Get Your Premium Membership

Best Famous Visionary Poems

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

Search and read the best famous Visionary poems, articles about Visionary poems, poetry blogs, or anything else Visionary poem related using the PoetrySoup search engine at the top of the page.

See Also:

Poems are below...



12
Written by Wallace Stevens | Create an image from this poem

Sunday Morning

1
Complacencies of the peignoir, and late
Coffee and oranges in a sunny chair,
And the green freedom of a cockatoo
Upon a rug mingle to dissipate
The holy hush of ancient sacrifice.
She dreams a little, and she feels the dark Encroachment of that old catastrophe, As a calm darkens among water-lights.
The pungent oranges and bright, green wings Seem things in some procession of the dead, Winding across wide water, without sound.
The day is like wide water, without sound, Stilled for the passion of her dreaming feet Over the seas, to silent Palestine, Dominion of the blood and sepulchre.
2 Why should she give her bounty to the dead? What is divinity if it can come Only in silent shadows and in dreams? Shall she not find in the comforts of sun, In pungent fruit and bright, green wings, or else In any balm or beauty of the earth, Things to be cherished like the thought of heaven? Divinity must live within herself: Passions of rain, or moods in falling snow; Grievings in loneliness, or unsubdued Elations when the forest blooms; gusty Emotions on wet roads on autumn nights; All pleasures and all pains, remembering The bough of summer and the winter branch.
These are the measures destined for her soul.
3 Jove in the clouds had his inhuman birth.
No mother suckled him, no sweet land gave Large-mannered motions to his mythy mind He moved among us, as a muttering king, Magnificent, would move among his hinds, Until our blood, commingling, virginal, With heaven, brought such requital to desire The very hinds discerned it, in a star.
Shall our blood fail? Or shall it come to be The blood of paradise? And shall the earth Seem all of paradise that we shall know? The sky will be much friendlier then than now, A part of labor and a part of pain, And next in glory to enduring love, Not this dividing and indifferent blue.
4 She says, "I am content when wakened birds, Before they fly, test the reality Of misty fields, by their sweet questionings; But when the birds are gone, and their warm fields Return no more, where, then, is paradise?" There is not any haunt of prophecy, Nor any old chimera of the grave, Neither the golden underground, nor isle Melodious, where spirits gat them home, Nor visionary south, nor cloudy palm Remote as heaven's hill, that has endured As April's green endures; or will endure Like her rememberance of awakened birds, Or her desire for June and evening, tipped By the consummation of the swallow's wings.
5 She says, "But in contentment I still feel The need of some imperishable bliss.
" Death is the mother of beauty; hence from her, Alone, shall come fulfillment to our dreams And our desires.
Although she strews the leaves Of sure obliteration on our paths, The path sick sorrow took, the many paths Where triumph rang its brassy phrase, or love Whispered a little out of tenderness, She makes the willow shiver in the sun For maidens who were wont to sit and gaze Upon the grass, relinquished to their feet.
She causes boys to pile new plums and pears On disregarded plate.
The maidens taste And stray impassioned in the littering leaves.
6 Is there no change of death in paradise? Does ripe fruit never fall? Or do the boughs Hang always heavy in that perfect sky, Unchanging, yet so like our perishing earth, With rivers like our own that seek for seas They never find, the same receeding shores That never touch with inarticulate pang? Why set the pear upon those river-banks Or spice the shores with odors of the plum? Alas, that they should wear our colors there, The silken weavings of our afternoons, And pick the strings of our insipid lutes! Death is the mother of beauty, mystical, Within whose burning bosom we devise Our earthly mothers waiting, sleeplessly.
7 Supple and turbulent, a ring of men Shall chant in orgy on a summer morn Their boisterous devotion to the sun, Not as a god, but as a god might be, Naked among them, like a savage source.
Their chant shall be a chant of paradise, Out of their blood, returning to the sky; And in their chant shall enter, voice by voice, The windy lake wherein their lord delights, The trees, like serafin, and echoing hills, That choir among themselves long afterward.
They shall know well the heavenly fellowship Of men that perish and of summer morn.
And whence they came and whither they shall go The dew upon their feet shall manifest.
8 She hears, upon that water without sound, A voice that cries, "The tomb in Palestine Is not the porch of spirits lingering.
It is the grave of Jesus, where he lay.
" We live in an old chaos of the sun, Or old dependency of day and night, Or island solitude, unsponsered, free, Of that wide water, inescapable.
Deer walk upon our mountains, and the quail Whistle about us their spontaneous cries; Sweet berries ripen in the wilderness; And, in the isolation of the sky, At evening, casual flocks of pigeons make Abiguous undulations as they sink, Downward to darkness, on extended wings.
Written by William Butler Yeats | Create an image from this poem

The Phases Of The Moon

 An old man cocked his car upon a bridge;
 He and his friend, their faces to the South,
 Had trod the uneven road.
Their hoots were soiled, Their Connemara cloth worn out of shape; They had kept a steady pace as though their beds, Despite a dwindling and late-risen moon, Were distant still.
An old man cocked his ear.
Aherne.
What made that Sound? Robartes.
A rat or water-hen Splashed, or an otter slid into the stream.
We are on the bridge; that shadow is the tower, And the light proves that he is reading still.
He has found, after the manner of his kind, Mere images; chosen this place to live in Because, it may be, of the candle-light From the far tower where Milton's Platonist Sat late, or Shelley's visionary prince: The lonely light that Samuel Palmer engraved, An image of mysterious wisdom won by toil; And now he seeks in book or manuscript What he shall never find.
Ahernc.
Why should not you Who know it all ring at his door, and speak Just truth enough to show that his whole life Will scarcely find for him a broken crust Of all those truths that are your daily bread; And when you have spoken take the roads again? Robartes.
He wrote of me in that extravagant style He had learnt from pater, and to round his tale Said I was dead; and dead I choose to be.
Aherne.
Sing me the changes of the moon once more; True song, though speech: "mine author sung it me.
' Robartes.
Twenty-and-eight the phases of the moon, The full and the moon's dark and all the crescents, Twenty-and-eight, and yet but six-and-twenty The cradles that a man must needs be rocked in: For there's no human life at the full or the dark.
From the first crescent to the half, the dream But summons to adventure and the man Is always happy like a bird or a beast; But while the moon is rounding towards the full He follows whatever whim's most difficult Among whims not impossible, and though scarred.
As with the cat-o'-nine-tails of the mind, His body moulded from within his body Grows comelier.
Eleven pass, and then Athene takes Achilles by the hair, Hector is in the dust, Nietzsche is born, Because the hero's crescent is the twelfth.
And yet, twice born, twice buried, grow he must, Before the full moon, helpless as a worm.
The thirteenth moon but sets the soul at war In its own being, and when that war's begun There is no muscle in the arm; and after, Under the frenzy of the fourteenth moon, The soul begins to tremble into stillness, To die into the labyrinth of itself! Aherne.
Sing out the song; sing to the end, and sing The strange reward of all that discipline.
Robartes.
All thought becomes an image and the soul Becomes a body: that body and that soul Too perfect at the full to lie in a cradle, Too lonely for the traffic of the world: Body and soul cast out and cast away Beyond the visible world.
Aherne.
All dreams of the soul End in a beautiful man's or woman's body.
Robartes, Have you not always known it? Aherne.
The song will have it That those that we have loved got their long fingers From death, and wounds, or on Sinai's top, Or from some bloody whip in their own hands.
They ran from cradle to cradle till at last Their beauty dropped out of the loneliness Of body and soul.
Robartes.
The lover's heart knows that.
Aherne.
It must be that the terror in their eyes Is memory or foreknowledge of the hour When all is fed with light and heaven is bare.
Robartes.
When the moon's full those creatures of the full Are met on the waste hills by countrymen Who shudder and hurry by: body and soul Estranged amid the strangeness of themselves, Caught up in contemplation, the mind's eye Fixed upon images that once were thought; For separate, perfect, and immovable Images can break the solitude Of lovely, satisfied, indifferent eyes.
And thereupon with aged, high-pitched voice Aherne laughed, thinking of the man within, His sleepless candle and lahorious pen.
Robartes.
And after that the crumbling of the moon.
The soul remembering its loneliness Shudders in many cradles; all is changed, It would be the world's servant, and as it serves, Choosing whatever task's most difficult Among tasks not impossible, it takes Upon the body and upon the soul The coarseness of the drudge.
Aherne.
Before the full It sought itself and afterwards the world.
Robartes.
Because you are forgotten, half out of life, And never wrote a book, your thought is clear.
Reformer, merchant, statesman, learned man, Dutiful husband, honest wife by turn, Cradle upon cradle, and all in flight and all Deformed because there is no deformity But saves us from a dream.
Aherne.
And what of those That the last servile crescent has set free? Robartes.
Because all dark, like those that are all light, They are cast beyond the verge, and in a cloud, Crying to one another like the bats; And having no desire they cannot tell What's good or bad, or what it is to triumph At the perfection of one's own obedience; And yet they speak what's blown into the mind; Deformed beyond deformity, unformed, Insipid as the dough before it is baked, They change their bodies at a word.
Aherne.
And then? Rohartes.
When all the dough has been so kneaded up That it can take what form cook Nature fancies, The first thin crescent is wheeled round once more.
Aherne.
But the escape; the song's not finished yet.
Robartes.
Hunchback and Saint and Fool are the last crescents.
The burning bow that once could shoot an arrow Out of the up and down, the wagon-wheel Of beauty's cruelty and wisdom's chatter - Out of that raving tide - is drawn betwixt Deformity of body and of mind.
Aherne.
Were not our beds far off I'd ring the bell, Stand under the rough roof-timbers of the hall Beside the castle door, where all is stark Austerity, a place set out for wisdom That he will never find; I'd play a part; He would never know me after all these years But take me for some drunken countryman: I'd stand and mutter there until he caught "Hunchback and Sant and Fool,' and that they came Under the three last crescents of the moon.
And then I'd stagger out.
He'd crack his wits Day after day, yet never find the meaning.
And then he laughed to think that what seemed hard Should be so simple - a bat rose from the hazels And circled round him with its squeaky cry, The light in the tower window was put out.
Written by Robert Seymour Bridges | Create an image from this poem

From The Testament of Beauty

 'Twas at that hour of beauty when the setting sun
squandereth his cloudy bed with rosy hues, to flood
his lov'd works as in turn he biddeth them Good-night;
and all the towers and temples and mansions of men
face him in bright farewell, ere they creep from their pomp
naked beneath the darkness;- while to mortal eyes
'tis given, ifso they close not of fatigue, nor strain
at lamplit tasks-'tis given, as for a royal boon
to beggarly outcasts in homeless vigil, to watch
where uncurtain's behind the great windows of space
Heav'n's jewel'd company circleth unapproachably-
'Twas at sunset that I, fleeing to hide my soul
in refuge of beauty from a mortal distress,
walk'd alone with the Muse in her garden of thought,
discoursing at liberty with the mazy dreams
that came wavering pertinaciously about me; as when
the small bats, issued from their hangings, flitter o'erhead
thru' the summer twilight, with thin cries to and fro
hunting in muffled flight atween the stars and flowers.
Then fell I in strange delusion, illusion strange to tell; for as a man who lyeth fast asleep in his bed may dream he waketh, and that he walketh upright pursuing some endeavour in full conscience-so 'twas with me; but contrawise; for being in truth awake methought I slept and dreamt; and in thatt dream methought I was telling a dream; nor telling was I as one who, truly awaked from a true sleep, thinketh to tell his dream to a friend, but for his scant remembrances findeth no token of speech-it was not so with me; for my tale was my dream and my dream the telling, and I remember wondring the while I told it how I told it so tellingly.
And yet now 'twould seem that Reason inveighed me with her old orderings; as once when she took thought to adjust theology, peopling the inane that vex'd her between God and man with a hierarchy of angels; like those asteroids wherewith she later fill'd the gap 'twixt Jove and Mars.
Verily by Beauty it is that we come as WISDOM, yet not by Reason at Beauty; and now with many words pleasing myself betimes I am fearing lest in the end I play the tedious orator who maundereth on for lack of heart to make an end of his nothings.
Wherefor as when a runner who hath run his round handeth his staff away, and is glad of his rest, here break I off, knowing the goal was not for me the while I ran on telling of what cannot be told.
For not the Muse herself can tell of Goddes love; which cometh to the child from the Mother's embrace, an Idea spacious as the starry firmament's inescapable infinity of radiant gaze, that fadeth only as it outpasseth mortal sight: and this direct contact is 't with eternities, this springtide miracle of the soul's nativity that oft hath set philosophers adrift in dream; which thing Christ taught, when he set up a little child to teach his first Apostles and to accuse their pride, saying, 'Unless ye shall receive it as a child, ye cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven.
' So thru'out all his young mental apprenticehood the child of very simplicity, and in the grace and beauteous attitude of infantine wonder, is apt to absorb Ideas in primal purity, and by the assimilation of thatt immortal food may build immortal life; but ever with the growth of understanding, as the sensible images are more and more corrupt, troubled by questioning thought, or with vainglory alloy'd, 'tis like enought the boy in prospect of his manhood wil hav cast to th' winds his Baptism with his Babyhood; nor might he escape the fall of Ev'ryman, did not a second call of nature's Love await him to confirm his Faith or to revoke him if he is whollylapsed therefrom.
And so mighty is this second vision, which cometh in puberty of body and adolescence of mind that, forgetting his Mother, he calleth it 'first Love'; for it mocketh at suasion or stubbornness of heart, as the oceantide of the omnipotent Pleasur of God, flushing all avenues of life, and unawares by thousandfold approach forestalling its full flood with divination of the secret contacts of Love,-- of faintest ecstasies aslumber in Nature's calm, like thought in a closed book, where some poet long since sang his throbbing passion to immortal sleep-with coy tenderness delicat as the shifting hues that sanctify the silent dawn with wonder-gleams, whose evanescence is the seal of their glory, consumed in self-becoming of eternity; til every moment as it flyeth, cryeth 'Seize! Seize me ere I die! I am the Life of Life.
' 'Tis thus by near approach to an eternal presence man's heart with divine furor kindled and possess'd falleth in blind surrender; and finding therewithal in fullest devotion the full reconcilement betwixt his animal and spiritual desires, such welcome hour of bliss standeth for certain pledge of happiness perdurable: and coud he sustain this great enthusiasm, then the unbounded promise would keep fulfilment; since the marriage of true minds is thatt once fabled garden, amidst of which was set the single Tree that bore such med'cinable fruit that if man ate thereof he should liv for ever.
Friendship is in loving rather than in being lov'd, which is its mutual benediction and recompense; and tho' this be, and tho' love is from lovers learn'd, it springeth none the less from the old essence of self.
No friendless man ('twas well said) can be truly himself; what a man looketh for in his friend and findeth, and loving self best, loveth better than himself, is his own better self, his live lovable idea, flowering by expansion in the loves of his life.
And in the nobility of our earthly friendships we hav al grades of attainment, and the best may claim perfection of kind; and so, since ther be many bonds other than breed (friendships of lesser motiv, found even in the brutes) and since our politick is based on actual association of living men, 'twil come that the spiritual idea of Friendship, the huge vastidity of its essence, is fritter'd away in observation of the usual habits of men; as happ'd with the great moralist, where his book saith that ther can be no friendship betwixt God and man because of their unlimited disparity.
From this dilemma of pagan thought, this poison of faith, Man-soul made glad escape in the worship of Christ; for his humanity is God's Personality, and communion with him is the life of the soul.
Of which living ideas (when in the struggle of thought harden'd by language they became symbols of faith) Reason builded her maze, wherefrom none should escape, wandering intent to map and learn her tortuous clews, chanting their clerkly creed to the high-echoing stones of their hand-fashion'd temple: but the Wind of heav'n bloweth where it listeth, and Christ yet walketh the earth, and talketh still as with those two disciples once on the road to Emmaus-where they walk and are sad; whose vision of him then was his victory over death, thatt resurrection which all his lovers should share, who in loving him had learn'd the Ethick of happiness; whereby they too should come where he was ascended to reign over men's hearts in the Kingdom of God.
Our happiest earthly comradeships hold a foretaste of the feast of salvation and by thatt virtue in them provoke desire beyond them to out-reach and surmount their humanity in some superhumanity and ultimat perfection: which, howe'ever 'tis found or strangeley imagin'd, answereth to the need of each and pulleth him instinctivly as to a final cause.
Thus unto all who hav found their high ideal in Christ, Christ is to them the essence discern'd or undeiscern'd of all their human friendships; and each lover of him and of his beauty must be as a bud on the Vine and hav participation in him; for Goddes love is unescapable as nature's environment, which if a man ignore or think to thrust it off he is the ill-natured fool that runneth blindly on death.
This Individualism is man's true Socialism.
This is the rife Idea whose spiritual beauty multiplieth in communion to transcendant might.
This is thatt excelent way whereon if we wil walk all things shall be added unto us-thatt Love which inspired the wayward Visionary in his doctrinal ode to the three christian Graces, the Church's first hymn and only deathless athanasian creed,--the which 'except a man believe he cannot be saved.
' This is the endearing bond whereby Christ's company yet holdeth together on the truth of his promise that he spake of his grat pity and trust in man's love, 'Lo, I am with you always ev'n to the end of the world.
' Truly the Soul returneth the body's loving where it hath won it.
.
.
and God so loveth the world.
.
.
and in the fellowship of the friendship of Christ God is seen as the very self-essence of love, Creator and mover of all as activ Lover of all, self-express'd in not-self, mind and body, mother and child, 'twixt lover and loved, God and man: but ONE ETERNAL in the love of Beauty and in the selfhood of Love.
Written by Percy Bysshe Shelley | Create an image from this poem

A Dream of the Unknown

I DREAM'D that as I wander'd by the way 
Bare winter suddenly was changed to spring, 
And gentle odours led my steps astray, 
Mix'd with a sound of waters murmuring 
Along a shelving bank of turf, which lay 5 
Under a copse, and hardly dared to fling 
Its green arms round the bosom of the stream, 
But kiss'd it and then fled, as thou mightest in dream.
There grew pied wind-flowers and violets, Daisies, those pearl'd Arcturi of the earth, 10 The constellated flower that never sets; Faint oxlips; tender bluebells, at whose birth The sod scarce heaved; and that tall flower that wets¡ª Like a child, half in tenderness and mirth¡ª Its mother's face with heaven-collected tears, 15 When the low wind, its playmate's voice, it hears.
And in the warm hedge grew lush eglantine, Green cow-bind and the moonlight-colour'd may, And cherry-blossoms, and white cups, whose wine Was the bright dew yet drain'd not by the day; 20 And wild roses, and ivy serpentine With its dark buds and leaves, wandering astray; And flowers azure, black, and streak'd with gold, Fairer than any waken'd eyes behold.
And nearer to the river's trembling edge 25 There grew broad flag-flowers, purple prank'd with white, And starry river-buds among the sedge, And floating water-lilies, broad and bright, Which lit the oak that overhung the hedge With moonlight beams of their own watery light; 30 And bulrushes, and reeds of such deep green As soothed the dazzled eye with sober sheen.
Methought that of these visionary flowers I made a nosegay, bound in such a way That the same hues, which in their natural bowers 35 Were mingled or opposed, the like array Kept these imprison'd children of the Hours Within my hand,¡ªand then, elate and gay, I hasten'd to the spot whence I had come That I might there present it¡ªoh! to Whom? 40
Written by Leonard Cohen | Create an image from this poem

Democracy

 It's coming through a hole in the air,
 from those nights in Tiananmen Square.
It's coming from the feel that it ain't exactly real, or it's real, but it ain't exactly there.
From the wars against disorder, from the sirens night and day, from the fires of the homeless, from the ashes of the gay: Democracy is coming to the U.
S.
A.
It's coming through a crack in the wall, on a visionary flood of alcohol; from the staggering account of the Sermon on the Mount which I don't pretend to understand at all.
It's coming from the silence on the dock of the bay, from the brave, the bold, the battered heart of Chevrolet: Democracy is coming to the U.
S.
A.
It's coming from the sorrow on the street the holy places where the races meet; from the homicidal bitchin' that goes down in every kitchen to determine who will serve and who will eat.
From the wells of disappointment where the women kneel to pray for the grace of G-d in the desert here and the desert far away: Democracy is coming to the U.
S.
A.
Sail on, sail on o mighty Ship of State! To the Shores of Need past the Reefs of Greed through the Squalls of Hate Sail on, sail on It's coming to America first, the cradle of the best and the worst.
It's here they got the range and the machinery for change and it's here they got the spiritual thirst.
It's here the family's broken and it's here the lonely say that the heart has got to open in a fundamental way: Democracy is coming to the U.
S.
A.
It's coming from the women and the men.
O baby, we'll be making love again.
We'll be going down so deep that the river's going to weep, and the mountain's going to shout Amen! It's coming to the tidal flood beneath the lunar sway, imperial, mysterious in amorous array: Democracy is coming to the U.
S.
A.
Sail on, sail on o mighty Ship of State! To the Shores of Need past the Reefs of Greed through the Squalls of Hate Sail on, sail on I'm sentimental if you know what I mean: I love the country but I can't stand the scene.
And I'm neither left or right I'm just staying home tonight, getting lost in that hopeless little screen.
But I'm stubborn as those garbage bags that Time cannot decay, I'm junk but I'm still holding up this little wild bouquet: Democracy is coming to the U.
S.
A.
Written by Edgar Allan Poe | Create an image from this poem

Tamerlane

 Kind solace in a dying hour!
Such, father, is not (now) my theme-
I will not madly deem that power
Of Earth may shrive me of the sin
Unearthly pride hath revell'd in-
I have no time to dote or dream:
You call it hope- that fire of fire!
It is but agony of desire:
If I can hope- Oh God! I can-
Its fount is holier- more divine-
I would not call thee fool, old man,
But such is not a gift of thine.
Know thou the secret of a spirit Bow'd from its wild pride into shame.
O yearning heart! I did inherit Thy withering portion with the fame, The searing glory which hath shone Amid the jewels of my throne, Halo of Hell! and with a pain Not Hell shall make me fear again- O craving heart, for the lost flowers And sunshine of my summer hours! The undying voice of that dead time, With its interminable chime, Rings, in the spirit of a spell, Upon thy emptiness- a knell.
I have not always been as now: The fever'd diadem on my brow I claim'd and won usurpingly- Hath not the same fierce heirdom given Rome to the Caesar- this to me? The heritage of a kingly mind, And a proud spirit which hath striven Triumphantly with human kind.
On mountain soil I first drew life: The mists of the Taglay have shed Nightly their dews upon my head, And, I believe, the winged strife And tumult of the headlong air Have nestled in my very hair.
So late from Heaven- that dew- it fell (Mid dreams of an unholy night) Upon me with the touch of Hell, While the red flashing of the light From clouds that hung, like banners, o'er, Appeared to my half-closing eye The pageantry of monarchy, And the deep trumpet-thunder's roar Came hurriedly upon me, telling Of human battle, where my voice, My own voice, silly child!- was swelling (O! how my spirit would rejoice, And leap within me at the cry) The battle-cry of Victory! The rain came down upon my head Unshelter'd- and the heavy wind Rendered me mad and deaf and blind.
It was but man, I thought, who shed Laurels upon me: and the rush- The torrent of the chilly air Gurgled within my ear the crush Of empires- with the captive's prayer- The hum of suitors- and the tone Of flattery 'round a sovereign's throne.
My passions, from that hapless hour, Usurp'd a tyranny which men Have deem'd, since I have reach'd to power, My innate nature- be it so: But father, there liv'd one who, then, Then- in my boyhood- when their fire Burn'd with a still intenser glow, (For passion must, with youth, expire) E'en then who knew this iron heart In woman's weakness had a part.
I have no words- alas!- to tell The loveliness of loving well! Nor would I now attempt to trace The more than beauty of a face Whose lineaments, upon my mind, Are- shadows on th' unstable wind: Thus I remember having dwelt Some page of early lore upon, With loitering eye, till I have felt The letters- with their meaning- melt To fantasies- with none.
O, she was worthy of all love! Love- as in infancy was mine- 'Twas such as angel minds above Might envy; her young heart the shrine On which my every hope and thought Were incense- then a goodly gift, For they were childish and upright- Pure- as her young example taught: Why did I leave it, and, adrift, Trust to the fire within, for light? We grew in age- and love- together, Roaming the forest, and the wild; My breast her shield in wintry weather- And when the friendly sunshine smil'd, And she would mark the opening skies, I saw no Heaven- but in her eyes.
Young Love's first lesson is- the heart: For 'mid that sunshine, and those smiles, When, from our little cares apart, And laughing at her girlish wiles, I'd throw me on her throbbing breast, And pour my spirit out in tears- There was no need to speak the rest- No need to quiet any fears Of her- who ask'd no reason why, But turn'd on me her quiet eye! Yet more than worthy of the love My spirit struggled with, and strove, When, on the mountain peak, alone, Ambition lent it a new tone- I had no being- but in thee: The world, and all it did contain In the earth- the air- the sea- Its joy- its little lot of pain That was new pleasure- the ideal, Dim vanities of dreams by night- And dimmer nothings which were real- (Shadows- and a more shadowy light!) Parted upon their misty wings, And, so, confusedly, became Thine image, and- a name- a name! Two separate- yet most intimate things.
I was ambitious- have you known The passion, father? You have not: A cottager, I mark'd a throne Of half the world as all my own, And murmur'd at such lowly lot- But, just like any other dream, Upon the vapour of the dew My own had past, did not the beam Of beauty which did while it thro' The minute- the hour- the day- oppress My mind with double loveliness.
We walk'd together on the crown Of a high mountain which look'd down Afar from its proud natural towers Of rock and forest, on the hills- The dwindled hills! begirt with bowers, And shouting with a thousand rills.
I spoke to her of power and pride, But mystically- in such guise That she might deem it nought beside The moment's converse; in her eyes I read, perhaps too carelessly- A mingled feeling with my own- The flush on her bright cheek, to me Seem'd to become a queenly throne Too well that I should let it be Light in the wilderness alone.
I wrapp'd myself in grandeur then, And donn'd a visionary crown- Yet it was not that Fantasy Had thrown her mantle over me- But that, among the rabble- men, Lion ambition is chained down- And crouches to a keeper's hand- Not so in deserts where the grand- The wild- the terrible conspire With their own breath to fan his fire.
Look 'round thee now on Samarcand! Is not she queen of Earth? her pride Above all cities? in her hand Their destinies? in all beside Of glory which the world hath known Stands she not nobly and alone? Falling- her veriest stepping-stone Shall form the pedestal of a throne- And who her sovereign? Timour- he Whom the astonished people saw Striding o'er empires haughtily A diadem'd outlaw! O, human love! thou spirit given On Earth, of all we hope in Heaven! Which fall'st into the soul like rain Upon the Siroc-wither'd plain, And, failing in thy power to bless, But leav'st the heart a wilderness! Idea! which bindest life around With music of so strange a sound, And beauty of so wild a birth- Farewell! for I have won the Earth.
When Hope, the eagle that tower'd, could see No cliff beyond him in the sky, His pinions were bent droopingly- And homeward turn'd his soften'd eye.
'Twas sunset: when the sun will part There comes a sullenness of heart To him who still would look upon The glory of the summer sun.
That soul will hate the ev'ning mist, So often lovely, and will list To the sound of the coming darkness (known To those whose spirits hearken) as one Who, in a dream of night, would fly But cannot from a danger nigh.
What tho' the moon- the white moon Shed all the splendour of her noon, Her smile is chilly, and her beam, In that time of dreariness, will seem (So like you gather in your breath) A portrait taken after death.
And boyhood is a summer sun Whose waning is the dreariest one- For all we live to know is known, And all we seek to keep hath flown- Let life, then, as the day-flower, fall With the noon-day beauty- which is all.
I reach'd my home- my home no more For all had flown who made it so.
I pass'd from out its mossy door, And, tho' my tread was soft and low, A voice came from the threshold stone Of one whom I had earlier known- O, I defy thee, Hell, to show On beds of fire that burn below, A humbler heart- a deeper woe.
Father, I firmly do believe- I know- for Death, who comes for me From regions of the blest afar, Where there is nothing to deceive, Hath left his iron gate ajar, And rays of truth you cannot see Are flashing thro' Eternity- I do believe that Eblis hath A snare in every human path- Else how, when in the holy grove I wandered of the idol, Love, Who daily scents his snowy wings With incense of burnt offerings From the most unpolluted things, Whose pleasant bowers are yet so riven Above with trellis'd rays from Heaven, No mote may shun- no tiniest fly- The lightning of his eagle eye- How was it that Ambition crept, Unseen, amid the revels there, Till growing bold, he laughed and leapt In the tangles of Love's very hair?
Written by Mary Darby Robinson | Create an image from this poem

Ode to Despair

 TERRIFIC FIEND! thou Monster fell, 
Condemn'd in haunts profane to dwell, 
Why quit thy solitary Home, 
O'er wide Creation's paths to roam? 
Pale Tyrant of the timid Heart, 
Whose visionary spells can bind 
The strongest passions of the mind, 
Freezing Life's current with thy baneful Art.
Nature recoils when thou art near, For round thy form all plagues are seen; Thine is the frantic tone, the sullen mien, The glance of petrifying fear, The haggard Brow, the low'ring Eye, The hollow Cheek, the smother'd Sigh, When thy usurping fangs assail, The sacred Bonds of Friendship fail.
Meek-bosom'd Pity sues in vain; Imperious Sorrow spurns relief, Feeds on the luxury of Grief, Drinks the hot Tear, and hugs the galling Chain.
AH! plunge no more thy ruthless dart, In the dark centre of the guilty Heart; The POW'R SUPREME, with pitying eye, Looks on the erring Child of Misery; MERCY arrests the wing of Time; To expiate the wretch's crime; Insulted HEAV'N consign'd thy brand To the first Murd'rer's crimson hand.
Swift o'er the earth the Monster flew, And round th' ensanguin'd Poisons threw, By CONSCIENCE goaded­driven by FEAR, Till the meek Cherub HOPE subdued his fell career.
Thy Reign is past, when erst the brave Imbib'd contagion o'er the midnight lamp, Close pent in loathsome cells, where poisons damp Hung round the confines of a Living Grave; * Where no glimm'ring ray illum'd The flinty walls, where pond'rous chains Bound the wan Victim to the humid earth, Where VALOUR, GENIUS, TASTE, and WORTH, In pestilential caves entomb'd, Sought thy cold arms, and smiling mock'd their pains.
THERE,­each procrastinated hour The woe-worn suff'rer gasping lay, While by his side in proud array Stalk'd the HUGE FIEND, DESPOTIC POW'R.
There REASON clos'd her radiant eye, And fainting HOPE retir'd to die, Truth shrunk appall'd, In spells of icy Apathy enthrall'd; Till FREEDOM spurn'd the ignominious chain, And roused from Superstition's night, Exulting Nature claim'd her right, And call'd dire Vengeance from her dark domain.
Now take thy solitary flight Amid the turbid gales of night, Where Spectres starting from the tomb, Glide along th' impervious gloom; Or, stretch'd upon the sea-beat shore, Let the wild winds, as they roar, Rock Thee on thy Bed of Stone; Or, in gelid caverns pent, Listen to the sullen moan Of subterranean winds;­or glut thy sight Where stupendous mountains rent Hurl their vast fragments from their dizzy height.
At Thy approach the rifted Pine Shall o'er the shatter'd Rock incline, Whose trembling brow, with wild weeds drest, Frowns on the tawny EAGLE's nest; THERE enjoy the 'witching hour, And freeze in Frenzy's dire conceit, Or seek the Screech-owl's lone retreat, On the bleak rampart of some nodding Tow'r.
In some forest long and drear, Tempt the fierce BANDITTI's rage, War with famish'd Tygers wage, And mock the taunts of Fear.
When across the yawning deep, The Demons of the Tempest sweep, Or deaf'ning Thunders bursting cast Their red bolts on the shivering mast, While fix'd below the sea-boy stands, As threat'ning Death his soul dismays, He lifts his supplicating hands, And shrieks, and groans, and weeps, and prays, Till lost amid the floating fire The agonizing crew expire; THEN let thy transports rend the air, For mad'ning Anguish feeds DESPAIR.
When o'er the couch of pale Disease The MOTHER bends, with tearful eye, And trembles, lest her quiv'ring sigh, Should wake the darling of her breast, Now, by the taper's feeble rays, She steals a last, fond, eager gaze.
Ah, hapless Parent! gaze no more, Thy CHERUB soars among the Blest, Life's crimson Fount begins to freeze, His transitory scene is o'er.
She starts­she raves­her burning brain, Consumes, unconscious of its fires, Dead to the Heart's convulsive Pain, Bewilder'd Memory retires.
See! See! she grasps her flowing hair, From her fix'd eye the big drops roll, Her proud Affliction mocks controul, And riots in DESPAIR, Such are thy haunts, malignant Pow'r, There all thy murd'rous Poisons pour; But come not near my calm retreat, Where Peace and holy FRIENDSHIP meet; Where SCIENCE sheds a gentle ray, And guiltless Mirth beguiles the day, Where Bliss congenial to the MUSE Shall round my Heart her sweets diffuse, Where, from each restless Passion free, I give my noiseless hours, BLESS'D POETRY, TO THEE.
Written by Marvin Bell | Create an image from this poem

I or Someone Like Me

 In a wilderness, in some orchestral swing
through trees, with a wind playing all the high notes,
and the prospect of a string bass inside the wood,
I, or someone like me, had a kind of vision.
As the person on the ground moved, bursting halos topped first one tree, then another and another, till the work of sight was forced to go lower into a dark lair of fallen logs and fungi.
His was the wordless death of words, worse for he remembered exactly where the words were on his tongue, and before that how they fell effortlessly from the brainpan behind his eyes.
But the music continued and the valley of forest floor became itself an interval in a natural melody attuned to the wind, embedded in the bass of boughs, the tenor of branches, the percussion of twigs.
He, or someone like him, laughed at first, dismissing what had happened as the incandescence of youthful metabolism, as the slight fermentation of the last of the wine, or as each excuse of love.
Learning then the constancy of music and of mind, now he takes seriously that visionary wood where he saw his being and his future underfoot and someone like me listening for a resolution.
Written by George (Lord) Byron | Create an image from this poem

I Would I Were a Careless Child

 I would I were a careless child, 
Still dwelling in my highland cave, 
Or roaming through the dusky wild, 
Or bounding o'er the dark blue wave; 
The cumbrous pomp of Saxon pride 
Accords not with the freeborn soul, 
Which loves the mountain's craggy side, 
And seeks the rocks where billows roll.
Fortune! take back these cultured lands, Take back this name of splendid sound! I hate the touch of servile hands, I hate the slaves that cringe around.
Place me among the rocks I love, Which sound to Ocean's wildest roar; I ask but this -- again to rove Through scenes my youth hath known before.
Few are my years, and yet I feel The world was ne'er designed for me: Ah! why do dark'ning shades conceal The hour when man must cease to be? Once I beheld a splendid dream, A visionary scene of bliss: Truth! -- wherefore did thy hated beam Awake me to a world like this? I loved -- but those I loved are gone; Had friends -- my early friends are fled: How cheerless feels the heart alone When all its former hopes are dead! Though gay companions o'er the bowl Dispel awhile the sense of ill; Though pleasure stirs the maddening soul, The heart -- the heart -- is lonely still.
How dull! to hear the voice of those Whom rank or chance, whom wealth or power, Have made, though neither friends nor foes, Associates of the festive hour.
Give me again a faithful few, In years and feelings still the same, And I will fly the midnight crew, Where boist'rous joy is but a name.
And woman, lovely woman! thou, My hope, my comforter, my all! How cold must be my bosom now, When e'en thy smiles begin to pall! Without a sigh I would resign This busy scene of splendid woe, To make that calm contentment mine, Which virtue knows, or seems to know.
Fain would I fly the haunts of men-- I seek to shun, not hate mankind; My breast requires the sullen glen, Whose gloom may suit a darken'd mind.
Oh! that to me the wings were given Which bear the turtle to her nest! Then would I cleave the vault of heaven, To flee away and be at rest.
Written by Philip Levine | Create an image from this poem

On The Meeting Of García Lorca And Hart Crane

 Brooklyn, 1929.
Of course Crane's been drinking and has no idea who this curious Andalusian is, unable even to speak the language of poetry.
The young man who brought them together knows both Spanish and English, but he has a headache from jumping back and forth from one language to another.
For a moment's relief he goes to the window to look down on the East River, darkening below as the early light comes on.
Something flashes across his sight, a double vision of such horror he has to slap both his hands across his mouth to keep from screaming.
Let's not be frivolous, let's not pretend the two poets gave each other wisdom or love or even a good time, let's not invent a dialogue of such eloquence that even the ants in your own house won't forget it.
The two greatest poetic geniuses alive meet, and what happens? A vision comes to an ordinary man staring at a filthy river.
Have you ever had a vision? Have you ever shaken your head to pieces and jerked back at the image of your young son falling through open space, not from the stern of a ship bound from Vera Cruz to New York but from the roof of the building he works on? Have you risen from bed to pace until dawn to beg a merciless God to take these pictures away? Oh, yes, let's bless the imagination.
It gives us the myths we live by.
Let's bless the visionary power of the human— the only animal that's got it—, bless the exact image of your father dead and mine dead, bless the images that stalk the corners of our sight and will not let go.
The young man was my cousin, Arthur Lieberman, then a language student at Columbia, who told me all this before he died quietly in his sleep in 1983 in a hotel in Perugia.
A good man, Arthur, he survived graduate school, later came home to Detroit and sold pianos right through the Depression.
He loaned my brother a used one to compose his hideous songs on, which Arthur thought were genius.
What an imagination Arthur had!
12