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I Have Labored Sore translation
I Have Labored Sore anonymous medieval lyric (circa the fifteenth century) loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch I have labored sore / and suffered death, so now I rest / and catch my breath. But I shall come / and call right soon heaven and earth / and hell to doom. Then all shall know / both devil and man just who I was / and what I am. NOTE: This poem has a pronounced caesura (pause) in the middle of each line: a hallmark of Old English poetry. While this poem is closer to Middle English, it preserves the older tradition. I have represented the caesura with a slash. A Lyke-Wake Dirge anonymous medieval lyric (circa the sixteenth century) loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch The Lie-Awake Dirge is "the night watch kept over a corpse." This one night, this one night, every night and all; fire and sleet and candlelight, and Christ receive thy soul. When from this earthly life you pass every night and all, to confront your past you must come at last, and Christ receive thy soul. If you ever donated socks and shoes, every night and all, sit right down and pull yours on, and Christ receive thy soul. But if you never helped your brother, every night and all, walk barefoot through the flames of hell, and Christ receive thy soul. If ever you shared your food and drink, every night and all, the fire will never make you shrink, and Christ receive thy soul. But if you never helped your brother, every night and all, walk starving through the black abyss, and Christ receive thy soul. This one night, this one night, every night and all; fire and sleet and candlelight, and Christ receive thy soul. This World's Joy (anonymous Middle English lyric, circa early 14th century AD) loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch Winter awakens all my care as leafless trees grow bare. For now my sighs are fraught whenever it enters my thought: regarding this world's joy, how everything comes to naught. How Long the Night (anonymous Middle English lyric, circa early 13th century AD) loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch It is pleasant, indeed, while the summer lasts with the mild pheasants' song... but now I feel the northern wind's blast: its severe weather strong. Alas! Alas! This night seems so long! And I, because of my momentous wrong now grieve, mourn and fast. Adam Lay Ybounden (anonymous Medieval English lyric, circa early 15th century AD) loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch Adam lay bound, bound in a bond; Four thousand winters, he thought, were not too long. And all was for an apple, an apple that he took, As clerics now find written in their book. But had the apple not been taken, or had it never been, We'd never have had our Lady, heaven's queen and matron. So blesséd be the time the apple was taken thus; Therefore we sing, "God is gracious! " The poem has also been rendered as "Adam lay i-bounden" and "Adam lay i-bowndyn." Excerpt from "Ubi Sunt Qui Ante Nos Fuerunt? " anonymous Middle English poem, circa 1275 loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch Where are the men who came before us, who led hounds and hawks to the hunt, who commanded fields and woods? Where are the elegant ladies in their boudoirs who braided gold through their hair and had such fair complexions? Once eating and drinking made their hearts glad; they enjoyed their games; men bowed before them; they bore themselves loftily... But then, in an eye's twinkling, their hearts were forlorn. Where are their laughter and their songs, the trains of their dresses, the arrogance of their entrances and exits, their hawks and their hounds? All their joy is departed; their "well" has come to "oh, well" and to many dark days... Westron Wynde (anonymous Middle English lyric, found in a partbook circa 1530 AD, but perhaps written much earlier) loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch Western wind, when will you blow, bringing the drizzling rain? Christ, that my love were in my arms, and I in my bed again! NOTE: The original poem has "the smalle rayne down can rayne" which suggests a drizzle or mist, either of which would suggest a dismal day. Pity Mary (anonymous Middle English lyric, circa early 13th century AD) loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch Now the sun passes under the wood: I rue, Mary, thy face: fair, good. Now the sun passes under the tree: I rue, Mary, thy son and thee. In the poem above, note how "wood" and "tree" invoke the cross while "sun" and "son" seem to invoke each other. Sun-day is also Son-day, to Christians. The anonymous poet who wrote the poem above may have been been punning the words "sun" and "son." The poem is also known as "Now Goeth Sun Under Wood" and "Now Go'th Sun Under Wood." Here's another poem from the same era: Fowles in the Frith (anonymous Middle English lyric, circa 13th-14th century AD) loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch The fowls in the forest, the fishes in the flood and I must go mad: such sorrow I've had for beasts of bone and blood! Sounds like an early animal rights activist! The use of "and" is intriguing... is the poet saying that his walks in the wood drive him mad because he is also a "beast of bone and blood, " facing a similar fate? I am of Ireland (anonymous Medieval Irish lyric, circa 13th-14th century AD) loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch I am of Ireland, and of the holy realm of Ireland. Gentlefolk, I pray thee: for the sake of saintly charity, come dance with me in Ireland! Original Text: Ich am of Irlaunde, Ant of the holy londe Of Irlande. Gode sire, pray ich the, For of saynte charité, Come ant daunce wyth me In Irlaunde. Keywords/Tags: labor, labored, sore, sorrow, sorry, death, rest, breath, heaven, earth, hell, doom, devil, man, lyke, wake, dirge, Christ, Christian, soul, soulmate, world, joy, ubi, sunt
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