Wistful

Oh how I'd be gay and glad
If a little house I had,
Snuggled in a shady lot,
With behind a garden plot;
Simple grub, old duds to wear,
A book, a pipe, a rocking-chair . . .
You would never hear me grouse
If I had a little house.

Oh if I had just enough
Dough to buy the needful stuff;
Milk and porridge, toast and tea,
How contented I would be!
You could have your cake and wine,
I on cabbage soup would dine,
Joking to the journey's end -
Had I just enough to spend.


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Wooing Song

LOVE is the blossom where there blows
Every thing that lives or grows:
Love doth make the Heav'ns to move,
And the Sun doth burn in love:
Love the strong and weak doth yoke,
And makes the ivy climb the oak,
Under whose shadows lions wild,
Soften'd by love, grow tame and mild:
Love no med'cine can appease,
He burns the fishes in the seas:
Not all the skill his wounds can stench,
Not all the sea his fire can quench.
Love did make the bloody spear
Once a leavy coat to wear,


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Wittgenstein's Ladder

"My propositions serve as elucidations in the following way:
anyone who understands them eventually recognizes them as
nonsensical, when he has used them -- as steps -- to climb
up beyond them. (He must, so to speak, throw away the ladder
after he has climbed up it.)" -- Ludwig Wittgenstein, Tractatus

1.

The first time I met Wittgenstein, I was
late. "The traffic was murder," I explained.
He spent the next forty-five minutes
analyzing this sentence. Then he was silent.


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Without You

Without you every morning would feel like going back to work after a holiday,
Without you I couldn't stand the smell of the East Lancs Road,
Without you ghost ferries would cross the Mersey manned by skeleton crews,
Without you I'd probably feel happy and have more money and time and nothing to do with it,
Without you I'd have to leave my stillborn poems on other people's doorsteps, wrapped in brown paper,
Without you there'd never be sauce to put on sausage butties,


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Without You

My Pillow gazes upon me at night
Empty as a gravestone;
I never thought it would be so bitter
To be alone,
Not to lie down asleep in your hair.

I lie alone in a silent house,
The hanging lamp darkened,
And gently stretch out my hands
To gather in yours,
And softly press my warm mouth
Toward you, and kiss myself, exhausted and weak-
Then suddenly I'm awake
And all around me the cold night grows still.
The star in the window shines clearly-
Where is your blond hair,
Where your sweet mouth?


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Wisteria

The first purple wisteria
I recall from boyhood hung
on a wire outside the windows
of the breakfast room next door
at the home of Steve Pisaris.
I loved his tall, skinny daughter,
or so I thought, and I would wait
beside the back door, prostrate,
begging to be taken in. Perhaps
it was only the flowers of spring
with their sickening perfumes
that had infected me. When Steve
and Sophie and the three children
packed up and made the move west,
I went on spring after spring,


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Winter Sleep

When against earth a wooden heel
Clicks as loud as stone on steel,
When stone turns flour instead of flakes,
And frost bakes clay as fire bakes,
When the hard-bitten fields at last
Crack like iron flawed in the cast,
When the world is wicked and cross and old,
I long to be quit of the cruel cold.

Little birds like bubbles of glass
Fly to other Americas,
Birds as bright as sparkles of wine
Fly in the nite to the Argentine,
Birds of azure and flame-birds go
To the tropical Gulf of Mexico:


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Winter Nightfall

The day begins to droop,--
Its course is done:
But nothing tells the place
Of the setting sun.
The hazy darkness deepens,
And up the lane
You may hear, but cannot see,
The homing wain.
An engine pants and hums
In the farm hard by:
Its lowering smoke is lost
In the lowering sky.
The soaking branches drip,
And all night through
The dropping will not cease
In the avenue.
A tall man there in the house
Must keep his chair:
He knows he will never again


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Winter Nightfall

THE day begins to droop,--
   Its course is done:
But nothing tells the place
   Of the setting sun.

The hazy darkness deepens,
   And up the lane
You may hear, but cannot see,
   The homing wain.

An engine pants and hums
   In the farm hard by:
Its lowering smoke is lost
   In the lowering sky.

The soaking branches drip,
   And all night through
The dropping will not cease
   In the avenue.

A tall man there in the house


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Winter Evening

When snow falls against the window,
Long sounds the evening bell...
For so many has the table
Been prepared, the house set in order.

From their wandering, many
Come on dark paths to this gateway.
The tree of grace is flowering in gold
Out of the cool sap of the earth.

In stillness, wanderer, step in:
Grief has worn the threshold into stone.
But see: in pure light, glowing
There on the table: bread and wine.


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