Tuesday, September 29, 2009


Say not the righteous come into Death's keep:
For here good Saon lies, whose noble name
Secures him holy sleep.

-Translated from the Greek by Thomas Banks-

Thursday, September 24, 2009


Rose cheeked Laura, come;
Sing thou smoothly with thy beauty's
Silent music, either other
Sweetly gracing.

Lovely forms do flow
From consent divinely framed:
Heaven is music, and thy beauty's
Birth is heavenly.

These dull notes we sing
Discords need for help to grace them;
Only beauty purely loving
Knows no discord.

But still moves delight,
Like clear springs renew'd by flowing,
Ever perfect, ever in them-
Selves eternal.

-Thomas Campion-

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Minor Key

Let me enjoy the earth no less
Because the all-enacting Might
That fashioned forth its loveliness
Had other aims than my delight.

About my path their flits a Fair,
Who throws me not a word or sign;
I'll charm me with her ignoring air,
And laud the lips not meant for mine.

From manuscripts of moving songs
Inspired by scenes and dreams unknown,
I'll pour out raptures that belong
To others, as they were my own.

And some day hence, towards Paradise
And all its blest-if such there be-
I will lift glad, afar-off eyes,
Though it contain no place for me.

-Thomas Hardy-

For a Dead Lady

No more with overflowing light
Shall fill the eyes that now are faded,
Nor shall another's fringe with night
Their woman-hidden world as they did.
No more shall quiver down the days
The flowing wonder of her ways,
Whereof no language may requite
The shifting and the many-shaded.

The grace, divine, definitive,
Clings only as a faint forestalling;
The laugh that love could not forgive
Is hushed, and answers to no calling;
The forehead and the little ears
Have gone where Saturn keeps the years;
The breast where roses could not live
Has done with rising and with falling.

The beauty, shattered by the laws
That have creation in their keeping,
No longer trembles at applause,
Or over children that are sleeping;
And we who delve in beauty's lore
Know all that we have known before
Of what inexorable cause
Makes Time so vicious in his reaping.

-Edward Arlington Robinson-


I cannot find my way; there is no star
In all the shrouded heavens anywhere;
And there is not a whisper in the air
Of any living voice but one so far
That I can hear it only as a bar
Of lost, imperial music, played when fair
And angel fingers wove, and unaware,
Dead leaves to garlands where no roses are.

No, there is not a glimmer, nor a call,
For one that welcomes, welcomes when he fears,
The black and awful chaos of the night;
For through it all-above, beyond it all-
I know the far-sent message of the years,
I feel the coming glory of the light.

-Edward Arlington Robinson-

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Your Body Is Stars

Your body is stars whose millions glitter here:
I am lost amongst the branches of the sky
Here near my breast, here in my nostrils, here
Where our vast arms like streams of fire lie.

How can this end? My healing fills the night
And hangs its flags in worlds I cannot near.
Our movements range through miles, and when we kiss
The moment widens to enclose long years.

Beholders of the promised dawn of truth
The explorers of immense and simple lines,
Here is our goal, men cried, but it was lost
Amongst the mountain mists and mountain pines.

So with this face of love, whose breathings are
A mystery shadowed on the desert floor:
The promise hangs, this swarm of stars and flowers,
And then there comes the shutting of a door.

-Stephen Spender-


There is no sorrow
Time heals never;
No loss, betrayal,
Beyond repair.
Balm for the soul, then,
Though grave shall sever
Lover from loved
And all they share;
See, the sweet sun shines,
The shower is over,
Flowers preen their beauty,
The day how fair!

Brood not too closely
On love, on duty;
Friends long forgotten
May wait you where
Life with death
Brings all to an issue;
None will long mourn for you,
Pray for you, miss you,
Your place left vacant,
You not there.

-Walter De La Mare

Sunday, September 13, 2009

To Laurels

A funeral stone
Or verse, I covet none;
But only crave
Of you that I may have
A sacred laurel springing from my grave:
Which being seen
Blessed with perpetual green,
May grow to be
Not so much called a tree,
As the eternal monument of me.

-Robert Herrick-

Friday, September 11, 2009


He wished for none to wait on his commanding;
He knew no thralldom, and he wished no throne.
But what few seek and fewer find, he won-
The Peace of God Which Passes Understanding.

-Thomas Banks-

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

A Reckoning

At my age one begins
To chalk up all his sins,
Hoping to wipe the slate
Before it is too late.

Therefore I call to mind
All memories of the kind
That make me wince and sweat
And tremble with regret.

What do these prove to be?
In every one, I see
Shocked faces that, alas,
Now know me for an ass.

Fatuities that I
Have uttered, drunk or dry,
Return now in a rush
And make my old cheek blush.

But how can I repent
From mere embarrassment?
Damn-foolishness can't well
Entitle me to Hell.

Well, I shall put the blame
On the pride that's in my shame.
Of that I must be shriven
Before I'll be forgiven.

-Richard Wilbur-

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Iste Mundus

This world, deep in madness raving,
False delights and pleasures yields,
Which desert us, fade around us
Like the lilies of the fields.

Life's mundane distracted prospect
Drives the Heaven from our eyes,
And sinks men's souls in Tartarus,
Where the death-worm never dies.

What we see and taste and touch
Of the world we populate
Falls and withers round about us
Like oak leaves grown to Autumn's date.

The things of flesh and mortal law
Prove their slightness when they fade,
That of swiftly passing shadows
And of breathless bloodless shade.

But should we loose our earthly ties
And deny this world our trust,
We shall find far greater joys
And be numbered with the just,
And shall merit for our wages
To behold the Age of Ages.

-Translated from the Latin by Thomas Banks-

Monday, September 7, 2009

A Dirge in the Woods

A wind sways the pines,
And below,
Not a breath of wild air;
Still as the mosses that grow
On the flooring and over the lines
Of the roots here and there.
The pine tree drops its dead;
They are quiet, as under the sea.
Overhead, overhead
Rushes life in a race,
As the clouds the clouds chase;
And we go,
And we drop like the fruits of the tree,
Even we,
Even so.

-George Meredith-

Saturday, September 5, 2009


Leave me O Love, which reachest but to dust,
And thou my mind inspire to higher things:
Grow rich in that which never taketh rust:
What ever fades, but fading pleasure brings.

Draw in thy beams, and humble all thy might,
To that sweet yoke, which lasting freedoms be:
Which breaks the clouds and opens forth the light,
That does both shine and give us sight to see.

O take fast hold, let that light be thy guide,
In this small course which birth draws out to death,
And think how evil becometh him to slide,
Who seeketh heav'n, and come to heavenly breath.
Then farewell world, thy uttermost I see,
Eternal Love maintain thy life in me.

-Sir Philip Sidney-

When the Eye of Day Is Shut

When the eye of day is shut,
And the stars deny their beams,
And about the forest hut
Blows the roaring wood of dreams,

From deep clay, from desert rock,
From the sunk sands of the main,
Come not at my door to knock,
Hearts that loved me not again.

Sleep, be still, turn to your rest
In the lands where you are laid;
In far lodgings east and west
Lie down on the beds you made.

In gross marl, in blowing dust,
In the drowning ooze of sea,
Where you would not, lie you must,
Lie you must, and not with me.

-A.E. Housman-

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

More Bridges

The first we met we did not guess
That Love would prove so hard a master;
Of more than common friendliness
When first we met we did not guess.
Who could foretell this sore distress,
This irretrievable disaster
When first we met? We did not guess
That Love would prove so hard a master.

-Robert Bridges-

Some Bridges

All women born are so perverse
No man need boast of their possessing.
If naught seems better, nothing's worse;
All women born are so perverse.
From Adam's wife, that proved a curse
Though God had made her for a blessing,
All women born are so perverse
No man need boast their love possessing.

-Robert Bridges-