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Archive for the ‘Poetry’ Category

Among the Rocks

Oh, good gigantic smile o’ the brown old earth,

     This autumn morning!  How he sets his bones

To bask i’ the sun, and thrusts out knees and feet

For the ripple to run over in its mirth;

     Listening the while, where on the heap of stones

The white breast of the sea-lark twitters sweet.

 

That is the doctrine, simple, ancient, true;

     Such is life’s trial, as old earth smiles and knows.

If you loved only what were worth your love,

Love were clear gain, and wholly well for you:

     Make the low nature better by your throes!

Give earth yourself, go up for gain above!

 

                                       ~ Robert Browning

 

"Forest Stream" by Albert Bierstadt (1830-1902)

“Forest Stream” by Albert Bierstadt (1830-1902)

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It Couldn’t Be Done

Somebody said that it couldn’t be done

   But he with a chuckle replied

That “maybe it couldn’t,” but he would be one

   Who wouldn’t say so till he’d tried.

So he buckled right in with the trace of a grin

   On his face.  If he worried he hid it.

He started to sing as he tackled the thing

   That couldn’t be done, and he did it!

 

Somebody scoffed: “Oh, you’ll never do that;

   At least no one ever has done it;”

But he took off his coat and he took off his hat

   And the first thing we knew he’d begun it.

With a lift of his chin and a bit of a grin,

   Without any doubting or quiddit,

He started to sing as he tackled the thing

   That couldn’t be done, and he did it.

 

There are thousands to tell you it cannot be done,

   There are thousands to prophesy failure,

There are thousands to point out to you one by one,

   The dangers that wait to assail you.

But just buckle in with a bit of a grin,

   Just take off your coat and go to it;

Just start in to sing as you tackle the thing

   That “cannot be done,” and you’ll do it.

 

                          ~ Edgar Albert Guest

 

Posted in honor of my successful MFA thesis defense at Chapman University today.

 

"The Matterhorn" by Albert Bierstadt (1830-1902)

“The Matterhorn” by Albert Bierstadt (1830-1902)

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The Pains of Sleep

Ere on my bed my limbs I lay,

It hath not been my use to pray

With moving lips or bended knees;

But silently, by slow degrees,

My spirit I to Love compose,

In humble trust mine eye-lids close,

With reverential resignation

No wish conceived, no thought exprest,

Only a sense of supplication;

A sense o’er all my soul imprest

That I am weak, yet not unblest,

Since in me, round me, every where

Eternal strength and Wisdom are.

 

~ Samuel Taylor Coleridge

 

"The Stuff That Dreams Are Made Of" by John Anster Fitzgerald, 1858

“The Stuff That Dreams Are Made Of” by John Anster Fitzgerald, 1858

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The Moon

Time wears her not; she doth his chariot guide;

Mortality below her orb is placed.

– Raleigh

 

The full-orbed moon with unchanged ray

Mounts up the eastern sky,

Not doomed to these short nights for aye,

But shining steadily.

 

She does not wane, but my fortune,

Which her rays do not bless,

My wayward path declineth soon,

But she shines not the less.

 

And if she faintly glimmers here,

And paled is her light,

Yet always in her proper sphere

She’s mistress of the night.

 

               ~ Henry David Thoreau

 

"Moonrise" by Stanislaw Maslowski, 1884

“Moonrise” by Stanislaw Maslowski, 1884

 

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My November Guest

My Sorrow, when she’s here with me,

     Thinks these dark days of autumn rain

Are beautiful as days can be;

She loves the bare, the withered tree;

     She walks the sodden pasture lane.

 

Her pleasure will not let me stay.

     She talks and I am fain to list:

She’s glad the birds are gone away,

She’s glad her simple worsted gray

     Is silver now with clinging mist.

 

The desolate, deserted trees,

     The faded earth, the heavy sky,

The beauties she so truly sees,

She thinks I have no eye for these,

     And vexes me for reason why.

 

Not yesterday I learned to know

     The love of bare November days

Before the coming of the snow,

But it were vain to tell her so,

     And they are better for her praise.

 

~ Robert Frost

 

"Autumn" by Carl Fredrik Hill, 1877

“Autumn” by Carl Fredrik Hill, 1877

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Poppies in October

Even the sun-clouds this morning cannot manage such skirts.

Nor the woman in the ambulance

Whose red heart blooms through her coat so astoundingly –

 

A gift, a love gift

Utterly unasked for

By a sky

 

Palely and flamily

Igniting its carbon monoxides, by eyes

Dulled to a halt under bowlers.

 

O my god, what am I

That these late mouths should cry open

In a forest of frost, in a dawn of cornflowers.

 

~ Sylvia Plath, from Collected Poems (HarperCollins, 1992)

 

"Oriental Poppies" by Laura Muntz Lyall (1860-1930)

“Oriental Poppies” by Laura Muntz Lyall (1860-1930)

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The Ghost

SOFTLY as brown-eyed Angels rove

I will return to thy alcove,

And glide upon the night to thee,

Treading the shadows silently.

 

And I will give to thee, my own,

Kisses as icy as the moon,

And the caresses of a snake

Cold gliding in the thorny brake.

 

And when returns the livid morn

Thou shalt find all my place forlorn

And chilly, till the falling night.

 

Others would rule by tenderness

Over thy life and youthfulness,

But I would conquer thee by fright!

 

~ Charles Baudelaire

 

"William and Margaret from Percy's 'Reliques of Ancient English Poetry'" by Joseph Wright of Derby, circa 1785

“William and Margaret from Percy’s Reliques of Ancient English Poetry” by Joseph Wright of Derby, circa 1785

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