Tomes

There is a section in my library for death
and another for Irish history,
a few shelves for the poetry of China and Japan,
and in the center a row of imperturbable reference books,
the ones you can turn to anytime,
when the night is going wrong
or when the day is full of empty promise.

I have nothing against
the thin monograph, the odd query,
a note on the identity of Chekhov's dentist,
but what I prefer on days like these
is to get up from the couch,
pull down The History of the World,


Two Wishes XI

In the silence of the night Death descended from God toward the earth. He hovered above a city and pierced the dwellings with his eyes. He say the spirits floating on wings of dreams, and the people who were surrendered to the Slumber.

When the moon fell below the horizon and the city became black, Death walked silently among the houses -- careful to touch nothing -- until he reached a palace. He entered through the bolted gates undisturbed, and stood by the rich man's bed; and as Death touched his forehead, the sleeper's eyes opened, showing great fright.


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


Two Sonnets


I

SAINTS have adored the lofty soul of you.
Poets have whitened at your high renown.
We stand among the many millions who
Do hourly wait to pass your pathway down.

You, so familiar, once were strange: we tried
To live as of your presence unaware.
But now in every road on every side
We see your straight and steadfast signpost there.

I think it like that signpost in my land
Hoary and tall, which pointed me to go
Upward, into the hills, on the right hand,


Two Quatrains

I

As eons of incalculable strife
Are in the vision of one moment caught,
So are the common, concrete things of life
Divinely shadowed on the walls of Thought.


II

We shriek to live, but no man ever lives
Till he has rid the ghost of human breath;
We dream to die, but no man ever dies
Till he has quit the road that runs to death.


Twas One of Those Dreams

'TWAS one of those dreams, that by music are brought,
Like a bright summer haze, o'er the poet's warm thought --
When, lost in the future, his soul wanders on,
And all of this life, but its sweetness, is gone.

The wild notes he heard o'er the water were those
He had taught to sing Erin's dark bondage and woes,
And the breath of the bugle now wafted them o'er
From Dinis' green isle, to Glena's wooded shore.

He listen'd -- while, high o'er the eagle's rude nest,
The lingering sounds on their way loved to rest;


Twilight on Sandusky Marsh

Low in the west the moon's slim crescent swings.
Across the marsh the vesper breezes bear
The sounds of gloaming; from far cornfields fare
The chittering blackbirds, whose ingathering brings
The silken flutter of a myriad wings.
The wild duck's cry floats down the thickening air
As of one hunted, full of fear and care.
Sad twilight comes with dubious whisperings.
How changed from that exultant world which lay
In the wide smile of noon! The evening's shiver
Means the day's death; its thronging whispers blend


Twenty-First Sunday After Trinity

The morning mist is cleared away,
Yet still the face of Heaven is grey,
Nor yet this autumnal breeze has stirred the grove,
Faded yet full, a paler green
Skirts soberly the tranquil scene,
The red-breast warbles round this leafy cove.

Sweet messenger of "calm decay,"
Saluting sorrow as you may,
As one still bent to find or make the best,
In thee, and in this quiet mead,
The lesson of sweet peace I read,
Rather in all to be resigned than blest.

'Tis a low chant, according well


Twenty-Fifth Sunday After Trinity

The bright-haired morn is glowing
O'er emerald meadows gay,
With many a clear gem strewing
The early shepherd's way.
Ye gentle elves, by Fancy seen
Stealing away with night
To slumber in your leafy screen,
Tread more than airy light.

And see what joyous greeting
The sun through heaven has shed,
Though fast yon shower be fleeting,
His beams have faster sped.
For lo! above the western haze
High towers the rainbow arch
In solid span of purest rays:
How stately is its march!


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