War Song

In anguish we uplift
A new unhallowed song:
The race is to the swift;
The battle to the strong.

Of old it was ordained
That we, in packs like curs,
Some thirty million trained
And licensed murderers,

In crime should live and act,
If cunning folk say sooth
Who flay the naked fact
And carve the heart of truth.

The rulers cry aloud,
"We cannot cancel war,
The end and bloody shroud
Of wrongs the worst abhor,
And order's swaddling band:


Vulture

I had walked since dawn and lay down to rest on a bare hillside
Above the ocean. I saw through half-shut eyelids a vulture wheeling
high up in heaven,
And presently it passed again, but lower and nearer, its orbit
narrowing,
I understood then
That I was under inspection. I lay death-still and heard the flight-
feathers
Whistle above me and make their circle and come nearer.
I could see the naked red head between the great wings
Bear downward staring. I said, 'My dear bird, we are wasting time


Vocation

When the gong sounds ten in the morning and I walk to school by our
lane.
Every day I meet the hawker crying, "Bangles, crystal
bangles!"
There is nothing to hurry him on, there is no road he must
take, no place he must go to, no time when he must come home.
I wish I were a hawker, spending my day in the road, crying,
"Bangles, crystal bangles!"
When at four in the afternoon I come back from the school,
I can see through the gate of that house the gardener digging
the ground.


Vitai Lampada

There's a breathless hush in the Close to-night --
Ten to make and the match to win --
A bumping pitch and a blinding light,
An hour to play and the last man in.
And it's not for the sake of a ribboned coat,
Or the selfish hope of a season's fame,
But his Captain's hand on his shoulder smote
"Play up! play up! and play the game!"

The sand of the desert is sodden red, --
Red with the wreck of a square that broke; --
The Gatling's jammed and the colonel dead,
And the regiment blind with dust and smoke.


Vision

  I exchange eyes with the Mad Queen

  the mirror crashes against my face
and bursts into a thousand suns
  all over the city flags crackle and bang
  fog horns scream in the harbor
  the wind hurricanes through the window
  and I begin to dance the dance of the
Kurd Shepherds

  I stamp upon the floor
  I whirl like dervishes

colors revolve dressing and undressing
I lash them with my fury
stark white with iron black
harsh red with blue
marble green with bright orange


Villanelle

We said farewell, my youth and I,
When all fair dreams were gone or going,
And Love’s red lips were cold and dry.
When white blooms fell from tree-tops high—
Our Austral winter’s way of snowing—
We said farewell, my youth and I.

We did not sigh—what use to sigh
When Death passed as a mower mowing,
And Love’s red lips were cold and dry?

But hearing Life’s stream thunder by,
That sang of old through flowers flowing,
We said farewell, my youth and I.


Vespers

In your extended absence, you permit me
use of earth, anticipating
some return on investment. I must report
failure in my assignment, principally
regarding the tomato plants.
I think I should not be encouraged to grow
tomatoes. Or, if I am, you should withhold
the heavy rains, the cold nights that come
so often here, while other regions get
twelve weeks of summer. All this
belongs to you: on the other hand,
I planted the seeds, I watched the first shoots
like wings tearing the soil, and it was my heart


Very Like a Whale

One thing that literature would be greatly the better for
Would be a more restricted employment by the authors of simile and
metaphor.
Authors of all races, be they Greeks, Romans, Teutons or Celts,
Can't seem just to say that anything is the thing it is but have to
go out of their way to say that it is like something else.
What does it mean when we are told
That that Assyrian came down like a wolf on the fold?
In the first place, George Gordon Byron had enough experience


Verses on a Butterfly

Fair Child of Sun and Summer! we behold
With eager eyes thy wings bedropp'd with gold;
The purple spots that o'er thy mantle spread,
The sapphire's lively blue, the ruby's red,
Ten thousand various blended tints surprise,
Beyond the rainbow's hues or peacock's eyes:
Not Judah's king in eastern pomp array'd,
Whose charms allur'd from far the Sheban maid,
High on his glitt'ring throne, like you could shine
(Nature's completest miniature divine):
For thee the rose her balmy buds renews,


Pages

Subscribe to RSS - red