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Archive for the ‘Poetry’ Category

The Oven Bird

There is a singer everyone has heard,

Loud, a mid-summer and a mid-wood bird,

Who makes the solid tree trunks sound again.

He says that leaves are old and that for flowers

Mid-summer is to spring as one to ten.

He says the early petal-fall is past

When pear and cherry bloom went down in showers

On sunny days a moment overcast;

And comes that other fall we name the fall.

He says the highway dust is over all.

The bird would cease and be as other birds

But that he knows in singing not to sing.

The question that he frames in all but words

Is what to make of a diminished thing.

 

                               ~ Robert Frost

 

"Oven-bird" by Louis Agassiz Fuertes

“Oven-bird” by Louis Agassiz Fuertes

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Ebb

I know what my heart is like

     Since your love died:

It is like a hollow ledge

Holding a little pool

     Left there by the tide,

     A little tepid pool,

Drying inward from the edge.

 

~ Edna St. Vincent Millay

 

William-Adolphe Bouguereau, 1884

William-Adolphe Bouguereau, 1884

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From childhood’s hour I have not been

As others were – I have not seen

As others saw – I could not bring

My passions from a common spring –

From the same source I have not taken

My sorrow – I could not awaken

My heart to joy at the same tone –

And all I lov’d – I lov’d alone –

Then – in my childhood – in the dawn

Of a most stormy life – was drawn

From ev’ry depth of good and ill

The mystery which binds me still –

From the torrent, or the fountain –

From the red cliff of the mountain –

From the sun that ’round me roll’d

In its autumn tint of gold –

From the lightning in the sky

As it pass’d me flying by –

From the thunder, and the storm –

And the cloud that took the form

(When the rest of Heaven was blue)

Of a demon in my view –

 

~ Edgar Allan Poe

 

"A Passing Storm" by James Tissot, circa 1876

“A Passing Storm” by James Tissot, circa 1876

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The Moon, how definite its orb!

Yet gaze again, and with a steady gaze –

’Tis there indeed, – but where is it not? –

It is suffused o’er all the sapphire Heaven,

Trees, herbage, snake-like stream, unwrinkled Lake,

Whose very murmur does of it partake

And low and close the broad smooth mountain

Is more a thing of Heaven than when

Distinct by one dim shade and yet undivided from the universal cloud  

In which it towers, finite in height.

 

                                  ~ Samuel Taylor Coleridge

 

Johann Peter Hasenclever, circa 1846

Johann Peter Hasenclever, circa 1846

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A boat beneath a sunny sky,

Lingering onward dreamily

In an evening of July –

 

Children three that nestle near,

Eager eye and willing ear,

Pleased a simple tale to hear –

 

Long has paled that sunny sky:

Echoes fade and memories die:

Autumn frosts have slain July.

 

Still she haunts me, phantomwise,

Alice moving under skies

Never seen by waking eyes.

 

Children yet, the tale to hear,

Eager eye and willing ear,

Lovingly shall nestle near.

 

In a Wonderland they lie,

Dreaming as the days go by,

Dreaming as the summers die:

 

Ever drifting down the stream –

Lingering in the golden gleam –

Life, what is it but a dream?

 

~ Lewis Carroll

 

"Woman with a Child in a Boat" by Berthe Morisot, 1892

“Woman with a Child in a Boat” by Berthe Morisot, 1892

 

 

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Ask me no more where Jove bestows,

When June is past, the fading rose;

For in your beauty’s orient deep

These flowers as in their causes, sleep.

 

Ask me no more whither doth stray

The golden atoms of the day;

For in pure love heaven did prepare

Those powders to enrich your hair.

 

Ask me no more whither doth haste

The nightingale when May is past;

For in your sweet dividing throat

She winters and keeps warm her note.

 

Ask me no more where those stars light

That downwards fall in dead of night;

For in your eyes they sit, and there,

Fixed become as in their sphere.

 

Ask me no more if east or west

The phoenix builds her spicy nest;

For unto you at last she flies,

And in your fragrant bosom dies.

 

            ~ Thomas Carew

 

"The Soul of the Rose" by John William Waterhouse, 1907

“The Soul of the Rose” by John William Waterhouse, 1907

 

 

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Time Long Past

Like the ghost of a dear friend dead

     Is Time long past.

A tone which is now forever fled,

A hope which is now forever past,

A love so sweet it could not last,

     Was Time long past.

 

There were sweet dreams in the night

     Of Time long past:

And, was it sadness or delight,

Each day a shadow onward cast

Which made us wish it yet might last –

     That Time long past.

 

There is regret, almost remorse,

     For Time long past.

’Tis like a child’s beloved corse

A father watches, till at last

Beauty is like remembrance, cast

     From Time long past.

 

~ Percy Bysshe Shelley

 

"The Complain of the Watch" by Jean-Baptiste Greuze, 1770s

“The Complain of the Watch” by Jean-Baptiste Greuze, 1770s

 

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Summer

Then followed that beautiful season […]

the Summer of All-Saints! 

Filled was the air with a dreamy and magical light; and the landscape

Lay as if new-created in all the freshness of childhood.

Peace seemed to reign upon earth, and the restless heart of the ocean

Was for a moment consoled.  All sounds were in harmony blended.

 

~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Evangeline: A Tale of Acadie

 

"Summer Sunlight" by Childe Hassam, 1892

“Summer Sunlight” by Childe Hassam, 1892

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A Summer Wish

Oh that it were with me

As with the flower;

Blooming on its own tree

For butterfly and bee

Its summer morns:

That I might bloom mine hour

A rose in spite of thorns.

 

Oh that my work were done

As birds’ that soar

Rejoicing in the sun:

That when my time is run

And daylight too,

I so might rest once more

Cool with refreshing dew.

 

~ From “A Summer Wish” by Christina Rossetti

 

Unknown Artist, 1893

Unknown Artist, 1893

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Insomnia

The moon in the bureau mirror

looks out a million miles

(and perhaps with pride, at herself,

but she never, never smiles)

far and away beyond sleep, or

perhaps she’s a daytime sleeper.

 

By the Universe deserted,

she’d tell it to go to hell,

and she’d find a body of water,

or a mirror, on which to dwell.

So wrap up care in a cobweb

and drop it down the well

 

into that world inverted

where left is always right,

where the shadows are really the body,

where we stay awake all night,

where the heavens are shallow as the sea

is now deep, and you love me.

 

                      ~ Elizabeth Bishop

 

"Moonlight Night" by Ilya Repin, 1896

“Moonlight Night” by Ilya Repin, 1896

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