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Best Famous Paris Poems

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Written by Aleister Crowley | Create an image from this poem

A Birthday

 "Aug.
" 10, 1911.
Full moon to-night; and six and twenty years Since my full moon first broke from angel spheres! A year of infinite love unwearying --- No circling seasons, but perennial spring! A year of triumph trampling through defeat, The first made holy and the last made sweet By this same love; a year of wealth and woe, Joy, poverty, health, sickness --- all one glow In the pure light that filled our firmament Of supreme silence and unbarred extent, Wherein one sacrament was ours, one Lord, One resurrection, one recurrent chord, One incarnation, one descending dove, All these being one, and that one being Love! You sent your spirit into tunes; my soul Yearned in a thousand melodies to enscroll Its happiness: I left no flower unplucked That might have graced your garland.
I induct Tragedy, comedy, farce, fable, song, Each longing a little, each a little long, But each aspiring only to express Your excellence and my unworthiness --- Nay! but my worthiness, since I was sense And spirit too of that same excellence.
So thus we solved the earth's revolving riddle: I could write verse, and you could play the fiddle, While, as for love, the sun went through the signs, And not a star but told him how love twines A wreath for every decanate, degree, Minute and second, linked eternally In chains of flowers that never fading are, Each one as sempiternal as a star.
Let me go back to your last birthday.
Then I was already your one man of men Appointed to complete you, and fulfil From everlasting the eternal will.
We lay within the flood of crimson light In my own balcony that August night, And conjuring the aright and the averse Created yet another universe.
We worked together; dance and rite and spell Arousing heaven and constraining hell.
We lived together; every hour of rest Was honied from your tiger-lily breast.
We --- oh what lingering doubt or fear betrayed My life to fate! --- we parted.
Was I afraid? I was afraid, afraid to live my love, Afraid you played the serpent, I the dove, Afraid of what I know not.
I am glad Of all the shame and wretchedness I had, Since those six weeks have taught me not to doubt you, And also that I cannot live without you.
Then I came back to you; black treasons rear Their heads, blind hates, deaf agonies of fear, Cruelty, cowardice, falsehood, broken pledges, The temple soiled with senseless sacrileges, Sickness and poverty, a thousand evils, Concerted malice of a million devils; --- You never swerved; your high-pooped galleon Went marvellously, majestically on Full-sailed, while every other braver bark Drove on the rocks, or foundered in the dark.
Then Easter, and the days of all delight! God's sun lit noontide and his moon midnight, While above all, true centre of our world, True source of light, our great love passion-pearled Gave all its life and splendour to the sea Above whose tides stood our stability.
Then sudden and fierce, no monitory moan, Smote the mad mischief of the great cyclone.
How far below us all its fury rolled! How vainly sulphur tries to tarnish gold! We lived together: all its malice meant Nothing but freedom of a continent! It was the forest and the river that knew The fact that one and one do not make two.
We worked, we walked, we slept, we were at ease, We cried, we quarrelled; all the rocks and trees For twenty miles could tell how lovers played, And we could count a kiss for every glade.
Worry, starvation, illness and distress? Each moment was a mine of happiness.
Then we grew tired of being country mice, Came up to Paris, lived our sacrifice There, giving holy berries to the moon, July's thanksgiving for the joys of June.
And you are gone away --- and how shall I Make August sing the raptures of July? And you are gone away --- what evil star Makes you so competent and popular? How have I raised this harpy-hag of Hell's Malice --- that you are wanted somewhere else? I wish you were like me a man forbid, Banned, outcast, nice society well rid Of the pair of us --- then who would interfere With us? --- my darling, you would now be here! But no! we must fight on, win through, succeed, Earn the grudged praise that never comes to meed, Lash dogs to kennel, trample snakes, put bit In the mule-mouths that have such need of it, Until the world there's so much to forgive in Becomes a little possible to live in.
God alone knows if battle or surrender Be the true courage; either has its splendour.
But since we chose the first, God aid the right, And damn me if I fail you in the fight! God join again the ways that lie apart, And bless the love of loyal heart to heart! God keep us every hour in every thought, And bring the vessel of our love to port! These are my birthday wishes.
Dawn's at hand, And you're an exile in a lonely land.
But what were magic if it could not give My thought enough vitality to live? Do not then dream this night has been a loss! All night I have hung, a god, upon the cross; All night I have offered incense at the shrine; All night you have been unutterably mine, Miner in the memory of the first wild hour When my rough grasp tore the unwilling flower From your closed garden, mine in every mood, In every tense, in every attitude, In every possibility, still mine While the sun's pomp and pageant, sign to sign, Stately proceeded, mine not only so In the glamour of memory and austral glow Of ardour, but by image of my brow Stronger than sense, you are even here and now Miner, utterly mine, my sister and my wife, Mother of my children, mistress of my life! O wild swan winging through the morning mist! The thousand thousand kisses that we kissed, The infinite device our love devised If by some chance its truth might be surprised, Are these all past? Are these to come? Believe me, There is no parting; they can never leave me.
I have built you up into my heart and brain So fast that we can never part again.
Why should I sing you these fantastic psalms When all the time I have you in my arms? Why? 'tis the murmur of our love that swells Earth's dithyrambs and ocean's oracles.
But this is dawn; my soul shall make its nest Where your sighs swing from rapture into rest Love's thurible, your tiger-lily breast.


Written by T S (Thomas Stearns) Eliot | Create an image from this poem

Portrait of a Lady

 Thou hast committed—
Fornication: but that was in another country,
And besides, the wench is dead.
The Jew of Malta.
I AMONG the smoke and fog of a December afternoon You have the scene arrange itself—as it will seem to do— With “I have saved this afternoon for you”; And four wax candles in the darkened room, Four rings of light upon the ceiling overhead, An atmosphere of Juliet’s tomb Prepared for all the things to be said, or left unsaid.
We have been, let us say, to hear the latest Pole Transmit the Preludes, through his hair and fingertips.
“So intimate, this Chopin, that I think his soul Should be resurrected only among friends Some two or three, who will not touch the bloom That is rubbed and questioned in the concert room.
” —And so the conversation slips Among velleities and carefully caught regrets Through attenuated tones of violins Mingled with remote cornets And begins.
“You do not know how much they mean to me, my friends, And how, how rare and strange it is, to find In a life composed so much, so much of odds and ends, [For indeed I do not love it .
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you knew? you are not blind! How keen you are!] To find a friend who has these qualities, Who has, and gives Those qualities upon which friendship lives.
How much it means that I say this to you— Without these friendships—life, what cauchemar!” Among the windings of the violins And the ariettes Of cracked cornets Inside my brain a dull tom-tom begins Absurdly hammering a prelude of its own, Capricious monotone That is at least one definite “false note.
” —Let us take the air, in a tobacco trance, Admire the monuments, Discuss the late events, Correct our watches by the public clocks.
Then sit for half an hour and drink our bocks.
II Now that lilacs are in bloom She has a bowl of lilacs in her room And twists one in his fingers while she talks.
“Ah, my friend, you do not know, you do not know What life is, you who hold it in your hands”; (Slowly twisting the lilac stalks) “You let it flow from you, you let it flow, And youth is cruel, and has no remorse And smiles at situations which it cannot see.
” I smile, of course, And go on drinking tea.
“Yet with these April sunsets, that somehow recall My buried life, and Paris in the Spring, I feel immeasurably at peace, and find the world To be wonderful and youthful, after all.
” The voice returns like the insistent out-of-tune Of a broken violin on an August afternoon: “I am always sure that you understand My feelings, always sure that you feel, Sure that across the gulf you reach your hand.
You are invulnerable, you have no Achilles’ heel.
You will go on, and when you have prevailed You can say: at this point many a one has failed.
But what have I, but what have I, my friend, To give you, what can you receive from me? Only the friendship and the sympathy Of one about to reach her journey’s end.
I shall sit here, serving tea to friends.
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” I take my hat: how can I make a cowardly amends For what she has said to me? You will see me any morning in the park Reading the comics and the sporting page.
Particularly I remark An English countess goes upon the stage.
A Greek was murdered at a Polish dance, Another bank defaulter has confessed.
I keep my countenance, I remain self-possessed Except when a street piano, mechanical and tired Reiterates some worn-out common song With the smell of hyacinths across the garden Recalling things that other people have desired.
Are these ideas right or wrong? III The October night comes down; returning as before Except for a slight sensation of being ill at ease I mount the stairs and turn the handle of the door And feel as if I had mounted on my hands and knees.
“And so you are going abroad; and when do you return? But that’s a useless question.
You hardly know when you are coming back, You will find so much to learn.
” My smile falls heavily among the bric-à-brac.
“Perhaps you can write to me.
” My self-possession flares up for a second; This is as I had reckoned.
“I have been wondering frequently of late (But our beginnings never know our ends!) Why we have not developed into friends.
” I feel like one who smiles, and turning shall remark Suddenly, his expression in a glass.
My self-possession gutters; we are really in the dark.
“For everybody said so, all our friends, They all were sure our feelings would relate So closely! I myself can hardly understand.
We must leave it now to fate.
You will write, at any rate.
Perhaps it is not too late.
I shall sit here, serving tea to friends.
” And I must borrow every changing shape To find expression .
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dance, dance Like a dancing bear, Cry like a parrot, chatter like an ape.
Let us take the air, in a tobacco trance— Well! and what if she should die some afternoon, Afternoon grey and smoky, evening yellow and rose; Should die and leave me sitting pen in hand With the smoke coming down above the housetops; Doubtful, for a while Not knowing what to feel or if I understand Or whether wise or foolish, tardy or too soon.
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Would she not have the advantage, after all? This music is successful with a “dying fall” Now that we talk of dying— And should I have the right to smile?
Written by Alan Seeger | Create an image from this poem

Paris

 First, London, for its myriads; for its height, 
Manhattan heaped in towering stalagmite; 
But Paris for the smoothness of the paths 
That lead the heart unto the heart's delight.
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Fair loiterer on the threshold of those days When there's no lovelier prize the world displays Than, having beauty and your twenty years, You have the means to conquer and the ways, And coming where the crossroads separate And down each vista glories and wonders wait, Crowning each path with pinnacles so fair You know not which to choose, and hesitate -- Oh, go to Paris.
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In the midday gloom Of some old quarter take a little room That looks off over Paris and its towers From Saint Gervais round to the Emperor's Tomb, -- So high that you can hear a mating dove Croon down the chimney from the roof above, See Notre Dame and know how sweet it is To wake between Our Lady and our love.
And have a little balcony to bring Fair plants to fill with verdure and blossoming, That sparrows seek, to feed from pretty hands, And swallows circle over in the Spring.
There of an evening you shall sit at ease In the sweet month of flowering chestnut-trees, There with your little darling in your arms, Your pretty dark-eyed Manon or Louise.
And looking out over the domes and towers That chime the fleeting quarters and the hours, While the bright clouds banked eastward back of them Blush in the sunset, pink as hawthorn flowers, You cannot fail to think, as I have done, Some of life's ends attained, so you be one Who measures life's attainment by the hours That Joy has rescued from oblivion.
II Come out into the evening streets.
The green light lessens in the west.
The city laughs and liveliest her fervid pulse of pleasure beats.
The belfry on Saint Severin strikes eight across the smoking eaves: Come out under the lights and leaves to the Reine Blanche on Saint Germain.
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Now crowded diners fill the floor of brasserie and restaurant.
Shrill voices cry "L'Intransigeant," and corners echo "Paris-Sport.
" Where rows of tables from the street are screened with shoots of box and bay, The ragged minstrels sing and play and gather sous from those that eat.
And old men stand with menu-cards, inviting passers-by to dine On the bright terraces that line the Latin Quarter boulevards.
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But, having drunk and eaten well, 'tis pleasant then to stroll along And mingle with the merry throng that promenades on Saint Michel.
Here saunter types of every sort.
The shoddy jostle with the chic: Turk and Roumanian and Greek; student and officer and sport; Slavs with their peasant, Christ-like heads, and courtezans like powdered moths, And peddlers from Algiers, with cloths bright-hued and stitched with golden threads; And painters with big, serious eyes go rapt in dreams, fantastic shapes In corduroys and Spanish capes and locks uncut and flowing ties; And lovers wander two by two, oblivious among the press, And making one of them no less, all lovers shall be dear to you: All laughing lips you move among, all happy hearts that, knowing what Makes life worth while, have wasted not the sweet reprieve of being young.
"Comment ca va!" "Mon vieux!" "Mon cher!" Friends greet and banter as they pass.
'Tis sweet to see among the mass comrades and lovers everywhere, A law that's sane, a Love that's free, and men of every birth and blood Allied in one great brotherhood of Art and Joy and Poverty.
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The open cafe-windows frame loungers at their liqueurs and beer, And walking past them one can hear fragments of Tosca and Boheme.
And in the brilliant-lighted door of cinemas the barker calls, And lurid posters paint the walls with scenes of Love and crime and war.
But follow past the flaming lights, borne onward with the stream of feet, Where Bullier's further up the street is marvellous on Thursday nights.
Here all Bohemia flocks apace; you could not often find elsewhere So many happy heads and fair assembled in one time and place.
Under the glare and noise and heat the galaxy of dancing whirls, Smokers, with covered heads, and girls dressed in the costume of the street.
From tables packed around the wall the crowds that drink and frolic there Spin serpentines into the air far out over the reeking hall, That, settling where the coils unroll, tangle with pink and green and blue The crowds that rag to "Hitchy-koo" and boston to the "Barcarole".
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Here Mimi ventures, at fifteen, to make her debut in romance, And join her sisters in the dance and see the life that they have seen.
Her hair, a tight hat just allows to brush beneath the narrow brim, Docked, in the model's present whim, `frise' and banged above the brows.
Uncorseted, her clinging dress with every step and turn betrays, In pretty and provoking ways her adolescent loveliness, As guiding Gaby or Lucile she dances, emulating them In each disturbing stratagem and each lascivious appeal.
Each turn a challenge, every pose an invitation to compete, Along the maze of whirling feet the grave-eyed little wanton goes, And, flaunting all the hue that lies in childish cheeks and nubile waist, She passes, charmingly unchaste, illumining ignoble eyes.
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But now the blood from every heart leaps madder through abounding veins As first the fascinating strains of "El Irresistible" start.
Caught in the spell of pulsing sound, impatient elbows lift and yield The scented softnesses they shield to arms that catch and close them round, Surrender, swift to be possessed, the silken supple forms beneath To all the bliss the measures breathe and all the madness they suggest.
Crowds congregate and make a ring.
Four deep they stand and strain to see The tango in its ecstasy of glowing lives that clasp and cling.
Lithe limbs relaxed, exalted eyes fastened on vacancy, they seem To float upon the perfumed stream of some voluptuous Paradise, Or, rapt in some Arabian Night, to rock there, cradled and subdued, In a luxurious lassitude of rhythm and sensual delight.
And only when the measures cease and terminate the flowing dance They waken from their magic trance and join the cries that clamor "Bis!" .
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Midnight adjourns the festival.
The couples climb the crowded stair, And out into the warm night air go singing fragments of the ball.
Close-folded in desire they pass, or stop to drink and talk awhile In the cafes along the mile from Bullier's back to Montparnasse: The "Closerie" or "La Rotonde", where smoking, under lamplit trees, Sit Art's enamored devotees, chatting across their `brune' and `blonde'.
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Make one of them and come to know sweet Paris -- not as many do, Seeing but the folly of the few, the froth, the tinsel, and the show -- But taking some white proffered hand that from Earth's barren every day Can lead you by the shortest way into Love's florid fairyland.
And that divine enchanted life that lurks under Life's common guise -- That city of romance that lies within the City's toil and strife -- Shall, knocking, open to your hands, for Love is all its golden key, And one's name murmured tenderly the only magic it demands.
And when all else is gray and void in the vast gulf of memory, Green islands of delight shall be all blessed moments so enjoyed: When vaulted with the city skies, on its cathedral floors you stood, And, priest of a bright brotherhood, performed the mystic sacrifice, At Love's high altar fit to stand, with fire and incense aureoled, The celebrant in cloth of gold with Spring and Youth on either hand.
III Choral Song Have ye gazed on its grandeur Or stood where it stands With opal and amber Adorning the lands, And orcharded domes Of the hue of all flowers? Sweet melody roams Through its blossoming bowers, Sweet bells usher in from its belfries the train of the honey-sweet hour.
A city resplendent, Fulfilled of good things, On its ramparts are pendent The bucklers of kings.
Broad banners unfurled Are afloat in its air.
The lords of the world Look for harborage there.
None finds save he comes as a bridegroom, having roses and vine in his hair.
'Tis the city of Lovers, There many paths meet.
Blessed he above others, With faltering feet, Who past its proud spires Intends not nor hears The noise of its lyres Grow faint in his ears! Men reach it through portals of triumph, but leave through a postern of tears.
It was thither, ambitious, We came for Youth's right, When our lips yearned for kisses As moths for the light, When our souls cried for Love As for life-giving rain Wan leaves of the grove, Withered grass of the plain, And our flesh ached for Love-flesh beside it with bitter, intolerable pain.
Under arbor and trellis, Full of flutes, full of flowers, What mad fortunes befell us, What glad orgies were ours! In the days of our youth, In our festal attire, When the sweet flesh was smooth, When the swift blood was fire, And all Earth paid in orange and purple to pavilion the bed of Desire!
Written by Rita Dove | Create an image from this poem

The Bistro Styx

 She was thinner, with a mannered gauntness
as she paused just inside the double
glass doors to survey the room, silvery cape
billowing dramatically behind her.
What's this, I thought, lifting a hand until she nodded and started across the parquet; that's when I saw she was dressed all in gray, from a kittenish cashmere skirt and cowl down to the graphite signature of her shoes.
"Sorry I'm late," she panted, though she wasn't, sliding into the chair, her cape tossed off in a shudder of brushed steel.
We kissed.
Then I leaned back to peruse my blighted child, this wary aristocratic mole.
"How's business?" I asked, and hazarded a motherly smile to keep from crying out: Are you content to conduct your life as a cliché and, what's worse, an anachronism, the brooding artist's demimonde? Near the rue Princesse they had opened a gallery cum souvenir shop which featured fuzzy off-color Monets next to his acrylics, no doubt, plus beared African drums and the occasional miniature gargoyle from Notre Dame the Great Artist had carved at breakfast with a pocket knife.
"Tourists love us.
The Parisians, of course"-- she blushed--"are amused, though not without a certain admiration .
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" The Chateaubriand arrived on a bone-white plate, smug and absolute in its fragrant crust, a black plug steaming like the heart plucked from the chest of a worthy enemy; one touch with her fork sent pink juices streaming.
"Admiration for what?"Wine, a bloody Pinot Noir, brought color to her cheeks.
"Why, the aplomb with which we've managed to support our Art"--meaning he'd convinced her to pose nude for his appalling canvases, faintly futuristic landscapes strewn with carwrecks and bodies being chewed by rabid cocker spaniels.
"I'd like to come by the studio," I ventured, "and see the new stuff.
" "Yes, if you wish .
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"A delicate rebuff before the warning: "He dresses all in black now.
Me, he drapes in blues and carmine-- and even though I think it's kinda cute, in company I tend toward more muted shades.
" She paused and had the grace to drop her eyes.
She did look ravishing, spookily insubstantial, a lipstick ghost on tissue, or as if one stood on a fifth-floor terrace peering through a fringe of rain at Paris' dreaming chimney pots, each sooty issue wobbling skyward in an ecstatic oracular spiral.
"And he never thinks of food.
I wish I didn't have to plead with him to eat.
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"Fruit and cheese appeared, arrayed on leaf-green dishes.
I stuck with café crème.
"This Camembert's so ripe," she joked, "it's practically grown hair," mucking a golden glob complete with parsley sprig onto a heel of bread.
Nothing seemed to fill her up: She swallowed, sliced into a pear, speared each tear-shaped lavaliere and popped the dripping mess into her pretty mouth.
Nowhere the bright tufted fields, weighted vines and sun poured down out of the south.
"But are you happy?"Fearing, I whispered it quickly.
"What?You know, Mother"-- she bit into the starry rose of a fig-- "one really should try the fruit here.
" I've lost her, I thought, and called for the bill.
Written by Allen Ginsberg | Create an image from this poem

The Lion For Real

 "Soyez muette pour moi, Idole contemplative.
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" I came home and found a lion in my living room Rushed out on the fire escape screaming Lion! Lion! Two stenographers pulled their brunnette hair and banged the window shut I hurried home to Patterson and stayed two days Called up old Reichian analyst who'd kicked me out of therapy for smoking marijuana 'It's happened' I panted 'There's a Lion in my living room' 'I'm afraid any discussion would have no value' he hung up I went to my old boyfriend we got drunk with his girlfriend I kissed him and announced I had a lion with a mad gleam in my eye We wound up fighting on the floor I bit his eyebrow he kicked me out I ended up masturbating in his jeep parked in the street moaning 'Lion.
' Found Joey my novelist friend and roared at him 'Lion!' He looked at me interested and read me his spontaneous ignu high poetries I listened for lions all I heard was Elephant Tiglon Hippogriff Unicorn Ants But figured he really understood me when we made it in Ignaz Wisdom's bathroom.
But next day he sent me a leaf from his Smoky Mountain retreat 'I love you little Bo-Bo with your delicate golden lions But there being no Self and No Bars therefore the Zoo of your dear Father hath no lion You said your mother was mad don't expect me to produce the Monster for your Bridegroom.
' Confused dazed and exalted bethought me of real lion starved in his stink in Harlem Opened the door the room was filled with the bomb blast of his anger He roaring hungrily at the plaster walls but nobody could hear outside thru the window My eye caught the edge of the red neighbor apartment building standing in deafening stillness We gazed at each other his implacable yellow eye in the red halo of fur Waxed rhuemy on my own but he stopped roaring and bared a fang greeting.
I turned my back and cooked broccoli for supper on an iron gas stove boilt water and took a hot bath in the old tup under the sink board.
He didn't eat me, tho I regretted him starving in my presence.
Next week he wasted away a sick rug full of bones wheaten hair falling out enraged and reddening eye as he lay aching huge hairy head on his paws by the egg-crate bookcase filled up with thin volumes of Plato, & Buddha.
Sat by his side every night averting my eyes from his hungry motheaten face stopped eating myself he got weaker and roared at night while I had nightmares Eaten by lion in bookstore on Cosmic Campus, a lion myself starved by Professor Kandisky, dying in a lion's flophouse circus, I woke up mornings the lion still added dying on the floor--'Terrible Presence!'I cried'Eat me or die!' It got up that afternoon--walked to the door with its paw on the south wall to steady its trembling body Let out a soul-rending creak from the bottomless roof of his mouth thundering from my floor to heaven heavier than a volcano at night in Mexico Pushed the door open and said in a gravelly voice "Not this time Baby-- but I will be back again.
" Lion that eats my mind now for a decade knowing only your hunger Not the bliss of your satisfaction O roar of the universe how am I chosen In this life I have heard your promise I am ready to die I have served Your starved and ancient Presence O Lord I wait in my room at your Mercy.
Paris, March 1958
Written by Rainer Maria Rilke | Create an image from this poem

Autumn Day

 Four Translations

Lord: it is time.
The summer was immense.
Lay your shadow on the sundials and let loose the wind in the fields.
Bid the last fruits to be full; give them another two more southerly days, press them to ripeness, and chase the last sweetness into the heavy wine.
Whoever has no house now will not build one anymore.
Whoever is alone now will remain so for a long time, will stay up, read, write long letters, and wander the avenues, up and down, restlessly, while the leaves are blowing.
Translated by Galway Kinnell and Hannah Liebmann, "The Essential Rilke" (Ecco) Lord, it is time.
The summer was too long.
Lay your shadow on the sundials now, and through the meadow let the winds throng.
Ask the last fruits to ripen on the vine; give them further two more summer days to bring about perfection and to raise the final sweetness in the heavy wine.
Whoever has no house now will establish none, whoever lives alone now will live on long alone, will waken, read, and write long letters, wander up and down the barren paths the parks expose when the leaves are blown.
Translated by William Gass, "Reading Rilke: Reflections on the Problem of Translation" (Knopf) Lord: it is time.
The huge summer has gone by.
Now overlap the sundials with your shadows, and on the meadows let the wind go free.
Command the fruits to swell on tree and vine; grant them a few more warm transparent days, urge them on to fulfillment then, and press the final sweetness into the heavy wine.
Whoever has no house now, will never have one.
Whoever is alone will stay alone, will sit, read, write long letters through the evening, and wander the boulevards, up and down, restlessly, while the dry leaves are blowing.
Translated by Stephen Mitchell, "The Selected Poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke" (Random House) Lord, it is time now, for the summer has gone on and gone on.
Lay your shadow along the sun- dials and in the field let the great wind blow free.
Command the last fruit be ripe: let it bow down the vine -- with perhaps two sun-warm days more to force the last sweetness in the heavy wine.
He who has no home will not build one now.
He who is alone will stay long alone, will wake up, read, write long letters, and walk in the streets, walk by in the streets when the leaves blow.
Translated by John Logan, "Homage to Rainer Maria Rilke," (BOA Editions) Original German Herbsttag Herr: es ist Zeit.
Der Sommer war sehr gross.
Leg deinen Schatten auf die Sonnenuhren, und auf den Fluren lass die Winde los.
Befiehl den letzten Fruchten voll zu sein; gieb innen noch zwei sudlichere Tage, drange sie zur Vollendung hin und jage die letzte Susse in den schweren Wein.
Wer jetzt kein Haus hat, baut sich keines mehr.
Wer jetzt allein ist, wird es lange bleiben, wird wachen, lesen, lange Briefe schreiben und wird in den Alleen hin und her unruhig wandern, wenn die Blatter treiben.
-- Rainer Maria Rilke, Paris, Sept.
21, 1902
Written by Gregory Corso | Create an image from this poem

Destiny

 1856 

Paris, from throats of iron, silver, brass, 
Joy-thundering cannon, blent with chiming bells, 
And martial strains, the full-voiced pæan swells.
The air is starred with flags, the chanted mass Throngs all the churches, yet the broad streets swarm With glad-eyed groups who chatter, laugh, and pass, In holiday confusion, class with class.
And over all the spring, the sun-floods warm! In the Imperial palace that March morn, The beautiful young mother lay and smiled; For by her side just breathed the Prince, her child, Heir to an empire, to the purple born, Crowned with the Titan's name that stirs the heart Like a blown clarion--one more Bonaparte.
1879 Born to the purple, lying stark and dead, Transfixed with poisoned spears, beneath the sun Of brazen Africa! Thy grave is one, Fore-fated youth (on whom were visited Follies and sins not thine), whereat the world, Heartless howe'er it be, will pause to sing A dirge, to breathe a sigh, a wreath to fling Of rosemary and rue with bay-leaves curled.
Enmeshed in toils ambitious, not thine own, Immortal, loved boy-Prince, thou tak'st thy stand With early doomed Don Carlos, hand in hand With mild-browed Arthur, Geoffrey's murdered son.
Louis the Dauphin lifts his thorn-ringed head, And welcomes thee, his brother, 'mongst the dead.


Written by Charles Bukowski | Create an image from this poem

His Wife The Painter

 There are sketches on the walls of men and women and ducks,
and outside a large green bus swerves through traffic like
insanity sprung from a waving line; Turgenev, Turgenev,
says the radio, and Jane Austin, Jane Austin, too.
"I am going to do her portrait on the 28th, while you are at work.
" He is just this edge of fat and he walks constantly, he fritters; they have him; they are eating him hollow like a webbed fly, and his eyes are red-suckled with anger-fear.
He feels hatred and discard of the world, sharper than his razor, and his gut-feel hangs like a wet polyp; and he self-decisions himself defeated trying to shake his hung beard from razor in water (like life), not warm enough.
Daumier.
Rue Transonian, le 15 Avril, 1843.
(lithograph.
) Paris, Bibliotheque Nationale.
"She has a face unlike that of any woman I have ever known.
" "What is it? A love affair?" "Silly.
I can't love a woman.
Besides, she's pregnant.
" I can paint- a flower eaten by a snake; that sunlight is a lie; and that markets smell of shoes and naked boys clothed, and that under everything some river, some beat, some twist that clambers along the edge of my temple and bites nip-dizzy.
.
.
men drive cars and paint their houses, but they are mad; men sit in barber chairs; buy hats.
Corot.
Recollection of Mortefontaine.
Paris, Louvre.
"I must write Kaiser, though I think he's a homosexual.
" "Are you still reading Freud?" "Page 299.
" She made a little hat and he fastened two snaps under one arm, reaching up from the bed like a long feeler from the snail, and she went to church, and he thought now I h've time and the dog.
About church: the trouble with a mask is it never changes.
So rude the flowers that grow and do not grow beautiful.
So magic the chair on the patio that does not hold legs and belly and arm and neck and mouth that bites into the wind like the ned of a tunnel.
He turned in bed and thought: I am searching for some segment in the air.
It floats about the peoples heads.
When it rains on the trees it sits between the branches warmer and more blood-real than the dove.
Orozco.
Christ Destroying the Cross.
Hanover, Dartmouth College, Baker Library.
He burned away in his sleep.
Written by Anne Sexton | Create an image from this poem

The Twelve Dancing Princesses

 If you danced from midnight
to six A.
M.
who would understand? The runaway boy who chucks it all to live on the Boston Common on speed and saltines, pissing in the duck pond, rapping with the street priest, trading talk like blows, another missing person, would understand.
The paralytic's wife who takes her love to town, sitting on the bar stool, downing stingers and peanuts, singing "That ole Ace down in the hole," would understand.
The passengers from Boston to Paris watching the movie with dawn coming up like statues of honey, having partaken of champagne and steak while the world turned like a toy globe, those murderers of the nightgown would understand.
The amnesiac who tunes into a new neighborhood, having misplaced the past, having thrown out someone else's credit cards and monogrammed watch, would understand.
The drunken poet (a genius by daylight) who places long-distance calls at three A.
M.
and then lets you sit holding the phone while he vomits (he calls it "The Night of the Long Knives") getting his kicks out of the death call, would understand.
The insomniac listening to his heart thumping like a June bug, listening on his transistor to Long John Nebel arguing from New York, lying on his bed like a stone table, would understand.
The night nurse with her eyes slit like Venetian blinds, she of the tubes and the plasma, listening to the heart monitor, the death cricket bleeping, she who calls you "we" and keeps vigil like a ballistic missile, would understand.
Once this king had twelve daughters, each more beautiful than the other.
They slept together, bed by bed in a kind of girls' dormitory.
At night the king locked and bolted the door .
How could they possibly escape? Yet each morning their shoes were danced to pieces.
Each was as worn as an old jockstrap.
The king sent out a proclamation that anyone who could discover where the princesses did their dancing could take his pick of the litter.
However there was a catch.
If he failed, he would pay with his life.
Well, so it goes.
Many princes tried, each sitting outside the dormitory, the door ajar so he could observe what enchantment came over the shoes.
But each time the twelve dancing princesses gave the snoopy man a Mickey Finn and so he was beheaded.
Poof! Like a basketball.
It so happened that a poor soldier heard about these strange goings on and decided to give it a try.
On his way to the castle he met an old old woman.
Age, for a change, was of some use.
She wasn't stuffed in a nursing home.
She told him not to drink a drop of wine and gave him a cloak that would make him invisible when the right time came.
And thus he sat outside the dorm.
The oldest princess brought him some wine but he fastened a sponge beneath his chin, looking the opposite of Andy Gump.
The sponge soaked up the wine, and thus he stayed awake.
He feigned sleep however and the princesses sprang out of their beds and fussed around like a Miss America Contest.
Then the eldest went to her bed and knocked upon it and it sank into the earth.
They descended down the opening one after the other.
They crafty soldier put on his invisisble cloak and followed.
Yikes, said the youngest daughter, something just stepped on my dress.
But the oldest thought it just a nail.
Next stood an avenue of trees, each leaf make of sterling silver.
The soldier took a leaf for proof.
The youngest heard the branch break and said, Oof! Who goes there? But the oldest said, Those are the royal trumpets playing triumphantly.
The next trees were made of diamonds.
He took one that flickered like Tinkerbell and the youngest said: Wait up! He is here! But the oldest said: Trumpets, my dear.
Next they came to a lake where lay twelve boats with twelve enchanted princes waiting to row them to the underground castle.
The soldier sat in the youngest's boat and the boat was as heavy as if an icebox had been added but the prince did not suspect.
Next came the ball where the shoes did duty.
The princesses danced like taxi girls at Roseland as if those tickets would run right out.
They were painted in kisses with their secret hair and though the soldier drank from their cups they drank down their youth with nary a thought.
Cruets of champagne and cups full of rubies.
They danced until morning and the sun came up naked and angry and so they returned by the same strange route.
The soldier went forward through the dormitory and into his waiting chair to feign his druggy sleep.
That morning the soldier, his eyes fiery like blood in a wound, his purpose brutal as if facing a battle, hurried with his answer as if to the Sphinx.
The shoes! The shoes! The soldier told.
He brought forth the silver leaf, the diamond the size of a plum.
He had won.
The dancing shoes would dance no more.
The princesses were torn from their night life like a baby from its pacifier.
Because he was old he picked the eldest.
At the wedding the princesses averted their eyes and sagged like old sweatshirts.
Now the runaways would run no more and never again would their hair be tangled into diamonds, never again their shoes worn down to a laugh, never the bed falling down into purgatory to let them climb in after with their Lucifer kicking.
Written by Weldon Kees | Create an image from this poem

The Bell From Europe

 The tower bell in the Tenth Street Church
Rang out nostalgia for the refugee
Who knew the source of bells by sound.
We liked it, but in ignorance.
One meets authorities on bells infrequently.
Europe alone made bells with such a tone, Herr Mannheim said.
The bell Struck midnight, and it shook the room.
He had heard bells in Leipzig, Chartres, Berlin, Paris, Vienna, Brussels, Rome.
He was a white-faced man with sad enormous eyes.
Reader, for me that bell marked nights Of restless tossing in this narrow bed, The quarrels, the slamming of a door, The kind words, friends for drinks, the books we read, Breakfasts with streets in rain.
It rang from europe all the time.
That was what Mannheim said.
It is good to know, now that the bell strikes noon.
In this day's sun, the hedges are Episcopalian As noon is marked by the twelve iron beats.
The rector moves ruminantly among the gravestones, And the sound of a dead Europe hangs in the streets.
12

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