A Message to America

You have the grit and the guts, I know;
You are ready to answer blow for blow
You are virile, combative, stubborn, hard,
But your honor ends with your own back-yard;
Each man intent on his private goal,
You have no feeling for the whole;
What singly none would tolerate
You let unpunished hit the state,
Unmindful that each man must share
The stain he lets his country wear,
And (what no traveller ignores)
That her good name is often yours.


You are proud in the pride that feels its might;


A Manager's Perplexities

Were I a king in very truth,
And had a son - a guileless youth -
In probable succession;
To teach him patience, teach him tact,
How promptly in a fix to act,
He should adopt, in point of fact,
A manager's profession.
To that condition he should stoop
(Despite a too fond mother),
With eight or ten "stars" in his troupe,
All jealous of each other!
Oh, the man who can rule a theatrical crew,
Each member a genius (and some of them two),
And manage to humour them, little and great,


A Lovers' Quarrel

I.

Oh, what a dawn of day!
How the March sun feels like May!
All is blue again
After last night's rain,
And the South dries the hawthorn-spray.
Only, my Love's away!
I'd as lief that the blue were grey,

II.

Runnels, which rillets swell,
Must be dancing down the dell,
With a foaming head
On the beryl bed
Paven smooth as a hermit's cell;
Each with a tale to tell,
Could my Love but attend as well.

III.


A Little Litany

When God turned back eternity and was young,
Ancient of Days, grown little for your mirth
(As under the low arch the land is bright)
Peered through you, gate of heaven--and saw the earth.

Or shutting out his shining skies awhile
Built you about him for a house of gold
To see in pictured walls his storied world
Return upon him as a tale is told.

Or found his mirror there; the only glass
That would not break with that unbearable light
Till in a corner of the high dark house


A Little History

Some people find out they are Jews.
They can't believe it.
Thy had always hated Jews.
As children they had roamed in gangs on winter nights in the old
neighborhood, looking for Jews.
They were not Jewish, they were Irish.
They brandished broken bottles, tough guys with blood on their
lips, looking for Jews.
They intercepted Jewish boys walking alone and beat them up.
Sometimes they were content to chase a Jew and he could elude
them by running away. They were happy just to see him run


A Little Child Shall Lead Them

Only a little scrap of blue
Preserved with loving care,
But earth has not a brilliant hue
To me more bright and fair.

Strong drink, like a raging demon,
Laid on my heart his hand,
When my darling joined with others
The Loyal Legion band.

But mystic angels called away
My loved and precious child,
And o'er life's dark and stormy way
Swept waves of anguish wild.

This badge of the Loyal Legion
We placed upon her breast,
As she lay in her little coffin


A Letter From Li Po

Fanfare of northwest wind, a bluejay wind
announces autumn, and the equinox
rolls back blue bays to a far afternoon.
Somewhere beyond the Gorge Li Po is gone,
looking for friendship or an old love's sleeve
or writing letters to his children, lost,
and to his children's children, and to us.
What was his light? of lamp or moon or sun?
Say that it changed, for better or for worse,
sifted by leaves, sifted by snow; on mulberry silk
a slant of witch-light; on the pure text
a slant of genius; emptying mind and heart


A Letter from Artemesia in the Town to Chloe in the Country

Chloe,

In verse by your command I write.
Shortly you'll bid me ride astride, and fight:
These talents better with our sex agree
Than lofty flights of dangerous poetry.
Amongst the men, I mean the men of wit
(At least they passed for such before they writ),
How many bold adventureers for the bays,
Proudly designing large returns of praise,
Who durst that stormy, pathless world explore,
Were soon dashed back, and wrecked on the dull shore,
Broke of that little stock they had before!


A Letter from a Girl to Her Own Old Age

Listen, and when thy hand this paper presses,
O time-worn woman, think of her who blesses
What thy thin fingers touch, with her caresses.

O mother, for the weight of years that break thee!
O daughter, for slow time must yet awake thee,
And from the changes of my heart must make thee!

O fainting traveller, morn is gray in heaven.
Dost thou remember how the clouds were driven?
And are they calm about the fall of even?

Pause near the ending of thy long migration;


A Hue and Cry after Fair Amoret

FAIR Amoret is gone astray--
   Pursue and seek her, ev'ry lover;
I'll tell the signs by which you may
   The wand'ring Shepherdess discover.

Coquette and coy at once her air,
   Both studied, tho' both seem neglected;
Careless she is, with artful care,
   Affecting to seem unaffected.

With skill her eyes dart ev'ry glance,
   Yet change so soon you'd ne'er suspect them,
For she'd persuade they wound by chance,
   Tho' certain aim and art direct them.


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