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Best Famous Social Poems

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

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Written by Robert Burns | Create an image from this poem

To a Mouse

Wee, sleekit, cow'rin, tim'rous beastie,
O, what a panic's in thy breastie!
Thou need na start awa sae hasty,
          Wi' bickering brattle!
I wad be laith to rin an' chase thee,
          Wi' murd'ring pattle!

I'm truly sorry man's dominion
Has broken Nature's social union,
An' justifies that ill opinion
          Which makes thee startle
At me, thy poor, earth-born companion,
          An' fellow mortal!

I doubt na, whiles, but thou may thieve;
What then? poor beastie, thou maun live!
A daimen icker in a thrave
          'S a sma' request;
I'll get a blessin wi' the lave,
          An' never miss't!

Thy wee bit housie, too, in ruin!
Its silly wa's the win's are strewin!
An' naething, now, to big a new ane,
          O' foggage green!
An' bleak December's win's ensuin,
          Baith snell an' keen!

Thou saw the fields laid bare an waste,
An' weary winter comin fast,
An' cozie here, beneath the blast,
          Thou thought to dwell,
Till crash! the cruel coulter past
          Out thro' thy cell.
That wee bit heap o' leaves an' stibble Has cost thee mony a weary nibble! Now thou's turned out, for a' thy trouble, But house or hald, To thole the winter's sleety dribble, An' cranreuch cauld! But Mousie, thou art no thy lane, In proving foresight may be vain: The best-laid schemes o' mice an' men Gang aft a-gley, An' lea'e us nought but grief an' pain For promised joy! Still thou art blest, compared wi' me! The present only toucheth thee: But och! I backward cast my e'e On prospects drear! An' forward, tho I canna see, I guess an' fear!


Written by Robert Frost | Create an image from this poem

The Star-Splitter

 `You know Orion always comes up sideways.
Throwing a leg up over our fence of mountains, And rising on his hands, he looks in on me Busy outdoors by lantern-light with something I should have done by daylight, and indeed, After the ground is frozen, I should have done Before it froze, and a gust flings a handful Of waste leaves at my smoky lantern chimney To make fun of my way of doing things, Or else fun of Orion's having caught me.
Has a man, I should like to ask, no rights These forces are obliged to pay respect to?' So Brad McLaughlin mingled reckless talk Of heavenly stars with hugger-mugger farming, Till having failed at hugger-mugger farming He burned his house down for the fire insurance And spent the proceeds on a telescope To satisfy a lifelong curiosity About our place among the infinities.
`What do you want with one of those blame things?' I asked him well beforehand.
`Don't you get one!' `Don't call it blamed; there isn't anything More blameless in the sense of being less A weapon in our human fight,' he said.
`I'll have one if I sell my farm to buy it.
' There where he moved the rocks to plow the ground And plowed between the rocks he couldn't move, Few farms changed hands; so rather than spend years Trying to sell his farm and then not selling, He burned his house down for the fire insurance And bought the telescope with what it came to.
He had been heard to say by several: `The best thing that we're put here for's to see; The strongest thing that's given us to see with's A telescope.
Someone in every town Seems to me owes it to the town to keep one.
In Littleton it might as well be me.
' After such loose talk it was no surprise When he did what he did and burned his house down.
Mean laughter went about the town that day To let him know we weren't the least imposed on, And he could wait---we'd see to him tomorrow.
But the first thing next morning we reflected If one by one we counted people out For the least sin, it wouldn't take us long To get so we had no one left to live with.
For to be social is to be forgiving.
Our thief, the one who does our stealing from us, We don't cut off from coming to church suppers, But what we miss we go to him and ask for.
He promptly gives it back, that is if still Uneaten, unworn out, or undisposed of.
It wouldn't do to be too hard on Brad About his telescope.
Beyond the age Of being given one for Christmas gift, He had to take the best way he knew how To find himself in one.
Well, all we said was He took a strange thing to be roguish over.
Some sympathy was wasted on the house, A good old-timer dating back along; But a house isn't sentient; the house Didn't feel anything.
And if it did, Why not regard it as a sacrifice, And an old-fashioned sacrifice by fire, Instead of a new-fashioned one at auction? Out of a house and so out of a farm At one stroke (of a match), Brad had to turn To earn a living on the Concord railroad, As under-ticket-agent at a station Where his job, when he wasn't selling tickets, Was setting out, up track and down, not plants As on a farm, but planets, evening stars That varied in their hue from red to green.
He got a good glass for six hundred dollars.
His new job gave him leisure for stargazing.
Often he bid me come and have a look Up the brass barrel, velvet black inside, At a star quaking in the other end.
I recollect a night of broken clouds And underfoot snow melted down to ice, And melting further in the wind to mud.
Bradford and I had out the telescope.
We spread our two legs as we spread its three, Pointed our thoughts the way we pointed it, And standing at our leisure till the day broke, Said some of the best things we ever said.
That telescope was christened the Star-Splitter, Because it didn't do a thing but split A star in two or three, the way you split A globule of quicksilver in your hand With one stroke of your finger in the middle.
It's a star-splitter if there ever was one, And ought to do some good if splitting stars 'Sa thing to be compared with splitting wood.
We've looked and looked, but after all where are we? Do we know any better where we are, And how it stands between the night tonight And a man with a smoky lantern chimney? How different from the way it ever stood?
Written by Philip Levine | Create an image from this poem

Late Light

 Rain filled the streets 
once a year, rising almost 
to door and window sills, 
battering walls and roofs 
until it cleaned away the mess 
we'd made.
My father told me this, he told me it ran downtown and spilled into the river, which in turn emptied finally into the sea.
He said this only once while I sat on the arm of his chair and stared out at the banks of gray snow melting as the March rain streaked past.
All the rest of that day passed on into childhood, into nothing, or perhaps some portion hung on in a tiny corner of thought.
Perhaps a clot of cinders that peppered the front yard clung to a spar of old weed or the concrete lip of the curb and worked its way back under the new growth spring brought and is a part of that yard still.
Perhaps light falling on distant houses becomes those houses, hunching them down at dusk like sheep browsing on a far hillside, or at daybreak gilds the roofs until they groan under the new weight, or after rain lifts haloes of steam from the rinsed, white aluminum siding, and those houses and all they contain live that day in the sight of heaven.
II In the blue, winking light of the International Institute of Social Revolution I fell asleep one afternoon over a book of memoirs of a Spanish priest who'd served his own private faith in a long forgotten war.
An Anarchist and a Catholic, his remembrances moved inexplicably from Castilian to Catalan, a language I couldn't follow.
That dust, fine and gray, peculiar to libraries, slipped between the glossy pages and my sight, a slow darkness calmed me, and I forgot the agony of those men I'd come to love, forgot the battles lost and won, forgot the final trek over hopeless mountain roads, defeat, surrender, the vows to live on.
I slept until the lights came on and off.
A girl was prodding my arm, for the place was closing.
A slender Indonesian girl in sweater and American jeans, her black hair falling almost to my eyes, she told me in perfect English that I could come back, and she swept up into a folder the yellowing newspaper stories and photos spilled out before me on the desk, the little chronicles of death themselves curling and blurring into death, and took away the book still unfinished of a man more confused even than I, and switched off the light, and left me alone.
III In June of 1975 I wakened one late afternoon in Amsterdam in a dim corner of a library.
I had fallen asleep over a book and was roused by a young girl whose hand lay on my hand.
I turned my head up and stared into her brown eyes, deep and gleaming.
She was crying.
For a second I was confused and started to speak, to offer some comfort or aid, but I kept still, for she was crying for me, for the knowledge that I had wakened to a life in which loss was final.
I closed my eyes a moment.
When I opened them she'd gone, the place was dark.
I went out into the golden sunlight; the cobbled streets gleamed as after rain, the street cafes crowded and alive.
Not far off the great bell of the Westerkirk tolled in the early evening.
I thought of my oldest son, who years before had sailed from here into an unknown life in Sweden, a life which failed, of how he'd gone alone to Copenhagen, Bremen, where he'd loaded trains, Hamburg, Munich, and finally -- sick and weary -- he'd returned to us.
He slept in a corner of the living room for days, and woke gaunt and quiet, still only seventeen, his face in its own shadows.
I thought of my father on the run from an older war, and wondered had he passed through Amsterdam, had he stood, as I did now, gazing up at the pale sky, distant and opaque, for the sign that never comes.
Had he drifted in the same winds of doubt and change to another continent, another life, a family, some years of peace, an early death.
I walked on by myself for miles and still the light hung on as though the day would never end.
The gray canals darkened slowly, the sky above the high, narrow houses deepened into blue, and one by one the stars began their singular voyages.
Written by Wystan Hugh (W H) Auden | Create an image from this poem

The Unknown Citizen

He was found by the Bureau of Statistics to be
One against whom there was no official complaint,
And all the reports on his conduct agree
That, in the modern sense of an old-fashioned word, he was a
saint,
For in everything he did he served the Greater Community.
Except for the War till the day he retired
He worked in a factory and never got fired,
But satisfied his employers, Fudge Motors Inc.
Yet he wasn't a scab or odd in his views,
For his Union reports that he paid his dues,
(Our report on his Union shows it was sound)
And our Social Psychology workers found
That he was popular with his mates and liked a drink.
The Press are convinced that he bought a paper every day
And that his reactions to advertisements were normal in every way.
Policies taken out in his name prove that he was fully insured,
And his Health-card shows he was once in hospital but left it cured.
Both Producers Research and High-Grade Living declare
He was fully sensible to the advantages of the Instalment Plan
And had everything necessary to the Modern Man,
A phonograph, a radio, a car and a frigidaire.
Our researchers into Public Opinion are content
That he held the proper opinions for the time of year;
When there was peace, he was for peace: when there was war, he went.
He was married and added five children to the population,
Which our Eugenist says was the right number for a parent of his
generation.
And our teachers report that he never interfered with their
education.
Was he free? Was he happy? The question is absurd:
Had anything been wrong, we should certainly have heard.
Written by Barry Tebb | Create an image from this poem

LETTERS TO FRIENDS

 I


Eddie Linden

Dear Eddie we’ve not met

Except upon the written page 

And at your age the wonder 

Is that you write at all

When so many have gone under 

Or been split asunder by narcissistic humours

Blunder following blunder

Barker and Graham, godfathering my verse

Bearing me cloud-handed to Haworth moor

From my chained metropolitan moorings,

O hyaline March morning with Leeds

At its thrusting best, the thirsty beasts

Of night quenched as the furnaces

Of Hunslet where Hudswell Clarke’s locos

Rust in their skeletal sheds, rails skewed

To graveyards platforms and now instead

Skyscrapers circle the city, cranes, aeroplanes,

Electric trains but even they cannot hinder

Branches bursting with semen

Seraphic cloud sanctuaries shunting

Us homeward to the beckoning moors.
II Brenda Williams Leeds voices soothe the turbulence ‘Ey’ ‘sithee’ and ‘love’, lastingly lilt From cradle to grave, from backstreet On the social, our son, beat his way To Eton, Balliol, to Calcatta’s Shantiniketan And all the way back to a locked ward.
While I in the meantime fondly fiddled With rhyme and unreason, publishing pamphlets And Leeds Poetry Weekly while under the bane Of his tragic illness, poet and mother, You were driven from pillar to post By the taunting yobbery of your family And the crass insensitivity of wild therapy To the smoking dark of despair, Locked in your flat in the Abbey Road With seven cats and poetry.
O stop and strop your bladed darkness On the rock of ages while plangent tollings Mock your cradled rockings, knock by knock.
III Debjani Chatterjee In these doom-laden days You are steady as a pilot nursing tired ships homeward Through churning seas Where grey gulls scream Forlornly and for ever.
I am the red-neck, Bear-headed blaster Shifting sheer rock To rape the ore of poetry’s plunder Or bulldozing trees to glean mines of silver While you sail serenely onward Ever the diplomat’s daughter Toujours de la politesse.
IV Daisy Abey Daisy, dearest of all, safest And kindest, watcher and warner Of chaotic corners looming Round poetry’s boomerang bends I owe you most a letter While you are here beside me Patient as a miller waiting on wind To drive the great sails Through summer.
When the muse takes over I am snatched from order and duty Blowing routine into a riot of going And coming, blind, backwards, tip Over ****, sea waves crashing in suburbia, Saturnalia in Sutton, headlines of mad poet Striding naked over moors, roaring "I am here I am waiting".
V Jeremy Reed Niagaras of letters on pink sheets In sheaths of silver envelopes Mutually exchanged.
I open your missives Like undressing a girl in my teens Undoing the flap like a recalcitrant Bra strap, the letters stiff as nipples While I stroke the creviced folds Of amber and mauve and lick As I stick stamps like the ******** Of a reluctant virgin, urgent for Defloration and the pulse of ******.
Written by Taja Kramberger | Create an image from this poem

Every Dead One Has a Name

Every dead one has a name,
only the names of the living make us falter.
Some names are impossible to utter without a stammer and a fidget, some can only be spoken through allusion, and some, mostly women’s, are forbidden in these parts.
Every dead one has a name, engraved in stone, printed in obituary or directory, but my name must be undermined, every few years soiled and substituted with another one.
A decade ago, a high-ranking party official warned me: Stay a poet, as long as there’s still time.
Still time? Time for what? I have also become a social scientist and an editor and an organiser and a translator and an activist and a university teacher.
Unbearable - all these things - all trespasses of the old parcel borders that were drawn by the dirty fingers of fraternities.
I air all the rooms, I ignore all the ratings, I open all the valvelets.
And they have put me out in the cold – like the dead.
But every dead one has a name.
© Taja Kramberger, Z roba klifa / From the Edge of a Cliff, CSK, Ljubljana, 2011 © Translation by Špela Drnovšek Zorko, 2012
Written by Ralph Waldo Emerson | Create an image from this poem

Initial Love

 Venus, when her son was lost,
Cried him up and down the coast,
In hamlets, palaces, and parks,
And told the truant by his marks,
Golden curls, and quiver, and bow;—
This befell long ago.
Time and tide are strangely changed, Men and manners much deranged; None will now find Cupid latent By this foolish antique patent.
He came late along the waste, Shod like a traveller for haste, With malice dared me to proclaim him, That the maids and boys might name him.
Boy no more, he wears all coats, Frocks, and blouses, capes, capôtes, He bears no bow, or quiver, or wand, Nor chaplet on his head or hand: Leave his weeds and heed his eyes, All the rest he can disguise.
In the pit of his eyes a spark Would bring back day if it were dark, And,—if I tell you all my thought, Though I comprehend it not,— In those unfathomable orbs Every function he absorbs; He doth eat, and drink, and fish, and shoot, And write, and reason, and compute, And ride, and run, and have, and hold, And whine, and flatter, and regret, And kiss, and couple, and beget, By those roving eye-balls bold; Undaunted are their courages, Right Cossacks in their forages; Fleeter they than any creature, They are his steeds and not his feature, Inquisitive, and fierce, and fasting, Restless, predatory, hasting,— And they pounce on other eyes, As lions on their prey; And round their circles is writ, Plainer than the day, Underneath, within, above, Love, love, love, love.
He lives in his eyes, There doth digest, and work, and spin, And buy, and sell, and lose, and win; He rolls them with delighted motion, Joy-tides swell their mimic ocean.
Yet holds he them with tortest rein, That they may seize and entertain The glance that to their glance opposes, Like fiery honey sucked from roses.
He palmistry can understand, Imbibing virtue by his hand As if it were a living root; The pulse of hands will make him mute; With all his force he gathers balms Into those wise thrilling palms.
Cupid is a casuist, A mystic, and a cabalist, Can your lurking Thought surprise, And interpret your device; Mainly versed in occult science, In magic, and in clairvoyance.
Oft he keeps his fine ear strained, And reason on her tiptoe pained, For aery intelligence, And for strange coincidence.
But it touches his quick heart When Fate by omens takes his part, And chance-dropt hints from Nature's sphere Deeply soothe his anxious ear.
Heralds high before him run, He has ushers many a one, Spreads his welcome where he goes, And touches all things with his rose.
All things wait for and divine him,— How shall I dare to malign him, Or accuse the god of sport?— I must end my true report, Painting him from head to foot, In as far as I took note, Trusting well the matchless power Of this young-eyed emperor Will clear his fame from every cloud, With the bards, and with the crowd.
He is wilful, mutable, Shy, untamed, inscrutable, Swifter-fashioned than the fairies, Substance mixed of pure contraries, His vice some elder virtue's token, And his good is evil spoken.
Failing sometimes of his own, He is headstrong and alone; He affects the wood and wild, Like a flower-hunting child, Buries himself in summer waves, In trees, with beasts, in mines, and caves, Loves nature like a horned cow, Bird, or deer, or cariboo.
Shun him, nymphs, on the fleet horses! He has a total world of wit, O how wise are his discourses! But he is the arch-hypocrite, And through all science and all art, Seeks alone his counterpart.
He is a Pundit of the east, He is an augur and a priest, And his soul will melt in prayer, But word and wisdom are a snare; Corrupted by the present toy, He follows joy, and only joy.
There is no mask but he will wear, He invented oaths to swear, He paints, he carves, he chants, he prays, And holds all stars in his embrace, Godlike, —but 'tis for his fine pelf, The social quintessence of self.
Well, said I, he is hypocrite, And folly the end of his subtle wit, He takes a sovran privilege Not allowed to any liege, For he does go behind all law, And right into himself does draw, For he is sovranly allied.
Heaven's oldest blood flows in his side, And interchangeably at one With every king on every throne, That no God dare say him nay, Or see the fault, or seen betray; He has the Muses by the heart, And the Parcæ all are of his part.
His many signs cannot be told, He has not one mode, but manifold, Many fashions and addresses, Piques, reproaches, hurts, caresses, Action, service, badinage, He will preach like a friar, And jump like Harlequin, He will read like a crier, And fight like a Paladin.
Boundless is his memory, Plans immense his term prolong, He is not of counted age, Meaning always to be young.
And his wish is intimacy, Intimater intimacy, And a stricter privacy, The impossible shall yet be done, And being two shall still be one.
As the wave breaks to foam on shelves, Then runs into a wave again, So lovers melt their sundered selves, Yet melted would be twain.


Written by Ralph Waldo Emerson | Create an image from this poem

Dæmonic Love

 Man was made of social earth,
Child and brother from his birth;
Tethered by a liquid cord
Of blood through veins of kindred poured,
Next his heart the fireside band
Of mother, father, sister, stand;
Names from awful childhood heard,
Throbs of a wild religion stirred,
Their good was heaven, their harm was vice,
Till Beauty came to snap all ties,
The maid, abolishing the past,
With lotus-wine obliterates
Dear memory's stone-incarved traits,
And by herself supplants alone
Friends year by year more inly known.
When her calm eyes opened bright, All were foreign in their light.
It was ever the self-same tale, The old experience will not fail,— Only two in the garden walked, And with snake and seraph talked.
But God said; I will have a purer gift, There is smoke in the flame; New flowerets bring, new prayers uplift, And love without a name.
Fond children, ye desire To please each other well; Another round, a higher, Ye shall climb on the heavenly stair, And selfish preference forbear; And in right deserving, And without a swerving Each from your proper state, Weave roses for your mate.
Deep, deep are loving eyes, Flowed with naphtha fiery sweet, And the point is Paradise Where their glances meet: Their reach shall yet be more profound, And a vision without bound: The axis of those eyes sun-clear Be the axis of the sphere; Then shall the lights ye pour amain Go without check or intervals, Through from the empyrean walls, Unto the same again.
Close, close to men, Like undulating layer of air, Right above their heads, The potent plain of Dæmons spreads.
Stands to each human soul its own, For watch, and ward, and furtherance In the snares of nature's dance; And the lustre and the grace Which fascinate each human heart, Beaming from another part, Translucent through the mortal covers, Is the Dæmon's form and face.
To and fro the Genius hies, A gleam which plays and hovers Over the maiden's head, And dips sometimes as low as to her eyes.
Unknown, — albeit lying near, — To men the path to the Dæmon sphere, And they that swiftly come and go, Leave no track on the heavenly snow.
Sometimes the airy synod bends, And the mighty choir descends, And the brains of men thenceforth, In crowded and in still resorts, Teem with unwonted thoughts.
As when a shower of meteors Cross the orbit of the earth, And, lit by fringent air, Blaze near and far.
Mortals deem the planets bright Have slipped their sacred bars, And the lone seaman all the night Sails astonished amid stars.
Beauty of a richer vein, Graces of a subtler strain, Unto men these moon-men lend, And our shrinking sky extend.
So is man's narrow path By strength and terror skirted, Also (from the song the wrath Of the Genii be averted! The Muse the truth uncolored speaking), The Dæmons are self-seeking; Their fierce and limitary will Draws men to their likeness still.
The erring painter made Love blind, Highest Love who shines on all; Him radiant, sharpest-sighted god None can bewilder; Whose eyes pierce The Universe, Path-finder, road-builder, Mediator, royal giver, Rightly-seeing, rightly-seen, Of joyful and transparent mien.
'Tis a sparkle passing From each to each, from me to thee, Perpetually, Sharing all, daring all, Levelling, misplacing Each obstruction, it unites Equals remote, and seeming opposites.
And ever and forever Love Delights to build a road; Unheeded Danger near him strides, Love laughs, and on a lion rides.
But Cupid wears another face Born into Dæmons less divine, His roses bleach apace, His nectar smacks of wine.
The Dæmon ever builds a wall, Himself incloses and includes, Solitude in solitudes: In like sort his love doth fall.
He is an oligarch, He prizes wonder, fame, and mark, He loveth crowns, He scorneth drones; He doth elect The beautiful and fortunate, And the sons of intellect, And the souls of ample fate, Who the Future's gates unbar, Minions of the Morning Star.
In his prowess he exults, And the multitude insults.
His impatient looks devour Oft the humble and the poor, And, seeing his eye glare, They drop their few pale flowers Gathered with hope to please Along the mountain towers, Lose courage, and despair.
He will never be gainsaid, Pitiless, will not be stayed.
His hot tyranny Burns up every other tie; Therefore comes an hour from Jove Which his ruthless will defies, And the dogs of Fate unties.
Shiver the palaces of glass, Shrivel the rainbow-colored walls Where in bright art each god and sibyl dwelt Secure as in the Zodiack's belt; And the galleries and halls Wherein every Siren sung, Like a meteor pass.
For this fortune wanted root In the core of God's abysm, Was a weed of self and schism: And ever the Dæmonic Love Is the ancestor of wars, And the parent of remorse.
Written by Barry Tebb | Create an image from this poem

OUR SON

 Quarter to three: I wake again at the hour of his birth

Thirty years ago and now he paces corridors of dark

In nightmares of self-condemnation where random thoughts

Besiege his fevered imagination – England’s 

Imminent destruction, his own, the world’s…

Sixty to eighty cigarettes a day, unavailing depot injections,

Failed abscondings, failed everything: Eton and Balliol

Hold no sway on ward one, nor even being

‘A six language master,’ on PICU madness is the only qualification.
There was the ‘shaving incident’ at school, which Made him ready to walk out at fifteen, the alcohol Defences at Oxford which shut us out then petered out During the six years in India, studying Bengali at Shantiniketan.
He tottered from the plane, penniless and unshaven, To hide away in the seediest bedsit Beeston could boast Where night turned to day and vaguely he applied For jobs as clerk and court usher and drank in pubs with yobs.
When the crisis came – "I feel my head coming off my body’ – I was ready and unready, making the necessary calls To get a bed, to keep him on the ward, to visit and reassure Us both that some way out could be found.
The ‘Care Home’ was the next disaster, trying to cure Schizophrenia with sticking plaster: "We don’t want Carers’ input, we call patients ‘residents’ and insist on chores Not medication", then the letters of terrible abuse, the finding of a flat, ‘The discharge into the community.
’ His ‘keyworker’ was the keyworker from hell: the more Isaiah’s care fell apart the more she encouraged Him to blame us and ‘Make his life his own’, vital signs Of decline ignored or consigned to files, ‘confidentiality’ reigned supreme.
Insidiously the way back to the ward unveiled Over painful months, the self-neglect, the inappropriate remarks In pubs, the neglected perforated eardrum, keeping Company with his feckless cousins between their bouts in prison.
The pointless team meetings he was patted through, My abrupt dismissal as carer at the keyworker’s instigation, The admission we knew nothing of, the abscondings we were told of And had to sort out, then the phone call from the ASW.
"We are about to section your son for six months, have you Any comment?" Then the final absconding to London From a fifteen minute break on PICU, to face his brother’s Drunken abuse, the police were kindness itself as they drove him to the secure unit.
Two nurses came by taxi from Leeds the next day to collect him The Newsam Centre’s like a hotel – Informality and first class treatment Behind the locked doors he freezes before and whispers "Daddy, I was damned in hell but now I am God’s friend.
" Note: PICU- Psychiatric Intensive Care Unit Beeston- An inner city area of Leeds ASW- Approved Social Worker
Written by Friedrich von Schiller | Create an image from this poem

The Infanticide

 Hark where the bells toll, chiming, dull and steady,
The clock's slow hand hath reached the appointed time.
Well, be it so--prepare, my soul is ready, Companions of the grave--the rest for crime! Now take, O world! my last farewell--receiving My parting kisses--in these tears they dwell! Sweet are thy poisons while we taste believing, Now we are quits--heart-poisoner, fare-thee-well! Farewell, ye suns that once to joy invited, Changed for the mould beneath the funeral shade; Farewell, farewell, thou rosy time delighted, Luring to soft desire the careless maid, Pale gossamers of gold, farewell, sweet dreaming Fancies--the children that an Eden bore! Blossoms that died while dawn itself was gleaming, Opening in happy sunlight never more.
Swanlike the robe which innocence bestowing, Decked with the virgin favors, rosy fair, In the gay time when many a young rose glowing, Blushed through the loose train of the amber hair.
Woe, woe! as white the robe that decks me now-- The shroud-like robe hell's destined victim wears; Still shall the fillet bind this burning brow-- That sable braid the Doomsman's hand prepares! Weep ye, who never fell-for whom, unerring, The soul's white lilies keep their virgin hue, Ye who when thoughts so danger-sweet are stirring, Take the stern strength that Nature gives the few! Woe, for too human was this fond heart's feeling-- Feeling!--my sin's avenger doomed to be; Woe--for the false man's arm around me stealing, Stole the lulled virtue, charmed to sleep, from me.
Ah, he perhaps shall, round another sighing (Forgot the serpents stinging at my breast), Gayly, when I in the dumb grave am lying, Pour the warm wish or speed the wanton jest, Or play, perchance, with his new maiden's tresses, Answer the kiss her lip enamored brings, When the dread block the head he cradled presses, And high the blood his kiss once fevered springs.
Thee, Francis, Francis, league on league, shall follow The death-dirge of the Lucy once so dear; From yonder steeple dismal, dull, and hollow, Shall knell the warning horror on thy ear.
On thy fresh leman's lips when love is dawning, And the lisped music glides from that sweet well-- Lo, in that breast a red wound shall be yawning, And, in the midst of rapture, warn of hell! Betrayer, what! thy soul relentless closing To grief--the woman-shame no art can heal-- To that small life beneath my heart reposing! Man, man, the wild beast for its young can feel! Proud flew the sails--receding from the land, I watched them waning from the wistful eye, Round the gay maids on Seine's voluptuous strand, Breathes the false incense of his fatal sigh.
And there the babe! there, on the mother's bosom, Lulled in its sweet and golden rest it lay, Fresh in life's morning as a rosy blossom, It smiled, poor harmless one, my tears away.
Deathlike yet lovely, every feature speaking In such dear calm and beauty to my sadness, And cradled still the mother's heart, in breaking, The softening love and the despairing madness.
"Woman, where is my father?" freezing through me, Lisped the mute innocence with thunder-sound; "Woman, where is thy husband?"--called unto me, In every look, word, whisper, busying round! Alas, for thee, there is no father's kiss;-- He fondleth other children on his knee.
How thou wilt curse our momentary bliss, When bastard on thy name shall branded be! Thy mother--oh, a hell her heart concealeth, Lone-sitting, lone in social nature's all! Thirsting for that glad fount thy love revealeth, While still thy look the glad fount turns to gall.
In every infant cry my soul is hearkening, The haunting happiness forever o'er, And all the bitterness of death is darkening The heavenly looks that smiled mine eyes before.
Hell, if my sight those looks a moment misses-- Hell, when my sight upon those looks is turned-- The avenging furies madden in thy kisses, That slept in his what time my lips they burned.
Out from their graves his oaths spoke back in thunder! The perjury stalked like murder in the sun-- Forever--God!--sense, reason, soul, sunk under-- The deed was done! Francis, O Francis! league on league shall chase thee The shadows hurrying grimly on thy flight-- Still with their icy arms they shall embrace thee, And mutter thunder in thy dream's delight! Down from the soft stars, in their tranquil glory, Shall look thy dead child with a ghastly stare; That shape shall haunt thee in its cerements gory, And scourge thee back from heaven--its home is there! Lifeless--how lifeless!--see, oh see, before me It lies cold--stiff--O God!--and with that blood I feel, as swoops the dizzy darkness o'er me Mine own life mingled--ebbing in the flood-- Hark, at the door they knock--more loud within me-- More awful still--its sound the dread heart gave! Gladly I welcome the cold arms that win me-- Fire, quench thy tortures in the icy grave! Francis--a God that pardons dwells in heaven-- Francis, the sinner--yes--she pardons thee-- So let my wrongs unto the earth be given Flame seize the wood!--it burns--it kindles--see! There--there his letters cast--behold are ashes-- His vows--the conquering fire consumes them here His kisses--see--see--all are only ashes-- All, all--the all that once on earth were dear! Trust not the roses which your youth enjoyeth, Sisters, to man's faith, changeful as the moon! Beauty to me brought guilt--its bloom destroyeth Lo, in the judgment court I curse the boon Tears in the headsman's gaze--what tears?--'tis spoken! Quick, bind mine eyes--all soon shall be forgot-- Doomsman--the lily hast thou never broken? Pale Doomsman--tremble not!
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