Visiting a Dead Man on a Summer Day

In flat America, in Chicago,
Graceland cemetery on the German North Side.
Forty feet of Corinthian candle
celebrate Pullman embedded
lonely raisin in a cake of concrete.
The Potter Palmers float
in an island parthenon.
Barons of hogfat, railroads and wheat
are postmarked with angels and lambs.

But the Getty tomb: white, snow patterned
in a triangle of trees swims dappled with leaf shadow,
sketched light arch within arch
delicate as fingernail moons.


Very Like a Whale

One thing that literature would be greatly the better for
Would be a more restricted employment by the authors of simile and
metaphor.
Authors of all races, be they Greeks, Romans, Teutons or Celts,
Can't seem just to say that anything is the thing it is but have to
go out of their way to say that it is like something else.
What does it mean when we are told
That that Assyrian came down like a wolf on the fold?
In the first place, George Gordon Byron had enough experience


Verses from the Shepherds' Hymn

WE saw Thee in Thy balmy nest,
   Young dawn of our eternal day;
We saw Thine eyes break from the East,
   And chase the trembling shades away:
We saw Thee, and we blest the sight,
We saw Thee by Thine own sweet light.

Poor world, said I, what wilt thou do
   To entertain this starry stranger?
Is this the best thou canst bestow--
   A cold and not too cleanly manger?
Contend, the powers of heaven and earth,
To fit a bed for this huge birth.

Proud world, said I, cease your contest,


Venetian Morning

Windows pampered like princes always see
what on occasion deigns to trouble us:
the city that, time and again, where a shimmer
of sky strikes a feeling of floodtide,

takes shape without once choosing to be.
Each new morning must first show her the opals
she wore yesterday, and pull rows
of reflections out of the canal
and remind her of the other times:
only then does she concede and settle in

like a nymph who received great Zeus.
The dangling earrings ring out at her ear;


Velvet Shoes

Let us walk in the white snow
In a soundless space;
With footsteps quiet snd slow,
At a tranquil pace,
Under veils of white lace.

I shall go shod in silk,
And you in wool,
White as white cow's milk,
More beautiful
Than the breast of a gull.

We shall walk through the still town
In a windless peace;
We shall step upon white down,
Upon silver fleece,
Upon softer than these.

We shall walk in velvet shoes:
Wherever we go
Silence will fall like dews


Ursula

There is a village in a southern land,
By rounded hills closed in on every hand.
The streets slope steeply to the market-square,
Long lines of white-washed houses, clean and fair,
With roofs irregular, and steps of stone
Ascending to the front of every one.
The people swarthy, idle, full of mirth,
Live mostly by the tillage of the earth.

Upon the northern hill-top, looking down,
Like some sequestered saint upon the town,
Stands the great convent.

On a summer night,


Uriel

(In memory of William Vaughn Moody)

I

Uriel, you that in the ageless sun
Sit in the awful silences of light,
Singing of vision hid from human sight, --
Prometheus, beautiful rebellious one!
And you, Deucalion,
For whose blind seed was brought the illuming spark,
Are you not gathered, now his day is done,
Beside the brink of that relentless dark --
The dark where your dear singer's ghost is gone?

II

Imagined beings, who majestic blend


Uppards

'Twere getting dusk, one winter's night,
When up the clough there came in sight,
A lad who carried through the snow,
A banner with this 'ere motto...
'Uppards'

His face was glum as he did pass,
His eyes were shiny... just like glass,
And as he went upon his way,
He nobbut this 'ere word did say...
'Uppards'

And people sitting down to tea,
They heard him plan, as plain can be,
They thowt 'twere final football score,
As this 'ere word rang out once more...
'Uppards'


Upon His Picture

When age hath made me what I am not now,
And every wrinkle tells me where the plow
Of time hath furrowed; when an ice shall flow
Through every vein, and all my head wear snow;
When death displays his coldness in my cheek,
And I myself in my own picture seek,
Not finding what I am, but what I was,
In doubt which to believe, this or my glass:
Yet though I alter, this remains the same
As it was drawn, retains the primitive frame
And first complexion; here will still be seen


Upon A Lowering Of Morning

Well, with the day I see the clouds appear,
And mix the light with darkness everywhere;
This threatening is, to travellers that go
Long journeys, slabby rain they'll have, or snow.
Else, while I gaze, the sun doth with his beams
Belace the clouds, as 'twere with bloody streams;
This done, they suddenly do watery grow,
And weep, and pour their tears out where they go.

Comparison.

Thus 'tis when gospel light doth usher in
To us both sense of grace and sense of sin;


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