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Best Famous Pastoral Poems

Here is a collection of the all-time best famous Pastoral poems. This is a select list of the best famous Pastoral poetry. Reading, writing, and enjoying famous Pastoral poetry (as well as classical and contemporary poems) is a great past time. These top poems are the best examples of pastoral poems.

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Written by John Keats | Create an image from this poem

Ode to a Nightingale

MY heart aches, and a drowsy numbness pains 
My sense, as though of hemlock I had drunk, 
Or emptied some dull opiate to the drains 
One minute past, and Lethe-wards had sunk: 
'Tis not through envy of thy happy lot, 5 
But being too happy in thine happiness, 
That thou, light-wing¨¨d Dryad of the trees, 
In some melodious plot 
Of beechen green, and shadows numberless, 
Singest of summer in full-throated ease.
10 O for a draught of vintage! that hath been Cool'd a long age in the deep-delv¨¨d earth, Tasting of Flora and the country-green, Dance, and Proven?al song, and sunburnt mirth! O for a beaker full of the warm South! 15 Full of the true, the blushful Hippocrene, With beaded bubbles winking at the brim, And purple-stain¨¨d mouth; That I might drink, and leave the world unseen, And with thee fade away into the forest dim: 20 Fade far away, dissolve, and quite forget What thou among the leaves hast never known, The weariness, the fever, and the fret Here, where men sit and hear each other groan; Where palsy shakes a few, sad, last grey hairs, 25 Where youth grows pale, and spectre-thin, and dies; Where but to think is to be full of sorrow And leaden-eyed despairs; Where beauty cannot keep her lustrous eyes, Or new Love pine at them beyond to-morrow.
30 Away! away! for I will fly to thee, Not charioted by Bacchus and his pards, But on the viewless wings of Poesy, Though the dull brain perplexes and retards: Already with thee! tender is the night, 35 And haply the Queen-Moon is on her throne, Cluster'd around by all her starry Fays But here there is no light, Save what from heaven is with the breezes blown Through verdurous glooms and winding mossy ways.
40 I cannot see what flowers are at my feet, Nor what soft incense hangs upon the boughs, But, in embalm¨¨d darkness, guess each sweet Wherewith the seasonable month endows The grass, the thicket, and the fruit-tree wild; 45 White hawthorn, and the pastoral eglantine; Fast-fading violets cover'd up in leaves; And mid-May's eldest child, The coming musk-rose, full of dewy wine, The murmurous haunt of flies on summer eves.
50 Darkling I listen; and, for many a time I have been half in love with easeful Death, Call'd him soft names in many a mus¨¨d rhyme, To take into the air my quiet breath; Now more than ever seems it rich to die, 55 To cease upon the midnight with no pain, While thou art pouring forth thy soul abroad In such an ecstasy! Still wouldst thou sing, and I have ears in vain¡ª To thy high requiem become a sod.
60 Thou wast not born for death, immortal Bird! No hungry generations tread thee down; The voice I hear this passing night was heard In ancient days by emperor and clown: Perhaps the self-same song that found a path 65 Through the sad heart of Ruth, when, sick for home, She stood in tears amid the alien corn; The same that ofttimes hath Charm'd magic casements, opening on the foam Of perilous seas, in faery lands forlorn.
70 Forlorn! the very word is like a bell To toll me back from thee to my sole self! Adieu! the fancy cannot cheat so well As she is famed to do, deceiving elf.
Adieu! adieu! thy plaintive anthem fades 75 Past the near meadows, over the still stream, Up the hill-side; and now 'tis buried deep In the next valley-glades: Was it a vision, or a waking dream? Fled is that music:¡ªdo I wake or sleep? 80


Written by William Wordsworth | Create an image from this poem

Lines Composed a Few Miles above Tintern Abbey

Five years have passed; five summers, with the length 
Of five long winters! and again I hear
These waters, rolling from their mountain-springs
With a soft inland murmur.
Once again Do I behold these steep and lofty cliffs, That on a wild secluded scene impress Thoughts of more deep seclusion; and connect The landscape with the quiet of the sky.
The day is come when I again repose Here, under this dark sycamore, and view These plots of cottage-ground, these orchard-tufts, Which at this season, with their unripe fruits, Are clad in one green hue, and lose themselves 'Mid groves and copses.
Once again I see These hedgerows, hardly hedgerows, little lines Of sportive wood run wild; these pastoral farms, Green to the very door; and wreaths of smoke Sent up, in silence, from among the trees! With some uncertain notice, as might seem Of vagrant dwellers in the houseless woods, Or of some Hermit's cave, where by his fire The Hermit sits alone.
These beauteous forms, Through a long absence, have not been to me As is a landscape to a blind man's eye; But oft, in lonely rooms, and 'mid the din Of towns and cities, I have owed to them, In hours of weariness, sensations sweet, Felt in the blood, and felt along the heart; And passing even into my purer mind With tranquil restoration—feelings too Of unremembered pleasure; such, perhaps, As have no slight or trivial influence On that best portion of a good man's life, His little, nameless, unremembered, acts Of kindness and of love.
Nor less, I trust, To them I may have owed another gift, Of aspect more sublime; that blessed mood, In which the burthen of the mystery, In which the heavy and the weary weight Of all this unintelligible world, Is lightened—that serene and blessed mood, In which the affections gently lead us on— Until, the breath of this corporeal frame And even the motion of our human blood Almost suspended, we are laid asleep In body, and become a living soul; While with an eye made quiet by the power Of harmony, and the deep power of joy, We see into the life of things.
If this Be but a vain belief, yet, oh! how oft— In darkness and amid the many shapes Of joyless daylight; when the fretful stir Unprofitable, and the fever of the world, Have hung upon the beatings of my heart— How oft, in spirit, have I turned to thee, O sylvan Wye! thou wanderer through the woods, How often has my spirit turned to thee! And now, with gleams of half-extinguished thought, With many recognitions dim and faint, And somewhat of a sad perplexity, The picture of the mind revives again; While here I stand, not only with the sense Of present pleasure, but with pleasing thoughts That in this moment there is life and food For future years.
And so I dare to hope, Though changed, no doubt, from what I was when first I came among these hills; when like a roe I bounded o'er the mountains, by the sides Of the deep rivers, and the lonely streams, Wherever nature led—more like a man Flying from something that he dreads than one Who sought the thing he loved.
For nature then (The coarser pleasures of my boyish days And their glad animal movements all gone by) To me was all in all.
—I cannot paint What then I was.
The sounding cataract Haunted me like a passion; the tall rock, The mountain, and the deep and gloomy wood, Their colors and their forms, were then to me An appetite; a feeling and a love, That had no need of a remoter charm, By thought supplied, not any interest Unborrowed from the eye.
—That time is past, And all its aching joys are now no more, And all its dizzy raptures.
Not for this Faint I, nor mourn nor murmur; other gifts Have followed; for such loss, I would believe, Abundant recompense.
For I have learned To look on nature, not as in the hour Of thoughtless youth; but hearing oftentimes The still sad music of humanity, Nor harsh nor grating, though of ample power To chasten and subdue.
And I have felt A presence that disturbs me with the joy Of elevated thoughts; a sense sublime Of something far more deeply interfused, Whose dwelling is the light of setting suns, And the round ocean and the living air, And the blue sky, and in the mind of man: A motion and a spirit, that impels All thinking things, all objects of all thought, And rolls through all things.
Therefore am I still A lover of the meadows and the woods, And mountains; and of all that we behold From this green earth; of all the mighty world Of eye, and ear—both what they half create, And what perceive; well pleased to recognize In nature and the language of the sense The anchor of my purest thoughts, the nurse, The guide, the guardian of my heart, and soul Of all my moral being.
Nor perchance, If I were not thus taught, should I the more Suffer my genial spirits to decay: For thou art with me here upon the banks Of this fair river; thou my dearest Friend, My dear, dear Friend; and in thy voice I catch The language of my former heart, and read My former pleasures in the shooting lights Of thy wild eyes.
Oh! yet a little while May I behold in thee what I was once, My dear, dear Sister! and this prayer I make, Knowing that Nature never did betray The heart that loved her; 'tis her privilege, Through all the years of this our life, to lead From joy to joy: for she can so inform The mind that is within us, so impress With quietness and beauty, and so feed With lofty thoughts, that neither evil tongues, Rash judgments, nor the sneers of selfish men, Nor greetings where no kindness is, nor all The dreary intercourse of daily life, Shall e'er prevail against us, or disturb Our cheerful faith, that all which we behold Is full of blessings.
Therefore let the moon Shine on thee in thy solitary walk; And let the misty mountain winds be free To blow against thee: and, in after years, When these wild ecstasies shall be matured Into a sober pleasure; when thy mind Shall be a mansion for all lovely forms, Thy memory be as a dwelling place For all sweet sounds and harmonies; oh! then, If solitude, or fear, or pain, or grief, Should be thy portion, with what healing thoughts Of tender joy wilt thou remember me, And these my exhortations! Nor, perchance— If I should be where I no more can hear Thy voice, nor catch from thy wild eyes these gleams Of past existence—wilt thou then forget That on the banks of this delightful stream We stood together; and that I, so long A worshipper of Nature, hither came Unwearied in that service; rather say With warmer love—oh! with far deeper zeal Of holier love.
Nor wilt thou then forget, That after many wanderings, many years Of absence, these steep woods and lofty cliffs, And this green pastoral landscape, were to me More dear, both for themselves and for thy sake!
Written by John Keats | Create an image from this poem

Ode on a Grecian Urn

THOU still unravish'd bride of quietness  
Thou foster-child of Silence and slow Time  
Sylvan historian who canst thus express 
A flowery tale more sweetly than our rhyme: 
What leaf-fringed legend haunts about thy shape 5 
Of deities or mortals or of both  
In Tempe or the dales of Arcady? 
What men or gods are these? What maidens loth? 
What mad pursuit? What struggle to escape? 
What pipes and timbrels? What wild ecstasy? 10 

Heard melodies are sweet but those unheard 
Are sweeter; therefore ye soft pipes play on; 
Not to the sensual ear but more endear'd  
Pipe to the spirit ditties of no tone: 
Fair youth beneath the trees thou canst not leave 15 
Thy song nor ever can those trees be bare; 
Bold Lover never never canst thou kiss  
Though winning near the goal¡ªyet do not grieve; 
She cannot fade though thou hast not thy bliss  
For ever wilt thou love and she be fair! 20 

Ah happy happy boughs! that cannot shed 
Your leaves nor ever bid the Spring adieu; 
And happy melodist unweari¨¨d  
For ever piping songs for ever new; 
More happy love! more happy happy love! 25 
For ever warm and still to be enjoy'd  
For ever panting and for ever young; 
All breathing human passion far above  
That leaves a heart high-sorrowful and cloy'd  
A burning forehead and a parching tongue.
30 Who are these coming to the sacrifice? To what green altar O mysterious priest Lead'st thou that heifer lowing at the skies And all her silken flanks with garlands drest? What little town by river or sea-shore 35 Or mountain-built with peaceful citadel Is emptied of its folk this pious morn? And little town thy streets for evermore Will silent be; and not a soul to tell Why thou art desolate can e'er return.
40 O Attic shape! fair attitude! with brede Of marble men and maidens overwrought With forest branches and the trodden weed; Thou silent form! dost tease us out of thought As doth eternity: Cold Pastoral! 45 When old age shall this generation waste Thou shalt remain in midst of other woe Than ours a friend to man to whom thou say'st 'Beauty is truth truth beauty ¡ªthat is all Ye know on earth and all ye need to know.
' 50
Written by Walt Whitman | Create an image from this poem

Thoughts

 1
OF these years I sing, 
How they pass and have pass’d, through convuls’d pains as through parturitions; 
How America illustrates birth, muscular youth, the promise, the sure fulfillment, the
 Absolute
 Success, despite of people—Illustrates evil as well as good; 
How many hold despairingly yet to the models departed, caste, myths, obedience,
 compulsion, and
 to infidelity; 
How few see the arrived models, the Athletes, the Western States—or see freedom or
 spirituality—or hold any faith in results,
(But I see the Athletes—and I see the results of the war glorious and
 inevitable—and
 they again leading to other results;) 
How the great cities appear—How the Democratic masses, turbulent, wilful, as I love
 them; 
How the whirl, the contest, the wrestle of evil with good, the sounding and resounding,
 keep on
 and on; 
How society waits unform’d, and is for awhile between things ended and things begun; 
How America is the continent of glories, and of the triumph of freedom, and of the
 Democracies,
 and of the fruits of society, and of all that is begun;
And how The States are complete in themselves—And how all triumphs and glories are
 complete in themselves, to lead onward, 
And how these of mine, and of The States, will in their turn be convuls’d, and serve
 other
 parturitions and transitions, 
And how all people, sights, combinations, the Democratic masses, too, serve—and how
 every
 fact, and war itself, with all its horrors, serves, 
And how now, or at any time, each serves the exquisite transition of death.
2 OF seeds dropping into the ground—of birth, Of the steady concentration of America, inland, upward, to impregnable and swarming places, Of what Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio and the rest, are to be, Of what a few years will show there in Nebraska, Colorado, Nevada, and the rest; (Or afar, mounting the Northern Pacific to Sitka or Aliaska;) Of what the feuillage of America is the preparation for—and of what all sights, North, South, East and West, are; Of This Union, soak’d, welded in blood—of the solemn price paid—of the unnamed lost, ever present in my mind; —Of the temporary use of materials, for identity’s sake, Of the present, passing, departing—of the growth of completer men than any yet, Of myself, soon, perhaps, closing up my songs by these shores, Of California, of Oregon—and of me journeying to live and sing there; Of the Western Sea—of the spread inland between it and the spinal river, Of the great pastoral area, athletic and feminine, of all sloping down there where the fresh free giver, the mother, the Mississippi flows, Of future women there—of happiness in those high plateaus, ranging three thousand miles, warm and cold; Of mighty inland cities yet unsurvey’d and unsuspected, (as I am also, and as it must be;) Of the new and good names—of the modern developments—of inalienable homesteads; Of a free and original life there—of simple diet and clean and sweet blood; Of litheness, majestic faces, clear eyes, and perfect physique there; Of immense spiritual results, future years, far west, each side of the Anahuacs; Of these leaves, well understood there, (being made for that area;) Of the native scorn of grossness and gain there; (O it lurks in me night and day—What is gain, after all, to savageness and freedom?)
Written by Walt Whitman | Create an image from this poem

American Feuillage

 AMERICA always! 
Always our own feuillage! 
Always Florida’s green peninsula! Always the priceless delta of Louisiana! Always the
 cotton-fields of Alabama and Texas! 
Always California’s golden hills and hollows—and the silver mountains of New
 Mexico!
 Always soft-breath’d Cuba! 
Always the vast slope drain’d by the Southern Sea—inseparable with the slopes
 drain’d
 by the Eastern and Western Seas;
The area the eighty-third year of These States—the three and a half millions of
 square
 miles; 
The eighteen thousand miles of sea-coast and bay-coast on the main—the thirty
 thousand
 miles of
 river navigation, 
The seven millions of distinct families, and the same number of dwellings—Always
 these,
 and
 more, branching forth into numberless branches; 
Always the free range and diversity! always the continent of Democracy! 
Always the prairies, pastures, forests, vast cities, travelers, Kanada, the snows;
Always these compact lands—lands tied at the hips with the belt stringing the huge
 oval
 lakes; 
Always the West, with strong native persons—the increasing density there—the
 habitans,
 friendly, threatening, ironical, scorning invaders; 
All sights, South, North, East—all deeds, promiscuously done at all times, 
All characters, movements, growths—a few noticed, myriads unnoticed, 
Through Mannahatta’s streets I walking, these things gathering;
On interior rivers, by night, in the glare of pine knots, steamboats wooding up; 
Sunlight by day on the valley of the Susquehanna, and on the valleys of the Potomac and
 Rappahannock, and the valleys of the Roanoke and Delaware; 
In their northerly wilds, beasts of prey haunting the Adirondacks, the hills—or
 lapping
 the
 Saginaw waters to drink; 
In a lonesome inlet, a sheldrake, lost from the flock, sitting on the water, rocking
 silently; 
In farmers’ barns, oxen in the stable, their harvest labor done—they rest
 standing—they are too tired;
Afar on arctic ice, the she-walrus lying drowsily, while her cubs play around; 
The hawk sailing where men have not yet sail’d—the farthest polar sea, ripply,
 crystalline, open, beyond the floes; 
White drift spooning ahead, where the ship in the tempest dashes; 
On solid land, what is done in cities, as the bells all strike midnight together; 
In primitive woods, the sounds there also sounding—the howl of the wolf, the scream
 of the
 panther, and the hoarse bellow of the elk;
In winter beneath the hard blue ice of Moosehead Lake—in summer visible through the
 clear
 waters, the great trout swimming; 
In lower latitudes, in warmer air, in the Carolinas, the large black buzzard floating
 slowly,
 high
 beyond the tree tops, 
Below, the red cedar, festoon’d with tylandria—the pines and cypresses, growing
 out
 of the
 white sand that spreads far and flat; 
Rude boats descending the big Pedee—climbing plants, parasites, with color’d
 flowers
 and
 berries, enveloping huge trees, 
The waving drapery on the live oak, trailing long and low, noiselessly waved by the wind;
The camp of Georgia wagoners, just after dark—the supper-fires, and the cooking and
 eating
 by
 whites and negroes, 
Thirty or forty great wagons—the mules, cattle, horses, feeding from troughs, 
The shadows, gleams, up under the leaves of the old sycamore-trees—the
 flames—with
 the
 black smoke from the pitch-pine, curling and rising; 
Southern fishermen fishing—the sounds and inlets of North Carolina’s
 coast—the
 shad-fishery and the herring-fishery—the large sweep-seines—the windlasses on
 shore
 work’d by horses—the clearing, curing, and packing-houses; 
Deep in the forest, in piney woods, turpentine dropping from the incisions in the
 trees—There
 are the turpentine works,
There are the negroes at work, in good health—the ground in all directions is
 cover’d
 with
 pine straw: 
—In Tennessee and Kentucky, slaves busy in the coalings, at the forge, by the
 furnace-blaze, or
 at the corn-shucking; 
In Virginia, the planter’s son returning after a long absence, joyfully welcom’d
 and
 kiss’d by the aged mulatto nurse; 
On rivers, boatmen safely moor’d at night-fall, in their boats, under shelter of high
 banks, 
Some of the younger men dance to the sound of the banjo or fiddle—others sit on the
 gunwale,
 smoking and talking;
Late in the afternoon, the mocking-bird, the American mimic, singing in the Great Dismal
 Swamp—there are the greenish waters, the resinous odor, the plenteous moss, the
 cypress
 tree,
 and the juniper tree; 
—Northward, young men of Mannahatta—the target company from an excursion
 returning
 home at
 evening—the musket-muzzles all bear bunches of flowers presented by women; 
Children at play—or on his father’s lap a young boy fallen asleep, (how his lips
 move! how
 he smiles in his sleep!) 
The scout riding on horseback over the plains west of the Mississippi—he ascends a
 knoll
 and
 sweeps his eye around; 
California life—the miner, bearded, dress’d in his rude costume—the stanch
 California
 friendship—the sweet air—the graves one, in passing, meets, solitary, just
 aside the
 horsepath;
Down in Texas, the cotton-field, the negro-cabins—drivers driving mules or oxen
 before
 rude
 carts—cotton bales piled on banks and wharves; 
Encircling all, vast-darting, up and wide, the American Soul, with equal
 hemispheres—one
 Love,
 one Dilation or Pride; 
—In arriere, the peace-talk with the Iroquois, the aborigines—the calumet, the
 pipe
 of
 good-will, arbitration, and indorsement, 
The sachem blowing the smoke first toward the sun and then toward the earth, 
The drama of the scalp-dance enacted with painted faces and guttural exclamations,
The setting out of the war-party—the long and stealthy march, 
The single-file—the swinging hatchets—the surprise and slaughter of enemies; 
—All the acts, scenes, ways, persons, attitudes of These States—reminiscences,
 all
 institutions, 
All These States, compact—Every square mile of These States, without excepting a
 particle—you also—me also, 
Me pleas’d, rambling in lanes and country fields, Paumanok’s fields,
Me, observing the spiral flight of two little yellow butterflies, shuffling between each
 other,
 ascending high in the air; 
The darting swallow, the destroyer of insects—the fall traveler southward, but
 returning
 northward early in the spring; 
The country boy at the close of the day, driving the herd of cows, and shouting to them as
 they
 loiter to browse by the road-side; 
The city wharf—Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Charleston, New Orleans, San
 Francisco, 
The departing ships, when the sailors heave at the capstan;
—Evening—me in my room—the setting sun, 
The setting summer sun shining in my open window, showing the swarm of flies, suspended,
 balancing
 in the air in the centre of the room, darting athwart, up and down, casting swift shadows
 in
 specks
 on the opposite wall, where the shine is; 
The athletic American matron speaking in public to crowds of listeners; 
Males, females, immigrants, combinations—the copiousness—the individuality of
 The
 States,
 each for itself—the money-makers; 
Factories, machinery, the mechanical forces—the windlass, lever, pulley—All
 certainties,
The certainty of space, increase, freedom, futurity, 
In space, the sporades, the scatter’d islands, the stars—on the firm earth, the
 lands, my
 lands; 
O lands! all so dear to me—what you are, (whatever it is,) I become a part of that,
 whatever it
 is; 
Southward there, I screaming, with wings slowly flapping, with the myriads of gulls
 wintering
 along
 the coasts of Florida—or in Louisiana, with pelicans breeding; 
Otherways, there, atwixt the banks of the Arkansaw, the Rio Grande, the Nueces, the
 Brazos, the
 Tombigbee, the Red River, the Saskatchawan, or the Osage, I with the spring waters
 laughing
 and
 skipping and running;
Northward, on the sands, on some shallow bay of Paumanok, I, with parties of snowy herons
 wading in
 the wet to seek worms and aquatic plants; 
Retreating, triumphantly twittering, the king-bird, from piercing the crow with its bill,
 for
 amusement—And I triumphantly twittering; 
The migrating flock of wild geese alighting in autumn to refresh themselves—the body
 of
 the
 flock feed—the sentinels outside move around with erect heads watching, and are from
 time
 to
 time reliev’d by other sentinels—And I feeding and taking turns with the rest; 
In Kanadian forests, the moose, large as an ox, corner’d by hunters, rising
 desperately on
 his
 hind-feet, and plunging with his fore-feet, the hoofs as sharp as knives—And I,
 plunging
 at the
 hunters, corner’d and desperate; 
In the Mannahatta, streets, piers, shipping, store-houses, and the countless workmen
 working in
 the
 shops,
And I too of the Mannahatta, singing thereof—and no less in myself than the whole of
 the
 Mannahatta in itself, 
Singing the song of These, my ever united lands—my body no more inevitably united,
 part to
 part, and made one identity, any more than my lands are inevitably united, and made ONE
 IDENTITY; 
Nativities, climates, the grass of the great Pastoral Plains; 
Cities, labors, death, animals, products, war, good and evil—these me, 
These affording, in all their particulars, endless feuillage to me and to America, how can
 I do
 less
 than pass the clew of the union of them, to afford the like to you?
Whoever you are! how can I but offer you divine leaves, that you also be eligible as I am?

How can I but, as here, chanting, invite you for yourself to collect bouquets of the
 incomparable
 feuillage of These States?


Written by Derek Walcott | Create an image from this poem

The Star-Apple Kingdom

 There were still shards of an ancient pastoral 
in those shires of the island where the cattle drank 
their pools of shadow from an older sky, 
surviving from when the landscape copied such objects as 
"Herefords at Sunset in the valley of the Wye.
" The mountain water that fell white from the mill wheel sprinkling like petals from the star-apple trees, and all of the windmills and sugar mills moved by mules on the treadmill of Monday to Monday, would repeat in tongues of water and wind and fire, in tongues of Mission School pickaninnies, like rivers remembering their source, Parish Trelawny, Parish St David, Parish St Andrew, the names afflicting the pastures, the lime groves and fences of marl stone and the cattle with a docile longing, an epochal content.
And there were, like old wedding lace in an attic, among the boas and parasols and the tea-colored daguerreotypes, hints of an epochal happiness as ordered and infinite to the child as the great house road to the Great House down a perspective of casuarinas plunging green manes in time to the horses, an orderly life reduced by lorgnettes day and night, one disc the sun, the other the moon, reduced into a pier glass: nannies diminished to dolls, mahogany stairways no larger than those of an album in which the flash of cutlery yellows, as gamboge as the piled cakes of teatime on that latticed bougainvillea verandah that looked down toward a prospect of Cuyp-like Herefords under a sky lurid as a porcelain souvenir with these words: "Herefords at Sunset in the Valley of the Wye.
" Strange, that the rancor of hatred hid in that dream of slow rivers and lily-like parasols, in snaps of fine old colonial families, curled at the edge not from age of from fire or the chemicals, no, not at all, but because, off at its edges, innocently excluded stood the groom, the cattle boy, the housemaid, the gardeners, the tenants, the good Negroes down in the village, their mouth in the locked jaw of a silent scream.
A scream which would open the doors to swing wildly all night, that was bringing in heavier clouds, more black smoke than cloud, frightening the cattle in whose bulging eyes the Great House diminished; a scorching wind of a scream that began to extinguish the fireflies, that dried the water mill creaking to a stop as it was about to pronounce Parish Trelawny all over, in the ancient pastoral voice, a wind that blew all without bending anything, neither the leaves of the album nor the lime groves; blew Nanny floating back in white from a feather to a chimerical, chemical pin speck that shrank the drinking Herefords to brown porcelain cows on a mantelpiece, Trelawny trembling with dusk, the scorched pastures of the old benign Custos; blew far the decent servants and the lifelong cook, and shriveled to a shard that ancient pastoral of dusk in a gilt-edged frame now catching the evening sun in Jamaica, making both epochs one.
He looked out from the Great House windows on clouds that still held the fragrance of fire, he saw the Botanical Gardens officially drown in a formal dusk, where governors had strolled and black gardeners had smiled over glinting shears at the lilies of parasols on the floating lawns, the flame trees obeyed his will and lowered their wicks, the flowers tightened their fists in the name of thrift, the porcelain lamps of ripe cocoa, the magnolia's jet dimmed on the one circuit with the ginger lilies and left a lonely bulb on the verandah, and, had his mandate extended to that ceiling of star-apple candelabra, he would have ordered the sky to sleep, saying, I'm tired, save the starlight for victories, we can't afford it, leave the moon on for one more hour,and that's it.
But though his power, the given mandate, extended from tangerine daybreaks to star-apple dusks, his hand could not dam that ceaseless torrent of dust that carried the shacks of the poor, to their root-rock music, down the gullies of Yallahs and August Town, to lodge them on thorns of maca, with their rags crucified by cactus, tins, old tires, cartons; from the black Warieka Hills the sky glowed fierce as the dials of a million radios, a throbbing sunset that glowed like a grid where the dread beat rose from the jukebox of Kingston.
He saw the fountains dried of quadrilles, the water-music of the country dancers, the fiddlers like fifes put aside.
He had to heal this malarial island in its bath of bay leaves, its forests tossing with fever, the dry cattle groaning like winches, the grass that kept shaking its head to remember its name.
No vowels left in the mill wheel, the river.
Rock stone.
Rock stone.
The mountains rolled like whales through phosphorous stars, as he swayed like a stone down fathoms into sleep, drawn by that magnet which pulls down half the world between a star and a star, by that black power that has the assassin dreaming of snow, that poleaxes the tyrant to a sleeping child.
The house is rocking at anchor, but as he falls his mind is a mill wheel in moonlight, and he hears, in the sleep of his moonlight, the drowned bell of Port Royal's cathedral, sees the copper pennies of bubbles rising from the empty eye-pockets of green buccaneers, the parrot fish floating from the frayed shoulders of pirates, sea horses drawing gowned ladies in their liquid promenade across the moss-green meadows of the sea; he heard the drowned choirs under Palisadoes, a hymn ascending to earth from a heaven inverted by water, a crab climbing the steeple, and he climbed from that submarine kingdom as the evening lights came on in the institute, the scholars lamplit in their own aquarium, he saw them mouthing like parrot fish, as he passed upward from that baptism, their history lessons, the bubbles like ideas which he could not break: Jamaica was captured by Penn and Venables, Port Royal perished in a cataclysmic earthquake.
Before the coruscating façades of cathedrals from Santiago to Caracas, where penitential archbishops washed the feet of paupers (a parenthetical moment that made the Caribbean a baptismal font, turned butterflies to stone, and whitened like doves the buzzards circling municipal garbage), the Caribbean was borne like an elliptical basin in the hands of acolytes, and a people were absolved of a history which they did not commit; the slave pardoned his whip, and the dispossessed said the rosary of islands for three hundred years, a hymn that resounded like the hum of the sea inside a sea cave, as their knees turned to stone, while the bodies of patriots were melting down walls still crusted with mute outcries of La Revolucion! "San Salvador, pray for us,St.
Thomas, San Domingo, ora pro nobis, intercede for us, Sancta Lucia of no eyes," and when the circular chaplet reached the last black bead of Sancta Trinidad they began again, their knees drilled into stone, where Colon had begun, with San Salvador's bead, beads of black colonies round the necks of Indians.
And while they prayed for an economic miracle, ulcers formed on the municipal portraits, the hotels went up, and the casinos and brothels, and the empires of tobacco, sugar, and bananas, until a black woman, shawled like a buzzard, climbed up the stairs and knocked at the door of his dream, whispering in the ear of the keyhole: "Let me in, I'm finished with praying, I'm the Revolution.
I am the darker, the older America.
" She was as beautiful as a stone in the sunrise, her voice had the gutturals of machine guns across khaki deserts where the cactus flower detonates like grenades, her sex was the slit throat of an Indian, her hair had the blue-black sheen of the crow.
She was a black umbrella blown inside out by the wind of revolution, La Madre Dolorosa, a black rose of sorrow, a black mine of silence, raped wife, empty mother, Aztec virgin transfixed by arrows from a thousand guitars, a stone full of silence, which, if it gave tongue to the tortures done in the name of the Father, would curdle the blood of the marauding wolf, the fountain of generals, poets, and cripples who danced without moving over their graves with each revolution; her Caesarean was stitched by the teeth of machine guns,and every sunset she carried the Caribbean's elliptical basin as she had once carried the penitential napkins to be the footbath of dictators, Trujillo, Machado, and those whose faces had yellowed like posters on municipal walls.
Now she stroked his hair until it turned white, but she would not understand that he wanted no other power but peace, that he wanted a revolution without any bloodshed, he wanted a history without any memory, streets without statues, and a geography without myth.
He wanted no armies but those regiments of bananas, thick lances of cane, and he sobbed,"I am powerless, except for love.
" She faded from him, because he could not kill; she shrunk to a bat that hung day and night in the back of his brain.
He rose in his dream.
(to be continued)
Written by Walt Whitman | Create an image from this poem

A Promise to California

 A PROMISE to California, 
Also to the great Pastoral Plains, and for Oregon: 
Sojourning east a while longer, soon I travel toward you, to remain, to teach robust
 American
 love;

For I know very well that I and robust love belong among you, inland, and along the
 Western
 Sea; 
For These States tend inland, and toward the Western Sea—and I will also.
Written by John Greenleaf Whittier | Create an image from this poem

The Sycamores

 In the outskirts of the village 
On the river's winding shores 
Stand the Occidental plane-trees, 
Stand the ancient sycamores.
One long century hath been numbered, And another half-way told Since the rustic Irish gleeman Broke for them the virgin mould.
Deftly set to Celtic music At his violin's sound they grew, Through the moonlit eves of summer, Making Amphion's fable true.
Rise again, thou poor Hugh Tallant! Pass in erkin green along With thy eyes brim full of laughter, And thy mouth as full of song.
Pioneer of Erin's outcasts With his fiddle and his pack- Little dreamed the village Saxons Of the myriads at his back.
How he wrought with spade and fiddle, Delved by day and sang by night, With a hand that never wearied And a heart forever light,--- Still the gay tradition mingles With a record grave and drear Like the rollic air of Cluny With the solemn march of Mear.
When the box-tree, white with blossoms, Made the sweet May woodlands glad, And the Aronia by the river Lighted up the swarming shad, And the bulging nets swept shoreward With their silver-sided haul, Midst the shouts of dripping fishers, He was merriest of them all.
When, among the jovial huskers Love stole in at Labor's side With the lusty airs of England Soft his Celtic measures vied.
Songs of love and wailing lyke-wake And the merry fair's carouse; Of the wild Red Fox of Erin And the Woman of Three Cows, By the blazing hearths of winter Pleasant seemed his simple tales, Midst the grimmer Yorkshire legends And the mountain myths of Wales.
How the souls in Purgatory Scrambled up from fate forlorn On St.
Keven's sackcloth ladder Slyly hitched to Satan's horn.
Of the fiddler who at Tara Played all night to ghosts of kings; Of the brown dwarfs, and the fairies Dancing in their moorland rings! Jolliest of our birds of singing Best he loved the Bob-o-link.
"Hush!" he'd say, "the tipsy fairies! Hear the little folks in drink!" Merry-faced, with spade and fiddle, Singing through the ancient town, Only this, of poor Hugh Tallant Hath Tradtion handed down.
Not a stone his grave discloses; But if yet his spirit walks Tis beneath the trees he planted And when Bob-o-Lincoln talks.
Green memorials of the gleeman! Linking still the river-shores, With their shadows cast by sunset Stand Hugh Tallant's sycamores! When the Father of his Country Through the north-land riding came And the roofs were starred with banners, And the steeples rang acclaim,--- When each war-scarred Continental Leaving smithy, mill,.
and farm, Waved his rusted sword in welcome, And shot off his old king's-arm,--- Slowly passed that august Presence Down the thronged and shouting street; Village girls as white as angels Scattering flowers around his feet.
Midway, where the plane-tree's shadow Deepest fell, his rein he drew: On his stately head, uncovered, Cool and soft the west-wind blew.
And he stood up in his stirrups, Looking up and looking down On the hills of Gold and Silver Rimming round the little town,--- On the river, full of sunshine, To the lap of greenest vales Winding down from wooded headlands, Willow-skirted, white with sails.
And he said, the landscape sweeping Slowly with his ungloved hand "I have seen no prospect fairer In this goodly Eastern land.
" Then the bugles of his escort Stirred to life the cavalcade: And that head, so bare and stately Vanished down the depths of shade.
Ever since, in town and farm-house, Life has had its ebb and flow; Thrice hath passed the human harvest To its garner green and low.
But the trees the gleeman planted, Through the changes, changeless stand; As the marble calm of Tadmor Mocks the deserts shifting sand.
Still the level moon at rising Silvers o'er each stately shaft; Still beneath them, half in shadow, Singing, glides the pleasure craft; Still beneath them, arm-enfolded, Love and Youth together stray; While, as heart to heart beats faster, More and more their feet delay.
Where the ancient cobbler, Keezar, On the open hillside justice wrought, Singing, as he drew his stitches, Songs his German masters taught.
Singing, with his gray hair floating Round a rosy ample face,--- Now a thousand Saxon craftsmen Stitch and hammer in his place.
All the pastoral lanes so grassy Now are Traffic's dusty streets; From the village, grown a city, Fast the rural grace retreats.
But, still green and tall and stately, On the river's winding shores, Stand the occidental plane-trees, Stand Hugh Tallant's sycamores.
Written by Percy Bysshe Shelley | Create an image from this poem

Epipsychidion (excerpt)

 Emily, 
A ship is floating in the harbour now,
A wind is hovering o'er the mountain's brow;
There is a path on the sea's azure floor,
No keel has ever plough'd that path before;
The halcyons brood around the foamless isles;
The treacherous Ocean has forsworn its wiles;
The merry mariners are bold and free:
Say, my heart's sister, wilt thou sail with me?
Our bark is as an albatross, whose nest
Is a far Eden of the purple East;
And we between her wings will sit, while Night,
And Day, and Storm, and Calm, pursue their flight,
Our ministers, along the boundless Sea,
Treading each other's heels, unheededly.
It is an isle under Ionian skies, Beautiful as a wreck of Paradise, And, for the harbours are not safe and good, This land would have remain'd a solitude But for some pastoral people native there, Who from the Elysian, clear, and golden air Draw the last spirit of the age of gold, Simple and spirited; innocent and bold.
The blue Aegean girds this chosen home, With ever-changing sound and light and foam, Kissing the sifted sands, and caverns hoar; And all the winds wandering along the shore Undulate with the undulating tide: There are thick woods where sylvan forms abide; And many a fountain, rivulet and pond, As clear as elemental diamond, Or serene morning air; and far beyond, The mossy tracks made by the goats and deer (Which the rough shepherd treads but once a year) Pierce into glades, caverns and bowers, and halls Built round with ivy, which the waterfalls Illumining, with sound that never fails Accompany the noonday nightingales; And all the place is peopled with sweet airs; The light clear element which the isle wears Is heavy with the scent of lemon-flowers, Which floats like mist laden with unseen showers, And falls upon the eyelids like faint sleep; And from the moss violets and jonquils peep And dart their arrowy odour through the brain Till you might faint with that delicious pain.
And every motion, odour, beam and tone, With that deep music is in unison: Which is a soul within the soul--they seem Like echoes of an antenatal dream.
It is an isle 'twixt Heaven, Air, Earth and Sea, Cradled and hung in clear tranquillity; Bright as that wandering Eden Lucifer, Wash'd by the soft blue Oceans of young air.
It is a favour'd place.
Famine or Blight, Pestilence, War and Earthquake, never light Upon its mountain-peaks; blind vultures, they Sail onward far upon their fatal way: The wingèd storms, chanting their thunder-psalm To other lands, leave azure chasms of calm Over this isle, or weep themselves in dew, From which its fields and woods ever renew Their green and golden immortality.
And from the sea there rise, and from the sky There fall, clear exhalations, soft and bright, Veil after veil, each hiding some delight, Which Sun or Moon or zephyr draw aside, Till the isle's beauty, like a naked bride Glowing at once with love and loveliness, Blushes and trembles at its own excess: Yet, like a buried lamp, a Soul no less Burns in the heart of this delicious isle, An atom of th' Eternal, whose own smile Unfolds itself, and may be felt not seen O'er the gray rocks, blue waves and forests green, Filling their bare and void interstices.
But the chief marvel of the wilderness Is a lone dwelling, built by whom or how None of the rustic island-people know: 'Tis not a tower of strength, though with its height It overtops the woods; but, for delight, Some wise and tender Ocean-King, ere crime Had been invented, in the world's young prime, Rear'd it, a wonder of that simple time, An envy of the isles, a pleasure-house Made sacred to his sister and his spouse.
It scarce seems now a wreck of human art, But, as it were, Titanic; in the heart Of Earth having assum'd its form, then grown Out of the mountains, from the living stone, Lifting itself in caverns light and high: For all the antique and learned imagery Has been eras'd, and in the place of it The ivy and the wild-vine interknit The volumes of their many-twining stems; Parasite flowers illume with dewy gems The lampless halls, and when they fade, the sky Peeps through their winter-woof of tracery With moonlight patches, or star atoms keen, Or fragments of the day's intense serene; Working mosaic on their Parian floors.
And, day and night, aloof, from the high towers And terraces, the Earth and Ocean seem To sleep in one another's arms, and dream Of waves, flowers, clouds, woods, rocks, and all that we Read in their smiles, and call reality.
This isle and house are mine, and I have vow'd Thee to be lady of the solitude.
And I have fitted up some chambers there Looking towards the golden Eastern air, And level with the living winds, which flow Like waves above the living waves below.
I have sent books and music there, and all Those instruments with which high Spirits call The future from its cradle, and the past Out of its grave, and make the present last In thoughts and joys which sleep, but cannot die, Folded within their own eternity.
Our simple life wants little, and true taste Hires not the pale drudge Luxury to waste The scene it would adorn, and therefore still, Nature with all her children haunts the hill.
The ring-dove, in the embowering ivy, yet Keeps up her love-lament, and the owls flit Round the evening tower, and the young stars glance Between the quick bats in their twilight dance; The spotted deer bask in the fresh moonlight Before our gate, and the slow, silent night Is measur'd by the pants of their calm sleep.
Be this our home in life, and when years heap Their wither'd hours, like leaves, on our decay, Let us become the overhanging day, The living soul of this Elysian isle, Conscious, inseparable, one.
Meanwhile We two will rise, and sit, and walk together, Under the roof of blue Ionian weather, And wander in the meadows, or ascend The mossy mountains, where the blue heavens bend With lightest winds, to touch their paramour; Or linger, where the pebble-paven shore, Under the quick, faint kisses of the sea, Trembles and sparkles as with ecstasy-- Possessing and possess'd by all that is Within that calm circumference of bliss, And by each other, till to love and live Be one: or, at the noontide hour, arrive Where some old cavern hoar seems yet to keep The moonlight of the expir'd night asleep, Through which the awaken'd day can never peep; A veil for our seclusion, close as night's, Where secure sleep may kill thine innocent lights; Sleep, the fresh dew of languid love, the rain Whose drops quench kisses till they burn again.
And we will talk, until thought's melody Become too sweet for utterance, and it die In words, to live again in looks, which dart With thrilling tone into the voiceless heart, Harmonizing silence without a sound.
Our breath shall intermix, our bosoms bound, And our veins beat together; and our lips With other eloquence than words, eclipse The soul that burns between them, and the wells Which boil under our being's inmost cells, The fountains of our deepest life, shall be Confus'd in Passion's golden purity, As mountain-springs under the morning sun.
We shall become the same, we shall be one Spirit within two frames, oh! wherefore two? One passion in twin-hearts, which grows and grew, Till like two meteors of expanding flame, Those spheres instinct with it become the same, Touch, mingle, are transfigur'd; ever still Burning, yet ever inconsumable: In one another's substance finding food, Like flames too pure and light and unimbu'd To nourish their bright lives with baser prey, Which point to Heaven and cannot pass away: One hope within two wills, one will beneath Two overshadowing minds, one life, one death, One Heaven, one Hell, one immortality, And one annihilation.
Woe is me! The winged words on which my soul would pierce Into the height of Love's rare Universe, Are chains of lead around its flight of fire-- I pant, I sink, I tremble, I expire!
Written by Elizabeth Jennings | Create an image from this poem

A Chorus

 Over the surging tides and the mountain kingdoms,
Over the pastoral valleys and the meadows,
Over the cities with their factory darkness,
Over the lands where peace is still a power,
Over all these and all this planet carries
A power broods, invisible monarch, a stranger
To some, but by many trusted.
Man's a believer Until corrupted.
This huge trusted power Is spirit.
He moves in the muscle of the world, In continual creation.
He burns the tides, he shines From the matchless skies.
He is the day's surrender.
Recognize him in the eye of the angry tiger, In the sign of a child stepping at last into sleep, In whatever touches, graces and confesses, In hopes fulfilled or forgotten, in promises Kept, in the resignation of old men - This spirit, this power, this holder together of space Is about, is aware, is working in your breathing.
But most he is the need that shows in hunger And in the tears shed in the lonely fastness.
And in sorrow after anger.
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