Sonnet 05

Hard by the road, where on that little mound
The high grass rustles to the passing breeze,
The child of Misery rests her head in peace.
Pause there in sadness. That unhallowed ground
Inshrines what once was Isabel. Sleep on
Sleep on, poor Outcast! lovely was thy cheek,
And thy mild eye was eloquent to speak
The soul of Pity. Pale and woe-begone
Soon did thy fair cheek fade, and thine eye weep
The tear of anguish for the babe unborn,
The helpless heir of Poverty and Scorn.


Sonnet 40 Take all my loves, my love, yea, take them all

Take all my loves, my love, yea, take them all;
What hast thou then more than thou hadst before?
No love, my love, that thou mayst true love call;
All mine was thine, before thou hadst this more.
Then if for my love, thou my love receivest,
I cannot blame thee, for my love thou usest;
But yet be blamed, if thou thy self deceivest
By wilful taste of what thy self refusest.
I do forgive thy robbery, gentle thief,
Although thou steal thee all my poverty;
And yet love knows it is a greater grief


Sonnet 103 Alack, what poverty my Muse brings forth

Alack, what poverty my Muse brings forth,
That having such a scope to show her pride,
The argument all bare is of more worth
Than when it hath my added praise beside.
O, blame me not if I no more can write!
Look in your glass, and there appears a face
That overgoes my blunt invention quite,
Dulling my lines, and doing me disgrace.
Were it not sinful then striving to mend,
To mar the subject that before was well?
For to no other pass my verses tend
Than of your graces and your gifts to tell;


Song of Love XXIV

I am the lover's eyes, and the spirit's
Wine, and the heart's nourishment.
I am a rose. My heart opens at dawn and
The virgin kisses me and places me
Upon her breast.


I am the house of true fortune, and the
Origin of pleasure, and the beginning
Of peace and tranquility. I am the gentle
Smile upon his lips of beauty. When youth
Overtakes me he forgets his toil, and his
Whole life becomes reality of sweet dreams.


I am the poet's elation,
And the artist's revelation,


So Shines a Good Deed in a Naughty World

There was a man in our town, and he
was wondrous rich;
He gave away his millions to the colleges
and sich;
And people cried: "The hypocrite! He ought
to understand
The ones who really need him are the children
of this land."

When Andrew Croesus built a home for children
who were sick,
The people said they rather thought he did it
as a trick,
And writers said: "He thinks about the drooping
girls and boys,
But what about conditions with the men whom
he employs?"


Silence

I have known the silence of the stars and of the sea,
And the silence of the city when it pauses,
And the silence of a man and a maid,
And the silence of the sick
When their eyes roam about the room.
And I ask: For the depths,
Of what use is language?
A beast of the field moans a few times
When death takes its young.
And we are voiceless in the presence of realities --
We cannot speak.

A curious boy asks an old soldier
Sitting in front of the grocery store,
"How did you lose your leg?"


Second Ode to the Nightingale

BLEST be thy song, sweet NIGHTINGALE,
Lorn minstrel of the lonely vale !
Where oft I've heard thy dulcet strain
In mournful melody complain;
When in the POPLAR'S trembling shade,
At Evening's purple hour I've stray'd,
While many a silken folded flow'r
Wept on its couch of Gossamer,
And many a time in pensive mood
Upon the upland mead I've stood,
To mark grey twilight's shadows glide
Along the green hill's velvet side;
To watch the perfum'd hand of morn
Hang pearls upon the silver thorn,


Saturday's Child

Some are teethed on a silver spoon,
With the stars strung for a rattle;
I cut my teeth as the black racoon--
For implements of battle.
Some are swaddled in silk and down,
And heralded by a star;
They swathed my limbs in a sackcloth gown
On a night that was black as tar.
For some, godfather and goddame
The opulent fairies be;
Dame Poverty gave me my name,
And Pain godfathered me.
For I was born on Saturday--
"Bad time for planting a seed,"
Was all my father had to say,


Sabbaths, W.I

Those villages stricken with the melancholia of Sunday,
in all of whose ocher streets one dog is sleeping

those volcanoes like ashen roses, or the incurable sore
of poverty, around whose puckered mouth thin boys are
selling yellow sulphur stone

the burnt banana leaves that used to dance
the river whose bed is made of broken bottles
the cocoa grove where a bird whose cry sounds green and
yellow and in the lights under the leaves crested with
orange flame has forgotten its flute


Room 6 The Little Workgirl

Three gentlemen live close beside me --
A painter of pictures bizarre,
A poet whose virtues might guide me,
A singer who plays the guitar;
And there on my lintel is Cupid;
I leave my door open, and yet
These gentlemen, aren't they stupid!
They never make love to Babette.

I go to the shop every morning;
I work with my needle and thread;
Silk, satin and velvet adorning,
Then luncheon on coffee and bread.
Then sewing and sewing till seven;
Or else, if the order I get,


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