Post series: Poetry Tuesday

A Southern Night

  1. Things to Do in the Belly of the Whale
  2. From Blossoms
  3. Wild Geese
  4. The Peace of Wild Things
  5. My Gift to You
  6. Departing Spring
  7. The Skylark
  8. What a Strange Thing!
  9. Although The Wind …
  10. The Old Pond
  11. Spring Is Like A Perhaps Hand
  12. Hast thou 2 loaves of bread …
  13. Youth and Age
  14. A Postcard From the Volcano
  15. The Kraken
  16. He wishes for the Cloths of Heaven
  17. There Is a Solitude of Space
  18. Because I Could Not Stop for Death
  19. Mad Song
  20. Answer July
  21. Success Is Counted Sweetest
  22. Hope Is the Thing with Feathers
  23. The Bluebird
  24. A Vision of the End
  25. The Crying of Water
  26. A Rose Has Thorns As Well As Honey
  27. Winter
  28. The Dark Cavalier
  29. There is no Life or Death
  30. Sheep in Winter
  31. To a Snowflake
  32. Sextain
  33. A Crocodile
  34. Sea Fever
  35. The Giant Cactus of Arizona
  36. The Coming of Night
  37. Going to the Picnic
  38. Moon Tonight
  39. A Southern Night
Olive trees at night

Photo: Blue from Pixabay

The sandy spits, the shore-lock’d lakes, 
   Melt into open, moonlit sea; 
The soft Mediterranean breaks 
            At my feet, free. 

Dotting the fields of corn and vine 
   Like ghosts, the huge, gnarl’d olives stand;
Behind, that lovely mountain-line! 
            While by the strand 

Cette, with its glistening houses white, 
   Curves with the curving beach away
To where the lighthouse beacons bright 
            Far in the bay.

Ah, such a night, so soft, so lone, 
   So moonlit, saw me once of yore 
Wander unquiet, and my own
            Vext heart deplore! 

The murmur of this Midland deep 
   Is heard to-night around thy grave 
There where Gibraltar’s cannon’d steep
            O’erfrowns the wave. 

In cities should we English lie, 
   Where cries are rising ever new, 
And men’s incessant stream goes by;
            We who pursue 

Our business with unslackening stride, 
   Traverse in troops, with care-fill’d breast, 
The soft Mediterranean side, 
            The Nile, the East, 

And see all sights from pole to pole, 
   And glance, and nod, and bustle by; 
And never once possess our soul 
            Before we die. 

Not by those hoary Indian hills, 
   Not by this gracious Midland sea
Whose floor to-night sweet moonshine fills, 
            Should our graves be! 

Some sage, to whom the world was dead,
   And men were specks, and life a play;
Who made the roots of trees his bed, 
            And once a day 

With staff and gourd his way did bend
   To villages and homes of man, 
For food to keep him till he end 
            His mortal span, 

And the pure goal of Being reach;
   Grey-headed, wrinkled, clad in white, 
Without companion, without speech, 
            By day and night 

Pondering God’s mysteries untold,
   And tranquil as the glacier snows––
He by those Indian mountains old 
            Might well repose!

Some grey crusading knight austere 
   Who bore Saint Louis company 
And came home hurt to death and here 
            Landed to die;

Some youthful troubadour whose tongue 
   Fill’d Europe once with his love-pain, 
Who here outwearied sunk, and sung
            His dying strain;

Some girl who here from castle-bower,
   With furtive step and cheek of flame,
’Twixt myrtle-hedges all in flower 
            By moonlight came 

To meet her pirate-lover’s ship, 
   And from the wave-kiss’d marble stair 
Beckon’d him on, with quivering lip 
            And unbound hair, 

And lived some moons in happy trance, 
   Then learnt his death, and pined away––
Such by these waters of romance
            ’Twas meet to lay! 

But you––a grave for knight or sage, 
   Romantic, solitary, still, 
O spent ones of a work-day age!
            Befits you ill. 

So sang I; but the midnight breeze 
   Down to the brimm’d moon-charmed main
Comes softly through the olive-trees,
            And checks my strain. 

I think of her, whose gentle tongue 
   All plaint in her own cause controll’d;
Of thee I think, my brother! young 
            In heart, high-soul’d;

That comely face, that cluster’d brow,
   That cordial hand, that bearing free, 
I see them still, I see them now, 
            Shall always see! 

And what but gentleness untired, 
   And what but noble feeling warm, 
Wherever shown, howe’er attired, 
            Is grace, is charm?

What else is all these waters are, 
   What else is steep’d in lucid sheen,
What else is bright, what else is fair, 
            What else serene?

Mild o’er her grave, ye mountains, shine! 
   Gently by his, ye waters, glide! 
To that in you which is divine
            They were allied.
 

Matthew Arnold (1822 – 1888) was an English poet and cultural critic. 


To read more poems, click here.



Moon Tonight

  1. Things to Do in the Belly of the Whale
  2. From Blossoms
  3. Wild Geese
  4. The Peace of Wild Things
  5. My Gift to You
  6. Departing Spring
  7. The Skylark
  8. What a Strange Thing!
  9. Although The Wind …
  10. The Old Pond
  11. Spring Is Like A Perhaps Hand
  12. Hast thou 2 loaves of bread …
  13. Youth and Age
  14. A Postcard From the Volcano
  15. The Kraken
  16. He wishes for the Cloths of Heaven
  17. There Is a Solitude of Space
  18. Because I Could Not Stop for Death
  19. Mad Song
  20. Answer July
  21. Success Is Counted Sweetest
  22. Hope Is the Thing with Feathers
  23. The Bluebird
  24. A Vision of the End
  25. The Crying of Water
  26. A Rose Has Thorns As Well As Honey
  27. Winter
  28. The Dark Cavalier
  29. There is no Life or Death
  30. Sheep in Winter
  31. To a Snowflake
  32. Sextain
  33. A Crocodile
  34. Sea Fever
  35. The Giant Cactus of Arizona
  36. The Coming of Night
  37. Going to the Picnic
  38. Moon Tonight
  39. A Southern Night
Full moon

Moon tonight,
Beloved . . .
When twilight
Has gathered together
The ends
Of her soft robe
And the last bird-call
Has died.
Moon tonight—
Cool as a forgotten dream,
Dearer than lost twilights
Among trees where birds sing
No more. 
 

Gwendolyn Bennett (1902-1981) was an American artist, writer, and journalist.


To read more poems, click here.



Going to the Picnic

  1. Things to Do in the Belly of the Whale
  2. From Blossoms
  3. Wild Geese
  4. The Peace of Wild Things
  5. My Gift to You
  6. Departing Spring
  7. The Skylark
  8. What a Strange Thing!
  9. Although The Wind …
  10. The Old Pond
  11. Spring Is Like A Perhaps Hand
  12. Hast thou 2 loaves of bread …
  13. Youth and Age
  14. A Postcard From the Volcano
  15. The Kraken
  16. He wishes for the Cloths of Heaven
  17. There Is a Solitude of Space
  18. Because I Could Not Stop for Death
  19. Mad Song
  20. Answer July
  21. Success Is Counted Sweetest
  22. Hope Is the Thing with Feathers
  23. The Bluebird
  24. A Vision of the End
  25. The Crying of Water
  26. A Rose Has Thorns As Well As Honey
  27. Winter
  28. The Dark Cavalier
  29. There is no Life or Death
  30. Sheep in Winter
  31. To a Snowflake
  32. Sextain
  33. A Crocodile
  34. Sea Fever
  35. The Giant Cactus of Arizona
  36. The Coming of Night
  37. Going to the Picnic
  38. Moon Tonight
  39. A Southern Night
Close-up of a picnic blanket with wicker basket, hat and food

Photo by Evangelina Silina on Unsplash

1  
 There is a large crowd of young folks  
 Hurrying down the road;  
 They are going to have a picnic now,  
 And spread the news abroad.  

 2  
 They are wearing beautiful bouquets,  
 And carrying bright tin dippers;  
 New straw hats are waiving high,  
 And patent leather slippers.  

3  
 Their hats are made of fine chiffon,  
 And decorated too.  
 There will be plenty of goodies  
 For your friends and for you.  


 They will have a big barbecue.  
 And a lot of other stuff.  
 They are going to eat and drink  
 Till everybody puff.  


 They will have cakes and candy by the heaps,  
 And ice cream pressed in cake;  
 Peanuts parched fresh and hot,  
 And a lot of fine milk shakes.  

 6  
 They will have fish croquets by the bushels,  
 And cocoanut jumbles too;  
 They are going to feed their friends and foes  
 And have enough for you.  

 7  
 They are going to have a big dance  
 And have a jolly time.  
 They want to show their handsome looks  
 Because they look so fine.  

 8  
 One barrel or two of lemonade,  
 Mixed all through with ice;  
 Lemons cut and thrown therein  
 Gee! it’s awful nice.  

9  
 Of all the fun and jolities,  
 And all the places of rest,  
 Just go to an old picnic ground;  
 They tell me that’s the best.  

Julius C. Wright was an American poet.


To read more poems, click here.



The Coming of Night

  1. Things to Do in the Belly of the Whale
  2. From Blossoms
  3. Wild Geese
  4. The Peace of Wild Things
  5. My Gift to You
  6. Departing Spring
  7. The Skylark
  8. What a Strange Thing!
  9. Although The Wind …
  10. The Old Pond
  11. Spring Is Like A Perhaps Hand
  12. Hast thou 2 loaves of bread …
  13. Youth and Age
  14. A Postcard From the Volcano
  15. The Kraken
  16. He wishes for the Cloths of Heaven
  17. There Is a Solitude of Space
  18. Because I Could Not Stop for Death
  19. Mad Song
  20. Answer July
  21. Success Is Counted Sweetest
  22. Hope Is the Thing with Feathers
  23. The Bluebird
  24. A Vision of the End
  25. The Crying of Water
  26. A Rose Has Thorns As Well As Honey
  27. Winter
  28. The Dark Cavalier
  29. There is no Life or Death
  30. Sheep in Winter
  31. To a Snowflake
  32. Sextain
  33. A Crocodile
  34. Sea Fever
  35. The Giant Cactus of Arizona
  36. The Coming of Night
  37. Going to the Picnic
  38. Moon Tonight
  39. A Southern Night
New York City at sunset

Photo by Muzammil Soorma on Unsplash

The sun is near set  
And the tall buildings  
Become teeth  
Tearing bloodily at the sky’s throat; 
The blank wall by my window 
Becomes night sky over the marches  
When there is no moon, and no wind,  
And little fishes splash in the pools. 

I had lit my candle to make a song for you,  
But I have forgotten it for I am very tired; 
And the candle … a yellow moth … 
Flutters, flutters,  
Deep in my brain.  
My song was about, ‘a foreign lady 
Who was beautiful and sad,  
Who was forsaken, and who died  
A thousand years ago.’ 
But the cracked cup at my elbow, 
With dregs of tea in it,  
Fixes my tired thought more surely  
Than the song I made for you and forgot … 
That I might give you this.  

I am tired.  

I am so tired 
That my soul is a great plain  
Made desolate, 
And the beating of a million hearts  
Is but the whisper of night winds 
Blowing across it. 

Skipwith Cannell (1887–1957)  was an American poet.


To read more poems, click here.



The Giant Cactus of Arizona

  1. Things to Do in the Belly of the Whale
  2. From Blossoms
  3. Wild Geese
  4. The Peace of Wild Things
  5. My Gift to You
  6. Departing Spring
  7. The Skylark
  8. What a Strange Thing!
  9. Although The Wind …
  10. The Old Pond
  11. Spring Is Like A Perhaps Hand
  12. Hast thou 2 loaves of bread …
  13. Youth and Age
  14. A Postcard From the Volcano
  15. The Kraken
  16. He wishes for the Cloths of Heaven
  17. There Is a Solitude of Space
  18. Because I Could Not Stop for Death
  19. Mad Song
  20. Answer July
  21. Success Is Counted Sweetest
  22. Hope Is the Thing with Feathers
  23. The Bluebird
  24. A Vision of the End
  25. The Crying of Water
  26. A Rose Has Thorns As Well As Honey
  27. Winter
  28. The Dark Cavalier
  29. There is no Life or Death
  30. Sheep in Winter
  31. To a Snowflake
  32. Sextain
  33. A Crocodile
  34. Sea Fever
  35. The Giant Cactus of Arizona
  36. The Coming of Night
  37. Going to the Picnic
  38. Moon Tonight
  39. A Southern Night
Arizona landscape with cactus in the foreground

Photo by Jeremy Alford on Unsplash

The cactus in the desert stands  
    Like time’s inviolate sentinel,  
Watching the sun-washed waste of sands 
     Lest they their ancient secrets tell.  
And the lost lore of mournful lands 
     It knows alone and guards too well.
  
Wiser than Sphynx or pyramid,  
     It points a stark hand at the sky,  
And all the stars alight or hid  
     It counts as they go rolling by; 
And mysteries the gods forbid 
     Darken its heavy memory.  

I asked how old the world was—yea, 
     And why yon ruddy mountain grew 
Out of hell’s fire. By night nor day  
     It answered not, though all it knew,  
But lifted, as it stopped my way,  
     Its wrinkled fingers toward the blue
  
Inscrutable and stern and still  
     It waits the everlasting doom.  
Races and years may do their will—
     Lo, it will rise above their tomb,  
Till the drugged earth has drunk her fill 
     Of light, and falls asleep in gloom. 

Harriet Monroe (1860–1936) was an American poet, critic, and editor. She is best known as the founding publisher and editor of Poetry magazine.


To read more poems, click here.



Sea Fever

  1. Things to Do in the Belly of the Whale
  2. From Blossoms
  3. Wild Geese
  4. The Peace of Wild Things
  5. My Gift to You
  6. Departing Spring
  7. The Skylark
  8. What a Strange Thing!
  9. Although The Wind …
  10. The Old Pond
  11. Spring Is Like A Perhaps Hand
  12. Hast thou 2 loaves of bread …
  13. Youth and Age
  14. A Postcard From the Volcano
  15. The Kraken
  16. He wishes for the Cloths of Heaven
  17. There Is a Solitude of Space
  18. Because I Could Not Stop for Death
  19. Mad Song
  20. Answer July
  21. Success Is Counted Sweetest
  22. Hope Is the Thing with Feathers
  23. The Bluebird
  24. A Vision of the End
  25. The Crying of Water
  26. A Rose Has Thorns As Well As Honey
  27. Winter
  28. The Dark Cavalier
  29. There is no Life or Death
  30. Sheep in Winter
  31. To a Snowflake
  32. Sextain
  33. A Crocodile
  34. Sea Fever
  35. The Giant Cactus of Arizona
  36. The Coming of Night
  37. Going to the Picnic
  38. Moon Tonight
  39. A Southern Night
Close-up of sea

I must go down to the seas again, to the
      lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer
      her by;
And the wheel’s kick and the wind’s song and
      the white sail’s shaking,
And a grey mist on the sea’s face, and a grey
      dawn breaking.
I must go down to the seas again, for the call
      of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be
      denied;
And all I ask is a windy day with the white
      clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and
      the sea-gulls crying.
I must go down to the seas again, to the
      vagrant gypsy life,
To the gull’s way and the whale’s way, where
      the wind’s like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing
      fellow-rover,
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the
      long trick’s over.

John Masefield (1878–1967) was an English poet and children’s fiction writer.


To read more poems, click here.



A Crocodile

  1. Things to Do in the Belly of the Whale
  2. From Blossoms
  3. Wild Geese
  4. The Peace of Wild Things
  5. My Gift to You
  6. Departing Spring
  7. The Skylark
  8. What a Strange Thing!
  9. Although The Wind …
  10. The Old Pond
  11. Spring Is Like A Perhaps Hand
  12. Hast thou 2 loaves of bread …
  13. Youth and Age
  14. A Postcard From the Volcano
  15. The Kraken
  16. He wishes for the Cloths of Heaven
  17. There Is a Solitude of Space
  18. Because I Could Not Stop for Death
  19. Mad Song
  20. Answer July
  21. Success Is Counted Sweetest
  22. Hope Is the Thing with Feathers
  23. The Bluebird
  24. A Vision of the End
  25. The Crying of Water
  26. A Rose Has Thorns As Well As Honey
  27. Winter
  28. The Dark Cavalier
  29. There is no Life or Death
  30. Sheep in Winter
  31. To a Snowflake
  32. Sextain
  33. A Crocodile
  34. Sea Fever
  35. The Giant Cactus of Arizona
  36. The Coming of Night
  37. Going to the Picnic
  38. Moon Tonight
  39. A Southern Night
Crocodile

Photo by Kyle Nieber on Unsplash.

Hard by the lilied Nile I saw
A duskish river-dragon stretched along,
The brown habergeon of his limbs enamelled
With sanguine almandines and rainy pearl:
And on his back there lay a young one sleeping,
No bigger than a mouse; with eyes like beads,
And a small fragment of its speckled egg
Remaining on its harmless, pulpy snout;
A thing to laugh at, as it gaped to catch
The baulking merry flies. In the iron jaws
Of the great devil-beast, like a pale soul
Fluttering in rocky hell, lightsomely flew
A snowy trochilus, with roseate beak
Tearing the hairy leeches from his throat.

Thomas Lovell Beddoes (1803 – 1849) was an English poet, playwright and doctor.

Mark McGuinness reads and discusses the poem in his podcast A Mouthful of Air, a podcast of classic and contemporary poetry. Podcast transcription is available.


To read more poems, click here.



Sextain

  1. Things to Do in the Belly of the Whale
  2. From Blossoms
  3. Wild Geese
  4. The Peace of Wild Things
  5. My Gift to You
  6. Departing Spring
  7. The Skylark
  8. What a Strange Thing!
  9. Although The Wind …
  10. The Old Pond
  11. Spring Is Like A Perhaps Hand
  12. Hast thou 2 loaves of bread …
  13. Youth and Age
  14. A Postcard From the Volcano
  15. The Kraken
  16. He wishes for the Cloths of Heaven
  17. There Is a Solitude of Space
  18. Because I Could Not Stop for Death
  19. Mad Song
  20. Answer July
  21. Success Is Counted Sweetest
  22. Hope Is the Thing with Feathers
  23. The Bluebird
  24. A Vision of the End
  25. The Crying of Water
  26. A Rose Has Thorns As Well As Honey
  27. Winter
  28. The Dark Cavalier
  29. There is no Life or Death
  30. Sheep in Winter
  31. To a Snowflake
  32. Sextain
  33. A Crocodile
  34. Sea Fever
  35. The Giant Cactus of Arizona
  36. The Coming of Night
  37. Going to the Picnic
  38. Moon Tonight
  39. A Southern Night
Snowdon From Pernsarn, a painting by Charles Thomas Burt

Snowdon From Pernsarn by Charles Thomas Burt. Photo by Birmingham Museums Trust on Unsplash.

The Heaven doth not contain so many stars,
So many leaves not prostrate lie in woods
When autumn’s old and Boreas sounds his wars,
So many waves have not the ocean floods,
As my rent mind hath torments all the night,
And heart spends sighs when Phœbus brings the light.

Why should I have been partner of the light,
Who, crost in birth by bad aspéct of stars,
Have never since had happy day or night?
Why was not I a liver in the woods,
Or citizen of Thetis’s crystal floods,
Than made a man, for love and fortune’s wars?

I look each day when death should end the wars,
Uncivil wars, ’twixt sense and reason’s light;
My pains I count to mountains, meads, and floods,
And of my sorrow partners make the stars;
All desolate I haunt the fearful woods,
When I should give myself to rest at night.

With watchful eyes I ne’er behold the night,
Mother of peace, but ah! to me of wars,
And Cynthia, queen-like, shining through the woods,
When straight those lamps come in my thought, whose light
My judgment dazzled, passing brightest stars,
And then mine eyes en-isle themselves with floods.

Turn to their springs again first shall the floods,
Clear shall the sun the sad and gloomy night,
To dance about the pole cease shall the stars,
The elements renew their ancient wars
Shall first, and be deprived of place and light,
E’er I find rest in city, fields, or woods.

End these my days, indwellers of the woods,
Take this my life, ye deep and raging floods;
Sun, never rise to clear me with thy light,
Horror and darkness, keep a lasting night;
Consume me, care, with thy intestine wars,
And stay your influence o’er me, bright stars!

In vain the stars, indwellers of the woods,
Care, horror, wars, I call, and raging floods,
For all have sworn no night shall dim my sight.

William Drummond of Hawthornden (1585 –1649) was a Scottish poet.

Mark McGuinness reads and discusses the poem in his podcast A Mouthful of Air, a podcast of classic and contemporary poetry. Podcast transcription is available.


To read more poems, click here.



To a Snowflake

  1. Things to Do in the Belly of the Whale
  2. From Blossoms
  3. Wild Geese
  4. The Peace of Wild Things
  5. My Gift to You
  6. Departing Spring
  7. The Skylark
  8. What a Strange Thing!
  9. Although The Wind …
  10. The Old Pond
  11. Spring Is Like A Perhaps Hand
  12. Hast thou 2 loaves of bread …
  13. Youth and Age
  14. A Postcard From the Volcano
  15. The Kraken
  16. He wishes for the Cloths of Heaven
  17. There Is a Solitude of Space
  18. Because I Could Not Stop for Death
  19. Mad Song
  20. Answer July
  21. Success Is Counted Sweetest
  22. Hope Is the Thing with Feathers
  23. The Bluebird
  24. A Vision of the End
  25. The Crying of Water
  26. A Rose Has Thorns As Well As Honey
  27. Winter
  28. The Dark Cavalier
  29. There is no Life or Death
  30. Sheep in Winter
  31. To a Snowflake
  32. Sextain
  33. A Crocodile
  34. Sea Fever
  35. The Giant Cactus of Arizona
  36. The Coming of Night
  37. Going to the Picnic
  38. Moon Tonight
  39. A Southern Night
Snow landscape with a bench by the sea and heavy falling snowflakes.

What heart could have thought you?— 
Past our devisal 
(O filigree petal!) 
Fashioned so purely, 
Fragilely, surely, 
From what Paradisal 
Imagineless metal, 
Too costly for cost? 
Who hammered you, wrought you, 
From argentine vapour?— 
“God was my shaper. 
Passing surmisal, 
He hammered, He wrought me, 
From curled silver vapour, 
To lust of His mind;— 
Thou could’st not have thought me! 
So purely, so palely, 
Tinily, surely, 
Mightily, frailly, 
Insculped and embossed, 
With His hammer of wind, 
And His graver of frost.

Francis Thompson (1859 –1907) was an English poet; he is best known for his poem “The Hound of Heaven.”

 


To read more poems, click here.



Sheep in Winter

  1. Things to Do in the Belly of the Whale
  2. From Blossoms
  3. Wild Geese
  4. The Peace of Wild Things
  5. My Gift to You
  6. Departing Spring
  7. The Skylark
  8. What a Strange Thing!
  9. Although The Wind …
  10. The Old Pond
  11. Spring Is Like A Perhaps Hand
  12. Hast thou 2 loaves of bread …
  13. Youth and Age
  14. A Postcard From the Volcano
  15. The Kraken
  16. He wishes for the Cloths of Heaven
  17. There Is a Solitude of Space
  18. Because I Could Not Stop for Death
  19. Mad Song
  20. Answer July
  21. Success Is Counted Sweetest
  22. Hope Is the Thing with Feathers
  23. The Bluebird
  24. A Vision of the End
  25. The Crying of Water
  26. A Rose Has Thorns As Well As Honey
  27. Winter
  28. The Dark Cavalier
  29. There is no Life or Death
  30. Sheep in Winter
  31. To a Snowflake
  32. Sextain
  33. A Crocodile
  34. Sea Fever
  35. The Giant Cactus of Arizona
  36. The Coming of Night
  37. Going to the Picnic
  38. Moon Tonight
  39. A Southern Night
Two sheep in the snow

The sheep get up and make their many tracks 
And bear a load of snow upon their backs, 
And gnaw the frozen turnip to the ground 
With sharp quick bite, and then go noising round 
The boy that pecks the turnips all the day 
And knocks his hands to keep the cold away 
And laps his legs in straw to keep them warm 
And hides behind the hedges from the storm. 
The sheep, as tame as dogs, go where he goes 
And try to shake their fleeces from the snows, 
Then leave their frozen meal and wander round 
The stubble stack that stands beside the ground, 
And lie all night and face the drizzling storm 
And shun the hovel where they might be warm.

John Clare (1793 – 1864) was an English peasant poet of the Romantic school, and one of the English literature’s finest nature poets.


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