Why Washington Retreated

1775

Said Congress to George Washington:
"To set this country free,
You'll have to whip the Britishers
And chase them o'er the sea."
"Oh, very well," said Washington,
"I'll do the best I can.
I'll slam and bang those Britishers
And whip them to a man."

1777

Said Congress to George Washington:
"The people all complain;
Why don't you fight? You but retreat
And then retreat again."
"That can't be helped," said Washington,
"As you will quite agree


White Paper

SNOWY-SMOOTH beneath the pen—
Richest field that iron ploughs,
Germinating thoughts of men,
Tho’ no heaven its rain allows.

There they ripen, thousand-fold;
And our spirits reap the corn,
In a day-long dream of gold—
Food for all the souls unborn.

Like the murmur of the earth,
When we listen stooping low,
Like sap singing nature’s mirth
Foaming up the trees that grow.

Evermore a subtle song
Sings the pen unto it, while


While the Fates Sleep

Come, let us to the sunways of the west,
Hasten, while crystal dews the rose-cups fill,
Let us dream dreams again in our blithe quest
O'er whispering wold and hill.
Castles of air yon wimpling valleys keep
Where milk-white mist steals from the purpling sea,
They shall be ours in the moon's wizardry,
While the fates, wearied, sleep.

The viewless spirit of the wind will sing
In the soft starshine by the reedy mere,
The elfin harps of hemlock boughs will ring
Fitfully far and near;


Where Will I Find Words

Where will I find words to describe our stroll,
The Chablis on ice, the toasted bread
And the sweet agate of ripe cherries?
Sunset is far off, and the sea resounds with
The splash of bodies, hot and glad for cool dampness.

Your tender look is playful and alluring, -
Like comedy's pretty, pealing nonsense
Or the capricious pen of Marivaux.
Your Pierrot nose and intoxicating lips
Set my mind awhirl like "The Marriage of Figaro."

The spirit of trifles, charming and airy,
Love of nights luxuriant or stifling,


Where Once the Waters of Your Face

Where once the waters of your face
Spun to my screws, your dry ghost blows,
The dead turns up its eye;
Where once the mermen through your ice
Pushed up their hair, the dry wind steers
Through salt and root and roe.

Where once your green knots sank their splice
Into the tided cord, there goes
The green unraveller,
His scissors oiled, his knife hung loose
To cut the channels at their source
And lay the wet fruits low.

Invisible, your clocking tides
Break on the lovebeds of the weeds;


Where my sight goes

Who knows
Where my sight goes,
What your sight shows---
Where the peachtree blows?

The frogs sing
Of everything
And children run
As leaves swing.

And many women pass
Dressed in white,
As thoughts of noon pass
From sea to sea.

And all these things would take
My life from me.


Where does the Winter go

There goes the Winter, sulkily slinking
Somewhere behind the trees on the hill.
He caught a vision of sweet Spring prinking
In green before her mirror---the rill.
And he turned away
With his face quite grey,
And he went without ever a glance behind him
But I want to know
Which way does he go,
And does anyone ever try to find him?
Is he caught to the sky in a burst of thunder
And tucked away in the clouds to sleep?
Or does he go down to the sea, I wonder,
And fling himself out where the waves roll deep?


When, Dearest, I But Think On Thee

When, dearest, I but think on thee,
Methinks all things that lovely be
Are present, and my soul delighted:
For beauties that from worth arise
Are like the grace of deities,
Still present with us, though unsighted.

Thus while I sit and sigh the day
With all his spreading lights away,
Till night's black wings do overtake me:
Thinking on thee, thy beauties then,
As sudden lights do sleeping men,
So they by their bright rays awake me.


When, Dearest, I But Think of Thee

When, dearest I but think of thee,
Methinks all things that lovely be
Are present, and my soul delighted:
For beauties that from worth arise
Are like the grace of deities,
Still present with us, tho’ unsighted.

Thus while I sit and sigh the day
With all his borrow’d lights away,
Till night’s black wings do overtake me,
Thinking on thee, thy beauties then,
As sudden lights do sleepy men,
So they by their bright rays awake me.

Thus absence dies, and dying proves
No absence can subsist with loves


When You Wake

When you wake from troubled slumbers
With a dream-bewildered brain,
And old leaves which no man numbers
Chattering tap against the pane;
And the midnight wind is wailing
Till you very life seems quailing
As the long gusts shudder and sigh:
Know you not that homeless cry
Is my love's, which cannot die,
Wailing through Eternity?

When beside the glowing embers,
Sitting in the twilight lone,
Drop on drop you hear November's
Melancholy monotone,
As the heavy rain comes sweeping,


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