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.
Dark holes in the blue
blaze of every day’s
they spread nothing
of cheer like the blithe
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
they grow to
fill the sky.
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.
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.
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.
'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!
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
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?
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.