885. Parting at Dawn, by John Crowe Ransom

If there was a broken whispering by night
It was an image of the coward heart,
But the white dawn assures them how to part—
Stoics are born on the cold glitter of light
And with the morning star lovers take flight.
Say then your parting; and most dry should you drain
Your lips of the wine, your eyes of the frantic rain,
Till these be as the barren anchorite.

And then? O dear Sir, stumbling down the street,
Continue, till you come to wars and wounds;
Beat the air, Madam, till your house-clock sounds;
And if no Lethe flow beneath your casement,
And when ten years have not brought full effacement,
Philosophy was wrong, and you may meet.

Source: Selected Poems

886. 'The earth and heaven, so little known,' by Gerard Manley Hopkins

The earth and heaven, so little known,
Are measured outwards from my breast.
I am the midst of every zone
And justify the East and West;

The unchanging register of change
My all-accepting fixed eye,
While all things else may stir and range
All else may whirl or dive or fly.

The swallow, favourite of the gale,
Will on the moulding strike and cling,
Unvalve or shut his vaned tail
And sheathe at once his leger wing.

He drops upon the wing again;
His little pennon is unfurled.
In motion is no weight or pain,
Nor permanence in the solid world.

There is a vapour stands in the wind;
It shapes itself in taper skeins:
You look again and cannot find,
Save in the body of the rains.

And these are spent and ended quite;
The sky is blue, and the winds pull
Their clouds with breathing edges white
Beyond the world; the streams are full

And millbrook-slips with pretty pace
Gallop along the meadow grass. —
O lovely ease in change of place!
I have desired, desired to pass...

Source: Poems and Prose

887. Last Hill in a Vista, by Louise Bogan

Come, let us tell the weeds in ditches
How we are poor, who once had riches,
And lie out in the sparse and sodden
Pastures that the cows have trodden,
The while an autumn night seals down
The comforts of the wooden town.

Come, let us counsel some cold stranger
How we sought safety, but loved danger.
So, with stiff walls about us, we
Chose this more fragile boundary:
Hills, where light poplars, the firm oak,
Loosen into a little smoke.

Source: The Blue Estuaries: Poems: 1923-1968

888. Evening: Ponte Al Mare, Pisa, by Percy Shelley


The sun is set; the swallows are asleep;
   The bats are flitting fast in the gray air;
The slow soft toads out of damp corners creep,
   And evening's breath, wandering here and there
Over the quivering surface of the stream,
Wakes not one ripple from its summer dream.


There is no dew on the grass to-night,
   Nor damp within the shadow of the trees;
The wind is intermitting, dry, and light;
   And in the inconstant motion of the breeze
The dust and straws are driven up and down,
And whirled about the pavement of the town.


Within the surface of the fleeting river
   The wrinkled image of the city lay,
Immovably unquiet, and forever
   It trembles, but it never fades away;
Go to the East...
You, being changed, will find it then as now.


The chasm in which the sun has sunk is shut
   By darkest barriers of cinereous cloud,
Like mountain over mountain huddled—but
   Growing and moving upwards in a crowd,
And over it a space of watery blue,
Which the keen evening star is shining through.

Source: The Complete Poems of Keats and Shelley

889. Lullaby, by Mike Puican

A line of angels will appear above you as a night light,
as the darkness moves slowly in your direction.
Thoughts will arrive without your consent; let them go.

Soon you will be standing in onion fields staring at the stars,
your dogs wet from chasing field rats. A chorus of fruit flies
will bore everyone with its small details. Go to sleep.

Tonight, the house's secrets will burst with confidence;
squirrels will rage from behind the drywall. In a few minutes,
the gun under our pillow will lose its meaning. Go to sleep.

The morning will be graced by the scents of flowers
and the sounds of a few notes of music above the sirens
which, like us, are about to become nothing.

Source: New England Review, Vol. 30, No. 3

890. Late May, by Tomas Transtromer

Apple trees and cherry trees in flower help the town to float
in the soft smudgy May night, white left-vests, thoughts go far away.
Stubborn grass and weeds beat their wings.
The mailbox shines calmly: what is written cannot be taken back.

A mild cooling wind goes through your shirt, feeling for the heart.
Apple trees and cherry trees laugh soundlessly at Solomon.
They blossom in my tunnel. And I need them
not to forget, but to remember.

(trans Robert Bly)

Source: Selected Poems, 1954-1986