Thursday, October 29, 2009

A Villanelle of Changes

Since Persia fell at Marathon
The yellow years have gathered fast.
Long centuries have come and gone.

And yet (they say) the place will don
A phantom fury of the past,
Since Persia fell at Marathon.

And as of old, when Helicon
Trembled and swayed with rapture vast
(Long centuries have come and gone),

This ancient plain, when night comes on,
Shakes with a ghostly battle-blast,
Since Persia fell at Marathon.

But into soundless Acheron
The glory of Greek shame was cast:
Long centuries have come and gone,

The suns of Hellas have all shone,
The first is fallen to the last,
Since Persia fell at Marathon,
Long centuries have come and gone.

-Edward Arlington Robinson-

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

You Ask Me Why...

You ask me why, though ill at ease
Within this region I subsist,
Whose spirits falter in the mist
And languish for the purple seas.

It is the land that freemen till,
That sober-suited Freedom chose,
The land where, girt with friends or foes
A man may speak the thing he will;

A land of settled government,
A land of just and old renown,
Where Freedom slowly broadens down
From precedent to precedent;

Where Faction seldom gathers head,
But, by degrees to fullness wrought,
The strength of some diffusive thought
Hath time and space to work and spread.

Should banded unions persecute
Opinion, and induce a time
When single thought is civil crime,
And individual freedom mute,

Tho' power should make from land to land
The name of Britain trebly great-
Tho' every channel of the state
Is filled and choked with golden sand-

Yet waft me from the harbor mouth
Wild Wind! I seek a warmer sky,
And I shall see before I die
The palms and temples of the South.

-Alfred, Lord Tennyson-

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Trees

The trees are coming into leaf
Like something almost being said;
The recent buds relax and spread,
Their greenness is a kind of grief.

Is it they are born again
And we grow old? No, they die too.
Their yearly trick of growing new
Is written down in rings of grain.

Yet still the unresting castles thresh
In fullgrown thickness every May.
Last year is dead, they seem to say,
Begin afresh, afresh, afresh.

-Philip Larkin-

Monday, October 19, 2009


A woman I have never seen before
Steps from the darkness of her townhouse door
At just that crux of time when she is made
So beautiful that she or time must fade.

What use to claim that as she tugs her gloves
A phantom heraldry of all the loves
Blares from the lintel? That the staggered sun
Forgets, in his confusion, how to run?

Still, nothing changes as her perfect feet
Click down the walk that issue in the street,
Leaving the stations of her body there
Like whips that map the countries of the air.

-Richard Wilbur-

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Everyone Sang

Everyone suddenly burst out singing;
And I was filled with such delight
As prisoned birds must find in freedom,
Winging wildly across the white
Orchards and dark green fields- on, on, and out of sight.

Everyone's voice was suddenly lifted;
And beauty came like the setting sun;
My heart was shaken with tears; and horror
Drifted away; O, but everyone
Was a bird; and the song was wordless; the singing will never be done.

-Siegfried Sassoon-

Friday, October 9, 2009


So President Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize. They might as well just change the name of it to the "Thanks for Not Being Bush Prize."

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


"How did the party go in Portman Square?"
"I cannot tell you; Juliet was not there."

"And how did Lady Gaster's party go?"
"Juliet was next to me and I do not know."

-Hillaire Belloc-