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Some Favorite Poems
by Poem Classics
Email: ncpiglib (nospam) yahoo.com
25 May 2008
poetry of Emily Dickinson, Yeats, Millay, Wilbur, Dove, Tagore, Rumi, Lao Tsu, Mary Shelley and others
SOME FAVORITE POEMS
A DEEP-SWORN VOW
Others because you did not keep
That deep-sworn vow
have been friends of mine;
Yet always when I look death in the face,
When I clamber to the heights of sleep,
Or when I grow excited with wine,
Suddenly I meet your face.
-William Butler Yeats-
TWO VOICES IN A MEADOW
Anonymous as cherubs
Over the crib of God,
White seeds are floating
Out of my burst pod.
What power had I
Before I learned to yield?
Shatter me, great wind:
I shall possess the field.
As casual as cow-dung
Under the crib of God,
I lie where chance would have me,
Up to the ears in sod.
Why should I move? To move
Befits a light desire.
The sill of heaven would founder,
Did such as I aspire.
THE HEART ASKS PLEASURE FIRST
The heart asks pleasure first
And then, excuse from pain-
And then, those little anodynes
That deaden suffering;
And then, to go to sleep;
And then, if it should be
The will of its Inquisitor,
The liberty to die.
Amateurs built the ark. Professionals built the Titanic.”
Kashmir is montcrowned, lake garlanded and flower shod.
BEACH AT SANIBEL
The beach at Sanibel...
an Arlington Cemetery of shells
OPAL AND GREY
Oh Lord Your world was beautiful today
suspended in shades of opal and grey
its music ascending in octaves and bars
disappearing from sight beyond the stars
(Mary has left her body. She had written many poems for
Sacred Heart magazine. This poem is paraphrased from what
she spoke .. poster can't yet find original.)
Out beyond ideas
of wrong and right
there is a field.
I'll meet you there.
I'VE LOST THE WAY TO MY MOUTH
Don’t hand me another glass of wine.
Pour it in my mouth.
I've lost the way to my mouth.
She raised her baton...
and Beethoven answered.
-John C Lehman-
From time to time
The clouds give rest
To the moon beholders..
INGATHERING THE RAIN
The River Mogami rushes down
.Ingathering all the rains
back to the time
when snakes were red—
my coloring book
-© Serene Moment- (a young Filipino woman poet)
I WOULD NOT SAIL WITH SHEEP
When I was once in Baltimore
A man came up to me and cried
‘Come, I have eighteen hundred sheep,
And we sail on Tuesday’s tide.'
‘If you will sail with me, young man,
I'll pay you fifty shillings down.
These eighteen hundred sheep I take
From Baltimore to Glasgow town.’
He paid me fifty shillings down.
I sailed with eighteen hundred sheep;
We soon had cleared the harbour’s mouth,
We soon were in the salt sea deep.
The first night we were out at sea.
Those sheep were quiet in their mind.
The second night they cried with fear –
They smelt no pastures in the wind.
They sniffed, poor things, for their green fields.
They cried so loud I could not sleep:
For fifty thousand shillings down
I would not sail again with sheep.
-William Henry Davies- 1871 to 1940
(Davies was born in the UK.. lived several years as a hobo
in the US.. broke his leg hopping a train.. and returned to
England and began writing)
FRAGMENT FROM TWELFTH NIGHT
He is a heavy eater of beef. Methinks it doth harm to his wit.
In the beggar's tin
a few thin copper coins
and this evening rain
IN A STATION AT THE METRO
The apparition of these faces in the crowd;
Petals on a wet, black bough.
COURSE IN MIRACLES
Fear is like a dark grey mass of menacing thunderclouds.. you enter and find it can not stop a button's fall" (paraphrased)
The five colors blind the eye.
The five tones deafen the ear.
The five flavours dull the taste.
Racing and hunting madden the mind.
Precious things lead one astray.
Therefore the sage is guided by what he feels and not by what he sees.
He lets go of that and chooses this.
-Lao Tsu- (author of the Tao Te Ching)
All beings are beautiful seen through eyes of love.
TO A FORMER FOE
Now I see you as a pure rushing fountain, adorned only
by your own sweet splashes.
The Royal Eagle, with his pearly beak
Digs into the slain hearts
Ruptures the life roots
Abandons the remains
Annette M'Baye of Senegal
Death is not extinguishing the light; it is only putting out the lamp because the dawn has come.
The silent sun has fallen heralding the symphony of the night.
-J M Grubb-
SEVEN MOUTHED NILE
where the seven-mouthed Nile encolours the sea,
While I watched the tempest, so beautiful yet terrific, I wandered on with a hasty step. This noble war in the sky elevated my spirits.
-Mary Shelley- author at age 19 of Frankenstein, designed
to facilitate the antivivisection movement
If you reveal your secrets to the wind you should not blame the wind for revealing them to the trees.
A MAN'S HEART
A man's heart saddened. A poet's heart gladdened.
He opens the window
puts his hand inside my heart
and pumps out water.
-Kim Hye-Sun- Korea
FREQUENT FLIER MILES
She had spent her life accumulating frequent flyer miles
for a one way trip to heaven
2 and 9
an interview with Richard Wilbur on Nine Nine One Nine Nine Nine
Love, like a carefully loaded ship,
crosses the gulf between the generations.
-Antoine de Saint-Exupery
I lie on the grass and listen
to the river inside me. It
pulses and churns, surges up
against the clenched rock
of my heart
until finally it spurts from my head
in a dark jet. Behind,
the clouds swoop and dive
on paper wings, the palace walls
grow taller, brick by brick, till they rise beyond
the painting's edge. The river
is deep now and still, an opaque lake
filled with blue fish. But look,
the ground tilts, the green touch-me-not plants
angle away from my body. I am falling.
The lake cups its liquid fingers for me,
the fish glint like light on ice. Evening. The river pebbles
are newborn pearls. The water rises.
I am disappearing, my body
rippling into circles. Legs, waist,
armpits. My hair floats upward, a skein
of melting silk. I give
my face to the river, the lines
of my forehead, my palms. When the last cell
has dissolved, the last cry
of the lake-birds, I will, once more,
hear the river inside.
-Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni-
The sound of shot.
The roar of gun.
Thy will be done
blares the drum.
The sudden shock.
The news farflung.
Thy will be done
beats the drum.
The hour of grief.
The darkened sun.
Thy will be done
rolls the drum.
The sound of shot.
The grave begun.
Thy will be done
mourns the drum.
-Nellie Marshall Bertsch-
(a poem about the death of J F K)
GIVE ME YOUR TIRED YOUR POOR
Give me your tired, your poor,
your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore,
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me:
I lift my lamp beside the golden
(security needs, the outsourcing of jobs by corporations
run amuck, unregulated immigration pursued by a unionbusting
regime, a 'Homeland Security Dept' which makes nonagenarian women
remove their shoes in airport lines while letting 95% of
shipping and plane containers come in unchecked
regime have made these words less popular)
Butterflies are made of fairy essence.
Sweetly float into my brain.
Flowers are made of mysterious charme.
Fluently they liquify my mind.
-Maria Cristina Azcona-
THREE JEWELS FROM THE POEMS OF ERNEST BEVANS
"Some say there is no God
...that we are squatting tenants
in the hostile house of
an absent slumlord."
"I knew only love and slip into it as easily as a fish."
"...your lips on my neck
woke the sun"
FRAGMENT FROM THE POEM "A CHANGING LIGHT"
San Francisco...after the fog burns off
and the sun paints white houses
with the sea light of Greece
with sharp clean shadows
making the town look like
it had just been painted
move from food to food
-Anne LB Davidson-
SKY IN MY TEACUP
under the old oak tree
a table set for two
sky in my teacup
-Anne LB Davidson-
However it is called
it answers back
neko no ko no
dô yobarete mo
* titles have been given to untitled haiku for the sake of format
THE OCEAN ASKS FOR NOTHING
The ocean asks for nothing
but those who stand by her shores
gradually attune themselves to
A PORTABLE GOD
All morning I have sought
enlightenment under the pines,
and I’m filled like
with the mossy light
and still I have no answers.
At first it was the infant
powder of dawn I praised.
I breathed it like wild
perfume that unraveled
I crossed a rocky stream
that spoke in diamond
proverbs like a monk.
I breathed it too.
Still no answers.
I want the smaller God
of my childhood . . .
an almost-human wisp of
gold floating back and forth
through the veil
How cruel to live behind
this drape of birth and death
with only enough
answers to keep us asking,
but here, under a sky
so much like a god,
even with wisdom we’ve
touched in our best dreams,
even with a throne of six
billion questioning souls
and terrible beauty,
there was a moment when
I was simply alive.
No reasons. No next
one frozen infinity
distilled to this
I want the soft-spoken God
of my childhood.
Winter mornings on my way
clouds polished into opal
and trees of ink spilling
toward their gods,
I put on mist like a second soul.
But there was my Jesus,
sometimes just a picture on
a well-worn card . . .
creases across eyes gazing
past all the world’s pain into
an attainable heaven.
I am now sick with passion for
untamed places and brown
fragrance that opens doors to
the afterworld around
every corner as I walk
through an ever-growing forest.
But I have to return to
the world and all its empty
and exotic voices,
each a different message
written in fear . . .
blood, scribbles, sweat
streaming down pages we could
but choose to keep,
etched by some drunken
scribe outside ourselves,
there is only one voice
and a God in my pocket and
in my chest that glows like a
gasp of memory,
a God in love with life and
every gust of incense inside
my green cathedral and
every unseen city living
strange lives inside the soil,
and every universe beyond
and every starry corner
of my very old
and very young soul.
-Patricia Joan Jones -
Glory be to God for dappled things—
For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings;
Landscape plotted and pieced—fold, fallow, and plough; 5
And áll trádes, their gear and tackle and trim.
All things counter, original, spare, strange;
Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:
-Gerard Manley Hopkins-
OUT OVER THE LAKE
Out over the lake
the white pine drops a cone
OVER ROCKS AND MOSS
Over rocks and moss
icy spring water rushes
to fill my cup
A LITTLE LITANY
When God turned back eternity and was young,
Ancient of Days, grown little for your mirth
(As under the low arch the land is bright)
Peered through you, gate of heaven...and saw the earth.
Or shutting out his shining skies awhile
Built you about him for a house of gold
To see in pictured walls his storied world
Return upon him as a tale is told.
Or found his mirror there; the only glass
That would not break with that unbearable light
Till in a corner of the high dark house
God looked on God, as ghosts meet in the night.
Star of his morning; that unfallen star
In that strange starry overturn of space
When earth and sky changed places for an hour
And heaven looked upwards in a human face.
Or young on your strong knees and lifted up
Wisdom cried out, whose voice is in the street,
And more than twilight of twiformed cherubim
Made of his throne indeed a mercy-seat.
Or risen from play at your pale raiment's hem
God, grown adventurous from all time's repose,
Or your tall body climed the ivory tower
And kissed upon your mouth the mystic rose.
- G K Chesterton -
THE ISLAMIC JESUS
From the book of the above title
Jesus saw a man comb his hair with
his fingers and threw away His comb.
Jesus saw a man cup a drink from
the stream with his hand and threw
away his cup.
each slice of the cake
takes part of her name
I felt like a ripe orange deliciously being pulled apart
segment by segment
(subject.in a USA government monitored LSD research program)
My soul yearned to identify with that Ocean (of God), to become immersed in It, even if it took aeons for this little stream, of which I was a part, to trickle along its stony course to reach It. ....The Ocean was aware of the cry of the little stream which had just managed to negotiate an emotional boulder which seemed very formidable.
- Peggy Mason- poetic excerpts from an article
I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the Milky Way,
They stretch'd in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay.
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.
The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee.
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed -- and gazed -- but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought.
For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.
-William Wordsworth- (1770-1850)
Lest the wolves loose their whistles
and shopkeepers inquire,
keep moving, though your knees flush
red as two chapped apples,
keep moving, head up,
past the beggar's cold cup,
past the kiosk's
trumpet tales of
odyssey and heartbreak-
until, turning a corner, you stand,
by a window of canaries
bright as a thousand
Love is more powerful
than lover, for
not bound by form.
-Baba Hari Das-
ST FRANCIS AND THE ALMOND TREE
St Francis said to the almond tree: "Speak to me of love"
.... and the almond tree blossomed.
The branch need ask no support from the vine.
The baby need not ask milk from his mother.
-Sathya Sai Baba-
The Star of India is within you.
-Yogananda to a disciple in meditation-
DREAM TOUCHES DOWN
When the mind is
open and awake
Then do the gods partake
to fill the spaces in between
the dreamer and his dream.
WEEP FOR A CAGE
He who is conceived in a cage
will weep for a cage.
(poster is not qualified to judge his political opinions.. this
poem fragment was written by him during a visit to an
American mink farm)
Autumn sunsets have come to me
at the bend of the road the lonely waste,
like a bride raising her veil
to accept her lover.
kissed her cheek
puffs of frozen breath
LOVE'S LABOUR FOUND
Let us vigil into the barren earth
To heal the wounds of barbed souls
Reunite the unrequite,
Mending fragements into wholes
Life ebbs and flows from cosmic seas
Throughout the rivulets of time
The outer reaches of darkness teach
Whever Diogenes' lamp shines.
No more will plaintive calls be missed
Nor waived rights nor faint echoed plights
Give your love freely
Nevermore to count the cost
For the good is as it should
Be redeemed and never lost.
A FRAGMENT OF A SPEECH BY FIDEL CASTRO
Society is moved to compassion when it hears of the kidnapping or murder of one child, but it is indifferent to the mass murder of so many thousands of children who die every year from lack of facilities, agonizing with pain. Their innocent eyes, death already shining in them, seem to look into some vague infinity as if entreating forgiveness for human selfishness, as if asking God to stay His wrath. And when the head of a family works only four months a year, with what can he purchase clothing and medicine for his children? They will grow up with rickets, with not a single good tooth in their mouths by the time they reach thirty; they will have heard ten million speeches and will finally die of misery and deception. Public hospitals, which are always full, accept only patients recommended by some powerful politician who, in return, demands the votes of the unfortunate one and his family so that Cuba may continue forever in the same or worse condition.
Government is an
association of men
who do violence
to the rest of us.
Nothing is easier than to
denounce the evildoer;
nothing is more difficult
than to understand him.
Yesterday the squirrels were hiding
Chestnuts in some hollowed trees.
The eggshell of evening was closing
on the center of the sun.
LOVE AND FREEDOM: A FRAGMENT
Bind the sea to slumber stilly,
Bind its odour to the lily,
Bind the aspen ne'er to quiver,
Then bind Love to last for ever.
Love's a fire that needs renewal
Of fresh beauty for its fuel:
Love's wing moults when caged and captured,
Only free, he soars enraptured.
Can you keep the bee from ranging
Or the ringdove's neck from changing?
No! nor fetter'd Love from dying
In the knot there's no untying.
around this table
sharing the wine of our lives
god of love appears
am looking for the exact quote of a line by Zelda Fitzgerald
about the sun leaving a present on the table of the world..
opening it.. ribbons of light fluttered everywhere
SILENT EVENING FOREST
Silent evening forest…
Contours of trees are dim…
Ultimate open space and — Peace.
Peace in waves radiates with Love,
From the depths of the Universe.
And impetuously sinks us in Itself,
Filling with Subtlest Fire,
All living creatures.
-Written down by Anton Teplyy, February 2001-
LINES FROM OSCAR WILDE POETRY
1 the daffodil has closed its gilded doors
2 white oh white is the hemlock flower
3 when the labouring day
Had spun its tangled web of crimson cloud,
4 he heard the cadenced drip of spilt out wine
5 a wild blast
Divide the folded curtains of the night,
The loveless lips with which men kiss in Hell.
I don't want to erase you anymore
The Way Of Haiku
published by Japan Publications
the little green bug
crawling out of this flower
sports new white shoes
beside a new grave
burdened with the crushing weight
of ungiven love
On nearing the surf
every foot print became
that of the sea
sometimes the oddest
thing like this orange pip begs
not to be thrown away
my fanciful kitten
scrambling after a leaf
she's already caught
over the smooth beach
between each wash of the moon
our vanishing prints
through a sunlit leaf
the dark shadow of two bugs
merge and become one
an applecore just short of
the sea's surging wash:
a heavy night fog has
so silenced the city
each light seems a friend
a gully flying low
above a deserted beach
racing his shadow
an abandoned book
skimming through its pages-
breezes from the sea
my bird just listens to
most music but whistles
and sings to Mozart
dew gathered by dawn
an elixir favored by
hawk stops with a squawk!
then drops with eagle talons
into his shadow
once touching the clouds
now among tossing grasses
an uprooted redwood
broken last winter
this branch dangling by a strand
is full of blossom
cloud now holds the moon
withholding all but the scent
of this mountain night
hawks from everywhere
come and circle the one
that is treading air
the harassed eagle
spirals from the world of crows
to the cloud beyond
one bud on this bush
has been chosen to awaken
glide with this rippling moon
searching its surface
now each wisp of hair
that I comb out of my dog
ends up in a nest
sweet blossoms of plum
speed the bumblebee's hum
into a loud buzz
the spider dangles
waiting for wind to swing
him to another limb
the hopscotching child
kneels to the beetle
and asks forgiveness
tired of being hung up over nothing
just flew away
the parent robin
always seems to know the one
whose turn it is
the cantankerous crow
sleeps in a nest made of
before the Buddha
an abandoned puppy lies
suckling the air
this little pill bug
folds up at the slightest touch
and just rolls away
all is shadow now
except for the golden cross
that tops the spire
the sunset fading
I turn around toward home..
a huge saffron moon
the gull in the surf
though deluged by breaking waves
left by the tide
within a shallowing pool
.. a frantic minnow
This work is in the public domain