To W. Hohenzollern, on Discontinuing The Conning Tower

William, it was, I think, three years ago--
As I recall, one cool October morning--
(You have The Tribune files; I think they'll show
I gave you warning).

I said, in well-selected words and terse,
In phrases balanced, yet replete with power,
That I should cease to pen the prose and verse
Known as The Tower
That I should stop this Labyrinth of Light--
Though stopping make the planet leaden-hearted--
Unless you stop the well-known Schrecklichkeit
Your nation started.


To Various Persons Talked To All At Once

You have helped hold me together.
I'd like you to be still.
Stop talking or doing anything else for a minute.
No. Please. For three minutes, maybe five minutes.
Tell me which walk to take over the hill.
Is there a bridge there? Will I want company?
Tell me about the old people who built the bridge.
What is "the Japanese economy"?
Where did you hide the doctor's bills?
How much I admire you!
Can you help me to take this off?
May I help you to take that off?
Are you finished with this item?


To Those Born After

I

To the cities I came in a time of disorder
That was ruled by hunger.
I sheltered with the people in a time of uproar
And then I joined in their rebellion.
That's how I passed my time that was given to me on this Earth.

I ate my dinners between the battles,
I lay down to sleep among the murderers,
I didn't care for much for love
And for nature's beauties I had little patience.
That's how I passed my time that was given to me on this Earth.

The city streets all led to foul swamps in my time,


To the Students of the Workers' and Peasants' Faculty

So there you sit. And how much blood was shed
That you might sit there. Do such stories bore you?
Well, don't forget that others sat before you
who later sat on people. Keep your head!
Your science will be valueless, you'll find
And learning will be sterile, if inviting
Unless you pledge your intellect to fighting
Against all enemies of all mankind.
Never forget that men like you got hurt
That you might sit here, not the other lot.
And now don't shut your eyes, and don't desert


To the People Of the Future

This single link was else respected
By people of the days that gone –
There’s written on its tablet sacred
That Love and Life is one.
But you’re not they, you live like arrows
Of dreams that fly through skies and earth,
And in your flight, unite, my fellows,
The Love and Death.

They said in their pledge eternal
That they are slaves of the bad past,
That they were born in dust infernal,
And will return again to dust.
Your heedless brightness was aroused


To the Oracle at Delphi

Great Oracle, why are you staring at me,
do I baffle you, do I make you despair?
I, Americus, the American,
wrought from the dark in my mother long ago,
from the dark of ancient Europa--
Why are you staring at me now
in the dusk of our civilization--
Why are you staring at me
as if I were America itself
the new Empire
vaster than any in ancient days
with its electronic highways
carrying its corporate monoculture
around the world
And English the Latin of our days--


To the maiden

To the maiden
The sea was blue meadow,
Alive with little froth-people
Singing.

To the sailor, wrecked,
The sea was dead grey walls
Superlative in vacancy,
Upon which nevertheless at fateful time
Was written
The grim hatred of nature.


To the King

[Upon His Majesty's Happy Return.]

The rising sun complies with our weak sight,
First gilds the clouds, then shows his globe of light
At such a distance from our eyes, as though
He knew what harm his hasty beams would do.

But your full majesty at once breaks forth
In the meridian of your reign. Your worth,
Your youth, and all the splendour of your state,
(Wrapped up, till now, in clouds of adverse fate!)
With such a flood of light invade our eyes,
And our spread hearts with so great joy surprise,


To The Kind Reader

No one talks more than a Poet;
Fain he'd have the people know it.

Praise or blame he ever loves;
None in prose confess an error,
Yet we do so, void of terror,

In the Muses' silent groves.

What I err'd in, what corrected,
What I suffer'd, what effected,

To this wreath as flow'rs belong;
For the aged, and the youthful,
And the vicious, and the truthful,

All are fair when viewed in song.


To the City of London

London, thou art of town{.e}s A per se.
Soveraign of cities, semeliest in sight,
Of high renoun, riches, and royaltie;
Of lordis, barons, and many goodly knyght;
Of most delectable lusty ladies bright;
Of famous prelatis in habitis clericall;
Of merchauntis full of substaunce and myght:
London, thou art the flour of Cities all.

Gladdith anon, thou lusty Troy Novaunt,
Citie that some tyme cleped was New Troy,
In all the erth, imperiall as thou stant,


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