become a stranger
To need of pity
Or, if compassion be freely
Take only enough
Stop short of urge to plead
Then purge away the need.
Wish for nothing larger
Than your own small heart
Or greater than a star;
Tame wild disappointment
With caress unmoved and cold
Make of it a parka
For your soul.
Discover the reason why
So tiny human midget
Exists at all
So scared unwise
But expect nothing.
Higher than a house, higher than a tree.
Oh! whatever can that be?
Your clear eye is the one absolutely beautiful thing.
I want to fill it with color and ducks,
The zoo of the new
Whose name you meditate --
April snowdrop, Indian pipe,
Stalk without wrinkle,
Pool in which images
Should be grand and classical
Not this troublous
Wringing of hands, this dark
Ceiling without a star.
O tower of light, sad beauty
that magnified necklaces and statues in the sea,
calcareous eye, insignia of the vast waters, cry
of the mourning petrel, tooth of the sea, wife
of the Oceanian wind, O separate rose
from the long stem of the trampled bush
that the depths, converted into archipelago,
O natural star, green diadem,
alone in your lonesome dynasty,
still unattainable, elusive, desolate
like one drop, like one grape, like the sea.
You brothers, who are mine,
Poor people, near and far,
Longing for every star,
Dream of relief from pain,
You, stumbling dumb
At night, as pale stars break,
Lift your thin hands for some
Hope, and suffer, and wake,
Poor muddling commonplace,
You sailors who must live
Unstarred by hopelessness,
We share a single face.
Give me my welcome back.
What Soft -- Cherubic Creatures --
These Gentlewomen are --
One would as soon assault a Plush --
Or violate a Star --
Such Dimity Convictions --
A Horror so refined
Of freckled Human Nature --
Of Deity -- ashamed --
It's such a common -- Glory --
A Fisherman's -- Degree --
Redemption -- Brittle Lady --
Be so -- ashamed of Thee --
Here come real stars to fill the upper skies,
And here on earth come emulating flies,
That though they never equal stars in size,
(And they were never really stars at heart)
Achieve at times a very star-like start.
Only, of course, they can't sustain the part.
If He dissolve -- then --
there is nothing -- more --
Eclipse -- at Midnight --
It was dark -- before --
Sunset -- at Easter --
Blindness -- on the Dawn --
Faint Star of Bethlehem --
Would but some God -- inform Him --
Or it be too late!
Say -- that the pulse just lisps --
The Chariots wait --
Say -- that a little life -- for His --
Is leaking -- red --
His little Spaniel -- tell Him!
Will He heed?
The great Overdog
That heavenly beast
With a star in one eye
Gives a leap in the east.
He dances upright
All the way to the west
And never once drops
On his forefeet to rest.
I'm a poor underdog,
But to-night I will bark
With the great Overdog
That romps through the dark.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Virtue runs before the muse
And defies her skill,
She is rapt, and doth refuse
To wait a painter's will.
Virtue cannot bend her,
Just to please a poet's pride,
To parade her splendor.
The bard must be with good intent
No more his, but hers,
Throw away his pen and paint,
Kneel with worshippers.
Then, perchance, a sunny ray
From the heaven of fire,
His lost tools may over-pay,
And better his desire.
WE must pass like smoke or live within the spirit’s fire;
For we can no more than smoke unto the flame return
If our thought has changed to dream, our will unto desire,
As smoke we vanish though the fire may burn.
Lights of infinite pity star the grey dusk of our days:
Surely here is soul: with it we have eternal breath:
In the fire of love we live, or pass by many ways,
By unnumbered ways of dream to death.
My thoughts are crabbed and sallow,
My tears like vinegar,
Or the bitter blinking yellow
Of an acetic star.
Tonight the caustic wind, love,
Gossips late and soon,
And I wear the wry-faced pucker of
The sour lemon moon.
While like an early summer plum,
Puny, green, and tart,
Droops upon its wizened stem
My lean, unripened heart.
Oh why is heaven built so far,
Oh why is earth set so remote?
I cannot reach the nearest star
That hangs afloat.
I would not care to reach the moon,
One round monotonous of change;
Yet even she repeats her tune
Beyond my range.
I never watch the scatter'd fire
Of stars, or sun's far-trailing train,
But all my heart is one desire,
And all in vain:
For I am bound with fleshly bands,
Joy, beauty, lie beyond my scope;
I strain my heart, I stretch my hands,
And catch at hope.
G K Chesterton
The men that worked for England
They have their graves at home:
And bees and birds of England
About the cross can roam.
But they that fought for England,
Following a falling star,
Alas, alas for England
They have their graves afar.
And they that rule in England,
In stately conclave met,
Alas, alas for England,
They have no graves as yet.
A poet can't be in disfavour,
he needs no awards, no fame.
A star has no setting whatever,
no black nor a golden frame.
A star can't be killed with a stone, or
award, or that kind of stuff.
He'll bear the blow of a fawner
lamenting he's not big enough.
What matters is music and fervour,
not fame, nor abuse, anyway.
World powers are out of favour
when poets turn them away.
© Copyright Alec Vagapov's translation
I like to see it lap the miles,
And lick the valleys up,
And stop to feed itself at tanks;
And then, prodigious, step
Around a pile of mountains,
And, supercilious, peer
In shanties by the sides of roads;
And then a quarry pare
To fit its sides, and crawl between,
Complaining all the while
In horrid, hooting stanza;
Then chase itself down hill
And neigh like Boanerges;
Then, punctual as a star,
Stop--docile and omnipotent--
At its own stable door.
Henry David Thoreau
Light-winged Smoke, Icarian bird,
Melting thy pinions in thy upward flight,
Lark without song, and messenger of dawn,
Circling above the hamlets as thy nest;
Or else, departing dream, and shadowy form
Of midnight vision, gathering up thy skirts;
By night star-veiling, and by day
Darkening the light and blotting out the sun;
Go thou my incense upward from this hearth,
And ask the gods to pardon this clear flame.
Where is the seed
Of the tree felled,
Of the forest burned,
Or living root
Under ash and cinders?
From woven bud
What last leaf strives
Into life, last
Is fruit of our harvest,
Our long labour
Dust to the core?
To what far, fair land
Borne on the wind
What winged seed
Or spark of fire
To kindle a star?
W S Merwin
Every year without knowing it I have passed the day
When the last fires will wave to me
And the silence will set out
Like the beam of a lightless star
Then I will no longer
Find myself in life as in a strange garment
Surprised at the earth
And the love of one woman
And then shamelessness of men
As today writing after three days of rain
Hearing the wren sing and the falling cease
And bowing not knowing to what
When I die choose a star
and name it after me
that you may know
I have not abandoned
or forgotten you.
You were such a star to me,
following you through birth
and childhood, my hand
in your hand.
When I die
choose a star and name it
after me so that I may shine
down on you, until you join
me in darkness and silence
William Butler Yeats
What woman hugs her infant there?
Another star has shot an ear.
What made the drapery glisten so?
Not a man but Delacroix.
What made the ceiling waterproof?
Landor's tarpaulin on the roof
What brushes fly and moth aside?
Irving and his plume of pride.
What hurries out the knaye and dolt?
Talma and his thunderbolt.
Why is the woman terror-struck?
Can there be mercy in that look?
A sunset's mounded cloud;
A diamond evening-star;
Sad blue hills afar;
Love in his shroud.
Scarcely a tear to shed;
Hardly a word to say;
The end of a summer day;
Sweet Love dead.
How sweet the answer Echo makes
To music at night,
When, roused by lute or horn, she wakes,
And far away, o'er lawns and lakes,
Goes answering light.
Yet Love hath echoes truer far,
And far more sweet,
Than e'er beneath the moonlight's star,
Of horn or lute, or soft guitar,
The songs repeat.
'Tis when the sigh, in youth sincere,
And only then --
The sigh that's breathed for one to hear,
Is by that one, that only dear,
Breathed back again!
When once the sun sinks in the west,
And dewdrops pearl the evening's breast;
Almost as pale as moonbeams are,
Or its companionable star,
The evening primrose opes anew
Its delicate blossoms to the dew;
And, hermit-like, shunning the light,
Wastes its fair bloom upon the night,
Who, blindfold to its fond caresses,
Knows not the beauty it possesses;
Thus it blooms on while night is by;
When day looks out with open eye,
Bashed at the gaze it cannot shun,
It faints and withers and is gone.
The Snow that never drifts --
The transient, fragrant snow
That comes a single time a Year
Is softly driving now --
So thorough in the Tree
At night beneath the star
That it was February's Foot
Experience would swear --
Like Winter as a Face
We stern and former knew
Repaired of all but Loneliness
By Nature's Alibit --
Were every storm so spice
The Value could not be --
We buy with contrast -- Pang is good
As near as memory --