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

854. Sonnet, by Edna St. Vincent Millay

I shall go back again to the bleak shore
And build a little shanty on the sand,
In such a way that the extremest band
Of brittle seaweed will escape my door
But by a yard or two; and nevermore
Shall I return to take you by the hand;
I shall be gone to what I understand,
And happier than I ever was before.
The love that stood a moment in your eyes,
The words that lay a moment on your tongue,
Are one with all that in a moment dies,
A little under-said and over-sung.
But I shall find the sullen rock and skies
Unchanged from what they were when I was young.

Source: Collected Poems

855. Echoes, by Hart Crane


Slivers of rain upon the pane,
Jade-green with sunlight, melt and flow
Upward again:—they leave no stain
Of all the storm an hour ago.


Over the hill a last cloud dips
And disappears, and I should go
As silently but that your lips
Are warmed with a redder glow.


Fresh and fragile, your arms now
Are circles of cool roses,—so...
In opal pools beneath your brow
I dream we quarreled long, long ago.

Source: The Complete Poems of Hart Crane

856. Idleness, by Lu Yu

I keep the rustic gate closed
For fear somebody might step
On the green moss. The sun grows
Warmer. You can tell it's Spring.
Once in a while, when the breeze
Shifts, I can hear the sounds of the
Village. My wife is reading
The classics. Now and then she
Asks me the meaning of a word.
I call for wine and my son
Fills my cup till it runs over.
I have only a little
Garden, but it is planted
With yellow and purple plums.

(trans Kenneth Rexroth)

Source: The New Directions Anthology of Classical Chinese Poetry

857. Poem, by Henry David Thoreau

I'm thankful that my life doth not deceive
Itself with a low loftiness, half height,
And think it soars when still it dip its way
Beneath the clouds on noiseless pinion
Like the crow or owl, but it doth know
The full extent of all its trivialness,
Compared with the splendid heights above.
  See how it waits to watch the mail come in
While 'hind its back the sun goes out perchance.
And yet their lumbering cart brings me no word
Not one scrawled leaf such as my neighbors get
To cheer them with the slight events forsooth
Faint ups and downs of their far distant friends—
And now tis passed. What next? See the long train
Of teams wreathed in dust, their atmosphere;
Shall I attend until the last is passed?
Else why these ears that hear the leader's bells
Or eyes that link me in procession.
But hark! the drowsy day has done its task,
Far in yon hazy field where stands a barn
Unanxious hens improve the sultry hour
And with contented voice now brag their deed—
A new laid egg—Now let the day decline—
They'll lay another by tomorrow's sun.

Source: Thoreau: Walden, The Maine Woods, Essays, & Poems

858. The Mower, by Philip Larkin

The mower stalled, twice; kneeling, I found
A hedgehog jammed up against the blades,
Killed. It had been in the long grass.

I had seen it before, and even fed it, once.
Now I had mauled its unobtrusive world
Unmendably. Burial was no help:

Next morning I got up and it did not.
The first day after a death, the new absence
Is always the same; we should be careful

Of each other, we should be kind
While there is still time.

Source: Collected Poems

859. Pink Dog, by Elizabeth Bishop

[Rio de Janeiro]

The sun is blazing and the sky is blue.
Umbrellas clothe the beach in every hue.
Naked, you trot across the avenue.

Oh, never have I seen a dog so bare!
Naked and pink, without a single hair...
Startled, the passerby draw back and stare.

Of course they're mortally afraid of rabies.
You are not mad; you have a case of scabies
but look intelligent. Where are your babies?

(A nursing mother, by those hanging teats.)
In what slum have you hidden them, poor bitch,
while you go begging, living by your wits?

Didn't you know? It's been in all the papers,
to solve this problem, how they deal with beggars?
They take and throw them in the tidal rivers.

Yes, idiots, paralytics, parasites
go bobbing in the ebbing sewage, nights
out in the suburbs, where there are no lights.

If they do this to anyone who begs,
drugged, drunk, or sober, with or without legs,
what would they do to sick, four-legged dogs?

In the cafés and on the sidewalk corners
the joke is going round that all the beggars
who can afford them now wear life preservers.

In your condition you would not be able
even to float, much less to dog-paddle.
Now look, the practical, the sensible

solution is to wear a fantasía.
Tonight you simply can't afford to be a-
n eyesore. But no one will ever see a

dog in máscara this time of year.
Ash Wednesday'll come but Carnival is here.
What sambas can you dance? What will you wear?

They say that Carnival's degenerating
—radios, Americans, or something,
have ruined it completely. They're just talking.

Carnival is always wonderful!
A depilated dog would not look well.
Dress up! Dress up and dance at Carnival!

Source: The Complete Poems, 1927-1979

860. The Beggar, by Victor Hugo

In the frost, in the gale, a poor man was going past.
I rapped on the window pane; he paused in front of
My door, which I opened politely.
Donkeys were coming back saddled from the marketplace
With country folk perched on them.
He lives, this old man, in some humble dog's retreat
At the foot of the hill, quite alone, hoping
For a cold sunbeam from heaven, or half a farthing from earth,
With hands spread out to man or clasped to God.
'Come and warm up', I bellowed; 'what is your name?'
He said, 'I am the
Poor.' I took his hand. 'Come in, sir', I told him.
I got him a bowl of milk.
He was shivering with cold, the old fellow; he talked and
I answered without hearing, my thoughts elsewhere.
'Your clothes are all wet', I said; 'you should hang them in front of
The fireplace.' He moved closer to the fire.
His cloak, moth-eaten, and formerly blue,
Slung right across the warm blaze,
Riddled with thousands of holes by the light of the flames,
Shrouded the hearth, and looked like a black starry sky.
Then, while he dried those wretched tatters
Dripping with rain and ditch water,
I thought how this man was utterly steeped in prayer;
Deaf to what we were saying, I
Gazed at the cloth, in which I could see constellations.

(trans E.H. and A.M. Blackmore)

Source: The Essential Victor Hugo