Tuesday, 31 December 2013

It's all I have to bring today, by Emily Dickinson

It's all I have to bring today-- 
This, and my heart beside-- 
This, and my heart, and all the fields-- 
And all the meadows wide-- 
Be sure you count--should I forget 
Some one the sum could tell-- 
This, and my heart, and all the Bees 
Which in the Clover dwell.

Sunday, 29 December 2013

Tender Buttons [Milk], by Gertrude Stein

A white egg and a colored pan and a cabbage 
   showing settlement, a constant increase.

A cold in a nose, a single cold nose makes an excuse. 
   Two are more necessary.

All the goods are stolen, all the blisters are in the cup.

Cooking, cooking is the recognition between sudden 
   and nearly sudden very little and all large holes.

A real pint, one that is open and closed and in the 
   middle is so bad.

Tender colds, seen eye holders, all work, the best of 
   change, the meaning, the dark red, all this and 
   bitten, really bitten.

Guessing again and golfing again and the best men, 
   the very best men.

The Call of the Open, by Percy Bysshe Shelley

Which yet joined not scent to hue,
Crown the pale year weak and new;
When the night is left behind
In the deep east, dun and blind,
And the blue noon is over us,
And the multitudinous
Billows murmur at our feet,
Where the earth and ocean meet,
And all things seem only one
In the universal sun.

An Acrostic, by Edgar Allan Poe

Elizabeth it is in vain you say
"Love not" -- thou sayest it in so sweet a way:
In vain those words from thee or L.E.L.
Zantippe's talents had enforced so well:
Ah! if that language from thy heart arise,
Breath it less gently forth -- and veil thine eyes.
Endymion, recollect, when Luna tried
To cure his love -- was cured of all beside --
His follie -- pride -- and passion -- for he died.

from The Princess [Sweet and low, sweet and low], by Lord Alfred Tennyson

Sweet and low, sweet and low,
   Wind of the western sea,
Low, low, breathe and blow,
   Wind of the western sea!
Over the rolling waters go,
Come from the dying moon, and blow,
   Blow him again to me;
While my little one, while my pretty one, sleeps.

Sleep and rest, sleep and rest,
   Father will come to thee soon;
Rest, rest, on mother's breast,
   Father will come to thee soon;
Father will come to his babe in the nest,
Silver sails all out of the west
   Under the silver moon:
Sleep, my little one, sleep, my pretty one, sleep.

Excelsior, by Walt Whitman

Who has gone farthest? for I would go farther,
And who has been just? for I would be the most just person of the

And who most cautious? for I would be more cautious,
And who has been happiest? O I think it is I--I think no one was ever

   happier than I,
And who has lavish'd all? for I lavish constantly the best I have,
And who proudest? for I think I have reason to be the proudest son

   alive--for I am the son of the brawny and tall-topt city,
And who has been bold and true? for I would be the boldest and truest

   being of the universe,
And who benevolent? for I would show more benevolence than all the

And who has receiv'd the love of the most friends? for I know what it      is to receive the passionate love of many friends,

And who possesses a perfect and enamour'd body? for I do not believe
   any one possesses a more perfect or enamour'd body than mine,
And who thinks the amplest thoughts? for I would surround those

And who has made hymns fit for the earth? for I am mad with 

   devouring ecstasy to make joyous hymns for the whole earth.

Sonnet—Silence, by Edgar Allan Poe

There are some qualities—some incorporate things,
   That have a double life, which thus is made
A type of that twin entity which springs
   From matter and light, evinced in solid and shade.
There is a two-fold Silence—sea and shore—
   Body and soul. One dwells in lonely places,
   Newly with grass o'ergrown; some solemn graces,
Some human memories and tearful lore,
Render him terrorless: his name's "No More."
He is the corporate Silence: dread him not!
   No power hath he of evil in himself;
But should some urgent fate (untimely lot!)
   Bring thee to meet his shadow (nameless elf,
That haunteth the lone regions where hath trod
No foot of man,) commend thyself to God!

I Am the Messenger, Markus Zusak

Sometimes people are beautiful.
Not in looks.
Not in what they say.
Just in what they are.

A Man may make a Remark, by Emily Dickinson

A Man may make a Remark -
In itself - a quiet thing
That may furnish the Fuse unto a Spark
In dormant nature - lain -

Let us divide - with skill -
Let us discourse - with care -
Powder exists in Charcoal -
Before it exists in Fire -

Days, by Ralph Waldo Emerson

Daughters of Time, the hypocritic Days,
Muffled and dumb like barefoot dervishes,
And marching single in an endless file,
Bring diadems and fagots in their hands.
To each they offer gifts after his will,
Bread, kingdom, stars, and sky that holds them all.
I, in my pleached garden, watched the pomp,
Forgot my morning wishes, hastily
Took a few herbs and apples, and the Day
Turned and departed silent. I, too late,
Under her solemn fillet saw the scorn.

From Canti, by Giacomo Leopardi, translated by Jonathan Galassi


Listen, Melisso: I want to tell you a dream
I had last night, which comes to mind,
seeing the moon again. I was standing
at the window that looks out on the meadow
staring up, when suddenly the moon
unhooked herself. And it seemed to me
that as she fell,
the nearer she got the bigger she looked, until
she hit the ground in the middle of the meadow,
big as a bucket, and vomited
a cloud of sparks that shrieked as loud
as when you dunk a live coal in the water
and drown it. So, as I said,
the moon died in the middle of the meadow,
little by little slowly darkening,
and the grass was smoking all around.
Then, looking up into the sky, I saw
something still there, a glimmer or a shadow,
or the niche that she'd been torn away from,
which made me cold with fear. And I'm still anxious.


You were right to be afraid, when the moon
fell so easily into your field.


Who knows? Don't we often see
stars fall in summer?


                      There are so many stars
that if one or another of them falls
it's no great loss, since there are thousands left.
But there's just this one moon up in the sky,
which no one saw fall ever—except in dreams.

I measure every Grief I meet, by Emily Dickinson

I measure every Grief I meet
With narrow, probing, eyes –
I wonder if It weighs like Mine –
Or has an Easier size.

I wonder if They bore it long –
Or did it just begin –
I could not tell the Date of Mine –
It feels so old a pain –

I wonder if it hurts to live –
And if They have to try –
And whether – could They choose between –
It would not be – to die –

I note that Some – gone patient long –
At length, renew their smile – 
An imitation of a Light
That has so little Oil –

I wonder if when Years have piled – 
Some Thousands – on the Harm – 
That hurt them Early – such a lapse
Could give them any Balm – 

Or would they go on aching still
Through Centuries of Nerve –
Enlightened to a larger Pain – 
In Contrast with the Love – 

The Grieved – are many – I am told – 
There is the various Cause – 
Death – is but one – and comes but once – 
And only nails the Eyes – 

There's Grief of Want – and grief of Cold – 
A sort they call "Despair" – 
There's Banishment from native Eyes –
In sight of Native Air – 

And though I may not guess the kind – 
Correctly – yet to me
A piercing Comfort it affords
In passing Calvary – 

To note the fashions – of the Cross – 
And how they're mostly worn – 
Still fascinated to presume
That Some – are like my own – 

To Autumn, by William Blake

O Autumn, laden with fruit, and stained
With the blood of the grape, pass not, but sit
Beneath my shady roof; there thou mayst rest,
And tune thy jolly voice to my fresh pipe,
And all the daughters of the year shall dance!
Sing now the lusty song of fruits and flowers.

"The narrow bud opens her beauties to
The sun, and love runs in her thrilling veins;
Blossoms hang round the brows of Morning, and
Flourish down the bright cheek of modest Eve,
Till clust'ring Summer breaks forth into singing,
And feather'd clouds strew flowers round her head.

"The spirits of the air live on the smells
Of fruit; and Joy, with pinions light, roves round
The gardens, or sits singing in the trees."
Thus sang the jolly Autumn as he sat;
Then rose, girded himself, and o'er the bleak
Hills fled from our sight; but left his golden load.

The Visionary, by Emily Brontë

Silent is the house: all are laid asleep:
One alone looks out o'er the snow-wreaths deep,
Watching every cloud, dreading every breeze
That whirls the wildering drift, and bends the 
   groaning trees.

Cheerful is the hearth, soft the matted floor;
Not one shivering gust creeps through pane or door;
The little lamp burns straight, its rays shoot strong 
   and far:
I trim it well, to be the wanderer's guiding-star.

Frown, my haughty sire! chide, my angry dame!
Set your slaves to spy; threaten me with shame:
But neither sire nor dame nor prying serf shall know,
What angel nightly tracks that waste of frozen snow.

What I love shall come like visitant of air,
Safe in secret power from lurking human snare;
What loves me, no word of mine shall e'er betray,
Though for faith unstained my life must forfeit pay.

Burn, then, little lamp; glimmer straight and clear-
Hush! a rustling wing stirs, methinks, the air:
He for whom I wait, thus ever comes to me;
Strange Power! I trust thy might; trust thou 
   my constancy.

The Old Stoic, by Emily Brontë

Riches I hold in light esteem,
   And Love I laugh to scorn;
And lust of fame was but a dream,
   That vanished with the morn:

And if I pray, the only prayer
   That moves my lips for me
Is, "Leave the heart that now I bear,
   And give me liberty!"

Yes, as my swift days near their goal:
   'Tis all that I implore;
In life and death a chainless soul,
   With courage to endure.

What's the railroad to me? by Henry David Thoreau

What's the railroad to me? 
I never go to see 
Where it ends. 
It fills a few hollows, 
And makes banks for the swallows, 
It sets the sand a-blowing, 
And the blackberries a-growing.

An Exhortation, by Percy Bysshe Shelley

Chameleons feed on light and air:
   Poets' food is love and fame:
If in this wide world of care    
   Poets could but find the same 
With as little toil as they,    
   Would they ever change their hue    
   As the light chameleons do, 
Suiting it to every ray       
      Twenty times a day

Poets are on this cold earth,    
   As chameleons might be, 
Hidden from their early birth    
   In a cave beneath the sea; 
Where light is, chameleons change:    
   Where love is not, poets do:    
   Fame is love disguised: if few 
Find either, never think it strange       
      That poets range. 

Yet dare not stain with wealth or power    
   A poet's free and heavenly mind: 
If bright chameleons should devour    
   Any food but beams and wind, 
They would grow as earthly soon    
   As their brother lizards are.    
   Children of a sunnier star, 
Spirits from beyond the moon,       
      Oh, refuse the boon! 

The Living Beauty, by W. B. Yeats

I'll say and maybe dream I have drawn content-- 
Seeing that time has frozen up the blood, 
The wick of youth being burned and the oil spent-- 
From beauty that is cast out of a mould 
In bronze, or that in dazzling marble appears, 
Appears, but when we have gone is gone again, 
Being more indifferent to our solitude 
Than 'twere an apparition. O heart, we are old, 
The living beauty is for younger men, 
We cannot pay its tribute of wild tears. 

Anything Can Happen, by Seamus Heaney

Anything can happen. You know how Jupiter
Will mostly wait for clouds to gather head
Before he hurls the lightening? Well, just now
He galloped his thunder cart and his horses

Across a clear blue sky. It shook the earth
And the clogged underearth, the River Styx,
The winding streams, the Atlantic shore itself.
Anything can happen, the tallest towers

Be overturned, those in high places daunted,
Those overlooked regarded. Stropped-beak Fortune
Swoops, making the air gasp, tearing the crest off one,
Setting it down bleeding on the next.

Ground gives. The heaven's weight
Lifts up off Atlas like a kettle-lid.
Capstones shift, nothing resettles right.
Telluric ash and fire-spores boil away.

Marriage, by William Carlos Williams

So different, this man 
And this woman: 
A stream flowing 
In a field.

The Maldive Shark, by Herman Melville

About the Shark, phlegmatical one, 
Pale sot of the Maldive sea, 
The sleek little pilot-fish, azure and slim, 
How alert in attendance be. 
From his saw-pit of mouth, from his charnel of maw 
They have nothing of harm to dread, 
But liquidly glide on his ghastly flank 
Or before his Gorgonian head; 
Or lurk in the port of serrated teeth 
In white triple tiers of glittering gates, 
And there find a haven when peril's abroad, 
An asylum in jaws of the Fates! 
They are friends; and friendly they guide him to prey, 
Yet never partake of the treat--
Eyes and brains to the dotard lethargic and dull, 
Pale ravener of horrible meat.

In a Boat, by D. H. Lawrence

See the stars, love, 
In the water much clearer and brighter 
Than those above us, and whiter, 
Like nenuphars. 

Star-shadows shine, love, 
How many stars in your bowl? 
How many shadows in your soul, 
Only mine, love, mine? 

When I move the oars, love, 
See how the stars are tossed, 
Distorted, the brightest lost. 
--So that bright one of yours, love. 

The poor waters spill 
The stars, waters broken, forsaken. 
--The heavens are not shaken, you say, love, 
Its stars stand still. 

There, did you see 
That spark fly up at us; even 
Stars are not safe in heaven. 
--What of yours, then, love, yours? 

What then, love, if soon 
Your light be tossed over a wave? 
Will you count the darkness a grave, 
And swoon, love, swoon?

Sonnet To Science, by Edgar Allan Poe

Science! true daughter of Old Time thou art!    
Who alterest all things with thy peering eyes. 
Why preyest thou thus upon the poet's heart,    
Vulture, whose wings are dull realities? 
How should he love thee? or how deem thee wise,    
Who wouldst not leave him in his wandering 
To seek for treasure in the jewelled skies,    
Albeit he soared with an undaunted wing? 
Hast thou not dragged Diana from her car,    
And driven the Hamadryad from the wood 
To seek a shelter in some happier star?    
Hast thou not torn the Naiad from her flood, 
The Elfin from the green grass, and from me 
The summer dream beneath the tamarind tree?

Vision, by Robert Penn Warren

I shall build me a house where the larkspur blooms 
In a narrow glade in an alder wood, 
Where the sunset shadows make violet glooms, 
And a whip-poor-will calls in eerie mood. 
I shall lie on a bed of river sedge, 
And listen to the glassy dark, 
With a guttered light on my window ledge, 
While an owl stares in at me white and stark. 
I shall burn my house with the rising dawn, 
And leave but the ashes and smoke behind, 
And again give the glade to the owl and the fawn, 
When the grey wood smoke drifts away with the wind.

To You, by Walt Whitman

Whoever you are, I fear you are walking the walks of dreams,
I fear these supposed realities are to melt from under your feet 
and hands, 
Even now your features, joys, speech, house, trade, manners, 
troubles, follies, costume, crimes, dissipate away from you,
Your true soul and body appear before me, 
They stand forth out of affairs, out of commerce, shops, work,
farms, clothes, the house, buying, selling, eating, drinking, suffering, dying. 
Whoever you are, now I place my hand upon you, that you be 
my poem
I whisper with my lips close to your ear, 
I have loved many women and men, but I love none better than 
O I have been dilatory and dumb, 
I should have made my way straight to you long ago, 
I should have blabb'd nothing but you, I should have chanted 
nothing but you. 
I will leave all and come and make the hymns of you, 
None has understood you, but I understand you, 
None has done justice to you, you have not done justice to 
None but has found you imperfect, I only find no imperfection in 
None but would subordinate you, I only am he who will never 
consent to subordinate you, 
I only am he who places over you no master, owner, better, 
God, beyond what waits intrinsically in yourself. 
Painters have painted their swarming groups and the centre- 
figure of all, 
From the head of the centre-figure spreading a nimbus of gold-
color'd light, 
But I paint myriads of heads, but paint no head without its 
nimbus of gold-color'd light, 
From my hand from the brain of every man and woman it 
streams, effulgently flowing forever. 
O I could sing such grandeurs and glories about you! 
You have not known what you are, you have slumber'd upon 
yourself all your life, 
Your eyelids have been the same as closed most of the time,
What you have done returns already in mockeries, 
(Your thrift, knowledge, prayers, if they do not return in 
mockeries, what is their return?) 
The mockeries are not you, 
Underneath them and within them I see you lurk, 
I pursue you where none else has pursued you, 
Silence, the desk, the flippant expression, the night, the 
accustom'd routine, if these conceal you from others or from yourself, they do not conceal you from me, 
The shaved face, the unsteady eye, the impure complexion, if 
these balk others they do not balk me, 
The pert apparel, the deform'd attitude, drunkenness, greed, 
premature death, all these I part aside. 
There is no endowment in man or woman that is not tallied in 
There is no virtue, no beauty in man or woman, but as good is 
in you, 
No pluck, no endurance in others, but as good is in you, 
No pleasure waiting for others, but an equal pleasure waits for 
As for me, I give nothing to any one except I give the like 
carefully to you, 
I sing the songs of the glory of none, not God, sooner than I 
sing the songs of the glory of you. 
Whoever you are! claim your own at an hazard! 
These shows of the East and West are tame compared to you,
These immense meadows, these interminable rivers, you are 
immense and interminable as they, 
These furies, elements, storms, motions of Nature, throes of 
apparent dissolution, you are he or she who is master or mistress over them, 
Master or mistress in your own right over Nature, elements, 
pain, passion, dissolution. 
The hopples fall from your ankles, you find an unfailing 
Old or young, male or female, rude, low, rejected by the rest, 
whatever you are promulges itself, 
Through birth, life, death, burial, the means are provided, 
nothing is scanted, 
Through angers, losses, ambition, ignorance, ennui, what you 

are picks its way.