Bee

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

A Prayer for my Daughter

A Prayer for my Daughter


Once more the storm is howling, and half hid
Under this cradle-hood and coverlid
My child sleeps on. There is no obstacle
But Gregory's wood and one bare hill
Whereby the haystack- and roof-levelling wind,
Bred on the Atlantic, can be stayed;
And for an hour I have walked and prayed
Because of the great gloom that is in my mind.

I have walked and prayed for this young child an hour
And heard the sea-wind scream upon the tower,
And under the arches of the bridge, and scream
In the elms above the flooded stream;
Imagining in excited reverie
That the future years had come,
Dancing to a frenzied drum,
Out of the murderous innocence of the sea.

May she be granted beauty and yet not
Beauty to make a stranger's eye distraught,
Or hers before a looking-glass, for such,
Being made beautiful overmuch,
Consider beauty a sufficient end,
Lose natural kindness and maybe
The heart-revealing intimacy
That chooses right, and never find a friend.

Helen being chosen found life flat and dull
And later had much trouble from a fool,
While that great Queen, that rose out of the spray,
Being fatherless could have her way
Yet chose a bandy-leggèd smith for man.
It's certain that fine women eat
A crazy salad with their meat
Whereby the Horn of Plenty is undone.

In courtesy I'd have her chiefly learned;
Hearts are not had as a gift but hearts are earned
By those that are not entirely beautiful;
Yet many, that have played the fool
For beauty's very self, has charm made wise,
And many a poor man that has roved,
Loved and thought himself beloved,
From a glad kindness cannot take his eyes.

May she become a flourishing hidden tree
That all her thoughts may like the linnet be,
And have no business but dispensing round
Their magnanimities of sound,
Nor but in merriment begin a chase,
Nor but in merriment a quarrel.
O may she live like some green laurel
Rooted in one dear perpetual place.

My mind, because the minds that I have loved,
The sort of beauty that I have approved,
Prosper but little, has dried up of late,
Yet knows that to be choked with hate
May well be of all evil chances chief.
If there's no hatred in a mind
Assault and battery of the wind
Can never tear the linnet from the leaf.

An intellectual hatred is the worst,
So let her think opinions are accursed.
Have I not seen the loveliest woman born
Out of the mouth of Plenty's horn,
Because of her opinionated mind
Barter that horn and every good
By quiet natures understood
For an old bellows full of angry wind?

Considering that, all hatred driven hence,
The soul recovers radical innocence
And learns at last that it is self-delighting,
Self-appeasing, self-affrighting,
And that its own sweet will is Heaven's will;
She can, though every face should scowl
And every windy quarter howl
Or every bellows burst, be happy still.

And may her bridegroom bring her to a house
Where all's accustomed, ceremonious;
For arrogance and hatred are the wares
Peddled in the thoroughfares.
How but in custom and in ceremony
Are innocence and beauty born?
Ceremony's a name for the rich horn,
And custom for the spreading laurel tree.

___________________________________________

William Butler Yeats

Friday, January 23, 2009

I believe

 I Believe

Poetry, I tell my students,
is idiosyncratic. Poetry

is where we are ourselves,
(though Sterling Brown said

“Every ‘I’ is a dramatic ‘I’”)
digging in the clam flats

for the shell that snaps,
emptying the proverbial pocketbook.

Poetry is what you find
in the dirt in the corner,

overhear on the bus, God
in the details, the only way

to get from here to there.
Poetry (and now my voice is rising)

is not all love, love, love,
and I’m sorry the dog died.

Poetry (here I hear myself loudest)
is the human voice,

and are we not of interest to each other?

 


*Elizabeth Alexander

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

On Monsieur's Departure

On Monsieur’s Departure
--By Queen Elizabeth I
_____________________________
I grieve and dare not show my discontent,
I love and yet am forced to seem to hate,
I do, yet dare not say I ever meant,
I seem stark mute but inwardly do prate.
I am and not, I freeze and yet am burned,
Since from myself another self I turned.
My care is like my shadow in the sun,
Follows me flying, flies when I pursue it,
Stands and lies by me, doth what I have done.
His too familiar care doth make me rue it.
No means I find to rid him from my breast,
Till by the end of things it be supprest.
Some gentler passion slide into my mind,
For I am soft and made of melting snow;
Or be more cruel, love, and so be kind.
Let me or float or sink, be high or low.
Or let me live with some more sweet content,
Or die and so forget what love ere meant.

_______________________________

Sunday, January 18, 2009

You say you love; but with a voice

________________________
You say you love; but with a voice
Chaster than a nun's, who singeth
The soft vespers to herself
While the chime-bell ringeth--
O love me truly!
You say you love; but with a smile
Cold as sunrise in September,
As you were Saint Cupid's nun,
And kept his weeks of Ember--
O love me truly!
You say you love; but then your lips
Coral tinted teach no blisses,
More coral in the sea--
They never pout for kisses--
O love me truly!
You say you love; but then your hand
No soft squeeze for squeeze returneth;
It is like a statue's, dead,--
While mine for passion burneth--
O love me truly!
O breathe a word or two of fire!
Smile, as if those words should burn me,
Squeeze as lovers should--O kiss
And in thy heart inurn me--
O love me truly!
________________________

John Keats

Thursday, January 15, 2009

His Name is Today

His Name is Today

We are guilty of many errors and many faults,
But our worst crime is abandoning the children,
Neglecting the fountain of life.
Many of the things we need can wait.
The child cannot.
Right now is the time his bones are being formed,
His blood is being made,
And his senses are being developed.
To him we cannot answer 'Tomorrow'.
His name is 'Today'.

Gabriela Mistral (1889-1957), a poet from Chile who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1945

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

When The Lamp Is Shattered



When the lamp is shattered,
The light in the dust lies dead;
When the cloud is scattered,
The rainbow's glory is shed;
When the lute is broken,
Sweet tones are remembered not;
When the lips have spoken,
Loved accents are soon forgot.
As music and splendor
Survive not the lamp and the lute,
The heart's echoes render
No song when the spirit is mute:--
No song but sad dirges,
Like the wind through a ruined cell,
Or the mournful surges
That ring the dead seaman's knell.

When hearts have once mingled,
Love first leaves the well-built nest;
The weak one is singled
To endure what it once possessed.
O Love! who bewailest
The frailty of all things here,
Why choose you the frailest
For your cradle, your home, and your bier?

Its passions will rock thee,
As the storms rock the ravens on high;
Bright reason will mock thee,
Like the sun from a wintry sky.
From thy nest every rafter
Will rot, and thine eagle home
Leave thee naked to laughter,
When leaves fall and cold winds come.

***

- Percy Bysshe Shelley

Sunday, January 11, 2009

She Comes Not

She comes not when Noon is on the roses--
Too bright is Day.
She comes not to the Soul till it reposes
From work and play.
But when Night is on the hills, and the great Voices
Roll in from Sea,
By starlight and candle-light and dreamlight
She comes to me.

________________________
by Herbert Trench

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Tease

TEASE
I WILL give you all my keys,
You shall be my chatelaine,
You shall enter as you please,
As you please shall go again.

When I hear you jingling through
All the chambers of my soul,
How I sit and laugh at you
In your vain housekeeping role.

Jealous of the smallest cover,
Angry at the simplest door;
Well, you anxious, inquisitive lover,
Are you pleased with what's in store?

You have fingered all my treasures,
Have you not, most curiously,
Handled all my tools and measures
And masculine machinery?

Over every single beauty
You have had your little rapture;
You have slain, as was your duty,
Every sin-mouse you could capture.

Still you are not satisfied,
Still you tremble faint reproach;
Challenge me I keep aside
Secrets that you may not broach.

Maybe yes, and maybe no,
Maybe there are secret places,
Altars barbarous below,
Elsewhere halls of high disgraces.

Maybe yes, and maybe no,
You may have it as you please,
Since I choose to keep you so,
Suppliant on your curious knees.

______________________
*D. H. Lawrence

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Mating

___________________________________________
Round clouds roll in the arms of the wind,
The round earth rolls in a clasp of blue sky,
And see, where the budding hazels are thinned,
The wild anemones lie
In undulating shivers beneath the wind.

Over the blue of the waters ply
White ducks, a living flotilla of cloud;
And, look you, floating just thereby,
The blue-gleamed drake stems proud
Like Abraham, whose seed should multiply.

In the lustrous gleam of the water, there
Scramble seven toads across the silk, obscure leaves,
Seven toads that meet in the dusk to share
The darkness that interweaves
The sky and earth and water and live things everywhere.

Look now, through the woods where the beech-green spurts
Like a storm of emerald snow, look, see
A great bay stallion dances, skirts
The bushes sumptuously,
Going outward now in the spring to his brief deserts.

Ah love, with your rich, warm face aglow,
What sudden expectation opens you
So wide as you watch the catkins blow
Their dust from the birch on the blue
Lift of the pulsing wind--ah, tell me you know!

Ah, surely! Ah, sure from the golden sun
A quickening, masculine gleam floats in to all
Us creatures, people and flowers undone,
Lying open under his thrall,
As he begets the year in us. What, then, would you shun?

Why, I should think that from the earth there fly
Fine thrills to the neighbour stars, fine yellow beams
Thrown lustily off from our full-blown, high
Bursting globe of dreams,
To quicken the spheres that are virgin still in the sky.

Do you not hear each morsel thrill
With joy at travelling to plant itself within
The expectant one, therein to instil
New rapture, new shape to win,
From the thick of life wake up another will?

Surely, and if that I would spill
The vivid, ah, the fiery surplus of life,
From off my brimming measure, to fill
You, and flush you rife
With increase, do you call it evil, and always evil?

D H Lawrence