects—the fall traveler southward, but
 returning
 northward early in the spring; 
The country boy at the close of the day, driving the herd of cows, and shouting to them as
 they
 loiter to browse by the road-side; 
The city wharf—Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Charleston, New Orleans, San
 Francisco, 
The departing ships, when the sailors heave at the capstan;
—Evening—me in my room—the setting sun, 
The setting summer sun shining in my open window, showing the swarm of flies, suspended,
 balancing
 in the air in the centre of the room, darting athwart, up and down, casting swift shadows
 in
 specks
 on the opposite wall, where the shine is; 
The athletic American matron speaking in public to crowds of listeners; 
Males, females, immigrants, combinations—the copiousness—the individuality of
 The
 States,
 each for itself—the money-makers; 
Factories, machinery, the mechanical forces—the windlass, lever, pulley—All
 certainties,
The certainty of space, increase, freedom, futurity, 
In space, the sporades, the scatter’d islands, the stars—on the firm earth, the
 lands, my
 lands; 
O lands! all so dear to me—what you are, (whatever it is,) I become a part of that,
 whatever it
 is; 
Southward there, I screaming, with wings slowly flapping, with the myriads of gulls
 wintering
 along
 the coasts of Florida—or in Louisiana, with pelicans breeding; 
Otherways, there, atwixt the banks of the Arkansaw, the Rio Grande, the Nueces, the
 Brazos, the
 Tombigbee, the Red River, the Saskatchawan, or the Osage, I with the spring waters
 laughing
 and
 skipping and running;
Northward, on the sands, on some shallow bay of Paumanok, I, with parties of snowy herons
 wading in
 the wet to seek worms and aquatic plants; 
Retreating, triumphantly twittering, the king-bird, from piercing the crow with its bill,
 for
 amusement—And I triumphantly twittering; 
The migrating flock of wild geese alighting in autumn to refresh themselves—the body
 of
 the
 flock feed—the sentinels outside move around with erect heads watching, and are from
 time
 to
 time reliev’d by other sentinels—And I feeding and taking turns with the rest; 
In Kanadian forests, the moose, large as an ox, corner’d by hunters, rising
 desperately on
 his
 hind-feet, and plunging with his fore-feet, the hoofs as sharp as knives—And I,
 plunging
 at the
 hunters, corner’d and desperate; 
In the Mannahatta, streets, piers, shipping, store-houses, and the countless workmen
 working in
 the
 shops,
And I too of the Mannahatta, singing thereof—and no less in myself than the whole of
 the
 Mannahatta in itself, 
Singing the song of These, my ever united lands—my body no more inevitably united,
 part to
 part, and made one identity, any more than my lands are inevitably united, and made ONE
 IDENTITY; 
Nativities, climates, the grass of the great Pastoral Plains; 
Cities, labors, death, animals, products, war, good and evil—these me, 
These affording, in all their particulars, endless feuillage to me and to America, how can
 I do
 less
 than pass the clew of the union of them, to afford the like to you?
Whoever you are! how can I but offer you divine leaves, that you also be eligible as I am?

How can I but, as here, chanting, invite you for yourself to collect bouquets of the
 incomparable
 feuillage of These States?
Written by Carl Sandburg | Create an image from this poem

Wilderness

 THERE is a wolf in me … fangs pointed for tearing gashes … a red tongue for raw meat … and the hot lapping of blood—I keep this wolf because the wilderness gave it to me and the wilderness will not let it go.
There is a fox in me … a silver-gray fox … I sniff and guess … I pick things out of the wind and air … I nose in the dark night and take sleepers and eat them and hide the feathers … I circle and loop and double-cross.
There is a hog in me … a snout and a belly … a machinery for eating and grunting … a machinery for sleeping satisfied in the sun—I got this too from the wilderness and the wilderness will not let it go.
There is a fish in me … I know I came from saltblue water-gates … I scurried with shoals of herring … I blew waterspouts with porpoises … before land was … before the water went down … before Noah … before the first chapter of Genesis.
There is a baboon in me … clambering-clawed … dog-faced … yawping a galoot’s hunger … hairy under the armpits … here are the hawk-eyed hankering men … here are the blond and blue-eyed women … here they hide curled asleep waiting … ready to snarl and kill … ready to sing and give milk … waiting—I keep the baboon because the wilderness says so.
There is an eagle in me and a mockingbird … and the eagle flies among the Rocky Mountains of my dreams and fights among the Sierra crags of what I want … and the mockingbird warbles in the early forenoon before the dew is gone, warbles in the underbrush of my Chattanoogas of hope, gushes over the blue Ozark foothills of my wishes—And I got the eagle and the mockingbird from the wilderness.
O, I got a zoo, I got a menagerie, inside my ribs, under my bony head, under my red-valve heart—and I got something else: it is a man-child heart, a woman-child heart: it is a father and mother and lover: it came from God-Knows-Where: it is going to God-Knows-Where—For I am the keeper of the zoo: I say yes and no: I sing and kill and work: I am a pal of the world: I came from the wilderness.
Written by Elizabeth Bishop | Create an image from this poem

At the Fishhouses

Although it is a cold evening,
down by one of the fishhouses
an old man sits netting,
his net, in the gloaming almost invisible,
a dark purple-brown,
and his shuttle worn and polished.
The air smells so strong of codfish it makes one's nose run and one's eyes water.
The five fishhouses have steeply peaked roofs and narrow, cleated gangplanks slant up to storerooms in the gables for the wheelbarrows to be pushed up and down on.
All is silver: the heavy surface of the sea, swelling slowly as if considering spilling over, is opaque, but the silver of the benches, the lobster pots, and masts, scattered among the wild jagged rocks, is of an apparent translucence like the small old buildings with an emerald moss growing on their shoreward walls.
The big fish tubs are completely lined with layers of beautiful herring scales and the wheelbarrows are similarly plastered with creamy iridescent coats of mail, with small iridescent flies crawling on them.
Up on the little slope behind the houses, set in the sparse bright sprinkle of grass, is an ancient wooden capstan, cracked, with two long bleached handles and some melancholy stains, like dried blood, where the ironwork has rusted.
The old man accepts a Lucky Strike.
He was a friend of my grandfather.
We talk of the decline in the population and of codfish and herring while he waits for a herring boat to come in.
There are sequins on his vest and on his thumb.
He has scraped the scales, the principal beauty, from unnumbered fish with that black old knife, the blade of which is almost worn away.
Down at the water's edge, at the place where they haul up the boats, up the long ramp descending into the water, thin silver tree trunks are laid horizontally across the gray stones, down and down at intervals of four or five feet.
Cold dark deep and absolutely clear, element bearable to no mortal, to fish and to seals .
.
.
One seal particularly I have seen here evening after evening.
He was curious about me.
He was interested in music; like me a believer in total immersion, so I used to sing him Baptist hymns.
I also sang "A Mighty Fortress Is Our God.
" He stood up in the water and regarded me steadily, moving his head a little.
Then he would disappear, then suddenly emerge almost in the same spot, with a sort of shrug as if it were against his better judgment.
Cold dark deep and absolutely clear, the clear gray icy water .
.
.
Back, behind us, the dignified tall firs begin.
Bluish, associating with their shadows, a million Christmas trees stand waiting for Christmas.
The water seems suspended above the rounded gray and blue-gray stones.
I have seen it over and over, the same sea, the same, slightly, indifferently swinging above the stones, icily free above the stones, above the stones and then the world.
If you should dip your hand in, your wrist would ache immediately, your bones would begin to ache and your hand would burn as if the water were a transmutation of fire that feeds on stones and burns with a dark gray flame.
If you tasted it, it would first taste bitter, then briny, then surely burn your tongue.
It is like what we imagine knowledge to be: dark, salt, clear, moving, utterly free, drawn from the cold hard mouth of the world, derived from the rocky breasts forever, flowing and drawn, and since our knowledge is historical, flowing, and flown.
Written by Spike Milligan | Create an image from this poem

Contagion

 Elephants are contagious!
Be careful how you tread.
An Elephant that's been trodden on Should be confined to bed! Leopards are contagious too.
Be careful tiny tots.
They don't give you a temperature But lots and lots - of spots.
The Herring is a lucky fish From all disease inured.
Should he be ill when caught at sea; Immediately - he's cured!
Written by Delmore Schwartz | Create an image from this poem

Occasional Poems

 I Christmas Poem for Nancy

Noel, Noel
We live and we die
Between heaven and hell
Between the earth and the sky
And all shall be well
And all shall be unwell
And once again! all shall once again!
 All shall be well
By the ringing and the swinging
 of the great beautiful holiday bell
Of Noel! Noel!

II Salute Valentine

I'll drink to thee only with my eyes
When two are three and four,
And guzzle reality's rise and cries
And praise the truth beyond surmise
When small shots shout: More! More! More! More!

III Rabbi to Preach

Rabbi Robert Raaba will preach
 on "An Eye for an Eye"
 (an I for an I?)
(Two weeks from this week: "On the Sacred Would")
At Temple Sholem on Lake Shore Drive
- Pavel Slavensky will chant the liturgical responses
And William Leon, having now thirteen years
 will thank his parents that he exists
To celebrate his birthday of manhood, his chocolate 
Bar Mitzvah, his yum-yum kippered herring, his Russian
 Corona.
Written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow | Create an image from this poem

Hiawathas Fasting

 You shall hear how Hiawatha 
Prayed and fasted in the forest, 
Not for greater skill in hunting, 
Not for greater craft in fishing, 
Not for triumphs in the battle, 
And renown among the warriors, 
But for profit of the people, 
For advantage of the nations.
First he built a lodge for fasting, Built a wigwam in the forest, By the shining Big-Sea-Water, In the blithe and pleasant Spring-time, In the Moon of Leaves he built it, And, with dreams and visions many, Seven whole days and nights he fasted.
On the first day of his fasting Through the leafy woods he wandered; Saw the deer start from the thicket, Saw the rabbit in his burrow, Heard the pheasant, Bena, drumming, Heard the squirrel, Adjidaumo, Rattling in his hoard of acorns, Saw the pigeon, the Omeme, Building nests among the pinetrees, And in flocks the wild-goose, Wawa, Flying to the fen-lands northward, Whirring, wailing far above him.
"Master of Life!" he cried, desponding, "Must our lives depend on these things?" On the next day of his fasting By the river's brink he wandered, Through the Muskoday, the meadow, Saw the wild rice, Mahnomonee, Saw the blueberry, Meenahga, And the strawberry, Odahmin, And the gooseberry, Shahbomin, And the grape.
vine, the Bemahgut, Trailing o'er the alder-branches, Filling all the air with fragrance! "Master of Life!" he cried, desponding, "Must our lives depend on these things?" On the third day of his fasting By the lake he sat and pondered, By the still, transparent water; Saw the sturgeon, Nahma, leaping, Scattering drops like beads of wampum, Saw the yellow perch, the Sahwa, Like a sunbeam in the water, Saw the pike, the Maskenozha, And the herring, Okahahwis, And the Shawgashee, the crawfish! "Master of Life!" he cried, desponding, "Must our lives depend on these things?" On the fourth day of his fasting In his lodge he lay exhausted; From his couch of leaves and branches Gazing with half-open eyelids, Full of shadowy dreams and visions, On the dizzy, swimming landscape, On the gleaming of the water, On the splendor of the sunset.
And he saw a youth approaching, Dressed in garments green and yellow, Coming through the purple twilight, Through the splendor of the sunset; Plumes of green bent o'er his forehead, And his hair was soft and golden.
Standing at the open doorway, Long he looked at Hiawatha, Looked with pity and compassion On his wasted form and features, And, in accents like the sighing Of the South-Wind in the tree-tops, Said he, "O my Hiawatha! All your prayers are heard in heaven, For you pray not like the others; Not for greater skill in hunting, Not for greater craft in fishing, Not for triumph in the battle, Nor renown among the warriors, But for profit of the people, For advantage of the nations.
"From the Master of Life descending, I, the friend of man, Mondamin, Come to warn you and instruct you, How by struggle and by labor You shall gain what you have prayed for.
Rise up from your bed of branches, Rise, O youth, and wrestle with me!" Faint with famine, Hiawatha Started from his bed of branches, From the twilight of his wigwam Forth into the flush of sunset Came, and wrestled with Mondamin; At his touch he felt new courage Throbbing in his brain and bosom, Felt new life and hope and vigor Run through every nerve and fibre.
So they wrestled there together In the glory of the sunset, And the more they strove and struggled, Stronger still grew Hiawatha; Till the darkness fell around them, And the heron, the Shuh-shuh-gah, From her nest among the pine-trees, Gave a cry of lamentation, Gave a scream of pain and famine.
"'T Is enough!" then said Mondamin, Smiling upon Hiawatha, "But tomorrow, when the sun sets, I will come again to try you.
" And he vanished, and was seen not; Whether sinking as the rain sinks, Whether rising as the mists rise, Hiawatha saw not, knew not, Only saw that he had vanished, Leaving him alone and fainting, With the misty lake below him, And the reeling stars above him.
On the morrow and the next day, When the sun through heaven descending, Like a red and burning cinder From the hearth of the Great Spirit, Fell into the western waters, Came Mondamin for the trial, For the strife with Hiawatha; Came as silent as the dew comes, From the empty air appearing, Into empty air returning, Taking shape when earth it touches, But invisible to all men In its coming and its going.
Thrice they wrestled there together In the glory of the sunset, Till the darkness fell around them, Till the heron, the Shuh-shuh-gah, From her nest among the pine-trees, Uttered her loud cry of famine, And Mondamin paused to listen.
Tall and beautiful he stood there, In his garments green and yellow; To and fro his plumes above him, Waved and nodded with his breathing, And the sweat of the encounter Stood like drops of dew upon him.
And he cried, "O Hiawatha! Bravely have you wrestled with me, Thrice have wrestled stoutly with me, And the Master of Life, who sees us, He will give to you the triumph!" Then he smiled, and said: "To-morrow Is the last day of your conflict, Is the last day of your fasting.
You will conquer and o'ercome me; Make a bed for me to lie in, Where the rain may fall upon me, Where the sun may come and warm me; Strip these garments, green and yellow, Strip this nodding plumage from me, Lay me in the earth, and make it Soft and loose and light above me.
"Let no hand disturb my slumber, Let no weed nor worm molest me, Let not Kahgahgee, the raven, Come to haunt me and molest me, Only come yourself to watch me, Till I wake, and start, and quicken, Till I leap into the sunshine" And thus saying, he departed; Peacefully slept Hiawatha, But he heard the Wawonaissa, Heard the whippoorwill complaining, Perched upon his lonely wigwam; Heard the rushing Sebowisha, Heard the rivulet rippling near him, Talking to the darksome forest; Heard the sighing of the branches, As they lifted and subsided At the passing of the night-wind, Heard them, as one hears in slumber Far-off murmurs, dreamy whispers: Peacefully slept Hiawatha.
On the morrow came Nokomis, On the seventh day of his fasting, Came with food for Hiawatha, Came imploring and bewailing, Lest his hunger should o'ercome him, Lest his fasting should be fatal.
But he tasted not, and touched not, Only said to her, "Nokomis, Wait until the sun is setting, Till the darkness falls around us, Till the heron, the Shuh-shuh-gah, Crying from the desolate marshes, Tells us that the day is ended.
" Homeward weeping went Nokomis, Sorrowing for her Hiawatha, Fearing lest his strength should fail him, Lest his fasting should be fatal.
He meanwhile sat weary waiting For the coming of Mondamin, Till the shadows, pointing eastward, Lengthened over field and forest, Till the sun dropped from the heaven, Floating on the waters westward, As a red leaf in the Autumn Falls and floats upon the water, Falls and sinks into its bosom.
And behold! the young Mondamin, With his soft and shining tresses, With his garments green and yellow, With his long and glossy plumage, Stood and beckoned at the doorway.
And as one in slumber walking, Pale and haggard, but undaunted, From the wigwam Hiawatha Came and wrestled with Mondamin.
Round about him spun the landscape, Sky and forest reeled together, And his strong heart leaped within him, As the sturgeon leaps and struggles In a net to break its meshes.
Like a ring of fire around him Blazed and flared the red horizon, And a hundred suns seemed looking At the combat of the wrestlers.
Suddenly upon the greensward All alone stood Hiawatha, Panting with his wild exertion, Palpitating with the struggle; And before him breathless, lifeless, Lay the youth, with hair dishevelled, Plumage torn, and garments tattered, Dead he lay there in the sunset.
And victorious Hiawatha Made the grave as he commanded, Stripped the garments from Mondamin, Stripped his tattered plumage from him, Laid him in the earth, and made it Soft and loose and light above him; And the heron, the Shuh-shuh-gah, From the melancholy moorlands, Gave a cry of lamentation, Gave a cry of pain and anguish! Homeward then went Hiawatha To the lodge of old Nokomis, And the seven days of his fasting Were accomplished and completed.
But the place was not forgotten Where he wrestled with Mondamin; Nor forgotten nor neglected Was the grave where lay Mondamin, Sleeping in the rain and sunshine, Where his scattered plumes and garments Faded in the rain and sunshine.
Day by day did Hiawatha Go to wait and watch beside it; Kept the dark mould soft above it, Kept it clean from weeds and insects, Drove away, with scoffs and shoutings, Kahgahgee, the king of ravens.
Till at length a small green feather From the earth shot slowly upward, Then another and another, And before the Summer ended Stood the maize in all its beauty, With its shining robes about it, And its long, soft, yellow tresses; And in rapture Hiawatha Cried aloud, "It is Mondamin! Yes, the friend of man, Mondamin!" Then he called to old Nokomis And Iagoo, the great boaster, Showed them where the maize was growing, Told them of his wondrous vision, Of his wrestling and his triumph, Of this new gift to the nations, Which should be their food forever.
And still later, when the Autumn Changed the long, green leaves to yellow, And the soft and juicy kernels Grew like wampum hard and yellow, Then the ripened ears he gathered, Stripped the withered husks from off them, As he once had stripped the wrestler, Gave the first Feast of Mondamin, And made known unto the people This new gift of the Great Spirit.
Written by Andrew Marvell | Create an image from this poem

The Character Of Holland

 Holland, that scarce deserves the name of Land,
As but th'Off-scouring of the Brittish Sand;
And so much Earth as was contributed
By English Pilots when they heav'd the Lead;
Or what by th' Oceans slow alluvion fell,
Of shipwrackt Cockle and the Muscle-shell;
This indigested vomit of the Sea
Fell to the Dutch by just Propriety.
Glad then, as Miners that have found the Oar, They with mad labour fish'd the Land to Shoar; And div'd as desperately for each piece Of Earth, as if't had been of Ambergreece; Collecting anxiously small Loads of Clay, Less then what building Swallows bear away; Transfursing into them their Dunghil Soul.
How did they rivet, with Gigantick Piles, Thorough the Center their new-catched Miles; And to the stake a strugling Country bound, Where barking Waves still bait the forced Ground; Building their watry Babel far more high To reach the Sea, then those to scale the Sky.
Yet still his claim the Injur'd Ocean laid, And oft at Leap-frog ore their Steeples plaid: As if on purpose it on Land had come To shew them what's their Mare Liberum.
A daily deluge over them does boyl; The Earth and Water play at Level-coyl; The Fish oft-times the Burger dispossest, And sat not as a Meat but as a Guest; And oft the Tritons and the Sea-Nymphs saw Whole sholes of Dutch serv'd up for Cabillan; Or as they over the new Level rang'd For pickled Herring, pickled Heeren chang'd.
Nature, it seem'd, asham'd of her mistake, Would throw their land away at Duck and Drake.
Therefore Necessity, that first made Kings, Something like Government among them brings.
For as with Pygmees who best kills the Crane, Among the hungry he that treasures Grain, Among the blind the one-ey'd blinkard reigns, So rules among the drowned he that draines.
Not who first see the rising Sun commands, But who could first discern the rising Lands.
Who best could know to pump an Earth so leak Him they their Lord and Country's Father speak.
To make a Bank was a great Plot of State; Invent a Shov'l and be a Magistrate.
Hence some small Dyke-grave unperceiv'd invades The Pow'r, and grows as 'twere a King of Spades.
But for less envy some Joynt States endures, Who look like a Commission of the Sewers.
For these Half-anders, half wet, and half dry, Nor bear strict service, nor pure Liberty.
'Tis probable Religion after this Came next in order; which they could not miss.
How could the Dutch but be converted, when Th' Apostles were so many Fishermen? Besides the Waters of themselves did rise, And, as their Land, so them did re-baptise.
Though Herring for their God few voices mist, And Poor-John to have been th' Evangelist.
Faith, that could never Twins conceive before, Never so fertile, spawn'd upon this shore: More pregnant then their Marg'ret, that laid down For Hans-in-Kelder of a whole Hans-Town.
Sure when Religion did it self imbark, And from the east would Westward steer its Ark, It struck, and splitting on this unknown ground, Each one thence pillag'd the first piece he found: Hence Amsterdam, Turk-Christian-Pagan-Jew, Staple of Sects and Mint of Schisme grew; That Bank of Conscience, where not one so strange Opinion but finds Credit, and Exchange.
In vain for Catholicks our selves we bear; The Universal Church is onely there.
Nor can Civility there want for Tillage, Where wisely for their Court they chose a Village.
How fit a Title clothes their Governours, Themselves the Hogs as all their Subjects Bores Let it suffice to give their Country Fame That it had one Civilis call'd by Name, Some Fifteen hundred and more years ago, But surely never any that was so.
See but their Mairmaids with their Tails of Fish, Reeking at Church over the Chafing-Dish.
A vestal Turf enshrin'd in Earthen Ware Fumes through the loop-holes of wooden Square.
Each to the Temple with these Altars tend, But still does place it at her Western End: While the fat steam of Female Sacrifice Fills the Priests Nostrils and puts out his Eyes.
Or what a Spectacle the Skipper gross, A Water-Hercules Butter-Coloss, Tunn'd up with all their sev'ral Towns of Beer; When Stagg'ring upon some Land, Snick and Sneer, They try, like Statuaries, if they can, Cut out each others Athos to a Man: And carve in their large Bodies, where they please, The Armes of the United Provinces.
But when such Amity at home is show'd; What then are their confederacies abroad? Let this one court'sie witness all the rest; When their hole Navy they together prest, Not Christian Captives to redeem from Bands: Or intercept the Western golden Sands: No, but all ancient Rights and Leagues must vail, Rather then to the English strike their sail; to whom their weather-beaten Province ows It self, when as some greater Vessal tows A Cock-boat tost with the same wind and fate; We buoy'd so often up their Sinking State.
Was this Jus Belli & Pacis; could this be Cause why their Burgomaster of the Sea Ram'd with Gun-powder, flaming with Brand wine, Should raging hold his Linstock to the Mine? While, with feign'd Treaties, they invade by stealth Our sore new circumcised Common wealth.
Yet of his vain Attempt no more he sees Then of Case-Butter shot and Bullet-Cheese.
And the torn Navy stagger'd with him home, While the Sea laught it self into a foam, 'Tis true since that (as fortune kindly sports,) A wholesome Danger drove us to our ports.
While half their banish'd keels the Tempest tost, Half bound at home in Prison to the frost: That ours mean time at leisure might careen, In a calm Winter, under Skies Serene.
As the obsequious Air and waters rest, Till the dear Halcyon hatch out all its nest.
The Common wealth doth by its losses grow; And, like its own Seas, only Ebbs to flow.
Besides that very Agitation laves, And purges out the corruptible waves.
And now again our armed Bucentore Doth yearly their Sea-Nuptials restore.
And how the Hydra of seaven Provinces Is strangled by our Infant Hercules.
Their Tortoise wants its vainly stretched neck; Their Navy all our Conquest or our Wreck: Or, what is left, their Carthage overcome Would render fain unto our better Rome.
Unless our Senate, lest their Youth disuse, The War, (but who would) Peace if begg'd refuse.
For now of nothing may our State despair, Darling of Heaven, and of Men the Care; Provided that they be what they have been, Watchful abroad, and honest still within.
For while our Neptune doth a Trident shake, Blake, Steel'd with those piercing Heads, Dean, Monck and And while Jove governs in the highest Sphere, Vainly in Hell let Pluto domineer.
Written by Eugene Field | Create an image from this poem

Dutch lullaby

 Wynken, Blynken, and Nod one night
Sailed off in a wooden shoe,--
Sailed on a river of misty light
Into a sea of dew.
"Where are you going, and what do you wish?" The old moon asked the three.
"We have come to fish for the herring-fish That live in this beautiful sea; Nets of silver and gold have we," Said Wynken, Blynken, And Nod.
The old moon laughed and sung a song, As they rocked in the wooden shoe; And the wind that sped them all night long Ruffled the waves of dew; The little stars were the herring-fish That lived in the beautiful sea.
"Now cast your nets wherever you wish, But never afeard are we!" So cried the stars to the fishermen three, Wynken, Blynken, And Nod.
All night long their nets they threw For the fish in the twinkling foam, Then down from the sky came the wooden shoe, Bringing the fishermen home; 'T was all so pretty a sail, it seemed As if it could not be; And some folk thought 't was a dream they'd dreamed Of sailing that beautiful sea; But I shall name you the fishermen three: Wynken, Blynken, And Nod.
Wynken and Blynken are two little eyes, And Nod is a little head, And the wooden shoe that sailed the skies Is a wee one's trundle-bed; So shut your eyes while Mother sings Of wonderful sights that be, And you shall see the beautiful things As you rock on the misty sea Where the old shoe rocked the fishermen three,-- Wynken, Blynken, And Nod.
Written by Heather McHugh | Create an image from this poem

Ghoti

 The gh comes from rough, the o from women's,
and the ti from unmentionables--presto:
there's the perfect English instance of
unlovablility--complete

with fish.
Our wish was for a better revelation: for a correspondence-- if not lexical, at least phonetic; if not with Madonna then at least with Mary Magdalene.
Instead we get the sheer opacity of things: an accident of incident, a tracery of history: the dung inside the dungarees, the jock strap for a codpiece, and the ruined patches bordering the lip.
One boot (high-heeled) could make Sorrento sorry, Capri corny, even little Italy a little ill.
Low-cased, a lover looks one over--eggs without ease, semen without oars-- and there, on board, tricked out in fur and fin, the landlubber who wound up captain.
Where's it going, this our (H)MS? More west? More forth? The quest itself is at a long and short behest: it's wound in winds.
(Take rough from seas, and women from the shore, unmentionables out of mind).
We're here for something rich, beyond appearances.
What do I mean? (What can one say?) A minute of millenium, unculminating stint, a stonishment: my god, what's utterable? Gargah, gatto, goat.
Us animals is made to seine and trawl and drag and gaff our way across the earth.
The earth, it rolls.
We dig, lay lines, book arguably perfect passages.
But earth remains untranslated, unplumbed.
A million herring run where we catch here a freckle, there a pock; the depths to which things live words only glint at.
Terns in flight work up what fond minds might call syntax.
As for that semantic antic in the distance, is it whiskered fish, finned cat? Don't settle just for two.
Some bottomographies are brooded over, and some skies swum through.
.
.
Written by Carl Sandburg | Create an image from this poem

House

 TWO Swede families live downstairs and an Irish policeman upstairs, and an old soldier, Uncle Joe.
Two Swede boys go upstairs and see Joe.
His wife is dead, his only son is dead, and his two daughters in Missouri and Texas don’t want him around.
The boys and Uncle Joe crack walnuts with a hammer on the bottom of a flatiron while the January wind howls and the zero air weaves laces on the window glass.
Joe tells the Swede boys all about Chickamauga and Chattanooga, how the Union soldiers crept in rain somewhere a dark night and ran forward and killed many Rebels, took flags, held a hill, and won a victory told about in the histories in school.
Joe takes a piece of carpenter’s chalk, draws lines on the floor and piles stove wood to show where six regiments were slaughtered climbing a slope.
“Here they went” and “Here they went,” says Joe, and the January wind howls and the zero air weaves laces on the window glass.
The two Swede boys go downstairs with a big blur of guns, men, and hills in their heads.
They eat herring and potatoes and tell the family war is a wonder and soldiers are a wonder.
One breaks out with a cry at supper: I wish we had a war now and I could be a soldier.
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