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Added by mika_ on 28 Nov 2011 11:24

100 Favorite Books of Poetry

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Favorite Poem:

"Of Modern Poetry"

The poem of the mind in the act of finding
What will suffice. It has not always had
To find: the scene was set; it repeated what
Was in the script.
Then the theatre was changed
To something else. Its past was a souvenir.
It has to be living, to learn the speech of the place.
It has to face the men of the time and to meet
The women of the time. It has to think about war
And it has to find what will suffice. It has
To construct a new stage. It has to be on that stage
And, like an insatiable actor, slowly and
With meditation, speak words that in the ear,
In the delicatest ear of the mind, repeat,
Exactly, that which it wants to hear, at the sound
Of which, an invisible audience listens,
Not to the play, but to itself, expressed
In an emotion as of two people, as of two
Emotions becoming one. The actor is
A metaphysician in the dark, twanging
An instrument, twanging a wiry string that gives
Sounds passing through sudden rightnesses, wholly
Containing the mind, below which it cannot descend,
Beyond which it has no will to rise.
It must
Be the finding of a satisfaction, and may
Be of a man skating, a woman dancing, a woman
Combing. The poem of the act of the mind.

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"Reality Is An Activity of the Most August Imagination"

Last Friday, in the big light of last Friday night,
We drove home from Cornwall to Hartford, late.

It was not a night blown at a glassworks in Vienna
Or Venice, motionless, gathering time and dust.

There was a crush of strength in a grinding going round,
Under the front of the westward evening star,

The vigor of glory, a glittering in the veins,
As things emerged and moved and were dissolved,

Either in distance, change or nothingness,
The visible transformations of summer night,

An argentine abstraction approaching form
And suddenly denying itself away.

There was an insolid billowing of the solid.
Night's moonlight lake was neither water nor air.

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"The Hand as a Being"

In the first canto of the final canticle,
Too conscious of too many things at once,
Our man beheld the naked, nameless dame,

Seized her and wondered: why beneath the tree
She held her hand before him in the air,
For him to see, wove round her glittering hair.

Too conscious of too many things at once,
In the first canto of the final canticle,
Her hand composed him and composed the tree.

The wind had seized the tree and ha, and ha,
It held the shivering, the shaken limbs,
Then bathed its body in the leaping lake.

Her hand composed him like a hand appeared,
Of an impersonal gesture, a stranger's hand.
He was too conscious of too many things

In the first canto of the final canticle.
Her hand took his and drew him near to her.
Her hair fell on him and the mi-bird flew

To the ruddier bushes at the garden's end.
Of her, of her alone, at last he knew
And lay beside her underneath the tree.

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The Moon Before Morning - W.S. Merwin
"Long After Light"

Small roads written in sleep in the foothills
how long ago and I believed you were lost
as I saw the bronze deepening in the light
and the shy moss turning to itself holding
its own brightness above the badger's path
while a single crow sailed west without a sound
and yet we trust without giving it a thought
that we will always see it as we see it once
and that what we know is only
a moment of what is ours and will
always be ours we believe it as
the moment flows away out of reach
and lengthening shadows merge in the valley
and one window kindles there like a first star
what we see again will come to us in secret
and without even knowing that we are here

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The Shadow of Sirius - W.S. Merwin
"A Momentary Creed"

I believe in the ordinary day
that is here at this moment and is me

I do not see it going its way
but I never saw how it came to me

it extends beyond whatever I may
think I know and all that is real to me

it is the present that it bears away
where has it gone when it has gone from me

there is no place I know outside today
except for the unknown all around me

the only presence that appears to stay
everything that I call mine it lent me

even the way that I believe the day
for as long as it is here and is me

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"Sonnet X"

For shame deny that thou bear'st love to any,
Who for thy self art so unprovident.
Grant, if thou wilt, thou art beloved of many,
But that thou none lov'st is most evident:
For thou art so possessed with murderous hate,
That 'gainst thy self thou stick'st not to conspire,
Seeking that beauteous roof to ruinate
Which to repair should be thy chief desire.
O! change thy thought, that I may change my mind:
Shall hate be fairer lodged than gentle love?
Be, as thy presence is, gracious and kind,
Or to thyself at least kind-hearted prove:
Make thee another self for love of me,
That beauty still may live in thine or thee.

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After: Poems - Jane Hirshfield
"Downed Branch"

I wanted to be intimate to my own life.
What came were
the many eating their way through the tree.
Night of no wind, the grass littered with unripe apples.
The limb fell hard.
It was not
the weight of the apples but the many eating,
even on the ground still eating,
anonymous and steady.
Someone else could name them, genus, species.
Someone else could feel for the affection.
I wanted the intimate knowledge
they had of the tree.
Wanted their simple and ruinous hunger,
made without distinction of the lived-in tree.

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"The Music like Water"

How, on a summer night,
the mysterious few bird notes rise
and break against the dark and stop,
and that music continues, afterward, for a long time;
how you move in me until silence itself is moving
precisely as those few notes,
how they do not stop, the music like water
finding its way;
how what we begin we only think is ours,
how quickly it passes from reach,
some other life throating the air
until it is utterly lovely and changed;
how I am changed by you and change you,
how we willingly hollow our throats for the song,
how the music chains us, but the song--
on a summer night, how it breaks and stops,
how we falter and still the notes rise, beyond us,
how they complete themselves in the silence
and silence completes us, simple as those few notes
that answer the dark on a summer night and fall still.

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"For a Reason"

Striking your finger on a drum discharges all sound and begins a new harmony.
Taking a single step suggests the advent and advance of new men.
Your head turns away: new love! Your head turns back--new love!
All the children sing: "Change our fates, hobble the plague, start with time." They beg: "Elevate anywhere our fortunes and hopes."
Arrival from always, for departure to everywhere.

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The Nature of Things - Francis Ponge

Below me, forever below me, there's water. Gazing at it, I'm always looking down. Like the ground, like some portion of the ground, a modification of ground.
Water is colorless and glistening, formless and cool, passive and determined in its single vice: gravity. With exceptional means at its disposal to gratify the vice: circumvention, perforation, infiltration, erosion.
The vice plays an inner role as well: water endlessly ravels in upon itself, constantly refuses to assume any form, tends only to self-humiliation, prostrating itself, all but a corpse, like the monks of some orders. Forever lower: that seems to be its motto--the very opposite of reaching for the heavens.

You might almost say that water is insane, given the obsession, this fixation, the hysterical need to obey its gravity alone.
To be sure, every last thing on earth knows the same need, which at all times and everywhere must be satisfied. This standing wardrobe, for instance, is obstinate in its desire to be firmly planted on the ground, and if one day it should be in precarious balance, it would sooner topple than take countermeasures. Yet to some extent it does play with gravity, defies it: it doesn't collapse through and through--its cornice, its moldings, don't lend themselves to that. Some inner resistance persists, to the good of its individuality and form.
By definition, LIQUID is what seeks to obey gravity rather than maintain its form, forgoes all form to obey its gravity.
And loses all bearing because of this fixation, these unhealthy qualms. Because of this vice, which makes water rapid, headlong or stagnant, formless or savage, formless and savage, savagely burrowing, for instance, crafty, infiltrating, circumventing--to the point where you can do as you will with it, run water through pipes to make it gush up vertically, so as to enjoy the way it eventually comes plashing, raining down: truly a slave.
...Yet the sun and moon are jealous of this exclusive influence, they try to exert pressure on water whenever it leaves itself open to the risk of vast expanses and particularly in a state of least resistance, dispersed in shallow puddles. At those times the sun exacts a great tribute. It forces water into a perpetual cycle, treating it like a caged squirrel on its wheel.

Water escapes me...slips through my fingers And that's not the worst of it! Things arent even as neat and clean as that (as a lizard or a frog): I'm left with traces of it on my hands, blotches that take awhile to dry or have to be wiped off. It eludes and yet marks me, without being able to do a whole lot about it.
Ideologically it's the same thing: water eludes me, eludes all definition, yet leaves its traces in my mind, on this paper--formless blots.
Water's anxiety: sensitive to the slightest change of incline. Leaping downstairs two steps at a time. Playful, childishly obedient, returning the moment we call it back by tilting the slope this way.

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"Song of the Redwood Tree"


A California song,
A prophecy and indirection, a thought impalpable to breathe as air,
A chorus of dryads, fading, departing, or hamadryads departing,
A murmuring, fateful, giant voice, out of the earth and sky,
Voice of a mighty dying tree in the redwood forest dense.

Farewell my brethren,
Farewell O earth and sky, farewell ye neighboring waters,
My time has ended, my term has come.

Along the northern coast,
Just back from the rock-bound shore and the caves,
In the saline air from the sea in the Mendocino country,
With the surge for base and accompaniment low and hoarse,
With crackling blows of axes sounding musically driven by strong arms,
Riven deep by the sharp tongues of the axes, there in the redwood
forest dense,
I heard the might tree its death-chant chanting.

The choppers heard not, the camp shanties echoed not,
The quick-ear'd teamsters and chain and jack-screw men heard not,
As the wood-spirits came from their haunts of a thousand years to
join the refrain,
But in my soul I plainly heard.

Murmuring out of its myriad leaves,
Down from its lofty top rising two hundred feet high,
Out of its stalwart trunk and limbs, out of its foot-thick bark,
That chant of the seasons and time, chant not of the past only but
the future.

You untold life of me,
And all you venerable and innocent joys,
Perennial hardy life of me with joys 'mid rain and many a summer sun,
And the white snows and night and the wild winds;
O the great patient rugged joys, my soul's strong joys unreck'd by man,
(For know I bear the soul befitting me, I too have consciousness, identity,
And all the rocks and mountains have, and all the earth,)
Joys of the life befitting me and brothers mine,
Our time, our term has come.

Nor yield we mournfully majestic brothers,
We who have grandly fill'd our time,
With Nature's calm content, with tacit huge delight,
We welcome what we wrought for through the past,
And leave the field for them.

For them predicted long,
For a superber race, they too to grandly fill their time,
For them we abdicate, in them ourselves ye forest kings.'
In them these skies and airs, these mountain peaks, Shasta, Nevadas,
These huge precipitous cliffs, this amplitude, these valleys, far Yosemite,
To be in them absorb'd, assimilated.

Then to a loftier strain,
Still prouder, more ecstatic rose the chant,
As if the heirs, the deities of the West,
Joining with master-tongue bore part.

Not wan from Asia's fetiches,
Nor red from Europe's old dynastic slaughter-house,
(Area of murder-plots of thrones, with scent left yet of wars and
scaffolds everywhere,
But come from Nature's long and harmless throes, peacefully builded thence,
These virgin lands, lands of the Western shore,
To the new culminating man, to you, the empire new,
You promis'd long, we pledge, we dedicate.

You occult deep volitions,
You average spiritual manhood, purpose of all, pois'd on yourself,
giving not taking law,
You womanhood divine, mistress and source of all, whence life and
love and aught that comes from life and love,
You unseen moral essence of all the vast materials of America, age
upon age working in death the same as life,)
You that, sometimes known, oftener unknown, really shape and mould
the New World, adjusting it to Time and Space,
You hidden national will lying in your abysms, conceal'd but ever alert,
You past and present purposes tenaciously pursued, may-be
unconscious of yourselves,
Unswerv'd by all the passing errors, perturbations of the surface;
You vital, universal, deathless germs, beneath all creeds, arts,
statutes, literatures,
Here build your homes for good, establish here, these areas entire,
lands of the Western shore,
We pledge, we dedicate to you.

For man of you, your characteristic race,
Here may he hardy, sweet, gigantic grow, here tower proportionate to Nature,
Here climb the vast pure spaces unconfined, uncheck'd by wall or roof,
Here laugh with storm or sun, here joy, here patiently inure,
Here heed himself, unfold himself, (not others' formulas heed,)
here fill his time,
To duly fall, to aid, unreck'd at last,
To disappear, to serve.

Thus on the northern coast,
In the echo of teamsters' calls and the clinking chains, and the
music of choppers' axes,
The falling trunk and limbs, the crash, the muffled shriek, the groan,
Such words combined from the redwood-tree, as of voices ecstatic,
ancient and rustling,
The century-lasting, unseen dryads, singing, withdrawing,
All their recesses of forests and mountains leaving,
From the Cascade range to the Wahsatch, or Idaho far, or Utah,
To the deities of the modern henceforth yielding,
The chorus and indications, the vistas of coming humanity, the
settlements, features all,
In the Mendocino woods I caught.


The flashing and golden pageant of California,
The sudden and gorgeous drama, the sunny and ample lands,
The long and varied stretch from Puget sound to Colorado south,
Lands bathed in sweeter, rarer, healthier air, valleys and mountain cliffs,
The fields of Nature long prepared and fallow, the silent, cyclic chemistry,
The slow and steady ages plodding, the unoccupied surface ripening,
the rich ores forming beneath;
At last the New arriving, assuming, taking possession,
A swarming and busy race settling and organizing everywhere,
Ships coming in from the whole round world, and going out to the
whole world,
To India and China and Australia and the thousand island paradises
of the Pacific,
Populous cities, the latest inventions, the steamers on the rivers,
the railroads, with many a thrifty farm, with machinery,
And wool and wheat and the grape, and diggings of yellow gold.


But more in you than these, lands of the Western shore,
(These but the means, the implements, the standing-ground,)
I see in you, certain to come, the promise of thousands of years,
till now deferr'd,
Promis'd to be fulfill'd, our common kind, the race.

The new society at last, proportionate to Nature,
In man of you, more than your mountain peaks or stalwart trees imperial,
In woman more, far more, than all your gold or vines, or even vital air.

Fresh come, to a new world indeed, yet long prepared,
I see the genius of the modern, child of the real and ideal,
Clearing the ground for broad humanity, the true America, heir of
the past so grand,
To build a grander future.

mika_'s rating:
"Taking Off My Clothes"

I take off my shirt, I show you.
I shaved the hair out under my arms.
I roll up my pants, I scraped off the hair
on my legs with a knife, getting white.

My hair is the color of chopped maples.
My eyes dark as beans cooked in the south.
(Coal fields in the moon on torn-up hills)

Skin polished as a Ming bowl
showing its blood cracks, its age, I have hundreds
of names for the snow, for this, all of them quiet.

In the night I come to you and it seems a shame
to waste my deepest shudders on a wall of a man.

You recognize strangers,
think you lived through destruction.
You can’t explain this night, my face, your memory.

You want to know what I know?
Your own hands are lying.

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Blue Hour: Poems - Carolyn Forche
"Blue Hour"

The moon slips from its cerement, and my son, already disappearing into a man, moves toward his bed for the night, wrapped in a towel of lake scent.
A viola, night-voiced, calls into its past but nothing comes.
A woman alone rows across the lake. Her life is intact, but what she thought could never be taken has been taken. An iron bridge railing one moment its shadow the next.
It is n’y voir que du bleu, it is blind to something. Nevertheless.

Even the most broken life can be restored to its moments.


My son rows toward me agains the wind. For thirty-six years, he rows. In 1986, he is born in Paris.
Bice the clouds, watchet, indigo, woad.
We lived overlooking the cemetery. It was the summer of the Paris bombings. I walked him among the graves for what seemed hours but were clouds drifting across marble.


Believing it possible to have back the field in its flowering, my friend has brought me here, has given me an open window, the preludes, an echo of my son’s laughter on the rumpled lake.
Go wherever you can but keep returning to the present.
The human soul weighs twenty-six grams. A cathedral can become a dovecote.


I was born in America just after the war. My legs grew deformed, and so they had to be fitted with a special brace.
At night I banged the brace against the wooden crib bars and cried (so they say). The cries had to be stopped before I woke "the entire house."


In the morning, footsteps, a wind caught between roofs. From the quarry of souls they come into being: supernal lights, concealed light, light which has no end.
Everything in the world has a spirit released by its sound.
The room turns white again, and white. For years I have opened my eyes and not known where I was.
It was like a kettle wrapped in towels and bubbling, spewing camphor clouds against the walls turning the world beyond the windows white.
I couldn’t move, and when my mother’s mother died in the asylum, Eloise. Mindless. Without protection from the world.
Her hair, white, everywhere, her eyes the windows of a ruined house.
Like a kettle, but made of apothecary glass, so that it was possible to watch the liquid boil inside.
Sometime later I would find the suitcase of clippings: walls smeared with waste, bedsheets mapped in urine, and how later, when Eloise burned, they were still tied to their chairs.
By late summer, the fields are high with foamflower, fleabane, loosestrife, mullein, and above these wings like chapel windows.
The first love is also there, running through the field as if he could escape.
They were in their chairs and in their beds, tied to the bedrails. Some had locked themselves in the dispensary, as more than fire they feared the world.
Here grow bellflower and blind gentian, blue-eyed grass and touch-me-not. I don’t know who came into that room but spirits also came.
Objects in the room grew small grew large again. The doll laughed like my mother’s mother.
In every future window their white gowns, a stone ruin behind a sign forbidding trespass for years to come.
They came into the room and left, and later my mother would suffer the same emptiness.
In the years just after the war, it was not as certain that a child would live to be grown. Trucks delivered ice and poured coal into bins below the houses.
You see, one can live without having survived.


I have returned to Paris: a morning flecked with sparrows, the garret casements open over the blue-winged roofs.
The two-storey windows a spackled fresco of sky.
From the loggia, it is possible to gaze out over the graves. In the armoire, books, and little paper soldiers fighting the Franco-Prussian War.
At the farm-table many afternoons with the windows open, I conjugated the future perfect, ivy shivering on cemetery walls, the infant asleep--

How is it possible that I am living here, as if a childhood ream had found an empty theater in which to mount a small production of its hopes?


The doors of the coal chutes open. It is the grave of Svoboda. A night paved with news reports, the sky breaking the world could be otherwise.
One does not forget stones versus tanks. When our very existence broadcast an appeal. Shall not say adieu when a country ceases to be.
A little later, a burial on a hillside in a pine box,
The empty flesh like stone beneath my hands -
A field lifted into a train window.
Under the ice, hay flowers, anne’s lace and lupines. My father digging through snow in a fatigue no sleep could relieve.
And the first love, sequestered in an attic room until spring.


We row to the middle of the lake in a guideboat a century old, water pewter in a coming-storm light, a diminishing signature of smoke from one of the cabins.
Will his life open to hers, she asks, now that she has traveled all the way to the edge of herself?
At night we sleep under blankets also a century old, beside cold stoves forged at Horseshoe, again a hundred years.
At late day the lake stills, and the hills on the far shore round themselves in the water.
We climb over rock moss and lichen, through fern stands and up the rain-slicked trail to the peak.
No longer could she live alone. As if dead, looking into a mirror with no face.
Star-spangle, woodsia, walking leaf, the ghosts of great blue heron.
What one of us lives through, each must, so that this, or which we are part, will know itself.
Here, where there was almost nothing, we waited in the birch-lit clouds, holding the uncertain hand of a lost spirit.


When my son was an infant we woke for his early feeding at l’heure bleue--cerulean, gentian, hyacinth, delft, jouvence. What were also the milk hours.
This one who had come toward me all my life now gazed at the skies above Montparnasse as if someone were there, gesturing to him from the slate light.
He looked at me and the asylum shimmered, assembling again into brick-light and wards of madness. Emptiness left my mother. The first love in field upon field.
The dolls were dolls, the curtain a curtain. The one in the grave said yes. Adieu, country. Adieu, Franco-Prussian War.

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The Country between Us - Carolyn Forche

Your voices sprayed over the walls
dry to the touch by morning.
Your women walk among champas
with baskets of live hens, grenades and fruit.
Tonight you begin to fight
for the most hopelss of revolutions.
Pedro, you place a host on each
man's chant of Body of Christ Amen.
Margarita, you slip from your house
with plastiques wrapped in newsprint,
the dossier of your dearest friend
whose hair grew to the floor of her cell.
Leonel, you load your bare few guns
with an idea for a water pump and
co-operative farm.
You will fight
and fighting, you will die. I will live
and living cry out until my voice is gone
to its hollow of earth, where with our
hands and by the lives we have chosen
we will dig deep into our deaths.
I have done all that I could do.
Link hands, link arms with me
in the next of lives everafter,
where we will not know each other
or ourselves, where we will be a various
darkness among ideas that amounted
to nothing, among men who amounted
to nothing, with a belief that became
but small light
in the breadth of time where we began
among each other, where we lived
in the hour farthest from God.

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Your absence has gone through me
Like thread through a needle.
Everything I do is stitched with its color.

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The River Sound: Poems - W.S. Merwin
"Night Turn"

In late summer after the day's heat is over
I walk out after dark into the still garden
wet leaves fragrance of ginger and kamani
the feel of the path underfoot still recalling
a flow of water that found its way long ago
toads are rustling under the lemon trees
looking back I can see through the branches
the light in the kitchen where we were standing
a moment ago in our life together

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Present Company - W.S. Merwin
"To Absence"

Raw shore of paradise
which the long waves reach
just as they fail
one after the other
bare strand beyond which
at times I believe I see
as in a glass darkly
what I know here
and now cannot be
a face I can never touch
a gaze that cannot stay
which I catch sight of
still turned upon me
following me
from under the sky
of your groundless country
that has no syllable of its own
what good to you
are the treasures beyond
words or number
that you seize forever
unmapped imperium
when only here
in the present
which has lost them
only now
in the moment you
have not yet taken
does anyone know them
or how rare they are

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Given Sugar, Given Salt: Poems - Jane Hirshfield
"Poem Holding Its Heart in One Fist"

Each pebble in this world keeps
its own counsel.

Certain words--these, for instance--
may be keeping a pronoun hidden.
Perhaps the lover's you
or the solipsist's I.
Perhaps the philosopher's willowy it.

The concealment plainly delights.

Even a desk will gather
its clutch of secret, half-crumpled papers,
eased slowly, over years,
behind the backs of drawers.

Olives adrift in the altering brine-bath
etch onto their innermost pits
a few furrowed salts that will never be found by the tongue.

Yet even with so much withheld,
so much unspoken,
potatoes are cooked with butter and parsley,
and buttons affixed to their sweater.
Invited guests arrive, then dutifully leave.

And this poem, afterward, washes its breasts
with soap and trembling hands, disguising nothing.

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Love Songs - Sara Teasdale

Peace flows into me
As the tide to the pool by the shore;
It is mine forevermore,
It will not ebb like the sea.

I am the pool of blue
That worships the vivid sky;
My hopes were heaven-high,
They are all fulfilled in you.

I am the pool of gold
When sunset burns and dies--
Your are my deepening skies
Give me your stars to hold.

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"Solar Wind"

I don’t pray.
I just walk out there
where it’s thin
with my bow and aim.

But I should have yelled.
I should have changed the world.

A person can die of balance,
just gleam like squid
and disappear.

The fence around our house
is soft with rain.
It can’t stop my arrows.
It can’t stop

what wants to happen,
the meteors I hear, power lines
blowing from the mountain,

or the girl somewhere
who reads you,
whose skin has memorized your life.
Nothing stops her fingers;
they swim with you at night.

Leave if you’re leaving.
Leave plain mud.

I don’t know what else
is on your beard.
It would be mercy, God.

I grow weird in the field.

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"Equation Three"

Completely disguised,
the dancer wears the mask
about his
body.This tree now falls,
a surface
and red lineage,

an axiom
and proposal,
the firm embrace
of the unsolved.

These are the elements
of desire:
black from the Dano
tree, the blood of a rock,
cattle bones
ground into whiteness,

and yellow clay.
Set to a new
measure, they form
their own release.

With wet snow
in the nearest birch,
October writes under
Punch that for God's trace,
transcendental mistakes,

or the cozy
fire of  harvest
free invention.

What we call
our own might only be
the first stroke upon
a stellar
clock, an instant shift
of center, a notion

the Cusan could
propose and stir
in the atom.

Never let it go.
Any instant can redeem
those objects
that distance can construct.
Or must we
misread existence

and the sly form
of a second
star, receding
and unremarked?

So God must surely die,
and heaven
be abandoned, each
system bled and given
to itself;
then you will draw your

conclusions by
natural light,
the infinite
physics of masks.

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The House Of Life - Dante Gabriel Rossetti
"The Kiss"

What smouldering senses in death's sick delay
Or seizure of malign vicissitude
Can rob this body of honour, or denude
This soul of wedding-raiment worn to-day?
For lo! even now my lady's lips did play
With these my lips such consonant interlude
As laurelled Orpheus longed for when he wooed
The half-drawn hungering face with that last lay.

I was a child beneath her touch,--a man
When breast to breast we clung, even I and she,--
A spirit when her spirit looked through me,--
A god when all our life-breath met to fan
Our life-blood, till love's emulous ardours ran,
Fire within fire, desire in deity.

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The Odyssey - Homer
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The Iliad - Homer
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Oh you are never tame
fire on a mountain
eyes beside water
first day of petals

lying across the bed
in afternoon rainlight
arms of evening
wherever we are is a shore

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The Midnight - Susan Howe
"'Counterforce bring me wild hope'"

Counterforce bring me wild hope

non-connection is itself distinct

connection numerous surviving

fair trees wrought with a needle

the merest decorative suggestion

in what appears to be sheer white

muslin a tree fair hunted Daphne

Thinking is willing you are wild

to the weave not to material itself

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"Earth Verse"

Wide enough to keep to keep you looking

Open enough to keep you moving

Dry enough to keep you honest

Prickly enough to make you tough

Green enough to go on living

Old enough to give you dreams

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Selected Poems - Francis Ponge
"The Oyster"

Roughly the size of a rather large pebble, the oyster is more gnarled in appearance, less uniform in color, and brilliantly whitish. It is a world categorically closed in upon itself. And yet it can be opened: that takes gripping it in a folded rag, plying a nicked and dull-edged knife, chipping away at it over and over. Probing fingers get cut on it, nails get broken. It's a rough job. The pounding you give it scars the envelope with white rings, a sort of halo.
Within, one finds a world of possibilities for food and drink: beneath a mother-of-pearl firmament (strictly speaking), the skies above settle in on the skies below, leaving only a rock-pool, a viscous greenish sack that ebbs and flows before the eyes and nose, fringed with a border of darkish lace.
On rare occasions the perfect formula pearls up in its nacreous throat, and we take it at once for our adornment.

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"When You Are Old"

When you are old and grey and full of sleep,
And nodding by the fire, take down this book,
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;

How many loved your moments of glad grace,
And loved your beauty with love false or true,
But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you,
And loved the sorrows of your changing face;

And bending down beside the glowing bars,
Murmur, a little sadly, how Love fled
And paced upon the mountains overhead
And hid his face amid a crowd of stars.

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William Wordsworth: Selected Poems - William Wordsworth

--It seems a day
(I speak of one from many singled out)
One of those heavenly days which cannot die;
When, in the eagerness of boyish hope,
I left our cottage threshold, sallying forth
with a huge wallet o'er my shoulder slung,
A nutting-crook in hand; and turned my steps
Toward some far distant wood, a figure quaint,
Tricked out in proud disguise of castoff weeds
Which for that service had been husbanded,
By exhortation of my frugal Dame--
Motley accouterment, of power to smile
At thorns, and brakes, and brambles--and, in truth,
More ragged than need was! O'er pathless rocks,
Through beds of matted fern, and tangled thickets,
Forcing my way, I came to one dear nook
Unvisited, where not a broken bough
Drooped with its withered leaves, ungracious sign
Of devastation; but the hazels rose
Tall and erect, with tempting clusters hung,
A virgin scene!--A little while I stood,
Breathing with such suppression of the heart
As joy delights in; and, with wise restraint
Voluptuous, fearless of a rival, eyed
The banquet--or beneath the trees I sate
Among the flowers, and with the flowers I played;
A temper known to those who, after long
And weary expectation, have been blessed
With sudden happiness beyond all hope.
Perhaps it was a bower beneath whose leaves
The violets of five seasons reappear
And fade, unseen by any human eye;
Where fairy water-breaks do murmur on
Forever; and I saw the sparkling foam,
And--with my cheek on one of those green stones
That, fleeced with moss, under the shady trees,
Lay round me, scattered like a flock of sheep--
I heard the murmur and the murmuring sound,
In that sweet mood when pleasure loves to pay
Tribute to ease; and, of its joy secure,
The heart luxuriates with indifferent things,
Wasting its kindliness on stocks and stones,
And on the vacant air. Then up I rose,
And dragged to earth both branch and bough, with crash
And merciless ravage: and the shady nook
Of hazels, and the green and mossy bower,
Deformed and sullied, patiently gave up
Their quiet being: and, unless I now
Confound my present feelings with the past,
Ere from the mutilated bower I turned
Exulting, rich beyond the wealth of kings,
I felt a sense of pain when I beheld
The silent trees, and saw the intruding sky--
Then, dearest Maiden, move along these shades
In gentleness of heart; with gentle hand
Touch--for there is a spirit in the woods.

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"'The robin is the one'"

The robin is the one
That interrupts the morn
With hurried, few, express reports
When March is scarcely on.

The robin is the one
That overflows the noon
With her cherubic quantity,
An April but begun.

The robin is the one
That speechless from her nest
Submits that home and certainty
And sanctity are best.

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I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: "Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown
And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear:
`My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings:
Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!'
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away."

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"Frost at Midnight"

The Frost performs its secret ministry,
Unhelped by any wind. The owlet's cry
Came loud—and hark, again! loud as before.
The inmates of my cottage, all at rest,
Have left me to that solitude, which suits
Abstruser musings: save that at my side
My cradled infant slumbers peacefully.
'Tis calm indeed! so calm, that it disturbs
And vexes meditation with its strange
And extreme silentness. Sea, hill, and wood,
This populous village! Sea, and hill, and wood,
With all the numberless goings-on of life,
Inaudible as dreams! the thin blue flame
Lies on my low-burnt fire, and quivers not;
Only that film, which fluttered on the grate,

Still flutters there, the sole unquiet thing.
Methinks, its motion in this hush of nature
Gives it dim sympathies with me who live,
Making it a companionable form,
Whose puny flaps and freaks the idling Spirit
By its own moods interprets, every where
Echo or mirror seeking of itself,
And makes a toy of Thought.

But O! how oft,
How oft, at school, with most believing mind,
Presageful, have I gazed upon the bars,
To watch that fluttering stranger ! and as oft
With unclosed lids, already had I dreamt
Of my sweet birth-place, and the old church-tower,
Whose bells, the poor man's only music, rang
From morn to evening, all the hot Fair-day,
So sweetly, that they stirred and haunted me
With a wild pleasure, falling on mine ear
Most like articulate sounds of things to come!
So gazed I, till the soothing things, I dreamt,
Lulled me to sleep, and sleep prolonged my dreams!
And so I brooded all the following morn,
Awed by the stern preceptor's face, mine eye
Fixed with mock study on my swimming book:
Save if the door half opened, and I snatched
A hasty glance, and still my heart leaped up,
For still I hoped to see the stranger's face,
Townsman, or aunt, or sister more beloved,
My play-mate when we both were clothed alike!

Dear Babe, that sleepest cradled by my side,
Whose gentle breathings, heard in this deep calm,
Fill up the intersperséd vacancies
And momentary pauses of the thought!
My babe so beautiful! it thrills my heart
With tender gladness, thus to look at thee,
And think that thou shalt learn far other lore,
And in far other scenes! For I was reared
In the great city, pent 'mid cloisters dim,
And saw nought lovely but the sky and stars.
But thou, my babe! shalt wander like a breeze
By lakes and sandy shores, beneath the crags
Of ancient mountain, and beneath the clouds,
Which image in their bulk both lakes and shores
And mountain crags: so shalt thou see and hear
The lovely shapes and sounds intelligible
Of that eternal language, which thy God
Utters, who from eternity doth teach
Himself in all, and all things in himself.
Great universal Teacher! he shall mould
Thy spirit, and by giving make it ask.

Therefore all seasons shall be sweet to thee,
Whether the summer clothe the general earth
With greenness, or the redbreast sit and sing
Betwixt the tufts of snow on the bare branch
Of mossy apple-tree, while the nigh thatch
Smokes in the sun-thaw; whether the eave-drops fall
Heard only in the trances of the blast,
Or if the secret ministry of frost
Shall hang them up in silent icicles,
Quietly shining to the quiet Moon.

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The Pupil: Poems - W.S. Merwin
"Late Song"

Long evening at the end of spring
with soft rain falling and flowing
from the eaves into the broken
stone basin outside the window
a blackbird warning of nightfall
coming and I hear it again
announcing that it will happen
darkness and the day will be gone
as I heard it all years ago
knowing no more than I know now
but once more I sit and listen
in the same still room to the rain
at the end of spring and again
hear the blackbird in the evening

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"Who would envision"

Who would envision
the counter fugue
of twilight,
or the incidental music
that comes when death
sounds its leading tone?
No iambic figure
stirs the worship of absence,
but you will hear
the melismatic advance
of the perfect solitude.

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"Love will go unnoticed, or will become"

Love will go unnoticed, or will become
the first language, a frightful beginning for bodies
fit only for ambiguity,
a cadenced movement
becoming a dance, a perfect origin that sits
apart from its own construction.
Who will reason now
with the pace of our embodiment
and a legacy that proposes the bone's
irresolvable archive?
I have been instructed to forget
an inauthentic birth,
and compelled to see in the resonant light
a binding of bodies that will not move,
or cannot be compelled to move, toward their death.
What is the quarrel,
the metrical proposition that will not admit
a beginning, will not sustain a symmetry?

The body here contradicts its own dogma.
There is that moment when biblical Baca,
having scratched and bottled the Chimayo air,
stands at the end of the road that leads to the river,
a geistige force justified by being nothing at all,
and renews the river's name.
The river's gravity will become our signature,
sign upon sign,
that only a calculus designed at Paris might uncover.

This Albuquerque morning begins its hostile intervention,
a dyadic relation without a subject or proposition.
Baca pretends that he has chosen my frame,
and tells me has has conceived an imperishable element
as a gift.
But I know there is an end to physics,
and a shading of languages
that can only become a logos of logos,
or the perturbation in an atom absorbing light.
The German tells us these qualities are derivative,
as furtively endowed as Komo's cradle.
Let me take my reflection from fire,
the possible mark upon this place, this face
that will become the first thought
in the shadowed world.
That initial authority,
spiraling upon itself, might also contradict
Writing always goes against the grain.
Someone has said we come into the world
already dispossessed,
a contradiction of that mother force,
a challenge to that first flash, a spiral
moving inward, leading me to think
beyond my possession.
I have heard that only the hunters know the words,
only the very old can speak with assurance.
Why now begin this instrumental focus,
such a burden of material being,
or the mathematical assumption, a rhythm
in every term's definition,
when every proposition denied might be
true, or false?

Baca knows my narrative,
the gauge symmetry
encompassed by my duge stone.
He has found me near the river,
sketching a watery figure with a forked stick.
I had, I thought,
become a kouros, a structured hesitation,
a dimensionless copula, complete,
a self-presenting mode.
The Dane was busy, at the moment,
with my circumstance, the linguistic virtue
of all probably and provocative event.
I had my Ecuatoriano in stitches
with my tales of the Egyptian, ferrying Greeks
toward the navel of the world.
You will believe such darkness distributed
with such exhilaration.
Baca knows I have proposed my own double,
rising from the ensemble of the dead,
one who is justified in a discontinuous
Certainly, counting is irrelevant,
and the electron's superfluous journey
to its assignation
sets the quarrel
near a burial ground, and figures
that discoverable third who sits now veiled.
Why tax Baca with proof?
Why install him near creation's disruption
and ask for the blistering qualities of belief?

Love, we say, is a relational composition,
a fortuitous and reversible compound,
nel qual si questi l'Animo, and yet
nothing satisfies. Some say
I have drawn dolaba into this decay,
and have removed my body from its
singular history,
thinking my every act an inventory
of disrupted passion, a resolution that structures
a tangible constellation.
Speak now of the one
who will return to this hemisphere,
to that power of occasion, the estate that grows
from impurity.
Should we be dressed now for a sacred entrance, or
for the probable and corrigible dimension
the electron knows?
All there is opposition;
there is nothing in that liminal state
that breathes nature's content,
or the supplemental completeness that makes
that final word an affective psalm.

Follow my language
through this sacred chain:
serpent mask
All is superposition,
an epistemic notion, a rhythm,
all, number and measure relative to substance.

I should invite Baca to my choir,
make him a patron of Komo,
but I hear him tapping far below the earth
in search of an unseizable microstate
he insists on calling his soul.
What does he know of the sun,
its radiative zone, its convection?
And why should he believe in enduring
Perhaps it would be better to number my presence,
and to feel the changing shape that takes me away from,
and into, myself. Perhaps it would be better
to acknowledge a star-fed music
that will not sound.

Three a.m.
I awaken to the Little Bear.
The alchemists in Cambridge are measuring
the distance between Polaris and my yellow birch.
I see there 'that trace of darkness that cannot be recalled,'
in the prescriptive adobe altar,
turning around my own fallibility,
a fundamental descriptive spin,
where the domain goes blind.
Help me to recall another darkness--
my father, waking at three a.m. in Madrid,
prepared to affirm the reality of sheep, or to invent
the epistemology of wine,
'the clearing-concealing advent of being.'

Love, we say, is an ordinal experience,
a birthday and anniversary,
a word's reason for being.
Baca senses a conspiracy,
a possible rupture, an altered alphabet.
And yet he and I know
that all is melody,
a proposition of acceptable silence,
the visible limit of a body
clarified, justified,
one that has disappeared.

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"Depth of Field"

Desire is not this road of light on water
the half-moon leaves in its wake at one
A.M., white flakes of stone or snow
paving a lane between Lake Michigan
and a clearing sky. All day it was raining
or about to rain. It's not this long-necked bird
standing just off a fenced-in spit of sand
at the marina (NO FISHING WADING
gray heron wading polluted currents

in sight of Lake Shore Drive. The eye admits
all this and more, water diffused to air
against a backdrop of falling temperatures
and rising barometric pressures. Something
can be made of anything at all, a couple fucking
with their clothes on against the hood of a red Ford,
a runner with a reflecting visor on the jogging path,
a gang of boys with baggy shorts and a boom box
dancing on the man-made rocks, no diving
or swimming allowed, but not desire.

The field of vision makes room for all these
things that aren't: desire, this information
poured through the widened lens, the light
from several sources, then just one. The boathouse
is outlined in mist behind a huddled clutch
of bobbing cabin cruisers. Passing headlights
fix rocks, dandelions, and my silhouette
against any horizon, then depart, leaving
behind rocks and weeds, my overshadowed form,
a trail of bone-white waves unchanged. Soon
the moon will take its boat out too far to be reflected
on by any body. The lake is completely still
this once, the distance filled in with visual detail
and every object perfectly clear. So much, but not
desire, caught against the items of this world.

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"Sparrows in a Hillside Drift"

Pitiful dupes of old delusion, lost
And fallen in the white, they glitter still
Sprightly as when they bathed in summer dust,
Then fade among the crystals on the hill.
Lonely for warm days when the season broke,
Alert to wing and fire, they must have flown
To rest among those toughened boughs of oak
That brood above us, no the fire is gone.
Walking around to breathe, I kick aside
The soft brown feather and the brittle beak.
All flesh is fallen snow. The days deride
The wings of these deluded, once they break.
Somewhere the race of wittier birds survive,
Southering slowly with the cooling days.
They pause to quiver in the wind alive
Like some secure felicity of phrase.
But these few blunderers below my hands
Assault the ear with silence on the wind.
I lose their words, though winter understands.
Man is the listener gone deaf and blind.
The oak above us shivers in the bleak
And lucid winter day; and, far below
Our gathering of the cheated and the weak,
A chimney whispers to a cloud of snow.

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Isolato (Iowa Poetry Prize) - Larissa Szporluk
"Malady of the Bird"

If it has flown, then it knows
God tore the world,
and the space between heaven and earth
is in shreds, and the question of living
deep in the hollering sun,
or homing the spas near heaven,
or living at all, not wanting to live
on earth as it is, is tense.

And if it has flown, it has peered
down at the thing called rock, and felt stilled
by the rock's longevity, and has flown
with a fear in its eye of longevity,
peering again, asking, Why, God, is it still,
closing the eye and feeling divided,
like the flying lizard of myth,
cut off, afloat, doffing skin after skin,
a Jerusalem heart, exposed.

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Rain in the Trees - W.S. Merwin

with the night falling we are saying thank you
we are stopping on the bridges to bow for the railings
we are running out of the glass rooms
with our mouths full of food to look at the sky
and say thank you
we are standing by the water looking out
in different directions.

back from a series of hospitals back from a mugging
after funerals we are saying thank you
after the news of the dead
whether or not we knew them we are saying thank you
looking up from tables we are saying thank you
in a culture up to its chin in shame
living in the stench it has chosen we are saying thank you
over telephones we are saying thank you
in doorways and in the backs of cars and in elevators
remembering wars and the police at the back door
and the beatings on stairs we are saying thank you
in the banks that use us we are saying thank you
with the crooks in office with the rich and fashionable
unchanged we go on saying thank you thank you

with the animals dying around us
our lost feelings we are saying thank you
with the forests falling faster than the minutes
of our lives we are saying thank you
with the words going out like cells of a brain
with the cities growing over us like the earth
we are saying thank you faster and faster
with nobody listening we are saying thank you
we are saying thank you and waving
dark though it is

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"The Raven"

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore,
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
`'Tis some visitor,' I muttered, `tapping at my chamber door -
Only this, and nothing more.'

Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December,
And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor.
Eagerly I wished the morrow; - vainly I had sought to borrow
From my books surcease of sorrow - sorrow for the lost Lenore -
For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels named Lenore -
Nameless here for evermore.

And the silken sad uncertain rustling of each purple curtain
Thrilled me - filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before;
So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating
`'Tis some visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door -
Some late visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door; -
This it is, and nothing more,'

Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer,
`Sir,' said I, `or Madam, truly your forgiveness I implore;
But the fact is I was napping, and so gently you came rapping,
And so faintly you came tapping, tapping at my chamber door,
That I scarce was sure I heard you' - here I opened wide the door; -
Darkness there, and nothing more.

Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing,
Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before;
But the silence was unbroken, and the darkness gave no token,
And the only word there spoken was the whispered word, `Lenore!'
This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the word, `Lenore!'
Merely this and nothing more.

Back into the chamber turning, all my soul within me burning,
Soon again I heard a tapping somewhat louder than before.
`Surely,' said I, `surely that is something at my window lattice;
Let me see then, what thereat is, and this mystery explore -
Let my heart be still a moment and this mystery explore; -
'Tis the wind and nothing more!'

Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter,
In there stepped a stately raven of the saintly days of yore.
Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed he;
But, with mien of lord or lady, perched above my chamber door -
Perched upon a bust of Pallas just above my chamber door -
Perched, and sat, and nothing more.

Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,
By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore,
`Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou,' I said, `art sure no craven.
Ghastly grim and ancient raven wandering from the nightly shore -
Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night's Plutonian shore!'
Quoth the raven, `Nevermore.'

Much I marvelled this ungainly fowl to hear discourse so plainly,
Though its answer little meaning - little relevancy bore;
For we cannot help agreeing that no living human being
Ever yet was blessed with seeing bird above his chamber door -
Bird or beast above the sculptured bust above his chamber door,
With such name as `Nevermore.'

But the raven, sitting lonely on the placid bust, spoke only,
That one word, as if his soul in that one word he did outpour.
Nothing further then he uttered - not a feather then he fluttered -
Till I scarcely more than muttered `Other friends have flown before -
On the morrow he will leave me, as my hopes have flown before.'
Then the bird said, `Nevermore.'

Startled at the stillness broken by reply so aptly spoken,
`Doubtless,' said I, `what it utters is its only stock and store,
Caught from some unhappy master whom unmerciful disaster
Followed fast and followed faster till his songs one burden bore -
Till the dirges of his hope that melancholy burden bore
Of "Never-nevermore."'

But the raven still beguiling all my sad soul into smiling,
Straight I wheeled a cushioned seat in front of bird and bust and door;
Then, upon the velvet sinking, I betook myself to linking
Fancy unto fancy, thinking what this ominous bird of yore -
What this grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt, and ominous bird of yore
Meant in croaking `Nevermore.'

This I sat engaged in guessing, but no syllable expressing
To the fowl whose fiery eyes now burned into my bosom's core;
This and more I sat divining, with my head at ease reclining
On the cushion's velvet lining that the lamp-light gloated o'er,
But whose velvet violet lining with the lamp-light gloating o'er,
She shall press, ah, nevermore!

Then, methought, the air grew denser, perfumed from an unseen censer
Swung by Seraphim whose foot-falls tinkled on the tufted floor.
`Wretch,' I cried, `thy God hath lent thee - by these angels he has sent thee
Respite - respite and nepenthe from thy memories of Lenore!
Quaff, oh quaff this kind nepenthe, and forget this lost Lenore!'
Quoth the raven, `Nevermore.'

`Prophet!' said I, `thing of evil! - prophet still, if bird or devil! -
Whether tempter sent, or whether tempest tossed thee here ashore,
Desolate yet all undaunted, on this desert land enchanted -
On this home by horror haunted - tell me truly, I implore -
Is there - is there balm in Gilead? - tell me - tell me, I implore!'
Quoth the raven, `Nevermore.'

`Prophet!' said I, `thing of evil! - prophet still, if bird or devil!
By that Heaven that bends above us - by that God we both adore -
Tell this soul with sorrow laden if, within the distant Aidenn,
It shall clasp a sainted maiden whom the angels named Lenore -
Clasp a rare and radiant maiden, whom the angels named Lenore?'
Quoth the raven, `Nevermore.'

`Be that word our sign of parting, bird or fiend!' I shrieked upstarting -
`Get thee back into the tempest and the Night's Plutonian shore!
Leave no black plume as a token of that lie thy soul hath spoken!
Leave my loneliness unbroken! - quit the bust above my door!
Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my door!'
Quoth the raven, `Nevermore.'

And the raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting
On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door;
And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon's that is dreaming,
And the lamp-light o'er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor;
And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor
Shall be lifted - nevermore!

mika_'s rating:
"The Rhodora"

In May, when sea-winds pierced our solitudes,
I found the fresh Rhodora in the woods,
Spreading its leafless blooms in a damp nook,
To please the desert and the sluggish brook.
The purple petals, fallen in the pool,
Made the black water with their beauty gay;
Here might the red-bird come his plumes to cool,
And court the flower that cheapens his array.
Rhodora! if the sages ask thee why
This charm is wasted on the earth and sky,
Tell them, dear, that if eyes were made for seeing,
Then Beauty is its own excuse for being:
Why thou wert there, O rival of the rose!
I never thought to ask, I never knew:
But, in my simple ignorance, suppose
The self-same Power that brought me here brought you.

mika_'s rating:
People who added this item 2 Average listal rating (2 ratings) 10 IMDB Rating 0
Selected Works (Everyman's Library) - Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe
"On the Lake"

And fresh nourishment, new blood
I suck from a world so free;
Nature, how gracious and how good,
Her breast she gives to me.
The ripples buoying up our boat
Keep rhythm to the oars,
And mountains up to heaven float
In cloud to meet our course.

Eyes, my eyes, why abject now?
Golden dreams, are you returning?
Dream, though gold, away with you:
Life is here and loving too.

Over the ripple twinkling
Star on hovering star,
Soft mists drink the circled
Towering world afar;
Dawn wind fans the shaded
Inlet with its wing,
And in the water mirrored
The fruit is ripening.

mika_'s rating:
People who added this item 1 Average listal rating (1 ratings) 9 IMDB Rating 0
35 Sonnets - Fernando Pessoa
"Sonnet XXVII"

The edge of the green wave whitely doth hiss
Upon the wetted sand. I look, yet dream.
Surely reality cannot be this!
Somehow, somewhere this surely doth but seem!
The sky, the sea, this great extent disclosed
Of outward joy, this bulk of life we feel,
Is not something, but something interposed.
Only what in this is not this is real.
If this be to have sense, if to be awake
Be but to see this bright, great sleep of things,
For the rarer potion mine own dreams I'll take
And for truth commune with imaginings,
Holding a dream to bitter, a too fair curse,
This common sleep of men, the universe.

mika_'s rating:
"Transcendent Night"

Your feather hands
are love's nest in winter,
and yet I fly,
or do I dream I fly?
And I would fly
to nestle near your child's lake,
to press my needs upon your feather hands.
There at the lake,
in the shadow of the celt
I find there,
I dance in your spine's darkness;
I clothe you in your spirit's darkness
and in your body's darkness.
I awake to the light of your total darkness.
I keep, for my constant spring,
your feather hands upon my eyes.
My eyes will always take
the dark path to your heart.
My heart will drink its light
from the only heavy hands
you offer me.
Death of the dark. Death of the light.
I live in my spirit's web of love's
transcendent night.

mika_'s rating:
People who added this item 7 Average listal rating (3 ratings) 9.7 IMDB Rating 0
Poet in New York - Federico Garcia Lorca
"City without Sleep"

No one sleeps in the sky. No one.
No one sleeps.
The creatures of the moon smell and circle their cabins.
Live iguanas will come to bite the men who don't dream
and he who flees with broken heart will find on the corners
the still, incredible crocodile under the tender protest of the stars.

No one sleeps in the world. No one.
No one sleeps.
There is a dead man in the farthest cemetery
who for three years complains
of the dry landscape on his knee;
and the boy they buried this morning wept so much
they had to call the dogs to quiet him down.

Life is not a dream. Look!
We fall down the stairs to eat damp earth
or we ascend to the edge of snow with a chorus of dead
But there's no forgetting, no sleep:
living flesh. Kisses bind the lips
in a tangle of recent veins
and those who suffer, suffer without rest
and those who fear death will carry it on their shoulders.

One day
horses will live in the taverns
and furious ants
will attack the yellow skies that take refuge in the eyes of cows.

Some other day
we'll see the resurrection of mounted butterflies
and even as we wander through a landscape of gray sponges
and mute ships
we'll see our ring glow and roses pour forth from our tongue.
Those will still bear traces of claw and squall,
that boy who cries because he knows nothing of the invention
of the bridge
or that dead man who has only his head and one show,
they must be taken to the wall where iguanas and serpents
are waiting,
where the bears teeth are waiting,
and the hair of the camel bristles with a violent blue chill.

No one sleeps in the sky. No one.
No one sleeps.
But if someone closes his eyes,
beat him, my children, beat him!
Even if there's a panorama of open eyes
and bitter incandescent sores.
No one sleeps in the world. No one.
I've already said it.

No one sleeps.
But if at night someone has an excess of moss on his temples,
then open the trap doors so the moon lets him see
the false cups, the poison, and the skull of the theaters.

mika_'s rating:
People who added this item 1 Average listal rating (1 ratings) 9 IMDB Rating 0
Garden Time - W.S. Merwin
"Old Man At Home Alone in the Morning"

There are questions that I no longer ask
and others that I have not asked for a long time
that I return to and dust off and discover
that I’m smiling and the question
has always been me and that it is
no question at all but that it means
different things at the same time
yes I am old now and I am the child
I remember what are called the old days and there is
no one to ask how they became the old days
and if I ask myself there is no answer
so this is old and what I have become
and the answer is something I would come to
later when I was old but this morning
is not old and I am the morning
in which the autumn leaves have no question
as the breeze passes through them and is gone

mika_'s rating:
People who added this item 1 Average listal rating (1 ratings) 9 IMDB Rating 0
"Helen of Troy"

Wild flight on flight against the fading dawn
The flames' red wings soar upward duskily.
This is the funeral pyre and Troy is dead
That sparkled so the day I saw it first,
And darkened slowly after. I am she
Who loves all beauty--yet I wither it.
Why have the high gods made me wreak their wrath--
Forever since my maidenhood to sow
Sorrow and blood about me? Lo, they keep
Their bitter care above me even now.
It was the gods who led me to this lair,
That tho' the burning winds should make me weak,
They should not snatch the life from out my lips.
Olympus let the other women die;
They shall be quiet when the day is done
And have no care to-morrow. Yet for me
There is no rest. The gods are not so king
To her made half immortal like themselves.
It is to you I owe the cruel gift,
Leda, my mother, and the Swan, my sire,
To you the beauty and to you the bale;
For never woman born of man and maid
Had wrought such havoc on the earth as I,
Or troubled heaven with a sea of flame
That climbed to touch the silent whirling stars
And blotted out their brightness ere the dawn.
Have I not made the world to weep enough?
Give death to me. Yet life is more than death;
How could I leave the sound of singing winds,
The strong sweet scent that breathes from off the sea,
Or shut my eyes forever to the spring?
I will not give the grave my hands to hold,
My shining hair to light oblivion.
Have those wander through the ways of death,
The still wan fields Elysian, any love
To lift their breasts with longing, any lips
To thirst against the quiver of a kiss?
Lo, I shall live to conquer Greece again,
To make the people love, who hate me now.
My dreams are over, I have ceased to cry
Against the fate that made men love my mouth
And left their spirits too deaf to hear
The little songs that echoed through my soul.
I have no anger now. The dreams are done;
Yet since the Greeks and Trojans would not see
Aught but my body's fairness, till the end,
In all the islands set in all the seas,
And all the lands that lie beneath the sun,
Till light turns darkness, and till time shall sleep,
Men's lives shall waste with longing after me,
For I shall be the sum of their desire,
The whole of beauty, never seen again.
And they shall stretch their arms and starting, wake
With "Helen!" on their lips, and in their eyes
The vision of me. Always I shall be
Limned on the darkness like a shaft of light
That glimmers and is gone. They shall behold
Each one his dream that fashions me anew;--
With hair like lakes that glint beneath the stars
Dark as sweet midnight, or with hair aglow
Like burnished gold that still retains the fire.
Yea, I shall haunt until the dusk of time
The heavy eyelids filled with fleeting dreams.

I wait for one who comes with sword to slay--
The king I wronged who searches for me now;
And yet he shall not slay me. I shall stand
With lifted head and look within his eyes,
Baring my breasts to him and to the sun.
He shall not have the power to stain with blood
That whiteness--for the thirsty sword shall fall
And he shall cry and catch me in his arms,
Bearing me back to Sparta on his breast.
Lo, I shall live to conquer Greece again!

mika_'s rating:
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