Sunday, October 31, 2010

One Art



The art of losing isn't hard to master;
so many things seem filled with the intent
to be lost that their loss is no disaster,

Lose something every day. Accept the fluster
of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.
The art of losing isn't hard to master.

Then practice losing farther, losing faster:
places, and names, and where it was you meant
to travel. None of these will bring disaster.

I lost my mother's watch. And look! my last, or
next-to-last, of three beloved houses went.
The art of losing isn't hard to master.

I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster,
some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.
I miss them, but it wasn't a disaster.

-- Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture
I love) I shan't have lied. It's evident
the art of losing's not too hard to master
though it may look like (Write it!) a disaster.

Elizabeth Bishop

After Many Days



I wonder if with you, as it is with me,
If under your slipping words, that easily flow
About you as a garment, easily,
Your violent heart beats to and fro!

Long have I waited, never once confessed,
Even to myself, how bitter the separation;
Now, being come again, how make the best
Reparation?

If I could cast this clothing off from me,
If I could lift my naked self to you,
Of if only you would repulse me, a wound would be
Good; it would let the ache come through.

But that you hold me still so kindly cold
Aloof my floating heart will not allow;
Yea, but I loathe you that you should withhold
Your pleasure now.

David Herbert Lawrence

And the days are not full enough



And the days are not full enough
And the nights are not full enough
And life slips by like a field mouse
Not shaking the grass

Ezra Pound

Farewell! -- But Whenever You Welcome the Hour



Farewell! but whenever you welcome the hour
That awakens the night-song of mirth in your bower,
Then think of the friend who once welcomed it too,
And forgot his own griefs to be happy with you.
His griefs may return, not a hope may remain
Of the few that have brighten'd his pathway of pain,
But he ne'er will forget the short vision, that threw
Its enchantment around him, while lingering with you.

And still on that evening, when pleasure fills up
To the highest top sparkle each heart and each cup,
Where'er my path lies, be it gloomy or bright,
My soul, happy friends, shall be with you that night;
Shall join in your revels, your sports, and your wiles,
And return to me, beaming all o'er with your smiles --
Too blest, if it tells me that, 'mid the gay cheer,
Some kind voice has murmur'd, "I wish he were here!"

Let Fate do her worst, there are relics of joy,
Bright dreams of the past, which she cannot destroy;
Which come in the night-time of sorrow and care,
And bring back the features that joy used to wear.
Long, long be my heart with such memories fill'd!
Like the vase, in which roses have once been distill'd --
You may break, you may shatter the vase, if you will,
But the scent of the roses will hang round it still.

Thomas Moore

Absence



My cup is empty to-night,
Cold and dry are its sides,
Chilled by the wind from the open window.
Empty and void, it sparkles white in the moonlight.
The room is filled with the strange scent
Of wistaria blossoms.
They sway in the moon's radiance
And tap against the wall.
But the cup of my heart is still,
And cold, and empty.

When you come, it brims
Red and trembling with blood,
Heart's blood for your drinking;
To fill your mouth with love
And the bitter-sweet taste of a soul.

Amy Lowell

Not Love



I HAVE not yet I could have loved thee, sweet;
Nor know I wherefore, thou being all thou art,
The engrafted thought in me throve incomplete,

And grew to summer strength in every part
Of root and leaf, but hath not borne the flower.
Love hath refrained his fullness from my heart.

I know no better beauty, none with power
To hold mine eyes through change and change as thine,
Like southern skies that alter with each hour,

And yet are changeless, and their calm divine
From light to light hath motionlessly passed,
With only different loveliness for sign.

I know no fairer nature, nor where, cast
On the clear mirror of thine own young truth,
The imaged things of Heaven lie plainer glassed;

Nor where more fit alike show tender ruth,
And anger for the right, and hopes aglow,
And joy and sighs of April-hearted youth.

But some day I, so wont to praise thee so
With unabashed warm words for all to hear,
Shall scarcely name another, speaking low.

Some day, methinks, and who can tell how near?
I may, to thee unchanged, be praising thee
With one not worthier but a world more dear;

With one I know not yet, who shall, maybe,
Be not so fair, be not in aught thy peer;
Who shall be all that thou art not to me.

Augusta Davies Webster

The First Bluebirds



THE poor earth was so winter-marred,
Harried by storm so long,
It seemed no spring could mend her,
No tardy sunshine render
Atonement for such wrong.
Snow after snow, and gale and hail,
Gaunt trees encased in icy mail,
The glittering drifts so hard
They took no trace
Of scared, wild feet,
No print of fox and hare
Driven by dearth
To forage for their meat
Even in dooryard bare
And frosty lawn
Under the peril of the human race;
And then one primrose dawn,
Sweet, sweet, O sweet,
And tender, tender,
The bluebirds woke the happy earth
With song.

Katharine Lee Bates

The Ghosts



Never stoops the soaring vulture
On his quarry in the desert,
On the sick or wounded bison,
But another vulture, watching
From his high aerial look-out,
Sees the downward plunge, and follows;
And a third pursues the second,
Coming from the invisible ether,
First a speck, and then a vulture,
Till the air is dark with pinions.
So disasters come not singly;
But as if they watched and waited,
Scanning one another's motions,
When the first descends, the others
Follow, follow, gathering flock-wise
Round their victim, sick and wounded,
First a shadow, then a sorrow,
Till the air is dark with anguish.
Now, o'er all the dreary North-land,
Mighty Peboan, the Winter,
Breathing on the lakes and rivers,
Into stone had changed their waters.
From his hair he shook the snow-flakes,
Till the plains were strewn with whiteness,
One uninterrupted level,
As if, stooping, the Creator
With his hand had smoothed them over.
Through the forest, wide and wailing,
Roamed the hunter on his snow-shoes;
In the village worked the women,
Pounded maize, or dressed the deer-skin;
And the young men played together
On the ice the noisy ball-play,
On the plain the dance of snow-shoes.
One dark evening, after sundown,
In her wigwam Laughing Water
Sat with old Nokomis, waiting
For the steps of Hiawatha
Homeward from the hunt returning.
On their faces gleamed the firelight,
Painting them with streaks of crimson,
In the eyes of old Nokomis
Glimmered like the watery moonlight,
In the eyes of Laughing Water
Glistened like the sun in water;
And behind them crouched their shadows
In the corners of the wigwam,
And the smoke In wreaths above them
Climbed and crowded through the smoke-flue.
Then the curtain of the doorway
From without was slowly lifted;
Brighter glowed the fire a moment,
And a moment swerved the smoke-wreath,
As two women entered softly,
Passed the doorway uninvited,
Without word of salutation,
Without sign of recognition,
Sat down in the farthest corner,
Crouching low among the shadows.
From their aspect and their garments,
Strangers seemed they in the village;
Very pale and haggard were they,
As they sat there sad and silent,
Trembling, cowering with the shadows.
Was it the wind above the smoke-flue,
Muttering down into the wigwam?
Was it the owl, the Koko-koho,
Hooting from the dismal forest?
Sure a voice said in the silence:
"These are corpses clad in garments,
These are ghosts that come to haunt you,
From the kingdom of Ponemah,
From the land of the Hereafter!"
Homeward now came Hiawatha
From his hunting in the forest,
With the snow upon his tresses,
And the red deer on his shoulders.
At the feet of Laughing Water
Down he threw his lifeless burden;
Nobler, handsomer she thought him,
Than when first he came to woo her,
First threw down the deer before her,
As a token of his wishes,
As a promise of the future.
Then he turned and saw the strangers,
Cowering, crouching with the shadows;
Said within himself, "Who are they?
What strange guests has Minnehaha?"
But he questioned not the strangers,
Only spake to bid them welcome
To his lodge, his food, his fireside.
When the evening meal was ready,
And the deer had been divided,
Both the pallid guests, the strangers,
Springing from among the shadows,
Seized upon the choicest portions,
Seized the white fat of the roebuck,
Set apart for Laughing Water,
For the wife of Hiawatha;
Without asking, without thanking,
Eagerly devoured the morsels,
Flitted back among the shadows
In the corner of the wigwam.
Not a word spake Hiawatha,
Not a motion made Nokomis,
Not a gesture Laughing Water;
Not a change came o'er their features;
Only Minnehaha softly
Whispered, saying, "They are famished;
Let them do what best delights them;
Let them eat, for they are famished."
Many a daylight dawned and darkened,
Many a night shook off the daylight
As the pine shakes off the snow-flakes
From the midnight of its branches;
Day by day the guests unmoving
Sat there silent in the wigwam;
But by night, in storm or starlight,
Forth they went into the forest,
Bringing fire-wood to the wigwam,
Bringing pine-cones for the burning,
Always sad and always silent.
And whenever Hiawatha
Came from fishing or from hunting,
When the evening meal was ready,
And the food had been divided,
Gliding from their darksome corner,
Came the pallid guests, the strangers,
Seized upon the choicest portions
Set aside for Laughing Water,
And without rebuke or question
Flitted back among the shadows.
Never once had Hiawatha
By a word or look reproved them;
Never once had old Nokomis
Made a gesture of impatience;
Never once had Laughing Water
Shown resentment at the outrage.
All had they endured in silence,
That the rights of guest and stranger,
That the virtue of free-giving,
By a look might not be lessened,
By a word might not be broken.
Once at midnight Hiawatha,
Ever wakeful, ever watchful,
In the wigwam, dimly lighted
By the brands that still were burning,
By the glimmering, flickering firelight
Heard a sighing, oft repeated,
From his couch rose Hiawatha,
From his shaggy hides of bison,
Pushed aside the deer-skin curtain,
Saw the pallid guests, the shadows,
Sitting upright on their couches,
Weeping in the silent midnight.
And he said: "O guests! why is it
That your hearts are so afflicted,
That you sob so in the midnight?
Has perchance the old Nokomis,
Has my wife, my Minnehaha,
Wronged or grieved you by unkindness,
Failed in hospitable duties?"
Then the shadows ceased from weeping,
Ceased from sobbing and lamenting,
And they said, with gentle voices:
"We are ghosts of the departed,
Souls of those who once were with you.
From the realms of Chibiabos
Hither have we come to try you,
Hither have we come to warn you.
"Cries of grief and lamentation
Reach us in the Blessed Islands;
Cries of anguish from the living,
Calling back their friends departed,
Sadden us with useless sorrow.
Therefore have we come to try you;
No one knows us, no one heeds us.
We are but a burden to you,
And we see that the departed
Have no place among the living.
"Think of this, O Hiawatha!
Speak of it to all the people,
That henceforward and forever
They no more with lamentations
Sadden the souls of the departed
In the Islands of the Blessed.
"Do not lay such heavy burdens
In the graves of those you bury,
Not such weight of furs and wampum,
Not such weight of pots and kettles,
For the spirits faint beneath them.
Only give them food to carry,
Only give them fire to light them.
"Four days is the spirit's journey
To the land of ghosts and shadows,
Four its lonely night encampments;
Four times must their fires be lighted.
Therefore, when the dead are buried,
Let a fire, as night approaches,
Four times on the grave be kindled,
That the soul upon its journey
May not lack the cheerful firelight,
May not grope about in darkness.
"Farewell, noble Hiawatha!
We have put you to the trial,
To the proof have put your patience,
By the insult of our presence,
By the outrage of our actions.
We have found you great and noble.
Fail not in the greater trial,
Faint not In the harder struggle."
When they ceased, a sudden darkness
Fell and filled the silent wigwam.
Hiawatha heard a rustle
As of garments trailing by him,
Heard the curtain of the doorway
Lifted by a hand he saw not,
Felt the cold breath of the night air,
For a moment saw the starlight;
But he saw the ghosts no longer,
Saw no more the wandering spirits
From the kingdom of Ponemah,
From the land of the Hereafter.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Before a storm

Flowers never emit so sweet and strong a fragrance as before a storm. When a storm approaches thee, be as fragrant as a sweet-smelling flower.

Jean Paul Richter

Feast

Your love has prepared a feast for me;
Reason came and sat in a corner;
The wine was laughing in the cup,
The jug was crying tears of blood.
The wine, archer of joy,
Has pierced the bird of sorrow with its arrows.

Rumi
Ode (Ghazal) 508

Contemplation

The act of contemplation creates the thing contemplated.

Isaac D'Israeli

Killing fear

How does one kill fear, I wonder? How do you shoot a spectre through the heart, slash off its spectral head, take it by its spectral throat?

Joseph Conrad

Public opinion

A wise man makes his own decisions, an ignorant man follows the public opinion.

Chinese Proverb

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Gifts



You ask me what since we must part
You shall bring back to me.
Bring back a pure and faithful heart
As true as mine to thee.
You talk of gems from foreign lands,
Of treasure, spoil, and prize.
Ah love! I shall not search your hands
But look into your eyes.

Juliana Horatia Ewing

Ghosts



One need not be a chamber to be haunted,
One need not be a house;
The brain has corridors surpassing
Material place.

Far safer, of a midnight meeting
External ghost,
Than an interior confronting
That whiter host.

Far safer through an Abbey gallop,
The stones achase,
Than, moonless, one's own self encounter
In lonesome place.

Ourself, behind ourself concealed,
Should startle most;
Assassin, hid in our apartment,
Be horror's least.

The prudent carries a revolver,
He bolts the door,
O'erlooking a superior spectre
More near.


Emily Dickinson

Footsteps of Angels



When the hours of Day are numbered,
And the voices of the Night
Wake the better soul, that slumbered,
To a holy, calm delight;

Ere the evening lamps are lighted,
And, like phantoms grim and tall,
Shadows from the fitful firelight
Dance upon the parlor wall;

Then the forms of the departed
Enter at the open door;
The beloved, the true-hearted,
Come to visit me once more;

He, the young and strong, who cherished
Noble longings for the strife,
By the roadside fell and perished,
Weary with the march of life!

They, the holy ones and weakly,
Who the cross of suffering bore,
Folded their pale hands so meekly,
Spake with us on earth no more!

And with them the Being Beauteous,
Who unto my youth was given,
More than all things else to love me,
And is now a saint in heaven.

With a slow and noiseless footstep
Comes that messenger divine,
Takes the vacant chair beside me,
Lays her gentle hand in mine.

And she sits and gazes at me
With those deep and tender eyes,
Like the stars, so still and saint-like,
Looking downward from the skies.

Uttered not, yet comprehended,
Is the spirit's voiceless prayer,
Soft rebukes, in blessings ended,
Breathing from her lips of air.

Oh, though oft depressed and lonely,
All my fears are laid aside,
If I but remember only
Such as these have lived and died!

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

The End Of May



THE fragrant air is full of down,
Of floating, fleecy things
From some forgotten fairy town
Where all the folk wear wings.
Or else the snowflakes, soft arrayed
In dainty suits of lace,
Have ventured back in masquerade,
Spring's festival to grace.
Or these, perchance, are fleets of fluff,
Laden with rainbow seeds,
That count their cargo rich enough
Though all its wealth be weeds.
Or come they from the golden trees,
Where dancing blossoms were,
That now are drifting on the breeze,
Sweet ghosts of gossamer?

Katharine Lee Bates

My Loss



IN the world was one green nook I knew,
Full of roses, roses red and white,
Reddest roses summer ever grew,
Whitest roses ever pearled with dew;
And their sweetness was beyond delight,
Was all love's delight.

Wheresoever in the world I went,
Roses were; for in my heart I took
Blow and blossom and bewildering scent;
Roses never with the summer spent,
Roses always ripening in that nook,
Love's far summer nook.

In the world a soddened plot I know
Blackening in this chill and misty air,
Set with shivering bushes in a row,
One by one the last leaves letting go:
Wheresoe'er I turn I shall be there,
Always sighing there.

Ah, my folly! Ah, my loss, my pain!
Dead, my roses that can blow no more!
Wherefore looked I on our nook again?
Wherefore went I after autumn's rain,
Where the summer roses bloomed before,
Bloomed so sweet before?

Augusta Davies Webster

A Tulip Garden



Guarded within the old red wall's embrace,
Marshalled like soldiers in gay company,
The tulips stand arrayed. Here infantry
Wheels out into the sunlight. What bold grace
Sets off their tunics, white with crimson lace!
Here are platoons of gold-frocked cavalry,
With scarlet sabres tossing in the eye
Of purple batteries, every gun in place.
Forward they come, with flaunting colours spread,
With torches burning, stepping out in time
To some quick, unheard march. Our ears are dead,
We cannot catch the tune. In pantomime
Parades that army. With our utmost powers
We hear the wind stream through a bed of flowers.

Amy Lowell

Fairest! Put on a While



Fairest! put on a while
These pinions of light I bring thee,
And o'er thy own green isle
In fancy let me wing thee.
Never did Ariel's plume,
At golden sunset, hover
O'er scenes so full of bloom
As I shall waft thee over.

Fields, where the Spring delays
And fearlessly meets the ardour
Of the warm Summer's gaze,
With only her tears to guard her;
Rocks, through myrtle boughs
In grace majestic frowning,
Like some bold warrior's brows
That Love hath just been crowning.

Islets, so freshly fair,
That never hath bird come nigh them,
But, from his course through air,
He hath been won down by them; -
Types, sweet maid, of thee,
Whose look, whose blush inviting,
Never did Love yet see
From heaven, without alighting.

Lakes, where the pearl lies hid,
And caves, where the gem is sleeping,
Bright as the tears thy lid
Lets fall in lonely weepin.
Glens, where Ocean comes,
To 'scape the wild wind's rancour;
And harbours, worthiest homes
Where Freedom's fleet can anchor.

Then, if, while scenes so grand,
So beautiful, shine before thee,
Pride for thy own dear land
Should haply be stealing o'er thee,
Oh, let grief come first,
O'er pride itself victorious -
Thinking how man hath curst
What Heaven hath made so glorious.

Thomas Moore

Ancora



Good God! They say you are risqué,
O canzonetti!
We who went out into the four A. M. of the world
Composing our albas,
We who shook off our dew with the rabbits,
We who have seen even Artemis a-binding her sandals,
Have we ever heard the like?
O mountains of Hellas!!
Gather about me, O Muses!
When we sat upon the granite brink in Helicon
Clothed in the tattered sunlight,
Muses with delicate shins,
O Muses with delectable knee-joints,
When we splashed and were splashed with
The lucid Castalian spray,
Had we ever such an epithet cast upon us!!

Ezra Pound

A Spiritual Woman



Close your eyes, my love, let me make you blind;
They have taught you to see
Only a mean arithmetic on the face of things,
A cunning algebra in the faces of men,
And God like geometry
Completing his circles, and working cleverly.

I’ll kiss you over the eyes till I kiss you blind;
If I can—if any one could.
Then perhaps in the dark you’ll have got what you want to find.
You’ve discovered so many bits, with your clever eyes,
And I’m a kaleidoscope
That you shake and shake, and yet it won’t come to your mind.
Now stop carping at me.—But God, how I hate you!
Do you fear I shall swindle you?
Do you think if you take me as I am, that that will abate you
Somehow?—so sad, so intrinsic, so spiritual, yet so cautious, you
Must have me all in your will and your consciousness—
I hate you.

David Herbert Lawrence

Love Lies Sleeping



Earliest morning, switching all the tracks
that cross the sky from cinder star to star,
coupling the ends of streets
to trains of light.

now draw us into daylight in our beds;
and clear away what presses on the brain:
put out the neon shapes
that float and swell and glare

down the gray avenue between the eyes
in pinks and yellows, letters and twitching signs.
Hang-over moons, wane, wane!
From the window I see

an immense city, carefully revealed,
made delicate by over-workmanship,
detail upon detail,
cornice upon facade,

reaching up so languidly up into
a weak white sky, it seems to waver there.
(Where it has slowly grown
in skies of water-glass

from fused beads of iron and copper crystals,
the little chemical "garden" in a jar
trembles and stands again,
pale blue, blue-green, and brick.)

The sparrows hurriedly begin their play.
Then, in the West, "Boom!" and a cloud of smoke.
"Boom!" and the exploding ball
of blossom blooms again.

(And all the employees who work in a plants
where such a sound says "Danger," or once said "Death,"
turn in their sleep and feel
the short hairs bristling

on backs of necks.) The cloud of smoke moves off.
A shirt is taken of a threadlike clothes-line.
Along the street below
the water-wagon comes

throwing its hissing, snowy fan across
peelings and newspapers. The water dries
light-dry, dark-wet, the pattern
of the cool watermelon.

I hear the day-springs of the morning strike
from stony walls and halls and iron beds,
scattered or grouped cascades,
alarms for the expected:

queer cupids of all persons getting up,
whose evening meal they will prepare all day,
you will dine well
on his heart, on his, and his,

so send them about your business affectionately,
dragging in the streets their unique loves.
Scourge them with roses only,
be light as helium,

for always to one, or several, morning comes
whose head has fallen over the edge of his bed,
whose face is turned
so that the image of

the city grows down into his open eyes
inverted and distorted. No. I mean
distorted and revealed,
if he sees it at all.

Elizabeth Bishop

In fact...

Many people would sooner die than think; In fact, they do so.

Bertrand Russell

Delicate muses

The delicate muses lose their head if their attention is once diverted. Perhaps if you were successful abroad in talking and dealing with men, you would not come back to your bookshelf and your task.

When the spirit chooses you for its scribe to publish some commandment, it makes you odious to men and men odious to you, and you shall accept that loathsomeness with joy.

The moth must fly to the lamp, and you must solve those questions though you die.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Consciousness

Consciousness is the phenomenon whereby the universe's very existence is made known

Roger Penrose

She wanted

She wanted something to happen - something, anything: she did not know what.

Kate Chopin

Every city

Every city has a sex and an age which have nothing to do with demography. Rome is feminine. So is Odessa. London is a teenager, an urchin, and, in this, hasn't changed since the time of Dickens. Paris, I believe, is a man in his twenties in love with an older woman.

John Berger

Wine for the soul

"Laughter is wine for the soul -- laugh soft, or loud and deep, tinged through with seriousness. Comedy and tragedy step through life together, arm in arm. Once we can laugh, we can live."

Sean O'Casey

Mirth

Mirth is God's medicine. Everybody ought to bathe in it. Grim care, moroseness, anxiety, - all this rust of life, ought to be scoured off by the oil of mirth. It is better than emery. Every man ought to rub himself with it.

Henry Ward Beecher

Friday, October 29, 2010

The Echoing Green



The sun does arise,
And make happy the skies;
The merry bells ring
To welcome the spring;
The skylark and thrush,
The birds of the bush,
Sing louder around
To the bell's cheerful sound,
While our sports shall be seen
On the Echoing Green.

Old John with white hair,
Does laugh away care,
Sitting under the oak,
Among the old folk.
They laugh at our play,
And soon they all say:
"Such, such were the joys
When we all, girls and boys,
In our youth time were seen
On the Echoing Green."

Till the little ones, weary,
No more can be merry;
The sun does descend,
And our sports have an end.
Round the laps of their mothers
Many sisters and brother,
Like birds in their nest,
Are ready for rest,
And sport no more seen
On the darkening Green.

William Blake

A Sane Revolution



If you make a revolution, make it for fun,
don't make it in ghastly seriousness,
don't do it in deadly earnest,
do it for fun.

Don't do it because you hate people,
do it just to spit in their eye.

Don't do it for the money,
do it and be damned to the money.

Don't do it for equality,
do it because we've got too much equality
and it would be fun to upset the apple-cart
and see which way the apples would go a-rolling.

Don't do it for the working classes.
Do it so that we can all of us be little aristocracies on our own
and kick our heels like jolly escaped asses.

Don't do it, anyhow, for international Labour.
Labour is the one thing a man has had too much of.
Let's abolish labour, let's have done with labouring!
Work can be fun, and men can enjoy it; then it's not labour.
Let's have it so! Let's make a revolution for fun!

David Herbert Lawrence

Ancient Wisdom, Rather Cosmic



So-shu dreamed,
And having dreamed that he was a bird, a bee, and a butterfly,
He was uncertain why he should try to feel like anything else,

Hence his contentment.

Ezra Pound

Erin! The Tear and the Smile in Thine Eyes



Erin! the tear and the smile in thine eyes
Blend like the rainbow that hangs in thy skies,
Shining through sorrow's stream,
Saddening through pleasure's beam,
Thy suns with doubtful gleam,
Weep while they rise.

Erin, thy silent tear never shall cease,
Erin, thy languid smile ne'er shall increase,
Till, like the rainbow's light,
Thy various tints unite,
And form in heaven's sight
One arch of peace!

Thomas Moore

A Lover



If I could catch the green lantern of the firefly
I could see to write you a letter.

Amy Lowell

Insomnia



The moon in the bureau mirror
looks out a million miles
(and perhaps with pride, at herself,
but she never, never smiles)
far and away beyond sleep, or
perhaps she's a daytime sleeper.

By the Universe deserted,
she'd tell it to go to hell,
and she'd find a body of water,
or a mirror, on which to dwell.
So wrap up care in a cobweb
and drop it down the well

into that world inverted
where left is always right,
where the shadows are really the body,
where we stay awake all night,
where the heavens are shallow as the sea
is now deep, and you love me.

Elizabeth Bishop

Miles and miles of here and there



MILES and miles of here and there
Our eager river forced its way,
Bent to be it knew not where.

It had no rest in delay;
And for its haste it had no aim;
Wherefore go? But wherefore stay?

Here and there led both the same;
By any winding it could make
Near its secret goal it came.

When it reached the crystal lake
It knew its aim and found its rest;
All the miles were for love's sake.

Mid the blue hills of the west
Our river lies in the lake's breast.

Augusta Davies Webster

The Conqueror



Not the Prussian, the forsworn,
By whose fury overborne,
Martyred Belgium, you lie
Bruised with all injury.
Through your peace red paths he clove,
Burning, slaying, making spoil
Of your shining treasure-trove,
Ancient wisdom, beauty, toil;
Drenching hearth and shrine and sod
With the blood that cries to God.
Futile all that savage force.
Time in his aeonian course
Still shall clarion your fame.
Yours the triumph;his the shame.
On your honor he made war,
But his guns have battered down
Only forts. Inheritor
Of unparalleled renown,
Belgium, your name shall be
Brighter than Thermopylæ.
None could scorn you, had you said:
'Hopeless are the odds, and dread
Will the fiery vengeance fall
On our homes. In vain we call
For help that still delays. We yield.'
But unflinching from your fate,
Up you flung your slender shield,
Bore the onset, held the gate
For the priceless hour, and saved
Liberty, yourself enslaved.
No; thrust down to serfdom, still
Your unmasterable will,
Your high fortitude and faith
Outwear exile, anguish, death.
On his strip of coast your king
Holds your glorious flag unfurled;
Your great priest, unfaltering,
Peals the truth across the world.
With your neck beneath the sword,
You are victor, you are lord.

Katharine Lee Bates