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 175° 
Sylvia Plath

If the moon smiled, she would resemble you.
You leave the same impression
Of something beautiful, but annihilating.
Both of you are great light borrowers.
Her O-mouth grieves at the world; yours is unaffected,

And your first gift is making stone out of everything.
I wake to a mausoleum; you are here,
Ticking your fingers on the marble table, looking for cigarettes,
Spiteful as a woman, but not so nervous,
And dying to say something unanswerable.

The moon, too, abuses her subjects,
But in the daytime she is ridiculous.
Your dissatisfactions, on the other hand,
Arrive through the mailslot with loving regularity,
White and blank, expansive as carbon monoxide.

No day is safe from news of you,
Walking about in Africa maybe, but thinking of me.

 168° 
Ernest Hemingway

They sucked us in;
King and country,
Christ Almighty
And the rest.
Patriotism,
Democracy,
Honor—
Words and phrases,
They either bitched or killed us.

 83° 
Max Eastman

TRUTH, be more precious to me than the eyes
Of happy love; burn hotter in my throat
Than passion; and possess me like my pride;
More sweet than freedom; more desired than joy;
More sacred than the pleasing of a friend.

 72° 
Charles Bukowski

god I got the sad blue blues,
this woman sat there and she
said
are you really Charles
  
    
      
        Bukowski?
      
    
  

and I said
  
    forget that
  

I do not feel good
I've got the sad sads
all I want to do is
fuck you
and she laughed
she thought I was being
clever
and O I just looked up her long slim legs of heaven
I saw her liver and her quivering intestine
I saw Christ in there
jumping to a folk-rock
all the long lines of starvation within me
rose
and I walked over
and grabbed her on the couch
ripped her dress up around her face
and I didn't care
rape or the end of the earth
one more time
to be there
anywhere
real
yes
her panties were on the
floor
and my cock went in
my cock my god my cock went in
I was Charles
Somebody.

 68° 
Richard Jones

All winter the fire devoured everything --
tear-stained elegies, old letters, diaries, dead flowers.
When April finally arrived,
I opened the woodstove one last time
and shoveled the remains of those long cold nights
into a bucket, ash rising
through shafts of sunlight,
as swirling in bright, angelic eddies.
I shoveled out the charred end of an oak log,
black and pointed like a pencil;
half-burnt pages
sacrificed
in the making of poems;
old, square handmade nails
liberated from weathered planks
split for kindling.
I buried my hands in the bucket,
found the nails, lifted them,
the phoenix of my right hand
shielded with soot and tar,
my left hand shrouded in soft white ash --
nails in both fists like forged lightning.
I smeared black lines on my face,
drew crosses on my chest with the nails,
raised my arms and stomped my feet,
dancing in honor of spring
and rebirth, dancing
in honor of winter and death.
I hauled the heavy bucket to the garden,
spread ashes over the ground,
asked the earth to be good.
I gave the earth everything
that pulled me through the lonely winter --
oak trees, barns, poems.
I picked up my shovel
and turned hard, gray dirt,
the blade splitting winter
from spring.  With hoe and rake,
I cultivated soil,
tilling row after row,
the earth now loose and black.
Tearing seed packets with my teeth,
I sowed spinach with my right hand,
planted petunias with my left.
Lifting clumps of dirt,
I crumbled them in my fists,
loving each dark letter that fell from my fingers.
And when I carried my empty bucket to the lake for water,
a few last ashes rose into spring-morning air,
ash drifting over fields
dew-covered
and lightly dusted green.

 62° 
Cesare Pavese

È riapparsa la donna dagli occhi socchiusi
e dal corpo raccolto, camminando per strada.
Ha guardato diritto tendendo la mano,
nell'immobile strada. Ogni cosa è riemersa.

Nell'immobile luce dei giorno lontano
s'è spezzato il ricordo. La donna ha rialzato
la sua semplice fronte, e lo sguardo d'allora
è riapparso. La mano si è tesa alla mano
e la stretta angosciosa era quella d'allora.
Ogni cosa ha ripreso i colori e la vita
allo sguardo raccolto, alla bocca socchiusa.

È tornata l'angoscia dei giorni lontani
quando tutta un'immobile estate improvvisa
di colori e tepori emergeva, agli sguardi
di quegli occhi sommessi. È tornata l'angoscia
che nessuna dolcezza di labbra dischiuse
può lenire. Un immobile cielo s'accoglie
freddamente, in quegli occhi.
Fra calmo il ricordo
alla luce sommessa dei tempo, era un docile
moribondo cui già la finestra s'annebbia e scompare.
Si è spezzato il ricordo. La stretta angosciosa
della mano leggera ha riacceso i colori
e l'estate e i tepori sotto il viviclo cielo.
Ma la bocca socchiusa e gli sguardi sommessi
non dan vita che a un duro inumano silenzio.

 56° 
Giovanni Pascoli

Nell'orto, a Massa - o blocchi di turchese,
alpi Apuane! o lunghi intagli azzurri
nel celestino, all'orlo del paese!

un odorato e lucido verziere
pieno di frulli, pieno di sussurri,
pieno dè flauti delle capinere.

Nell'aie acuta la magnolia odora,
lustra l'arancio popolato d'oro -
io, quando al Belvedere era l'aurora,
venivo al piede d'uno snello alloro.

Sorgeva presso il vecchio muro, presso
il vecchio busto d'un imperatore,
col tronco svelto come di cipresso.

Slanciato avanti, sopra il muro, al sole
dava la chioma. Intorno era un odore,
sottil, di vecchio, e forse di viole.

Io sognava: una corsa luna il puro
Frigido, l'oro di capelli sparsi,
una fanciulla... Ancora al vecchio muro,
tremava il lauro che parea slanciarsi.

Un'alba - si sentìa di due fringuelli
chiaro il francesco mio: la capinera
già desta squittinìa di tra i piselli -

tu più non c'eri, o vergine fugace:
netto il pedale era tagliato: v'era
quel vecchio odore e quella vecchia pace;

il lauro, no. Sarchiava li vicino
Fiore, un ragazzo pieno di bontà.
Gli domandai del lauro; e Fiore, chino
sopra il sarchiello: Faceva ombra, sa!

E m'accennavi un campo glauco, o Fiore,
di cavolo cappuccio e cavolfiore.

MI alzo con le palpebre infuocate.
La fanciullezza smorta nella barba
cresciuta nel sonno, nella carne smagrita,
si fissa con la luce fusa nei miei occhi riarsi.
Finisco così nel buio incendio
di una giovinezza frastornata dall'eternità;
così mi brucio, è inutile
- pensando - essere altrimenti,
imporre limiti al disordine: mi trascina
sempre più frusto, con un viso secco
nella sua infanzia, verso un quieto e folle
ordine, il peso del mio giorno perso
in mute ore di gaiezza, in muti
istanti di terrore...

Primer amor, tú vences la distancia.
Fuensanta, tu recuerdo me es propicio.
Me deleita de lejos la fragancia
que de noche se exhala de tus tiestos,
y en pago de tan grande beneficio
te canonizo en estos
endecasílabos sentimentales.
A tu virtud mi devoción es tanta
que te miro en el altar, como la santa
Patrona que veneran tus zagales,
y así es como mis versos se han tornado
endecasílabos pontificales.
Como risueña advocación te he dado
la que ha de subyugar los corazones:
permíteme rezarte, novia ausente,
Nuestra Señora de las Ilusiones.
¡Quién le otorgara al corazón doliente
cristalizar el infantil anhelo,
que en su fuego romántico me abrasa,
de venerarte en diáfano capelo
en un rincón de la nativa casa!
Tanto se contagió mi vida toda
del grave encanto de tus ojos místicos,
que en vano espero para nuestra boda
alguna de las horas de pureza
en que se confortó mi gran tristeza
con los primeros panes eucarísticos.

Do not stand at my grave and weep..
I am not there. I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow,
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain,
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awake in the morning's hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft star-shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry..
I am not there. I did not die.

 50° 
H.P. Lovecraft

The cloudless day is richer at its close;
A golden glory settles on the lea;
Soft, stealing shadows hint of cool repose
To mellowing landscape, and to calming sea.

And in that nobler, gentler, lovelier light,
The soul to sweeter, loftier bliss inclines;
Freed form the noonday glare, the favour'd sight
Increasing grace in earth and sky divines.

But ere the purest radiance crowns the green,
Or fairest lustre fills th' expectant grove,
The twilight thickens, and the fleeting scene
Leaves but a hallow'd memory of love!

 48° 
Pablo Picasso

man who wears a hat sits still near the back unmoved by the world or the exposed breast of a statue (brain waves do not discharge through a fedora)

tag attached: bald is sanitary

oranges have more delicacy raw smelly and afterward singing allons enfants de patrie ding dang dong like that, all frog-ese so we don’t understand chanteused stiff basso profundo to excite to let us see with the clarity of a dream curled with hate set firm, firmer in the arms of a sleeveless girl then slung to sea level white as a leopard’s eye

remember its peroxide bathed, bleached inclined on the pillow just at the angle of expectancy without a hat sideward glance and the crippled heels of angels sparking down the hall

bulletin: young man willing to wear false beard to ease the pain for all

or trumpet blues broken played horizontal touched by seaweed hands in the light of boats (unfurled)

slowly

and the memory dies slowly half-forgotten, half-remembered

halved again

slowly

only
to begin
again

grim molecules of love

Toi qui fleuris ce que tu touches,
Qui, dans les bois, aux vieilles souches
Rends la vigueur,
Le sourire à toutes les bouches,
La vie au cœur ;

Qui changes la boue en prairies,
Sèmes d'or et de pierreries
Tous les haillons,
Et jusqu'au seuil des boucheries
Mets des rayons !

Ô printemps, alors que tout aime,
Que s'embellit la tombe même,
Verte au dehors,
Fais naître un renouveau suprême
Au cœur des morts !

Qu'ils ne soient pas les seuls au monde
Pour qui tu restes inféconde,
Saison d'amour !
Mais fais germer dans leur poussière
L'espoir divin de la lumière
Et du retour !

How strange to greet, this frosty morn,
In graceful counterfeit of flower,
These children of the meadows, born
Of sunshine and of showers!

How well the conscious wood retains
The pictures of its flower-sown home,
The lights and shades, the purple stains,
And golden hues of bloom!

It was a happy thought to bring
To the dark season's frost and rime
This painted memory of spring,
This dream of summertime.

Our hearts are lighter for its sake,
Our fancy's age renews its youth,
And dim-remembered fictions take
The guise of present truth.

A wizard of the Merrimac,--
So old ancestral legends say,--
Could call green leaf and blossom back
To frosted stem and spray.

The dry logs of the cottage wall,
Beneath his touch, put out their leaves;
The clay-bound swallow, at his call,
Played round the icy eaves.

The settler saw his oaken flail
Take bud, and bloom before his eyes;
From frozen pools he saw the pale
Sweet summer lilies rise.

To their old homes, by man profaned
Came the sad dryads, exiled long,
And through their leafy tongues complained
Of household use and wrong.

The beechen platter sprouted wild,
The pipkin wore its old-time green,
The cradle o'er the sleeping child
Became a leafy screen.

Haply our gentle friend hath met,
While wandering in her sylvan quest,
Haunting his native woodlands yet,
That Druid of the West;

And while the dew on leaf and flower
Glistened in the moonlight clear and still,
Learned the dusk wizard's spell of power,
And caught his trick of skill.

But welcome, be it new or old,
The gift which makes the day more bright,
And paints, upon the ground of cold
And darkness, warmth and light!

Without is neither gold nor green;
Within, for birds, the birch-logs sing;
Yet, summer-like, we sit between
The autumn and the spring.

The one, with bridal blush of rose,
And sweetest breath of woodland balm,
And one whose matron lips unclose
In smiles of saintly calm.

Fill soft and deep, O winter snow!
The sweet azalea's oaken dells,
And hide the banks where roses blow
And swing the azure bells!

O'erlay the amber violet's leaves,
The purple aster's brookside home,
Guard all the flowers her pencil gives
A live beyond their bloom.

And she, when spring comes round again,
By greening slope and singing flood
Shall wander, seeking, not in vain
Her darlings of the wood.

 45° 
C. S. Lewis

Angelic minds, they say, by simple intelligence
Behold the Forms of nature. They discern
Unerringly the Archtypes, all the verities
Which mortals lack or indirectly learn.
Transparent in primordial truth, unvarying,
Pure Earthness and right Stonehood from their clear,
High eminence are seen; unveiled, the seminal
Huge Principles appear.

The Tree-ness of the tree they know-the meaning of
Arboreal life, how from earth's salty lap
The solar beam uplifts it; all the holiness
Enacted by leaves' fall and rising sap;

But never an angel knows the knife-edged severance
Of sun from shadow where the trees begin,
The blessed cool at every pore caressing us
-An angel has no skin.

They see the Form of Air; but mortals breathing it
Drink the whole summer down into the breast.
The lavish pinks, the field new-mown, the ravishing
Sea-smells, the wood-fire smoke that whispers Rest.
The tremor on the rippled pool of memory
That from each smell in widening circles goes,
The pleasure and the pang --can angels measure it?
An angel has no nose.

The nourishing of life, and how it flourishes
On death, and why, they utterly know; but not
The hill-born, earthy spring, the dark cold bilberries.
The ripe peach from the southern wall still hot
Full-bellied tankards foamy-topped, the delicate
Half-lyric lamb, a new loaf's billowy curves,
Nor porridge, nor the tingling taste of oranges.
—An angel has no nerves.

Far richer they! I know the senses' witchery
Guards us like air, from heavens too big to see;
Imminent death to man that barb'd sublimity
And dazzling edge of beauty unsheathed would be.
Yet here, within this tiny, charmed interior,
This parlour of the brain, their Maker shares
With living men some secrets in a privacy
Forever ours, not theirs.

 42° 
Charles Bukowski

if you’re going to try, go all the
way.
otherwise, don’t even start.

if you’re going to try, go all the
way. this could mean losing girlfriends,
wives, relatives, jobs and
maybe your mind.

go all the way.
it could mean not eating for 3 or
4 days.
it could mean freezing on a
park bench.
it could mean jail,
it could mean derision,
mockery,
isolation.
isolation is the gift,
all the others are a test of your
endurance, of
how much you really want to
do it.
and you’ll do it
despite rejection and the
worst odds
and it will be better than
anything else
you can imagine.

if you’re going to try,
go all the way.
there is no other feeling like
that.
you will be alone with the
gods
and the nights will flame with
fire.

do it, do it, do it.
do it.

all the way
all the way.
you will ride life straight to
perfect laughter,
it’s the only good fight
there is.

Ei fu. Siccome immobile,
dato il mortal sospiro,
stette la spoglia immemore
orba di tanto spiro,
così percossa, attonita
la terra al nunzio sta,
muta pensando all'ultima
ora dell'uom fatale;
né sa quando una simile
orma di pie' mortale
la sua cruenta polvere
a calpestar verrà.
Lui folgorante in solio
vide il mio genio e tacque;
quando, con vece assidua,
cadde, risorse e giacque,
di mille voci al sònito
mista la sua non ha:
vergin di servo encomio
e di codardo oltraggio,
sorge or commosso al sùbito
sparir di tanto raggio;
e scioglie all'urna un cantico
che forse non morrà.
Dall'Alpi alle Piramidi,
dal Manzanarre al Reno,
di quel securo il fulmine
tenea dietro al baleno;
scoppiò da Scilla al Tanai,
dall'uno all'altro mar.
Fu vera gloria? Ai posteri
l'ardua sentenza: nui
chiniam la fronte al Massimo
Fattor, che volle in lui
del creator suo spirito
più vasta orma stampar.
La procellosa e trepida
gioia d'un gran disegno,
l'ansia d'un cor che indocile
serve, pensando al regno;
e il giunge, e tiene un premio
ch'era follia sperar;
tutto ei provò: la gloria
maggior dopo il periglio,
la fuga e la vittoria,
la reggia e il tristo esiglio;
due volte nella polvere,
due volte sull'altar.
Ei si nomò: due secoli,
l'un contro l'altro armato,
sommessi a lui si volsero,
come aspettando il fato;
ei fe' silenzio, ed arbitro
s'assise in mezzo a lor.
E sparve, e i dì nell'ozio
chiuse in sì breve sponda,
segno d'immensa invidia
e di pietà profonda,
d'inestinguibil odio
e d'indomato amor.
Come sul capo al naufrago
l'onda s'avvolve e pesa,
l'onda su cui del misero,
alta pur dianzi e tesa,
scorrea la vista a scernere
prode remote invan;
tal su quell'alma il cumulo
delle memorie scese.
Oh quante volte ai posteri
narrar se stesso imprese,
e sull'eterne pagine
cadde la stanca man!
Oh quante volte, al tacito
morir d'un giorno inerte,
chinati i rai fulminei,
le braccia al sen conserte,
stette, e dei dì che furono
l'assalse il sovvenir!
E ripensò le mobili
tende, e i percossi valli,
e il lampo de' manipoli,
e l'onda dei cavalli,
e il concitato imperio
e il celere ubbidir.
Ahi! forse a tanto strazio
cadde lo spirto anelo,
e disperò; ma valida
venne una man dal cielo,
e in più spirabil aere
pietosa il trasportò;
e l'avviò, pei floridi
sentier della speranza,
ai campi eterni, al premio
che i desideri avanza,
dov'è silenzio e tenebre
la gloria che passò.
Bella Immortal! benefica
Fede ai trionfi avvezza!
Scrivi ancor questo, allegrati;
ché più superba altezza
al disonor del Gòlgota
giammai non si chinò.
Tu dalle stanche ceneri
sperdi ogni ria parola:
il Dio che atterra e suscita,
che affanna e che consola,
sulla deserta coltrice
accanto a lui posò.

 35° 
Juan Gelman

esta secreta unión que pasa
en un punto muy interior del alma/
que debe ser donde estás vos/y donde
tales son el deleite y la gloria y demás

criaturas que pasan/conunidas como
aguas de cielo que van a río entrando a mar/o manos
que por lados contrarios se hacen una/
o sustento que me sustenta/así me sos

como madera en el palito/aunque
mayor dolor queda después/y deseo mayor porque crece
el amar cuando más se descubre
la delicia de vos/y vienen ansias como rayos

que abrasan y retardan el morir/y luego
sin saber cómo ni cuándo/sin
mover mano ni pie/cae un golpe de fuego que hace polvo
cuanto alentamos cuanto respiramos

al interior de esta pasión/
y suelta queda la pena como un animal
que también es noticia de vos/tierra mía
de la que estoy atado y desatado/

y rara ausencia/rara compañía/
que nadie es sino vos/
y yo como alguno colgado que
ni toca tierra ni al cielo puede subir

como conciencia de un tormento/
padecer o desdicha/que es gota de agua en el grande
oceano de el calor de vos/mariposita honda/
libre en la toda luz que das

 34° 
Wang Wei

Empty hill not see person
Yet hear person voice sound
Return scene enter deep forest
Duplicate light green moss on


Hills are empty, no man is seen,
Yet the sound of people's voices is heard.
Light is cast into the deep forest,
And shines again on green moss.

 32° 
R.S. Thomas

'Listen, now, verse should be as natural
As the small tuber that feeds on muck
And grows slowly from obtuse soil
To the white flower of immortal beauty.'

'Natural, hell! What was it Chaucer
Said once about the long toil
That goes like blood to the poem's making?
Leave it to nature and the verse sprawls,
Limp as bindweed, if it break at all
Life's iron crust. Man, you must sweat
And rhyme your guts taut, if you'd build
Your verse a ladder.'
'You speak as though
No sunlight ever surprised the mind
Groping on its cloudy path.'

'Sunlight's a thing that needs a window
Before it enter a dark room.
Windows don't happen.'
So two old poets,
Hunched at their beer in the low haze
Of an inn parlour, while the talk ran
Noisily by them, glib with prose.

 32° 
Anne Sexton

The rain drums down like red ants,
each bouncing off my window.
The ants are in great pain
and they cry out as they hit
as if their little legs were only
stitche don and their heads pasted.
And oh they bring to mind the grave,
so humble, so willing to be beat upon
with its awful lettering and
the body lying underneath
without an umbrella.
Depression is boring, I think
and I would do better to make
some soup and light up the cave.

 31° 
Philip Larkin

She kept her songs, they kept so little space,
The covers pleased her:
One bleached from lying in a sunny place,
One marked in circles by a vase of water,
One mended, when a tidy fit had seized her,
And coloured, by her daughter -
So they had waited, till, in widowhood
She found them, looking for something else, and stood

Relearning how each frank submissive chord
Had ushered in
Word after sprawling hyphenated word,
And the unfailing sense of being young
Spread out like a spring-woken tree, wherein
That hidden freshness sung,
That certainty of time laid up in store
As when she played them first. But, even more,

The glare of that much-mentionned brilliance, love,
Broke out, to show
Its bright incipience sailing above,
Still promising to solve, and satisfy,
And set unchangeably in order. So
To pile them back, to cry,
Was hard, without lamely admitting how
It had not done so then, and could not now.

In a quiet, pleasant meadow,
Beneath a summer sky,
Where green old trees their branches waved,
And winds went singing by;
Where a little brook went rippling
So musically low,
And passing clouds cast shadows
On the waving grass below;
Where low, sweet notes of brooding birds
Stole out on the fragrant air,
And golden sunlight shone undimmed
On all most fresh and fair;--
There bloomed a lovely sisterhood
Of happy little flowers,
Together in this pleasant home,
Through quiet summer hours.
No rude hand came to gather them,
No chilling winds to blight;
Warm sunbeams smiled on them by day,
And soft dews fell at night.
So here, along the brook-side,
Beneath the green old trees,
The flowers dwelt among their friends,
The sunbeams and the breeze.

One morning, as the flowers awoke,
Fragrant, and fresh, and fair,
A little worm came creeping by,
And begged a shelter there.
'Ah! pity and love me,' sighed the worm,
'I am lonely, poor, and weak;
A little spot for a resting-place,
Dear flowers, is all I seek.
I am not fair, and have dwelt unloved
By butterfly, bird, and bee.
They little knew that in this dark form
Lay the beauty they yet may see.
Then let me lie in the deep green moss,
And weave my little tomb,
And sleep my long, unbroken sleep
Till Spring's first flowers come.
Then will I come in a fairer dress,
And your gentle care repay
By the grateful love of the humble worm;
Kind flowers, O let me stay!'
But the wild rose showed her little thorns,
While her soft face glowed with pride;
The violet hid beneath the drooping ferns,
And the daisy turned aside.
Little Houstonia scornfully laughed,
As she danced on her slender stem;
While the cowslip bent to the rippling waves,
And whispered the tale to them.
A blue-eyed grass looked down on the worm,
As it silently turned away,
And cried, 'Thou wilt harm our delicate leaves,
And therefore thou canst not stay.'
Then a sweet, soft voice, called out from far,
'Come hither, poor worm, to me;
The sun lies warm in this quiet spot,
And I'll share my home with thee.'
The wondering flowers looked up to see
Who had offered the worm a home:
'T was a clover-blossom, whose fluttering leaves
Seemed beckoning him to come;
It dwelt in a sunny little nook,
Where cool winds rustled by,
And murmuring bees and butterflies came,
On the flower's breast to lie.
Down through the leaves the sunlight stole,
And seemed to linger there,
As if it loved to brighten the home
Of one so sweet and fair.
Its rosy face smiled kindly down,
As the friendless worm drew near;
And its low voice, softly whispering, said
'Poor thing, thou art welcome here;
Close at my side, in the soft green moss,
Thou wilt find a quiet bed,
Where thou canst softly sleep till Spring,
With my leaves above thee spread.
I pity and love thee, friendless worm,
Though thou art not graceful or fair;
For many a dark, unlovely form,
Hath a kind heart dwelling there;
No more o'er the green and pleasant earth,
Lonely and poor, shalt thou roam,
For a loving friend hast thou found in me,
And rest in my little home.'
Then, deep in its quiet mossy bed,
Sheltered from sun and shower,
The grateful worm spun its winter tomb,
In the shadow of the flower.
And Clover guarded well its rest,
Till Autumn's leaves were sere,
Till all her sister flowers were gone,
And her winter sleep drew near.
Then her withered leaves were softly spread
O'er the sleeping worm below,
Ere the faithful little flower lay
Beneath the winter snow.

Spring came again, and the flowers rose
From their quiet winter graves,
And gayly danced on their slender stems,
And sang with the rippling waves.
Softly the warm winds kissed their cheeks;
Brightly the sunbeams fell,
As, one by one, they came again
In their summer homes to dwell.
And little Clover bloomed once more,
Rosy, and sweet, and fair,
And patiently watched by the mossy bed,
For the worm still slumbered there.
Then her sister flowers scornfully cried,
As they waved in the summer air,
'The ugly worm was friendless and poor;
Little Clover, why shouldst thou care?
Then watch no more, nor dwell alone,
Away from thy sister flowers;
Come, dance and feast, and spend with us
These pleasant summer hours.
We pity thee, foolish little flower,
To trust what the false worm said;
He will not come in a fairer dress,
For he lies in the green moss dead.'
But little Clover still watched on,
Alone in her sunny home;
She did not doubt the poor worm's truth,
And trusted he would come.

At last the small cell opened wide,
And a glittering butterfly,
From out the moss, on golden wings,
Soared up to the sunny sky.
Then the wondering flowers cried aloud,
'Clover, thy watch was vain;
He only sought a shelter here,
And never will come again.'
And the unkind flowers danced for joy,
When they saw him thus depart;
For the love of a beautiful butterfly
Is dear to a flower's heart.
They feared he would stay in Clover's home,
And her tender care repay;
So they danced for joy, when at last he rose
And silently flew away.
Then little Clover bowed her head,
While her soft tears fell like dew;
For her gentle heart was grieved, to find
That her sisters' words were true,
And the insect she had watched so long
When helpless, poor, and lone,
Thankless for all her faithful care,
On his golden wings had flown.
But as she drooped, in silent grief,
She heard little Daisy cry,
'O sisters, look! I see him now,
Afar in the sunny sky;
He is floating back from Cloud-Land now,
Borne by the fragrant air.
Spread wide your leaves, that he may choose
The flower he deems most fair.'
Then the wild rose glowed with a deeper blush,
As she proudly waved on her stem;
The Cowslip bent to the clear blue waves,
And made her mirror of them.
Little Houstonia merrily danced,
And spread her white leaves wide;
While Daisy whispered her joy and hope,
As she stood by her gay friends' side.
Violet peeped from the tall green ferns,
And lifted her soft blue eye
To watch the glittering form, that shone
Afar in the summer sky.
They thought no more of the ugly worm,
Who once had wakened their scorn;
But looked and longed for the butterfly now,
As the soft wind bore him on.

Nearer and nearer the bright form came,
And fairer the blossoms grew;
Each welcomed him, in her sweetest tones;
Each offered her honey and dew.
But in vain did they beckon, and smile, and call,
And wider their leaves unclose;
The glittering form still floated on,
By Violet, Daisy, and Rose.
Lightly it flew to the pleasant home
Of the flower most truly fair,
On Clover's breast he softly lit,
And folded his bright wings there.
'Dear flower,' the butterfly whispered low,
'Long hast thou waited for me;
Now I am come, and my grateful love
Shall brighten thy home for thee;
Thou hast loved and cared for me, when alone,
Hast watched o'er me long and well;
And now will I strive to show the thanks
The poor worm could not tell.
Sunbeam and breeze shall come to thee,
And the coolest dews that fall;
Whate'er a flower can wish is thine,
For thou art worthy all.
And the home thou shared with the friendless worm
The butterfly's home shall be;
And thou shalt find, dear, faithful flower,
A loving friend in me.'
Then, through the long, bright summer hours
Through sunshine and through shower,
Together in their happy home
Dwelt butterfly and flower.

 30° 
Robert Browning

Escape me?
Never—
Beloved!
While I am I, and you are you,
So long as the world contains us both,
Me the loving and you the loth,
While the one eludes, must the other pursue.
My life is a fault at last, I fear—
It seems too much like a fate, indeed!
Though I do my best I shall scarce succeed—
But what if I fail of my purpose here?

It is but to keep the nerves at strain,
To dry one’s eyes and laugh at a fall,
And baffled, get up to begin again,—
So the chase takes up one’s life, that’s all.
While, look but once from your farthest bound,
At me so deep in the dust and dark,
No sooner the old hope drops to ground
Than a new one, straight to the selfsame mark,
I shape me—
Ever
Removed!

Put out my eyes, and I can see you still,
Slam my ears to, and I can hear you yet;
And without any feet can go to you;
And tongueless, I can conjure you at will.
Break off my arms, I shall take hold of you
And grasp you with my heart as with a hand;
Arrest my heart, my brain will beat as true;
And if you set this brain of mine afire,
Then on my blood-stream I yet will carry you.

 23° 
Mary Oliver

"Make of yourself a light"
said the Buddha,
before he died.
I think of this every morning
as the east begins
to tear off its many clouds
of darkness, to send up the first
signal-a white fan
streaked with pink and violet,
even green.
An old man, he lay down
between two sala trees,
and he might have said anything,
knowing it was his final hour.
The light burns upward,
it thickens and settles over the fields.
Around him, the villagers gathered
and stretched forward to listen.
Even before the sun itself
hangs, disattached, in the blue air,
I am touched everywhere
by its ocean of yellow waves.
No doubt he thought of everything
that had happened in his difficult life.
And then I feel the sun itself
as it blazes over the hills,
like a million flowers on fire-
clearly I'm not needed,
yet I feel myself turning
into something of inexplicable value.
Slowly, beneath the branches,
he raised his head.
He looked into the faces of that frightened crowd.

 22° 
Thomas Wolfe

Oh, will you ever return to me,
My wild first force, will you return
When the old madness comes to
Blacken in me and to burn
Slow in my brain like a slow fire
In a blackened brazier - dull
like a smear of blood,
Humid and hot evil, slow-sweltering
up in a flood!
Oh, will you not come back, my fierce song?
Jubilant and exultant, triumphing over
the huge wrong
of that slow fire of madness that feeds
on me - the slow mad blood
thick with its hate and evil, sweltering
up in its flood!
Oh! will you not purge it from me -
my wild lost flame?
Come and restore me, save me from the
intolerable shame
Of that huge eye that eats into my
Naked body constantly
And has no name,
Gazing upon me from the immense and
Cruel bareness of the sky
That leaves no mercy of concealment
That gives no promise of revealment
And that drives us on forever with its
lidless eye
Across a huge and houseless level of
a planetary vacancy
Oh, wild song and fury, fire and flame,
Lost magic of my youth return, defend
me from this shame!
And Oh! You golden vengeance of bright
song
Not cure but answer to earth's wrong

 22° 
Richard Crashaw

I would be married, but I’d have no wife,
I would be married to a single life.

 21° 
Hermann Hesse

Many thousand glittering motes
Crowd forward greedily together
In trembling circles.
Extravagantly carousing away
For a whole hour rapidly vanishing,
They rave, delirious, a shrill whir,
Shivering with joy against death.
While kingdoms, sunk into ruin,
Whose thrones, heavy with gold, instantly scattered
Into night and legend, without leaving a trace,
Have never known so fierce a dancing.

 20° 
Robert Frost

He saw her from the bottom of the stairs
Before she saw him. She was starting down,
Looking back over her shoulder at some fear.
She took a doubtful step and then undid it
To raise herself and look again. He spoke
Advancing toward her: “What is it you see
From up there always?—for I want to know.”
She turned and sank upon her skirts at that,
And her face changed from terrified to dull.
He said to gain time: “What is it you see?”
Mounting until she cowered under him.
“I will find out now—you must tell me, dear.”
She, in her place, refused him any help,
With the least stiffening of her neck and silence.
She let him look, sure that he wouldn’t see,
Blind creature; and a while he didn’t see.
But at last he murmured, “Oh” and again, “Oh.”

“What is it—what?” she said.

“Just that I see.”

“You don’t,” she challenged. “Tell me what it is.”

“The wonder is I didn’t see at once.
I never noticed it from here before.
I must be wonted to it—that’s the reason.
The little graveyard where my people are!
So small the window frames the whole of it.
Not so much larger than a bedroom, is it?
There are three stones of slate and one of marble,
Broad-shouldered little slabs there in the sunlight
On the sidehill. We haven’t to mind those.
But I understand: it is not the stones,
But the child’s mound——”

“Don’t, don’t, don’t, don’t,” she cried.

She withdrew, shrinking from beneath his arm
That rested on the banister, and slid downstairs;
And turned on him with such a daunting look,
He said twice over before he knew himself:
“Can’t a man speak of his own child he’s lost?”

“Not you!—Oh, where’s my hat? Oh, I don’t need it!
I must get out of here. I must get air.—
I don’t know rightly whether any man can.”

“Amy! Don’t go to someone else this time.
Listen to me. I won’t come down the stairs.”
He sat and fixed his chin between his fists.
“There’s something I should like to ask you, dear.”

“You don’t know how to ask it.”
“Help me, then.”

Her fingers moved the latch for all reply.

“My words are nearly always an offense.
I don’t know how to speak of anything
So as to please you. But I might be taught,
I should suppose. I can’t say I see how.
A man must partly give up being a man
With womenfolk. We could have some arrangement
By which I’d bind myself to keep hands off
Anything special you’re a-mind to name.
Though I don’t like such things ‘twixt those that love.
Two that don’t love can’t live together without them.
But two that do can’t live together with them.”
She moved the latch a little. “Don’t—don’t go.
Don’t carry it to someone else this time.
Tell me about it if it’s something human.
Let me into your grief. I’m not so much
Unlike other folks as your standing there
Apart would make me out. Give me my chance.
I do think, though, you overdo it a little.
What was it brought you up to think it the thing
To take your mother-loss of a first child
So inconsolably—in the face of love.
You’d think his memory might be satisfied——”

“There you go sneering now!”

     “I’m not, I’m not!
You make me angry. I’ll come down to you.
God, what a woman! And it’s come to this,
A man can’t speak of his own child that’s dead.”

“You can’t because you don’t know how to speak.
If you had any feelings, you that dug
With your own hand—how could you?—his little grave;
I saw you from that very window there,
Making the gravel leap and leap in air,
Leap up, like that, like that, and land so lightly
And roll back down the mound beside the hole.
I thought, Who is that man? I didn’t know you.
And I crept down the stairs and up the stairs
To look again, and still your spade kept lifting.
Then you came in. I heard your rumbling voice
Out in the kitchen, and I don’t know why,
But I went near to see with my own eyes.
You could sit there with the stains on your shoes
Of the fresh earth from your own baby’s grave
And talk about your everyday concerns.
You had stood the spade up against the wall
Outside there in the entry, for I saw it.”

“I shall laugh the worst laugh I ever laughed.
I’m cursed. God, if I don’t believe I’m cursed.”

“I can repeat the very words you were saying:
‘Three foggy mornings and one rainy day
Will rot the best birch fence a man can build.’
Think of it, talk like that at such a time!
What had how long it takes a birch to rot
To do with what was in the darkened parlour?
You couldn’t care! The nearest friends can go
With anyone to death, comes so far short
They might as well not try to go at all.
No, from the time when one is sick to death,
One is alone, and he dies more alone.
Friends make pretense of following to the grave,
But before one is in it, their minds are turned
And making the best of their way back to life
And living people, and things they understand.
But the world’s evil. I won’t have grief so
If I can change it. Oh, I won’t, I won’t!”

“There, you have said it all and you feel better.
You won’t go now. You’re crying. Close the door.
The heart’s gone out of it: why keep it up?
Amyl There’s someone coming down the road!”

“You—oh, you think the talk is all. I must go—
Somewhere out of this house. How can I make you——”

“If—you—do!” She was opening the door wider.
“Where do you mean to go? First tell me that.
I’ll follow and bring you back by force. I will!—”

 16° 
Regina Derieva

Sons of bitches
were born
with hearts of stone,
cherishing this stone
all their life.
Children of
sons of bitches
were born
with hearts of grenade,
in order to
blow to pieces
everything,
and to leave as a message for their descendants —
entrails
(still smoking entrails)
of sons of bitches.

 15° 
Anna Swir

As a child
I put my finger in the fire  
to become
a saint.

As a teenager
every day I would knock my head against the wall.

As a young girl
I went out through a window of a garret  
to the roof
in order to jump.

As a woman
I had lice all over my body.
They cracked when I was ironing my sweater.

I waited sixty minutes  
to be executed.
I was hungry for six years.

Then I bore a child,  
they were carving me  
without putting me to sleep.

Then a thunderbolt killed me
three times and I had to rise from the dead three times  
without anyone’s help.

Now I am resting
after three resurrections.

 14° 
Julia Ward Howe

Thou metamorphic god!
Who mak'st the straight Olympus thy abode,
Hermes to subtle laughter moving,
Apollo with serener loving,
Thou demi-god also!
Who dost all the powers of healing know;
Thou hero who dost wield
The golden sword and shield,--
Shield of a comprehensive mind,
And sword to wound the foes of human kind;

Thou man of noble mould!
Whose metal grows not cold
Beneath the hammer of the hurrying years;
A fiery breath doth blow
Across its fervid glow,
And still its resonance delights our ears;

Loved of thy brilliant mates,
Relinquished to the fates,
Whose spirit music used to chime with thine,
Transfigured in our sight,
Not quenched in death's dark night,
They hold thee in companionship divine.

O autocratic muse!
Soul-rainbow of all hues,
Packed full of service are thy bygone years;
Thy winged steed doth fly
Across the starry sky,
Bearing the lowly burthens of thy tears.

I try this little leap,
Wishing that from the deep,
I might some pearl of song adventurous bring.
Despairing, here I stop,
And my poor offering drop,--
Why stammer I when thou art here to sing?

 13° 
Sylvia Plath

Unlucky the hero born
In this province of the stuck record
Where the most watchful cooks go jobless
And the mayor's rôtisserie turns
Round of its own accord.

There's no career in the venture
Of riding against the lizard,
Himself withered these latter-days
To leaf-size from lack of action:
History's beaten the hazard.

The last crone got burnt up
More than eight decades back
With the love-hot herb, the talking cat,
But the children are better for it,
The cow milks cream an inch thick.

 13° 
Lewis Carroll

He thought he saw an Elephant,
That practised on a fife:
He looked again, and found it was
A letter from his wife.
'At length I realise,' he said,
The bitterness of Life!'

He thought he saw a Buffalo
Upon the chimney-piece:
He looked again, and found it was
His Sister's Husband's Niece.
'Unless you leave this house,' he said,
"I'll send for the Police!'

He thought he saw a Rattlesnake
That questioned him in Greek:
He looked again, and found it was
The Middle of Next Week.
'The one thing I regret,' he said,
'Is that it cannot speak!'

He thought he saw a Banker's Clerk
Descending from the bus:
He looked again, and found it was
A Hippopotamus.
'If this should stay to dine,' he said,
'There won't be much for us!'

He thought he saw a Kangaroo
That worked a coffee-mill:
He looked again, and found it was
A Vegetable-Pill.
'Were I to swallow this,' he said,
'I should be very ill!'

He thought he saw a Coach-and-Four
That stood beside his bed:
He looked again, and found it was
A Bear without a Head.
'Poor thing,' he said, 'poor silly thing!
It's waiting to be fed!'

He thought he saw an Albatross
That fluttered round the lamp:
He looked again, and found it was
A Penny-Postage Stamp.
'You'd best be getting home,' he said:
'The nights are very damp!'

He thought he saw a Garden-Door
That opened with a key:
He looked again, and found it was
A Double Rule of Three:
'And all its mystery,' he said,
'Is clear as day to me!'

He thought he saw a Argument
That proved he was the Pope:
He looked again, and found it was
A Bar of Mottled Soap.
'A fact so dread,' he faintly said,
'Extinguishes all hope!'

You like my bird-sung gardens: wings and flowers;
Calm landscapes for emotion; star-lit lawns;
And Youth against the sun-rise ... ‘Not profound;
‘But such a haunting music in the sound:
‘Do it once more; it helps us to forget’.

Last night I dreamt an old recurring scene—
Some complex out of childhood; (sex, of course!)
I can’t remember how the trouble starts;
And then I’m running blindly in the sun
Down the old orchard, and there’s something cruel
Chasing me; someone roused to a grim pursuit
Of clumsy anger ... Crash! I’m through the fence
And thrusting wildly down the wood that’s dense
With woven green of safety; paths that wind
Moss-grown from glade to glade; and far behind,
One thwarted yell; then silence. I’ve escaped.

That’s where it used to stop. Last night I went
Onward until the trees were dark and huge,
And I was lost, cut off from all return
By swamps and birdless jungles. I’d no chance
Of getting home for tea. I woke with shivers,
And thought of crocodiles in crawling rivers.

Some day I’ll build (more ruggedly than Doughty)
A dark tremendous song you’ll never hear.
My beard will be a snow-storm, drifting whiter
On bowed, prophetic shoulders, year by year.
And some will say, ‘His work has grown so dreary.’
Others, ‘He used to be a charming writer’.
And you, my friend, will query—
‘Why can’t you cut it short, you pompous blighter?’

Cargado voy de mí, veo delante
Muerte que me amenaza la jornada;
Ir porfiando por la senda errada
Más de necio será que de constante.
Si por su mal me sigue ciego amante
(Que nunca es sola suerte desdichada),
¡Ay! vuelva en sí y atrás: no dé pisada
Donde la dio tan ciego caminante.
Ved cuán errado mi camino ha sido;
Cuán solo y triste, y cuán desordenado,
Que nunca así le anduvo pie perdido:
Pues por no desandar lo caminado,
Viendo delante y cerca fin temido,
Con pasos que otros huyen le he buscado.

 12° 
Leonie Adams

Then I was sealed, and like the wintering tree
I stood me locked upon a summer core;
Living, had died a death, and asked no more.
And I lived then, but as enduringly,
And my heart beat, but only as to be.
Ill weathers well, hail, gust and cold I bore,
I held my life as hid, at root, in store:
Thus I lived then, till this air breathed on me.
Till this kind air breathed kindness everywhere,
There where my times had left me I would stay.
Then I was staunch, I knew nor yes nor no;
But now the wishful leaves have thronged the air.
My every leaf leans forth upon the day;
Alas, kind element! which comes to go.

 12° 
Mirabai

In my travels I spent time with a great yogi.
Once he said to me.

“Become so still you hear the blood flowing
through your veins.”

One night as I sat in quiet,
I seemed on the verge of entering a world inside so vast
I know it is the source of
all of
us.

Oh! pleasant exercise of hope and joy!
For mighty were the auxiliars which then stood
Upon our side, we who were strong in love!
Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive,
But to be young was very heaven!—Oh! times,
In which the meagre, stale, forbidding ways
Of custom, law, and statute, took at once
The attraction of a country in romance!
When Reason seemed the most to assert her rights,
When most intent on making of herself
A prime Enchantress—to assist the work
Which then was going forward in her name!
Not favoured spots alone, but the whole earth,
The beauty wore of promise, that which sets
(As at some moment might not be unfelt
Among the bowers of paradise itself )
The budding rose above the rose full blown.
What temper at the prospect did not wake
To happiness unthought of? The inert
Were roused, and lively natures rapt away!
They who had fed their childhood upon dreams,
The playfellows of fancy, who had made
All powers of swiftness, subtilty, and strength
Their ministers,—who in lordly wise had stirred
Among the grandest objects of the sense,
And dealt with whatsoever they found there
As if they had within some lurking right
To wield it;—they, too, who, of gentle mood,
Had watched all gentle motions, and to these
Had fitted their own thoughts, schemers more wild,
And in the region of their peaceful selves;—
Now was it that both found, the meek and lofty
Did both find, helpers to their heart’s desire,
And stuff at hand, plastic as they could wish;
Wcre called upon to exercise their skill,
Not in Utopia, subterranean fields,
Or some secreted island, Heaven knows where!
But in the very world, which is the world
Of all of us,—the place where in the end
We find our happiness, or not at all!

 11° 
Thomas Carew

Now you have freely given me leave to love,
                What will you doe?
        Shall I your mirth, or passion move,
                When I begin to wooe;
Will you torment, or scorn, or love me too?

Each petty beauty can disdain, and I,
                Spight of your hate,
        Without your leave can see, and dye,
                Dispence a nobler Fate,
Tis easie to destroy, you may create.

Then give me leave to love, and love me too
                Not with designe
        To rayse, as Loves curst Rebels doe,
                When puling Poets whine,
Fame to their beauty, from their blubbr’d eyn.

Grief is a puddle, and reflects not clear
                Your beauties rayes;
        Joyes are pure streames, your eyes appear
                Sullen in sadder layes,
In cheerfull numbers they shine bright with prayse.

Which shall not mention, to express you fayr,
                Wounds, flames, and darts,
        Storms in your brow, nets in your hair,
                Suborning all your parts,
Or to betray, or torture captive hearts.

I’le make your eyes like morning Suns appear,
                As mild, and fair;
        Your brow as Crystal smooth, and clear,
                And your dishevell’d hayr
Shall flow like a calm Region of the Ayr.

Rich Nature’s store, (which is the Poet’s Treasure)
                I’le spend, to dress
        Your beauties, if your mine of Pleasure
                In equall thankfulness
You but unlock, so we each other bless.

Ni tú ni yo estamos
en disposición
de encontrarnos.
Tú... por lo que ya sabes.
¡Yo la he querido tanto!
Sigue esa veredita.
En las manos
tengo los agujeros
de los clavos.
¿No ves cómo me estoy
desangrando?
No mires nunca atrás,
vete despacio
y reza como yo
a San Cayetano,
que ni tú ni yo estamos
en disposición
de encontrarnos.

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