Percy Bysshe Shelley |
O WILD West Wind, thou breath of Autumn's being¡ª
Thou from whose unseen presence the leaves dead
Are driven, like ghosts from an enchanter fleeing,
Yellow, and black, and pale, and hectic red,
Pestilence-stricken multitudes!¡ªO thou 5
Who chariotest to their dark wintry bed
The wing¨¨d seeds, where they lie cold and low,
Each like a corpse within its grave, until
Thine azure sister of the Spring shall blow
Her clarion o'er the dreaming earth, and fill 10
(Driving sweet buds like flocks to feed in air)
With living hues and odours plain and hill¡ª
Wild Spirit, which art moving everywhere¡ª
Destroyer and Preserver¡ªhear, O hear!
Thou on whose stream, 'mid the steep sky's commotion, 15
Loose clouds like earth's decaying leaves are shed,
Shook from the tangled boughs of Heaven and Ocean,
Angels of rain and lightning! they are spread
On the blue surface of thine airy surge,
Like the bright hair uplifted from the head 20
Of some fierce M?nad, ev'n from the dim verge
Of the horizon to the zenith's height¡ª
The locks of the approaching storm.
Of the dying year, to which this closing night
Will be the dome of a vast sepulchre, 25
Vaulted with all thy congregated might
Of vapours, from whose solid atmosphere
Black rain, and fire, and hail will burst:¡ªO hear!
Thou who didst waken from his summer-dreams
The blue Mediterranean, where he lay, 30
Lull'd by the coil of his crystalline streams,
Beside a pumice isle in Bai?'s bay,
And saw in sleep old palaces and towers
Quivering within the wave's intenser day,
All overgrown with azure moss, and flowers 35
So sweet, the sense faints picturing them! Thou
For whose path the Atlantic's level powers
Cleave themselves into chasms, while far below
The sea-blooms and the oozy woods which wear
The sapless foliage of the ocean, know 40
Thy voice, and suddenly grow gray with fear
And tremble and despoil themselves:¡ªO hear!
If I were a dead leaf thou mightest bear;
If I were a swift cloud to fly with thee;
A wave to pant beneath thy power, and share 45
The impulse of thy strength, only less free
Than thou, O uncontrollable!¡ªif even
I were as in my boyhood, and could be
The comrade of thy wanderings over heaven,
As then, when to outstrip thy skiey speed 50
Scarce seem'd a vision,¡ªI would ne'er have striven
As thus with thee in prayer in my sore need.
O lift me as a wave, a leaf, a cloud!
I fall upon the thorns of life! I bleed!
A heavy weight of hours has chain'd and bow'd 55
One too like thee¡ªtameless, and swift, and proud.
Make me thy lyre, ev'n as the forest is:
What if my leaves are falling like its own!
The tumult of thy mighty harmonies
Will take from both a deep autumnal tone, 60
Sweet though in sadness.
Be thou, Spirit fierce,
My spirit! be thou me, impetuous one!
Drive my dead thoughts over the universe,
Like wither'd leaves, to quicken a new birth;
And, by the incantation of this verse, 65
Scatter, as from an unextinguish'd hearth
Ashes and sparks, my words among mankind!
Be through my lips to unawaken'd earth
The trumpet of a prophecy! O Wind,
If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind? 70
Allen Ginsberg |
Homage Kenneth Koch
If I were doing my Laundry I'd wash my dirty Iran
I'd throw in my United States, and pour on the Ivory Soap,
scrub up Africa, put all the birds and elephants back in
I'd wash the Amazon river and clean the oily Carib & Gulf of Mexico,
Rub that smog off the North Pole, wipe up all the pipelines in Alaska,
Rub a dub dub for Rocky Flats and Los Alamos, Flush that sparkly
Cesium out of Love Canal
Rinse down the Acid Rain over the Parthenon & Sphinx, Drain the Sludge
out of the Mediterranean basin & make it azure again,
Put some blueing back into the sky over the Rhine, bleach the little
Clouds so snow return white as snow,
Cleanse the Hudson Thames & Neckar, Drain the Suds out of Lake Erie
Then I'd throw big Asia in one giant Load & wash out the blood &
Dump the whole mess of Russia and China in the wringer, squeeze out
the tattletail Gray of U.
Central American police state,
& put the planet in the drier & let it sit 20 minutes or an
Aeon till it came out clean
Robinson Jeffers |
The Atlantic is a stormy moat; and the Mediterranean,
The blue pool in the old garden,
More than five thousand years has drunk sacrifice
Of ships and blood, and shines in the sun; but here the Pacific--
Our ships, planes, wars are perfectly irrelevant.
Neither our present blood-feud with the brave dwarfs
Nor any future world-quarrel of westering
And eastering man, the bloody migrations, greed of power, clash of
Is a speck of dust on the great scale-pan.
Here from this mountain shore, headland beyond stormy headland
plunging like dolphins through the blue sea-smoke
Into pale sea--look west at the hill of water: it is half the
this dome, this half-globe, this bulging
Eyeball of water, arched over to Asia,
Australia and white Antartica: those are the eyelids that never
this is the staring unsleeping
Eye of the earth; and what it watches is not our wars.
Robert Francis |
Lingo of birds was easier than lingo of peasants-
they were elusive, though, the birds, for excellent reasons.
He thought of Virgil, Virgil who wasn't there to chat with.
History he never forgave for letting Latin
lapse into Italian, a renegade jabbering
musical enough but not enough to call music
So he conversed with stones, imperial and papal.
Even the preposterous popes he could condone
a moment for the clean arrogance of their inscriptions.
He asked the Italians only to leave him in the past
alone, but this was what they emphatically never did.
Being the present, they never ceased to celebrate it.
Something was always brushing him on the street, satyr
or saint-impossible to say which the more foreign.
At home he was called touchy; here he knew he was.
Impossible to say.
The dazzling nude with sex
lovingly displayed like carven fruit, the black
robe sweeping a holy and unholy dust.
Always the flesh whether to lacerate of kiss-
Conspiracy of fauns and clerics smiling back
and forth at each other acquiescently through leaves.
Caught between wan monastic mountains wearing the tonsure
and the all-siren, ever-dimpling sea, he saw
(how could he fail?) at heart geography to blame.
So home to Concord where (as he might have known he would)
he found the Italy he wanted to remember.
Why had he sailed if not for the savour of returning?
An Italy distilled of all extreme, conflict,
Collusion-an Italy without the Italians-
in whose green context he could con again his Virgil.
In cedar he read cypress, in the wild apple, olive.
His hills would stand up favorably to the hills of Rome.
His arrowheads could hold their own with are Etruscan.
And Walden clearly was his Mediterranean
whose infinite colors were his picture gallery.
How far his little boat transported him-how far.
He coughed discreetly and we likewise coughed;
we waited and we heard him clear his throat.
How to be perfect prisoners of the past
this was the thing but now he too is past.
Shall we go sit beside the Mississippi
and watch the riffraft driftwood floating by?
James Wright |
Deep into spring, winter is hanging on.
Bitter and skillful in his
hopelessness, he stays alive in every shady place, starving along the
Mediterranean: angry to see the glittering sea-pale boulder alive
with lizards green as Judas leaves.
Winter is hanging on.
He tries to catch a lizard by the shoulder.
One olive tree
below Grottaglie welcomes the winter into noontime shade, and
talks as softly as Pythagoras.
Be still, be patient, I can hear him say,
cradling in his arms the wounded head, letting the sunlight touch
the savage face.
Robinson Jeffers |
The world has many seas, Mediterranean, Atlantic, but
here is the shore of the one ocean.
And here the heavy future hangs like a cloud; the
enormous scene; the enormous games preparing
Weigh on the water and strain the rock; the stage is
here, the play is conceived; the players are
I saw on the Sierras, up the Kaweah valley above the
Moro rock, the mountain redwoods
Like red towers on the slopes of snow; about their
bases grew a bushery of Christmas green,
Firs and pines to be monuments for pilgrimage
In Europe; I remembered the Swiss forests, the dark
robes of Pilatus, no trunk like these there;
But these are underwood; they are only a shrubbery
about the boles of the trees.
Our people are clever and masterful;
They have powers in the mass, they accomplish marvels.
It is possible Time will make them before it
annuls them, but at present
There is not one memorable person, there is not one
mind to stand with the trees, one life with
Emily Dickinson |
They called me to the Window, for
" 'Twas Sunset" -- Some one said --
I only saw a Sapphire Farm --
And just a Single Herd --
Of Opal Cattle -- feeding far
Upon so vain a Hill --
As even while I looked -- dissolved --
Nor Cattle were -- nor Soil --
But in their stead -- a Sea -- displayed --
And Ships -- of such a size
As Crew of Mountains -- could afford --
And Decks -- to seat the skies --
This -- too -- the Showman rubbed away --
And when I looked again --
Nor Farm -- nor Opal Herd -- was there --
Nor Mediterranean --
Hilaire Belloc |
Behold, my child, the Nordic man,
And be as like him, as you can;
His legs are long, his mind is slow,
His hair is lank and made of tow.
And here we have the Alpine Race:
Oh! What a broad and foolish face!
His skin is of a dirty yellow.
He is a most unpleasant fellow.
The most degraded of them all
Mediterranean we call.
His hair is crisp, and even curls,
And he is saucy with the girls.
Thomas Hardy |
O epic-famed, god-haunted Central Sea,
Heave careless of the deep wrong done to thee
When from Torino's track I saw thy face first flash on me.
And multimarbled Genova the Proud,
Gleam all unconscious how, wide-lipped, up-browed,
I first beheld thee clad--not as the Beauty but the Dowd.
Out from a deep-delved way my vision lit
On housebacks pink, green, ochreous--where a slit
Shoreward 'twixt row and row revealed the classic blue through it.
And thereacross waved fishwives' high-hung smocks,
Chrome kerchiefs, scarlet hose, darned underfrocks;
Since when too oft my dreams of thee, O Queen, that frippery mocks:
Whereat I grieve, Superba! .
Within Palazzo Doria's orange bowers
Went far to mend these marrings of thy soul-subliming powers.
But, Queen, such squalid undress none should see,
Those dream-endangering eyewounds no more be
Where lovers first behold thy form in pilgrimage to thee.
James Wright |
The night's drifts
Pile up below me and behind my back,
Slide down the hill, rise again, and build
Eerie little dunes on the roof of the house.
In the valley below me,
Miles between me and the town of St.
The road lamps glow.
They are so cold, they might as well be dark.
Trucks and cars
Cough and drone down there between the golden
Coffins of greenhouses, the startled squawk
Of a rooster claws heavily across
A grove, and drowns.
The gumming snarl of some grouchy dog sounds,
And a man bitterly shifts his broken gears.
True night still hangs on,
Mist cluttered with a racket of its own.
Now on the mountainside,
A little way downhill among turning rucks,
A square takes form in the side of a dim wall.
I hear a bucket rattle or something, tinny,
No other stirring behind the dim face
Of the goatherd's house.
His goats are still sleeping, dreaming
Of the fresh roses
Beyond the walls of the greenhouse below them.
And of lettuce leaves opening in Tunisia.
I turn, and somehow
Impossibly hovering in the air over everything,
The Mediterranean, nearer to the moon
Than this mountain is, Shines.
A voice clearly
Tells me to snap out of it.
Mutters out of the house and up the stone stairs
To start the motor.
The moon and the stars
Suddenly flicker out, and the whole mountain
Appears, pale as a shell.
Look, the sea has not fallen and broken
How can I feel so warm
Here in the dead center of January? I can
Scarcely believe it, and yet I have to, this is
The only life I have.
I get up from the stone.
My body mumbles something unseemly
And follows me.
Now we are all sitting here strangely
On top of sunlight.