Poem of the Week Archive

Monday, June 08, 2009

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    The Sunlight on the Garden by Louis MacNeice

    The sunlight on the garden
    Hardens and grows cold,
    We cannot cage the minute
    Within its nets of gold,
    When all is told
    We cannot beg for pardon.


    Our freedom as free lances
    Advances towards its end;
    The earth compels, upon it
    Sonnets and birds descend;
    And soon, my friend,
    We shall have no time for dances.


    The sky was good for flying
    Defying the church bells
    And every evil iron
    Siren and what it tells:
    The earth compels,
    We are dying, Egypt, dying


    And not expecting pardon,
    Hardened in heart anew,
    But glad to have sat under
    Thunder and rain with you,
    And grateful too
    For sunlight on the garden.

Monday, April 07, 2008

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    Black Pansies by Rodney Pybus

    Dark holes in the blue
    blaze of every day’s
    sky-inflected flowers,
    they spread nothing
    of cheer like the blithe
    tricolour heart’s-ease.
    Under the nodding
    hours of columbines they
    flutter their velvety
    portions of previous night.
    How they wag
    their burdens close
    to the soil –
    they pull your heart
    down, these dis-
    enchanted bleak soliloquies
    I grew myself. But not
    to be uprooted, for
    all that, they’re
    part of this mortal
    summer seen through
    the terrible apertures
    of their petals;
    with a sleight
    of shade in sun-
    light they pretend to
    indigo. Each evening
    like death’s little
    flotilla returning
    they grow to
    fill the sky.

Monday, October 22, 2007

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    To Autumn by John Keats

        Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
            Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
        Conspiring with him how to load and bless
            With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
        To bend with apples the moss’d cottage-trees,
            And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
                To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
        With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
            And still more, later flowers for the bees,
            Until they think warm days will never cease,
                For Summer has o’er-brimm’d their clammy cells.

                                                II

        Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?
            Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find
        Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,
            Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;
        Or on a half-reap’d furrow sound asleep,
            Drows’d with the fume of poppies, while thy hook
                Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers:
        And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep
            Steady thy laden head across a brook;
            Or by a cyder-press, with patient look,
                Thou watchest the last oozings hours by hours.

                                               III

        Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they?
            Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,—
        While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day,
            And touch the stubble plains with rosy hue;
        Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn
            Among the river sallows, borne aloft
                Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;
        And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;
            Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft
            The red-breast whistles from a garden-croft;
               And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.

Monday, October 15, 2007

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    Song 1 by Thomas Gray

    'Midst beauty and pleasure's gay triumphs, to languish
    And droop without knowing the source of my anguish;
    To start from short slumbers and look for the morning—
    Yet close my dull eyes when I see it returning;

    Sighs sudden and frequent, looks ever dejected,
    Sounds that steal from my tongue, by no meaning connected!
    Ah say, fellow-swains, how these symptoms befell me?
    They smile, but reply not. Sure Delia will tell me!

Monday, September 03, 2007

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    September by David Sylvian

    The sun shines high above
    The sounds of laughter
    The birds swoop down upon
    The crosses of old grey churches
    We say that we're in love
    While secretly wishing for rain
    Sipping coke and playing games
    September's here again
    September's here again

Monday, July 30, 2007

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    Memorial Tablet by Siegfried Sassoon

    Squire nagged and bullied till I went to fight,
    (Under Lord Derby’s Scheme). I died in hell—
    (They called it Passchendaele). My wound was slight,
    And I was hobbling back; and then a shell
    Burst slick upon the duck-boards: so I fell
    Into the bottomless mud, and lost the light.

    At sermon-time, while Squire is in his pew,
    He gives my gilded name a thoughtful stare:
    For, though low down upon the list, I’m there;
    ‘In proud and glorious memory’... that’s my due.
    Two bleeding years I fought in France, for Squire:
    I suffered anguish that he’s never guessed.
    Once I came home on leave: and then went west...
    What greater glory could a man desire?

Monday, June 04, 2007

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    Beauty by Charles Baudelaire

    Conceive me as a dream of stone:
    my breast, where mortals come to grief,
    is made to prompt all poets' love,
    mute and noble as matter itself.

    With snow for flesh, with ice for heart,
    I sit on high, an unguessed sphinx
    begrudging acts that alter forms;
    I never laugh, I never weep.

    In studious awe the poets brood
    before my monumental pose
    aped from the proudest pedestal,
    and to bind these docile lovers fast
    I freeze the world in a perfect mirror:

    The timeless light of my wide eyes.

Monday, May 14, 2007

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    Yesterday, Without End by Yves Bonnefoy

    Our life, these paths
    That call us
    In the coolness of meadows
    Where water shines.

    Some of them go roaming
    On the crowns of trees,
    Just as in our sleep, a dream
    Will seek its other earth.

    They wander, hands full
    Of golden dust.
    They spread their fingers, And night falls.


    trans. by Hoyt Rogers

Monday, April 23, 2007

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    An Immorality by Ezra Pound

    Sing we for love and idleness,
    Naught else is worth the having.

    Though I have been in many a land,
    There is naught else in living.

    And I would rather have my sweet,
    Though rose-leaves die of grieving,

    Than do high deeds in Hungary
    To pass all men's believing.

Monday, April 16, 2007

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    The Black Prince by John Ashbery

    It might be a footfall in the forest
    or an outdated dispatch from the Mouse King,
    saying, come back to the frontier, all is forgiven.

    And he was lost, gibbering on the coast of some
    uncharted isle. His gestures and speech made perfect sense
    when taken together. It was only when the wind blew them apart
    that they didn't matter, mattered only to some.

Monday, April 09, 2007

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    Science by Robert Kelly

    Science explains nothing
    but holds all together as
    many things as it can count

    science is a basket
    not a religion he said
    a cat as a big as a cat

    the moon the size of the moon
    science is the same as poetry
    only it uses the wrong words.

Monday, April 02, 2007

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    Kevin by Bill Manhire

    I don't know where the dead go, Kevin.
    The one far place I know
    is inside the heavy radio. If I listen late at night,
    there's that dark, celestial glow,
    heaviness of the cave, the hive.

    Music. Someone warms his hands at the fire,
    breaking off the arms of chairs,
    breaking the brute bodies of beds, burning his comfort
    surely to keep alive. Soon he can hardly see,
    and so, quietly, he listens: then someone lifts him
    and it's some terrible breakfast show.

    There are mothers and fathers, Kevin, whom we barely know.
    They lift us. Eventually we all shall go
    into the dark furniture of the radio.