World Poetry Collection

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Anna Akhmatova
W.H. Auden
Matthew Arnold
Charles Baudelaire
William Blake
Jorge Luis Borges
Joseph Brodsky
George Noel Godon, Lord Byron
Robert Browning
S.T. Coleridge
Mahmud Darwish
Emily Dickinson
T. S. Eliot
Robert Frost
Gibran Kahlil Gibran
Nazim Hikmet
John Keats
Federico Garcia Lorca
Czeslaw Milosz
John Milton
Pablo Neruda
Sylvia Plath
Rainer Maria Rilke
Mawlana Jalaluddin Rumi
William Shakespeare
P.B. Shelley
Alfred, Lord Tennyson
Dylan Thomas

Anna Akhmatova

Memory of Sun

Memory of sun seeps from the heart.
Grass grows yellower.
Faintly if at all the early snowflakes
Hover, hover.

Water becoming ice is slowing in
The narrow channels.
Nothing at all will happen here again,
Will ever happen.

Against the sky the willow spreads a fan
The silk’s torn off.
Maybe it’s better I did not become
Your wife.

Memory of sun seeps from the heart.
What is it? -- Dark?
Perhaps! Winter will have occupied us
In the night.

1911, Kiev
				

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W.H.Auden

Musee des Beaux Arts

   About suffering they were never wrong,
   The Old Masters: how well they understood
   Its human position; how it takes place
   While someone else is eating or opening a window or just walking dully along;
   How, when the aged are reverently, passionately waiting
   For the miraculous birth, there always must be
   Children who did not specially want it to happen, skating
   On a pond at the edge of the wood:
   They never forgot
   That even the dreadful martyrdom must run its course
   Anyhow in a corner, some untidy spot
   Where the dogs go on with their doggy life and the torturer's horse
   Scratches its innocent behind on a tree.

   In Breughel's ICARUS, for instance: how everything turns away
   Quite leisurely from the disaster; the ploughman may
   Have heard the splash, the forsaken cry,
   But for him it was not an important failure; the sun shone
   As it had to on the white legs disappearing into the green
   Water; and the expensive delicate ship that must have seen
   Something amazing, a boy falling out of the sky,
   Had somewhere to get to and sailed calmly on.

   December 1938
				

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Matthew Arnold(1822-1888)

Dover Beach

The sea is calm to-night.
The tide is full, the moon lies fair
Upon the straits;--on the French coast the light
Gleams and is gone; the cliffs of England stand,
Glimmering and vast, out in the tranquil bay.
Come to the window, sweet is the night-air!
Only, from the long line of spray
Where the sea meets the moon-blanch'd land,
Listen! you hear the grating roar
Of pebbles which the waves draw back, and fling,
At their return, up the high strand,
Begin, and cease, and then again begin,
With tremulous cadence slow, and bring
The eternal note of sadness in.

Sophocles long ago
Heard it on the Ægean, and it brought
Into his mind the turbid ebb and flow
Of human misery; we
Find also in the sound a thought,
Hearing it by this distant northern sea.

The Sea of Faith
Was once, too, at the full, and round earth's shore
Lay like the folds of a bright girdle furl'd.
But now I only hear
Its melancholy, long, withdrawing roar,
Retreating, to the breath
Of the night-wind, down the vast edges drear
And naked shingles of the world.

Ah, love, let us be true
To one another! for the world, which seems
To lie before us like a land of dreams,
So various, so beautiful, so new,
Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light,
Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain;
And we are here as on a darkling plain
Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight,
Where ignorant armies clash by night.
				

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Charles Baudelaire

Meditation

Calm down, my Sorrow, we must move with care.
You called for evening; it descends, it's here.
The town is coffined in its atmosphere,
bringing relief to some, to others care.

Now while the common multitude strips bare,
feels pleasure's cat o' nine tails on its back,
and fights off anguish at the great bazaar,
give me your hand, my Sorrow. Let's stand back;

back from these people! Look, the dead years dressed
in old clothes crowd the balconies of the sky.
Regret emerges smiling from the sea,

the sick sun slumbers underneath an arch,
and like a shroud strung out from east to west,
listen, my Dearest, hear the sweet night march!
				

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William Blake(1757-1827)

The Tyger

Tyger! Tyger! burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

In what distant deeps or skies
Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
On what wings dare he aspire?
What the hand dare seize the fire?

And what shoulder, and what art,
Could twist the sinews of thy heart,
And when thy heart began to beat,
What dread hand? and what dread feet?

What the hammer? what the chain?
In what furnace was thy brain?
What the anvil? what dread grasp
Dare its deadly terrors clasp?

When the stars threw down their spears,
And water'd heaven with their tears,
Did he smile his work to see?
Did he who made the Lamb make thee?

Tyger! Tyger! burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye,
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?
				

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Jorge Luis Borges (1899-1986)

The dream

While the clocks of the midnight hours are squandering
an abundance of time,
I shall go, farther than the shipmates of Ulysses,
to the territory of dream, beyond the reach
of human memory.
From that underwater world I save some fragments,
inexhaustible to my understanding:
grasses from some primitive botany,
animals of all kinds,
conversationes with the dead,
faces which all the time are masks,
words out of very ancient languages,
and at times, horror, unlike anything
the day can offer us.
I shall be all or no one. I shall be the other
I am without knowing it, he who has looked on
that other dream, my waking state. He weighs it up,
resigned and smiling.
				
    			

You

In all the world, one man has been born, one man has
 died.
To insist otherwise is nothing more than statistics, an
 impossible extension.
No less impossible than bracketing the smell of rain with
 your dream of two nights ago.
That man is Ulysses, Abel, Cain, the first to make con-
 stellations of the stars, to build the first pyramid, the
 man who contrived the hexagrams of the Book of
 Changes, the smith who engraved runes on the sword of
 Hengist, Einar Tamberskelver the archer, Luis de León,
 the bookseller who fathered Samuel Johnson, Voltaire's
 gardener, Darwin aboard the Beagle, a Jew in the death
 chamber, and, in time, you and I.
One man alone has died at Troy, at Metaurus, at Hastings,
 at Auterlitz, at Trafalgar, at Gettysburg.
One man alone has died in hospitals, in boats, in painful
 solitude, in the rooms of habit and of love.
One man alone has looked on the enormity of dawn.
One man alone has felt on his tongue the fresh quenching
 of water, the flavour of fruit and of flesh.
I speak of the unique, the single man, he who is always
 alone.
				

The suicide

Not a single star will be left in the night.
The night will not be left.
I will die and, with me,
the weight of the intolerable universe.
I shall erase the pyramids, the medallions,
the continents and faces.
I shall erase the accumulated past.
I shall make dust of history, dust of dust.
Now I am looking on the final sunset.
I am hearing the last bird.
I bequeath nothingness to no one.
				

The exile (1977)

Someone makes tracks along the paths of Ithaca
and has forgotten his king, who was at Troy
so many years ago;
someone is thinking of his new-won lands,
his new plough and his son,
and is happy, in the main.
Within the confines of the globe, myself, Ulysses,
descendend deep into the Hall of Hades
and saw the shade of Tiresius of Thebes
who unlocked the love of the serpents
and the shade of Hercules
who kills the shades of lions on the plain
and at the same time occupies Olympus.
Someone today walks streets - Chile, Bolívar -
perhaps happy, perhaps not.
I wish I could be he.
				

The unending rose

Five hundred years in the wake of the Hegira,
Persia looked down from its minarets
on the invasion of the desert lances,
and Attar of Nishapur gazed on a rose,
addressing it in words which had no sound,
as one who thinks rather than one who prays:
"Your fragile globe is in my hand; and time
is bending both of us, both unaware,
this afternoon, in a forgotten garden.
Your brittle shape is humid in the air.
The steady, tidal fullness of your fragrance
rises up to my old, declining face.
But I know you far longer than that child
who glimpsed you in the layers of a dream
or here, in this garden, once upon a morning.
The whiteness of the sun may well be yours
or the moon's gold, or else the crimson stain
on the hard sword-edge in the victory.
I am blind and I know nothing, but I see
there are more ways to go; and everything
is an infinity of things. You, you are music,
rivers, firmaments, palaces and angels,
O endless rose, intimate, without limit,
which the Lord will finally show to my dead eyes."
				

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Joseph Brodsky (1940-1996)

Elegy

About a year has passed. I've returned to the place of the battle,
to its birds that have learned their unfolding of wings
                                                 from a subtle
lift of a surprised eyebrow, or perhaps from a razor blade
- wings, now the shade of early twilight, now of state
                                                 bad blood.

Now the place is abuzz with trading
                        in your ankles's remanants, bronzes
of sunburnt breastplates, dying laughter, bruises,
rumors of fresh reserves, memories of high treason,
laundered banners with imprints of the many
                                        who since have risen.

All's overgrown with people. A ruin's a rather stubborn
architectural style. And the hearts's distinction
                                from a pitch-black cavern
isn't that great; not great enough to fear
that we may collide again like blind eggs somewhere.

At sunrise, when nobody stares at one's face, I often,
set out on foot to a monument cast in molten
lengthy bad dreams. And it says on the plinth "commander
in chief." But it reads "in grief," or "in brief,"
                                        or "in going under."

1985, translated by the author.
				

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Robert Browning(1812-1889)

My Last Duchess

That's my last Duchess painted on the wall,
Looking as if she were alive. I call
That piece a wonder, now: Frà Pandolf's hands
Worked busily a day, and there she stands.
Will 't please you sit and look at her? I said
"Frà Pandolf" by design, for never read
Strangers like you that pictured countenance,
The depth and passion of its earnest glance,
But to myself they turned (since none puts by
The curtain I have drawn for you, but I)
And seemed as they would ask me, if they durst,
How such a glance came there; so, not the first
Are you to turn and ask thus. Sir, 'twas not
Her husband's presence only, called that spot
Of joy into the Duchess' cheek: perhaps
Frà Pandolf chanced to say, "Her mantle laps
Over my Lady's wrist too much," or "Paint
Must never hope to reproduce the faint
Half-flush that dies along her throat"; such stuff
Was courtesy, she thought, and cause enough
For calling up that spot of joy. She had
A heart . . . how shall I say? . . . too soon made glad,
Too easily impressed; she liked whate'er
She looked on, and her looks went everywhere.
Sir, 'twas all one! My favour at her breast,
The dropping of the daylight in the West,
The bough of cherries some officious fool
Broke in the orchard for her, the white mule
She rode with round the terrace--all and each
Would draw from her alike the approving speech,
Or blush, at least. She thanked men,--good; but thanked
Somehow . . . I know not how . . . as if she ranked
My gift of a nine-hundred-years-old name
With anybody's gift. Who'd stoop to blame
This sort of trifling? Even had you skill
In speech--(which I have not)--to make your will
Quite clear to such an one, and say, "Just this
Or that in you disgusts me; here you miss,
Or there exceed the mark"--and if she let
Herself be lessoned so, nor plainly set
Her wits to yours, forsooth, and made excuse,
--E'en then would be some stooping; and I chuse
Never to stoop. Oh, sir, she smiled, no doubt,
Whene'er I passed her; but who passed without
Much the same smile? This grew; I gave commands;
Then all smiles stopped together. There she stands
As if alive. Will 't please you rise? We'll meet
The company below, then. I repeat,
The Count your Master's known munificence
Is ample warrant that no just pretence
Of mine for dowry will be disallowed;
Though his fair daughter's self, as I avowed
At starting, is my object. Nay, we'll go
Together down, Sir! Notice Neptune, though,
Taming a sea-horse, thought a rarity,
Which Claus of Innsbruck cast in bronze for me.
				

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George Noel Godon, Lord Byron (1788-1824)

She Walks in Beauty

     She walks in beauty, like the night
          Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
    And all that's best of dark and bright
          Meet in her aspect and her eyes:
    Thus mellow'd to that tender light
          Which heaven to gaudy day denies.

    One shade the more, one ray the less,
          Had half impair'd the nameless grace
    Which waves in every raven tress,
        Or softly lightens o'er her face;
  Where thoughts serenely sweet express
        How pure, how dear their dwelling-place.

  And on that cheek, and o'er that brow,
        So soft, so calm, yet eloquent,
  The smiles that win, the tints that glow,
        But tell of days in goodness spent,
  A mind at peace with all below,
        A heart whose love is innocent!
				

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Samuel Taylor Coleridge(1772-1834)

Kubla Khan

 In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
 A stately pleasure-dome decree:
 Where Alph, the sacred river, ran
 Through caverns measureless to man
     Down to a sunless sea.
 So twice five miles of fertile ground
 With walls and towers were girdled round:
 And there were gardens bright with sinuous rills,
 Where blossomed many an incense-bearing tree;
 And here were forests ancient as the hills,
 Enfolding sunny spots of greenery.

 But oh! that deep romantic chasm which slanted
 Down the green hill athwart a cedarn cover!
 A savage place! as holy and enchanted
 As e'er beneath a waning moon was haunted
 By woman wailing for her demon-lover!
 And from this chasm, with ceaseless turmoil seething,
 As if this earth in fast thick pants were breathing,
 A mighty fountain momently was forced:
 Amid whose swift half-intermitted burst
 Huge fragments vaulted like rebounding hail,
 Or chaffy grain beneath the thresher's flail:
 And 'mid these dancing rocks at once and ever
 It flung up momently the sacred river.
 Five miles meandering with a mazy motion
 Through wood and dale the sacred river ran,
 Then reached the caverns measureless to man,
 And sank in tumult to a lifeless ocean:
 And 'mid this tumult Kubla heard from far
 Ancestral voices prophesying war!
    The shadow of the dome of pleasure
    Floated midway on the waves;
    Where was heard the mingled measure
    From the fountain and the caves.
 It was a miracle of rare device,
 A sunny pleasure-dome with caves of ice!
    A damsel with a dulcimer
    In a vision once I saw:
    It was an Abyssinian maid,
    And on her dulcimer she played,
    Singing of Mount Abora.
    Could I revive within me
    Her symphony and song,
    To such a deep delight 'twould win me,
    That with music loud and long,
    I would build that dome in air,
    That sunny dome! those caves of ice!
    And all who heard should see them there,
    And all should cry, Beware! Beware!
    His flashing eyes, his floating hair!
    Weave a circle round him thrice,
    And close your eyes with holy dread,
    For he on honey-dew hath fed,
    And drunk the milk of Paradise.
				

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Mahmud Darwish

Psalm two - 1994

Nowadays
I find myself dry
Like a tree in a book
And the wind, a passing matter.
To fight or not to fight?
That is not the question;
What's important is for my throat to be strong.
To work or not to work?
That is not the question;
What's important is for me to rest eight days a week
According to Palestinian Standard Time.
Homeland reiterated in songs and massacres,
Show me the source of death;
Is it the dagger... or the lie?
To remember I have a lost roof
I must sit out in the nude
To remember my country's pure air
I must inhale tubercule air
To rember the gazelle swimming in whiteness
I must be a prisoner of memories
To remember that my mountains are high
I must comb the storm from my brow
And to safeguard ownership of my distant sky
I must own not even my own skin.

Homeland reiterated in massacres and songs,
Why do I smuggle you from airport to airport
Like opium
Like invisible ink
Or a transmitter?

I want to draw your form,
You who are scattered in files and surprises
I want to draw your form,
You who fly on shrapnel and wings of birds
I want to draw your form
But the sky steals my hand
I want to draw your form,
You who are beleaguered between wind and dagger
I want to draw yor form
To find my shape in you
Instead I'm accused of being abstract,
Of forging documents and photographs
You, who are beleaguered between dagger and wind.

Homeland recreated in songs and massacres,
How you change to a dream and steal suddenness
And leave petrified.
Maybe yo're more beautiful as a dream
Maybe yo're more beautiful!

No name remains in Arab history
For me to borrow,
To climb with to your secret windows.
All the cover names are confiscated
In the air-conditioned recruitment offices
Will you accept my name-
My only cover name-
Mahmud Darwish?
As for my original name
It's been stripped off my flesh
By the whips of the Police and the pine cones of Carmel

Homeland repeated in massacres and songs,
Show me the provenience of death
Is it the dagger
Or the lie?!
				

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Emily Dickinson(1830-1886)

Because I could not stop for Death

Because I could not stop for Death,
He kindly stopped for me;
The carriage held but just ourselves
And Immortality.

We slowly drove, he knew no haste,
And I had put away
My labor, and my leisure too,
For his civility.

We passed the school where children played,
Their lessons scarcely done;
We passed the fields of gazing grain,
We passed the setting sun.

We paused before a house that seemed
A swelling of the ground;
The roof was scarcely visible,
The cornice but a mound.

Since then 't is centuries; but each
Feels shorter than the day
I first surmised the horses' heads
Were toward eternity.
				

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T.S. Eliot

The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock


  	S'io credesse che mia risposta fosse
         A persona che mai tornasse al mondo,
         Questa fiamma staria senza piu scosse.
         Ma perciocche giammai di questo fondo
         Non torno vivo alcun, s'i'odo il vero,
         Senza tema d'infamia ti rispondo.

  LET us go then, you and I,
  When the evening is spread out against the sky
  Like a patient etherised upon a table;
  Let us go, through certain half-deserted streets,
  The muttering retreats
  Of restless nights in one-night cheap hotels
  And sawdust restaurants with oyster-shells:
  Streets that follow like a tedious argument
  Of insidious intent
  To lead you to an overwhelming question...
  Oh, do not ask, "What is it?"
  Let us go and make our visit.

  In the room the women come and go
  Talking of Michelangelo.

  The yellow fog that rubs its back upon the window-panes,
  The yellow smoke that rubs its muzzle on the window-panes
  Licked its tongue into the corners of the evening,
  Lingered upon the pools that stand in drains,
  Let fall upon its back the soot that falls from chimneys,
  Slipped by the terrace, made a sudden leap,
  And seeing that it was a soft October night,
  Curled once about the house, and fell asleep.

  And indeed there will be time
  For the yellow smoke that slides along the street,
  Rubbing its back upon the window-panes;
  There will be time, there will be time
  To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet;
  There will be time to murder and create,
  And time for all the works and days of hands
  That lift and drop a question on your plate;
  Time for you and time for me,
  And time yet for a hundred indecisions,
  And for a hundred visions and revisions,
  Before the taking of a toast and tea.

  In the room the women come and go
  Talking of Michelangelo.

  And indeed there will be time
  To wonder, "Do I dare?" and, "Do I dare?"
  Time to turn back and descend the stair,
  With a bald spot in the middle of my hair--
  [They will say: "How his hair is growing thin!"]
  My morning coat, my collar mounting firmly to the chin,
  My necktie rich and modest, but asserted by a simple pin--
  [They will say: "But how his arms and legs are thin!"]
  Do I dare
  Disturb the universe?
  In a minute there is time
  For decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse.

  For I have known them all already, known them all:--
  Have known the evenings, mornings, afternoons,
  I have measured out my life with coffee spoons;
  I know the voices dying with a dying fall
  Beneath the music from a farther room.
    So how should I presume?

  And I have known the eyes already, known them all--
  The eyes that fix you in a formulated phrase,
  And when I am formulated, sprawling on a pin,
  When I am pinned and wriggling on the wall,
  Then how should I begin
  To spit out all the butt-ends of my days and ways?
    And how should I presume?

  And I have known the arms already, known them all--
  Arms that are braceleted and white and bare
  [But in the lamplight, downed with light brown hair!]
  It is perfume from a dress
  That makes me so digress?
  Arms that lie along a table, or wrap about a shawl.
    And should I then presume?
    And how should I begin?
        .      .      .      .      .
  Shall I say, I have gone at dusk through narrow streets
  And watched the smoke that rises from the pipes
  Of lonely men in shirt-sleeves, leaning out of windows?...

  I should have been a pair of ragged claws
  Scuttling across the floors of silent seas.
        .      .      .      .      .
  And the afternoon, the evening, sleeps so peacefully!
  Smoothed by long fingers,
  Asleep ... tired ... or it malingers,
  Stretched on the floor, here beside you and me.
  Should I, after tea and cakes and ices,
  Have the strength to force the moment to its crisis?
  But though I have wept and fasted, wept and prayed,
  Though I have seen my head [grown slightly bald] brought in upon a platter,
  I am no prophet--and here's no great matter;
  I have seen the moment of my greatness flicker,
  And I have seen the eternal Footman hold my coat, and snicker,
  And in short, I was afraid.

  And would it have been worth it, after all,
  After the cups, the marmalade, the tea,
  Among the porcelain, among some talk of you and me,
  Would it have been worth while,
  To have bitten off the matter with a smile,
  To have squeezed the universe into a ball
  To roll it toward some overwhelming question,
  To say: "I am Lazarus, come from the dead,
  Come back to tell you all, I shall tell you all"--
  If one, settling a pillow by her head,
    Should say: "That is not what I meant at all.
    That is not it, at all."

  And would it have been worth it, after all,
  Would it have been worth while,
  After the sunsets and the dooryards and the sprinkled streets,
  After the novels, after the teacups, after the skirts that trail along the floor--
  And this, and so much more?--

  It is impossible to say just what I mean!
  But as if a magic lantern threw the nerves in patterns on a screen:
  Would it have been worth while
  If one, settling a pillow or throwing off a shawl,
  And turning toward the window, should say:
    "That is not it at all,
    That is not what I meant, at all."
        .      .      .      .      .
  No! I am not Prince Hamlet, nor was meant to be;
  Am an attendant lord, one that will do
  To swell a progress, start a scene or two,
  Advise the prince; no doubt, an easy tool,
  Deferential, glad to be of use,
  Politic, cautious, and meticulous;
  Full of high sentence, but a bit obtuse;
  At times, indeed, almost ridiculous--
  Almost, at times, the Fool.

  I grow old ... I grow old...
  I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.

  Shall I part my hair behind? Do I dare to eat a peach?
  I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach.
  I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each.

  I do not think that they will sing to me.

  I have seen them riding seaward on the waves
  Combing the white hair of the waves blown back
  When the wind blows the water white and black.

  We have lingered in the chambers of the sea
  By sea-girls wreathed with seaweed red and brown
  Till human voices wake us, and we drown.


				

THE WASTE LAND

			   I. THE BURIAL OF THE DEAD

  APRIL is the cruellest month, breeding
  Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
  Memory and desire, stirring
  Dull roots with spring rain.
  Winter kept us warm, covering
  Earth in forgetful snow, feeding
  A little life with dried tubers.
  Summer surprised us, coming over the Starnbergersee
  With a shower of rain; we stopped in the colonnade,
  And went on in sunlight, into the Hofgarten,
  And drank coffee, and talked for an hour.
  Bin gar keine Russin, stamm' aus Litauen, echt deutsch.
  And when we were children, staying at the archduke's,
  My cousin's, he took me out on a sled,
  And I was frightened. He said, Marie,
  Marie, hold on tight. And down we went.
  In the mountains, there you feel free.
  I read, much of the night, and go south in the winter.

  What are the roots that clutch, what branches grow
  Out of this stony rubbish? Son of man,
  You cannot say, or guess, for you know only
  A heap of broken images, where the sun beats,
  And the dead tree gives no shelter, the cricket no relief,
  And the dry stone no sound of water. Only
  There is shadow under this red rock,
  (Come in under the shadow of this red rock),
  And I will show you something different from either
  Your shadow at morning striding behind you
  Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you;
  I will show you fear in a handful of dust.
                  Frisch weht der Wind
                  Der Heimat zu.
                  Mein Irisch Kind,
                  Wo weilest du?
  'You gave me hyacinths first a year ago;
  'They called me the hyacinth girl.'
  —Yet when we came back, late, from the Hyacinth garden,
  Your arms full, and your hair wet, I could not
  Speak, and my eyes failed, I was neither
  Living nor dead, and I knew nothing,
  Looking into the heart of light, the silence.
  Od' und leer das Meer.

  Madame Sosostris, famous clairvoyante,
  Had a bad cold, nevertheless
  Is known to be the wisest woman in Europe,
  With a wicked pack of cards. Here, said she,
  Is your card, the drowned Phoenician Sailor,
  (Those are pearls that were his eyes. Look!)
  Here is Belladonna, the Lady of the Rocks,
  The lady of situations.
  Here is the man with three staves, and here the Wheel,
  And here is the one-eyed merchant, and this card,
  Which is blank, is something he carries on his back,
  Which I am forbidden to see. I do not find
  The Hanged Man. Fear death by water.
  I see crowds of people, walking round in a ring.
  Thank you. If you see dear Mrs. Equitone,
  Tell her I bring the horoscope myself:
  One must be so careful these days.

  Unreal City,
  Under the brown fog of a winter dawn,
  A crowd flowed over London Bridge, so many,
  I had not thought death had undone so many.
  Sighs, short and infrequent, were exhaled,
  And each man fixed his eyes before his feet.
  Flowed up the hill and down King William Street,
  To where Saint Mary Woolnoth kept the hours
  With a dead sound on the final stroke of nine.
  There I saw one I knew, and stopped him, crying 'Stetson!
  'You who were with me in the ships at Mylae!
  'That corpse you planted last year in your garden,
  'Has it begun to sprout? Will it bloom this year?
  'Or has the sudden frost disturbed its bed?
  'Oh keep the Dog far hence, that's friend to men,
  'Or with his nails he'll dig it up again!
  'You! hypocrite lecteur!—mon semblable,—mon frère!'

               II. A GAME OF CHESS

  THE Chair she sat in, like a burnished throne,
  Glowed on the marble, where the glass
  Held up by standards wrought with fruited vines
  From which a golden Cupidon peeped out
  (Another hid his eyes behind his wing)
  Doubled the flames of sevenbranched candelabra
  Reflecting light upon the table as
  The glitter of her jewels rose to meet it,
  From satin cases poured in rich profusion;
  In vials of ivory and coloured glass
  Unstoppered, lurked her strange synthetic perfumes,
  Unguent, powdered, or liquid—troubled, confused
  And drowned the sense in odours; stirred by the air
  That freshened from the window, these ascended
  In fattening the prolonged candle-flames,
  Flung their smoke into the laquearia,
  Stirring the pattern on the coffered ceiling.
  Huge sea-wood fed with copper
  Burned green and orange, framed by the coloured stone,
  In which sad light a carvèd dolphin swam.
  Above the antique mantel was displayed
  As though a window gave upon the sylvan scene
  The change of Philomel, by the barbarous king
  So rudely forced; yet there the nightingale
  Filled all the desert with inviolable voice
  And still she cried, and still the world pursues,
  'Jug Jug' to dirty ears.
  And other withered stumps of time
  Were told upon the walls; staring forms
  Leaned out, leaning, hushing the room enclosed.
  Footsteps shuffled on the stair.
  Under the firelight, under the brush, her hair
  Spread out in fiery points
  Glowed into words, then would be savagely still.

  'My nerves are bad to-night. Yes, bad. Stay with me.
  'Speak to me. Why do you never speak? Speak.
  'What are you thinking of? What thinking? What?
  'I never know what you are thinking. Think.'

  I think we are in rats' alley
  Where the dead men lost their bones.

  'What is that noise?'
                        The wind under the door.
  'What is that noise now? What is the wind doing?'
                        Nothing again nothing.
                                                'Do
  'You know nothing? Do you see nothing? Do you remember
  'Nothing?'
    I remember
  Those are pearls that were his eyes.
  'Are you alive, or not? Is there nothing in your head?'
                                                           But
  O O O O that Shakespeherian Rag—
  It's so elegant
  So intelligent
  'What shall I do now? What shall I do?'
  'I shall rush out as I am, and walk the street
  'With my hair down, so. What shall we do to-morrow?
  'What shall we ever do?'
                            The hot water at ten.
  And if it rains, a closed car at four.
  And we shall play a game of chess,
  Pressing lidless eyes and waiting for a knock upon the door.

  When Lil's husband got demobbed, I said—
  I didn't mince my words, I said to her myself,
  HURRY UP PLEASE IT'S TIME
  Now Albert's coming back, make yourself a bit smart.
  He'll want to know what you done with that money he gave
  you
  To get yourself some teeth. He did, I was there.
  You have them all out, Lil, and get a nice set,
  He said, I swear, I can't bear to look at you.
  And no more can't I, I said, and think of poor Albert,
  He's been in the army four years, he wants a good time,
  And if you don't give it him, there's others will, I said.
  Oh is there, she said. Something o' that, I said.
  Then I'll know who to thank, she said, and give me a straight
  look.
  HURRY UP PLEASE IT'S TIME
  If you don't like it you can get on with it, I said.
  Others can pick and choose if you can't.
  But if Albert makes off, it won't be for lack of telling.
  You ought to be ashamed, I said, to look so antique.
  (And her only thirty-one.)
  I can't help it, she said, pulling a long face,
  It's them pills I took, to bring it off, she said.
  (She's had five already, and nearly died of young George.)
  The chemist said it would be alright, but I've never been the
  same.
  You are a proper fool, I said.
  Well, if Albert won't leave you alone, there it is, I said,
  What you get married for if you don't want children?
  HURRY UP PLEASE IT'S TIME
  Well, that Sunday Albert was home, they had a hot gammon,
  And they asked me in to dinner, to get the beauty of it hot—
  HURRY UP PLEASE IT'S TIME
  HURRY UP PLEASE IT'S TIME
  Goonight Bill. Goonight Lou. Goonight May. Goonight.
  Ta ta. Goonight. Goonight.
  Good night, ladies, good night, sweet ladies, good night,
  good night.


               III. THE FIRE SERMON

  THE river's tent is broken: the last fingers of leaf
  Clutch and sink into the wet bank. The wind
  Crosses the brown land, unheard. The nymphs are departed.
  Sweet Thames, run softly, till I end my song.
  The river bears no empty bottles, sandwich papers,
  Silk handkerchiefs, cardboard boxes, cigarette ends
  Or other testimony of summer nights. The nymphs are
  departed.
  And their friends, the loitering heirs of city directors;
  Departed, have left no addresses.
  By the waters of Leman I sat down and wept...
  Sweet Thames, run softly till I end my song,
  Sweet Thames, run softly, for I speak not loud or long.
  But at my back in a cold blast I hear
  The rattle of the bones, and chuckle spread from ear to ear.

  A rat crept softly through the vegetation
  Dragging its slimy belly on the bank
  While I was fishing in the dull canal
  On a winter evening round behind the gashouse
  Musing upon the king my brother's wreck
  And on the king my father's death before him.
  White bodies naked on the low damp ground
  And bones cast in a little low dry garret,
  Rattled by the rat's foot only, year to year.
  But at my back from time to time I hear
  The sound of horns and motors, which shall bring
  Sweeney to Mrs. Porter in the spring.
  O the moon shone bright on Mrs. Porter
  And on her daughter
  They wash their feet in soda water
  Et, O ces voix d'enfants, chantant dans la coupole!

  Twit twit twit
  Jug jug jug jug jug jug
  So rudely forc'd.
  Tereu

  Unreal City
  Under the brown fog of a winter noon
  Mr. Eugenides, the Smyrna merchant
  Unshaven, with a pocket full of currants
  C.i.f. London: documents at sight,
  Asked me in demotic French
  To luncheon at the Cannon Street Hotel
  Followed by a weekend at the Metropole.

  At the violet hour, when the eyes and back
  Turn upward from the desk, when the human engine waits
  Like a taxi throbbing waiting,
  I Tiresias, though blind, throbbing between two lives,
  Old man with wrinkled female breasts, can see
  At the violet hour, the evening hour that strives
  Homeward, and brings the sailor home from sea,
  The typist home at teatime, clears her breakfast, lights
  Her stove, and lays out food in tins.
  Out of the window perilously spread
  Her drying combinations touched by the sun's last rays,
  On the divan are piled (at night her bed)
  Stockings, slippers, camisoles, and stays.
  I Tiresias, old man with wrinkled dugs
  Perceived the scene, and foretold the rest—
  I too awaited the expected guest.
  He, the young man carbuncular, arrives,
  A small house agent's clerk, with one bold stare,
  One of the low on whom assurance sits
  As a silk hat on a Bradford millionaire.
  The time is now propitious, as he guesses,
  The meal is ended, she is bored and tired,
  Endeavours to engage her in caresses
  Which still are unreproved, if undesired.
  Flushed and decided, he assaults at once;
  Exploring hands encounter no defence;
  His vanity requires no response,
  And makes a welcome of indifference.
  (And I Tiresias have foresuffered all
  Enacted on this same divan or bed;
  I who have sat by Thebes below the wall
  And walked among the lowest of the dead.)
  Bestows on final patronising kiss,
  And gropes his way, finding the stairs unlit...

  She turns and looks a moment in the glass,
  Hardly aware of her departed lover;
  Her brain allows one half-formed thought to pass:
  'Well now that's done: and I'm glad it's over.'
  When lovely woman stoops to folly and
  Paces about her room again, alone,
  She smoothes her hair with automatic hand,
  And puts a record on the gramophone.

  'This music crept by me upon the waters'
  And along the Strand, up Queen Victoria Street.
  O City city, I can sometimes hear
  Beside a public bar in Lower Thames Street,
  The pleasant whining of a mandoline
  And a clatter and a chatter from within
  Where fishmen lounge at noon: where the walls
  Of Magnus Martyr hold
  Inexplicable splendour of Ionian white and gold.

        The river sweats
        Oil and tar
        The barges drift
        With the turning tide
        Red sails
        Wide
        To leeward, swing on the heavy spar.
        The barges wash
        Drifting logs
        Down Greenwich reach
        Past the Isle of Dogs.
              Weialala leia
              Wallala leialala

        Elizabeth and Leicester
        Beating oars
        The stern was formed
        A gilded shell
        Red and gold
        The brisk swell
        Rippled both shores
        Southwest wind
        Carried down stream
        The peal of bells
        White towers
              Weialala leia
              Wallala leialala

  'Trams and dusty trees.
  Highbury bore me. Richmond and Kew
  Undid me. By Richmond I raised my knees
  Supine on the floor of a narrow canoe.'
  'My feet are at Moorgate, and my heart
  Under my feet. After the event
  He wept. He promised "a new start".
  I made no comment. What should I resent?'
  'On Margate Sands.
  I can connect
  Nothing with nothing.
  The broken fingernails of dirty hands.
  My people humble people who expect
  Nothing.'
        la la

  To Carthage then I came

  Burning burning burning burning
  O Lord Thou pluckest me out
  O Lord Thou pluckest

  burning

               IV. DEATH BY WATER

  PHLEBAS the Phoenician, a fortnight dead,
  Forgot the cry of gulls, and the deep seas swell
  And the profit and loss.
                            A current under sea
  Picked his bones in whispers. As he rose and fell
  He passed the stages of his age and youth
  Entering the whirlpool.
                            Gentile or Jew
  O you who turn the wheel and look to windward,
  Consider Phlebas, who was once handsome and tall as you.

           V. WHAT THE THUNDER SAID

  AFTER the torchlight red on sweaty faces
  After the frosty silence in the gardens
  After the agony in stony places
  The shouting and the crying
  Prison and place and reverberation
  Of thunder of spring over distant mountains
  He who was living is now dead
  We who were living are now dying
  With a little patience

  Here is no water but only rock
  Rock and no water and the sandy road
  The road winding above among the mountains
  Which are mountains of rock without water
  If there were water we should stop and drink
  Amongst the rock one cannot stop or think
  Sweat is dry and feet are in the sand
  If there were only water amongst the rock
  Dead mountain mouth of carious teeth that cannot spit
  Here one can neither stand nor lie nor sit
  There is not even silence in the mountains
  But dry sterile thunder without rain
  There is not even solitude in the mountains
  But red sullen faces sneer and snarl
  From doors of mudcracked houses
                                   If there were water
    And no rock
    If there were rock
    And also water
    And water
    A spring
    A pool among the rock
    If there were the sound of water only
    Not the cicada
    And dry grass singing
    But sound of water over a rock
    Where the hermit-thrush sings in the pine trees
    Drip drop drip drop drop drop drop
    But there is no water

  Who is the third who walks always beside you?
  When I count, there are only you and I together
  But when I look ahead up the white road
  There is always another one walking beside you
  Gliding wrapt in a brown mantle, hooded
  I do not know whether a man or a woman
  —But who is that on the other side of you?

  What is that sound high in the air
  Murmur of maternal lamentation
  Who are those hooded hordes swarming
  Over endless plains, stumbling in cracked earth
  Ringed by the flat horizon only
  What is the city over the mountains
  Cracks and reforms and bursts in the violet air
  Falling towers
  Jerusalem Athens Alexandria
  Vienna London
  Unreal

  A woman drew her long black hair out tight
  And fiddled whisper music on those strings
  And bats with baby faces in the violet light
  Whistled, and beat their wings
  And crawled head downward down a blackened wall
  And upside down in air were towers
  Tolling reminiscent bells, that kept the hours
  And voices singing out of empty cisterns and exhausted
  wells.

  In this decayed hole among the mountains
  In the faint moonlight, the grass is singing
  Over the tumbled graves, about the chapel
  There is the empty chapel, only the wind's home.
  It has no windows, and the door swings,
  Dry bones can harm no one.
  Only a cock stood on the rooftree
  Co co rico co co rico
  In a flash of lightning. Then a damp gust
  Bringing rain

  Ganga was sunken, and the limp leaves
  Waited for rain, while the black clouds
  Gathered far distant, over Himavant.
  The jungle crouched, humped in silence.
  Then spoke the thunder
  D A
  Datta: what have we given?
  My friend, blood shaking my heart
  The awful daring of a moment's surrender
  Which an age of prudence can never retract
  By this, and this only, we have existed
  Which is not to be found in our obituaries
  Or in memories draped by the beneficent spider
  Or under seals broken by the lean solicitor
  In our empty rooms
  D A
  Dayadhvam: I have heard the key
  Turn in the door once and turn once only
  We think of the key, each in his prison
  Thinking of the key, each confirms a prison
  Only at nightfall, aetherial rumours
  Revive for a moment a broken Coriolanus
  D A
  Damyata: The boat responded
  Gaily, to the hand expert with sail and oar
  The sea was calm, your heart would have responded
  Gaily, when invited, beating obedient
  To controlling hands

                        I sat upon the shore
  Fishing, with the arid plain behind me
  Shall I at least set my lands in order?

  London Bridge is falling down falling down falling down

  Poi s'ascose nel foco che gli affina
  Quando fiam ceu chelidon—O swallow swallow
  Le Prince d'Aquitaine à la tour abolie
  These fragments I have shored against my ruins
  Why then Ile fit you. Hieronymo's mad againe.
  Datta. Dayadhvam. Damyata.

              Shantih shantih shantih

				

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Robert Frost(1874-1963)

Stopping by Woods in a Snowy Evening

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound's the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
				

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Gibran Kahlil Gibran

The Prophet - Pain

Your pain is the breaking of the shell that endoses
your understanding.

Even as the stone of the fruit must break, that its
heart may stand in the sun, so must you know pain.

And could you keep your heart in wonder at the
daily miracles of your life, your pain would not seem
less wondrous than your joy;

And you would accept the seasons of your heart,
even as you have always accepted the seasons that
pass over your fields.

And you would watch with serenity through the
winters of your grief.

Much of your pain is self-chosen.

It is the bitter potion by which the physician within
you heals your sick self.

Therefore trust the physician, and drink his remedy
in silence and tranquillity:

For his hand, though heavy and hard, is guided by
the tender hand of the Unseen,

And the cup he brings, though it burn your lips, has
been fashioned of the clay which the Potter has
moistened with His own sacred tears.

1923.
				

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Nazim Hikmet(1902 - 1963)

Hymn To Life

The hair falling on your forehead
			   suddenly lifted.
Suddenly something stirred on the ground.
The trees are whispering
			in the dark.
Your bare arms will be cold.

Far off
     where we can't see,
	  the moon must be rising.
It hasn't reached us yet,
     slipping through the leaves
	  to light up your shoulder.
But I know
	   a wind comes up with the moon.
The trees are whispering.
Your bare arms will be cold.

From above,
from the branches lost in the dark,
		    something dropped at your feet.
You moved closer to me.
Under my hand your bare flesh is like the fuzzy skin of a fruit.
Neither a song of the heart nor ``common sense''-
before the trees, birds, and insects,
my hand on my wife's flesh
		is thinking.
Tonight my hand
		 can't read or write.
Neither loving nor unloving...
It's the tongue of a leopard at a spring,
				  a grape leaf,
				      a wolf's paw.
To move, breathe, eat, drink.
My hand is like a seed
		    splitting open underground.
Neither a song of the heart nor ``common sense,''
neither loving nor unloving.
My hand thinking on my wife's flesh
			      is the hand of the first man.
Like a root that finds water underground,
it says to me:
``To eat, drink, cold, hot, struggle, smell, color-
not to live in order to die
but to die to live...'''

And now
as red female hair blows across my face,
as something stirs on the ground,
as the trees whisper in the dark,
and as the moon rises far off
		   where we can't see,
my hand on my wife's flesh
before the trees, birds, and insects,
I want the right of life,
of the leopard at the spring, of the seed splitting open-
			I want the right of the first man.

			Nazim Hikmet -  1937.

            Trans. by Randy Blasing and Mutlu Konuk (1993)

				

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John Keats(1795-1821)

Ode to a Nightingale

     My heart aches, and a drowsy numbness pains
          My sense, as though of hemlock I had drunk,
    Or emptied some dull opiate to the drains
          One minute past, and Lethe-wards had sunk:
    'Tis not through envy of thy happy lot,
          But being too happy in thine happiness,--
               That thou, light-winged Dryad of the trees
                    In some melodious plot
          Of beechen green, and shadows numberless,
             Singest of summer in full-throated ease.

  O, for a draught of vintage! that hath been
        Cool'd a long age in the deep-delved earth,
  Tasting of Flora and the country green,
        Dance, and Provençal song, and sunburnt mirth!
  O for a beaker full of the warm South,
        Full of the true, the blushful Hippocrene,
             With beaded bubbles winking at the brim,
                  And purple-stained mouth;
        That I might drink, and leave the world unseen,
             And with thee fade away into the forest dim:

  Fade far away, dissolve, and quite forget
        What thou among the leaves hast never known,
  The weariness, the fever, and the fret
        Here, where men sit and hear each other groan;
  Where palsy shakes a few, sad, last gray hairs,
        Where youth grows pale, and spectre-thin, and dies;
             Where but to think is to be full of sorrow
                  And leaden-eyed despairs,
        Where Beauty cannot keep her lustrous eyes,
             Or new Love pine at them beyond to-morrow.

  Away! away! for I will fly to thee,
        Not charioted by Bacchus and his pards,
  But on the viewless wings of Poesy,
        Though the dull brain perplexes and retards:
  Already with thee! tender is the night,
        And haply the Queen-Moon is on her throne,
             Cluster'd around by all her starry Fays;
                  But here there is no light,
        Save what from heaven is with the breezes blown
             Through verdurous glooms and winding mossy ways.

  I cannot see what flowers are at my feet,
        Nor what soft incense hangs upon the boughs,
  But, in embalmed darkness, guess each sweet
        Wherewith the seasonable month endows
  The grass, the thicket, and the fruit-tree wild;
        White hawthorn, and the pastoral eglantine;
             Fast fading violets cover'd up in leaves;
                  And mid-May's eldest child,
        The coming musk-rose, full of dewy wine,
             The murmurous haunt of flies on summer eves.

  Darkling I listen; and, for many a time
        I have been half in love with easeful Death,
  Call'd him soft names in many a mused rhyme,
        To take into the air my quiet breath;
             Now more than ever seems it rich to die,
        To cease upon the midnight with no pain,
             While thou art pouring forth thy soul abroad
                  In such an ecstasy!
        Still wouldst thou sing, and I have ears in vain--
               To thy high requiem become a sod.

  Thou wast not born for death, immortal Bird!
        No hungry generations tread thee down;
  The voice I hear this passing night was heard
        In ancient days by emperor and clown:
  Perhaps the self-same song that found a path
        Through the sad heart of Ruth, when, sick for home,
             She stood in tears amid the alien corn;
                  The same that oft-times hath
        Charm'd magic casements, opening on the foam
             Of perilous seas, in faery lands forlorn.

  Forlorn! the very word is like a bell
        To toll me back from thee to my sole self!
  Adieu! the fancy cannot cheat so well
        As she is fam'd to do, deceiving elf.
  Adieu! adieu! thy plaintive anthem fades
        Past the near meadows, over the still stream,
             Up the hill-side; and now 'tis buried deep
                  In the next valley-glades:
        Was it a vision, or a waking dream?
             Fled is that music:--Do I wake or sleep?
				

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Federico Garcia Lorca

Lament for Ignacio Sanchez Mejias,
Cogida and death

At five in the afternoon.
It was exactly five in the afternoon.
A boy brought the white sheet
at five in the afternoon.
A frail of lime ready prepared
at five in the afternoon.
The rest was death, and death alone
at five in the afternoon.

The wind carried away the cottonwool
at five in the afternoon.
And the oxide scattered crystal and nickel
at five in the afternoon.
Now the dove and the leopard wrestle
at five in the afternoon.
And a thigh with a desolate horn
at five in the afternoon.
The bass-string struck up
at five in the afternoon.
Arsenic bells and smoke
at five in the afternoon.
Groups of silence in the corners
at five in the afternoon.
And the bull alone with a high heart!
At five in the afternoon.
When the sweat of snow was coming
at five in the afternoon,
when the bull ring was covered in iodine
at five in the afternoon.
Death laid eggs in the wound
at five in the afternoon.
At five in the afternoon.
Exactly at five o'clock in the afternoon.

A coffin on wheels in his bed
at five in the afternoon.
Bones and flutes resound in his ears
at five in the afternoon.
Now the bull was bellowing through his forehead
at five in the afternoon.
The room was iridescent with agony
at five in the afternoon.
In the distance the gangrene now comes
at five in the afternoon.
Horn of the lily through green groins
at five in the afternoon.
The wounds were burning like suns
at five in the afternoon,
and the crowd was breaking the windows
at five in the afternoon.
At five in the afternoon.
Ah, that fatal five in the afternoon!
It was five by all the clocks!
It was five in the shade of the afternoon!
				

The Known Way

I am returning.
Let me return to my spring of water!
I don't want to get lost in the sea.
I'm leaving for the pure breeze of my first years,
so my mother may put a rose in my button-hole.
				

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Czeslaw Milosz

Encounter

We were riding through frozen fields in a wagon at dawn.
A red wing rose in the darkness.

And suddenly a hare ran across the road.
One of us pointed to it with his hand.

That was long ago. Today neither of them is alive,
Not the hare, nor the man who made the gesture.

O my love, where are they, where are they going
The flash of a hand, streak of movement, rustle of pebbles.
I ask not out of sorrow, but in wonder.

1936.
				

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JOHN MILTON (1608-1674)

PARADISE LOST: BOOK I (Excerpt)

Of Man's first disobedience, and the fruit
Of that forbidden tree whose mortal taste
Brought death into the world and all our woe,
With loss of Eden, till one greater Man
Restore us and regain the blissful seat,
Sing, Heav'nly Muse, that on the secret top
Of Oreb, or of Sinai, didst inspire
That shepherd who first taught the chosen seed
In the beginning how the heav'ns and earth
Rose out of Chaos; or if Sion hill
Delight thee more, and Siloa's brook that flow'd
Fast by the oracle of God, I thence
Invoke thy aid to my advent'rous song,
That with no middle flight intends to soar
Above th' Aonian mount, while it pursues
Things unattempted yet in prose or rhyme.
And chiefly thou, O Spirit, that dost prefer
Before all temples th' upright heart and pure,
Instruct me, for thou know'st; thou from the first
Wast present, and, with mighty wings outspread,
Dove-like sat'st brooding on the vast Abyss
And mad'st it pregnant: what in me is dark
Illumine, what is low raise and support,
That to the highth of this great argument
I may assert Eternal Providence
And justify the ways of God to men.
				

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Pablo Neruda

Saddest Poem

I can write the saddest poem of all tonight.

Write, for instance: "The night is full of stars,
and the stars, blue, shiver in the distance."

The night wind whirls in the sky and sings.

I can write the saddest poem of all tonight.
I loved her, and sometimes she loved me too.

On nights like this, I held her in my arms.
I kissed her so many times under the infinite sky.

She loved me, sometimes I loved her.
How could I not have loved her large, still eyes?

I can write the saddest poem of all tonight.
To think I don't have her. To feel that I've lost her.

To hear the immense night, more immense without her.
And the poem falls to the soul as dew to grass.

What does it matter that my love couldn't keep her.
The night is full of stars and she is not with me.

That's all. Far away, someone sings. Far away.
My soul is lost without her.

As if to bring her near, my eyes search for her.
My heart searches for her and she is not with me.

The same night that whitens the same trees.
We, we who were, we are the same no longer.

I no longer love her, true, but how much I loved her.
My voice searched the wind to touch her ear.

Someone else's. She will be someone else's. As she once
belonged to my kisses.
Her voice, her light body. Her infinite eyes.

I no longer love her, true, but perhaps I love her.
Love is so short and oblivion so long.

Because on nights like this I held her in my arms,
my soul is lost without her.

Although this may be the last pain she causes me,
and this may be the last poem I write for her.
				

Love

Because of you, in gardens of blossoming flowers I ache from the
perfumes of spring.
   I have forgotten your face, I no longer remember your hands;
how did your lips feel on mine?
   Because of you, I love the white statues drowsing in the parks,
the white statues that have neither voice nor sight.
   I have forgotten your voice, your happy voice; I have forgotten
your eyes.
   Like a flower to its perfume, I am bound to my vague memory of
you. I live with pain that is like a wound; if you touch me, you will
do me irreperable harm.
   Your caresses enfold me, like climbing vines on melancholy walls.
   I have forgotten your love, yet I seem to glimpse you in every
window.
   Because of you, the heady perfumes of summer pain me; because
of you, I again seek out the signs that precipitate desires: shooting
stars, falling objects.
				

Barcarole

 If only you would touch my heart,
 if only you would put your lips to my heart,
 your delicate mouth, your teeth,
 if you would place your tongue like a red arrow
 where my crumbling heart is beating,
 if you would blow over my heart, near the sea, crying,
 it would ring with an obscure sound, the sound of train wheels,

  of dreams,
  like the to and fro of waters,
  like autumn in leaf,
  like blood,
  with a noise of damp flames burning the sky,
  dreaming like dreams,or branches, or winds,
  or the horns of some sad port,
  if you would blow on my heart near the sea
  like a white ghost would blow,
  on the lace of the spume,
  in the cut of the wind,
  like an unchained ghost crying at the sea's edge.

  Like absence spun out, like a sudden bell,
  the sea shares out the heart's own sound,
  raining, dusking on a lone coast:
  night falls without doubts
  and the lugubrious blue of its shipwrecked banners
  fills with a stridency of silver planets.

  And the heart sounds like a crabbed shell,
  calls: oh sea, oh cry, oh fear dissolved,
  scattered in wreckages and dislocated waves:
  the sea impeaches sound
  for its leaning shadows, its green poppies.

  If you were to come into being suddenly, on some sad coast,
  surrounded by the stuff of the dead day,
  face to face with a new night,
  full of waves,
  and were to blow on my cold, fearful heart,
  on its lonesome blood,
  on its flames like a flight of doves,
  its black blood syllables would sound,
  its unquenchable red waters swell
  and it would sound and sound in the shadows,
  it would sound like death itself,
  calling like a pipe full of wind and crying,
  or a bottle of gushing fright.

  So it is, and lightning would glaze your tresses,
  and rain would come in through your open eyes
  to hatch the cry you have incubated here
  and the black wings of the sea would whirl round you
  with a great flail of talons and raven cawlings.

  Do you want to be the lone ghost walking by the sea
  blowing his pointless, disheartened instrument?
  If only you would call
  his drawn-out sound, his evil piping,
  his melody of wounded waves,
  someone would come perhaps,
  someone would come,
  from the crowns of the islands, up from the red sea depths
  someone would come, someone indeed would come.

  Someone would come, blow with fury,
  that it may sound like the siren of a broken ship,
  like a lament,
  like neighing from the midst of surf and blood,
  like fierce and self-devouring waters.

  In the marine season
  a shell of shadows spirals like a cry,
  seabirds mistrust it and flee,
  its shreds of sound, its grid of misery
  rise by the shores of the solitary ocean.
				

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Rainer Maria Rilke

Autumn Day

Lord: it is time. The huge summer has gone by.
Now overlap the sundials with your shadows,
and on the meadows let the wind go free.

Command the fruits to swell on tree and vine;
grant them a few more warm transparent days,
urge them on to fulfillment then, and press
the final sweetness into the heavy wine.

hoever has no house now, will never have one.
Whoever is alone will stay alone,
will sit, read, write long letters through the evening,
and wander on the boulevards, up and down,
restlessly, while the dry leaves are blowing.
				

Epitaph

   Rose, oh pure contradiction, joy
of being No-one's sleep under so many
                     lids.
				

Duino Elegies,
The First Elegy

Who, if I cried out, would hear me among the angels' hierarchies?
     and even if one of them pressed me suddenly against his heart:
I would be consumed in that overwhelming existence.
For beauty is nothing but the beginning of terror, which we are still just able to endure,
     and we are so awed because it serenely disdains to annihilate us.
Every angel is terrifying.
And so I hold myself back and swallow the call-note of my dark sobbing.
Ah, whom can we ever turn to in our need?
Not angels, not humans, and already the knowing animals are aware
     that we are not really at home in our interpreted world.
Perhaps there remains for us some tree on a hillside, which every day we can take into our vision;
     there remains for us yesterday's street and the loyalty of a habit so much at ease
     when it stayed with us that it moved in and never left.
Oh and night: there is night, when a wind full of infinite space gnaws at our faces.
Whom would it not remain for--that longed-after, mildly disillusioning presence,
     which the solitary heart so painfully meets.
Is it any less difficult for lovers?
But they keep on using each other to hide their own fate.
Don't you know yet?
Fling the emptiness out of your arms into the spaces we breathe;
     perhaps the birds will feel the expanded air with more passionate flying.

Yes--the springtimes needed you. Often a star was waiting for you to notice it.
A wave rolled toward you out of the distant past,
     or as you walked under an open window, a violin yielded itself to your hearing.
All this was mission. But could you accomplish it?
Weren't you always distracted by expectation, as if every event announced a beloved?
(Where can you find a place to keep her, with all the huge strange thoughts inside you
     going and coming and often staying all night.)
But when you feel longing, sing of women in love; for their famous passion is still not immortal.
Sing of women abandoned and desolate (you envy them, almost)
     who could love so much more purely than those who were gratified.
Begin again and again the never-attainable praising; remember: the hero lives on;
     even his downfall was merely a pretext for achieving his final birth.
But Nature, spent and exhausted, takes lovers back into herself,
     as if there were not enough strength to create them a second time.
Have you imagined Gaspara Stampa intensely enough
     so that any girl deserted by her beloved might be inspired by that fierce example of soaring,
     objectless love and might say to herself, "Perhaps I can be like her?"
Shouldn't this most ancient of sufferings finally grow more fruitful for us?
Isn't it time that we lovingly freed ourselves from the beloved and,
     quivering, endured: as the arrow endures the bowstring's tension,
     so that gathered in the snap of release it can be more than itself.
For there is no place where we can remain.

Voices. Voices. Listen, my heart, as only saints have listened:
     until the gigantic call lifted them off the ground;
     yet they kept on, impossibly, kneeling and didn't notice at all: so complete was their listening.
Not that you could endure God's voice--far from it.
But listen to the voice of the wind and the ceaseless message that forms itself out of silence.
It is murmuring toward you now from those who died young.
Didn't their fate, whenever you stepped into a church in Naples or Rome,
     quietly come to address you?
Or high up, some eulogy entrusted you with a mission,
     as, last year, on the plaque in Santa Maria Formosa.
What they want of me is that I gently remove the appearance of injustice about their death--
     which at times slightly hinders their souls from proceeding onward.
Of course, it is strange to inhabit the earth no longer,
     to give up customs one barely had time to learn,
     not to see roses and other promising Things in terms of a human future;
     no longer to be what one was in infinitely anxious hands;
     to leave even one's own first name behind,
     forgetting it as easily as a child abandons a broken toy.
Strange to no longer desire one's desires.
Strange to see meanings that clung together once, floating away in every direction.
And being dead is hard work and full of retrieval before one can gradually feel a trace of eternity.
Though the living are wrong to believe in the too-sharp distinctions which
     they themselves have created.
Angels (they say) don't know whether it is the living they are moving among, or the dead.
The eternal torrent whirls all ages along in it, through both realms forever,
     and their voices are drowned out in its thunderous roar.

In the end, those who were carried off early no longer need us:
     they are weaned from earth's sorrows and joys,
     as gently as children outgrow the soft breasts of their mothers.
But we, who do need such great mysteries,
     we for whom grief is so often the source of our spirit's growth--:
     could we exist without them?
Is the legend meaningless that tells how, in the lament for Linus,
     the daring first notes of song pierced through the barren numbness;
     and then in the startled space which a youth as lovely as a god has suddenly left forever,
     the Void felt for the first time that harmony which now enraptures and comforts and helps us.
				

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Mawlana Jalaluddin Rumi

A Great Wagon

When I see your face, the stones start spinning!
You appear; all studying wanders.
I lose my place.

Water turns pearly.
Fire dies down and doesn't destroy.

In your presence I don't want what I thought
I wanted, those three little hanging lamps.

Inside your face the ancient manuscripts
seem like rusty mirrors.

You breathe; new shapes appear,
and the music of a desire as widespread
as Spring begins to move
like a great wagon.
            	Drive slowly.
Some of us walking alongside
are lame!

                      *

Today, like every other day, we wake up empty
and frightened.  Don't open the door to the study
and begin reading.  Take down a musical instrument.

Let the beauty we love be what we do.
There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.

                      *

Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing,
there is a field.  I'll meet you there.

When the soul lies down in that grass,
the world is too full to talk about.
Ideas, language, even the phrase EACH OTHER
doesn't make any sense.

                      *

The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you.
              	Don't go back to sleep.
You must ask for what you really want.
              	Don't go back to sleep.
People are going back and forth across the doorsill
              	where the two worlds touch.
The door is round and open.
              	Don't go back to sleep.

                      *

I would love to kiss you.
THE PRICE OF KISSING IS YOUR LIFE.

Now my loving is running toward my life shouting,
WHAT A BARGAIN, LET'S BUY IT.

                      *

Daylight, full of small dancing particles
and the one great turning, our souls
are dancing with you, without feet, they dance.
Can you see them when I whisper in your ear?

                      *

They try to say what you are, spiritual or sexual?
They wonder about Solomon and all his wives.

In the body of the world, they say, there is a soul
and you are that.

But we have ways within each other
that will never be said by anyone.

                      *

Come to the orchard in Spring.
There is light and wine, and sweethearts
    		in the pomegranate flowers.

If you do not come, these do not matter.
If you do come, these do not matter.
				

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Sylvia Plath

Lady Lazarus


I have done it again.
One year in every ten
I manage it_____

A sort of walking miracle, my skin
Bright as a Nazi lampshade,
My right foot

A paperweight,
My featureless, fine
Jew linen.

Peel off the napkin
O my enemy.
Do I terrify?-------

The nose, the eye pits, the full set of teeth?
The sour breath
Will vanish in a day.

Soon, soon the flesh
The grave cave ate will be
At home on me

And I a smiling woman.
I am only thirty.
And like the cat I have nine times to die.

This is Number Three.
What a trash
To annihilate each decade.

What a million filaments.
The Peanut-crunching crowd
Shoves in to see

Them unwrap me hand in foot ------
The big strip tease.
Gentleman , ladies

These are my hands
My knees.
I may be skin and bone,

Nevertheless, I am the same, identical woman.
The first time it happened I was ten.
It was an accident.

The second time I meant
To last it out and not come back at all.
I rocked shut

As a seashell.
They had to call and call
And pick the worms off me like sticky pearls.

Dying
Is an art, like everything else.
I do it exceptionally well.

I do it so it feels like hell.
I do it so it feels real.
I guess you could say I've a call.

It's easy enough to do it in a cell.
It's easy enough to do it and stay put.
It's the theatrical

Comeback in broad day
To the same place, the same face, the same brute
Amused shout:

'A miracle!'
That knocks me out.
There is a charge

For the eyeing my scars, there is a charge
For the hearing of my heart---
It really goes.

And there is a charge, a very large charge
For a word or a touch
Or a bit of blood

Or a piece of my hair on my clothes.
So, so, Herr Doktor.
So, Herr Enemy.

I am your opus,
I am your valuable,
The pure gold baby

That melts to a shriek.
I turn and burn.
Do not think I underestimate your great concern.

Ash, ash---
You poke and stir.
Flesh, bone, there is nothing there----

A cake of soap,
A wedding ring,
A gold filling.

Herr God, Herr Lucifer
Beware
Beware.

Out of the ash
I rise with my red hair
And I eat men like air.
				

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WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE (1564-1616)

Sonnet XXX

When to the sessions of sweet silent thought
I summon up remembrance of things past,
I sigh the lack of many a thing I sought,
And with old woes new wail my dear time's waste:
Then can I drown an eye, unus'd to flow,
For precious friends hid in death's dateless night,
And weep afresh love's long since cancell'd woe,
And moan th' expense of many a vanish'd sight;
Then can I grieve at grievances foregone,
And heavily from woe to woe tell o'er
The sad account of fore-bemoaned moan,
Which I new pay as if not paid before.
But if the while I think on thee, dear friend,
All losses are restor'd, and sorrows end.

				

Hamlet, Act III

To be, or not to be: that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them? To die: to sleep;
No more; and by a sleep to say we end
The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to, 'tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish'd. To die, to sleep;
To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there's the rub;
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause: there's the respect
That makes calamity of so long life;
For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
The oppressor's wrong, the proud man's contumely,
The pangs of despised love, the law's delay,
The insolence of office and the spurns
That patient merit of the unworthy takes,
When he himself might his quietus make
With a bare bodkin? who would fardels bear,
To grunt and sweat under a weary life,
But that the dread of something after death,
The undiscover'd country from whose bourn
No traveller returns, puzzles the will
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know not of?
Thus conscience does make cowards of us all;
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought,
And enterprises of great pith and moment
With this regard their currents turn awry,
And lose the name of action.--Soft you now!
The fair Ophelia! Nymph, in thy orisons
Be all my sins remember'd.
				

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Perct Bysshe Shelley(1792-1822)

Ode to the West Wind


I
     O wild West Wind, thou breath of Autumn's being,
     Thou, from whose unseen presence the leaves dead
     Are driven, like ghosts from an enchanter fleeing,

     Yellow, and black, and pale, and hectic red,
     Pestilence-stricken multitudes: O thou,
     Who chariotest to their dark wintry bed

     The winged seeds, where they lie cold and low,
     Each like a corpse within its grave, until
     Thine azure sister of the Spring shall blow

     Her clarion o'er the dreaming earth, and fill
     (Driving sweet buds like flocks to feed in air)
     With living hues and odours plain and hill:

     Wild Spirit, which art moving everywhere;
     Destroyer and preserver; hear, oh hear!

II

   Thou on whose stream, mid the steep sky's commotion,
   Loose clouds like earth's decaying leaves are shed,
   Shook from the tangled boughs of Heaven and Ocean,

   Angels of rain and lightning: there are spread
   On the blue surface of thine aëry surge,
   Like the bright hair uplifted from the head

   Of some fierce Maenad, even from the dim verge
   Of the horizon to the zenith's height,
   The locks of the approaching storm. Thou dirge

   Of the dying year, to which this closing night
   Will be the dome of a vast sepulchre,
   Vaulted with all thy congregated might

   Of vapours, from whose solid atmosphere
   Black rain, and fire, and hail will burst: oh hear!

III

   Thou who didst waken from his summer dreams
   The blue Mediterranean, where he lay,
   Lull'd by the coil of his crystàlline streams,

   Beside a pumice isle in Baiae's bay,
   And saw in sleep old palaces and towers
   Quivering within the wave's intenser day,

   All overgrown with azure moss and flowers
   So sweet, the sense faints picturing them! Thou
   For whose path the Atlantic's level powers

   Cleave themselves into chasms, while far below
   The sea-blooms and the oozy woods which wear
   The sapless foliage of the ocean, know

   Thy voice, and suddenly grow gray with fear,
   And tremble and despoil themselves: oh hear!

IV

   If I were a dead leaf thou mightest bear;
   If I were a swift cloud to fly with thee;
   A wave to pant beneath thy power, and share

   The impulse of thy strength, only less free
   Than thou, O uncontrollable! If even
   I were as in my boyhood, and could be

   The comrade of thy wanderings over Heaven,
   As then, when to outstrip thy skiey speed
   Scarce seem'd a vision; I would ne'er have striven

   As thus with thee in prayer in my sore need.
   Oh, lift me as a wave, a leaf, a cloud!
   I fall upon the thorns of life! I bleed!

   A heavy weight of hours has chain'd and bow'd
   One too like thee: tameless, and swift, and proud.

V

   Make me thy lyre, even as the forest is:
   What if my leaves are falling like its own!
   The tumult of thy mighty harmonies

   Will take from both a deep, autumnal tone,
   Sweet though in sadness. Be thou, Spirit fierce,
   My spirit! Be thou me, impetuous one!

   Drive my dead thoughts over the universe
   Like wither'd leaves to quicken a new birth!
   And, by the incantation of this verse,

   Scatter, as from an unextinguish'd hearth
   Ashes and sparks, my words among mankind!
   Be through my lips to unawaken'd earth

   The trumpet of a prophecy! O Wind,
   If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?
				

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Alfred, Lord Tennyson(1809-1892)

ULYSSES

It little profits that an idle king,
By this still hearth, among these barren crags,
Match'd with an aged wife, I mete and dole
Unequal laws unto a savage race,
That hoard, and sleep, and feed, and know not me.
I cannot rest from travel: I will drink
Life to the lees: All times I have enjoy'd
Greatly, have suffer'd greatly, both with those
That loved me, and alone, on shore, and when
Thro' scudding drifts the rainy Hyades
Vext the dim sea: I am become a name;
For always roaming with a hungry heart
Much have I seen and known; cities of men
And manners, climates, councils, governments,
Myself not least, but honour'd of them all;
And drunk delight of battle with my peers,
Far on the ringing plains of windy Troy.
I am a part of all that I have met;
Yet all experience is an arch wherethro'
Gleams that untravell'd world whose margin fades
For ever and forever when I move.
How dull it is to pause, to make an end,
To rust unburnish'd, not to shine in use!
As tho' to breathe were life! Life piled on life
Were all too little, and of one to me
Little remains: but every hour is saved
From that eternal silence, something more,
A bringer of new things; and vile it were
For some three suns to store and hoard myself,
And this gray spirit yearning in desire
To follow knowledge like a sinking star,
Beyond the utmost bound of human thought.    

    This is my son, mine own Telemachus,
To whom I leave the sceptre and the isle,--
Well-loved of me, discerning to fulfil
This labour, by slow prudence to make mild
A rugged people, and thro' soft degrees
Subdue them to the useful and the good.
Most blameless is he, centred in the sphere
Of common duties, decent not to fail
In offices of tenderness, and pay
Meet adoration to my household gods,
When I am gone. He works his work, I mine.    

   There lies the port; the vessel puffs her sail:
There gloom the dark, broad seas. My mariners,
Souls that have toil'd, and wrought, and thought with me--
That ever with a frolic welcome took
The thunder and the sunshine, and opposed
Free hearts, free foreheads--you and I are old;
Old age hath yet his honour and his toil;
Death closes all: but something ere the end,
Some work of noble note, may yet be done,
Not unbecoming men that strove with Gods.
The lights begin to twinkle from the rocks:
The long day wanes: the slow moon climbs: the deep
Moans round with many voices. Come, my friends,
'T is not too late to seek a newer world.
Push off, and sitting well in order smite
The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds
To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths
Of all the western stars, until I die.
It may be that the gulfs will wash us down:
It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles,
And see the great Achilles, whom we knew.
Tho' much is taken, much abides; and tho'
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.
				

The Lotus Eaters

"Courage!" he said, and pointed toward the land,
"This mounting wave will roll us shoreward soon."
In the afternoon they came unto a land
In which it seemed always afternoon.
All round the coast the languid air did swoon,
Breathing like one that hath a weary dream.
Full-faced above the valley stood the moon;
And like a downward smoke, the slender stream
Along the cliff to fall and pause and fall did seem.

A land of streams! some, like a downward smoke,
Slow-dropping veils of thinnest lawn, did go;
And some thro' wavering lights and shadows broke,
Rolling a slumbrous sheet of foam below.
They saw the gleaming river seaward flow
From the inner land: far off, three mountain-tops,
Three silent pinnacles of aged snow,
Stood sunset-flush'd: and, dew'd with showery drops,
Up-clomb the shadowy pine above the woven copse.

The charmed sunset linger'd low adown
In the red West: thro' mountain clefts the dale
Was seen far inland, and the yellow down
Border'd with palm, and many a winding vale
And meadow, set with slender galingale;
A land where all things always seem'd the same!
And round about the keel with faces pale,
Dark faces pale against that rosy flame,
The mild-eyed melancholy Lotos-eaters came.

Branches they bore of that enchanted stem,
Laden with flower and fruit, whereof they gave
To each, but whoso did receive of them,
And taste, to him the gushing of the wave
Far far away did seem to mourn and rave
On alien shores; and if his fellow spake,
His voice was thin, as voices from the grave;
And deep-asleep he seem'd, yet all awake,
And music in his ears his beating heart did make.

They sat them down upon the yellow sand,
Between the sun and moon upon the shore;
And sweet it was to dream of Fatherland,
Of child, and wife, and slave; but evermore
Most weary seem'd the sea, weary the oar,
Weary the wandering fields of barren foam.
Then some one said, "We will return no more";
And all at once they sang, "Our island home
Is far beyond the wave; we will no longer roam."


CHORIC SONG

I

There is sweet music here that softer falls
Than petals from blown roses on the grass,
Or night-dews on still waters between walls
Of shadowy granite, in a gleaming pass;
Music that gentlier on the spirit lies,
Than tir'd eyelids upon tir'd eyes;
Music that brings sweet sleep down from the blissful skies.
Here are cool mosses deep,
And thro' the moss the ivies creep,
And in the stream the long-leaved flowers weep,
And from the craggy ledge the poppy hangs in sleep."


II

Why are we weigh'd upon with heaviness,
And utterly consumed with sharp distress,
While all things else have rest from weariness?
All things have rest: why should we toil alone,
We only toil, who are the first of things,
And make perpetual moan,
Still from one sorrow to another thrown:
Nor ever fold our wings,
And cease from wanderings,
Nor steep our brows in slumber's holy balm;
Nor harken what the inner spirit sings,
"There is no joy but calm!"
Why should we only toil, the roof and crown of things?


III

Lo! in the middle of the wood,
The folded leaf is woo'd from out the bud
With winds upon the branch, and there
Grows green and broad, and takes no care,
Sun-steep'd at noon, and in the moon
Nightly dew-fed; and turning yellow
Falls, and floats adown the air.
Lo! sweeten'd with the summer light,
The full-juiced apple, waxing over-mellow,
Drops in a silent autumn night.
All its allotted length of days
The flower ripens in its place,
Ripens and fades, and falls, and hath no toil,
Fast-rooted in the fruitful soil.


IV

Hateful is the dark-blue sky,
Vaulted o'er the dark-blue sea.
Death is the end of life; ah, why
Should life all labour be?
Let us alone. Time driveth onward fast,
And in a little while our lips are dumb.
Let us alone. What is it that will last?
All things are taken from us, and become
Portions and parcels of the dreadful past.
Let us alone. What pleasure can we have
To war with evil? Is there any peace
In ever climbing up the climbing wave?
All things have rest, and ripen toward the grave
In silence; ripen, fall and cease:
Give us long rest or death, dark death, or dreamful ease.


V

How sweet it were, hearing the downward stream,
With half-shut eyes ever to seem
Falling asleep in a half-dream!
To dream and dream, like yonder amber light,
Which will not leave the myrrh-bush on the height;
To hear each other's whisper'd speech;
Eating the Lotos day by day,
To watch the crisping ripples on the beach,
And tender curving lines of creamy spray;
To lend our hearts and spirits wholly
To the influence of mild-minded melancholy;
To muse and brood and live again in memory,
With those old faces of our infancy
Heap'd over with a mound of grass,
Two handfuls of white dust, shut in an urn of brass!


VI

Dear is the memory of our wedded lives,
And dear the last embraces of our wives
And their warm tears: but all hath suffer'd change:
For surely now our household hearths are cold,
Our sons inherit us: our looks are strange:
And we should come like ghosts to trouble joy.
Or else the island princes over-bold
Have eat our substance, and the minstrel sings
Before them of the ten years' war in Troy,
And our great deeds, as half-forgotten things.
Is there confusion in the little isle?
Let what is broken so remain.
The Gods are hard to reconcile:
'Tis hard to settle order once again.
There is confusion worse than death,
Trouble on trouble, pain on pain,
Long labour unto aged breath,
Sore task to hearts worn out by many wars
And eyes grown dim with gazing on the pilot-stars.


VII

But, propt on beds of amaranth and moly,
How sweet (while warm airs lull us, blowing lowly)
With half-dropt eyelid still,
Beneath a heaven dark and holy,
To watch the long bright river drawing slowly
His waters from the purple hill--
To hear the dewy echoes calling
From cave to cave thro' the thick-twined vine--
To watch the emerald-colour'd water falling
Thro' many a wov'n acanthus-wreath divine!
Only to hear and see the far-off sparkling brine,
Only to hear were sweet, stretch'd out beneath the pine.


VIII

The Lotos blooms below the barren peak:
The Lotos blows by every winding creek:
All day the wind breathes low with mellower tone:
Thro' every hollow cave and alley lone
Round and round the spicy downs the yellow Lotos-dust is blown.
We have had enough of action, and of motion we,
Roll'd to starboard, roll'd to larboard, when the surge was seething free,
Where the wallowing monster spouted his foam-fountains in the sea.
Let us swear an oath, and keep it with an equal mind,
In the hollow Lotos-land to live and lie reclined
On the hills like Gods together, careless of mankind.
For they lie beside their nectar, and the bolts are hurl'd
Far below them in the valleys, and the clouds are lightly curl'd
Round their golden houses, girdled with the gleaming world:
Where they smile in secret, looking over wasted lands,
Blight and famine, plague and earthquake, roaring deeps and fiery sands,
Clanging fights, and flaming towns, and sinking ships, and praying hands.
But they smile, they find a music centred in a doleful song
Steaming up, a lamentation and an ancient tale of wrong,
Like a tale of little meaning tho' the words are strong;
Chanted from an ill-used race of men that cleave the soil,
Sow the seed, and reap the harvest with enduring toil,
Storing yearly little dues of wheat, and wine and oil;
Till they perish and they suffer--some, 'tis whisper'd--down in hell
Suffer endless anguish, others in Elysian valleys dwell,
Resting weary limbs at last on beds of asphodel.
Surely, surely, slumber is more sweet than toil, the shore
Than labour in the deep mid-ocean, wind and wave and oar;
O, rest ye, brother mariners, we will not wander more.
				

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Dylan Thomas

Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night


Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that Good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
				

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