Tuesday, August 31, 2010


On August 28, 1963, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., a modern-day Founding Father, delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech.

On August 28th, 2010, the 47th anniversary of King’s historic proclamation, our coalition of artists, faith leaders and community organizations erected a 4-story sculpture to honor Dr. King’s Dream and his life-long fight for social justice.


Artist, Michael Murphy.

On The Exhumation of The Body of Emmett Till

Somebody asked me if I was sad today.
 To see a cotton gin tied around my son
when once I heard an angel sing?
Was I sad? To feel barbed wire knit the neck
of a living thing
fished from the Tallahatchie
my thoughts dry as the gills of a catfish
thrown high in a Huckleberry tree
until my Lord
swooped down to take me
from Chicago to Mississippi.
Was I sad? I felt earth heave
on its axis after a jury of white men
took sixty seven minutes--
"it might have taken less without the soda break--"
to knit the devil a pair of wings.
You ask me was I--In 1955 I died with history.
I made them leave that casket open
for all the world to see
how sometimes nothin's
left, not even
a bye bye baby,
just a child's initialed ring.

First - Dana Littlepage Smith, On The Exhumation of The Body of Emmett Till
(8/2005. Anthology - The White Car,  March 2006)

Monday, August 30, 2010


WORDS TO . . . UH . . .LIVE BY . . . ?


Teddy Wayne's Unpopular Proverbs.

BY Teddy Wayne

- - - -


Better the devil you know than the devil you don't know, because if you're stuck at dinner with the devil you don't know and your mutual acquaintance leaves for the bathroom, it's kind of awkward trying to make small talk with him and you'll end up nervously asking all the obvious questions like some star-struck fan—"Do you ever mind the heat," etc.—and you can tell he feels weird about it and is answering rotely for your benefit until the third person returns and saves you both. 

Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Passionate Shepherd to His Love

by Christopher Marlowe

Come live with me and be my love,
And we will all the pleasures prove
That valleys, groves, hills, and fields,
Woods, or steepy mountain yields.

And we will sit upon the rocks,
Seeing the shepherds feed their flocks,
By shallow rivers to whose falls
Melodious birds sing madrigals.

And I will make thee beds of roses
And a thousand fragrant posies,
A cap of flowers, and a kirtle
Embroidered all with leaves of myrtle;

A gown made of the finest wool
Which from our pretty lambs we pull;
Fair lined slippers for the cold,
With buckles of the purest gold;

A belt of straw and ivy buds,
With coral clasps and amber studs:
And if these pleasures may thee move,
Come live with me, and be my love.

The shepherds' swains shall dance and sing
For thy delight each May morning:
If these delights thy mind may move,
Then live with me and be my love.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

A Blessing

by James Wright

Just off the highway to Rochester, Minnesota,
Twilight bounds softly forth on the grass.
And the eyes of those two Indian ponies
Darken with kindness.
They have come gladly out of the willows
To welcome my friend and me.
We step over the barbed wire into the pasture
Where they have been grazing all day, alone.
They ripple tensely, they can hardly contain their happiness
That we have come.
They bow shyly as wet swans. They love each other.
There is no loneliness like theirs.
At home once more,
They begin munching the young tufts of spring in the darkness.
I would like to hold the slenderer one in my arms,
For she has walked over to me
And nuzzled my left hand.
She is black and white,
Her mane falls wild on her forehead,
And the light breeze moves me to caress her long ear
That is delicate as the skin over a girl's wrist.
Suddenly I realize
That if I stepped out of my body I would break
Into blossom.

from: Selected Poems. Copyright © 2005.

Friday, August 27, 2010

A Boat

by Jordan Davis

When I am sitting at my desk and I have feelings
It is like I am the lone passenger in a little boat
On a sunny windy day.  When we are lying down
And we have good feelings it is a speedboat skipping
Like a stone among the islands I feel we’re in.
When we are sitting in bed at five a.m. talking with the light
On I don’t feel so good. I feel like we’re on a ferry
For another six hours going back and up and forth
And down.  At least it’s a boat.  When I sit and talk to girls
Someplace I feel like I’m in a maritime museum.
When we walk together to the pool or park it’s like
I’m rowing you across to Banff, and when I
Take you in a car to your mother’s house, the Bay of Fundy.
At work the coast guard, walking there the merchant
Marine, me in my pea coat.

from: Million Poems Journal.



Thursday, August 26, 2010

In Keeping With Yesterday's Post . . .TEACHING POETRY. A Worthwhile Endeavor.


by Anthony Consiglio.
A series of three lesson plans intended to guide students 
through approximately one month of poetry study.
found at: poets.org.


Reading poetry can be a great way to improve your writing skills. The principles of poetry can be applied to nearly every kind of writing you do.

Myth No. 1: Poetry is painful to memorize.  - It is not at all painful. Just do a line or two a day.

Myth No. 2: There isn’t enough room in your memory to store a lot of poetry.  - Bad analogy. Memory is a muscle, not a quart jar.

Myth No. 3: Everyone needs an iPod.  - You do not need an iPod. Memorize poetry instead. 

* from: Got Poetry? in The New Your Times. by Jim Holt.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


You know. 
Where they have all memorized a book to keep it alive.

learning poetry by heart

Long before I could read to myself, my younger sister and I were familiar with The Child’s Garden of Verses, Lewis Carroll’s “Hunting of the Snark” and Edward Lear’s Nonsense Songs and Verses.   I suspect that I would now be diagnosed as dyslexic - I couldn’t read till I was past seven, so if I was to hang onto these favourite poems I had to know them by heart. [...]

Now, as I repeat those long-ago-learnt verses to myself at moments of anxiety or stress, sorrow or elation, or just to alleviate the plain ordinary boredom of traffic jams and bus queues, I am more than grateful to those who enabled me to acquire such a rich store, which will last me as long as my memory does.

And I remember too the account by Evgenia Ginsberg in her book Into the Whirlwind of how the poetry she had learnt as a child had enabled her to endure the terrible years in Stalin’s Gulag, and indeed, when in solitary confinement, had, she thought, actually saved her sanity.   Most of us, please God, are unlikely to suffer such torment, but I still think it is a pity that getting children to learn by heart is now dismissed as “learning by rote”, and dropped from the curriculum. " 


Sunday, August 22, 2010


I have always believed that the definition of 
"bad poetry" is both fluid and subjective. 
A perfunctory stroll through the offerings on that site 
confirmed this belief.

Don't get me wrong. 
There was poetry on the site that would be horrid 
by the standards of most sentient beings. 
But there was also poetry 
that in another era 
would have been considered very touching and beautiful
There was also poetry considered classic and ethereal 
by the best minds of our times.

The poetry featured here, on my Blog, 
varies tremendously in style and subject matter
as well as the poet's own story and history. 
The only thing they all have in common is that 
they have touched me in some way.

So, in short, I believe all that matters is how a poem speaks to you. 
And for me, doggerel though it may be, 
this one has a wonderful sentiment.


by Edgar Guest

    I have to live with myself, and so,
    I want to be fit for myself to know;
    I want to be able as days go by,
    Always to look myself straight in the eye;
    I don't want to stand with the setting sun
    And hate myself for the things I've done.
    I don't want to keep on a closet shelf
    A lot of secrets about myself,
    And fool myself as I come and go
    Into thinking that nobody else will know
    The kind of man I really am;
    I don't want to dress myself up in sham.
    I want to deserve all men's respect;
    But here in this struggle for fame and pelf,
    I want to be able to like myself.
    I don't want to think as I come and go
    That I'm for bluster and bluff and empty show.
    I never can hide myself from me,
    I see what others may never see,
    I know what others may never know,
    I never can fool myself -- and so,
    Whatever happens, I want to be
    Self-respecting and conscience free.

Bad Poetry /Seamus Cooney.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Pakistan’s Floods:

As Amnesty International pointed out in its recent report on Pakistan, many in the flood affected areas were already undergoing persecution at the hands of the Taliban, Pakistani security forces and U.S drone attacks.  The arrival of a natural disaster that is unprecedented in the country’s history has left millions vulnerable to both disease and even more exploitation by these forces.  Unless ordinary people around the world donate to come to the aid of the millions waiting for help, Pakistanis will bear the burden of believing that in their gravest hour of need they have been forgotten and ignored.

(click on the logo to find the many ways you can give)

A Bird in Hand

by Amber Flora Thomas

I’ve memorized its heart pounding into my thumb.
Breath buoys out. My fingers know how to kill,
closing on the bird’s slippery head.

I don’t remember. Was it that beak bit my chin?
Was it a claw cut my wrist? I blow feathers
away from its chest, smelling pennies and rain.

Skin like granite, a real white-blue, flecked
by knots of new growth. I found my need,
cold in cupped palms, just the way I was taught.

I return to account for whose neck falls around
backwards. Eyes that go cataract bring clouds.

That fat pearl with wings looks like water disappearing in me.

from: Eye of Water. Copyright © 2005.


Kyle Lambert does his work on the iPad, with one finger. He definately has more talent in that finger than I have in my whole body.

Please enjoy.

Audry Hepburn


See other pictures
here --> Kyle Lambert Portfolio.

Friday, August 20, 2010

The latest story on the catastrophic flooding in Pakistan

 is about how it hasn’t been a story.

Compared to the response to the Haitian earthquake, media coverage of the Pakistan floods has been paltry. While news coverage isn’t correlated with need, it does have a major effect on the amount of disaster relief aid given. An article in the Chronicle of Philanthropy yesterday reported that eleven US charities had so far raised only $5 million for Pakistan flood relief, compared to $560 million raised by 39 US groups in the two and a half weeks after the Haiti earthquake.
 - Laura Freschi,

[A] study found that one third of the variation in how much TV attention a disaster gets is explained by how popular the affected country is with US tourists. Sadly for the flood victims, Pakistan is nowhere on the list of top destinations for US travelers in Asia and the outlook’s not great: the World Economic Forum ranked Pakistan 113 out of 133 countries in its latest Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report.
 - William C. Adams,

Red Cross log
~ Click the logo to give ~


by e. e. cummings

there are so many tictoc
clocks everywhere telling people
what toctic time it is for
tictic instance five toc minutes toc
past six tic

Spring is not regulated and does
not get out of order nor do
its hands a little jerking move
over numbers slowly

            we do not
wind it up it has no weights
springs wheels inside of
its slender self no indeed dear
nothing of the kind.

(So,when kiss Spring comes
we'll kiss each kiss other on kiss the kiss
lips because tic clocks toc don't make
a toctic difference
to kisskiss you and to
kiss me)

from: erotic poems. Copyright © 2010

Thursday, August 19, 2010


provided by NASA.


close up of yellow mums

 (click on it and it becomes wallpaper size)

A Bedtime Story For Mr. Lamb

      by Arthur Nevis

What story would you like to hear, Mr. Lamb?
Are you a real lamb?
Would you like to hear of Webbers?
Or Whales?

Here is the Story of Alice:

            The Queen wants to have a baby,
            That's why she's kissing her hand.
          The Mad Habit is pouring specklish tea.

        Finally, the Mad Habit and the Queen go to sleep,
              But she's not looking at him.
               He's just pouring the milk.

Goodnight, Mr. Lamb,
Have a nice dream.
Sleep like a lamb.

Don't rough scream
Scream smooth.

from: Wonderland, Don't Scare Me. Copyright © 2003.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


* Pakistan: 

An Urgent Call for Aid.

The magnitude of Pakistan’s current tragedy is almost more than the mind can take in. A fifth of the country flooded by torrential monsoon rains. Fifteen million to 20 million people driven from their homes or otherwise affected. Six million in need of emergency assistance, such as food and clean water. Millions of acres of the country’s best cropland underwater. Livestock drowned. Medical clinics destroyed. Cholera threatening the survivors.

* U.N. Sounds Alarm on 

Aid for Pakistan.

 * Aid for Pakistan Lags

U.N. Warns.

Well it is certainly not by turning our backs 
on those in desperate need. 
I have seen very little about this tragedy 
in the news on television, radio, or in the print news.

Please, look into your hearts, and give.

Here is the Red Cross link. 
(It also has a permanent place on the side bar.)


Today is the 90th birthday of the 19th Amendment!


As the Internet weaves itself more and more tightly into our lives, 
only the Amish are completely safe.


Monday, August 16, 2010

A cat on a wire

by Raymond A. Foss

A short chain-link fence
ran along the sidewalk
in front of the old New Englander
the short front yard
just over elbow high
orange tabby cat standing on chain link fencea cluster of birds
landed and flew
from the wire, the bar
to the flowerbed beyond the fence
in the left corner of the side yard
a tabby cat, too young for sense
standing opposite the other end
of the fence
eyed the birds, a quick snack
raised and lowering his head
poised to pounce, to jump
to the top of the fence
walk like on a tightrope walker
a gymnast on the beam
to get his prey

August 23, 2006 10:46

Sunday, August 15, 2010


“The best poetry has its roots in the subconscious to a great degree. Youth, naivety, reliance on instinct more than learning and method, a sense of freedom and play, even trust in randomness, is necessary to the making of a poem.”
- May Swenson

Saturday, August 14, 2010

"As I see my soul reflected in Nature . . .

If any thing is sacred the human body is sacred,
And the glory and sweet of a man is the token of manhood untainted,
And in man or woman a clean, strong, firm-fibred body,
     is more beautiful than the most beautiful face.

from: I Sing the Body Electric, Walt Whitman's, Leaves of Grass.

Friday, August 13, 2010



Wild Gratitude

by Edward Hirsch
Tonight when I knelt down next to our cat, Zooey,
And put my fingers into her clean cat's mouth,
And rubbed her swollen belly that will never know kittens,
And watched her wriggle onto her side, pawing the air,
And listened to her solemn little squeals of delight,
I was thinking about the poet, Christopher Smart,
Who wanted to kneel down and pray without ceasing
In everyone of the splintered London streets,

And was locked away in the madhouse at St. Luke's
With his sad religious mania, and his wild gratitude,
And his grave prayers for the other lunatics,
And his great love for his speckled cat, Jeoffry.
All day today—August 13, 1983—I remembered how
Christopher Smart blessed this same day in August, 1759,
For its calm bravery and ordinary good conscience.

This was the day that he blessed the Postmaster General
"And all conveyancers of letters" for their warm humanity,
And the gardeners for their private benevolence
And intricate knowledge of the language of flowers,
And the milkmen for their universal human kindness.
This morning I understood that he loved to hear—
As I have heard—the soft clink of milk bottles
On the rickety stairs in the early morning,

And how terrible it must have seemed
When even this small pleasure was denied him.
But it wasn't until tonight when I knelt down
And slipped my hand into Zooey's waggling mouth
That I remembered how he'd called Jeoffry "the servant
Of the Living God duly and daily serving Him,"
And for the first time understood what it meant.
Because it wasn't until I saw my own cat

Whine and roll over on her fluffy back
That I realized how gratefully he had watched
Jeoffry fetch and carry his wooden cork
Across the grass in the wet garden, patiently
Jumping over a high stick, calmly sharpening
His claws on the woodpile, rubbing his nose
Against the nose of another cat, stretching, or
Slowly stalking his traditional enemy, the mouse,
A rodent, "a creature of great personal valour,"
And then dallying so much that his enemy escaped.

And only then did I understand
It is Jeoffry—and every creature like him—
Who can teach us how to praise—purring
In their own language,
Wreathing themselves in the living fire.

Thursday, August 12, 2010


long haired white cat with wings 

The Cat With Wings 
by Robert William Service

You never saw a cat with wings,
I'll bet a dollar -- well, I did;
'Twas one of those fantastic things
One runs across in old Madrid.
A walloping big tom it was,
(Maybe of the Angora line),
With silken ears and velvet paws,
And silver hair, superbly fine.

It sprawled upon a crimson mat,
Yet though crowds came to gaze on it,
It was a supercilious cat,
And didn't seem to mind a bit.
It looked at us with dim disdain,
And indolently seemed to sigh:
"There's not another cat in Spain
One half so marvelous as I."

Its owner gently stroked its head,
And tickled it with fingers light.
"Ah no, it cannot fly," he said;
"But see - it has the wings all right."
Then tenderly from off its back
He raised, despite its feline fears,
Appendages that seemed to lack
Vitality - like rabbit's ears.

And then the vision that I had
Of Tabbie soaring through the night,
Quick vanished, and I felt so sad
For that poor pussy's piteous plight.
For though frustration has it stings,
Its mockeries in Hope's despite,
The hell of hells is to have wings
Yet be denied the bliss of flight. 




Wednesday, August 11, 2010

To His Coy Mistress

by Andrew Marvell
Had we but world enough, and time,
This coyness, Lady, were no crime.
We would sit down and think which way
To walk and pass our long love's day.
Thou by the Indian Ganges' side
Shouldst rubies find: I by the tide
Of Humber would complain. I would
Love you ten years before the Flood,
And you should, if you please, refuse
Till the conversion of the Jews.
My vegetable love should grow
Vaster than empires, and more slow;
An hundred years should go to praise
Thine eyes and on thy forehead gaze;
Two hundred to adore each breast;
But thirty thousand to the rest;
An age at least to every part,
And the last age should show your heart;
For, Lady, you deserve this state,
Nor would I love at lower rate.
   But at my back I always hear
Time's wingèd chariot hurrying near;
And yonder all before us lie
Deserts of vast eternity.
Thy beauty shall no more be found,
Nor, in thy marble vault, shall sound
My echoing song: then worms shall try
That long preserved virginity,
And your quaint honour turn to dust,
And into ashes all my lust:
The grave's a fine and private place,
But none, I think, do there embrace.
   Now therefore, while the youthful hue
Sits on thy skin like morning dew,
And while thy willing soul transpires
At every pore with instant fires,
Now let us sport us while we may,
And now, like amorous birds of prey,
Rather at once our time devour
Than languish in his slow-chapt power.
Let us roll all our strength and all
Our sweetness up into one ball,
And tear our pleasures with rough strife
Thorough the iron gates of life:
Thus, though we cannot make our sun
Stand still, yet we will make him run.


Tuesday, August 10, 2010


I confess, when I first read the title of this poem,
a regal pansy sprang to my mind.

close up of a yellow pansy

But as I read on, 
a lowly dandelion eased through a crevice there.

close up of a dandelion

What say you, my friends?

I know.
It's obvious if you pay attention.

Little Lion Face
by May Swenson

Little lion face
I stopped to pick
among the mass of thick
succulent blooms, the twice

streaked flanges of your silk
sunwheel relaxed in wide
dilation, I brought inside,
placed in a vase.  Milk

of your shaggy stem
sticky on my fingers, and
your barbs hooked to my hand,
sudden stings from them

were sweet.  Now I'm bold
to touch your swollen neck,
put careful lips to slick
petals, snuff up gold

pollen in your navel cup.
Still fresh before night
I leave you, dawn's appetite
to renew our glide and suck.

An hour ahead of sun
I come to find you.  You're
twisted shut as a burr,
neck drooped unconscious,

an inert, limp bundle,
a furled cocoon, your
sun-streaked aureole
eclipsed and dun.

Strange feral flower asleep
with flame-ruff wilted,
all magic halted,
a drink I pour, steep

in the glass for your
undulant stem to suck.
Oh, lift your young neck,
open and expand to your

lover, hot light.
Gold corona, widen to sky.
I hold you lion in my eye
sunup until night.

from: In Other Words: New Poems. Copyright © 1987.

Sunday, August 8, 2010


by Arthur Rimbaud
translated by Wyatt Mason


No one's serious at seventeen.
--On beautiful nights when beer and lemonade
And loud, blinding cafés are the last thing you need
--You stroll beneath green lindens on the promenade.

Lindens smell fine on fine June nights!
Sometimes the air is so sweet that you close your eyes;
The wind brings sounds--the town is near--
And carries scents of vineyards and beer. . .


--Over there, framed by a branch
You can see a little patch of dark blue
Stung by a sinister star that fades
With faint quiverings, so small and white. . .

June nights! Seventeen!--Drink it in.
Sap is champagne, it goes to your head. . .
The mind wanders, you feel a kiss
On your lips, quivering like a living thing. . .


The wild heart Crusoes through a thousand novels
--And when a young girl walks alluringly
Through a streetlamp's pale light, beneath the ominous shadow
Of her father's starched collar. . .

Because as she passes by, boot heels tapping,
She turns on a dime, eyes wide,
Finding you too sweet to resist. . .
--And cavatinas die on your lips.


You're in love. Off the market till August.
You're in love.--Your sonnets make Her laugh.
Your friends are gone, you're bad news.
--Then, one night, your beloved, writes. . .!

That night. . .you return to the blinding cafés;
You order beer or lemonade. . .
--No one's serious at seventeen
When lindens line the promenade.

29 September 1870

from: Rimbaud Complete. Copyright © 2002


Saturday, August 7, 2010

Siwashing It Out Once in Suislaw Forest


from: Four Poems for Robin        
by Gary Snyder

I slept under     rhododendron
All night    blossoms fell
Shivering on    a sheet of cardboard
Feet stuck   in my pack
Hands deep    in my pockets
Barely  able    to   sleep.
I remembered    when we were in school
Sleeping together   in a big warm bed
We were     the youngest lovers
When we broke up     we were still nineteen
Now our   friends are married
You teach  school back east
I dont mind     living this way
Green hills   the long blue beach
But sometimes      sleeping in the open
I think back    when I had you.

from: The Back Country. Copyright © 1968.

Friday, August 6, 2010

How It Feels To Be Under A Nuclear Attack


The River-Merchant's Wife: A Letter

by Ezra Pound

While my hair was still cut straight across my forehead
I played about the front gate, pulling flowers.
You came by on bamboo stilts, playing horse,
You walked about my seat, playing with blue plums.
And we went on living in the village of Chokan:
Two small people, without dislike or suspicion.

At fourteen I married My Lord you.
I never laughed, being bashful.
Lowering my head, I looked at the wall.
Called to, a thousand times, I never looked back.

At fifteen I stopped scowling,
I desired my dust to be mingled with yours
Forever and forever and forever.
Why should I climb the look out?

At sixteen you departed,
You went into far Ku-to-yen, by the river of swirling eddies,
And you have been gone five months.
The monkeys make sorrowful noise overhead.

You dragged your feet when you went out.
By the gate now, the moss is grown, the different mosses,
Too deep to clear them away!
The leaves fall early this autumn, in wind.
The paired butterflies are already yellow with August
Over the grass in the West garden;
They hurt me.  I grow older.
If you are coming down through the narrows of the river Kiang,
Please let me know beforehand,
And I will come out to meet you
   As far as Cho-fu-Sa.

        By Rihaku

from: The River-Merchant's Wife: A Letter
Copyright © 1956, 1957.

Thursday, August 5, 2010


Life-size Bronze Sculpture
by James Muir 


He Asked About the Quality—       
by C. P. Cavafy
(translated by Aliki Barnstone)

He came out of the office where he was employed
in an unimportant and poorly paid position
(up to eight pounds a month, with tips);
when he finished his tedious work
that kept him stooped all afternoon,
he came out at seven, and sauntered slowly,
gazing idly in the street. Beautiful
and interesting, he carried himself
as if he'd reached his full sensual potential.
He turned twenty-nine a month ago.

He gazed idly in the street, and down the poor alleys
that led to his rooms.

Passing by a small shop
where they sold cheap
and inferior goods for laborers,
he saw a face inside, he saw a shape
that moved him to enter, and he acted as if
he wanted to see colored handkerchiefs.

He asked about the quality of the handkerchiefs
and what they cost
in a choked voice
almost erased by desire.
And the answers came the same way,
absently, in a lowered voice,
with an implied consent.

They kept talking about the merchandise—but
their sole aim: to touch hands
on top of the handkerchiefs, to draw
their faces together, their lips, as if by accident;
a fleeting touch of their limbs.

Quickly and furtively so the shopkeeper
sitting in the back would not notice.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


In Pursuit of the Teenage Dollar The Seventeen Magazine Project's
photo submission initiative.


fat cat sleeping on Wii with caption your doing it wrong

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


"A man may take to drink because he feels himself to be a failure, and then fail all the more completely because he drinks. It is rather the same thing that is happening to the English language. It becomes ugly and inaccurate because our thoughts are foolish, but the slovenliness of our language makes it easier for us to have foolish thoughts."
- George Orwell

from: Politics and the English Language

Monday, August 2, 2010


statue detail of a hand and some leaves resting on a rock

Song of Nature        
by Ralph Waldo Emerson

Mine are the night and morning,
The pits of air, the gulf of space,
The sportive sun, the gibbous moon,
The innumerable days.

I hid in the solar glory,
I am dumb in the pealing song,
I rest on the pitch of the torrent,
In slumber I am strong.

No numbers have counted my tallies,
No tribes my house can fill,
I sit by the shining Fount of Life,
And pour the deluge still;

And ever by delicate powers
Gathering along the centuries
From race on race the rarest flowers,
My wreath shall nothing miss.

And many a thousand summers
My apples ripened well,
And light from meliorating stars
With firmer glory fell.

I wrote the past in characters
Of rock and fire the scroll,
The building in the coral sea,
The planting of the coal.

And thefts from satellites and rings
And broken stars I drew,
And out of spent and aged things
I formed the world anew;

What time the gods kept carnival,
Tricked out in star and flower,
And in cramp elf and saurian forms
They swathed their too much power.

Time and Thought were my surveyors,
They laid their courses well,
They boiled the sea, and baked the layers
Or granite, marl, and shell.

But he, the man-child glorious,--
Where tarries he the while?
The rainbow shines his harbinger,
The sunset gleams his smile.

My boreal lights leap upward,
Forthright my planets roll,
And still the man-child is not born,
The summit of the whole.

Must time and tide forever run?
Will never my winds go sleep in the west?
Will never my wheels which whirl the sun
And satellites have rest?

Too much of donning and doffing,
Too slow the rainbow fades,
I weary of my robe of snow,
My leaves and my cascades;

I tire of globes and races,
Too long the game is played;
What without him is summer's pomp,
Or winter's frozen shade?

I travail in pain for him,
My creatures travail and wait;
His couriers come by squadrons,
He comes not to the gate.

Twice I have moulded an image,
And thrice outstretched my hand,
Made one of day, and one of night,
And one of the salt sea-sand.

One in a Judaean manger,
And one by Avon stream,
One over against the mouths of Nile,
And one in the Academe.

I moulded kings and saviours,
And bards o'er kings to rule;--
But fell the starry influence short,
The cup was never full.

Yet whirl the glowing wheels once more,
And mix the bowl again;
Seethe, fate! the ancient elements,
Heat, cold, wet, dry, and peace, and pain.

Let war and trade and creeds and song
Blend, ripen race on race,
The sunburnt world a man shall breed
Of all the zones, and countless days.

No ray is dimmed, no atom worn,
My oldest force is good as new,
And the fresh rose on yonder thorn
Gives back the bending heavens in dew.

from: American Poetry: The Nineteenth Century, Volume I.
photo by: EPOCH PHOTO, on flickr.

Sunday, August 1, 2010


To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time        
by Robert Herrick

Gather ye rosebuds while ye may,
   Old Time is still a-flying;
And this same flower that smiles today
   Tomorrow will be dying.

The glorious lamp of heaven, the sun,
   The higher he's a-getting,
The sooner will his race be run,
   And nearer he's to setting.

That age is best which is the first,
   When youth and blood are warmer;
But being spent, the worse, and worst
   Times still succeed the former.

Then be not coy, but use your time,
   And while ye may, go marry;
For having lost but once your prime,
   You may forever tarry.