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Archive for the ‘Poetry’ Category

September

The leaf-watcher’s month,

if she can bear to

 

The year changing its mind,

voluble as an older bride

 

The year undergoing pears

 

September being also a floating classroom

for studying the great lakes

 

September,

who gives anyone who asks

 

a guided tour of the year,

the month who keeps all year’s promises,

 

leaf by leaf

 

                    ~ Penelope Shuttle

 

"Maple Leaf" by Edward Edmondson, Jr., circa 1870

“Maple Leaf” by Edward Edmondson, Jr., circa 1870

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Praised be the moon of books! that doth above

A world of men, the fallen Past behold,

And fill the spaces else so void and cold

To make a very heaven again thereof;

As when the sun is set behind a grove,

And faintly unto nether ether rolled,

All night his whiter image and his mould

Grows beautiful with looking on her love.

 

Thou therefore, moon of so divine a ray,

Lend to our steps both fortitude and light!

Feebly along a venerable way

They climb the infinite, or perish quite;

Nothing are days and deeds to such as they,

While in this liberal house thy face is bright.

 

                            ~ Louise Imogen Guiney

 

The Reading Room of the British Museum by Riccardo Cambiassi

The Reading Room of the British Museum by Riccardo Cambiassi

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To Solitude

I am weary of the working,

   Weary of the long day’s heat;

To thy comfortable bosom,

   Wilt thou take me, spirit sweet?

 

Weary of the long, blind struggle

   For a pathway bright and high,–

Weary of the dimly dying

   Hopes that never quite all die.

 

Weary searching a bad cipher

   For a good that must be meant;

Discontent with being weary,–

   Weary with my discontent.

 

I am weary of the trusting

   Where my trusts but torments prove;

Wilt thou keep faith with me? wilt thou

   Be my true and tender love?

 

I am weary drifting, driving

   Like a helmless bark at sea;

Kindly, comfortable spirit,

   Wilt thou give thyself to me?

 

Give thy birds to sing me sonnets?

   Give thy winds my cheeks to kiss?

And thy mossy rocks to stand for

   The memorials of our bliss?

 

I in reverence will hold thee,

   Never vexed with jealous ills,

Though thy wild and wimpling waters

   Wind about a thousand hills.

 

             ~ Alice Cary

 

"Woman by the Water" by Béla Iványi-Grünwald, 1897

“Woman by the Water” by Béla Iványi-Grünwald, 1897

 

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Ah! Sun-flower

Ah Sun-flower! weary of time,

Who countest the steps of the Sun:

Seeking after that sweet golden clime

Where the travellers journey is done.

 

Where the Youth pined away with desire,

And the pale Virgin shrouded in snow:

Arise from their graves and aspire,

Where my Sun-flower wishes to go.

 

~ William Blake

 

George Dunlop Leslie, 1890

George Dunlop Leslie, 1890

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An August Midnight

A shaded lamp and a waving blind,

And the beat of a clock from a distant floor:

On this scene enter – winged, horned, and spined –

A longlegs, a moth, and a dumbledore;

While ’mid my page there idly stands

A sleepy fly, that rubs its hands…

 

Thus meet we five, in this still place,

At this point of time, at this point in space.

– My guests parade my new-penned ink,

Or bang at the lamp glass, whirl, and sink.

“God’s humblest, they!” I muse. Yet why?

They know Earth-secrets that know not I.

 

                                         ~ Thomas Hardy

 

Leopold Löffler, 1858

Leopold Löffler, 1858

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The Layers

I have walked through many lives,

some of them my own,

and I am not who I was,

though some principle of being

abides, from which I struggle

not to stray.

When I look behind,

as I am compelled to look

before I can gather strength

to proceed on my journey,

I see the milestones dwindling

toward the horizon

and the slow fires trailing

from the abandoned camp-sites,

over which scavenger angels

wheel on heavy wings.

Oh, I have made myself a tribe

out of my true affections,

and my tribe is scattered!

How shall the heart be reconciled

to its feast of losses?

In a rising wind

the manic dust of my friends,

those who fell along the way,

bitterly stings my face.

Yet I turn, I turn,

exulting somewhat,

with my will intact to go

wherever I need to go,

and every stone on the road

precious to me.

In my darkest night,

when the moon was covered

and I roamed through wreckage,

a nimbus-clouded voice

directed me:

“Live in the layers,

not on the litter.”

Though I lack the art

to decipher it,

no doubt the next chapter

in my book of transformations

is already written.

I am not done with my changes.

 

                    ~ Stanley Kunitz, born on this day in 1905

 

"The Looking Glass" by Alexander Ignatius Roche (1861-1921)

“The Looking Glass” by Alexander Ignatius Roche (1861-1921)

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I wish I could remember that first day,

   First hour, first moment of your meeting me,

   If bright or dim the season, it might be

Summer or Winter for aught I can say;

So unrecorded did it slip away,

   So blind was I to see and to foresee,

   So dull to mark the budding of my tree

That would not blossom yet for many a May.

If only I could recollect it, such

   A day of days! I let it come and go

   As traceless as a thaw of bygone snow;

It seemed to mean so little, meant so much;

If only now I could recall that touch,

   First touch of hand in hand – Did one but know!

 

                                    ~ Christina Rossetti

 

"Wandering Thoughts" by Frederick Alfred Slocombe (1847-1920)

“Wandering Thoughts” by Frederick Alfred Slocombe (1847-1920)

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