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Favorite Poems thread!

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Then, back 400 years out of the city, which most Elizabethans regarded as not a fit background for the expression of ideal life, to the centuries popular

The Passionate Shepherd To His Love

Come live with me and be my love,

And we will all the pleasures prove

That valleys. groves, hills, and fields,

Woods or steepy mountains, 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-lin-ed 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 shepherd swains shall dance and sing

For thy delight each May morning:

If these delights thy mind may move,

Come live with me and be my love.

By Christopher Marlowe (1600)

A fine poem, with a simplicity and smoothness which had rarely existed in English before.  It served as the inspiration for the following song by me, here without music.

Come My Love  (after Marlowe)

I have many many notes to sing,

And I have many melodies.

Come, come, come, oh come, my Love,

I'll sing you anything you please.

Sing you any rapture, sing you any try,

Sing you any power right;

Sing you anything you love to buy

In daytime or in night.

Sing you of the flowing breezes

Swirling in your perfumed hair;

Sing you of your eyes so steady

And showing evermore, "I dare!"

I can sing of any thing that passes through the sky;

Every city on the earth is just a note of "I".

Roaring and soaring, engines a-driving,

Bridges and towers and all;

Bells that are ringing, hammers a-pounding,

Girders connecting, sing "I".

Quiet time alone,

Thinking what you'll do;

Seeing what you've done so far,

Where you're going to.

This I sing inside of me,

Singing all the time;

I will sing you everything

If you will be mine.

I have many many many many notes to sing,

And I have many melodies;

Come, come, come, oh come! my Love,

I'll sing you anything you please!

Brian Faulkner  (1979)

Brian:

Come My Love was awesome. On the day that I read it, something inside me was confirmed. It is very beautiful. It confirms my eternal hope. And it has made my Valentine week. Thank you for sharing it.

Americo.

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Love Among The Ruins

by Robert Browning

I.

Where the quiet-coloured end of evening smiles,

Miles and miles

On the solitary pastures where our sheep

Half-asleep

Tinkle homeward thro' the twilight, stray or stop

As they crop---

Was the site once of a city great and gay,

(So they say)

Of our country's very capital, its prince

Ages since

Held his court in, gathered councils, wielding far

Peace or war.

II.

Now,---the country does not even boast a tree,

As you see,

To distinguish slopes of verdure, certain rills

From the hills

Intersect and give a name to, (else they run

Into one)

Where the domed and daring palace shot its spires

Up like fires

O'er the hundred-gated circuit of a wall

Bounding all,

Made of marble, men might march on nor be pressed,

Twelve abreast.

III.

And such plenty and perfection, see, of grass

Never was!

Such a carpet as, this summer-time, o'erspreads

And embeds

Every vestige of the city, guessed alone,

Stock or stone---

Where a multitude of men breathed joy and woe

Long ago;

Lust of glory pricked their hearts up, dread of shame

Struck them tame;

And that glory and that shame alike, the gold

Bought and sold.

IV.

Now,---the single little turret that remains

On the plains,

By the caper overrooted, by the gourd

Overscored,

While the patching houseleek's head of blossom winks

Through the chinks---

Marks the basement whence a tower in ancient time

Sprang sublime,

And a burning ring, all round, the chariots traced

As they raced,

And the monarch and his minions and his dames

Viewed the games.

V.

And I know, while thus the quiet-coloured eve

Smiles to leave

To their folding, all our many-tinkling fleece

In such peace,

And the slopes and rills in undistinguished grey

Melt away---

That a girl with eager eyes and yellow hair

Waits me there

In the turret whence the charioteers caught soul

For the goal,

When the king looked, where she looks now, breathless, dumb

Till I come.

VI.

But he looked upon the city, every side,

Far and wide,

All the mountains topped with temples, all the glades'

Colonnades,

All the causeys, bridges, aqueducts,---and then,

All the men!

When I do come, she will speak not, she will stand,

Either hand

On my shoulder, give her eyes the first embrace

Of my face,

Ere we rush, ere we extinguish sight and speech

Each on each.

VII.

In one year they sent a million fighters forth

South and North,

And they built their gods a brazen pillar high

As the sky,

Yet reserved a thousand chariots in full force---

Gold, of course.

Oh heart! oh blood that freezes, blood that burns!

Earth's returns

For whole centuries of folly, noise and sin!

Shut them in,

With their triumphs and their glories and the rest!

Love is best.

Cristina

by Robert Browning

I.

She should never have looked at me

If she meant I should not love her!

There are plenty ... men, you call such,

I suppose ... she may discover

All her soul to, if she pleases,

And yet leave much as she found them:

But I'm not so, and she knew it

When she fixed me, glancing round them,

II.

What? To fix me thus meant nothing?

But I can't tell (there's my weakness)

What her look said!---no vile cant, sure,

About ``need to strew the bleakness

``Of some lone shore with its pearl-seed.

``That the sea feels''---no strange yearning

``That such souls have, most to lavish

``Where there's chance of least returning.''

III.

Oh, we're sunk enough here, God knows!

But not quite so sunk that moments,

Sure tho' seldom, are denied us,

When the spirit's true endowments

Stand out plainly from its false ones,

And apprise it if pursuing

Or the right way or the wrong way,

To its triumph or undoing.

IV.

There are flashes struck from midnights,

There are fire-flames noondays kindle,

Whereby piled-up honours perish,

Whereby swollen ambitions dwindle,

While just this or that poor impulse,

Which for once had play unstifled,

Seems the sole work of a life-time

That away the rest have trifled.

V.

Doubt you if, in some such moment,

As she fixed me, she felt clearly,

Ages past the soul existed,

Here an age 'tis resting merely,

And hence fleets again for ages,

While the true end, sole and single,

It stops here for is, this love-way,

With some other soul to mingle?

VI.

Else it loses what it lived for,

And eternally must lose it;

Better ends may be in prospect,

Deeper blisses (if you choose it),

But this life's end and this love-bliss

Have been lost here. Doubt you whether

This she felt as, looking at me,

Mine and her souls rushed together?

VII.

Oh, observe! Of course, next moment,

The world's honours, in derision,

Trampled out the light for ever:

Never fear but there's provision

Of the devil's to quench knowledge

Lest we walk the earth in rapture!

---Making those who catch God's secret

Just so much more prize their capture!

VIII.

Such am I: the secret's mine now!

She has lost me, I have gained her;

Her soul's mine: and thus, grown perfect,

I shall pass my life's remainder.

Life will just hold out the proving

Both our powers, alone and blended:

And then, come next life quickly!

This world's use will have been ended.

Now!

by Robert Browning

Out of your whole life give but a moment!

All of your life that has gone before,

All to come after it, -- so you ignore,

So you make perfect the present, condense,

In a rapture of rage, for perfection's endowment,

Thought and feeling and soul and sense,

Merged in a moment which gives me at last

You around me for once, you beneath me, above me --

Me, sure that, despite of time future, time past,

This tick of life-time's one moment you love me!

How long such suspension may linger? Ah, Sweet,

The moment eternal -- just that and no more --

When ecstasy's utmost we clutch at the core,

While cheeks burn, arms open, eyes shut, and lips meet!

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Rober Browning is certainly one of my favorite poets.  That he was madly in love with another poet is a fascination to me and one day I would like to read their story.  My favorite poem of his, though I don't understand it entirely is, LOVE AMONG THE RUINS because I can sing it very very passionately, and with an almost operatic voice.

But the one that follows is quite neat in structure.  It is almost jazzy and certainly singable, and even danceable.  But it is sad, as the title suggests.  I must say I don't get it exactly.  But if it is a woman's dying words, then there is a benevolence in it, which is even more touching than the sadness.

A WOMAN'S LAST WORD

Let's contend no more, Love,

    Strive nor weep:

All be as before, Love,

    -Only sleep!

What so wild as words are?

    I and thou

In debate, as birds are,

    Hawk on bough!

See the creature stalking

    While we speak!

Hush and hide the talking,

    Cheek on cheek!

What so false as truth is,

  False to thee?

Where the serpent's tooth is,

  Shun the tree-

Where the apple reddens

    Never pry--

Lest we lose our Edens,

    Eve and I.

Be a god and hold me

    With a charm!

Be a man and fold me

    With thine arm!

Teach me, only teach, Love!

    As I ought.

I will speak thy speech, Love,

    Think thy thought--

Meet, if thou require it,

    Both demands,

Laying flesh and spirit

    In thy hands.

That shall be tomorrow,

    Not tonight:

I must bury sorrow

    Out of sight:

--Must a little weep, Love,

    (Foolish me!)

And so fall asleep, Love,

    Loved by thee.

Robert Browning.

First of all, every other line of every stanza has an indentation.  I don't know exactly what this poem means.  For her to choose to be with Browning was a struggle for her, though she did love him, as is depicted in Songs From The Portuguese.  So this poem can apply to the death of the old Elizabeth, on the eve when she will finally taste Robert, and tomorrow will be a different day and a new Elizabeth.  And yet she died before Robert, so maybe this can apply to that.  Brian Faulkner, can you help me out here?

Americo.

And then I saw a picture for this poem in my Browning book (SHORTER POEMS OF ROBERT BROWNING; The Macmillan Company; 1929; Franklin T. Baker).

This is the picture: A woman is sitting at her desk, obviously alive. At her writing desk, perhaps. A man is standing over her, with hands at his hips, his elbows at prominence, obviously reproachful. So I assume that the woman is not dead, but rather her coyness for the man.

Americo.

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(Maria) Christina By Robert Browning:

I.SHE should never have looked at me

If she meant I should not love her!

There are plenty . . . men, you call such,

I suppose . . . she may discover

All her soul to, if she pleases,

And yet leave much as she found them:

But I’m not so, and she knew it

When she fixed me, glancing round them,

II.What? To fix me thus meant nothing?

But I can’t tell . . . there’s my weakness . . .

What her look said!—no vile cant, sure,

About “need to strew the bleakness

“Of some lone shore with its pearl-seed.

“That the sea feels”—no “strange yearning“

That such souls have, most to lavish

“Where there’s chance of least returning.”

III.Oh, we’re sunk enough here, God knows!

But not quite so sunk that moments,

Sure tho’ seldom, are denied us,

When the spirit’s true endowments

Stand out plainly from its false ones,

And apprise it if pursuing

Or the right way or the wrong way,

To its triumph or undoing.

IV.There are flashes struck from midnights,

There are fire-flames noondays kindle,

Whereby piled-up honours perish,

Whereby swollen ambitions dwindle,

While just this or that poor impulse,

Which for once had play unstifled,

Seems the sole work of a life-time

That away the rest have trifled.

V.Doubt you if, in some such moment,

As she fixed me, she felt clearly,

Ages past the soul existed,

Here an age ’tis resting merely,

And hence fleets again for ages,

While the true end, sole and single,

It stops here for is, this love-way,

With some other soul to mingle?

VI.Else it loses what it lived for,

And eternally must lose it;

Better ends may be in prospect,

Deeper blisses (if you choose it),

But this life’s end and this love-bliss

Have been lost here. Doubt you whether

This she felt as, looking at me,

Mine and her souls rushed together?

VII.Oh, observe! Of course, next moment,

The world’s honours, in derision,

Trampled out the light for ever:

Never fear but there’s provision

Of the devil’s to quench knowledge

Lest we walk the earth in rapture!

—Making those who catch God’s secret

Just so much more prize their capture!

VIII.Such am I: the secret’s mine now!

She has lost me, I have gained her;

Her soul’s mine: and thus, grown perfect,

I shall pass my life’s remainder.

Life will just hold out the proving

Both our powers, alone and blended:

And then, come next life quickly!

This world’s use will have been ended.

Edited by AMERICONORMAN

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AMERICONORMAN, every normal, rational human being wants more than a mere emotional reaction about most things.

A Woman's Last Word is most definitely not "jazzy" I know practically nothing about the relationship between the Brownings, and, in a good, independent poem, like with any work of art, the meaning should be found within itself. Here, the title gives the first clue, immediately suggesting the idea of "getting in the last word" of an argument. So, proceeding stanza by stanza I get, from the writer's point of view:

1. Let's stop arguing.

2. Words were spoken that hurt.

3. The "creature" (resentment?) can kill intimacy.

4. Truth that hurts is false.

5. Ignorance is bliss.

6. Just be charming, i.e., forget the truth.

7. Teach, ONLY teach, i.e., don't inquire or judge.

8. Forget full loving for tonight, for

9. your hurtful words have made me too sad.

To a rational person, stanzas 4,5,6 and 7 are enough to dump this poem in the trashcan. If I had written it I would burn it and bury it besides! Can you imagine Dominique saying this? I can, however, imagine Peter Keating hearing and accepting it with a sigh of relief.

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AMERICONORMAN, every normal, rational human being wants more than a mere emotional reaction about most things.

      A Woman's Last Word is most definitely not "jazzy"  I know practically nothing about the relationship between the Brownings, and, in a good, independent poem, like with any work of art, the meaning should be found within itself.  Here, the title gives the first clue, immediately suggesting the idea of "getting in the last word" of an argument.  So, proceeding stanza by stanza I get, from the writer's point of view:

1.  Let's stop arguing.

2.  Words were spoken that hurt.

3.  The "creature" (resentment?) can kill intimacy.

4.  Truth that hurts is false.

5.  Ignorance is bliss.

6.  Just be charming, i.e., forget the truth.

7.  Teach, ONLY teach, i.e., don't inquire or judge.

8.  Forget full loving for tonight, for

9.  your hurtful words have made me too sad.

    To a rational person, stanzas 4,5,6 and 7 are enough to dump this poem in the trashcan.  If I had written it I would burn it and bury it besides!  Can you imagine Dominique saying this?  I can, however, imagine Peter Keating hearing and accepting it with a sigh of relief.

So, Brian Faulkner, you can never use the structure of the poem for your own poem (s)? So you definately do not like the music of the poem. So you can never use such a thing. This, I am asking ...?

And like I said, I needed help with the theme ... I will have to look at the poem for myself to see whether what you say is true.

But thanks for answering my question.

Americo.

(Fixed quote -sNerd)

Edited by softwareNerd

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AMERICONORMAN, every normal, rational human being wants more than a mere emotional reaction about most things.

      A Woman's Last Word is most definitely not "jazzy"  I know practically nothing about the relationship between the Brownings, and, in a good, independent poem, like with any work of art, the meaning should be found within itself.  Here, the title gives the first clue, immediately suggesting the idea of "getting in the last word" of an argument.  So, proceeding stanza by stanza I get, from the writer's point of view:

1.  Let's stop arguing.

2.  Words were spoken that hurt.

3.  The "creature" (resentment?) can kill intimacy.

4.  Truth that hurts is false.

5.  Ignorance is bliss.

6.  Just be charming, i.e., forget the truth.

7.  Teach, ONLY teach, i.e., don't inquire or judge.

8.  Forget full loving for tonight, for

9.  your hurtful words have made me too sad.

    To a rational person, stanzas 4,5,6 and 7 are enough to dump this poem in the trashcan.  If I had written it I would burn it and bury it besides!  Can you imagine Dominique saying this?  I can, however, imagine Peter Keating hearing and accepting it with a sigh of relief.

I am no musician but I do see the structure as potentially jazzy, if one can change the theme. Okay, well how would jazz be expressed in a poem? Maybe I am thinking the blues.

Americo.

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Robert Browning (1812-1889)

The Lost Leader

1Just for a handful of silver he left us,

2 Just for a riband to stick in his coat--

3Found the one gift of which fortune bereft us,

4 Lost all the others she lets us devote;

5They, with the gold to give, doled him out silver,

6 So much was theirs who so little allowed:

7How all our copper had gone for his service!

8 Rags--were they purple, his heart had been proud!

9We that had loved him so, followed him, honoured him,

10 Lived in his mild and magnificent eye,

11Learned his great language, caught his clear accents,

12 Made him our pattern to live and to die!

13Shakespeare was of us, Milton was for us,

14 Burns, Shelley, were with us,--they watch from their graves!

15He alone breaks from the van and the freemen,

16 --He alone sinks to the rear and the slaves!

17We shall march prospering,--not thro' his presence;

18 Songs may inspirit us,--not from his lyre;

19Deeds will be done,--while he boasts his quiescence,

20 Still bidding crouch whom the rest bade aspire:

21Blot out his name, then, record one lost soul more,

22 One task more declined, one more footpath untrod,

23One more devils'-triumph and sorrow for angels,

24 One wrong more to man, one more insult to God!

25Life's night begins: let him never come back to us!

26 There would be doubt, hesitation and pain,

27Forced praise on our part--the glimmer of twilight,

28 Never glad confident morning again!

29Best fight on well, for we taught him--strike gallantly,

30 Menace our heart ere we master his own;

31Then let him receive the new knowledge and wait us,

32 Pardoned in heaven, the first by the throne!

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Life in a Love

Robert Browning

----------------------

ESCAPE me?

Never—

Beloved!

While I am I, and you are you,

So long as the world contains us both,

Me the loving and you the loth

While the one eludes, must the other pursue.

My life is a fault at last, I fear—

It seems too much like a fate, indeed!

Though I do my best I shall scarce succeed—

But what if I fail of my purpose here?

It is but to keep the nerves at strain,

To dry one’s eyes and laugh at a fall,

And, baffled, get up and begin again,—

So the chace takes up one’s life ‘that’s all.

While, look but once from your farthest bound

At me so deep in the dust and dark,

No sooner the old hope goes to ground

Than a new one, straight to the self-same mark,

I shape me—

Ever

Removed!

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About a month ago I was searching through poetry links and found pure gold. Florence Earle Coates lived from 1850 to 1927. The following poem was published in The Little Book of Modern Verse. 1917.

The Unconquered Air

1.

Others endure Man's rule: he therefore deems

I shall endure it----I, the unconquered Air!

Imagines this triumphant strength may bear

His paltry sway! yea, ignorantly dreams,

Because proud Rhea now his vassal seems,

And Neptune him obeys in billowy lair,

That he a more sublime assault may dare,

Where blown by tempest wild the vulture screams.

Presumptuous, he mounts: I toss his bones

Back from the height supernal he has braved:

Ay, as his vessel nears my perilous zones,

I blow the cockle-shell away like chaff

And give him to the sea he has enslaved.

He founders in its depths; and then I laugh!

2.

Impregnable I held myself, secure

Against intrusion. Who can measure Man?

How should I guess his mortal will outran

Defeat so far that danger could allure

For its own sake?-----that he would all endure,

All sacrifice, all suffer, rather than

Forego the daring dreams Olympian

That prophesy to him of victory sure?

Ah, tameless courage!----dominating power

That, all attempting, in a deathless hour

Made earth-born Titans godlike, in revolt!----

Fear is the fire that melts Icarian wings:

Who fears nor Fate, nor Time, nor what Time brings,

May drive Apollo's steeds, or wield the thunderbolt!

_________________________________________

Wonderful misdirection. A noble, manworshipping last stanza, ending in two proud, impassioned lines expressing the true unconquered----man's fearless spirit.

One other poem of Miss Coates I like quite a bit is "SONG", published in her own book of poems in 1898.

Song

For me the jasmine buds unfold

And silver daisies star the lea,

The crocus hoards the sunset gold,

And the wild rose breathes for me.

I feel the sap through the bow returning,

I share the skylark's transport fine,

I know the fountain's wayward yearning,

I love, and the world is mine!

I love, and thoughts that sometime grieved,

Still well remembered, grieve not me;

From all that darkened and deceived

Upsoars my spirit free.

For soft the hours repeat one story,

Sings the sea one strain divine;

My clouds arise all flushed with glory,---

I love, and the world is mine!

_________________________________

One other little gem I found, by Adelaide Crapsey---

Adventure (1917)

Sun and wind and beat of sea,

Great lands stretching endlessly.....

Where be the bonds to bind the free?

All the world was made for me!

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The Incredible Bread Machine

By R.W. Grant

This is the story of a man whose name

Was a household word: a man whose fame

Burst on the world like an atom bomb;

Smith was his last name; first name Tom.

Now, Smith, an inventor, had specialized

In toys, so people were surprized,

When they found that he instead

Of making toys, was BAKING BREAD!

The way to make bread he'd conceived

Cost less than people could believe!

And not just make it! This device,

Could in addition, wrap and slice!

The price per loaf, one loaf or many,

The miniscule sum of under a penny!

Can you imagine what this meant?

Can you comprehend the consequent?

The first time yet the world well fed,

And all because of Tom Smith's bread.

A citation from the President,

For Smith's amazing bread,

This and other honours too,

Were heaped upon his head!

But isn't it a wonderous thing,

How quickly fame is flown?

Smith, the hero of today,

Tommorow, scarcely known!

Yes, the fickle years passed by,

Smith was a millionaire,

But Smith himself was now forgot,

Though bread was everywhere...

People, asked from where it came,

Would very seldom know.

They would simple eat and ask,

"Was not it always so?"

However, Smith cared not a bit,

For millions ate his bread...

And everything is fine, thought he,

I am rich, and they are fed!

Everything was fine, he though,

He reckoned not with fate.

Note the sequence of events,

Starting on the date,

On which the business tax went up.

Then, to a slight extent,

The price on every loaf rose too:

Up to one full cent!

"What's going on!" the public cried,

"He's guilty of pure plunder!

He has no right to get so rich

on other peoples hunger!"

(A Prize cartoon depicted Smith,

With fat and drooping jowls,

Snatching bread from hungry babes,

indiferrent to their howls!)

Well, since the public does come first,

It could not be denied

That in matters such as this,

The Public must decide!

So Anti-Trust now took a hand,

Of course, it was appalled

At what it found was going on.

The "Bread Trust" it was called.

Now this was getting serious,

So Smith felt that he must

Have a friendly interview

With the men in Anti-Trust.

So hat in hand, he went to them.

They'd surely been misled;

No Rule of Law had he defied.

But then their lawyer said:

"The Rule of Law, in complex times,

Has proved itself deficient.

We much prefer the Rule of Men,

It's vastly more efficient!

Now let me state the present rules,"

The lawyer then went on,

"These very simple guidelines,

You can rely upon:

You're gouging on your prices if

You charge more than the rest.

But it's unfair competition if

You think you can charge less!

"A second point that we would make

To help avoid confusion...

Don't try to charge the same amount,

That would be Collusion!

You must compete. But not too much,

For if you do you see,

Then the market would be yours -

And that's Monopoly!

Price too high?

Or Price too low?

Now, which charge did they make?

Well, they weren't loath to charging both,

With Public Good at stake!

In fact, they went one better!

They charged "Monopoly!"

No muss, no fuss, oh, woe is us!

Egad, they charged ALL THREE!

"Five Years in jail," The Judge then said

"You're lucky it's not worse!

Robber Barrons must be taught,

Society comes first!"

Now bread is baked by government.

And as might be expected,

Everything is well controlled.

The Public well protected.

True, loaves cost a dollar each,

But our leaders do their best!

The selling price is half a cent..

(Taxes pay the rest.)

Edited by Lord Poppycock

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More than two thousand years ago the insatiable lover lover of women, the Roman poet Catullus, wrote

To Lesbia For Kisses (trans. by John Langhorne, 1760)

Lesbia, live to love and pleasure,

Careless what the grave may say:

When each moment is a treasure

Why should lovers lose a day?

Setting suns shall rise in glory,

But when little life is o'er,

There's an end of all the story----

We shall sleep, and wake no more.

Give me, then, a thousand kisses,

Twice ten thousand more bestow,

Till the sum of boundless blisses

Neither we nor envy know.

________________________________

Some twenty years ago, after reading this and a few other translations, I wrote

Kiss (after Catullus)

Kiss me but once, Sweet,

And I'll be rapt away;

Or kiss me a second time,

Oh! away all day!

Kiss me but thrice, Sweet,

And I am gone for good;

Or kiss me forever,

Oh, Love! yes you should!

Brian Faulkner

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The following is a Goethe Poem. And the translation that follows is from my Penguins Classic , Goethe: Selected Verse. Obviously, I don't speak German.

Künstlers Abendlied

Ach , daß die innre Schöpfungskraft

Durch meinen Sinn erschölle !

Daß eine Bildung voller Saft

Aus meinen Fingern quölle !

Ich zittre nur , ich stottre nur,

Und kann es doch nicht lassen;

Ich fühl , ich kenne dich , Natur,

Und so muß dich fassen.

Bedenk ich dann , wie manches Jahr

Sich schon mein Sinn erschließet,

Wie er , wo dürre Heide war,

Nun Freudenquell genießet;

Wie sehn ich mich , Natur , nach dir ,

Dich treu und lieb zu fühlen!

Ein lustger Springbrunn , wirst du mir

Aus tausend Röhren spielen.

Wirst alle meine Kräfte mir

In meinem Sinn erheitern

Und dieses enge Dasein hier

Zur Ewigkeit erweitern.

The translation:

The Artist's Evening Hymn

Oh for an inner creative power to thunder

Through my mind!

Oh for a growth full-flowing with sap to spring

From my fingers!

I only shudder, I only stutter,

And yet I cannot stop;

I feel you, I know you, Nature,

And so I must grasp you.

When I think then how my mind,

These many years, has been opening up,

And now tastes a stream of delight

Where a barren waste used to be--

Oh then how I long for you, Nature,

And long to feel you with faith and love!

You will be for me a leaping fountain of delight,

Playing from a thousand outlets.

You will enhance and refine all

The powers of my mind,

And expand this my narrow

Life to eternity.

----

Johann Wolfgang Goethe

----

P.S. If anyone knows, what does the "B" looking german letter sound like?

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A couple of years ago I bought a book for 25 cents at a library sale. Its title is "Poems of Today"; it was published in 1924. There I found a poem by Angela Morgan (born 1875) titled "A Song Of Triumph". It is a truly splendid expression of the value and meaning of work. According to some brief notes she published a book of poems titled "Hail Man!", now out of print. The title, however, might be more promising than the content, as she apparently became more religious as she got older. Would be worth finding.

I have taken the liberty of removing religious terms in the poem; easy to do, there not being many. I've replaced "God" with "Man", then "Maker" with "genius", "Spirit" with "thinker", and "Master" with "human"-----these last three occurring in the last stanza.

A SONG OF TRIUMPH by Angela Morgan

Work!

Thank Man for the might of it,

The ardor, the urge, the delight of it----

Work that springs from the heart's desire,

Setting the brain and the soul on fire----

Oh, what is so good as the heat of it,

And what is so glad as the beat of it,

And what is so kind as the stern command,

Challenging brain and heart and hand?

Work!

Thank Man for the pride of it,

For the beautiful, conquering tide of it,

Sweeping the life in its furious flood,

Thrilling the arteries, cleansing the blood,

Mastering stupor and dull despair,

Moving the dreamer to do and dare.

Oh, what is so good as the urge of it,

And what is so glad as the surge of it,

And what is so strong as the summons deep,

Rousing the torpid soul from sleep?

Work!

THank Man for the pace of it,

For the terrible, keen, swift race of it;

Fiery steeds in full control.

Nostrils a-quiver to meet the goal.

Work, the Power that drives behind,

Guiding the purposes, taming the mind,

Holding the runaway wishes back,

Reining the will to one steady track,

Speeding the energies faster, faster,

Triumphing over disaster.

Oh, what is so good as the pain of it,

And what is so great as the gain of it?

And what is so kind as the cruel goad,

Forcing us on through the rugged road?

Work!

Thank Man for the swing of it.

For the clamoring, hammering ring of it,

Passion of labor daily hurled

On the mighty anvil of the world.

Oh, what is so fierce as the flame of it?

And what is so huge as the aim of it?

Thundering on through dearth and doubt,

Calling the plan of the genius out.

Work, the Titan; Work, the friend,

Shaping the earth to a glorious end,

Draining the swamps and blasting the hills,

Doing whatever the thinker wills----

Rending a continent apart,

To answer the dream of the human heart.

Thank Man for a world where none may shirk----

Thank Man for the splendor of work!

Great job, Angela Morgan; bravo!

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Also, in "Poems of Today" I found "Hils", by Arthur Guiterman, born 1871, in Vienna, educated in New York. He wrote mostly humorous verse. I have made two changes. In the last stanza "twilight-time replaces "vesper-time" and "Life" replaces "God".

Hills by Arthur Guiterman

I never loved your plains!---

Your gentle valleys,

Your drowsy country lanes

And pleach-ed alleys.

I want my hills!---the trail

That scorns the hollow.

Up, up the rugged shale

Where few will follow.

Up, over wooded crest

And mossy boulder,

With strong thigh, heaving chest,

And swinging shoulder,

So let me hold my sway,

By nothing halted,

Until, at close of day,

I stand, exalted,

High on my hills of dream----

Dear hills that know me!

And then, how fair will seem

The lands below me!

How pure, at twilight-time,

The far bells chiming!

Life, give me hills to climb,

And strength for climbing!

___________________________

How simply, in content and structure, he expresses high self-esteem.

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So, I open up my new Swinburne book to the section of his Poems and Ballads, and find this poem that speak to my current experience, and yet is beautifully and sweetly exectuted.

A LEAVE-TAKING by A.C. Swinburne

Let us go hence, my songs; she will not hear.

Let us go hence together without fear;

Keep silence now, for singing-time is over,

And over all old things and all things dear.

She loves not you nor me as all we love her.

Yea, though we sang as angels in her ear,

She would not hear.

Let us rise up and part; she will not know.

Let us go seaward as the great winds go,

Full of blown sand and foam; what help is here?

There is no help, for all these things are so,

And all the world is bitter as a tear.

And how these things are, though ye strove to show,

She would not know.

Let us go home and hence; she will not weep.

We gave love many dreams and days to keep,

Flowers without scent, and fruits that would not grow,

Saying 'If thou wilt, thrust in thy sickle and reap.'

All is reaped now; no grass is left to mow;

And we that sowed, though all we fell on sleep,

She would not weep.

Let us go hence and rest; she will not love.

She shall not hear us if we sing hereof,

Nor see love's ways, how sore they are and steep.

Come hence, let be, lie still; it is enough.

Love is a barren sea, bitter and deep;

And though she saw all heaven in flower above,

She would not love.

Let us give up, go down; she will not care.

Though all the stars made gold of all the air,

And the sea moving saw before it move

One moon-flower making all the foam-flowers fair;

Though all those waves went over us, and drove

Deep down the stifling lips and drowning hair,

She would not care.

Let us go hence, go hence; she will not see.

Sing all once more together; surely she,

She too, remembering days and words that were,

Will turn a little toward us, sighing; but we,

We are hence, we are gone, as though we had not been there.

Nay, and though all men seeing had pity on me,

She would not see.

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In Swinburne's verse play, "Erechtheus", the legendary 1st king of Athens answers a messenger from Eumolpus, who is out at sea with his ships preparing to attack Athens. The message was a threat to destroy Athens unless Erechtheus and the Athenians surrender. The Athenians are heavily out-numbered. Erechtheus responds.

"To fight then be it; for if to die or live,

No man but only a god knows this much yet

Seeing us fare forth, who bear but in our hands

The weapons not the fortunes of our fight;

For these now rest as lots that yet undrawn

Lie in the lap of the unknown hour; but this

I know, not thou, whose hollow mouth of storm

Is but a war-like wind, a sharp salt breath

That bites and wounds not; death nor life of mine

Shall give to death or lordship of strange kings

The soul of this live city, nor their heel

Bruise her dear brow discrowned, nor snaffle or goad

Wound her free mouth or stain her sanguine side

Yet masterless of man; so bid thy lord

Learn ere he weep to learn it, and too late

Gnash teeth that could not fasten on her flesh,

And foam his life out in dark froth of blood

Vain as a wind's waif of the loud-mouthed sea

Torn from the wave's edge whitening. Tell him this;

Though thrice his might were mustered for our scathe

And thicker set with fence of thorn-edged spears

Than sands are whirled about the wintering beach

When storms have swoln the rivers, and their blasts

Have breached the broad sea-banks with stress of sea,

That waves of inland and the main make war

As men that mix and grapple; though his ranks

Were more to number than all wildwood leaves

The wind waves on the hills of all the world,

Yet should the heart not faint, the head not fall,

The breath not fail of Athens. Say, the gods

From lips that have no more on earth to say

Have told thee this the last good news or ill

That I shall speak in sight of earth and sun

Or he shall hear and see them: for the next

That ear of his from tongue of mine may take

Must be the first word spoken underground

From dead to dead in darkness. Hence; make haste,

Lest war's fleet foot be swifter than thy tongue

And I that part not to return again

On him that comes not to depart away

Be fallen before thee; for the time is full,

And with such mortal hope as knows not fear

I go this high last way to the end of all.

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Some of Sylvia Plath's poetry is in my collection.

The poetry that I love most tends to be lyrics to songs. The poetry of Dani Filth (from the band Cradle of Filth) is amazing. There is often a disturbing, often perverse, element to his poetry but it is so well written. My favorite lyrics by him are often the ones that serve as a brief story. He is a master of allusions to biblical figures.

I am a huge fan of the poetry of Otep Shamaya, of the band Otep. It's full of emotion, symbolism, allusion, rhyme, and often serves as a call into action against the tyrannical forces one faces in life.

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I remember reading the following poem in high school, and the teacher essentially making fun of it. Which of course meant that the already disinterested students thought even worse of it. The teacher gave it more an air of some horny guy who wanted to get it on. As I read it today, I see a better meaning; that of a man who realizes that his life is both important and temporary, with death as an undesirable state.

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 winged 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 preserv'd 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 am'rous birds of prey,

Rather at once our time devour,

Than languish in his slow-chapp'd 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.

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Thanks, deedlebee, for posting Mr. Marvell's smoothly calm and sincere poem. Assuming his persuassion was successful, he might have called this poem to mind:

Pack, Clouds, Away, And Welcome Day by Thomas Heywood (1605)

Pack, clouds, away, and welcome day!

With night we banish sorrow.

Sweet air, blow soft; mount, lark, aloft,

To give my love good-morrow!

Wings from the wind to please her mind,

Notes from the lark I'll borrow.

Bird, prune thy wing; nightingale, sing,

To give my love good-morrow!

To give my love good-morrow

Notes from them all I'll borrow.

Wake from thy rest, robin-redbreast;

Sing, birds, in every furrow!

And from each bill let music shrill

Give my fair love good-morrow!

Blackbird and thrush in every bush,

Stare, linnet, and cock-sparrow,

You pretty elves, amongst yourselves

Sing my fair love good-morrow!

To give my love good-morrow,

Sing, birds, in every furrow!

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Pack, Clouds, Away, And Welcome Day  by Thomas Heywood (1605)

What a wonderful poem to read aloud. The following are best known as songs but pose a challenge to the reader who attempts a performance.

I Am the Very Model of a Modern Major-General

by: W.S. Gilbert

I am the very model of a modern Major-General,

I've information vegetable, animal, and mineral,

I know the kings of England, and I quote the fights historical,

From Marathon to Waterloo, in order categorical;

I'm very well acquainted too with matters mathematical,

I understand equations, both the simple and quadratical,

About binomial theorem I'm teeming with a lot o' news---

With many cheerful facts about the square of the hypotenuse.

I'm very good at integral and differential calculus,

I know the scientific names of beings animalculous;

In short, in matters vegetable, animal, and mineral,

I am the very model of a modern Major-General.

I know our mythic history, King Arthur's and Sir Caradoc's,

I answer hard acrostics, I've a pretty taste for paradox,

I quote in elegiacs all the crimes of Heliogabalus,

In conics I can floor peculiarities parablous.

I can tell undoubted Raphaels from Gerard Dows and Zoffanies,

I know the croaking chorus from the Frogs of Aristophanes,

Then I can hum a fugue of which I've heard the music's din afore,

And whistle all the airs from that infernal nonsense Pinafore.

Then I can write a washing bill in Balylonic cuneiform,

And tell you every detail of Caractacus's uniform;

In short, in matters vegetable, animal, and mineral,

I am the very model of a modern Major-General.

In fact, when I know what is meant by "mamelon" and "ravelin",

When I can tell at sight a chassepôt rifle from a javelin,

When such affairs as sorties and surprises I'm more wary at,

And when I know precisely what is meant by "commissariat",

When I have learnt what progress has been made in modern gunnery,

When I know more of tactics than a novice in a nunnery:

In short, when I've a smattering of elemental strategy,

You'll say a better Major-General has never sat a gee---

For my military knowledge, though I'm plucky and adventury,

Has only been brought down to the beginning of the century;

But still in matters vegetable, animal, and mineral,

I am the very model of a modern Major-General.

---

The following poem was mentioned as a song by my 11th grade chemistry teacher. He said he'd give extra credit to anyone who performed it flawlessly, while correspondingly pointing to the correct element. No one attempted it ;>

Elements

by: Tom Lehrer

There's antimony, arsenic, aluminum, selenium,

And hydrogen and oxygen and nitrogen and rhenium,

And nickel, neodymium, neptunium, germanium,

And iron, americium, ruthenium, uranium,

Europium, zirconium, lutetium, vanadium,

And lanthanum and osmium and astatine and radium,

And gold and protactinium and indium and gallium,

And iodine and thorium and thulium and thallium.

There's yttrium, ytterbium, actinium, rubidium,

And boron, gadolinium, niobium, iridium,

And strontium and silicon and silver and samarium,

And bismuth, bromine, lithium, beryllium, and barium.

There's holmium and helium and hafnium and erbium,

And phosphorus and francium and fluorine and terbium,

And manganese and mercury, molybdenum, magnesium,

Dysprosium and scandium and cerium and cesium.

And lead, praseodymium, and platinum, plutonium,

Palladium, promethium, potassium, polonium,

And tantalum, technetium, titanium, tellurium,

And cadmium and calcium and chromium and curium.

There's sulfur, californium, and fermium, berkelium,

And also mendelevium, einsteinium, nobelium,

And argon, krypton, neon, radon, xenon, zinc, and rhodium,

And chlorine, carbon, cobalt, copper, tungsten, tin, and sodium.

These are the only ones of which the news has come to Ha'vard,

And there may be many others, but they haven't been discavard.

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Yes, the Gilbert piece IS a challenge. Fun, too, especially since I remembered the tune. Lehrer's "Elements" is like never being able to see the forest, there are just so many dem trees.

For a poem that sounds like what it means, here's one I discovered not too long ago:

Smith's Song.....by George Sigerson (1835-1925)

Ding dong didero,

...Blow big bellows,

Ding dong didero,

...Black coal yellows,

Ding dong didero,

...Blue steel mellows,

Ding dong didero,

...Strike!---good fellows.

Up with the hammers,

...Down with the sledges,

Hark to the clamours,

...Pound now the edges,

Work it and watch it,

...Round, flat, or square O,

Spade, hook, or hatchet----

...Sword for a hero.

Ding dong didero,

...Ding dong didero,

Spade for a labourer,

...Sword for a hero;

Hammer it, stout smith,

...Rightly, lightly,

Hammer it, hammer it,

...Hammer at it brightly.

---------------------------------

Here are some glad-speaking verses of mine, from the end of my narrative poem "Make Way!"

He finished; came to us; then challenged us to clasp

Ourselves to mastery in this life on earth we have:

"This paper's bright; it weighs the light of what I am, shall be;

And as I stand a sky-line man, tall men, stand you with me".

Yes, then, as now----all set and geared to go;

For when his plan was rolled out the earth began to glow.

Then we---the Builders---bore on down,

.................we blasted, pounded, tore;

We flung old boulders far away

.................and sunk the massive floor.

Then upward drove the loved command

.................of Will and Skill and Aim;

While thunder spoke through hamm'ring hands

.................the sky-arm went! ... and came!

We struck wide flights together with

.................deep shouting chords of "Done!"

In glinting, dusty weather, yes!

.................we cheered a graying sun!

We challenged rain with man-time, ah,

.................our passion catching hold!

Storm? We bristle lightnings----hah!

.................they brush the air with gold!

We rise with clean-swung purpose and

.................we climb through wind and cloud;

We scan, we thunder higher, and

.................we lift "I can" so proud.

So proud of high endeavor, yea,

.................so proud to think and plan;

So proud to pass the sun with "Hey!

.................Here's the light of Man!"

Now lift these walls and clasp those girders; swing this granite, turn that glass;

Check the bolts and rivets holding all this rising man-made mass.

Come press this hard, thought-shapen matter; see this mind-created might,

This ringing singing body, this lifting soul made right!

This, it soars; we know it; we'll be in flight all day.

The course is straight, he set it; the order's firm, "Make Way!"

Brian Faulkner

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Here is an old favorite of mine, which so well expresses a father's love for his children, their love for him, and the alive, innocent fun of it all.

The Children's Hour by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Between the dark and the daylight,

When the night is beginning to lower,

Comes a pause in the day's occupations

That is known as the Children's Hour.

I hear in the chamber above me

The patter of little feet,

The sound of a door that is opened,

And voices soft and sweet.

From my study I see in the lamplight,

Descending the broad hall stair,

Grave Alice, and laughing Allegra,

And Edith with golden hair.

A whisper, and then a silence:

Yet I know by their merry eyes

They are plotting and planning together

To take me by surprise.

A sudden rush from the stairway,

A sudden raid from the hall!

By three doors left unguarded

They enter my castle wall!

They climb up into my turret

O'er the arms and back of my chair;

If I try to escape they surround me;

They seem to be everywhere.

They almost devour me with kisses,

Their arms about me entwine,

Till I think of the Bishop of Bingen

In his Mouse-Tower on the Rhine!

Do you think, O blue-eyed banditti,

Because you have scaled the wall,

Such an old mustache as I am

Is not a match for you all!?

I have you fast in my fortress,

And will not let you depart,

But put you down into the dungeon

In the round-tower of my heart.

And there will I keep you forever,

Yes, forever and a day,

Till the walls shall crumble to ruin,

And moulder in dust away.

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The following are stanzas 5 and 6 from Lord Byron's THE LAMENT OF TASSO. The entire poem is quite powerful. But the quoted verses below I really loved. Yes, since it's Byron, one will not escape the melancholy. But he deals with malevolence so well; partly because there is heroism in his lamentations.

Americo.

(From The Lament of Tasso By Lord Byron):

V.

Look on a love which knows not to despair,

But all unquench'd is still my better part,

Dwelling deep in my shut and silent heart,

As dwells the gather'd lightning in its cloud,

Encompass'd with its dark and rolling shroud,

Till struck, --- forth flies the all-ethereal dart!

And thus at the collision of thy name,

The vivid thought still flashes through my frame,

And for a moment all things as they were

Flit by me; they are gone --- I am the same.

And yet my love without ambition grew;

I knew thy state, my station, and I knew

A Princess was no love-mate for a bard;

I told it not, I breathed it not, it was

Sufficient to itself, its own reward;

And if my eyes reveal'd it, they, alas!

Were punish'd by the silentness of thine,

And yet I did not venture to repine.

Thou wert to me a crystal-girded shrine,

Worshipp'd at holy distance, and around

Hallow'd and meekly kiss'd the saintly ground;

Not for thou wert a princess, but that Love

Had robed thee with a glory, and array'd

Thy lineaments in beauty that dismay'd ---

Oh! Not dismay'd --- but awed, like One above!

And in that sweet severity there was

A something which all softness did surpass;

I know not how --- thy genius master'd mine;

My star stood still before thee: if it were

Presumptuous thus to love without design,

That sad fatality hath cost me dear;

But thou art dearest still, and I should be

Fit for this cell, which wrongs me --- but for thee.

The very love which lock'd me to my chain

Hath lighten'd half its weight; and for the rest,

Though heavy, lent me vigour to sustain,

And look to thee with undivided breast,

And foil the ingenuity of Pain.

VI.

It is no marvel --- from my very birth

My soul was drunk with love, which did pervade

And mingle with whate'er I saw on earth:

Of objects all inanimate I made

Idols, and out of wild and lonely flowers,

And rocks, whereby they grew, a paradise,

Where I did lay me down within the shade

Of waving trees, and dreamed uncounted hours,

Though I was chid for wandering; and the wise

Shook their white aged heads o'er me and said,

Of such materials wretched men were made,

And such a truant boy would end in woe,

And that the only lesson was a blow;

And then they smote me, and I did not weep,

But cursed them in my heart, and to my haunt

Return'd and wept alone, and dream'd again

The visions which arise without a sleep,

And with my years my soul began to pant

With feelings of strange tumult and soft pain;

And the whole heart exhaled into One Want,

But undefined and wandering, till the day

I found the thing I sought --- and that was thee;

And then I lost my being, all to be

Absorb'd in thine; the world was past away;

Thou didst annihilate the earth to me!

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