A Poor French Sailors Scottish Sweetheart

I CANNOT forget my Joe,
I bid him be mine in sleep;
But battle and woe have changed him so
There ’s nothing to do but weep.

My mother rebukes me yet,
And I never was meek before;
His jacket is wet, his lip cold set,
He ’ll trouble our home no more.

Oh, breaker of reeds that bend!
Oh, quencher of tow that smokes!
I ’d rather descend to my sailor friend
Than prosper with lofty folks.

I ’m lying beside the gowan,
My Joe in the English bay;


A Poet to..

Long ere I knew thee—years of loveless days,
A shape would gather from my dreams, and pour
The soul-sweet influence of its gentle gaze
Into my heart, to thrill it to the core:
Then would I wake, with lonely heart to pine
For the nocturnal image—it was thine.
Thine—for though long with a fond moody heed
I sought to find it in the beauteous creatures
I met in the world’s ways, twas but to bleed
With disappointment, for all forms, all features,
Yet left it void of living counterpart—


A Poet of One Mood

A poet of one mood in all my lays,
Ranging all life to sing one only love,
Like a west wind across the world I move,
Sweeping my harp of floods mine own wild ways.
The countries change, but not the west-wind days
Which are my songs. My soft skies shine above,
And on all seas the colours of a dove,
And on all fields a flash of silver greys.
I made the whole world answer to my art
And sweet monotonous meanings. In your ears
I change not ever, bearing, for my part,
One thought that is the treasure of my years-


A Poet in the Kitchen

West Fifty-third was still Hell's Kitchen
the summer I first came to town,
Eleventh Avenue was boarded up,
the West Side Drive was falling down;
Jimmy Carter was still President,
though he'd become a running joke;
Abe Beame had recently been Mayor,
and New York City was flat broke.
I, too, was broke, the flat was free,
and so I landed in that place,
a walk-up three-room shotgun which
a gallery used for storage space
and where I could stay as long as I liked,
provided I kept an eye on the art . . .


A Poem Sacred to the Memory of Sir Isaac Newton

Shall the great soul of Newton quit this earth,
To mingle with his stars; and every muse,
Astonish'd into silence, shun the weight
Of honours due to his illustrious name?
But what can man?--Even now the sons of light,
In strains high-warbled to seraphic lyre,
Hail his arrival on the coast of bliss.
Yet am not I deterr'd, though high the theme,
And sung to harps of angels, for with you,
Ethereal flames! ambitious, I aspire
In Nature's general symphony to join.

And what new wonders can ye show your guest!


A Plain Life

No idle gold -- since this fine sun, my friend,
Is no mean miser, but doth freely spend.

No prescious stones -- since these green mornings show,
Without a charge, their pearls where'er I go.

No lifeless books -- since birds with their sweet tongues
Will read aloud to me their happier songs.

No painted scenes -- since clouds can change their skies
A hundred times a day to please my eyes.

No headstrong wine -- since, when I drink, the spring
Into my eager ears will softly sing.


A Pastoral Ballad I Absence

Arbusta humilesque myricæ. Virg.


Ye shepherds so chearful and gay,
Whose flocks never carelessly roam;
Should Corydon's happen to stray,
Oh! call the poor wanderers home.
Allow me to muse and to sigh,
Nor talk of the change that ye find;
None once was so watchful as I;
-- I have left my dear Phyllis behind.
Now I know what it is, to have strove
With the torture of doubt and desire;

What it is, to admire and to love,
And to leave her we love and admire.


A Pastoral Ballad

Ye shepherds so cheerful and gay,
Whose flocks never carelessly roam;
Should Corydon's happen to stray,
Oh! call the poor wanderers home.
Allow me to muse and to sigh,
Nor talk of the change that ye find;
None once was so watchful as I;
I have left my dear Phillis behind.
Now I know what it is, to have strove
With the torture of doubt and desire;
What it is to admire and to love,
And to leave her we love and admire,
Ah, lead forth my flock in the morn,


A Mother's Wail

My babe! my tiny babe! my only babe!
My single rose-bud in a crown of thorns!
My lamp that in that narrow hut of life,
Whence I looked forth upon a night of storm!
Burned with the lustre of the moon and stars!

My babe! my tiny babe! my only babe!
Behold the bud is gone! the thorns remain!
My lamp hath fallen from its niche -- ah, me!
Earth drinks the fragrant flame, and I am left
Forever and forever in the dark!

My babe! my babe! my own and only babe!
Where art thou now? If somewhere in the sky


A Midsummer Noon in the Australian Forest

A MIDSUMMER NOON IN THE AUSTRALIAN FOREST

Not a bird disturbs the air!
There is quiet everywhere;
Over plains and over woods
What a mighty stillness broods.

Even the grasshoppers keep
[All the birds and insects keep]
Where the coolest shadows sleep;
Even the busy ants are found
Resting in their pebbled mound;
Even the locust clingeth now
In silence to the barky bough:
And over hills and over plains
Quiet, vast and slumbrous, reigns.

Only there's a drowsy humming


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