804. Ebb, by Edna St. Vincent Millay

I know what my heart is like
     Since your love died:
It is like a hollow ledge
Holding a little pool
   Left there by the tide,
   A little tepid pool,
Drying inward from the edge.

Source: Collected Poems

805. The Send-Off, by Wilfred Owen

Down the close darkening lanes they sang their way
To the siding-shed,
And lined the train with faces grimly gay.

Their breasts were stuck all white with wreath and spray
As men's are, dead.

Dull porters watched them, and a casual tramp
Stood staring hard,
Sorry to miss them from the upland camp.

Then, unmoved, signals nodded, and a lamp
Winked to the guard.

So secretly, like wrongs hushed-up, they went.
They were not ours:
We never heard to which front these were sent.

Nor there if they yet mock what women meant
Who gave them flowers.

Shall they return to beatings of great bells
In wild train-loads?
A few, a few, too few for drums and yells,

May creep back, silent, to village wells,
Up half-known roads.

Source: The Penguin Book of First World War Poetry

806. Last Fruit Off an Old Tree, by Walter Savage Landor

Death stands above me, whispering low
  I know not what into my ear:
Of his strange language all I know
  Is, there is not a word of fear.

Source: Poetry & Prose

807. Song, by A. R. Ammons

Merging into place against a slope of trees,
I extended my arms and
took up the silence and spare leafage.
I lost my head first, the cervical meat
clumping off in rot,
baring the spinal heart to wind and ice

which work fast.
The environment lost no self-possession.
In spring, termites with tickling feet
aerated my veins.
A gall-nesting wren took my breath

flicking her wings, and
far into summer the termites found the heart.
No sign now shows the place,
all these seasons since,
but a hump of sod below the leaves
where chipmunks dig.

Source: Collected Poems 1951-1971

808. Deep in the Mountain Wilderness, by Wang Wei

Deep in the mountain wilderness
Where nobody ever comes
Only once in a great while
Something like the sound of a far off voice,
The low rays of the sun
Slip through the dark forest,
And gleam again on the shadowy moss.

(trans Kenneth Rexroth)

Source: One Hundred More Poems from the Chinese : Love and the Turning Year

809. The Traveller-Heart

(To a Man who maintained that the Mausoleum is the Stateliest
Possible Manner of Internment)

I would be one with the dark, dark earth:—
Follow the plow with a yokel tread.
I would be part of the Indian corn,
Walking the rows with the plumes o'erhead.

I would be one with the lavish earth,
Eating the bee-stung apples red:
Walking where lambs walk on the hills;
By oak-grove paths to the pools be led.

I would be one with the dark-bright night
When sparkling skies and the lightning wed—
Walking on with the vicious wind
By roads whence even the dogs have fled.

I would be one with the sacred earth
On to the end, till I sleep with the dead.
Terror shall put no spears through me.
Peace shall jewel my shroud instead.

I shall be one with all pit-black things
Finding their lowering threat unsaid:
Stars for my pillow there in the gloom,—
Oak-roots arching about my head!

Stars, like daisies, shall rise through the earth,
Acorns fall round my breast that bled.
Children shall weave there a flowery chain,
Squirrels on acorn-hearts be fed:—

Fruit of the traveller-heart of me,
Fruit of my harvest songs long sped:
Sweet with the life of my sunburned days,
When the sheaves were ripe, and the apples red.

Source: Collected Poems

810. Shadows, by D. H. Lawrence

And if tonight my soul may find her peace
in sleep, and sink in good oblivion,
and in the morning wake like a new-opened flower
then I have been dipped again in God, and new-created.

And if, as weeks go round, in the dark of the moon
my spirit darkens and goes out, and soft, strange gloom
pervades my movements and my thoughts and words
then I shall know that I am walking still
with God, we are close together now the moon's in shadow.

And if, as autumn deepens and darkens
I feel the pain of falling leaves, and stems that break in storms
and trouble and dissolution and distress
and then the softness of deep shadows folding, folding
around my soul and spirit, around my lips
so sweet, like a swoon, or more like the drowse of a low, sad song
singing darker than the nightingale, on, on to the solstice
and the silence of short days, the silence of the year, the shadow,
then I shall know that my life is moving still
with the dark earth, and drenched
with the deep oblivion of earth's lapse and renewal.

And if, in the changing phases of man's life
I fall in sickness and in misery
my wrists seem broken and my heart seems dead
and strength is gone, and my life
is only the leavings of a life:

and still, among it all, snatches of lovely oblivion, and snatches
    of renewal
odd, wintry flowers upon the withered stem, yet new, strange
such as my life has not brought forth before, new blossoms of me—

then I must know that still
I am in the hands of the unknown God,
he is breaking me down to his own oblivion
to send me forth on a new morning, a new man.

Source: Complete Poems

811. Poem, by Gu Cheng

Gray sky
gray road
gray buildings
in the gray rain

Through this wide grayness
walk two children
one bright red
one pale green

(trans Eliot Weinberger)

Source: Oranges & Peanuts for Sale

812. On the Way to School, by Vicente Aleixandre

I rode my bicycle to school.
Along a peaceful street that ran through the center of the noble,
   mysterious city.
I rode by, surrounded by lights, and the carriages made no noise.
They passed, majestic, pulled by distinguished bays or chestnuts
   that moved with a proud bearing.
How they lifted their hooves as they went along, like gentlemen,
not disdaining the world, but studying it
from the sovereign grace of their manes!
And inside, what? Old ladies, scarcely a little more than lace,
silent ornaments, stuck-up hairstyles, ancient velvet:
a pure silence passing, pulled by the heavy shining animals.

I rode my bicycle, I almost had wings, I was inspired.
And there were wide sidewalks along that sunny street.
In the sunlight, some sudden butterfly hovered over the carriages
   and then, along the sidewalks,
over the slow strollers made of smoke.
But they were mothers taking their littlest children for a walk.
And fathers who, in their offices of glass and dreams...
I looked as I went by.
I sailed through the sweet smoke, and the butterfly was no stranger.
Pale in the iridescent winter afternoon,
she spread herself out in the slow street as over a sheltered,
   sleepy valley.
And I saw her swept up sometimes to hang suspended
over what could as well have been the pleasant bank of a river.
Ah, nothing was terrible.
The street had a slight grade and up I went, driven on.
A wind swept the hats of the old ladies.
It wasn't hurt by the peaceful canes of the gentlemen.
And it lit up like an imaginary rose, a little like a kiss, on the
   cheeks of the children.
The trees in a row were a motionless vapor, gentle
suspended under the blue. And by now nearly up in the air,
I hurried past on my bicycle and smiled...
and I remember perfectly
how I folded my wings mysteriously on the very threshold of the

(trans Stephen Kessler)

Source: A Longing for the Light: Selected Poems of Vicente Aleixandre

813. Proud Songsters, by Thomas Hardy

The thrushes sing as the sun is going,
And the finches whistle in ones and pairs,
And as it gets dark loud nightingales
            In bushes
Pipe, as they can when April wears,
    As if all Time were theirs.

These are brand-new birds of twelve-months' growing,
Which a year ago, or less than twain,
No finches were, nor nightingales,
            Nor thrushes,
But only particles of grain,
    And earth, and air, and rain.

Source: The Complete Poems

814. The Bicyclist, by Gjertrud Schnackenberg

Crossing a bridge in our VW bus
In Stratford-on-Avon, you swerved but grazed
A skinny man riding a bicycle.
God! Was he mad! You pulled off to the side
Beyond the bridge, and he came after us
Shouting, Police! and pedaling furiously
In his black suit. You stood by the bus
As he pulled up and flailed at his kickstand
And rained vituperation on your head.
You quietly cut through his narrative,
"Are you all right?" your face kindly and wry.

Through the bus window I saw the moment when
He first saw you, first looked you in the eye.
He straightened up. His hands moved fast
To straighten his bow tie. Well, yes, he supposed
That he was fine. You asked more questions, asked
So quietly I couldn't hear, but I could see
His more emphatically respectful answers
As he began to nod in affirmation
Of all you said. Then he smiled, sort of,
Offering his hand, and when he pedaled off
He waved and shouted, Thank you very much!

That's what you were like—you could sideswipe
A bow-tied Englishman wobbling across
A narrow bridge on his collapsible bike,
And inspire him, somehow, to thank you for it.

Source: Supernatural Love: Poems 1976-1992

815. Poem from The Consolation of Philosophy, by Boethius

What strife breaks the civil bonds
of the things of this world? What God would set
such incompatible truths loose
to struggle thus with one another?
Either could stand alone, but together
how can their contradictions be joined?
Or is there some way that they can get on
that the human mind, enmeshed in flesh,
cannot discern? The flame is covered,
and in the darkness the world's subtle
connections are hidden. And yet we feel
the warmth of the love that holds together
all that there is in eternal truth
that knows what it seeks and has its end
in its beginning. But which of us yearns
to learn those things he already knows?
And is that wisdom or is it blindness?
(And how do we know that we not know
what we do not know?) If it were found,
could the ignorant seeker recognize it?
From our minds to the mind of God
is an awesome leap: the infinite number
of separate truths that are yet all one
leave us breathless. The body's dense
flesh obscures our recollection
of the separate truths and the one truth
and yet allows us at least to suspect
that we all live in an awkward state
with inklings of our ignorance
that turn out to be our greatest wisdom—
as if we had long ago ascended
and beheld from on high the exalted vision
of which we now retain nothing
but the sense of loss of that exaltation.

(trans David R. Slavitt)

Source: The Consolation of Philosophy

816. Shiva, by Robinson Jeffers

There is a hawk that is picking the birds out of our sky.
She killed the pigeons of peace and security,
She has taken honesty and confidence from nations and men,
She is hunting the lonely heron of liberty.
She loads the arts with nonsense, she is very cunning,
Science with dreams and the state with powers to catch them at last.
Nothing will escape her at last, flying nor running.
This is the hawk that picks out the stars' eyes.
This is the only hunter that will ever catch the wild swan;
The prey she will take last is the wild white swan of the beauty
          of things.
Then she will be alone, pure destruction, achieved and supreme,
Empty darkness under the death-tent wings.
She will build a nest of the swan's bones and hatch a new brood,
Hang new heavens with new birds, all be renewed.

Source: The Selected Poetry Of Robinson Jeffers

817. Ragged Island, by Edna St. Vincent Millay

There, there where those black spruces crowd
To the edge of the precipitous cliff,
Above your boat, under the eastern wall of the island;
And no wave breaks; as if
All had been done, and long ago, that needed
Doing; and the cold tide, unimpeded
By shoal or shelving ledge, moves up and down,
Instead of in and out;
And there is no driftwood there, because there is no beach;
Clean cliff going down as deep as clear water can reach;

No driftwood, such as abounds on the roaring shingle,
To be hefted home, for fires in the kitchen stove;
Barrels, banged ashore about the boiling outer harbour;
Lobster-buoys, on the eel-grass of the sheltered cove:

There, thought unbraids itself, and the mind becomes single.
There you row with tranquil oars, and the ocean
Shows no scar from the cutting of your placid keel;
Care becomes senseless there; pride and promotion
Remote; you only look; you scarcely feel.

Even adventure, with its vital uses,
Is aimless ardour now; and thrift is waste.

Oh, to be there, under the silent spruces,
Where the wide, quiet evening darkens without haste
Over a sea with death acquainted, yet forever chaste.

Source: Collected Poems

818. The Unwept Waste, by A. S. J. Tessimond

Let funeral marches play,
Let heartbreak-music sound
For the half-death, not the whole;
For the unperceived slow soiling;
For the sleeping before evening;
For what, but for a breath,
But for an inch one way,
The shifting of a scene,
A closed or opened door,
A word less, a word more,
Might have, so simply, been.

The final tragedies are,
Not the bright light dashed out,
Not the gold glory smashed
Like a lamp upon the floor,
But the guttering away,
The seep, the gradual grey,
The unnoticed, without-haste-
Or-protest, premature,
Unwept, unwritten waste.

Source: Collected Poems

819. My Sisters, by Stanley Kunitz

Who whispered, souls have shapes?
So has the wind, I say.
But I don't know,
I only feel things blow.

I had two sisters once
with long black hair
who walked apart from me
and wrote the history of tears.
Their story's faded with their names,
but the candlelight they carried,
like dancers in a dream,
still flickers on their gowns
as they bend over me
to comfort my night-fears.

Let nothing grieve you,
Sarah and Sophia.
Shush, shush my dears,
now and forever.

Source: The Collected Poems

820. Valuable, by Stevie Smith

         After reading two paragraphs in a newspaper.

All these illegitimate babies...
Oh girls, girls,
Silly little cheap things,
Why do you not put some value on yourselves,
Learn to say, No?
Did nobody teach you?
Nobody teaches anybody to say No nowadays,
People should teach people to say No.

Oh poor panther,
Oh you poor black animal,
At large for a few moments in a school for young children in Paris,
Now in your cage again,
How your great eyes bulge with bewilderment,
There is something there that accuses us,
Something that says:
I am too valuable to be kept in a cage.

Oh these illegitimate babies!
Oh girls, girls,
Silly little valuable things,
You should have said, No, I am valuable,
And again, It is because I am valuable
I say, No.

Nobody teaches anybody they are valuable nowadays.

Girls, you are valuable,
And you, Panther, you are valuable,
But the girls say: I shall be alone
If I say 'I am valuable' and other people do not say it of me,
I shall be alone, there is no comfort there.
No, it is not comforting but it is valuable,
And if everybody says it in the end
It will be comforting. And for the panther too,
If everybody says he is valuable
It will be comforting for him.

Source: Collected Poems

821. Wooden Heart, by Primo Levi

My next-door neighbor is robust;
It's a horse-chestnut tree in Corso Re Umberto:
My age but doesn't look it.
It harbors sparrows and blackbirds, isn't ashamed,
In April, to put forth buds and leaves,
Fragile flowers in May,
And in September burrs, prickly but harmless,
With shiny tannic chestnuts inside.
An impostor but naive: it wants people to believe
It rivals its fine mountain brother,
Lord of sweet fruits and precious mushrooms.
A hard life: every five minutes its roots
Are trampled by streetcars Nos. 8 and 19;
Deafened by noise, it grows twisted,
As though it would like to leave this place.
Year after year, it sucks slow poisons
From the methane-soaked subsoil,
Is watered with dog urine.
The wrinkles in its bark are clogged
With the avenue's septic dust.
Under the bark hang dead chrysalises
That never will be butterflies.
Still, in its sluggish wooden heart
It feels, savors the seasons' return.

(trans Ruth Feldman and Brian Swann)

Source: Collected Poems

822. All That's Past, by Walter de la Mare

Very old are the woods;
  And the buds that break
Out of the brier's boughs,
  When March winds wake,
So old with their beauty are –
  Oh, no man knows
Through what wild centuries
  Roves back the rose.

Very old are the brooks;
  And the rills that rise
Where snow sleeps cold beneath
  The azure skies
Sing such a history
  Of come and gone,
Their every drop is as wise
  As Solomon.

Very old are we men;
  Our dreams are tales
Told in dim Eden
  By Eve's nightingales;
We wake and whisper awhile,
  But, the day gone by,
Silence and sleep like fields
  Of amaranth lie.

Source: A choice of de la Mare's verse

823. To Marcus Aurelius, by Zbigniew Herbert

                                        for Professor Henryk Elzenberg

Good night Marcus put out the light
and shut the book For overhead
is raised a gold alarm of stars
heaven is talking some foreign tongue
this the barbarian cry of fear
your Latin cannot understand
Terror continuous dark terror
against the fragile human land

begins to beat It's winning Hear
its roar The unrelenting stream
of elements will drown your prose
until the world's four walls go down
As for us? – to tremble in the air
blow in the ashes stir the ether
gnaw our fingers seek vain words
drag off the fallen shades behind us

Well Marcus better hang up your peace
give me your hand across the dark
Let it tremble when the blind world beats
on senses five like a failing lyre
Traitors – universe and astronomy
reckoning of stars wisdom of grass
and your greatness too immense
and Marcus my defenceless tears

(trans Czeslaw Milosz and Peter Dale Scott)

Source: Selected Poems

824. Poem, by e. e. cummings

when serpents bargain for the right to squirm
and the sun strikes to gain a living wage—
when thorns regard their roses with alarm
and rainbows are insured against old age

when every thrush may sing no new moon in
if all screech-owls have not okayed his voice
—and any wave signs on the dotted line
or else an ocean is compelled to close

when the oak begs permission of the birch
to make an acorn—valleys accuse their
mountains of having altitude—and march
denounces april as a saboteur

then we'll believe in that incredible
unanimal mankind(and not until)

Source: 100 Selected Poems

825. Man, by Friedrich Hölderlin

Scarce had the young peaks begun, O earth,
   To burgeon from your waters, and from the gray
      Ocean wilderness the first islands,
         Dense with evergreen woods, to waft

Fragrant breaths of pleasure; and the sungod's eye
   Gazed with joy upon the new arriving
      Plants, radiant children of his
         Eternal youth, and your offspring.

Then on the fairest island, round whose woods
   Calm and delicate air constantly flowed,
      Lay, after a warm night,
         Born under grapes at break of day,

O mother earth, your fairest child; and up he looks,
   The boy, to his father Helios, him he knows,
      And he wakes and takes, tasting the sweet
         Berries one by one, the holy

Vine as nurse; soon he is tall; the animals
   Shun him, for he is different, man, resembling
      Neither his father nor yourself,
         For in his being, from the start,

His father's sheer soul uniquely blent,
   And daringly, with your delight, o earth, and sorrow:
      His will it is to be like nature,
         The mother of gods, and all-embracing.

Ah! hence from your heart's reach his exuberance
   Drives him, earth, your gifts and tender trammels
      Are all for nought; wild he is
         And something better is what he looks for.

Leaving his fragrant meadow inland, man
   Must set forth on blossomless deep waters;
      And though his orchard shine with fruit,
         Gold like the night of stars, he digs his

Tunnels in the hills, and scans the shaft, aloof
   From his father's calm light, and more,
      Disloyal to the sungod, who bears no love
         For slavish men and mocks care.

For forest birds more freely breathe, although
   Man's heart more gloriously soars aloft,
      And he, seeing the future, dark,
         Must see death and alone fear it.

And in persistent fright and pride man wields
   Weapons against all that breathes; in feuds
      He burns his life out, and his peace,
         Fragile, flowers but little time.

Of all his fellow beings, man, is he not
   Most full of bliss? So fate, balancing all,
      Ever more deep and rushing, grips
         Yet his strong inflammable heart.

(trans Christopher Middleton)

Source: Friedrich Holderlin and Eduard Morike - Selected Poems

826. Night Above the Avenue, by W. S. Merwin

The whole time that I have lived here
at every moment somebody
has been at the point of birth
behind a window across the street
and somebody behind a window
across the street
has been at the point of death
they have lain there in pain and in hope
on and on
and away from the windows the dark interiors
of their bodies have been opened to lights
and they have waited bleeding and have been frightened
and happy
unseen by each other we have been transformed
and the traffic has flowed away
from between them and me
in four directions
as the lights have changed
day and night
and I have sat up late
at the kitchen window
knowing the news
watching the paired red lights
recede from under the windows down the avenue
toward the tunnel under the river
and the white lights from the park rushing toward us
through the sirens and the music
and I have awakened in a wind of messages

Source: Migration: New & Selected Poems

827. From Muturai, by Avvaiyar

Base men angered split like cracked stone.
Decent men, like pieces of cracked gold.
                                                            Bow still in hand
The cut shot through the water closes. Like that,
The anger of great men.

(trans Thomas H. Pruiksma)

Source: Give, Eat, and Live: Poems of Avvaiyar

828. Not love perhaps, by A. S. J. Tessimond

This is not Love perhaps – Love that lays down
Its life, that many waters cannot quench, nor the floods drown –
But something written in lighter ink, said in a lower tone:
Something perhaps especially our own:
A need at times to be together and talk –
And then the finding we can walk
More firmly through dark narrow places
And meet more easily nightmare faces:
A need to reach out sometimes hand to hand –
And then find Earth less like an alien land:
A need for alliance to defeat
The whisperers at the corner of the street:
A need for inns on roads, islands in seas, halts for discoveries
     to be shared,
Maps checked and notes compared:
A need at times of each for each
Direct as the need of throat and tongue for speech.

Source: Collected Poems

829. Home Village, Harry Martinson

In the gardens of the home village, where earthworms
loosen the soil, the columbine still grows
and grandfather clocks cluck old-fashionedly in each house.
Smoke rises from cottages like sacrificial pillars
and to those who come from afar, from the hard toils
of the world's oceans and the brothel alleys of Barcelona,
this peaceful village is like a silent lie.
A lie one would willingly hang on to, a lie
for which one would trample down all evil truths.

(trans Robin Fulton)

Source: Chickweed Wintergreen: Selected Poems

830. "I Sought the Wood in Winter," by Willa Cather

I sought the wood in summer
       When every twig was green;
The rudest boughs were tender,
       And buds were pink between.
Light-fingered aspens trembled
       In fitful sun and shade,
And daffodils were golden
       In every starry glade.
The brook sang like a robin—
       My hand could check him where
The lissome maiden willows
       Shook out their yellow hair.

"How frail a thing is Beauty,"
       I said, "when every breath
She gives the vagrant summer
       But swifter woos her death.
For this the star dust troubles,
       For this have ages rolled:
To deck the wood for bridal
       And slay her with the cold."

I sought the wood in winter
       When every leaf was dead;
Behind the wind-whipped branches
       The winter sun set red.
The coldest star was rising
       To greet that bitter air,
The oaks were writhen giants;
       Nor bud nor bloom was there.
The birches, white and slender,
       In deathless marble stood,
The brook, a white immortal,
       Slept silent in the wood.

"How sure a thing is Beauty,"
       I cried. "No bolt can slay,
No wave nor shock despoil her,
       No ravishers dismay.
Her warriors are the angels
       That cherish from afar,
Her warders people Heaven
       And watch from every star.
The granite hills are slighter,
       The sea more like to fail;
Behind the rose the planet,
       The Law behind the veil."

Source: Stories, Poems, and Other Writings

831. Returning, We Hear the Larks, by Isaac Rosenberg

Sombre the night is.
And though we have our lives, we know
What sinister threat lurks there.

Dragging these anguished limbs, we only know
This poison-blasted track opens on our camp –
On a little safe sleep.

But hark! joy – joy – strange joy.
Lo! heights of night ringing with unseen larks.
Music showering on our upturned list'ning faces.

Death could drop from the dark
As easily as song –
But song only dropped,
Like a blind man's dreams on the sand
By dangerous tides,
Like a girl's dark hair for she dreams no ruin lies there,
Or her kisses where a serpent hides.

Source: The Penguin Book of First World War Poetry

832. Memory, by Theodore Roethke


           In the slow world of dream,
           We breathe in unison.
           The outside dies within,
           And she knows all I am.


           She turns, as if to go,
           Half-bird, half-animal.
           The wind dies on the hill.
           Love's all. Love's all I know.


           A doe drinks by a stream,
           A doe and its fawn.
           When I follow after them,
           The grass changes to stone.

Source: The Collected Poems of Theodore Roethke

833. Te Deum, by Charles Reznikoff

Not because of victories
I sing,
having none,
but for the common sunshine,
the breeze,
the largess of the spring.

Not for victory
but for the day’s work done
as well as I was able;
not for a seat upon the dais
but at the common table.

Source: The Poems Of Charles Reznikoff: 1918-1975

834. Poem, by Kabir

Why should we two ever want to part?

Just as the leaf of the water rhubarb lives floating on the water,
we live as the great one and little one.

As the owl opens his eyes all night to the moon,
we live as the great one and little one.

This love between us goes back to the first humans;
it cannot be annihilated.

Here is Kabir's idea: as the river gives itself into the ocean,
what is inside me moves inside you.

(trans Robert Bly)

Source: Kabir: Ecstatic Poems

835. A Net to Snare the Moonlight, by Vachel Lindsay

(What the Man of Faith Said)

The dew, the rain and moonlight
All prove our Father's mind.
The dew, the rain and moonlight
Descend to bless mankind.

Come, let us see that all men
Have land to catch the rain,
Have grass to snare the spheres of dew,
And fields spread for the grain.

Yes, we would give to each poor man
Ripe wheat and poppies red,—
A peaceful place at evening
With the stars just overhead:

A net to snare the moonlight,
A sod spread to the sun,
A place of toil by daytime,
Of dreams when toil is done.

Source: Collected Poems

836. Women, by Tran Te Xuong

Tea, wine, and women:
My three perpetual plagues.
I must forebear.
I might be able to give up tea, maybe,
And even wine.

(trans Burton Raffel)

Source: From the Vietnamese: Ten Centuries of Poetry

837. O Pug!, by Stevie Smith

To the Brownes' pug dog, on my lap, in their car, coming home from Norfolk.

O Pug, some people do not like you,
But I like you,
Some people say you do not breathe, you snore,
I don't mind,
One person says he is always conscious of your behind,
Is that your fault?

Your own people love you,
All the people in the family that owns you
Love you: Good pug, they cry, Happy pug,

You are an old dog now
And in all your life
You have never had cause for a moment's anxiety,
In those great eyes of yours,
Those liquid and protuberant orbs,
Lies the shadow of immense insecurity. There
Panic walks.

Yes, yes, I know,
When your mistress is with you,
When your master
Takes you upon his lap,
Just then, for a moment,
Almost you are not frightened.

But at heart you are frightened, you always have been.

O Pug, obstinate old nervous breakdown,
In the midst of so much love,
And such comfort,
Still to feel unsafe and be afraid,

How one's heart goes out to you!

Source: Collected Poems

838. God Is Good. It Is a Beautiful Night, by Wallace Stevens

Look round, brown moon, brown bird, as you rise to fly,
Look round at the head and zither
On the ground.

Look round you as you start to rise, brown moon,
At the book and shoe, the rotted rose
At the door.

This was the place to which you came last night,
Flew close to, flew to without rising away.
Now, again,

In your light, the head is speaking. It reads the book.
It becomes the scholar again, seeking celestial

Picking thin music on the rustiest string,
Squeezing the reddest fragrance from the stump
Of summer.

The venerable song falls from your fiery wings.
The song of the great space of your age pierces
The fresh night.

Source: The Palm at the End of the Mind

839. Ardella, by Langston Hughes

I would liken you
To a night without stars
Were it not for your eyes.
I would liken you
To a sleep without dreams
Were it not for your songs.

Source: The Collected Poems of Langston Hughes

840. The Wind's Prophecy, by Thomas Hardy

I travel on by barren farms,
And gulls glint out like silver flecks
Against a cloud that speaks of wrecks,
And bellies down with black alarms.
I say: 'Thus from my lady's arms
I go; those arms I love the best!'
The wind replies from dip and rise,
'Nay; toward her arms thou journeyest.'

A distant verge morosely gray
Appears, while clots of flying foam
Break from its muddy monochrome,
And a light blinks up far away.
I sigh: 'My eyes now as all day
Behold her ebon loops of hair!'
Like bursting bonds the wind responds,
'Nay, wait for tresses flashing fair!'

From tides the lofty coastlands screen
Come smitings like the slam of doors,
Or hammerings on hollow floors,
As the swell cleaves through caves unseen.
Say I: 'Though broad this wild terrene,
Her city home is matched of none!'
From the hoarse skies the wind replies:
'Thou shouldst have said her sea-bord one.'

The all-prevailing clouds exclude
The one quick timorous transient star;
The waves outside where breakers are
Huzza like a mad multitude.
'Where the sun ups it, mist-imbued,'
I cry, 'there reigns the star for me!'
The wind outshrieks from points and peaks:
'Here, westward, where it downs, mean ye!'

Yonder the headland, vulturine,
Snores like old Skrymer in his sleep,
And every chasm and every steep
Blackens as wakes each pharos-shine.
'I roam, but one is safely mine,'
I say. 'God grant that she stay my own!'
Low laughs the wind as if it grinned:
'Thy Love is one thou'st not yet known.'

Source: The Complete Poems

841. "Thy Love Is One Thou'st Not Yet Known," by Jean Garrigue

Let us be quiet today. The earth is still,
The sun is drowsy, sleeping in the clouds
Like sleepless birds of day who take to rest
Or take at least to silence in their nests
Only some very few adventured out
To stride the levels of the rusty grass.

But for the crickets in a singsong shrill
Of notes too small to be called notes,
Some tick and jilt of quaver in the low tangle
Soprano as some fifing of an elf
Or other hopping creatures made of green,
Green-whiskered, green-antennaed, green-armored,
There is no other cry or breath.
                                              Air is still
As every flower tells and every leaf,
And waters where they were subside to wells
Or sink their resourceful chatter underground.

As if the quick of all that stir and bloom
By brook and wind commotion, ceaseless play
Of clouds, leaves, action of the plants
That in their beds stand taller every day
Had taken a quietus or, quiescent,
Retired into some first most voiceless place
Begot by silence on a stillness,
An in-going into the unlustred zone
Of some more hermit energy
That gets the tendrils of the sense
Their dwelling place in a white hush

And makes the instant finer than a dream.
But is not dream but rather's known
By burning fineness of a light
More lucid than the air and only sensed
In violent wide-awakeness on a cloud.
Only by the raveling of such bonds
As strips the day to garments of the flower—
To leaning lilies much too tall
To sustain their flaring crowns,
Veronica, vervain, bent over by the rain,
And Queen Anne's lace upon its gawky stem.

Source: Selected Poems

842. No One So Much As You, by Edward Thomas

No one so much as you
Love this my clay,
Or would lament as you
Its dying day.

You know me through and through
Though I have not told,
And though with what you know
You are not bold.

None ever was so fair
As I thought you:
Not a word can I bear
Spoken against you.

All that I ever did
For you seemed coarse
Compared with what I hid
Nor put in force.

Scarce my eyes dare meet you
Lest they should prove
I but respond to you
And do not love.

We look and understand,
We cannot speak
Except in trifles and
Words the most weak.

I at the most accept
Your love, regretting
That is all: I have kept
A helpless fretting

That I could not return
All that you gave
And could not ever burn
With the love you have,

Till sometimes it did seem
Better it were
Never to see you more
Than linger here

With only gratitude
Instead of love—
A pine in solitude
Cradling a dove.

Source: Poems of Edward Thomas

843. Sonnet, by Edna St. Vincent Millay

As to some lovely temple, tenantless
Long since, that once was sweet with shivering brass,
Knowing well its altars ruined and the grass
Grown up between the stones, yet from excess
Of grief hard driven, or great loneliness,
The worshiper returns, and those who pass
Marvel him crying on a name that was,—
So is it now with me in my distress.
Your body was a temple to Delight;
Cold are its ashes whence the breath is fled;
Yet here one time your spirit was wont to move;
Here might I hope to find you day or night;
And here I come to look for you, my love,
Even now, foolishly, knowing you are dead.

Source: Collected Poems

844. Avigliana, by Primo Levi

Heaven help the man who wastes the full moon
That comes only once a month.
Damn this town,
This stupid full moon
That shines placid and serene
Exactly as though you were with me.

...There is even a nightingale,
As in books of the last century.
But I made him fly away,
Far off, to the other side of the ditch:
It's all wrong for him to sing
While I am so alone.

I've left the fireflies alone
(There were lots of them all along the path),
Not because their name resembles yours,
But they are such gentle dear little creatures;
They make every care vanish.
And if someday we want to part,
And if someday we want to marry,
I hope the day will fall in June,
With fireflies all around
Like this evening, when you are not here.

(trans Ruth Feldman and Brian Swann)

Source: Collected Poems

845. From Gawain and the Green Knight, by Anonymous (Lines 498 - 535)

A year soon runs its length and never returns the same,
And the end seldom seems to belong to the beginning.
So this Christmas was over then, and the last of the year followed it,
And the seasons went by in turn one after the other.
After Christmas came crabbed Lent
That chastises the flesh with fish and plainer food.
But then the weather of the world makes war on winter,
Cold cringes downward, clouds lift,
The shining rain comes down in warm showers,
Falls on the fair meadow, flowers appear there,
Both the open land and the groves are in green garments,
Birds hurry to build, and they sing gloriously
With the joy of the soft summer that arrives
            on all the hills,
       And blossoms are opening
       In thick hedgerows, and then the noblest
       Of all songs ring
       Through the lovely forest.

Then comes the season of summer with the soft winds,
When Zephyrus breathes gently on the seeds and grasses.
Happy is the green leaf that grows out of that time
When the wet of the dew drips from the leaves
Before the blissful radiance of the bright sun.
But then comes harvest time to hearten them,
Warning them to ripen well before winter.
It brings drought until the dust rises,
Flying up high off the face of the field,
A fierce wind wrestles with the sun in the heavens,
The leaves fly from the lime tree and light on the ground,
And the grass is all withered that before was green.
Then all that was growing at first ripens and decays,
And thus in many yesterdays the year passes
And winter comes back again as the world would have it,
            in the way of things.
       Until the Michaelmas moon
       When first the days feel wintry
       And Gawain is reminded then
       Of his dread journey.

(trans W. S. Merwin)

Source: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

846. The Crow Sat on the Willow, by John Clare

The crow sat on the willow tree
A lifting up his wings
And glossy was his coat to see
And loud the ploughman sings
I love my love because I know
The milkmaid she loves me
And hoarsely croaked the glossy crow
Upon the willow Tree
I love my love the ploughman sung
And all the field wi' music rung

I love my love a bonny lass
She keeps her pails so bright
And blithe she trips the dewy grass
At morning and at night
A cotton drab her morning gown
Her face was rosey health
She traced the pastures up and down
And nature was her wealth
He sung and turned each furrow down
His sweethearts love in cotton gown

My love is young and handsome
As any in the Town
She's worth a ploughman's ransom
In the drab cotton gown
He sung and turned his furrows o'er
And urged his Team along
While on the willow as before
The old crow croaked his song
The ploughman sung his rustic Lay
And sung of Phebe all the day

The crow was in love no doubt
And wi a many things
The ploughman finished many a bout
And lustily he sings
My love she is a milking maid
Wi' red and rosey cheek
O' cotton drab her gown was made
I loved her many a week
His milking maid the ploughman sung
Till all the fields around him rung

Source: Major Works

847. Small Prayer, by Weldon Kees

Change, move, dead clock, that this fresh day
May break with dazzling light to these sick eyes.
Burn, glare, old sun, so long unseen,
That time may find its sound again, and cleanse
What ever it is that a wound remembers
After the healing ends.

Source: The Collected Poems of Weldon Kees

848. The Sea, by D. H. Lawrence

You, you are all unloving, loveless, you;
Restless and lonely, shaken by your own moods,
You are celibate and single, scorning a comrade even,
Threshing your own passions with no woman for the threshing-floor,
Finishing your dreams for your own sake only,
Playing your great game around the world, alone,
Without playmate, or helpmate, having no one to cherish,
No one to comfort, and refusing any comforter.

Not like the earth, the spouse all full of increase
Moiled over with the rearing of her many-mouthed young;
You are single, you are fruitless, phosphorescent, cold and callous,
Naked of worship, of love or of adornment,
Scorning the panacea even of labour,
Sworn to a high and splendid purposelessness
Of brooding and delighting in the secret of life's goings,
Sea, only you are free, sophisticated.

You who toil not, you who spin not,
Surely but for you and your life, toiling
Were not worth while, nor spinning worth the effort!

You who take the moon as in a sieve, and sift
Her flake by flake and spread her meaning out;
You who roll the stars like jewels in your palm,
So that they seem to utter themselves aloud;
You who steep from out the days their colour,
Reveal the universal tint that dyes
Their web; who shadow the sun's great gestures and expressions
So that he seems a stranger in his passing;
Who voice the dumb night fittingly;
Sea, you shadow of all things, now mock us to death with
     your shadowing.


Source: Complete Poems

849. LII from A Shropshire Lad, by A.E. Housman

Far in a western brookland
  That bred me long ago
The poplars stand and tremble
  By pools I used to know.

There, in the windless night-time,
  The wanderer, marvelling why,
Halts on the bridge to hearken
  How soft the poplars sigh.

He hears: no more remembered
  In fields where I was known,
Here I lie down in London
  And turn to rest alone.

There, by the starlit fences,
  The wanderer halts and hears
My soul that lingers sighing
  Above the glimmering weirs.

Source: The Collected Poems of A. E. Housman

850. Dawn, by Walter de la Mare

Near, far, unearthly, break the birds
From spectral bush and tree,
Into a strange and drowsy praise,
The flush of dawn to see.

Old ashen rooks, on ragged wing,
And heads with sidling eye,
Sweep in the silvery heights of daybreak,
Silent through the day.

The restless robin — like a brook
Tinkling in frozen snow —
Shakes his clear, sudden, piercing bells,
Flits elf-like to and fro.

Cock to cock yells, the enormous earth
Lies like a dream outspread
Under the canopy of space,
Stretching infinite overhead.

Light on the wool-fleeced ewes pours in;
Meek-faced they snuff the air;
The glint-horned oxen sit agaze;
The east burns orient-fair.

The milk-white mists of night wreathe up
From meadows evenly gray —
Their every blade of grass ablaze
With dewdrops drenched in day.

Source: A Choice of de la Mare's Verse

851. Easter of Resurrection, by Antonio Machado

Look: the arc of life traces
a rainbow on the greening fields.
Seek your loves, young maidens,
where the spring emerges from rock.
Where water laughs and dreams and flows,
that's where love's ballad is sung.
Eyes born closed to light,
held in your arms will gaze one day,
astonished, at spring sun,
eyes that will grow blind as they depart from life.
Won't there drink, one day, at your breast
those who will work the earth tomorrow?
Oh, celebrate this bright Sunday
young mothers in flower, new life within you!
Bask in the smile from your earthly mother.
The storks are already settled in their beautiful nests
and they scribble on the towers in their white scrawl.
Mosses on the peaks gleam like emeralds.
Between the oaks, black bulls
graze on sparse grass,
and the shepherd tending his sheep
leaves his brown cape on the mountainside.

(trans Mary G. Berg & Dennis Maloney)

Source: The Landscape of Castile

852. Lines Written in Kensington Gardens, by Matthew Arnold

In this lone open glade I lie,
Screen'd by deep boughs on either hand;
And at its head, to stay the eye,
Those black-crown'd, red-boled pine-trees stand.

Birds here make song, each bird has his,
Across the girdling city's hum.
How green under the boughs it is!
How thick the tremulous sheep-cries come!

Sometimes a child will cross the glade
To take his nurse his broken toy;
Sometimes a thrush flit overhead
Deep in her unknown day's employ.

Here at my feet what wonders pass,
What endless, active life is here!
What blowing daisies, fragrant grass!
An air-stirr'd forest, fresh and clear.

Scarce fresher is the mountain sod
Where the tired angler lies, stretch'd out,
And, eased of basket and of rod,
Counts his day's spoil, the spotted trout.

In the huge world which roars hard by
Be others happy, if they can!
But in my helpless cradle I
Was breathed on by the rural Pan.

I, on men's impious uproar hurl'd,
Think often, as I hear them rave,
That peace has left the upper world,
And now keeps only in the grave.

Yet here is peace for ever new!
When I, who watch them, am away,
Still all things in this glade go through
The changes of their quiet day.

Then to their happy rest they pass;
The flowers close, the birds are fed,
The night comes down upon the grass,
The child sleeps warmly in his bed.

Calm soul of all things! make it mine
To feel, amid the city's jar,
That there abides a peace of thine,
Man did not make, and cannot mar!

The will to neither strike nor cry,
The power to feel what others give!
Calm, calm me more! nor let me die
Before I have begun to live.

Source: The Portable Matthew Arnold

853. Shane O'Neill's Cairn, by Robinson Jeffers

                          To U. J.

When you and I on the Palos Verdes cliff
Found life more desperate than dear,
And when we hawked at it on the lake by Seattle,
In the west of the world, where hardly
Anything has died yet: we'd not have been sorry, Una,
But surprised, to foresee this gray
Coast in our days, the gray waters of the Moyle
Below us, and under our feet
The heavy black stones of the cairn of the lord of Ulster.
A man of blood who died bloodily
Four centuries ago: but death's nothing, and life,
From a high death-mark on a headland
Of this dim island of burials, is nothing either.
How beautiful are both these nothings.

Source: The Selected Poetry Of Robinson Jeffers