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Best Famous Identity Poems

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

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Poems are below...


12
Written by Emily Dickinson | Create an image from this poem

This Consciousness that is aware

 This Consciousness that is aware
Of Neighbors and the Sun
Will be the one aware of Death
And that itself alone

Is traversing the interval
Experience between
And most profound experiment
Appointed unto Men --

How adequate unto itself
Its properties shall be
Itself unto itself and none
Shall make discovery.
Adventure most unto itself The Soul condemned to be -- Attended by a single Hound Its own identity.
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 Adrienne Rich | Create an image from this poem

Stepping Backward

 Good-by to you whom I shall see tomorrow,
Next year and when I'm fifty; still good-by.
This is the leave we never really take.
If you were dead or gone to live in China The event might draw your stature in my mind.
I should be forced to look upon you whole The way we look upon the things we lose.
We see each other daily and in segments; Parting might make us meet anew, entire.
You asked me once, and I could give no answer, How far dare we throw off the daily ruse, Official treacheries of face and name, Have out our true identity? I could hazard An answer now, if you are asking still.
We are a small and lonely human race Showing no sign of mastering solitude Out on this stony planet that we farm.
The most that we can do for one another Is let our blunders and our blind mischances Argue a certain brusque abrupt compassion.
We might as well be truthful.
I should say They're luckiest who know they're not unique; But only art or common interchange Can teach that kindest truth.
And even art Can only hint at what disturbed a Melville Or calmed a Mahler's frenzy; you and I Still look from separate windows every morning Upon the same white daylight in the square.
And when we come into each other's rooms Once in awhile, encumbered and self-conscious, We hover awkwardly about the threshold And usually regret the visit later.
Perhaps the harshest fact is, only lovers-- And once in a while two with the grace of lovers-- Unlearn that clumsiness of rare intrusion And let each other freely come and go.
Most of us shut too quickly into cupboards The margin-scribbled books, the dried geranium, The penny horoscope, letters never mailed.
The door may open, but the room is altered; Not the same room we look from night and day.
It takes a late and slowly blooming wisdom To learn that those we marked infallible Are tragi-comic stumblers like ourselves.
The knowledge breeds reserve.
We walk on tiptoe, Demanding more than we know how to render.
Two-edged discovery hunts us finally down; The human act will make us real again, And then perhaps we come to know each other.
Let us return to imperfection's school.
No longer wandering after Plato's ghost, Seeking the garden where all fruit is flawless, We must at last renounce that ultimate blue And take a walk in other kinds of weather.
The sourest apple makes its wry announcement That imperfection has a certain tang.
Maybe we shouldn't turn our pockets out To the last crumb or lingering bit of fluff, But all we can confess of what we are Has in it the defeat of isolation-- If not our own, then someone's, anyway.
So I come back to saying this good-by, A sort of ceremony of my own, This stepping backward for another glance.
Perhaps you'll say we need no ceremony, Because we know each other, crack and flaw, Like two irregular stones that fit together.
Yet still good-by, because we live by inches And only sometimes see the full dimension.
Your stature's one I want to memorize-- Your whole level of being, to impose On any other comers, man or woman.
I'd ask them that they carry what they are With your particular bearing, as you wear The flaws that make you both yourself and human.
Written by Walt Whitman | Create an image from this poem

So Long

 1
TO conclude—I announce what comes after me; 
I announce mightier offspring, orators, days, and then, for the present, depart.
I remember I said, before my leaves sprang at all, I would raise my voice jocund and strong, with reference to consummations.
When America does what was promis’d, When there are plentiful athletic bards, inland and seaboard, When through These States walk a hundred millions of superb persons, When the rest part away for superb persons, and contribute to them, When breeds of the most perfect mothers denote America, Then to me and mine our due fruition.
I have press’d through in my own right, I have sung the Body and the Soul—War and Peace have I sung, And the songs of Life and of Birth—and shown that there are many births: I have offer’d my style to everyone—I have journey’d with confident step; While my pleasure is yet at the full, I whisper, So long! And take the young woman’s hand, and the young man’s hand, for the last time.
2 I announce natural persons to arise; I announce justice triumphant; I announce uncompromising liberty and equality; I announce the justification of candor, and the justification of pride.
I announce that the identity of These States is a single identity only; I announce the Union more and more compact, indissoluble; I announce splendors and majesties to make all the previous politics of the earth insignificant.
I announce adhesiveness—I say it shall be limitless, unloosen’d; I say you shall yet find the friend you were looking for.
I announce a man or woman coming—perhaps you are the one, (So long!) I announce the great individual, fluid as Nature, chaste, affectionate, compassionate, fully armed.
I announce a life that shall be copious, vehement, spiritual, bold; I announce an end that shall lightly and joyfully meet its translation; I announce myriads of youths, beautiful, gigantic, sweet-blooded; I announce a race of splendid and savage old men.
3 O thicker and faster! (So long!) O crowding too close upon me; I foresee too much—it means more than I thought; It appears to me I am dying.
Hasten throat, and sound your last! Salute me—salute the days once more.
Peal the old cry once more.
Screaming electric, the atmosphere using, At random glancing, each as I notice absorbing, Swiftly on, but a little while alighting, Curious envelop’d messages delivering, Sparkles hot, seed ethereal, down in the dirt dropping, Myself unknowing, my commission obeying, to question it never daring, To ages, and ages yet, the growth of the seed leaving, To troops out of me, out of the army, the war arising—they the tasks I have set promulging, To women certain whispers of myself bequeathing—their affection me more clearly explaining, To young men my problems offering—no dallier I—I the muscle of their brains trying, So I pass—a little time vocal, visible, contrary; Afterward, a melodious echo, passionately bent for—(death making me really undying;) The best of me then when no longer visible—for toward that I have been incessantly preparing.
What is there more, that I lag and pause, and crouch extended with unshut mouth? Is there a single final farewell? 4 My songs cease—I abandon them; From behind the screen where I hid I advance personally, solely to you.
Camerado! This is no book; Who touches this, touches a man; (Is it night? Are we here alone?) It is I you hold, and who holds you; I spring from the pages into your arms—decease calls me forth.
O how your fingers drowse me! Your breath falls around me like dew—your pulse lulls the tympans of my ears; I feel immerged from head to foot; Delicious—enough.
Enough, O deed impromptu and secret! Enough, O gliding present! Enough, O summ’d-up past! 5 Dear friend, whoever you are, take this kiss, I give it especially to you—Do not forget me; I feel like one who has done work for the day, to retire awhile; I receive now again of my many translations—from my avataras ascending—while others doubtless await me; An unknown sphere, more real than I dream’d, more direct, darts awakening rays about me—So long! Remember my words—I may again return, I love you—I depart from materials; I am as one disembodied, triumphant, dead.
Written by A R Ammons | Create an image from this poem

Identity

 1) An individual spider web
identifies a species:

an order of instinct prevails
 through all accidents of circumstance,
  though possibility is
high along the peripheries of
spider
   webs:
   you can go all
  around the fringing attachments

  and find
disorder ripe,
entropy rich, high levels of random,
 numerous occasions of accident:

2) the possible settings
of a web are infinite:

 how does
the spider keep
  identity
 while creating the web
 in a particular place?

 how and to what extent
  and by what modes of chemistry
  and control?

it is
wonderful
 how things work: I will tell you
   about it
   because

it is interesting
and because whatever is
moves in weeds
 and stars and spider webs
and known
   is loved:
  in that love,
  each of us knowing it,
  I love you,

for it moves within and beyond us,
  sizzles in
to winter grasses, darts and hangs with bumblebees
by summer windowsills:

   I will show you
the underlying that takes no image to itself,
 cannot be shown or said,
but weaves in and out of moons and bladderweeds,
   is all and
 beyond destruction
 because created fully in no
particular form:

   if the web were perfectly pre-set,
   the spider could
  never find
  a perfect place to set it in: and

   if the web were
perfectly adaptable,
if freedom and possibility were without limit,
   the web would
lose its special identity:

 the row-strung garden web
keeps order at the center
where space is freest (intersecting that the freest
  "medium" should
  accept the firmest order)

and that
order
   diminishes toward the
periphery
 allowing at the points of contact
  entropy equal to entropy.
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 Anne Bronte | Create an image from this poem

Last Lines

 Jan 7th

A dreadful darkness closes in
On my bewildered mind;
O let me suffer and not sin,
Be tortured yet resigned.
Through all this world of whelming mist Still let me look to Thee, And give me courage to resist The Tempter till he flee.
Weary I am -- O give me strength And leave me not to faint; Say Thou wilt comfort me at length And pity my complaint.
I've begged to serve Thee heart and soul, To sacrifice to Thee No niggard portion, but the whole Of my identity.
I hoped amid the brave and strong My portioned task might lie, To toil amid the labouring throng With purpose pure and high.
But Thou hast fixed another part, And Thou hast fixed it well; I said so with my breaking heart When first the anguish fell.
For Thou hast taken my delight And hope of life away, And bid me watch the painful night And wait the weary day.
The hope and the delight were Thine; I bless Thee for their loan; I gave Thee while I deemed them mine Too little thanks, I own.
Shall I with joy Thy blessings share And not endure their loss? Or hope the martyr's crown to wear And cast away the cross? These weary hours will not be lost, These days of passive misery, These nights of darkness anguish tost If I can fix my heart on Thee.
Weak and weary though I lie, Crushed with sorrow, worn with pain, Still I may lift to Heaven mine eyes And strive and labour not in vain, That inward strife against the sins That ever wait on suffering; To watch and strike where first begins Each ill that would corruption bring, That secret labour to sustain With humble patience every blow, To gather fortitude from pain And hope and holiness from woe.
Thus let me serve Thee from my heart Whatever be my written fate, Whether thus early to depart Or yet awhile to wait.
If Thou shouldst bring me back to life More humbled I should be; More wise, more strengthened for the strife, More apt to lean on Thee.
Should Death be standing at the gate Thus should I keep my vow; But, Lord, whate'er my future fate So let me serve Thee now.
Finished.
Jan.
28, 1849.
Written by Walt Whitman | Create an image from this poem

O Me! O Life!

 O ME! O life!.
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of the questions of these recurring; Of the endless trains of the faithless—of cities fill’d with the foolish; Of myself forever reproaching myself, (for who more foolish than I, and who more faithless?) Of eyes that vainly crave the light—of the objects mean—of the struggle ever renew’d; Of the poor results of all—of the plodding and sordid crowds I see around me; Of the empty and useless years of the rest—with the rest me intertwined; The question, O me! so sad, recurring—What good amid these, O me, O life? Answer.
That you are here—that life exists, and identity; That the powerful play goes on, and you will contribute a verse.
Written by Matthew Arnold | Create an image from this poem

The Buried Life

 Light flows our war of mocking words, and yet,
Behold, with tears mine eyes are wet!
I feel a nameless sadness o'er me roll.
Yes, yes, we know that we can jest, We know, we know that we can smile! But there's a something in this breast, To which thy light words bring no rest, And thy gay smiles no anodyne.
Give me thy hand, and hush awhile, And turn those limpid eyes on mine, And let me read there, love! thy inmost soul.
Alas! is even love too weak To unlock the heart, and let it speak? Are even lovers powerless to reveal To one another what indeed they feel? I knew the mass of men conceal'd Their thoughts, for fear that if reveal'd They would by other men be met With blank indifference, or with blame reproved; I knew they lived and moved Trick'd in disguises, alien to the rest Of men, and alien to themselves--and yet The same heart beats in every human breast! But we, my love!--doth a like spell benumb Our hearts, our voices?--must we too be dumb? Ah! well for us, if even we, Even for a moment, can get free Our heart, and have our lips unchain'd; For that which seals them hath been deep-ordain'd! Fate, which foresaw How frivolous a baby man would be-- By what distractions he would be possess'd, How he would pour himself in every strife, And well-nigh change his own identity-- That it might keep from his capricious play His genuine self, and force him to obey Even in his own despite his being's law, Bade through the deep recesses of our breast The unregarded river of our life Pursue with indiscernible flow its way; And that we should not see The buried stream, and seem to be Eddying at large in blind uncertainty, Though driving on with it eternally.
But often, in the world's most crowded streets, But often, in the din of strife, There rises an unspeakable desire After the knowledge of our buried life; A thirst to spend our fire and restless force In tracking out our true, original course; A longing to inquire Into the mystery of this heart which beats So wild, so deep in us--to know Whence our lives come and where they go.
And many a man in his own breast then delves, But deep enough, alas! none ever mines.
And we have been on many thousand lines, And we have shown, on each, spirit and power; But hardly have we, for one little hour, Been on our own line, have we been ourselves-- Hardly had skill to utter one of all The nameless feelings that course through our breast, But they course on for ever unexpress'd.
And long we try in vain to speak and act Our hidden self, and what we say and do Is eloquent, is well--but 't#is not true! And then we will no more be rack'd With inward striving, and demand Of all the thousand nothings of the hour Their stupefying power; Ah yes, and they benumb us at our call! Yet still, from time to time, vague and forlorn, From the soul's subterranean depth upborne As from an infinitely distant land, Come airs, and floating echoes, and convey A melancholy into all our day.
Only--but this is rare-- When a belov{'e}d hand is laid in ours, When, jaded with the rush and glare Of the interminable hours, Our eyes can in another's eyes read clear, When our world-deafen'd ear Is by the tones of a loved voice caress'd-- A bolt is shot back somewhere in our breast, And a lost pulse of feeling stirs again.
The eye sinks inward, and the heart lies plain, And what we mean, we say, and what we would, we know.
A man becomes aware of his life's flow, And hears its winding murmur; and he sees The meadows where it glides, the sun, the breeze.
And there arrives a lull in the hot race Wherein he doth for ever chase That flying and elusive shadow, rest.
An air of coolness plays upon his face, And an unwonted calm pervades his breast.
And then he thinks he knows The hills where his life rose, And the sea where it goes.
Written by Walt Whitman | Create an image from this poem

As a Strong Bird on Pinions Free

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AS a strong bird on pinions free, 
Joyous, the amplest spaces heavenward cleaving, 
Such be the thought I’d think to-day of thee, America, 
Such be the recitative I’d bring to-day for thee.
The conceits of the poets of other lands I bring thee not, Nor the compliments that have served their turn so long, Nor rhyme—nor the classics—nor perfume of foreign court, or indoor library; But an odor I’d bring to-day as from forests of pine in the north, in Maine—or breath of an Illinois prairie, With open airs of Virginia, or Georgia, or Tennessee—or from Texas uplands, or Florida’s glades, With presentment of Yellowstone’s scenes, or Yosemite; And murmuring under, pervading all, I’d bring the rustling sea-sound, That endlessly sounds from the two great seas of the world.
And for thy subtler sense, subtler refrains, O Union! Preludes of intellect tallying these and thee—mind-formulas fitted for thee—real, and sane, and large as these and thee; Thou, mounting higher, diving deeper than we knew—thou transcendental Union! By thee Fact to be justified—blended with Thought; Thought of Man justified—blended with God: Through thy Idea—lo! the immortal Reality! Through thy Reality—lo! the immortal Idea! 2 Brain of the New World! what a task is thine! To formulate the Modern.
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Out of the peerless grandeur of the modern, Out of Thyself—comprising Science—to recast Poems, Churches, Art, (Recast—may-be discard them, end them—May-be their work is done—who knows?) By vision, hand, conception, on the background of the mighty past, the dead, To limn, with absolute faith, the mighty living present.
(And yet, thou living, present brain! heir of the dead, the Old World brain! Thou that lay folded, like an unborn babe, within its folds so long! Thou carefully prepared by it so long!—haply thou but unfoldest it—only maturest it; It to eventuate in thee—the essence of the by-gone time contain’d in thee; Its poems, churches, arts, unwitting to themselves, destined with reference to thee, The fruit of all the Old, ripening to-day in thee.
) 3 Sail—sail thy best, ship of Democracy! Of value is thy freight—’tis not the Present only, The Past is also stored in thee! Thou holdest not the venture of thyself alone—not of thy western continent alone; Earth’s résumé entire floats on thy keel, O ship—is steadied by thy spars; With thee Time voyages in trust—the antecedent nations sink or swim with thee; With all their ancient struggles, martyrs, heroes, epics, wars, thou bear’st the other continents; Theirs, theirs as much as thine, the destination-port triumphant: —Steer, steer with good strong hand and wary eye, O helmsman—thou carryest great companions, Venerable, priestly Asia sails this day with thee, And royal, feudal Europe sails with thee.
4 Beautiful World of new, superber Birth, that rises to my eyes, Like a limitless golden cloud, filling the western sky; Emblem of general Maternity, lifted above all; Sacred shape of the bearer of daughters and sons; Out of thy teeming womb, thy giant babes in ceaseless procession issuing, Acceding from such gestation, taking and giving continual strength and life; World of the Real! world of the twain in one! World of the Soul—born by the world of the real alone—led to identity, body, by it alone; Yet in beginning only—incalculable masses of composite, precious materials, By history’s cycles forwarded—by every nation, language, hither sent, Ready, collected here—a freer, vast, electric World, to be constructed here, (The true New World—the world of orbic Science, Morals, Literatures to come,) Thou Wonder World, yet undefined, unform’d—neither do I define thee; How can I pierce the impenetrable blank of the future? I feel thy ominous greatness, evil as well as good; I watch thee, advancing, absorbing the present, transcending the past; I see thy light lighting and thy shadow shadowing, as if the entire globe; But I do not undertake to define thee—hardly to comprehend thee; I but thee name—thee prophecy—as now! I merely thee ejaculate! Thee in thy future; Thee in thy only permanent life, career—thy own unloosen’d mind—thy soaring spirit; Thee as another equally needed sun, America—radiant, ablaze, swift-moving, fructifying all; Thee! risen in thy potent cheerfulness and joy—thy endless, great hilarity! (Scattering for good the cloud that hung so long—that weigh’d so long upon the mind of man, The doubt, suspicion, dread, of gradual, certain decadence of man;) Thee in thy larger, saner breeds of Female, Male—thee in thy athletes, moral, spiritual, South, North, West, East, (To thy immortal breasts, Mother of All, thy every daughter, son, endear’d alike, forever equal;) Thee in thy own musicians, singers, artists, unborn yet, but certain; Thee in thy moral wealth and civilization (until which thy proudest material wealth and civilization must remain in vain;) Thee in thy all-supplying, all-enclosing Worship—thee in no single bible, saviour, merely, Thy saviours countless, latent within thyself—thy bibles incessant, within thyself, equal to any, divine as any; Thee in an education grown of thee—in teachers, studies, students, born of thee; Thee in thy democratic fetes, en masse—thy high original festivals, operas, lecturers, preachers; Thee in thy ultimata, (the preparations only now completed—the edifice on sure foundations tied,) Thee in thy pinnacles, intellect, thought—thy topmost rational joys—thy love, and godlike aspiration, In thy resplendent coming literati—thy full-lung’d orators—thy sacerdotal bards—kosmic savans, These! these in thee, (certain to come,) to-day I prophecy.
5 Land tolerating all—accepting all—not for the good alone—all good for thee; Land in the realms of God to be a realm unto thyself; Under the rule of God to be a rule unto thyself.
(Lo! where arise three peerless stars, To be thy natal stars, my country—Ensemble—Evolution—Freedom, Set in the sky of Law.
) Land of unprecedented faith—God’s faith! Thy soil, thy very subsoil, all upheav’d; The general inner earth, so long, so sedulously draped over, now and hence for what it is, boldly laid bare, Open’d by thee to heaven’s light, for benefit or bale.
Not for success alone; Not to fair-sail unintermitted always; The storm shall dash thy face—the murk of war, and worse than war, shall cover thee all over; (Wert capable of war—its tug and trials? Be capable of peace, its trials; For the tug and mortal strain of nations come at last in peace—not war;) In many a smiling mask death shall approach, beguiling thee—thou in disease shalt swelter; The livid cancer spread its hideous claws, clinging upon thy breasts, seeking to strike thee deep within; Consumption of the worst—moral consumption—shall rouge thy face with hectic: But thou shalt face thy fortunes, thy diseases, and surmount them all, Whatever they are to-day, and whatever through time they may be, They each and all shall lift, and pass away, and cease from thee; While thou, Time’s spirals rounding—out of thyself, thyself still extricating, fusing, Equable, natural, mystical Union thou—(the mortal with immortal blent,) Shalt soar toward the fulfilment of the future—the spirit of the body and the mind, The Soul—its destinies.
The Soul, its destinies—the real real, (Purport of all these apparitions of the real;) In thee, America, the Soul, its destinies; Thou globe of globes! thou wonder nebulous! By many a throe of heat and cold convuls’d—(by these thyself solidifying;) Thou mental, moral orb! thou New, indeed new, Spiritual World! The Present holds thee not—for such vast growth as thine—for such unparallel’d flight as thine, The Future only holds thee, and can hold thee.
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