Two Neighbors

Faces of two eternities keep looking at me.
One is Omar Khayam and the red stuff
wherein men forget yesterday and to-morrow
and remember only the voices and songs,
the stories, newspapers and fights of today.
One is Louis Cornaro and a slim trick
of slow, short meals across slow, short years,
letting Death open the door only in slow, short inches.
I have a neighbor who swears by Omar.
I have a neighbor who swears by Cornaro.
Both are happy.


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Tz'u No. 12

To the tune of "Happy Event Is Nigh"

The wind ceases; fallen flowers pile high.
Outside my screen, petals collect in heaps of red
and snow-white.

This reminds me that after the blooming
of the cherry-apple tree
It is time to lament the dying spring.

Singing and drinking have come to an end;
jade cups are empty;
Lamps are flickering.

Hardly able to bear the sorrows and regrets
of my dreams,
I hear the mournful cry of the cuckoo.


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Twixt the Wings of the Yard

Hear the loud swell of it, mighty pell mell of it,
Thousands of voices all blent into one:
See “hell for leather” now trooping together, now
Down the long slope of the range at a run,
Dust in the wake of ‘em: see the wild break of ‘em,
Spear-horned and curly, red, spotted and starred:
See the lads bringing ‘em, blocking ‘em, ringing ‘em.
Fetching ‘em up to the wings of the yard.

Mark that red leader now: what a fine bleeder now,
Twelve hundred at least if he weighs half a pound,


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Twenty-Fourth Sunday After Trinity

Why should we faint and fear to live alone,
Since all alone, so Heaven has willed, we die,
Nor e'en the tenderest heart, and next our own,
Knows half the reasons why we smile and sigh?

Each in his hidden sphere of joy or woe
Our hermit spirits dwell, and range apart,
Our eyes see all around in gloom or glow -
Hues of their own, fresh borrowed from the heart.

And well it is for us our GOD should feel
Alone our secret throbbings: so our prayer
May readier spring to Heaven, nor spend its zeal


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Trilogy Of Passion 01 To Werther

Once more, then, much-wept shadow, thou dost dare

Boldly to face the day's clear light,
To meet me on fresh blooming meadows fair,

And dost not tremble at my sight.
Those happy times appear return'd once more.

When on one field we quaff'd refreshing dew,
And, when the day's unwelcome toils were o'er,

The farewell sunbeams bless'd our ravish'd view;
Fate bade thee go,--to linger here was mine,--
Going the first, the smaller loss was thine.

The life of man appears a glorious fate:


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Travel Song

‘COME, before the summer passes
Let us seek the mountain land:’
So they called me, happy playmates,
And we left the dawn-lit strand:
Riding on till later sunbeams slanted
On dark hills and downward-plunging streams,
And the solemn forest softly chanted
Old, old dreams.

From the pass, we saw in glory
Wave on purple wave unrolled
To the cloud-encircled summit
Floating high, alone and cold:
Like that altar-stone, by men of Athens


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Transfiguration

Mysterious death! who in a single hour
Life's gold can so refine
And by thy art divine
Change mortal weakness to immortal power!

Bending beneath the weight of eighty years
Spent with the noble strife
of a victorious life
We watched her fading heavenward, through our tears.

But ere the sense of loss our hearts had wrung
A miracle was wrought;
And swift as happy thought
She lived again -- brave, beautiful, and young.

Age, pain, and sorrow dropped the veils they wore


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Tornfallet

There is a meadow in Sweden

where I lie smitten,

eyes stained with clouds'

white ins and outs.


And about that meadow

roams my widow

plaiting a clover

wreath for her lover.


I took her in marriage

in a granite parish.

The snow lent her whiteness,

a pine was a witness.


She'd swim in the oval

lake whose opal

mirror, framed by bracken,

felt happy, broken.



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To

Had I a man's fair form, then might my sighs
Be echoed swiftly through that ivory shell,
Thine ear, and find thy gentle heart; so well
Would passion arm me for the enterprise:
But ah! I am no knight whose foeman dies;
No cuirass glistens on my bosom's swell;
I am no happy shepherd of the dell
Whose lips have trembled with a maiden's eyes.
Yet must I dote upon thee,—call thee sweet,
Sweeter by far than Hybla's honied roses
When steeped in dew rich to intoxication.
Ah! I will taste that dew, for me 'tis meet,


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To Winter

"Blow, blow, thou winter wind."
Away from here,
And I shall greet thy passing breath
Without a tear.

I do not love thy snow and sleet
Or icy flows;
When I must jump or stamp to warm
My freezing toes.

For why should I be happy or
E'en be merry,
In weather only fitted for
Cook or Peary.

My eyes are red, my lips are blue
My ears frost bitt'n;
Thy numbing kiss doth e'en extend
Thro' my mitten.

I am cold, no matter how I warm
Or clothe me;


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