Elizabeth Bishop |
Remembering the Strait of Belle Isle or
some northerly harbor of Labrador,
before he became a schoolteacher
a great-uncle painted a big picture.
Receding for miles on either side
into a flushed, still sky
are overhanging pale blue cliffs
hundreds of feet high,
their bases fretted by little arches,
the entrances to caves
running in along the level of a bay
masked by perfect waves.
On the middle of that quiet floor
sits a fleet of small black ships,
square-rigged, sails furled, motionless,
their spars like burnt match-sticks.
And high above them, over the tall cliffs'
are scribbled hundreds of fine black birds
hanging in n's in banks.
One can hear their crying, crying,
the only sound there is
except for occasional sizhine
as a large aquatic animal breathes.
In the pink light
the small red sun goes rolling, rolling,
round and round and round at the same height
in perpetual sunset, comprehensive, consoling,
while the ships consider it.
Apparently they have reached their destination.
It would be hard to say what brought them there,
commerce or contemplation.
Katherine Mansfield |
The further the little girl leaped and ran,
The further she longed to be;
The white, white fields of jonquil flowers
Danced up as high as her knee
And flashed and sparkled before her eyes
Until she could hardly see.
So into the wood went she.
It was quiet in the wood,
It was solemn and grave;
A sound like a wave
Sighed in the tree-tops
And then sighed no more.
But she was brave,
And the sky showed through
A bird's-egg blue,
And she saw
A tiny path that was running away
Over the hills to--who can say?
She ran, too.
But then the path broke,
Then the path ended
And wouldn't be mended.
A little old man
Sat on the edge,
Hugging the hedge.
He had a fire
And two eggs in a pan
And a paper poke
Of pepper and salt;
So she came to a halt
To watch and admire:
Cunning and nimble was he!
"May I help, if I can, little old man?"
"Bravo!" he said,
"You may dine with me.
I've two old eggs
From two white hens
and a loaf from a kind ladie:
Some fresh nutmegs,
Some cutlet ends
In pink and white paper frills:
A little hot-pot
From the town between the hills.
He nodded his head
And made her a sign
To sit under the spray
Of a trailing vine.
But when the little girl joined her hands
And said the grace she had learned to say,
The little old man gave two dreadful squeals
And she just saw the flash of his smoking heels
As he tumbled, tumbled,
With his two old eggs
From two white hens,
His loaf from a kind ladie,
The fresh nutmegs,
In the pink and white paper frills.
And away rumbled
The little hot-pot,
So much too hot,
From the ton between the hills.
Siegfried Sassoon |
So Davies wrote: ' This leaves me in the pink.
Then scrawled his name: ' Your loving sweetheart Willie '
With crosses for a hug.
He'd had a drink
Of rum and tea; and, though the barn was chilly,
For once his blood ram warm; he had pay to spend,
Winter was passing; soon the year would mend.
He couldn't sleep that night.
Stiff in the dark
He groaned and thought of Sundays at the farm,
When he'd go out as cheerful as a lark
In his best suit to wander arm-in-arm
With brown-eyed Gwen, and whisper in her ear
The simple, silly things she liked to hear.
And then he thought: to-morrow night we trudge
Up to the trenches, and my boots are rotten.
Five miles of stodgy clay and freezing sludge,
And everything but wretchedness forgotten.
To-night he's in the pink; but soon he'll die.
And still the war goes on; he don't know why.
Carl Sandburg |
WHAT cry of peach blossoms
let loose on the air today
I heard with my face thrown
in the pink-white of it all?
in the red whisper of it all?
What man I heard saying:
Christ, these are beautiful!
And Christ and Christ was in his mouth,
over these peach blossoms?