766. "A Little While," by Sara Teasdale

A little while when I am gone
      My life will live in music after me,
As spun foam lifted and borne on
      After the wave is lost in the full sea.

A while these nights and days will burn
     In song with the bright frailty of foam,
Living in light before they turn
      Back to the nothingness that is their home.

Source: Collected Poems of Sara Teasdale

767. The Serpent, by Theodore Roethke

There was a Serpent who had to sing.
There was. There was.
He simply gave up Serpenting.
Because. Because.

He didn't like his Kind of Life;
He couldn't find a proper Wife;
He was a Serpent with a soul;
He got no Pleasure down his Hole.
And so, of course, he had to Sing,
And Sing he did, like Anything!
The Birds, they were, they were Astounded;
And various Measures Propounded
To stop the Serpent's Awful Racket:
They bought a Drum. He wouldn't Whack it.
They sent,—you always send,—to Cuba
And got a Most Commodious Tuba;
They got a Horn, they got a Flute,
But Nothing would suit.
He said, "Look, Birds, all this is futile:
I do not like to Bang or Tootle."
And then he cut loose with a Horrible Note
That practically split the Top of his Throat.
"You see," he said, with a Serpent's Leer,
"I'm serious about my Singing Career!"
And the Woods Resounded with many a Shriek
As the Birds flew off to the End of Next Week.

Source: The Collected Poems of Theodore Roethke

768. Marriage in Two Moods, by Francis Thompson


Love that's loved from day to day
Loves itself into decay:
He that eats one daily fruit
Shrivels hunger at the root.
Daily pleasure grows a task;
Daily smiles become a mask.
Daily growth of unpruned strength
Expands to feebleness at length.
Daily increase thronging fast
Must devour itself at last.
Daily shining, even content,
Would with itself grow discontent;
And the sun's life witnesseth
Daily dying is not death.
So Love loved from day to day
Loves itself into decay.


Love to daily uses wed
Shall be sweetly perfected.
Life by repetition grows
Unto its appointed close:
Day to day fulfils one year—
Shall not Love by Love wax dear?
All piles by repetition rise—
Shall not then Love's edifice?
Shall not Love, too, learn his writ,
Like Wisdom, by repeating it?
By the oft-repeated use
All perfections gain their thews;
And so, with daily uses wed,
Love, too, shall be perfected.

Source: Complete Poems of Francis Thompson