Waking

ABOVE us hangs the jewelled night;
And how her restful cool caresses
Make us forget the weary sight
Of summer’s daily wildernesses!
O aching toil and hope deferred,
The night has made a promise to me;
She whispered, and a wonder stirred,
And still the joy is thrilling through me.
Smooth water, shadow deeply still,
I dare not move, you wait unsleeping
—You share the breathless hopes that fill
The watch my longing soul is keeping.
A fish is leaping in the bay;


Voices of Earth

We have not heard the music of the spheres,
The song of star to star, but there are sounds
More deep than human joy and human tears,
That Nature uses in her common rounds;
The fall of streams, the cry of winds that strain
The oak, the roaring of the sea's surge, might
Of thunder breaking afar off, or rain
That falls by minutes in the summer night.
These are the voices of earth's secret soul,
Uttering the mystery from which she came.
To him who hears them grief beyond control,


Vivien

Her eyes under their lashes were blue pools
Fringed round with lilies; her bright hair unfurled
Clothed her as sunshine clothes the summer world.
Her robes were gauzes -- gold and green and gules,
All furry things flocked round her, from her hand
Nibbling their foods and fawning at her feet.
Two peacocks watched her where she made her seat
Beside a fountain in Broceliande.
Sometimes she sang. . . . Whoever heard forgot
Errand and aim, and knights at noontide here,
Riding from fabulous gestes beyond the seas,


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.


Visitation And Communion Of The Sick

O Youth and Joy, your airy tread
Too lightly springs by Sorrow's bed,
Your keen eye-glances are too bright,
Too restless for a sick man's sight.
Farewell; for one short life we part:
I rather woo the soothing art,
Which only souls in sufferings tried
Bear to their suffering brethren's side.

Where may we learn that gentle spell?
Mother of Martyrs, thou canst tell!
Thou, who didst watch thy dying Spouse
With pierced hands and bleeding brows,
Whose tears from age to age are shed


Veterans' Cemetery

The ceremonies of the day have ceased,
Abandoned to the ragged crow's parade.
The flags unravel in the caterpillar's feast.
The wreaths collapse onto the stones they shade.

How quietly doves gather by the gate
Like souls who have no heaven and no hell.
The patient grass reclaims its lost estate
Where one stone angel stands as sentinel.

The voices whispering in the burning leaves,
Faint and inhuman, what can they desire
When every season feeds upon the past,
And summer's green ignites the autumn's fire?


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


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,


Vegetation

O never harm the dreaming world,
the world of green, the world of leaves,
but let its million palms unfold
the adoration of the trees.

It is a love in darkness wrought
obedient to the unseen sun,
longer than memory, a thought
deeper than the graves of time.

The turning spindles of the cells
weave a slow forest over space,
the dance of love, creation,
out of time moves not a leaf,
and out of summer, not a shade.


Variations On A Theme By William Carlos Williams

1
I chopped down the house that you had been saving to live in next summer.
I am sorry, but it was morning, and I had nothing to do
and its wooden beams were so inviting.

2
We laughed at the hollyhocks together
and then I sprayed them with lye.
Forgive me. I simply do not know what I am doing.

3
I gave away the money that you had been saving to live on for the
next ten years.
The man who asked for it was shabby


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