Winter Sleep

I know it must be winter (though I sleep) --
I know it must be winter, for I dream
I dip my bare feet in the running stream,
And flowers are many, and the grass grows deep.

I know I must be old (how age deceives!)
I know I must be old, for, all unseen,
My heart grows young, as autumn fields grow green,
When late rains patter on the falling sheaves.

I know I must be tired (and tired souls err) --
I know I must be tired, for all my soul
To deeds of daring beats a glad, faint roll,


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Winter Evening

To-night the very horses springing by
Toss gold from whitened nostrils. In a dream
The streets that narrow to the westward gleam
Like rows of golden palaces; and high
From all the crowded chimneys tower and die
A thousand aureoles. Down in the west
The brimming plains beneath the sunset rest,
One burning sea of gold. Soon, soon shall fly
The glorious vision, and the hours shall feel
A mightier master; soon from height to height,
With silence and the sharp unpitying stars,


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Wind at Tindari

Tindari, I know you
mild between broad hills, overhanging the waters
of the god’s sweet islands.
Today, you confront me
and break into my heart.

I climb airy peaks, precipices,
following the wind in the pines,
and the crowd of them, lightly accompanying me,
fly off into the air,
wave of love and sound,
and you take me to you,
you from whom I wrongly drew
evil, and fear of silence, shadow,
- refuge of sweetness, once certain -
and death of spirit.

It is unknown to you, that country


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When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom'd

from Memories of President Lincoln

1

When lilacs last in the dooryard bloom'd,
And the great star early droop'd in the western sky in the night,
I mourn'd, and yet shall mourn with ever-returning spring.

Ever-returning spring, trinity sure to me you bring,
Lilac blooming perennial and drooping star in the west,
And thought of him I love.

2

O powerful western fallen star!
O shades of night -- O moody, tearful night!
O great star disappear'd -- O the black murk that hides the star!


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When I Heard the Learned Astronomer

When I heard the learn'd astronomer,
When the proofs, the figures, were ranged in columns before me,
When I was shown the charts and diagrams, to add, divide,
and measure them,
When I sitting heard the astronomer where he lectured with
much applause in the lecture-room,
How soon unaccountable I became tired and sick,
Till rising and gliding out I wander'd off by myself,
In the mystical moist night-air, and from time to time,
Look'd up in perfect silence at the stars.


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While The Bannock Bakes

Light up your pipe again, old chum, and sit awhile with me;
I've got to watch the bannock bake -- how restful is the air!
You'd little think that we were somewhere north of Sixty-three,
Though where I don't exactly know, and don't precisely care.
The man-size mountains palisade us round on every side;
The river is a-flop with fish, and ripples silver-clear;
The midnight sunshine brims yon cleft -- we think it's the Divide;
We'll get there in a month, maybe, or maybe in a year.


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White Cockatoos

Now the autumn maize is growing,
Now the corn-cob fills,
Where the Little River flowing
Winds among the hills.
Over mountain peaks outlying
Clear against the blue
Comes a scout in silence flying,
One white cockatoo.
Back he goes to where the meeting
Waits among the trees.
Says, "The corn is fit for eating;
Hurry, if you please."
Skirmishers, their line extendiing,
Shout the joyful news;
Down they drop like snow descending,
Clouds of cockatoos.


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Whispered Into Afternoon

Sun of autumn, thin and shy
And fruit drops off the trees,
Blue silence fills the peace
Of a tardy afternoon’s sky.

Death knells forged of metal,
And a white beast hits the mire.
Brown lasses uncouth choir
Dies in leaves’ drifting prattle.

Brow of God dreams of hues,
Senses madness’ gentle wings.
Round the hill wield in rings
Black decay and shaded views.

Rest and wine in sunset’s gleam,
Sad guitars drizzle into night,
And to the mellow lamp inside


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While Lounging In A Chair

While lounging in a chair, I looked up at the ceiling
Where, teasing my imagination,
A circle hangs above the quiet lamp,
And spins just like a ghostly shadow.

Within the flicker there's a trace of autumn sunset:
As if, above the rooftop and the garden,
Unable to fly off, afraid to land,
Dark flocks of blackbirds circle. . .

No, it's not wings I hear, but hooves at the front gate!
I hear the trembling hands . . .
How chill the pallor of a lovely face!
How bitter parting's whisper! . .


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Whenever I Go There

Whenever I go there everything is changed

The stamps on the bandages the titles
Of the professors of water

The portrait of Glare the reasons for
The white mourning

In new rocks new insects are sitting
With the lights off
And once more I remember that the beginning

Is broken

No wonder the addresses are torn

To which I make my way eating the silence of animals
Offering snow to the darkness

Today belongs to few and tomorrow to no one


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