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Best Famous In The Clear Poems

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12
Written by Alan Seeger | Create an image from this poem

The Wanderer

 To see the clouds his spirit yearned toward so 
Over new mountains piled and unploughed waves, 
Back of old-storied spires and architraves 
To watch Arcturus rise or Fomalhaut,

And roused by street-cries in strange tongues when day 
Flooded with gold some domed metropolis, 
Between new towers to waken and new bliss 
Spread on his pillow in a wondrous way:

These were his joys.
Oft under bulging crates, Coming to market with his morning load, The peasant found him early on his road To greet the sunrise at the city-gates,--- There where the meadows waken in its rays, Golden with mist, and the great roads commence, And backward, where the chimney-tops are dense, Cathedral-arches glimmer through the haze.
White dunes that breaking show a strip of sea, A plowman and his team against the blue Swiss pastures musical with cowbells, too, And poplar-lined canals in Picardie, And coast-towns where the vultures back and forth Sail in the clear depths of the tropic sky, And swallows in the sunset where they fly Over gray Gothic cities in the north, And the wine-cellar and the chorus there, The dance-hall and a face among the crowd,--- Were all delights that made him sing aloud For joy to sojourn in a world so fair.
Back of his footsteps as he journeyed fell Range after range; ahead blue hills emerged.
Before him tireless to applaud it surged The sweet interminable spectacle.
And like the west behind a sundown sea Shone the past joys his memory retraced, And bright as the blue east he always faced Beckoned the loves and joys that were to be.
From every branch a blossom for his brow He gathered, singing down Life's flower-lined road, And youth impelled his spirit as he strode Like winged Victory on the galley's prow.
That Loveliness whose being sun and star, Green Earth and dawn and amber evening robe, That lamp whereof the opalescent globe The season's emulative splendors are, That veiled divinity whose beams transpire From every pore of universal space, As the fair soul illumes the lovely face--- That was his guest, his passion, his desire.
His heart the love of Beauty held as hides One gem most pure a casket of pure gold.
It was too rich a lesser thing to bold; It was not large enough for aught besides.
Written by Anne Bronte | Create an image from this poem

Alexander And Zenobia

 Fair was the evening and brightly the sun
Was shining on desert and grove,
Sweet were the breezes and balmy the flowers
And cloudless the heavens above.
It was Arabia's distant land And peaceful was the hour; Two youthful figures lay reclined Deep in a shady bower.
One was a boy of just fourteen Bold beautiful and bright; Soft raven curls hung clustering round A brow of marble white.
The fair brow and ruddy cheek Spoke of less burning skies; Words cannot paint the look that beamed In his dark lustrous eyes.
The other was a slender girl, Blooming and young and fair.
The snowy neck was shaded with The long bright sunny hair.
And those deep eyes of watery blue, So sweetly sad they seemed.
And every feature in her face With pensive sorrow teemed.
The youth beheld her saddened air And smiling cheerfully He said, 'How pleasant is the land Of sunny Araby! 'Zenobia, I never saw A lovelier eve than this; I never felt my spirit raised With more unbroken bliss! 'So deep the shades, so calm the hour, So soft the breezes sigh, So sweetly Philomel begins Her heavenly melody.
'So pleasant are the scents that rise From flowers of loveliest hue, And more than all -- Zenobia, I am alone with you! Are we not happy here alone In such a healthy spot?' He looked to her with joyful smile But she returned it not.
'Why are you sorrowful?' he asked And heaved a bitter sigh, 'O tell me why those drops of woe Are gathering in your eye.
' 'Gladly would I rejoice,' she said, 'But grief weighs down my heart.
'Can I be happy when I know Tomorrow we must part? 'Yes, Alexander, I must see This happy land no more.
At break of day I must return To distant Gondal's shore.
'At morning we must bid farewell, And at the close of day You will be wandering alone And I shall be away.
'I shall be sorrowing for you On the wide weltering sea, And you will perhaps have wandered here To sit and think of me.
' 'And shall we part so soon?' he cried, 'Must we be torn away? Shall I be left to mourn alone? Will you no longer stay? 'And shall we never meet again, Hearts that have grown together? Must they at once be rent away And kept apart for ever?' 'Yes, Alexander, we must part, But we may meet again, For when I left my native land I wept in anguish then.
'Never shall I forget the day I left its rocky shore.
We thought that we had bid adieu To meet on earth no more.
'When we had parted how I wept To see the mountains blue Grow dimmer and more distant -- till They faded from my view.
'And you too wept -- we little thought After so long a time, To meet again so suddenly In such a distant clime.
'We met on Grecia's classic plain, We part in Araby.
And let us hope to meet again Beneath our Gondal's sky.
' 'Zenobia, do you remember A little lonely spring Among Exina's woody hills Where blackbirds used to sing, 'And when they ceased as daylight faded From the dusky sky The pensive nightingale began Her matchless melody? 'Sweet bluebells used to flourish there And tall trees waved on high, And through their ever sounding leaves The soft wind used to sigh.
'At morning we have often played Beside that lonely well; At evening we have lingered there Till dewy twilight fell.
'And when your fifteenth birthday comes, Remember me, my love, And think of what I said to you In this sweet spicy grove.
'At evening wander to that spring And sit and wait for me; And 'ere the sun has ceased to shine I will return to thee.
'Two years is a weary time But it will soon be fled.
And if you do not meet me -- know I am not false but dead.
' * * * Sweetly the summer day declines On forest, plain, and hill And in that spacious palace hall So lonely, wide and still.
Beside a window's open arch, In the calm evening air All lonely sits a stately girl, Graceful and young and fair.
The snowy lid and lashes long Conceal her downcast eye, She's reading and till now I have Passed unnoticed by.
But see she cannot fix her thoughts, They are wandering away; She looks towards a distant dell Where sunny waters play.
And yet her spirit is not with The scene she looks upon; She muses with a mournful smile On pleasures that are gone.
She looks upon the book again That chained her thoughts before, And for a moment strives in vain To fix her mind once more.
Then gently drops it on her knee And looks into the sky, While trembling drops are shining in Her dark celestial eye.
And thus alone and still she sits Musing on years gone by.
Till with a sad and sudden smile She rises up to go; And from the open window springs On to the grass below.
Why does she fly so swiftly now Adown the meadow green, And o'er the gently swelling hills And the vale that lies between? She passes under giant trees That lift their arms on high And slowly wave their mighty boughs In the clear evening sky, And now she threads a path that winds Through deeply shaded groves Where nought is heard but sighing gales And murmuring turtle doves.
She hastens on through sunless gloom To a vista opening wide; A marble fountain sparkles there With sweet flowers by its side.
At intervals in the velvet grass A few old elm trees rise, While a warm flood of yellow light Streams from the western skies.
Is this her resting place? Ah, no, She hastens onward still, The startled deer before her fly As she ascends the hill.
She does not rest till she has gained A lonely purling spring, Where zephyrs wave the verdant trees And birds in concert sing.
And there she stands and gazes round With bright and searching eye, Then sadly sighing turns away And looks upon the sky.
She sits down on the flowery turf Her head drooped on her hand; Her soft luxuriant golden curls Are by the breezes fanned.
A sweet sad smile plays on her lips; Her heart is far away, And thus she sits till twilight comes To take the place of day.
But when she looks towards the west And sees the sun is gone And hears that every bird but one To its nightly rest is flown, And sees that over nature's face A sombre veil is cast With mournful voice and tearful eye She says, 'The time is past! 'He will not come! I might have known It was a foolish hope; But it was so sweet to cherish I could not yield it up.
'It may be foolish thus to weep But I cannot check my tears To see in one short hour destroyed The darling hope of years.
'He is not false, but he was young And time rolls fast away.
Has he forgotten the vow he made To meet me here today? 'No.
If he lives he loves me still And still remembers me.
If he is dead -- my joys are sunk In utter misery.
'We parted in the spicy groves Beneath Arabia's sky.
How could I hope to meet him now Where Gondal's breezes sigh? 'He was a shining meteor light That faded from the skies, But I mistook him for a star That only set to rise.
'And with a firm yet trembling hand I've clung to this false hope; I dared not surely trust in it Yet would not yield it up.
'And day and night I've thought of him And loved him constantly, And prayed that Heaven would prosper him Wherever he might be.
'He will not come; he's wandering now On some far distant shore, Or else he sleeps the sleep of death And cannot see me more! 'O, Alexander, is it thus? Did we but meet to part? Long as I live thy name will be Engraven on my heart.
'I shall not cease to think of thee While life and thought remain, For well I know that I can never See thy like again!' She ceases now and dries her tears But still she lingers there In silent thought till night is come And silver stars appear.
But lo! a tall and stately youth Ascends the grassy slope; His bright dark eyes are glancing round, His heart beats high with hope.
He has journyed on unweariedly From dawn of day till now, The warm blood kindles in his cheek, The sweat is on his brow.
But he has gained the green hill top Where lies that lonely spring, And lo! he pauses when he hears Its gentle murmuring.
He dares not enter through the trees That veil it from his eye; He listens for some other sound In deep anxiety.
But vainly -- all is calm and still; Are his bright day dreams o'er? Has he thus hoped and longed in vain, And must they meet no more? One moment more of sad suspense And those dark trees are past; The lonely well bursts on his sight And they are met at last!
Written by Rupert Brooke | Create an image from this poem

The Fish

 In a cool curving world he lies
And ripples with dark ecstasies.
The kind luxurious lapse and steal Shapes all his universe to feel And know and be; the clinging stream Closes his memory, glooms his dream, Who lips the roots o' the shore, and glides Superb on unreturning tides.
Those silent waters weave for him A fluctuant mutable world and dim, Where wavering masses bulge and gape Mysterious, and shape to shape Dies momently through whorl and hollow, And form and line and solid follow Solid and line and form to dream Fantastic down the eternal stream; An obscure world, a shifting world, Bulbous, or pulled to thin, or curled, Or serpentine, or driving arrows, Or serene slidings, or March narrows.
There slipping wave and shore are one, And weed and mud.
No ray of sun, But glow to glow fades down the deep (As dream to unknown dream in sleep); Shaken translucency illumes The hyaline of drifting glooms; The strange soft-handed depth subdues Drowned colour there, but black to hues, As death to living, decomposes— Red darkness of the heart of roses, Blue brilliant from dead starless skies, And gold that lies behind the eyes, The unknown unnameable sightless white That is the essential flame of night, Lustreless purple, hooded green, The myriad hues that lie between Darkness and darkness!.
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And all's one, Gentle, embracing, quiet, dun, The world he rests in, world he knows, Perpetual curving.
Only—grows An eddy in that ordered falling, A knowledge from the gloom, a calling Weed in the wave, gleam in the mud— The dark fire leaps along his blood; Dateless and deathless, blind and still, The intricate impulse works its will; His woven world drops back; and he, Sans providence, sans memory, Unconscious and directly driven, Fades to some dark sufficient heaven.
O world of lips, O world of laughter, Where hope is fleet, and thought flies after, Of lights in the clear night, of cries That drift along the wave and rise Thin to the glittering stars above, You know the hands, the eyes of love! The strife of limbs, the sightless clinging, The infinite distance, and the singing Blown by the wind, a flame of sound, The gleam, the flowers, and vast around The horizon, and the heights above— You know the sigh, the long of love! But there the night is close, and there Darkness is cold and strange and bare; And the secret deeps are whisperless; And rhythm is all deliciousness; And joy is in the throbbing tide, Whose intricate fingers beat and glide In felt bewildering harmonies Of trembling touch; and music is The exquisite knocking of the blood.
Space is no more, under the mud; His bliss is older than the sun.
Silent and straight the waters run.
The lights, the cries, the willows dim, And the dark tide are one with him.
Written by Duncan Campbell Scott | Create an image from this poem

The Height of Land

 Here is the height of land:
The watershed on either hand
Goes down to Hudson Bay
Or Lake Superior;
The stars are up, and far away
The wind sounds in the wood, wearier
Than the long Ojibwa cadence
In which Potàn the Wise
Declares the ills of life
And Chees-que-ne-ne makes a mournful sound
Of acquiescence.
The fires burn low With just sufficient glow To light the flakes of ash that play At being moths, and flutter away To fall in the dark and die as ashes: Here there is peace in the lofty air, And Something comes by flashes Deeper than peace: -- The spruces have retired a little space And left a field of sky in violet shadow With stars like marigolds in a water-meadow.
Now the Indian guides are dead asleep; There is no sound unless the soul can hear The gathering of the waters in their sources.
We have come up through the spreading lakes From level to level, -- Pitching our tents sometimes over a revel Of roses that nodded all night, Dreaming within our dreams, To wake at dawn and find that they were captured With no dew on their leaves; Sometimes mid sheaves Of bracken and dwarf-cornel, and again On a wide blueberry plain Brushed with the shimmer of a bluebird's wing; A rocky islet followed With one lone poplar and a single nest Of white-throat-sparrows that took no rest But sang in dreams or woke to sing, -- To the last portage and the height of land --: Upon one hand The lonely north enlaced with lakes and streams, And the enormous targe of Hudson Bay, Glimmering all night In the cold arctic light; On the other hand The crowded southern land With all the welter of the lives of men.
But here is peace, and again That Something comes by flashes Deeper than peace, -- a spell Golden and inappellable That gives the inarticulate part Of our strange being one moment of release That seems more native than the touch of time, And we must answer in chime; Though yet no man may tell The secret of that spell Golden and inappellable.
Now are there sounds walking in the wood, And all the spruces shiver and tremble, And the stars move a little in their courses.
The ancient disturber of solitude Breathes a pervasive sigh, And the soul seems to hear The gathering of the waters at their sources; Then quiet ensues and pure starlight and dark; The region-spirit murmurs in meditation, The heart replies in exaltation And echoes faintly like an inland shell Ghost tremors of the spell; Thought reawakens and is linked again With all the welter of the lives of men.
Here on the uplands where the air is clear We think of life as of a stormy scene, -- Of tempest, of revolt and desperate shock; And here, where we can think, on the brights uplands Where the air is clear, we deeply brood on life Until the tempest parts, and it appears As simple as to the shepherd seems his flock: A Something to be guided by ideals -- That in themselves are simple and serene -- Of noble deed to foster noble thought, And noble thought to image noble deed, Till deed and thought shall interpenetrate, Making life lovelier, till we come to doubt Whether the perfect beauty that escapes Is beauty of deed or thought or some high thing Mingled of both, a greater boon than either: Thus we have seen in the retreating tempest The victor-sunlight merge with the ruined rain, And from the rain and sunlight spring the rainbow.
The ancient disturber of solitude Stirs his ancestral potion in the gloom, And the dark wood Is stifled with the pungent fume Of charred earth burnt to the bone That takes the place of air.
Then sudden I remember when and where, -- The last weird lakelet foul with weedy growths And slimy viscid things the spirit loathes, Skin of vile water over viler mud Where the paddle stirred unutterable stenches, And the canoes seemed heavy with fear, Not to be urged toward the fatal shore Where a bush fire, smouldering, with sudden roar Leaped on a cedar and smothered it with light And terror.
It had left the portage-height A tangle of slanted spruces burned to the roots, Covered still with patches of bright fire Smoking with incense of the fragment resin That even then began to thin and lessen Into the gloom and glimmer of ruin.
'Tis overpast.
How strange the stars have grown; The presage of extinction glows on their crests And they are beautied with impermanence; They shall be after the race of men And mourn for them who snared their fiery pinions, Entangled in the meshes of bright words.
A lemming stirs the fern and in the mosses Eft-minded things feel the air change, and dawn Tolls out from the dark belfries of the spruces.
How often in the autumn of the world Shall the crystal shrine of dawning be rebuilt With deeper meaning! Shall the poet then, Wrapped in his mantle on the height of land, Brood on the welter of the lives of men And dream of his ideal hope and promise In the blush sunrise? Shall he base his flight Upon a more compelling law than Love As Life's atonement; shall the vision Of noble deed and noble thought immingled Seem as uncouth to him as the pictograph Scratched on the cave side by the cave-dweller To us of the Christ-time? Shall he stand With deeper joy, with more complex emotion, In closer commune with divinity, With the deep fathomed, with the firmament charted, With life as simple as a sheep-boy's song, What lies beyond a romaunt that was read Once on a morn of storm and laid aside Memorious with strange immortal memories? Or shall he see the sunrise as I see it In shoals of misty fire the deluge-light Dashes upon and whelms with purer radiance, And feel the lulled earth, older in pulse and motion, Turn the rich lands and inundant oceans To the flushed color, and hear as now I hear The thrill of life beat up the planet's margin And break in the clear susurrus of deep joy That echoes and reëchoes in my being? O Life is intuition the measure of knowledge And do I stand with heart entranced and burning At the zenith of our wisdom when I feel The long light flow, the long wind pause, the deep Influx of spirit, of which no man may tell The Secret, golden and inappellable?
Written by Galway Kinnell | Create an image from this poem

Fergus Falling

He climbed to the top
of one of those million white pines
set out across the emptying pastures
of the fifties - some program to enrich the rich
and rebuke the forefathers
who cleared it all at once with ox and axe - 
climbed to the top, probably to get out
of the shadow
not of those forefathers but of this father
and saw for the first time
down in its valley, Bruce Pond, giving off
its little steam in the afternoon,

pond where Clarence Akley came on Sunday mornings to cut
down
the cedars around the shore, I'd sometimes hear the slow
spondees
of his work, he's gone,
where Milton Norway came up behind me while I was 
fishing and
stood awhile before I knew he was there, he's the one who
put the
cedar shingles on the house, some have curled or split, a 
few have
blown off, he's gone,
where Gus Newland logged in the cold snap of '58, the only
man will-
ing to go into those woods that never got warmer than ten
below,
he's gone,
pond where two wards of the state wandered on Halloween, 
the Na-
tional Guard searched for them in November, in vain, the 
next fall a 
hunter found their skeletons huddled together, in vain, 
they're 
gone,
pond where an old fisherman in a rowboat sits, drowning
hooked
worms, when he goes he's replaced and is never gone,

and when Fergus
saw the pond for the first time
in the clear evening, saw its oldness down there
in its old place in the valley, he became heavier suddenly
in his bones
the way fledglings do just before they fly,
and the soft pine cracked .
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I would not have heard his cry if my electric saw had been working, its carbide teeth speeding through the bland spruce of our time, or burning black arcs into some scavenged hemlock plank, like dark circles under eyes when the brain thinks too close to the skin, but I was sawing by hand and I heard that cry as though he were attacked; we ran out, when we bent over him he said, "Galway, In¨¦s, I saw a pond!" His face went gray, his eyes fluttered close a frightening moment .
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Yes - a pond that lets off its mist on clear afternoons of August, in that valley to which many have come, for their reasons, from which many have gone, a few for their reasons, most not, where even now and old fisherman only the pinetops can see sits in the dry gray wood of his rowboat, waiting for pickerel.
Written by Alan Seeger | Create an image from this poem

Fragments

 In that fair capital where Pleasure, crowned 
Amidst her myriad courtiers, riots and rules, 
I too have been a suitor.
Radiant eyes Were my life's warmth and sunshine, outspread arms My gilded deep horizons.
I rejoiced In yielding to all amorous influence And multiple impulsion of the flesh, To feel within my being surge and sway The force that all the stars acknowledge too.
Amid the nebulous humanity Where I an atom crawled and cleaved and sundered, I saw a million motions, but one law; And from the city's splendor to my eyes The vapors passed and there was nought but Love, A ferment turbulent, intensely fair, Where Beauty beckoned and where Strength pursued.
II There was a time when I thought much of Fame, And laid the golden edifice to be That in the clear light of eternity Should fitly house the glory of my name.
But swifter than my fingers pushed their plan, Over the fair foundation scarce begun, While I with lovers dallied in the sun, The ivy clambered and the rose-vine ran.
And now, too late to see my vision, rise, In place of golden pinnacles and towers, Only some sunny mounds of leaves and flowers, Only beloved of birds and butterflies.
My friends were duped, my favorers deceived; But sometimes, musing sorrowfully there, That flowered wreck has seemed to me so fair I scarce regret the temple unachieved.
III For there were nights .
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my love to him whose brow Has glistened with the spoils of nights like those, Home turning as a conqueror turns home, What time green dawn down every street uprears Arches of triumph! He has drained as well Joy's perfumed bowl and cried as I have cried: Be Fame their mistress whom Love passes by.
This only matters: from some flowery bed, Laden with sweetness like a homing bee, If one have known what bliss it is to come, Bearing on hands and breast and laughing lips The fragrance of his youth's dear rose.
To him The hills have bared their treasure, the far clouds Unveiled the vision that o'er summer seas Drew on his thirsting arms.
This last thing known, He can court danger, laugh at perilous odds, And, pillowed on a memory so sweet, Unto oblivious eternity Without regret yield his victorious soul, The blessed pilgrim of a vow fulfilled.
IV What is Success? Out of the endless ore Of deep desire to coin the utmost gold Of passionate memory; to have lived so well That the fifth moon, when it swims up once more Through orchard boughs where mating orioles build And apple flowers unfold, Find not of that dear need that all things tell The heart unburdened nor the arms unfilled.
O Love, whereof my boyhood was the dream, My youth the beautiful novitiate, Life was so slight a thing and thou so great, How could I make thee less than all-supreme! In thy sweet transports not alone I thought Mingled the twain that panted breast to breast.
The sun and stars throbbed with them; they were caught Into the pulse of Nature and possessed By the same light that consecrates it so.
Love! -- 'tis the payment of the debt we owe The beauty of the world, and whensoe'er In silks and perfume and unloosened hair The loveliness of lovers, face to face, Lies folded in the adorable embrace, Doubt not as of a perfect sacrifice That soul partakes whose inspiration fills The springtime and the depth of summer skies, The rainbow and the clouds behind the hills, That excellence in earth and air and sea That makes things as they are the real divinity.
Written by Li Po | Create an image from this poem

A Mountain Revelry

 To wash and rinse our souls of their age-old sorrows,
We drained a hundred jugs of wine.
A splendid night it was .
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In the clear moonlight we were loath to go to bed, But at last drunkenness overtook us; And we laid ourselves down on the empty mountain, The earth for pillow, and the great heaven for coverlet.
Written by Anne Bronte | Create an image from this poem

Call Me Away

 Call me away; there's nothing here,
That wins my soul to stay;
Then let me leave this prospect drear,
And hasten far away.
To our beloved land I'll flee, Our land of thought and soul, Where I have roved so oft with thee, Beyond the world's control.
I'll sit and watch those ancient trees, Those Scotch firs dark and high; I'll listen to the eerie breeze, Among their branches sigh.
The glorious moon shines far above; How soft her radiance falls, On snowy heights, and rock, and grove; And yonder palace walls! Who stands beneath yon fir trees high? A youth both slight and fair, Whose bright and restless azure eye Proclaims him known to care, Though fair that brow, it is not smooth; Though small those features, yet in sooth Stern passion has been there.
Now on the peaceful moon are fixed Those eyes so glistening bright, But trembling teardrops hang betwixt, And dim the blessed light.
Though late the hour, and keen the blast, That whistles round him now, Those raven locks are backward cast, To cool his burning brow.
His hands above his heaving breast Are clasped in agony -- 'O Father! Father! let me rest! And call my soul to thee! I know 'tis weakness thus to pray; But all this cankering care -- This doubt tormenting night and day Is more than I can bear! With none to comfort, none to guide And none to strengthen me.
Since thou my only friend hast died -- I've pined to follow thee! Since thou hast died! And did he live What comfort could his counsel give -- To one forlorn like me? Would he my Idol's form adore -- Her soul, her glance, her tone? And say, "Forget for ever more Her kindred and thine own; Let dreams of her thy peace destroy, Leave every other hope and joy And live for her alone"?' He starts, he smiles, and dries the tears, Still glistening on his cheek, The lady of his soul appears, And hark! I hear her speak -- 'Aye, dry thy tears; thou wilt not weep -- While I am by thy side -- Our foes all day their watch may keep But cannot thus divide Such hearts as ours; and we tonight Together in the clear moon's light Their malice will deride.
No fear our present bliss shall blast And sorrow we'll defy.
Do thou forget the dreary past, The dreadful future I.
' Forget it? Yes, while thou art by I think of nought but thee, 'Tis only when thou art not nigh Remembrance tortures me.
But such a lofty soul to find, And such a heart as thine, In such a glorious form enshrined And still to call thee mine -- Would be for earth too great a bliss, Without a taint of woe like this, Then why should I repine?
Written by Katharine Tynan | Create an image from this poem

The Children of Lir

 Out upon the sand-dunes thrive the coarse long grasses;
Herons standing knee-deep in the brackish pool;
Overhead the sunset fire and flame amasses
And the moon to eastward rises pale and cool.
Rose and green around her, silver-gray and pearly, Chequered with the black rooks flying home to bed; For, to wake at daybreak, birds must couch them early: And the day's a long one since the dawn was red.
On the chilly lakelet, in that pleasant gloaming, See the sad swans sailing: they shall have no rest: Never a voice to greet them save the bittern's booming Where the ghostly sallows sway against the West.
'Sister,' saith the gray swan, 'Sister, I am weary,' Turning to the white swan wet, despairing eyes; 'O' she saith, 'my young one! O' she saith, 'my dearie !' Casts her wings about him with a storm of cries.
Woe for Lir's sweet children whom their vile stepmother Glamoured with her witch-spells for a thousand years; Died their father raving, on his throne another, Blind before the end came from the burning tears.
Long the swans have wandered over lake and river; Gone is all the glory of the race of Lir: Gone and long forgotten like a dream of fever: But the swans remember the sweet days that were.
Hugh, the black and white swan with the beauteous feathers, Fiachra, the black swan with the emerald breast, Conn, the youngest, dearest, sheltered in all weathers, Him his snow-white sister loves the tenderest.
These her mother gave her as she lay a-dying; To her faithful keeping; faithful hath she been, With her wings spread o'er them when the tempest's crying, And her songs so hopeful when the sky's serene.
Other swans have nests made 'mid the reeds and rushes, Lined with downy feathers where the cygnets sleep Dreaming, if a bird dreams, till the daylight blushes, Then they sail out swiftly on the current deep.
With the proud swan-father, tall, and strong, and stately, And the mild swan-mother, grave with household cares, All well-born and comely, all rejoicing greatly: Full of honest pleasure is a life like theirs.
But alas ! for my swans with the human nature, Sick with human longings, starved for human ties, With their hearts all human cramped to a bird's stature.
And the human weeping in the bird's soft eyes.
Never shall my swans build nests in some green river, Never fly to Southward in the autumn gray, Rear no tender children, love no mates for ever; Robbed alike of bird's joys and of man's are they.
Babbles Conn the youngest, 'Sister, I remember At my father's palace how I went in silk, Ate the juicy deer-flesh roasted from the ember, Drank from golden goblets my child's draught of milk.
Once I rode a-hunting, laughed to see the hurry, Shouted at the ball-play, on the lake did row; You had for your beauty gauds that shone so rarely.
' 'Peace' saith Fionnuala, 'that was long ago.
' 'Sister,' saith Fiachra, 'well do I remember How the flaming torches lit the banquet-hall, And the fire leapt skyward in the mid-December, And among the rushes slept our staghounds tall.
By our father's right hand you sat shyly gazing, Smiling half and sighing, with your eyes a-glow, As the bards sang loudly all your beauty praising.
' 'Peace,' saith Fionnuala, 'that was long ago.
' 'Sister,' then saith Hugh 'most do I remember One I called my brother, one, earth's goodliest man, Strong as forest oaks are where the wild vines clamber, First at feast or hunting, in the battle's van.
Angus, you were handsome, wise, and true, and tender, Loved by every comrade, feared by every foe: Low, low, lies your beauty, all forgot your splendour.
' 'Peace,' saith Fionnuala, 'that was long ago.
' Dews are in the clear air and the roselight paling; Over sands and sedges shines the evening star; And the moon's disc lonely high in heaven is sailing; Silvered all the spear-heads of the rushes are.
Housed warm are all things as the night grows colder, Water-fowl and sky-fowl dreamless in the nest; But the swans go drifting, drooping wing and shoulder Cleaving the still water where the fishes rest.
Written by William Blake | Create an image from this poem

The Four Zoas (excerpt)

 'What is the price of Experience? do men buy it for a song? 
Or wisdom for a dance in the street? No, it is bought with the price
Of all that a man hath, his house, his wife, his children.
Wisdom is sold in the desolate market where none come to buy, And in the wither'd field where the farmer plows for bread in vain.
It is an easy thing to triumph in the summer's sun And in the vintage and to sing on the waggon loaded with corn.
It is an easy thing to talk of patience to the afflicted, To speak the laws of prudence to the houseless wanderer, To listen to the hungry raven's cry in wintry season When the red blood is fill'd with wine and with the marrow of lambs.
It is an easy thing to laugh at wrathful elements, To hear the dog howl at the wintry door, the ox in the slaughter house moan; To see a god on every wind and a blessing on every blast; To hear sounds of love in the thunder storm that destroys our enemies' house; To rejoice in the blight that covers his field, and the sickness that cuts off his children, While our olive and vine sing and laugh round our door, and our children bring fruits and flowers.
Then the groan and the dolor are quite forgotten, and the slave grinding at the mill, And the captive in chains, and the poor in the prison, and the soldier in the field When the shatter'd bone hath laid him groaning among the happier dead.
It is an easy thing to rejoice in the tents of prosperity: Thus could I sing and thus rejoice: but it is not so with me.
' 'Compel the poor to live upon a crust of bread, by soft mild arts.
Smile when they frown, frown when they smile; and when a man looks pale With labour and abstinence, say he looks healthy and happy; And when his children sicken, let them die; there are enough Born, even too many, and our earth will be overrun Without these arts.
If you would make the poor live with temper, With pomp give every crust of bread you give; with gracious cunning Magnify small gifts; reduce the man to want a gift, and then give with pomp.
Say he smiles if you hear him sigh.
If pale, say he is ruddy.
Preach temperance: say he is overgorg'd and drowns his wit In strong drink, though you know that bread and water are all He can afford.
Flatter his wife, pity his children, till we can Reduce all to our will, as spaniels are taught with art.
' The sun has left his blackness and has found a fresher morning, And the mild moon rejoices in the clear and cloudless night, And Man walks forth from midst of the fires: the evil is all consum'd.
His eyes behold the Angelic spheres arising night and day; The stars consum'd like a lamp blown out, and in their stead, behold The expanding eyes of Man behold the depths of wondrous worlds! One Earth, one sea beneath; nor erring globes wander, but stars Of fire rise up nightly from the ocean; and one sun Each morning, like a new born man, issues with songs and joy Calling the Plowman to his labour and the Shepherd to his rest.
He walks upon the Eternal Mountains, raising his heavenly voice, Conversing with the animal forms of wisdom night and day, That, risen from the sea of fire, renew'd walk o'er the Earth; For Tharmas brought his flocks upon the hills, and in the vales Around the Eternal Man's bright tent, the little children play Among the woolly flocks.
The hammer of Urthona sounds In the deep caves beneath; his limbs renew'd, his Lions roar Around the Furnaces and in evening sport upon the plains.
They raise their faces from the earth, conversing with the Man: 'How is it we have walk'd through fires and yet are not consum'd? How is it that all things are chang'd, even as in ancient times?'
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