Willie Pennington

They called me the weakling, the simpleton,
For my brothers were strong and beautiful,
While I, the last child of parents who had aged,
Inherited only their residue of power.
But they, my brothers, were eaten up
In the fury of the flesh, which I had not,
Made pulp in the activity of the senses, which I had not,
Hardened by the growth of the lusts, which I had not,
Though making names and riches for themselves.
Then I, the weak one, the simpleton,
Resting in a little corner of life,


Willie Metcalf

I was Willie Metcalf.
They used to call me "Doctor Meyers"
Because, they said, I looked like him.
And he was my father, according to Jack McGuire.
I lived in the livery stable,
Sleeping on the floor
Side by side with Roger Baughman's bulldog,
Or sometimes in a stall.
I could crawl between the legs of the wildest horses
Without getting kicked -- we knew each other.
On spring days I tramped through the country
To get the feeling, which I sometimes lost,
That I was not a separate thing from the earth.


Woone Smile Mwore

O! MARY, when the zun went down,
Woone night in spring, w’ viry rim,
Behind the nap wi’ woody crown,
An’ left your smilen face so dim;
Your little sister there, inside,
Wi’ bellows on her little knee,
Did blow the vire, a-glearen wide
Drough window-panes, that I could zee,—
As you did stan’ wi’ me, avore
The house, a-parten,—woone smile mwore.

The chatt’ren birds, a-risen high,
An’ zinken low, did swiftly vlee
Vrom shrinken moss, a-growen dry,
Upon the lanen apple tree.


Winter Heavens

Sharp is the night, but stars with frost alive
Leap off the rim of earth across the dome.
It is a night to make the heavens our home
More than the nest whereto apace we strive.
Lengths down our road each fir-tree seems a hive,
In swarms outrushing from the golden comb.
They waken waves of thoughts that burst to foam:
The living throb in me, the dead revive.
Yon mantle clothes us: there, past mortal breath,
Life glistens on the river of the death.
It folds us, flesh and dust; and have we knelt,


Wordsworth

Wordsworth, thy music like a river rolls
Among the mountains, and thy song is fed
By living springs far up the watershed;
No whirling flood nor parching drought controls
The crystal current: even on the shoals
It murmurs clear and sweet; and when its bed
Darkens below mysterious cliffs of dread,
Thy voice of peace grows deeper in our souls.

But thou in youth hast known the breaking stress
Of passion, and hast trod despair's dry ground
Beneath black thoughts that wither and destroy.


Words

When violets were springing
And sunshine filled the day,
And happy birds were singing
The praises of the May,
A word came to me, blighting
The beauty of the scene,
And in my heart was winter,
Though all the trees were green.

Now down the blast go sailing
The dead leaves, brown and sere;
The forests are bewailing
The dying of the year;
A word comes to me, lighting
With rapture all the air,
And in my heart is summer,
Though all the trees are bare.


Wolf and Hound

You'll take my tale with a little salt;

But it needs none, nevertheless!

I was foiled completely - fair at fault -

Disheartened, too, I confess!



At the splitters' tent I had seen the track

Of horse-hoofs fresh on the sward;

And though Darby Lynch and Donovan Jack

(Who could swear through a ten-inch board)



Solemnly swore he had not been there,

I was just as sure they lied;

For to Darby all that is foul was fair,


With Three Flowers

Herewith I send you three pressed withered flowers:
This one was white, with golden star; this, blue
As Capri's cave; that, purple and shot through
With sunset-orange. Where the Duomo towers
In diamond air, and under pendent bowers
The Arno glides, this faded violet grew
On Landor's grave; from Landor's heart it drew
Its clouded azure in the long spring hours.
Within the shadow of the Pyramid
Of Cais Cestius was the daisy found,
White as the soul of Keats in Paradise.


With A Painted Ribbon

Little leaves and flow'rets too,

Scatter we with gentle hand,
Kind young spring-gods to the view,

Sporting on an airy band.

Zephyr, bear it on the wing,

Twine it round my loved one's dress;
To her glass then let her spring,

Full of eager joyousness.

Roses round her let her see,

She herself a youthful rose.
Grant, dear life, one look to me!

'Twill repay me all my woes,

What this bosom feels, feel thou.

Freely offer me thy hand;
Let the band that joins us now


Wisteria

The first purple wisteria
I recall from boyhood hung
on a wire outside the windows
of the breakfast room next door
at the home of Steve Pisaris.
I loved his tall, skinny daughter,
or so I thought, and I would wait
beside the back door, prostrate,
begging to be taken in. Perhaps
it was only the flowers of spring
with their sickening perfumes
that had infected me. When Steve
and Sophie and the three children
packed up and made the move west,
I went on spring after spring,


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