Whispered Into Afternoon

Sun of autumn, thin and shy
And fruit drops off the trees,
Blue silence fills the peace
Of a tardy afternoon’s sky.

Death knells forged of metal,
And a white beast hits the mire.
Brown lasses uncouth choir
Dies in leaves’ drifting prattle.

Brow of God dreams of hues,
Senses madness’ gentle wings.
Round the hill wield in rings
Black decay and shaded views.

Rest and wine in sunset’s gleam,
Sad guitars drizzle into night,
And to the mellow lamp inside


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While Lounging In A Chair

While lounging in a chair, I looked up at the ceiling
Where, teasing my imagination,
A circle hangs above the quiet lamp,
And spins just like a ghostly shadow.

Within the flicker there's a trace of autumn sunset:
As if, above the rooftop and the garden,
Unable to fly off, afraid to land,
Dark flocks of blackbirds circle. . .

No, it's not wings I hear, but hooves at the front gate!
I hear the trembling hands . . .
How chill the pallor of a lovely face!
How bitter parting's whisper! . .


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Where Will I Find Words

Where will I find words to describe our stroll,
The Chablis on ice, the toasted bread
And the sweet agate of ripe cherries?
Sunset is far off, and the sea resounds with
The splash of bodies, hot and glad for cool dampness.

Your tender look is playful and alluring, -
Like comedy's pretty, pealing nonsense
Or the capricious pen of Marivaux.
Your Pierrot nose and intoxicating lips
Set my mind awhirl like "The Marriage of Figaro."

The spirit of trifles, charming and airy,
Love of nights luxuriant or stifling,


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Where the Pelican Builds

The horses were ready, the rails were down,
   But the riders lingered still --
   One had a parting word to say,
   And one had his pipe to fill.
Then they mounted, one with a granted prayer,
   And one with a grief unguessed.
   "We are going," they said, as they rode away --
   "Where the pelican builds her nest!"

They had told us of pastures wide and green,
   To be sought past the sunset's glow;
   Of rifts in the ranges by opal lit;
   And gold 'neath the river's flow.


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When Spring Goes By

The winds that on the uplands softly lie,
Grow keener where the ice is lingering still
Where the first robin on the sheltered hill
Pipes blithely to the tune, "When Spring goes by!"
Hear him again, "Spring! Spring!" He seems to cry,
Haunting the fall of the flute-throated rill,
That keeps a gentle, constant, silver thrill,
While he is restless in his ecstasy.

Ah! the soft budding of the virginal woods,
Of the frail fruit trees by the vanishing lakes:
There's the new moon where the clear sunset floods,


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When Someone Says Alexandria

When someone says: "Alexandria,"
I see the white walls of a house,
a small garden row of gillyflowers,
an autumn evening's pale sunlight
and hear the music of distant flutes.

When someone says: "Alexandria,"
I see stars above the hushed city,
drunken sailors in dark quarters,
a dancing girl performing the "wasp,"
and hear tambourines and the noise of fights.

When someone says "Alexandria,"
I see a pale purple sunset above the green sea,
the flickering of furry stars


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Webster Ford

Do you remember, O Delphic Apollo,
The sunset hour by the river, when Mickey M'Grew
Cried, "There's a ghost," and I, "It's Delphic Apollo";
And the son of the banker derided us, saying, "It's light
By the flags at the water's edge, you half-witted fools."
And from thence, as the wearisome years rolled on, long after
Poor Mickey fell down in the water tower to his death
Down, down, through bellowing darkness, I carried
The vision which perished with him like a rocket which falls
And quenches its light in earth, and hid it for fear


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What the Birds Said

The birds against the April wind
Flew northward, singing as they flew;
They sang, "The land we leave behind
Has swords for corn-blades, blood for dew."

"O wild-birds, flying from the South,
What saw and heard ye, gazing down?"
"We saw the mortar's upturned mouth,
The sickened camp, the blazing town!

"Beneath the bivouac's starry lamps,
We saw your march-worn children die;
In shrouds of moss, in cypress swamps,
We saw your dead uncoffined lie.

"We heard the starving prisoner's sighs


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Upon Returning to the Country Road

Even the shrewd and bitter,
Gnarled by the old world's greed,
Cherished the stranger softly
Seeing his utter need.
Shelter and patient hearing,
These were their gifts to him,
To the minstrel, grimly begging
As the sunset-fire grew dim.
The rich said "You are welcome."
Yea, even the rich were good.
How strange that in their feasting
His songs were understood!
The doors of the poor were open,
The poor who had wandered too,
Who had slept with ne'er a roof-tree
Under the wind and dew.


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Unto one who lies at rest

Unto one who lies at rest
'Neath the sunset, in the West,
Clover-blossoms on her breast.

Lover of each gracious thing
Which makes glad the summer-tide,
From the daisies clustering
And the violets purple-eyed,
To those shy and hidden blooms
Which in forest coverts stay,
Sending wandering perfumes
Out as guide to show the way,
All she knew, to all was kind;
None so humble or so small
That she did not seek and find
Silent friendship from them all.
Moss-cups, tiarella leaves,


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