Two Sonnets In Memory

(Nicola Sacco -- Bartolomeo Vanzetti)
Executed August 23, 1927


I

As men have loved their lovers in times past
And sung their wit, their virtue and their grace,
So have we loved sweet Justice to the last,
That now lies here in an unseemly place.
The child will quit the cradle and grow wise
And stare on beauty till his senses drown;
Yet shall be seen no more by mortal eyes
Such beauty as here walked and here went down.
Like birds that hear the winter crying plain


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To The Rising Full Moon

Dornburg, 25th August, 1828.

Wilt thou suddenly enshroud thee,

Who this moment wert so nigh?
Heavy rising masses cloud thee,

Thou art hidden from mine eye.

Yet my sadness thou well knowest,

Gleaming sweetly as a star!
That I'm loved, 'tis thou that showest,

Though my loved one may be far.

Upward mount then! clearer, milder,

Robed in splendour far more bright!
Though my heart with grief throbs wilder,

Fraught with rapture is the night!


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To the Old Gods

O YE, who rode the gales of Sicily,
Sandalled with flame,
Spread on the pirate winds; o ye who broke
No wind-flower as ye came--
Though Pelion shivered when the thunder spoke
The gods' decree!--

Into the twilight of the ancient days
Have not ye flown!--
Ye, whom the happy Greeks inspired hand
Struck from the frenzied stone:
That, ye withdrawn, your images should stand
To take their praise.

Smeared into clay, and frozen into stone!
Ye, that do now


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Wolf Knife

In the mid August, in the second year
of my First Polar Expedition, the snow and ice of winter
almost upon us, Kantiuk and I
attempted to dash the sledge
along Crispin Bay, searching again for relics
of the Frankline Expedition. Now a storm blew,
and we turned back, and we struggled slowly
in snow, lest we depart land and venture onto ice
from which a sudden fog and thaw
would abandon us to the Providence
of the sea.

Near nightfall I thought I heard snarling behind us.


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Wittgenstein's Ladder

"My propositions serve as elucidations in the following way:
anyone who understands them eventually recognizes them as
nonsensical, when he has used them -- as steps -- to climb
up beyond them. (He must, so to speak, throw away the ladder
after he has climbed up it.)" -- Ludwig Wittgenstein, Tractatus

1.

The first time I met Wittgenstein, I was
late. "The traffic was murder," I explained.
He spent the next forty-five minutes
analyzing this sentence. Then he was silent.


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Winter-Solitude

I saw the city's towers on a luminous pale-gray sky;
Beyond them a hill of the softest mistiest green,
With naught but frost and the coming of night between,
And a long thin cloud above the colour of August rye.
I sat in the midst of a plain on my snowshoes with bended knee
Where the thin wind stung my cheeks,
And the hard snow ran in little ripples and peaks,
Like the fretted floor of a white and petrified sea.
And a strange peace gathered about my soul and shone,
As I sat reflecting there,


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Where leaps the ste. marie

I

What dream you in the night-time
When you whisper to the moon?
What say you in the morning?
What do you sing at noon?
When I hear your voice uplifting,
Like a breeze through branches sifting,
And your ripples softly drifting
To the August airs a-tune.

II

Lend me your happy laughter,
Ste. Marie, as you leap;
Your peace that follows after
Where through the isles you creep.
Give to me your splendid dashing,
Give your sparkles and your splashing,


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Vespers

In your extended absence, you permit me
use of earth, anticipating
some return on investment. I must report
failure in my assignment, principally
regarding the tomato plants.
I think I should not be encouraged to grow
tomatoes. Or, if I am, you should withhold
the heavy rains, the cold nights that come
so often here, while other regions get
twelve weeks of summer. All this
belongs to you: on the other hand,
I planted the seeds, I watched the first shoots
like wings tearing the soil, and it was my heart


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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


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