Philip Larkin |
I work all day, and get half-drunk at night.
Waking at four to soundless dark, I stare.
In time the curtain-edges will grow light.
Till then I see what's really always there:
Unresting death, a whole day nearer now,
Making all thought impossible but how
And where and when I shall myself die.
Arid interrogation: yet the dread
Of dying, and being dead,
Flashes afresh to hold and horrify.
The mind blanks at the glare.
Not in remorse
-- The good not done, the love not given, time
Torn off unused -- nor wretchedly because
An only life can take so long to climb
Clear of its wrong beginnings, and may never;
But at the total emptiness for ever,
The sure extinction that we travel to
And shall be lost in always.
Not to be here,
Not to be anywhere,
And soon; nothing more terrible, nothing more true.
This is a special way of being afraid
No trick dispels.
Religion used to try,
That vast moth-eaten musical brocade
Created to pretend we never die,
And specious stuff that says No rational being
Can fear a thing it will not feel, not seeing
That this is what we fear -- no sight, no sound,
No touch or taste or smell, nothing to think with,
Nothing to love or link with,
The anaesthetic from which none come round.
And so it stays just on the edge of vision,
A small unfocused blur, a standing chill
That slows each impulse down to indecision.
Most things may never happen: this one will,
And realisation of it rages out
In furnace-fear when we are caught without
People or drink.
Courage is no good:
It means not scaring others.
Lets no one off the grave.
Death is no different whined at than withstood.
Slowly light strengthens, and the room takes shape.
It stands plain as a wardrobe, what we know,
Have always known, know that we can't escape,
Yet can't accept.
One side will have to go.
Meanwhile telephones crouch, getting ready to ring
In locked-up offices, and all the uncaring
Intricate rented world begins to rouse.
The sky is white as clay, with no sun.
Work has to be done.
Postmen like doctors go from house to house.
Edwin Arlington Robinson |
When he, who is the unforgiven,
Beheld her first, he found her fair:
No promise ever dreamt in heaven
Could have lured him anywhere
That would have nbeen away from there;
And all his wits had lightly striven,
Foiled with her voice, and eyes, and hair.
There's nothing in the saints and sages
To meet the shafts her glances had,
Or such as hers have had for ages
To blind a man till he be glad,
And humble him till he be mad.
The story would have many pages,
And would be neither good nor bad.
And, having followed, you would find him
Where properly the play begins;
But look for no red light behind him--
No fumes of many-colored sins,
Fanned high by screaming violins.
God knows what good it was to blind him
Or whether man or woman wins.
And by the same eternal token,
Who knows just how it will all end?--
This drama of hard words unspoken,
This fireside farce without a friend
Or enemy to comprehend
What augurs when two lives are broken,
And fear finds nothing left to mend.
He stares in vain for what awaits him,
And sees in Love a coin to toss;
He smiles, and her cold hush berates him
Beneath his hard half of the cross;
They wonder why it ever was;
And she, the unforgiving, hates him
More for her lack than for her loss.
He feeds with pride his indecision,
And shrinks from what wil not occur,
Bequeathing with infirm derision
His ashes to the days that were,
Before she made him prisoner;
And labors to retrieve the vision
That he must once have had of her.
He waits, and there awaits an ending,
And he knows neither what nor when;
But no magicians are attending
To make him see as he saw then,
And he will never find again
The face that once had been the rending
Of all his purpose among men.
He blames her not, nor does he chide her,
And she has nothing new to say;
If he was Bluebeard he could hide her,
But that's not written in the play,
And there will be no change to-day;
Although, to the serene outsider,
There still would seem to be a way.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow |
MAIDEN! with the meek brown eyes
In whose orbs a shadow lies
Like the dusk in evening skies!
Thou whose locks outshine the sun
Golden tresses wreathed in one 5
As the braided streamlets run!
Standing with reluctant feet
Where the brook and river meet
Womanhood and childhood fleet!
Gazing with a timid glance 10
On the brooklet's swift advance
On the river's broad expanse!
Deep and still that gliding stream
Beautiful to thee must seem
As the river of a dream.
Then why pause with indecision
When bright angels in thy vision
Beckon thee to fields Elysian?
Seest thou shadows sailing by
As the dove with startled eye 20
Sees the falcon's shadow fly?
Hearest thou voices on the shore
That our ears perceive no more
Deafened by the cataract's roar?
Oh thou child of many prayers! 25
Life hath quicksands Life hath snares!
Care and age come unawares!
Like the swell of some sweet tune
Morning rises into noon
May glides onward into June.
Childhood is the bough where slumbered
Birds and blossoms many numbered;¡ª
Age that bough with snows encumbered.
Gather then each flower that grows
When the young heart overflows 35
To embalm that tent of snows.
Bear a lily in thy hand;
Gates of brass cannot withstand
One touch of that magic wand.
Bear through sorrow wrong and ruth 40
In thy heart the dew of youth
On thy lips the smile of truth.
O that dew like balm shall steal
Into wounds that cannot heal
Even as sleep our eyes doth seal; 45
And that smile like sunshine dart
Into many a sunless heart
For a smile of God thou art.
Ogden Nash |
My friends all know that I am shy,
But the chipmunk is twice and shy and I.
He moves with flickering indecision
Like stripes across the television.
He's like the shadow of a cloud,
Or Emily Dickinson read aloud.