A Poets Thought

TELL me, what is a poet’s thought?
Is it on the sudden born?
Is it from the starlight caught?
Is it by the tempest taught,
Or by whispering morn?

Was it cradled in the brain?
Chain’d awhile, or nurs’d in night?
Was it wrought with toil and pain?
Did it bloom and fade again,
Ere it burst to light?

No more question of its birth:
Rather love its better part!
’T is a thing of sky and earth,
Gathering all its golden worth
From the Poet’s heart.


A Poem For the End of the Century

When everything was fine
And the notion of sin had vanished
And the earth was ready
In universal peace
To consume and rejoice
Without creeds and utopias,

I, for unknown reasons,
Surrounded by the books
Of prophets and theologians,
Of philosophers, poets,
Searched for an answer,
Scowling, grimacing,
Waking up at night, muttering at dawn.

What oppressed me so much
Was a bit shameful.
Talking of it aloud
Would show neither tact nor prudence.
It might even seem an outrage


A Plan The Muses Entertained

A plan the Muses entertain'd

Methodically to impart

To Psyche the poetic art;
Prosaic-pure her soul remain'd.
No wondrous sounds escaped her lyre

E'en in the fairest Summer night;
But Amor came with glance of fire,--

The lesson soon was learn'd aright.


A piteous plaint

I cannot eat my porridge,
I weary of my play;
No longer can I sleep at night,
No longer romp by day!
Though forty pounds was once my weight,
I'm shy of thirty now;
I pine, I wither and I fade
Through love of Martha Clow.

As she rolled by this morning
I heard the nurse girl say:
"She weighs just twenty-seven pounds
And she's one year old to-day."
I threw a kiss that nestled
In the curls upon her brow,
But she never turned to thank me--
That bouncing Martha Clow!


A Peasant

Iago Prytherch his name, though, be it allowed,
Just an ordinary man of the bald Welsh hills,
Who pens a few sheep in a gap of cloud.
Docking mangels, chipping the green skin
From the yellow bones with a half-witted grin
Of satisfaction, or churning the crude earth
To a stiff sea of clods that glint in the wind—
So are his days spent, his spittled mirth
Rarer than the sun that cracks the cheeks
Of the gaunt sky perhaps once in a week.
And then at night see him fixed in his chair


A Noon Song

There are songs for the morning and songs for the night,
For sunrise and sunset, the stars and the moon;
But who will give praise to the fulness of light,
And sing us a song of the glory of noon?
Oh, the high noon, the clear noon,
The noon with golden crest;
When the blue sky burns, and the great sun turns
With his face to the way of the west!

How swiftly he rose in the dawn of his strength;
How slowly he crept as the morning wore by;
Ah, steep was the climbing that led him at length


A Nocturne

Like weary sea-birds spent with flight
   And faltering,
The slow hours beat across the night
   On leaden wing.
The wild bird knows where rest shall be
   Soe'er he roam.
Heart of my heart! apart from thee
   I have no home.

Afar from thee, yet not alone,
   Heart of my heart!
Like some soft haunting whisper blown
   From Heaven thou art.
I hear the magic music roll
   Its waves divine;
The subtle fragrance of thy soul
   Has passed to mine.


A Night-Rain in Summer

Open the window, and let the air
Freshly blow upon face and hair,
And fill the room, as it fills the night,
With the breath of the rain's sweet might.
Hark! the burthen, swift and prone!
And how the odorous limes are blown!
Stormy Love's abroad, and keeps
Hopeful coil for gentle sleeps.

Not a blink shall burn to-night
In my chamber, of sordid light;
Nought will I have, not a window-pane,
'Twixt me and the air and the great good rain,
Which ever shall sing me sharp lullabies;


A Night-piece on Death

By the blue taper's trembling light,
No more I waste the wakeful night,
Intent with endless view to pore
The schoolmen and the sages o'er:
Their books from wisdom widely stray,
Or point at best the longest way.
I'll seek a readier path, and go
Where wisdom's surely taught below.

How deep yon azure dyes the sky!
Where orbs of gold unnumber'd lie,
While through their ranks in silver pride
The nether crescent seems to glide!
The slumb'ring breeze forgets to breathe,
The lake is smooth and clear beneath,


A New Friend

Shot in a night of impeccable injustice.
Overflowed with torment and forgiveness.
Placed directed towards my head and waiting.
Pushing through the morbid crowd.
Bright and radiant and shining through,
To talk and save me and open up new doors.
Oh what new things I can learn and love, through this,
This new friendship.


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