The Dead Woman

If suddenly you do not exist,
if suddenly you are not living,
I shall go on living.

I do not dare,
I do not dare to write it,
if you die.

I shall go on living.

Because where a man has no voice,
there, my voice

Where blacks are beaten,
I can not be dead.
When my brothers go to jail
I shall go with them.

When victory,
not my victory,
but the great victory
arrives,
even though I am mute I must speak:


The Court of Love

With timorous heart, and trembling hand of dread,
Of cunning* naked, bare of eloquence, *skill
Unto the *flow'r of port in womanhead* *one who is the perfection
I write, as he that none intelligence of womanly behaviour*
Of metres hath, nor flowers of sentence,
Save that me list my writing to convey,
In that I can, to please her high nobley.* *nobleness

The blossoms fresh of Tullius'* garden swoot** *Cicero **sweet
Present they not, my matter for to born:* *burnish, polish
Poems of Virgil take here no root,


The Cottage

Here in turn succeed and rule
Carter, smith, and village fool,
Then again the place is known
As tavern, shop, and Sunday-school;
Now somehow it’s come to me
To light the fire and hold the key,
Here in Heaven to reign alone.

All the walls are white with lime,
Big blue periwinkles climb
And kiss the crumbling window-sill;
Snug inside I sit and rhyme,
Planning, poem, book, or fable,
At my darling beech-wood table
Fresh with bluebells from the hill.

Through the window I can see


The Conspiracy

You send me your poems,
I'll send you mine.

Things tend to awaken
even through random communication

Let us suddenly
proclaim spring. And jeer

at the others,
all the others.

I will send a picture too
if you will send me one of you.


The Comfort of Obscurity

INSPIRED BY READING MR. KIPLING'S POEMS AS
PRINTED IN THE NEW YORK PAPERS

Though earnest and industrious,
I still am unillustrious;
No papers empty purses
Printing verses
Such as mine.

No lack of fame is chronicker
Than that about my monicker;
My verse is never cabled
At a fabled
Rate per line.

Still though the Halls
Of Literature are closed
To me a bard obscure I
Have a consolation The
Copyreaders crude and rough
Can't monkey with my


The Campaign, A Poem, To His Grace The Duke Of Marlborough

While crowds of princes your deserts proclaim,
Proud in their number to enrol your name;
While emperors to you commit their cause,
And Anna's praises crown the vast applause;
Accept, great leader, what the Muse recites,
That in ambitious verse attempts your fights.
Fir'd and transported with a theme so new,
Ten thousand wonders opening to my view
Shine forth at once; sieges and storms appear,
And wars and conquests fill the' important year:

Rivers of blood I see, and hills of slain,


The Booker Washington Trilogy

I. A NEGRO SERMON:—SIMON LEGREE

(To be read in your own variety of negro dialect.)


Legree's big house was white and green.
His cotton-fields were the best to be seen.
He had strong horses and opulent cattle,
And bloodhounds bold, with chains that would rattle.
His garret was full of curious things:
Books of magic, bags of gold,
And rabbits' feet on long twine strings.
But he went down to the Devil.

Legree he sported a brass-buttoned coat,
A snake-skin necktie, a blood-red shirt.


The Blue Swallows

Across the millstream below the bridge
Seven blue swallows divide the air
In shapes invisible and evanescent,
Kaleidoscopic beyond the mind’s
Or memory’s power to keep them there.

“History is where tensions were,”
“Form is the diagram of forces.”
Thus, helplessly, there on the bridge,
While gazing down upon those birds—
How strange, to be above the birds!—
Thus helplessly the mind in its brain
Weaves up relation’s spindrift web,
Seeing the swallows’ tails as nibs


The Ballad Of Casey's Billy-Goat

You've heard of "Casey at The Bat,"
And "Casey's Tabble Dote";
But now it's time
To write a rhyme
Of "Casey's Billy-goat."

Pat Casey had a billy-goat he gave the name of Shamus,
Because it was (the neighbours said) a national disgrace.
And sure enough that animal was eminently famous
For masticating every rag of laundry round the place.
For shirts to skirts prodigiously it proved its powers of chewing;
The question of digestion seemed to matter not at all;


Pages

Subscribe to RSS - poem