Today

This is To-day, a child in white and blue
Running to meet me out of Night who stilled
The ghost of Yester-eve; this is fair Morn
The mother of To-morrow. And these clouds
That chase the sunshine over gleaming hills
Are thoughts, delighting in the golden change
And the ceremony of their drifting state.

This is To-day. To-morrow might bring death,—
And Life, the gleeful madrigal of birds,
Be drowned in glimmer of sleep. To-day I know
How sweet it is to spend these eyes, and boast


Toad Dreams

That afternoon the dream of the toads
rang through the elms by Little River
and affected the thoughts of men,
though they were not conscious that
they heard it.--Henry Thoreau


The dream of toads: we rarely
credit what we consider lesser
life with emotions big as ours,
but we are easily distracted,
abstracted. People sit nibbling
before television's flicker watching
ghosts chase balls and each other
while the skunk is out risking grisly
death to cross the highway to mate;


to..

You have been my love for so many years,
My giddiness before so much waiting,
Which nothing can age or cool;
Even that which awaited our death,
Or slowly learned how to fight us,
Even that which is strange to us,
Both my eclipses and my returns.

Closed like a box-wood shutter,
An extreme and compact chance
Is our chain, our mountain-range,
Our compressing splendor and glow.

I say chance, O my hammered one;
Either of us can receive
The mysterious part of the other


To Yvor Winters

Though night is always close, complete negation
Ready to drop on wisdom and emotion,
Night from the air or the carnivorous breath,
Still it is right to know the force of death,
And, as you do, persistent, tough in will,
Raise from the excellent the better still.


To winter in the Midst of his Reign

Thou grim physician, armed with septic shears,
Thou that dissemblest even in death's repose
Earth's quiet pulse and her remedial throes,
How dull thy visage on this day appears!
Let now the dismal heaven give vent, its tears
Come frozen ever; no gale coeval blows
Filled with the ravaged perfume of the rose;
And keep not all fair things forsaken biers?
O haste, then, spiritless minister, thy pains
To charge the sources of the unfruitful earth
For harvests blest in wood, in plot and lawn!


To Virgil

Written at the Request of the Mantuans for the Nineteenth Centenary of
Virgil's Death


Roman Virgil, thou that singest
Ilion's lofty temples robed in fire,
Ilion falling, Rome arising,
wars, and filial faith, and Dido's pyre;

Landscape-lover, lord of language
more than he that sang the Works and Days,
All the chosen coin of fancy
flashing out from many a golden phrase;

Thou that singest wheat and woodland,
tilth and vineyard, hive and horse and herd;
All the charm of all the Muses


To Thyrza And Thou Art Dead

And thou art dead, as young and fair
As aught of mortal birth;
And form so soft and charm so rare
Too soon returned to Earth!
Though Earth received them in her bed,
And o'er the spot the crowd may tread
In carelessness or mirth,
There is an eye which could not brook
A moment on that grave to look.

I will not ask where thou liest low,
Nor gaze upon the spot;
There flowers or weeds at will may grow,
So I behold them not:
It is enough for me to prove
That what I loved, and long must love,


To the Vesper Sparrow

Sing the last word of the day!
Voice of the sparrow belated!
What hast thou seen by the way?
What hast thou loved most or hated?
Sadness to melody mated,
What is the grudge thou wouldst pay?

Work, is it sadder than play?
Sorrow or joy sooner sated?
Dreams the sweet blossom of May
To what dull fruitage 't is fated?
When life and death are translated,
Seems Death or Life the more gay?

Linger, shy singer, O stay!
Though the swift night has abated
Sky, lake, and woodland to gray.


To the University of Cambridge

While an intrinsic ardor prompts to write,
The muses promise to assist my pen;
'Twas not long since I left my native shore
The land of errors, and Egyptian gloom:
Father of mercy, 'twas thy gracious hand
Brought me in safety from those dark abodes.
Students, to you 'tis giv'n to scan the heights
Above, to traverse the ethereal space,
And mark the systems of revolving worlds.

Still more, ye sons of science ye receive
The blissful news by messengers from heav'n,
How Jesus' blood for your redemption flows.


To The Genius Of Africa

O thou who from the mountain's height
Roll'st down thy clouds with all their weight
Of waters to old Niles majestic tide;
Or o'er the dark sepulchral plain
Recallest thy Palmyra's ancient pride,
Amid whose desolated domes
Secure the savage chacal roams,
Where from the fragments of the hallow'd fane
The Arabs rear their miserable homes!

Hear Genius hear thy children's cry!
Not always should'st thou love to brood
Stern o'er the desert solitude
Where seas of sand toss their hot surges high;


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