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Elinor Wylie Short Poems

Famous Short Elinor Wylie Poems. Short poetry by famous poet Elinor Wylie. A collection of the all-time best Elinor Wylie short poems


by Elinor Wylie
 Man, the egregious egoist
(In mystery the twig is bent)
Imagines, by some mental twist,
That he alone is sentient

Of the intolerable load
That on all living creatures lies,
Nor stoops to pity in the toad
The speechless sorrow of his eyes.
He asks no questions of the snake, Nor plumbs the phosphorescent gloom Where lidless fishes, broad awake, Swim staring at a nightmare doom.



by Elinor Wylie
 Liza, go steep your long white hands 
In the cool waters of that spring 
Which bubbles up through shiny sands 
The colour of a wild-dove's wing.
Dabble your hands, and steep them well Until those nails are pearly white Now rosier than a laurel bell; Then come to me at candlelight.
Lay your cold hands across my brows, And I shall sleep, and I shall dream Of silver-pointed willow boughs Dipping their fingers in a stream.

by Elinor Wylie
 Why should my sleepy heart be taught 
To whistle mocking-bird replies? 
This is another bird you've caught, 
Soft-feathered, with a falcon's eyes.
The bird Imagination, That flies so far, that dies so soon; Her wings are coloured like the sun, Her breast is coloured like the moon.
Weave her a chain of silver twist, And a little hood of scarlet wool, And let her perch upon your wrist, And tell her she is beautiful.

by Elinor Wylie
 Now let no charitable hope 
Confuse my mind with images 
Of eagle and of antelope: 
I am by nature none of these.
I was, being human, born alone; I am, being woman, hard beset; I live by squeezing from a stone What little nourishment I get.
In masks outrageous and austere The years go by in single file; But none has merited my fear, And none has quite escaped my smile.

Escape  Create an image from this poem
by Elinor Wylie
 When foxes eat the last gold grape, 
And the last white antelope is killed, 
I shall stop fighting and escape 
Into a little house I'll build.
But first I'll shrink to fairy size, With a whisper no one understands, Making blind moons of all your eyes, And muddy roads of all your hands.
And you may grope for me in vain In hollows under the mangrove root, Or where, in apple-scented rain, The silver wasp-nests hang like fruit.



by Elinor Wylie
 Lovers eminent in love 
Ever diversities combine; 
The vocal chords of the cushat-dove, 
The snake's articulated spine.
Such elective elements Educate the eye and lip With one's refreshing innocence, The other's claim to scholarship.
The serpent's knowledge of the world Learn, and the dove's more naïve charm; Whether your ringlets should be curled, And why he likes his claret warm.

by Elinor Wylie
 Upbroke the sun 
In red-gold foam; 
Thus spoke the gun 
At the Soldier's Home:

"Whenever I hear 
Blue thunder speak 
My voice sounds clear 
But little and weak.
"And when the proud Young cockerels crow My voice sounds loud, But gentle and low.
"When the mocking-bird Prolongs his note I cannot be heard Though I split my throat.
"

by Elinor Wylie
 My land is bare of chattering folk;
The clouds are low along the ridges,
And sweet's the air with curly smoke
From all my burning bridges.

by Elinor Wylie
 Once upon a time I heard 
That the flying moon was a Phoenix bird; 
Thus she sails through windy skies, 
Thus in the willow's arms she lies; 
Turn to the East or turn to the West 
In many trees she makes her nest.
When she's but a pearly thread Look among birch leaves overhead; When she dies in yellow smoke Look in a thunder-smitten oak; But in May when the moon is full, Bright as water and white as wool, Look for her where she loves to be, Asleep in a high magnolia tree.

by Elinor Wylie
 It is not heaven: bitter seed 
Leavens its entrails with despair 
It is a star where dragons breed: 
Devils have a footing there.
The sky has bent it out of shape; The sun has strapped it to his wheel; Its course is crooked to escape Traps and gins of stone and steel.
It balances on air, and spins Snared by strong transparent space; I forgive it all its sins; I kiss the scars upon its face.

by Elinor Wylie
 A white well 
In a black cave; 
A bright shell 
In a dark wave.
A white rose Black brambles hood; Smooth bright snows In a dark wood.
A flung white glove In a dark fight; A white dove On a wild black night.
A white door In a dark lane; A bright core To bitter black pain.
A white hand Waved from dark walls; In a burnt black land Bright waterfalls.
A bright spark Where black ashes are; In the smothering dark One white star.

by Elinor Wylie
 The icicles wreathing 
On trees in festoon 
Swing, swayed to our breathing: 
They're made of the moon.
She's a pale, waxen taper; And these seem to drip Transparent as paper From the flame of her tip.
Molten, smoking a little, Into crystal they pass; Falling, freezing, to brittle And delicate glass.
Each a sharp-pointed flower, Each a brief stalactite Which hangs for an hour In the blue cave of night.

by Elinor Wylie
 My locks are shorn for sorrow 
Of love which may not be; 
Tomorrow and tomorrow 
Are plotting cruelty.
The winter wind tangles These ringlets half-grown, The sun sprays with spangles And rays like his own.
Oh, quieter and colder Is the stream; he will wait; When my curls touch my shoulder He will comb them straight.

by Elinor Wylie
 She has danced for leagues and leagues, 
Over thorns and thistles, 
Prancing to a tune of Griegg's 
Performed on willow whistles.
Antelopes behold her, dazed, Velvet-eyed, and furry; Polar flowers, crackle-glazed, Snap beneath her hurry.
In a wig of copper wire, A gown of scalloped gauzes, She capers like a flame of fire Over Arctic mosses.
All her tears have turned to birds, All her thoughts of dolour Paint the snow with scarlet words And traceries of colour.

by Elinor Wylie
 I shall die hidden in a hut
In the middle of an alder wood,
With the back door blind and bolted shut,
And the front door locked for good.
I shall lie folded like a saint, Lapped in a scented linen sheet, On a bedstead striped with bright-blue paint, Narrow and cold and neat.
The midnight will be glassy black Behind the panes, with wind about To set his mouth against a crack And blow the candle out.

by Elinor Wylie
 For a picture

This Pekingese, that makes the sand-grains spin, 
Is digging little tunnels to Pekin: 
Dream him emerging in a porcelain cave 
Where wounded dragons stain a pearly wave.

by Elinor Wylie
 BARCAROLE ON THE STYX


Fair youth with the rose at your lips, 
A riddle is hid in your eyes; 
Discard conversational quips, 
Give over elaborate disguise.
The rose's funeral breath Confirms by intuitive fears; To prove your devotion, Sir Death, Avaunt for a dozen of years.
But do not forget to array Your terror in juvenile charms; I shall deeply regret my delay If I sleep in a skeleton's arms.

by Elinor Wylie
 Better to see your cheek grown hollow, 
Better to see your temple worn, 
Than to forget to follow, follow, 
After the sound of a silver horn.
Better to bind your brow with willow And follow, follow until you die, Than to sleep with your head on a golden pillow, Nor lift it up when the hunt goes by.
Better to see your cheek grow sallow And your hair grown gray, so soon, so soon, Than to forget to hallo, hallo, After the milk-white hounds of the moon.

by Elinor Wylie
 Sleep falls, with limpid drops of rain, 
Upon the steep cliffs of the town.
Sleep falls; men are at peace again While the small drops fall softly down.
The bright drops ring like bells of glass Thinned by the wind, and lightly blown; Sleep cannot fall on peaceful grass So softly as it falls on stone.
Peace falls unheeded on the dead Asleep; they have had deep peace to drink; Upon a live man's bloody head It falls most tenderly, I think.

August  Create an image from this poem
by Elinor Wylie
 When my eyes are weeds,
And my lips are petals, spinning
Down the wind that has beginning
Where the crumpled beeches start
In a fringe of salty reeds;
When my arms are elder-bushes,
And the rangy lilac pushes
Upward, upward through my heart;

Summer, do your worst!
Light your tinsel moon, and call on
Your performing stars to fall on
Headlong through your paper sky;
Nevermore shall I be cursed
By a flushed and amorous slattern,
With her dusty laces' pattern
Trailing, as she straggles by.

by Elinor Wylie
 Stripping an almond tree in flower 
The wise apothecary's skill 
A single drop of lethal power 
From perfect sweetness can distill

From bitterness in efflorescence, 
With murderous poisons packed therein; 
The poet draws pellucid essence 
Pure as a drop of metheglin.

by Elinor Wylie
 The sailorman's child 
And the girl of the witch-- 
They can't be defiled 
By touching pitch.
The sailorman's son Had a ship for a nursery; The other one Was baptised by sorcery.
Although he's shipped To the Persian Gulf, her Body's been dipped In burning sulphur.

by Elinor Wylie
 I lie here thinking of you:—

the stain of love
is upon the world!
Yellow, yellow, yellow
it eats into the leaves,
smears with saffron
the horned branched the lean
heavily
against a smooth purple sky!
There is no light
only a honey-thick stain
that drips from leaf to leaf
and limb to limb
spoiling the colors
of the whole world—

you far off there under
the wine-red selvage of the west!

by Elinor Wylie
 Allegra, rising from her canopied dreams, 
Slides both white feet across the slanted beams 
Which lace the peacock jalousies: behold 
An idol of fine clay, with feet of gold