Updated, all links working: April 27th 2010 (56 poems)
All Photos - copyright acknowledged
Wilfred Wilson Gibson
The OxenChristmas Eve, and twelve of the clock. 'Now they are all on their knees, An elder said as we sat in a flock By the embers in hearthside ease. We pictured the meek mild creatures where They dwelt in their strawy pen, Nor did it occur to one of us there To doubt they were kneeling then. So fair a fancy few would weave In these years! Yet, I feel, If someone said on Christmas Eve, 'Come; see the oxen kneel, 'In the lonely barton by yonder coomb Our childhood used to know, I should go with him in the gloom, Hoping it might be so.
Robert Louis Stevenson
|Dejeuner du matin|
|Il a mis le café
Dans la tasse
Il a mis le lait
Dans la tasse de café
Il a mis le sucre
Dans le café au lait
Avec la petite cuiller
Il a tourné
Il a bu le café au lait
Et il a reposé la tasse
Sans me parler
Il a allumé
Il a fait des ronds
Avec la fumée
Il a mis les cendres
Dans le cendrier
Sans me parler
Sans me regarder
Il s'est levé
Il a mis
Son chapeau sur sa tête
Il a mis
Son manteau de pluie
Parce qu'il pleuvait
Et il est parti
Sous la pluie
Sans une parole
Sans me regarder
Et moi j'ai pris
Ma tête dans ma main
Et j'ai pleuré.
He put the coffee|
In the cup
He put the milk
In the cup of coffee
He put the sugar
In the café au lait
With the little spoon
He drank the cafe au lait
And he set down the cup
Without speaking to me
He blew rings
With the smoke
He put the ashes
In the ashtray
Without speaking to me
Without looking at me
He stood up
His hat on his head
He put on
Because it was raining
And he left
In the rain
Without a word
Without looking at me
And I, I took
My head in my hands
And I cried.
William Carlos Williams
Buffalo Bill's defunct who used to ride a watersmooth-silver stallion and break onetwothreefourfive pigeonsjustlikethat Jesus he was a handsome man and what i want to know is how do you like your blueeyed boy Mister Death
e e cummings
|Il la prend dans ses bras|
Il la prend dans ses bras
Lueurs brillantes un instant entrevues
Aux omoplates aux épaules aux seins
Puis cachées par un nuage.
Elle porte la main sur son coeur
Elle pâlit elle frissonne
Qui donc a crié?
Mais l'autre s'il est encore vivant
On le retrouvera
Dans une ville inconnue
He takes her into his arms.|
Bright lights are glimpsed for an instant
on her upper back, shoulders and breasts,
then hidden by a cloud.
She lifts her hand to her heart.
She pales, she quivers.
So who cried out?
But the other man, if he's still alive
will be found
in an unknown city.
To-day we have naming of parts. Yesterday, We had daily cleaning. And to-morrow morning, We shall have what to do after firing. But to-day, To-day we have naming of parts. Japonica Glistens like coral in all of the neighboring gardens, And to-day we have naming of parts.
This is the lower sling swivel. And this Is the upper sling swivel, whose use you will see, When you are given your slings. And this is the piling swivel, Which in your case you have not got. The branches Hold in the gardens their silent, eloquent gestures, Which in our case we have not got.
This is the safety-catch, which is always released With an easy flick of the thumb. And please do not let me See anyone using his finger. You can do it quite easy If you have any strength in your thumb. The blossoms Are fragile and motionless, never letting anyone see Any of them using their finger.
And this you can see is the bolt. The purpose of this Is to open the breech, as you see. We can slide it Rapidly backwards and forwards: we call this Easing the spring. And rapidly backwards and forwards The early bees are assaulting and fumbling the flowers They call it easing the Spring.
They call it easing the Spring: it is perfectly easy If you have any strength in your thumb: like the bolt, And the breech, and the cocking-piece, and the point of balance, Which in our case we have not got; and the almond-blossom Silent in all of the gardens and the bees going backwards and forwards, For to-day we have naming of parts.
It is a beauteous evening, calm and free, The holy time is quiet as a Nun Breathless with adoration; the broad sun Is sinking down in its tranquillity; The gentleness of heaven broods o'er the sea: Listen! the mighty Being is awake, And doth with his eternal motion make A sound like thunder - everlastingly. Dear Child! dear Girl! that walkest with me here, If thou appear untouch'd by solemn thought, Thy nature is not therefore less divine: Thou liest in Abraham's bosom all the year; And worshipp'st at the Temple's inner shrine, God being with thee when we know it not.
Caliban: Be not afeard; the isle is full of noises, Sounds and sweet airs, that give delight and hurt not. Sometimes a thousand twangling instruments Will hum about mine ears, and sometime voices That, if I then had waked after long sleep, Will make me sleep again: and then, in dreaming, The clouds methought would open and show riches Ready to drop upon me that, when I waked, I cried to dream again.
from The Tempest
Duke of York: As in a theatre, the eyes of men, After a well-graced actor leaves the stage, Are idly bent on him that enters next, Thinking his prattle to be tedious; Even so, or with much more contempt, men's eyes Did scowl on gentle Richard; no man cried 'God save him!' No joyful tongue gave him his welcome home: But dust was thrown upon his sacred head: Which with such gentle sorrow he shook off, His face still combating with tears and smiles, The badges of his grief and patience, That had not God, for some strong purpose, steel'd The hearts of men, they must perforce have melted And barbarism itself have pitied him. But heaven hath a hand in these events, To whose high will we bound our calm contents. To Bolingbroke are we sworn subjects now, Whose state and honour I for aye allow.
from Richard II
Never give all the HeartNever give all the heart, for love Will hardly seem worth thinking of To passionate women if it seem Certain, and they never dream That it fades out from kiss to kiss; For everything that's lovely is But a brief, dreamy, kind delight. O never give the heart outright, For they, for all smooth lips can say, Have given their hearts up to the play. And who could play it well enough If deaf and dumb and blind with love? He that made this knows all the cost, For he gave all his heart and lost.
Suddenly as the riot squad moved in, it was raining exclamation marks, Nuts, bolts, nails, car-keys. A fount of broken type. And the explosion. Itself - an askerisk on the map. This hyphenated line, a burst of rapid fire... I was trying to complete a sentence in my head but it kept stuttering, All the alleyways and side streets blocked with stops and colons. I know this labyrinth so well - Balaclava, Raglan, Inkerman, Odessa Street - Why can't I escape? Every move is punctuated. Crimea Street. Dead end again. A Saracen, Kremlin-2 mesh. Makrolon face-shields. Walkie- talkies. What is My name? Where am I coming from? Where am I going? A fusillade of question- marks.
III The Fire SermonTHE river's tent is broken: the last fingers of leaf Clutch and sink into the wet bank. The wind Crosses the brown land, unheard. The nymphs are departed. Sweet Thames, run softly, till I end my song. The river bears no empty bottles, sandwich papers, Silk handkerchiefs, cardboard boxes, cigarette ends Or other testimony of summer nights. The nymphs are departed. And their friends, the loitering heirs of city directors; Departed, have left no addresses. By the waters of Leman I sat down and wept... Sweet Thames, run softly till I end my song, Sweet Thames, run softly, for I speak not loud or long. But at my back in a cold blast I hear The rattle of the bones, and chuckle spread from ear to ear.
from 'The Waste Land'
The coming of Wisdom with TimeThough leaves are many, the root is one; Through all the lying days of my youth I swayed my leaves and flowers in the sun; Now I may wither into the truth.
AfterwardsWhen the Present has latched its postern behind my tremulous stay, And the May month flaps its glad green leaves like wings, Delicate-filmed as new-spun silk, will the neighbours say, "He was a man who used to notice such things"? If it be in the dusk when, like an eyelid's soundless blink, The dewfall-hawk comes crossing the shades to alight Upon the wind-warped upland thorn, a gazer may think, "To him this must have been a familiar sight." If I pass during some nocturnal blackness, mothy and warm, When the hedgehog travels furtively over the lawn, One may say, "He strove that such innocent creatures should come to no harm, But he could do little for them; and now he is gone." If, when hearing that I have been stilled at last, they stand at the door, Watching the full-starred heavens that winter sees, Will this thought rise on those who will meet my face no more, "He was one who had an eye for such mysteries"? And will any say when my bell of quittance is heard in the gloom, And a crossing breeze cuts a pause in its outrollings, Till they rise again, as they were a new bell's boom, "He hears it not now, but used to notice such things"? Thomas Hardy
The FlyShe sat on the willow bark watching part of the battle of Crecy, the shrieks the moans, the wails, the trampling and tumbling. During the fourteenth charge of the French cavalry she mated with a brown-eyed male fly from Vadincourt. She rubbed her legs together sitting on a disembowled horse meditating on the immortality of flies. Relieved she alighted on the blue tongue of the Duke of Clervaux. When silence settled and the whisper of decay softly circled the bodies and just a few arms and legs twitched under the trees, she began to lay her eggs on the single eye of Johann Uhr, the Royal Armorer. And so it came to pass - she was eaten by a swift fleeing from the fires of Estres.
Spring & Fall: To A Young ChildMargaret, are you grieving Over Goldengrove unleaving? Leaves, like the things of man, you With your fresh thoughts care for, can you? Ah! as the heart grows older It will come to such sights colder By & by, nor spare a sigh Though worlds of wanwood leafmeal lie; And yet you wíll weep & know why. Now no matter, child, the name: Sorrow's springs are the same. Nor mouth had, no nor mind, expressed What héart héard of, ghóst guéssed: It is the blight man was born for, It is Margaret you mourn for.
That Don't Make It JunkI fought against the bottle, But I had to do it drunk - Took my diamond to the pawnshop - But that don't make it junk. I know that I'm forgiven, But I don't know how I know. I don't trust my inner feelings - Inner feelings come and go. How come you called me here tonight? How come you bother With my heart at all? You raise me up in grace, Then you put me in a place, Where I must fall. Too late to fix another drink - The lights are going out - I'll listen to the darkness sing - I know what that's about. I tried to love you my way, But I couldn't make it hold. So I closed the Book of Longing And I do what I am told. How come you called me here tonight? How come you bother with my heart at all? You raise me up in grace, Then you put me in a place, Where I must fall. I fought against the bottle, But I had to do it drunk - Took my diamond to the pawnshop - But that don't make it junk.
Mid-August at Sourdough Mountain LookoutDown valley a smoke haze Three days heat, after five days rain Pitch glows on the fir-cones Across rocks and meadows Swarms of new flies. I cannot remember things I once read A few friends, but they are in cities. Drinking cold snow-water from a tin cup Looking down for miles Through high still air.
Don't ask why - couldn't answer - but this is the one poem I would take to a desert island if I
could have no other. I first read it in "The Critical Quarterly" in England, and used it in poetry
lessons for years. Gary SnyderGary Snyder
Hay for the HorsesHe had driven half the night From far down San Joaquin Through Mariposa, up the Dangerous Mountain roads, And pulled in at eight a.m. With his big truckload of hay behind the barn. With winch and ropes and hooks We stacked the bales up clean To splintery redwood rafters High in the dark, flecks of alfalfa Whirling through shingle-cracks of light, Itch of haydust in the sweaty shirt and shoes. At lunchtime under Black oak Out in the hot corral, ---The old mare nosing lunchpails, Grasshoppers crackling in the weeds--- "I'm sixty-eight" he said, "I first bucked hay when I was seventeen. I thought, that day I started, I sure would hate to do this all my life. And dammit, that's just what I've gone and done."G.M. Hopkins
As kingfishers catch fire, dragonflies dráw fláme;As kingfishers catch fire, dragonflies dráw fláme; As tumbled over rim in roundy wells Stones ring; like each tucked string tells, each hung bell's Bow swung finds tongue to fling out broad its name; Each mortal thing does one thing and the same: Deals out that being indoors each one dwells; Selves-goes itself; myself it speaks and spells, Crying Whát I do is me: for that I came. Í say móre: the just man justices; Kéeps gráce: thát keeps all his goings graces; Acts in God's eye what in God's eye he is - Chríst - for Christ plays in ten thousand places, Lovely in limbs, and lovely in eyes not his To the Father through the features of men's faces.Philip Larkin
'This was Mr Bleaney's room. He stayed The whole time he was at the Bodies, till They moved him.' Flowered curtains, thin and frayed, Fall to within five inches of the sill, Whose window shows a strip of building land, Tussocky, littered. 'Mr Bleaney took My bit of garden properly in hand.' Bed, upright chair, sixty-watt bulb, no hook Behind the door, no room for books or bags - 'I'll take it.' So it happens that I lie Where Mr Bleaney lay, and stub my fags On the same saucer-souvenir, and try Stuffing my ears with cotton-wool, to drown The jabbering set he egged her on to buy. I know his habits - what time he came down, His preference for sauce to gravy, why He kept on plugging at the four aways - Likewise their yearly frame: the Frinton folk Who put him up for summer holidays, And Christmas at his sister's house in Stoke. But if he stood and watched the frigid wind Tousling the clouds, lay on the fusty bed Telling himself that this was home, and grinned, And shivered, without shaking off the dread That how we live measures our own nature, And at his age having no more to show Than one hired box should make him pretty sure He warranted no better, I don't know.John Donne
A Valediction: forbidding mourningAS virtuous men passe mildly away, And whisper to their soules, to goe, Whilst some of their sad friends doe say, The breath goes now, and some say, no: So let us melt, and make no noise, No teare-floods, nor sigh-tempests move, T'were prophanation of our joyes To tell the layetie our love. Moving of th'earth brings harmes and feares, Men reckon what it did and meant, But trepidation of the spheares, Though greater farre, is innocent. Dull sublunary lovers love (Whose soule is sense) cannot admit Absence, because it doth remove Those things which elemented it. But we by a love, so much refin'd, That our selves know not what it is, Inter-assured of the mind, Care lesse, eyes, lips, and hands to misse. Our two soules therefore, which are one, Though I must goe, endure not yet A breach, but an expansion, Like gold to ayery thinnesse beate. If they be two, they are two so As stiffe twin compasses are two, Thy soule the fixt foot, makes no show To move, but doth, if the'other doe. And though it in the center sit, Yet when the other far doth rome, It leanes, and hearkens after it, And growes erect, as that comes home. Such wilt thou be to mee, who must Like th'other foot, obliquely runne; Thy firmnes makes my circle just, And makes me end, where I begunne.
Love ItselfThe light came through the window, Straight from the sun above, And so inside my little room There plunged the rays of Love. In streams of light I clearly saw The dust you seldom see, Out of which the Nameless makes A Name for one like me. I'll try to say a little more: Love went on and on Until it reached an open door - Then Love Itself Love Itself was gone. All busy in the sunlight The flecks did float and dance, And I was tumbled up with them In formless circumstance. I'll try to say a little more: Love went on and on Until it reached an open door - Then Love Itself Love Itself was gone. Then I came back from where I'd been. My room, it looked the same - But there was nothing left between The Nameless and the Name. All busy in the sunlight The flecks did float and dance, And I was tumbled up with them In formless circumstance. I'll try to say a little more: Love went on and on Until it reached an open door - Then Love itself, Love Itself was gone. Love Itself was gone.
Wilfred Wilson Gibson
Flannan IsleThough three men dwell on Flannan Isle To keep the lamp alight, As we steered under the lee, we caught No glimmer through the night. A passing ship at dawn had brought The news; and quickly we set sail, To find out what strange thing might ail The keepers of the deep-sea light. The Winter day broke blue and bright, With glancing sun and glancing spray, As o'er the swell our boat made way, As gallant as a gull in flight. But, as we neared the lonely Isle; And looked up at the naked height; And saw the lighthouse towering white, With blinded lantern, that all night Had never shot a spark Of comfort through the dark, So ghostly in the cold sunlight It seemed, that we were struck the while With wonder all too dread for words. And, as into the tiny creek We stole beneath the hanging crag, We saw three queer, black, ugly birds Too big, by far, in my belief, For guillemot or shag Like seamen sitting bolt-upright Upon a half-tide reef: But, as we neared, they plunged from sight, Without a sound, or spurt of white. And still to mazed to speak, We landed; and made fast the boat; And climbed the track in single file, Each wishing he was safe afloat, On any sea, however far, So it be far from Flannan Isle: And still we seemed to climb, and climb, As though we'd lost all count of time, And so must climb for evermore. Yet, all too soon, we reached the door The black, sun-blistered lighthouse-door, That gaped for us ajar. As, on the threshold, for a spell, We paused, we seemed to breathe the smell Of limewash and of tar, Familiar as our daily breath, As though 't were some strange scent of death: And so, yet wondering, side by side, We stood a moment, still tongue-tied: And each with black foreboding eyed The door, ere we should fling it wide, To leave the sunlight for the gloom: Till, plucking courage up, at last, Hard on each other's heels we passed, Into the living-room. Yet, as we crowded through the door, We only saw a table, spread For dinner, meat and cheese and bread; But, all untouched; and no one there: As though, when they sat down to eat, Ere they could even taste, Alarm had come; and they in haste Had risen and left the bread and meat: For at the table-head a chair Lay tumbled on the floor. We listened; but we only heard The feeble cheeping of a bird That starved upon its perch: And, listening still, without a word, We set about our hopeless search. We hunted high, we hunted low; And soon ransacked the empty house; Then o'er the Island, to and fro, We ranged, to listen and to look In every cranny, cleft or nook That might have hid a bird or mouse: But, though we searched from shore to shore, We found no sign in any place: And soon again stood face to face Before the gaping door: And stole into the room once more As frightened children steal. Aye: though we hunted high and low, And hunted everywhere, Of the three men's fate we found no trace Of any kind in any place, But a door ajar, and an untouched meal, And an overtoppled chair. And, as we listened in the gloom Of that forsaken living-room A chill clutch on our breath We thought how ill-chance came to all Who kept the Flannan Light: And how the rock had been the death Of many a likely lad: How six had come to a sudden end, And three had gone stark mad: And one whom we'd all known as friend Had leapt from the lantern one still night, And fallen dead by the lighthouse wall: And long we thought On the three we sought, And of what might yet befall. Like curs, a glance has brought to heel, We listened, flinching there: And looked, and looked, on the untouched meal, And the overtoppled chair. We seemed to stand for an endless while, Though still no word was said, Three men alive on Flannan Isle, Who thought, on three men dead.
The 15th of December 2000 marked the 100th anniversary of the disappearance of the lighthouse keepers of Flannan Isle. A primary 6 class in St Ninians Primary School, Stirling, Scotland, did a class project on the Flannan Isle mystery.
Love's SecretNever seek to tell thy love, Love that never told can be; For the gentle wind does move Silently, invisibly. I told my love, I told my love, I told her all my heart; Trembling, cold, in ghastly fears, Ah! she did depart! Soon as she was gone from me, A traveller came by, Silently, invisibly He took her with a sigh.
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