Friday, July 30, 2010

A Day-Dream's Reflection



Chequer'd with woven shadows as I lay
Among the grass, blinking the watery gleam,
I saw an Echo-Spirit in his bay
Most idly floating in the noontide beam.
Slow heaved his filmy skiff, and fell, with sway
Of ocean's giant pulsing, and the Dream,
Buoyed like the young moon on a level stream
Of greenish vapour at decline of day,
Swam airily, watching the distant flocks
Of sea-gulls, whilst a foot in careless sweep
Touched the clear-trembling cool with tiny shocks,
Faint-circling; till at last he dropt asleep,
Lull'd by the hush-song of the glittering deep,
Lap-lapping drowsily the heated rocks.

William Allingham

A Few Rules for Beginners



Babies must not eat the coal
And they must not make grimaces,
Nor in party dresses roll
And must never black their faces.

They must learn that pointing's rude,
They must sit quite still at table,
And must always eat the food
Put before them--if they're able.

If they fall, they must not cry,
Though it's known how painful this is;
No--there's always Mother by
Who will comfort them with kisses.

Katherine Mansfield

Singers to Come



New delights to our desire
The singers of the past can yield.
I lift mine eyes to hill and field,
And see in them your yet dumb lyre,
poets unborn and unrevealed.

Singers to come, what thoughts will start
To song? What words of yours be sent
Through man's soul, and with earth be blent?
These words of nature and the heart
Await you like an instrument.

Who knows what musical flocks of words
Upon these pine-tree tops will light,
And crown these towers in circling flight,
And cross these seas like summer birds,
And give a voice to the day and night?

Something of you already is ours;
Some mystic part of you belongs
To us whose dream of your future throngs,
Who look on hills, and trees, and flowers,
Which will mean so much in your songs.

I wonder, like the maid who found,
And knelt to lift, the lyre supreme
Of Orpheus from the Thracian stream.
She dreams on its sealed past profound;
On a deep future sealed I dream.

She bears it in her wanderings
Within her arms, and has not pressed
Her unskilled fingers but her breast
Upon those silent sacred strings;
I, too, clasp mystic strings at rest.

For I, i' the world of lands and seas,
The sky of wind and rain and fire,
And in man's world of long desire--
In all that is yet dumb in these--
Have found a mysterious lyre.

Alice Alice Meynell

You Thought I Was That Type



You thought I was that type:
That you could forget me,
And that I'd plead and weep
And throw myself under the hooves of a bay mare,

Or that I'd ask the sorcerers
For some magic potion made from roots and send you a terrible gift:
My precious perfumed handkerchief.

Damn you! I will not grant your cursed soul
Vicarious tears or a single glance.

And I swear to you by the garden of the angels,
I swear by the miracle-working icon,
And by the fire and smoke of our nights:
I will never come back to you.

Anna Akhmatova

Song: Memory, hither come



Memory, hither come,
And tune your merry notes;
And, while upon the wind
Your music floats,

I'll pore upon the stream
Where sighing lovers dream,
And fish for fancies as they pass
Within the watery glass.

I'll drink of the clear stream,
And hear the linnet's song;
And there I'll lie and dream
The day along:

And, when night comes, I'll go
To places fit for woe,
Walking along the darken'd valley
With silent Melancholy.

William Blake

The Death Of Lovers



We will have beds filled with light scent, and
couches deep as a tomb,
and strange flowers in the room,
blooming for us under skies so pleasant.
Vying to exhaust their last fires
our hearts will be two vast flares,
reflecting their double glares
in our two spirits, twin mirrors.
One evening of mystic blue and rose
we’ll exchange a single brief glow
like a long sob, heavy with goodbye,
and later, opening the doors, the angel who came
faithful and joyful, will revive
the lustreless mirrors, and the lifeless flame.

Charles Baudelaire

Weathers



This is the weather the cuckoo likes,
And so do I;
When showers betumble the chestnut spikes,
And nestlings fly;
And the little brown nightingale bills his best,
And they sit outside at 'The Traveller's Rest,'
And maids come forth sprig-muslin drest,
And citizens dream of the south and west,
And so do I.

This is the weather the shepherd shuns,
And so do I;
When beeches drip in browns and duns,
And thresh and ply;
And hill-hid tides throb, throe on throe,
And meadow rivulets overflow,
And drops on gate bars hang in a row,
And rooks in families homeward go,
And so do I.

Thomas Hardy

Exxageratiom

Love is a gross exaggeration of the difference between one person and everybody else.

George Bernard Shaw

Enigma

I have come to believe that the whole world is an enigma, a harmless enigma that is made terrible by our own mad attempt to interpret it as though it had an underlying truth.

Umberto Eco

Life

Life itself is a quotation.

Jorge Luis Borges

Principle

To see what is right, and not to do it, is want of courage or of principle.

Confucius

Being an author

Being an author is like being in charge of your own personal insane asylum

Graycie Harmon

Your day

What is this day with two suns in the sky?
Day unlike other days,
with a great voice giving it to the planet,
Here it is, enamored beings, your day!

Rumi

Touchstones

Dreams are the touchstones of our characters.

Henry David Thoreau

Battles

Our greatest battles are with our own minds.

Jameson Frank

Frightened

How
Did the rose
Ever open its heart

And give to this world
All its
Beauty?

It felt the encouragement of light
Against its
Being,

Otherwise,
We all remain

Too

Frightened.

Hafiz

Chaos is the new calm

Chaos is the new calm
violence the new balm
to be spread on lips
unused to a kiss.

Left is the new right
as I brace for a fight
with a man who stands
on his remaining hand.

(...)

Wyn Cooper

Thursday, July 29, 2010

A Day in Bed



I wish I had not got a cold,
The wind is big and wild,
I wish that I was very old,
Not just a little child.

Somehow the day is very long
Just keeping here, alone;
I do not like the big wind's song,
He's growling for a bone

He's like an awful dog we had
Who used to creep around
And snatch at things--he was so bad,
With just that horrid sound.

I'm sitting up and nurse has made
Me wear a woolly shawl;
I wish I was not so afraid;
It's horrid to be small.

It really feels quite like a day
Since I have had my tea;
P'raps everybody's gone away
And just forgotten me.

And oh! I cannot go to sleep
Although I am in bed.
The wind keeps going creepy-creep
And waiting to be fed.

Katherine Mansfield

Autumn Song



Know'st thou not at the fall of the leaf
How the heart feels a languid grief
Laid on it for a covering,
And how sleep seems a goodly thing
In Autumn at the fall of the leaf?

And how the swift beat of the brain
Falters because it is in vain,
In Autumn at the fall of the leaf
Knowest thou not? and how the chief
Of joys seems--not to suffer pain?

Know'st thou not at the fall of the leaf
How the soul feels like a dried sheaf
Bound up at length for harvesting,
And how death seems a comely thing
In Autumn at the fall of the leaf?

Dante Alighieri

We Are Getting to the End



We are getting to the end of visioning
The impossible within this universe,
Such as that better whiles may follow worse,
And that our race may mend by reasoning.

We know that even as larks in cages sing
Unthoughtful of deliverance from the curse
That holds them lifelong in a latticed hearse,
We ply spasmodically our pleasuring.

And that when nations set them to lay waste
Their neighbours' heritage by foot and horse,
And hack their pleasant plains in festering seams,
They may again, - not warily, or from taste,
But tickled mad by some demonic force. -
Yes. We are getting to the end of dreams!

Thomas Hardy

The Blessing



When, by a decree of the sovereign power,
The poet makes his appearance in a bored world,
With fists clenched at the horror, his outraged mother
Calls on a pitying God, at whom these curses are hurled:
"Why was I not made to litter a brood of vipers
Rather than conceive this human mockery?
My curses on that night whose ephemeral pleasures
Filled my womb with this avenging treachery!

Since I must be chosen among all women that are
To bear the lifetime's grudge of a sullen husband,
And since I cannot get rid of this caricature,
--Fling it away like old letters to be burned,

On what you have devised for my punishment
I will let all your hate of me rebound,
I will torture this stunted growth until its bent

Branches let fall every blighted bud to the ground!"
And so she prepares herself in
Hell's pit. A place on the pyre made for a mother's crimes,
Blind, in the fury of her foaming hatred,
To the meaning and purpose of the eternal designs.
Meanwhile, under the care of an unseen angel,
The disinherited Child revels in the sun's
Bright force; all that he eats and drinks can fill
Him with memories of the food that was heaven's.
The wind his plaything, any cloud a friend,
The Spirit watching can only weep to see
How in childhood his way of the cross is lightened

With the wild bird-song of his innocent gaiety.
Those he would love look at him with suspicion
Or else, emboldened by his calm, experiment
With various possible methods of exciting derision
By trying out their cruelty on his complaint.
They mix ashes or unspeakable filth with the bread
And the wine of his daily communion, drop
Whatever he may have touched with affected dread,

And studiously avoid wherever he may step.
His mistress, parading her contempt in the street,
Cries: "Since he finds my beauty a thing to worship,
I will be one of the ancient idols he talks about,
And make myself with gold out of the same workshop!
I will never have enough of his kneelings and offerings
Until I am sure that the choice foods, the wines,
The 'nard,' the 'incense,' the 'myrrh' that he brings
He brings as other men would to the Virgin's shrines.
And when I am sick to death of trying not to laugh
At the farce of my black masses,
I'll try the force Of the hand he calls 'frail,' my nails will dig a path
Like harpies', to the heart that beats for me, of course!
Like a nestling trembling and palpitating
I will pull that red heart out of his breast
And throw it down for my favorite dog's eating

--Let him do whatever he likes with the rest!"
A serene piety, lifting the poet's gaze,
Reveals heaven opening on a shining throne,
And the lower vision of the world's ravening rage
Is shut off by the sheet lightnings of his brain.
"Be blessed, oh my God, who givest suffering
As the only divine remedy for our folly,
As the highest and purest essence preparing

The strong in spirit for ecstasies most holy.
I know that among the uplifted legions
Of saints, a place awaits the
Poet's arrival, And that among the
Powers, Virtues, Dominations

He too is summoned to Heaven's festival.
I know that sorrow is the one human strength
On which neither earth nor hell can impose,
And that all the universe and all time's length

Must be wound into the mystic crown for my brows.
But all the treasury of buried Palmyra,
The earth's unknown metals, the sea's pearls,
Mounted by Thy hand, would be deemed an inferior

Glitter, to his diadem that shines without jewels.
For Thou knowest it will be made of purest light
Drawn from the holy hearth of every primal ray,
To which all human eyes, if they were one bright
Eye, are only a tarnished mirror's fading day!"

Charles Baudelaire

Song



My silks and fine array,
My smiles and languish'd air,
By love are driv'n away;
And mournful lean Despair
Brings me yew to deck my grave;
Such end true lovers have.

His face is fair as heav'n
When springing buds unfold;
O why to him was't giv'n
Whose heart is wintry cold?
His breast is love's all-worshipp'd tomb,
Where all love's pilgrims come.

Bring me an axe and spade,
Bring me a winding sheet;
When I my grave have made
Let winds and tempests beat:
Then down I'll lie as cold as clay.
True love doth pass away!

William Blake

What Of The Night?



1.

To you, who look so low,
Where little candles glow —
Who listen in a narrow street,
Confused with noise of passing feet —

2.

To you 'tis wild and dark;
No light, no guide, no ark,
For wanderers lost on moor and lea,
And shipwrecked mariners at sea.

3.

But I — who stand apart,
With hushed but wakeful heart —
I hear the lulling of the gale,
And see the dawnrise faint and pale.

4.

A dawn whereto I grope
In trembling faith and hope,
If haply, brightening, it may cast
A gleam on path and goal at last.

Ada Cambridge

Under Her Dark Veil



Under her dark veil she wrung her hands.
"Why are you so pale today?"
"Because I made him drink of stinging grief
Until he got drunk on it.
How can I forget? He staggered out,
His mouth twisted in agony.
I ran down not touching the bannister

And caught up with him at the gate.
I cried: 'A joke!
That's all it was. If you leave, I'll die.'
He smiled calmly and grimly
And told me: 'Don't stand here in the wind.' "

Anna Akhmatova

Renouncement



I must not think of thee; and, tired yet strong,
I shun the love that lurks in all delight--
The love of thee--and in the blue heaven's height,
And in the dearest passage of a song.
Oh, just beyond the sweetest thoughts that throng
This breast, the thought of thee waits hidden yet bright;
But it must never, never come in sight;
I must stop short of thee the whole day long.
But when sleep comes to close each difficult day,
When night gives pause to the long watch I keep,
And all my bonds I needs must loose apart,
Must doff my will as raiment laid away,--
With the first dream that comes with the first sleep
I run, I run, I am gather'd to thy heart.

Alice Alice Meynell

Better

"Better by far you should forget and smile than that you should remember and be sad."

Christina Georgina Rossetti

Neither

If men could only know each other, they would neither idolize nor hate.

Elbert Hubbard

Cannibals and thieves

Every artist is a cannibal. Every poet is a thief. All kill their inspiration and sing about their grief

Bono

Walk on a rainbow

Walk on a rainbow trail; walk on a trail of song,
and all about you will be beauty.
There is a way out of every dark mist, over a rainbow trail.

Edward A. Navajo

This Will Not Win Him



Reason says,
I will win him with my eloquence.

Love says,
I will win him with my silence.

Soul says,
How can I ever win him
When all I have is already his?

He does not want, he does not worry,
He does not seek a sublime state of euphoria -
How then can I win him
With sweet wine or gold? . . .

He is not bound by the senses –
How then can I win him
With all the riches of China?

He is an angel,
Though he appears in the form of a man.
Even angels cannot fly in his presence -
How then can I win him
By assuming a heavenly form?

He flies on the wings of God,
His food is pure light –
How then can I win him
With a loaf of baked bread?

He is neither a merchant, nor a tradesman -
How then can I win him
With a plan of great profit?

He is not blind, nor easily fooled -
How then can I win him
By lying in bed as if gravely ill?

I will go mad, pull out my hair,
Grind my face in the dirt –
How will this win him?

He sees everything –
how can I ever fool him?

He is not a seeker of fame,
A prince addicted to the praise of poets –
How then can I win him
With flowing rhymes and poetic verses?

The glory of his unseen form
Fills the whole universe
How then can I win him
With a mere promise of paradise?

I may cover the earth with roses,
I may fill the ocean with tears,
I may shake the heavens with praises -
none of this will win him.

There is only one way to win him,
this Beloved of mine -

Become his.

Rumi
Version by Jonathan Star
"A Garden Beyond Paradise"
Bantam Books, 1992

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

She Was a Phantom of Delight



She was a phantom of delight
When first she gleamed upon my sight;
A lovely Apparition, sent
To be a moment's ornament;
Her eyes as stars of Twilight fair;
Like Twilight's, too, her dusky hair;
But all things else about her drawn
From May-time and the cheerful Dawn;
A dancing Shape, an Image gay,
To haunt, to startle, and way-lay.

I saw her upon a nearer view,
A Spirit, yet a Woman too!
Her household motions light and free,
And steps of virgin liberty;
A countenance in which did meet
Sweet records, promises as sweet;
A Creature not too bright or good
For human nature's daily food;
For transient sorrows, simple wiles,
Praise, blame, love, kisses, tears and smiles.

And now I see with eye serene
The very pulse of the machine;
A Being breathing thoughtful breath,
A Traveler between life and death;
The reason firm, the temperate will,
Endurance, foresight, strength, and skill;
A perfect Woman, nobly planned,
To warm, to comfort, and command;
And yet a Spirit still, and bright,
With something of angelic light.

William Wordsworth

Parted



Farewell to one now silenced quite,
Sent out of hearing, out of sight,--
My friend of friends, whom I shall miss,
He is not banished, though, for this,--
Nor he, nor sadness, nor delight.

Though I shall talk with him no more,
A low voice sounds upon the shore.
He must not watch my resting-place,
But who shall drive a mournful face
From the sad winds about my door?

I shall not hear his voice complain,
But who shall stop the patient rain?
His tears must not disturb my heart,
But who shall change the years and part
The world from any thought of pain?

Although my life is left so dim,
The morning crowns the mountain-rim;
Joy is not gone from summer skies,
Nor innocence from children's eyes,
And all of these things are part of him.

He is not banished, for the showers
Yet wake this green warm earth of ours.
How can the summer but be sweet?
I shall not have him at my feet,
And yet my feet are on the flowers.

Alice Alice Meynell

True Tenderness



True tenderness is silent
and can't be mistaken for anything else.
In vain with earnest desire
you cover my shoulders with fur;
In vain you try to persuade me
of the merits of first love.
But I know too well the meaning
of your persistent burning glances.

Anna Akhmatova

Vows



Nay, ask me not. I would not dare pretend
To constant passion and a life-long trust.
They will desert thee, if indeed they must.
How can we guess what Destiny will send -
Smiles of fair fortune, or black storms to rend
What even now is shaken by a gust?
The fire will burn, or it will die in dust.
We cannot tell until the final end.

And never vow was forged that could confine
Aught but the body of the thing whereon
Its pledge was stamped. The inner soul divine,
That thinks of going, is already gone.
When faith and love need bolts upon the door,
Faith is not faith, and love abides no more.

Ada Cambridge

Sleep! Sleep! Beauty Bright



Sleep! sleep! beauty bright,
Dreaming o'er the joys of night;
Sleep! sleep! in thy sleep
Little sorrows sit and weep.

Sweet Babe, in thy face
Soft desires I can trace,
Secret joys and secret smiles,
Little pretty infant wiles.

As thy softest limbs I feel,
Smiles as of the morning steal
O'er thy cheek, and o'er thy breast
Where thy little heart does rest.

O! the cunning wiles that creep
In thy little heart asleep.
When thy little heart does wake
Then the dreadful lightnings break,

From thy cheek and from thy eye,
O'er the youthful harvests nigh.
Infant wiles and infant smiles
Heaven and Earth of peace beguiles.

William Blake

The Balcony



 
Mother of memories, mistress of mistresses,
O you, all my pleasures! O you, all my learning!
You will remember the joy of caresses,
the sweetness of home and the beauty of evening,
Mother of memories, mistress of mistresses!

On evenings lit by the glow of the ashes
and on the balcony, veiled, rose-coloured, misted,
how gentle your breast was, how good your heart to me!
We have said things meant for eternity,
on evenings lit by the glow of the ashes.

How lovely the light is on sultry evenings!
How deep the void grows! How powerful the heart is!
As I leaned towards you, queen of adored ones
I thought I breathed perfume from your blood’s kiss.
How lovely the light is on sultry evenings!

The night it was thickening and closing around us,
and my eyes in the dark were divining your glance,
and I drank your nectar. Oh sweetness! Oh poison!
your feet held, here, in these fraternal hands.
The night it was thickening and closing around us.

I know how to summon up happiest moments,
and relive my past, there, curled, touching your knees.
What good to search for your languorous beauties
but in your dear body, and your heart so sweet?
I know how to summon up happiest moments!

Those vows, those perfumes, those infinite kisses,
will they be reborn, from gulfs beyond soundings,
as the suns that are young again climb in the sky,
after they’ve passed through the deepest of drownings?
-O vows! O perfumes! O infinite kisses

Charles Baudelaire

V.R. 1819-1901, A Reverie



Moments the mightiest pass uncalendared,
And when the Absolute
In backward Time outgave the deedful word
Whereby all life is stirred:
"Let one be born and throned whose mould shall constitute
The norm of every royal-reckoned attribute,"
No mortal knew or heard.
But in due days the purposed Life outshone -
Serene, sagacious, free;
--Her waxing seasons bloomed with deeds well done,
And the world's heart was won . . .
Yet may the deed of hers most bright in eyes to be
Lie hid from ours--as in the All-One's thought lay she -
Till ripening years have run.

Thomas Hardy

To One That Asked Me Why I Loved J.G.



Why do I love? go ask the glorious sun
Why every day it round the world doth run:
Ask Thames and Tiber why they ebb and flow:
Ask damask roses why in June they blow:
Ask ice and hail the reason why they're cold:
Decaying beauties, why they will grow old:
They'll tell thee, Fate, that everything doth move,
Inforces them to this, and me to love.
There is no reason for our love or hate,
'Tis irresistible as Death or Fate;
'Tis not his face; I've sense enough to see,
That is not good, though doated on by me:
Nor is't his tongue, that has this conquest won,
For that at least is equalled by my own:
His carriage can to none obliging be,
'Tis rude, affected, full of vanity:
Strangely ill natur'd, peevish and unkind,
Unconstant, false, to jealousy inclin'd:
His temper could not have so great a power,
'Tis mutable, and changes every hour:
Those vigorous years that women so adore
Are past in him: he's twice my age and more;
And yet I love this false, this worthless man,
With all the passion that a woman can;
Doat on his imperfections, though I spy
Nothing to love; I love, and know not why.
Since 'tis decreed in the dark book of Fate,
That I should love, and he should be ingrate.

Ephelia

Riders



The surest thing there is is we are riders,
And though none too successful at it, guiders,
Through everything presented, land and tide
And now the very air, of what we ride.

What is this talked-of mystery of birth
But being mounted bareback on the earth?
We can just see the infant up astride,
His small fist buried in the bushy hide.

There is our wildest mount--a headless horse.
But though it runs unbridled off its course,
And all our blandishments would seem defied,
We have ideas yet that we haven't tried.



Robert Frost

Caution

I have learned to use the word 'impossible' with the greatest caution.

Wernher von Braun

Fun

Imagination is intelligence having fun.

George Scialabba

Eye

Imagination is the eye of the soul.

Joseph Joubert

Kind

Never lose a chance of saying a kind word.

William Makepeace Thackeray

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Past And Future



My future will not copy fair my past
On any leaf but Heaven's. Be fully done
Supernal Will! I would not fain be one
Who, satisfying thirst and breaking fast,
Upon the fulness of the heart at last
Says no grace after meat. My wine has run
Indeed out of my cup, and there is none
To gather up the bread of my repast
Scattered and trampled; yet I find some good
In earth's green herbs, and streams that bubble up
Clear from the darkling ground, - content until
I sit with angels before better food: -
Dear Christ! when thy new vintage fills my cup,
This hand shall shake no more, nor that wine spill

Elizabeth Barrett Browning

The Sleeper


At midnight, in the month of June,
I stand beneath the mystic moon.
An opiate vapor, dewy, dim,
Exhales from out her golden rim,
And, softly dripping, drop by drop,
Upon the quiet mountain top,
Steals drowsily and musically
Into the universal valley.
The rosemary nods upon the grave;
The lily lolls upon the wave;
Wrapping the fog about its breast,
The ruin molders into rest;
Looking like Lethe, see! the lake
A conscious slumber seems to take,
And would not, for the world, awake.
All Beauty sleeps! - and lo! where lies
Irene, with her Destinies!

O, lady bright! can it be right -
This window open to the night?
The wanton airs, from the tree-top,
Laughingly through the lattice drop -
The bodiless airs, a wizard rout,
Flit through thy chamber in and out,
And wave the curtain canopy
So fitfully - so fearfully -
Above the closed and fringed lid
'Neath which thy slumb'ring soul lies hid,
That, o'er the floor and down the wall,
Like ghosts the shadows rise and fall!
Oh, lady dear, hast thou no fear?
Why and what art thou dreaming here?
Sure thou art come O'er far-off seas,
A wonder to these garden trees!
Strange is thy pallor! strange thy dress,
Strange, above all, thy length of tress,
And this all solemn silentness!

The lady sleeps! Oh, may her sleep,
Which is enduring, so be deep!
Heaven have her in its sacred keep!
This chamber changed for one more holy,
This bed for one more melancholy,
I pray to God that she may lie
For ever with unopened eye,
While the pale sheeted ghosts go by!

My love, she sleeps! Oh, may her sleep
As it is lasting, so be deep!
Soft may the worms about her creep!
Far in the forest, dim and old,
For her may some tall vault unfold -
Some vault that oft has flung its black
And winged panels fluttering back,
Triumphant, o'er the crested palls,
Of her grand family funerals -
Some sepulchre, remote, alone,
Against whose portal she hath thrown,
In childhood, many an idle stone -
Some tomb from out whose sounding door
She ne'er shall force an echo more,
Thrilling to think, poor child of sin!
It was the dead who groaned within.

Edgar Allan Poe

A Musical Instrument



What was he doing, the great god Pan,
Down in the reeds by the river?
Spreading ruin and scattering ban,
Splashing and paddling with hoofs of a goat,
And breaking the golden lilies afloat
With the dragon-fly on the river.

He tore out a reed, the great god Pan,
From the deep cool bed of the river:
The limpid water turbidly ran,
And the broken lilies a-dying lay,
And the dragon-fly had fled away,
Ere he brought it out of the river.

High on the shore sat the great god Pan
While turbidly flowed the river;
And hacked and hewed as a great god can,
With his hard bleak steel at the patient reed,
Till there was not a sign of the leaf indeed
To prove it fresh from the river.

He cut it short, did the great god Pan,
(How tall it stood in the river!)
Then drew the pith, like the heart of a man,
Steadily from the outside ring,
And notched the poor dry empty thing
In holes, as he sat by the river.

"This is the way," laughed the great god Pan
(Laughed while he sat by the river),
"The only way, since gods began
To make sweet music, they could succeed."
Then, dropping his mouth to a hole in the reed,
He blew in power by the river.

Sweet, sweet, sweet, O Pan!
Piercing sweet by the river!
Blinding sweet, O great god Pan!
The sun on the hill forgot to die,
And the lilies revived, and the dragon-fly
Came back to dream on the river.

Yet half a beast is the great god Pan,
To laugh as he sits by the river,
Making a poet out of a man:
The true gods sigh for the cost and pain, -
For the reed which grows nevermore again
As a reed with the reeds in the river.

Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Unknowing



WHEN, soul in soul reflected,
We breathed an æthered air,
When we neglected
All things elsewhere,
And left the friendly friendless
To keep our love aglow,
We deemed it endless...
--We did not know!

When, by mad passion goaded,
We planned to hie away,
But, unforeboded,
The storm-shafts gray
So heavily down-pattered
That none could forthward go,
Our lives seemed shattered...
--We did not know!

When I found you, helpless lying,
And you waived my deep misprise,
And swore me, dying,
In phantom-guise
To wing to me when grieving,
And touch away my woe,
We kissed, believing...
--We did not know!

But though, your powers outreckoning,
You hold you dead and dumb,
Or scorn my beckoning,
And will not come;
And I say, "'Twere mood ungainly
To store her memory so:"
I say it vainly--
I feel and know!

Thomas Hardy