The Year

What can be said in New Year rhymes,
That's not been said a thousand times?

The new years come, the old years go,
We know we dream, we dream we know.

We rise up laughing with the light,
We lie down weeping with the night.

We hug the world until it stings,
We curse it then and sigh for wings.

We live, we love, we woo, we wed,
We wreathe our prides, we sheet our dead.

We laugh, we weep, we hope, we fear,
And that's the burden of a year.


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The Worst And The Best

in the hospitals and jails
it's the worst
in madhouses
it's the worst
in penthouses
it's the worst
in skid row flophouses
it's the worst
at poetry readings
at rock concerts
at benefits for the disabled
it's the worst
at funerals
at weddings
it's the worst
at parades
at skating rinks
at sexual orgies
it's the worst
at midnight
at 3 a.m.
at 5:45 p.m.
it's the worst


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The wind

(THE TALE)

Cometh the Wind from the garden, fragrant and full of sweet singing--
Under my tree where I sit cometh the Wind to confession.

"Out in the garden abides the Queen of the beautiful Roses--
Her do I love and to-night wooed her with passionate singing;
Told I my love in those songs, and answer she gave in her blushes--
She shall be bride of the Wind, and she is the Queen of the Roses!"

"Wind, there is spice in thy breath; thy rapture hath fragrance Sabaean!"


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The Well of St. Keyne

A Well there is in the west country,
And a clearer one never was seen;
There is not a wife in the west country
But has heard of the Well of St. Keyne.

An oak and an elm-tree stand beside,
And behind doth an ash-tree grow,
And a willow from the bank above
Droops to the water below.

A traveller came to the Well of St. Keyne;
Joyfully he drew nigh,
For from the cock-crow he had been travelling,
And there was not a cloud in the sky.

He drank of the water so cool and clear,


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The Widower

Oh I have worn my mourning out,
And on her grave the green grass grows;
So I will hang each sorry clout
High in the corn to scare the crows.
And I will buy a peacock tie,
And coat of cloth of Donegal;
Then to the Farmer's Fair I'll hie
And peek in at the Barley Ball.

But though the fiddlers saw a jig
I used to foot when I was wed,
I'll walk me home and feed the pig,
And go a lonesome man to bed.

So I will wait another year,
As any decent chap would do,
Till I can think without a tear


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The Wedding Ring

I pawned my sick wife's wedding ring,
To drink and make myself a beast.
I got the most that it would bring,
Of golden coins the very least.
With stealth into her room I crept
And stole it from her as she slept.

I do not think that she will know,
As in its place I left a band
Of brass that has a brighter glow
And gleamed upon her withered hand.
I do not think that she can tell
The change - she does not see too well.

Pray God, she doesn't find me out.
I'd rather far I would be dead.


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The Widow

By Mellstock Lodge and Avenue
   Towards her door I went,
And sunset on her window-panes
   Reflected our intent.

The creeper on the gable nigh
   Was fired to more than red
And when I came to halt thereby
   "Bright as my joy!" I said.

Of late days it had been her aim
   To meet me in the hall;
Now at my footsteps no one came;
   And no one to my call.

Again I knocked; and tardily
   An inner step was heard,
And I was shown her presence then


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The Well-Beloved

I wayed by star and planet shine
   Towards the dear one's home
At Kingsbere, there to make her mine
   When the next sun upclomb.

I edged the ancient hill and wood
   Beside the Ikling Way,
Nigh where the Pagan temple stood
   In the world's earlier day.

And as I quick and quicker walked
   On gravel and on green,
I sang to sky, and tree, or talked
   Of her I called my queen.

- "O faultless is her dainty form,
   And luminous her mind;
She is the God-created norm


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The Wife of the Mind

Sharecroppers' child, she was more schooled
In slaughtering pigs and coaxing corn out of
The ground than in the laws of Math, the rules
Of Grammar. Seventeen, she fell in love
With the senior quarterback, and nearly
Married him, but—the wedding just a week
Away—drove her trousseau back to Penney's,
Then drove on past sagging fences, flooding creeks,
And country bars to huge Washington State,
Where, feeling like a hick, she studied French to compensate.

She graduated middle-of-her-class,


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The Wife

Living, I had no might
To make you hear,
Now, in the inmost night,
I am so near
No whisper, falling light,
Divides us, dear.

Living, I had no claim
On your great hours.
Now the thin candle-flame,
The closing flowers,
Wed summer with my name, --
And these are ours.

Your shadow on the dust,
Strength, and a cry,
Delight, despair, mistrust, --
All these am I.
Dawn, and the far hills thrust
To a far sky.

Living, I had no skill
To stay your tread,


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