956. The Spice-Tree, by Vachel Lindsay

This is the song
The spice-tree sings:
"Hunger and fire,
Hunger and fire,
Sky-born Beauty —
Spice of desire."
Under the spice-tree
Watch and wait,
Burning maidens
And lads that mate.

The spice-tree spreads
And its boughs come down
Shadowing village and farm and town.
And none can see
But the pure of heart
The great green leaves
And the boughs descending,
And hear the song that is never ending.

The deep roots whisper,
The branches say:—
"Love tomorrow,
And love today,
And till Heaven's day,
And till Heaven's day."

The moon is a bird's nest in its branches,
The moon is hung in its topmost spaces.
And there, tonight, two doves play house
While lovers watch with uplifted faces.
Two doves go home
To their nest, the moon.
It is woven of twigs of broken light,
With threads of scarlet and threads of gray
And a lining of down for silk delight.
To their Eden, the moon, fly home our doves,
Up through the boughs of the great spice-tree;—
And one is the kiss I took from you,
And one is the kiss you gave to me.

Source: Collected Poems

957. Poetry, by Antonio Machado

In the same way that the mindless diamond keeps
one spark of the planet's early fires
trapped forever in its net of ice,
it's not love's later heat that poetry holds,
but the atom of the love that drew it forth
from the silence: so if the bright coal of his love
begins to smoulder, the poet hears his voice
suddenly forced, like a bar-room singer's - boastful
with his own huge feeling, or drowned by violins;
but if it yields a steadier light, he knows
the pure verse, when it finally comes, will sound
like a mountain spring, anonymous and serene.

Beneath the blue oblivious sky, the water
sings of nothing, not your name, not mine.

(trans - loosely - by Don Paterson)

Source: The White Lie: New and Selected Poetry

958. Landscape VI, by Cesare Pavese

Today's the day the fog lifts from the river
in the beautiful city among its fields and hills,
blurring it like a memory. The haze fuses
every green thing, but women in lively colors still
go strolling by. They pass in that white penumbra,
smiling: anything can happen on the street.
At times the air intoxicates.

________________________The morning
will suddenly open wide on a spacious silence,
muffling every voice. Even the tramp,
who has no home, no city, drinks in that air, inhaling it
like a glass of grappa on an empty stomach.
Whether you're hungry or have been betrayed by the sweetest
mouth, it's worth your while just to go walking in that air,
feeling your faintest memories quicken as you breathe.

In that fog every street, every simple corner of a house
keeps a shiver from the past, an old trembling.
Once you feel it, you never forget it. You can't give up
your calm intoxication, made of things that come
from your germinating years, discovered by meeting
a house, a tree, an unexpected thought.
Even the workhorses plodding down the street
in the dawn fog will speak to you of then.

Or maybe a boy who ran away from home comes
home today – today when the fog lifts
across the whole river, and he forgets his whole life –
the hardships and the hunger and the broken promises –
as he stops at a corner to drink the morning air.
It's worth your while, coming home, even though you've changed.

(trans William Arrowsmith)

Source: Hard Labor

959. Marin-An, by Gary Snyder

sun breaks over the eucalyptus
grove below the wet pasture,
water's about hot,
I sit in the open window
& roll a smoke.

distant dogs bark, a pair of
cawing crows; the twang
of a pygmy nuthatch high in a pine -
from behind the cypress windrow
the mare moves up, grazing.

a soft continuous roar
comes out of the far valley
of the six-lane highway - thousands
and thousands of cars
driving men to work.

Source: No Nature: New and Selected Poems

960. By the Bivouac's Fitful Flame, by Walt Whitman

By the bivouac's fitful flame,
A procession winding around me, solemn and sweet and slow - but
__first I note,
The tents of the sleeping army, the fields' and woods' dim outline,
The darkness lit by spots of kindled fire, the silence,
Like a phantom far or near an occasional figure moving,
The shrubs and trees, (as I lift my eyes they seem to be stealthily
__watching me,)
While wind in procession thoughts, O tender and wondrous thoughts,
Of life and death, of home and the past and loved, and of those
__that are far away;
A solemn and slow procession there as I sit on the ground,
By the bivouac's fitful flame.

Source: Poetry and Prose

961. Mother, Summer, I, by Philip Larkin

My mother, who hates thunderstorms,
Holds up each summer day and shakes
It out suspiciously, lest swarms
Of grape-dark clouds are lurking there;
But when the August weather breaks
And rains begin, and brittle frost
Sharpens the bird-abandoned air,
Her worried summer look is lost.

And I her son, though summer-born
And summer-loving, none the less
Am easier when the leaves are gone;
Too often summer days appear
Emblems of perfect happiness
I can't confront: I must await
A time less bold, less rich, less clear:
An autumn more appropriate.

Source: Collected Poems