Weather

Once I dipt into the future far as human eye could see,
And I saw the Chief Forecaster, dead as any one can be--
Dead and damned and shut in Hades as a liar from his birth,
With a record of unreason seldome paralleled on earth.
While I looked he reared him solemnly, that incandescent youth,
From the coals that he'd preferred to the advantages of truth.
He cast his eyes about him and above him; then he wrote
On a slab of thin asbestos what I venture here to quote--


When First I Met Thee

When first I met thee, warm and young,
There shone such truth about thee,
And on thy lip such promise hung,
I did not dare to doubt thee.
I saw thee change, yet still relied,
Still clung with hope the fonder,
And thought, though false to all beside,
From me thou couldst not wander.
But go, deceiver! go,
The heart, whose hopes could make it
Trust one so false, so low,
Deserves that thou shouldst break it.

When every tongue thy follies named,
I fled the unwelcome story,


When Coldness Wraps This Suffering Clay

When coldness wraps this suffering clay,
Ah! whither strays the immortal mind?
It cannot die, it cannot stay,
But leaves its darken'd dust behind.
Then, unembodied, doth it trace
By steps each planet's heavenly way?
Or fill at once the realms of space,
A thing of eyes, that all survey?

Eternal, boundless, undecay'd,
A thought unseen, but seeing all,
All, all in earth or skies display'd,
Shall it survey, shall it recall:
Each fainter trace that memory holds
So darkly of departed years,


Welsh Landscape

To live in Wales is to be conscious
At dusk of the spilled blood
That went into the making of the wild sky,
Dyeing the immaculate rivers
In all their courses.
It is to be aware,
Above the noisy tractor
And hum of the machine
Of strife in the strung woods,
Vibrant with sped arrows.
You cannot live in the present,
At least not in Wales.
There is the language for instance,
The soft consonants
Strange to the ear.
There are cries in the dark at night
As owls answer the moon,


Waking in the Blue

The night attendant, a B.U. sophomore,
rouses from the mare's-nest of his drowsy head
propped on The Meaning of Meaning.
He catwalks down our corridor.
Azure day
makes my agonized blue window bleaker.
Crows maunder on the petrified fairway.
Absence! My hearts grows tense
as though a harpoon were sparring for the kill.
(This is the house for the "mentally ill.")

What use is my sense of humour?
I grin at Stanley, now sunk in his sixties,
once a Harvard all-American fullback,


Wake Nicodemus

Nicodemus, the slave was of African birth,
And was bought for a bagful of gold;
He was reckon'd as part of the salt of the earth,
But he died years ago, very old.
'Twas his last sad request as we laid him away
In the trunk of an old hollow tree;
"Wake me up!" was his charge, "at the first break of day --
Wake me up for the great Jubilee!"

The "Good Time Coming" is almost here!
It was long, long, long on the way!
Now run and tell Elijah to hurry up Pump,
And meet me at the gumtree in the swamp


Visiting a Dead Man on a Summer Day

In flat America, in Chicago,
Graceland cemetery on the German North Side.
Forty feet of Corinthian candle
celebrate Pullman embedded
lonely raisin in a cake of concrete.
The Potter Palmers float
in an island parthenon.
Barons of hogfat, railroads and wheat
are postmarked with angels and lambs.

But the Getty tomb: white, snow patterned
in a triangle of trees swims dappled with leaf shadow,
sketched light arch within arch
delicate as fingernail moons.


Verses Written in a Garden

See how the pair of billing doves
With open murmurs own their loves;
And, heedless of censorious eyes,
Pursue their unpolluted joys;
No fears of future want molest
The downy quiet of their nest:
No int'rest join'd the happy pair,
Securely blest in Nature's care,
While her dictates they pursue;
For constancy is Nature too.
Can all the doctrine of the schools,
Our maxims, our religious rules,
Can learning to our lives ensure,
Virtue so bright, or bliss so pure?


Valedictory Sonnet to the River Duddon

I THOUGHT of Thee, my partner and my guide,
   As being pass'd away.--Vain sympathies!
   For, backward, Duddon! as I cast my eyes,
I see what was, and is, and will abide;
Still glides the Stream, and shall for ever glide;
   The Form remains, the Function never dies;
   While we, the brave, the mighty, and the wise,
We Men, who in our morn of youth defied
The elements, must vanish;--be it so!
   Enough, if something from our hands have power
   To live, and act, and serve the future hour;


Unrecorded

I like to think of the many words
The Master in his early days
Must have spoken to them of Nazareth­
Words not freighted with life and death,
Piercing through soul and heart like swords.
But gracious greeting and grateful phrase,
The simple speech
That plain folk utter each to each.

Ere over him too darkly lay
The prophet shadow of Calvary,
I think he talked in very truth
With the innocent gayety of youth,
Laughing upon some festal day,
Gently, with sinless boyhood's glee.


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