po·e·sy n. pl. po·e·sies 1. Poetical works; poetry. 2. The art or practice of composing poems. 3. The inspiration involved in composing poetry. [Middle English poesie, from Old French, from Latin posis, from Greek poisis, from poiein, to create; see kwei-2 in Indo-European roots.]

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Wednesday, June 07, 2017

June 7 – Gwendolyn Brooks

                     Gwendolyn Brooks (June 7, 1917 – December 3, 2000) 

Shortly after her birth in Topeka, Kansas, Gwendolyn Brooks's family moved to Chicago. She grew up during turbulent racial times, the dynamics of which influenced her writing. Her parents encouraged her reading and writing, and her first poem was published when she was 13. At the age of 17 she wrote a poetry column for the Chicago Defender, where she published almost 100 of her poems.   

She married Henry Blakely in 1938 and had her first child in 1940. The family lived in Chicago's South side and she became active in poetry groups. In 1943 she won the Midwestern Writers Conference Poetry Award.

Her first book of poetry, published in 1945, brought her much critical acclaim. Prizes and awards followed, including in 1950 a Pulitzer Prize [the first African-American to do so]. Fellowships, grants and honorary degrees came her way.

In 1962, at the request of President John Kennedy, she read at a Library of Congress poetry Festival. The following year, she began teaching poetry and creative writing at a number of institutions. In 1967, after attending A Black Writers' Conference, she became more involved in the Black Arts movement in Chicago, and in 1968 she was appointed Poet Laureate of Illinois. In 1985 she became poetry consultant to the Library of Congress.

A prolific writer, she wrote, besides poetry, essays, articles, stories, and novels. In 1994, the National Endowment for the Humanities selected her to receive the Jefferson Lecturer, which is the highest award in the humanities given by the federal government.

   My Dreams, My Works, Must Wait Till After Hell by Gwendolyn Brooks

      I hold my honey and I store my bread
      In little jars and cabinets of my will.
      I label clearly, and each latch and lid
      I bid, Be firm till I return from hell.
      I am very hungry. I am incomplete.
      And none can give me any word but Wait,
      The puny light. I keep my eyes pointed in;
      Hoping that, when the devil days of my hurt
      Drag out to their last dregs and I resume
      On such legs as are left me, in such heart
      As I can manage, remember to go home,
      My taste will not have turned insensitive
      To honey and bread old purity could love

              A Sunset of the City by Gwendolyn Brooks

      Already I am no longer looked at with lechery or love.
      My daughters and sons have put me away with marbles and dolls,
      Are gone from the house.
      My husband and lovers are pleasant or somewhat polite
      And night is night.

      It is a real chill out,
      The genuine thing.
      I am not deceived, I do not think it is still summer
      Because sun stays and birds continue to sing.

      It is summer-gone that I see, it is summer-gone.
      The sweet flowers indrying and dying down,
      The grasses forgetting their blaze and consenting to brown.

      It is a real chill out. The fall crisp comes
      I am aware there is winter to heed.
      There is no warm house
      That is fitted with my need.

      I am cold in this cold house this house
      Whose washed echoes are tremulous down lost halls.
      I am a woman, and dusty, standing among new affairs.
      I am a woman who hurries through her prayers.

      Tin intimations of a quiet core to be my
      Desert and my dear relief
      Come: there shall be such islanding from grief,
      And small communion with the master shore.
      Twang they. And I incline this ear to tin,
      Consult a dual dilemma. Whether to dry
      In humming pallor or to leap and die.

      Somebody muffed it?? Somebody wanted to joke.


      The Crazy Woman by Gwendolyn Brooks

      I shall not sing a May song.
      A May song should be gay.
      I'll wait until November
      And sing a song of gray.

      I'll wait until November
      That is the time for me.
      I'll go out in the frosty dark
      And sing most terribly.

      And all the little people
      Will stare at me and say,
      "That is the Crazy Woman
      Who would not sing in May."

      Sadie and Maud by Gwendolyn Brooks

      Maud went to college.
      Sadie stayed home.
      Sadie scraped life
      With a fine toothed comb.

      She didn't leave a tangle in
      Her comb found every strand.
      Sadie was one of the livingest chicks
      In all the land.

      Sadie bore two babies
      Under her maiden name.
      Maud and Ma and Papa
      Nearly died of shame.

      When Sadie said her last so-long
      Her girls struck out from home.
      (Sadie left as heritage
      Her fine-toothed comb.)

      Maud, who went to college,
      Is a thin brown mouse.
      She is living all alone
      In this old house.

  – Cat

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Friday, March 17, 2017

Irish poets

   William Butler Yeats (1865-1939)

    Running To Paradise

    As I came over Windy Gap
    They threw a halfpenny into my cap.
    For I am running to paradise;
    And all that I need do is to wish
    And somebody puts his hand in the dish
    To throw me a bit of salted fish:
    And there the king is but as the beggar.

    My brother Mourteen is worn out
    With skelping his big brawling lout,
    And I am running to paradise;
    A poor life, do what he can,
    And though he keep a dog and a gun,
    A serving-maid and a serving-man:
    And there the king is but as the beggar.

    Poor men have grown to be rich men,
    And rich men grown to be poor again,
    And I am running to paradise;
    And many a darling wit's grown dull
    That tossed a bare heel when at school,
    Now it has filled a old sock full:
    And there the king is but as the beggar.

    The wind is old and still at play
    While I must hurty upon my way.
    For I am running to paradise;
    Yet never have I lit on a friend
    To take my fancy like the wind
    That nobody can buy or bind:
    And there the king is but as the beggar.

    Seamus Heaney (1939 - 2013)


    Late August, given heavy rain and sun   
    For a full week, the blackberries would ripen.
    At first, just one, a glossy purple clot
    Among others, red, green, hard as a knot.
    You ate that first one and its flesh was sweet
    Like thickened wine: summer's blood was in it
    Leaving stains upon the tongue and lust for
    Picking. Then red ones inked up and that hunger
    Sent us out with milk cans, pea tins, jam-pots
    Where briars scratched and wet grass bleached our boots.
    Round hayfields, cornfields and potato-drills
    We trekked and picked until the cans were full
    Until the tinkling bottom had been covered
    With green ones, and on top big dark blobs burned
    like a plate of eyes. Our hands were peppered
    With thorn pricks, our palms sticky as Bluebeard's.
    We hoarded the fresh berries in the byre.
    But when the bath was filled we found a fur,
    A rat-grey fungus, glutting on our cache.
    The juice was stinking too. Once off the bush
    The fruit fermented, the sweet flesh would turn sour.
    I always felt like crying. It wasn't fair
    That all the lovely canfuls smelt of rot.
    Each year I hoped they'd keep, knew they would not.

   James Joyce (1882 - 1941)

    In the Dark Pine-Wood

    In the dark pine-wood    
    I would we lay,
    In deep cool shadow
    At noon of day.

    How sweet to lie there,
    Sweet to kiss,
    Where the great pine-forest
    Enaisled is!

    Thy kiss descending
    Sweeter were
    With a soft tumult
    Of thy hair.

    O unto the pine-wood
    At noon of day
    Come with me now,
    Sweet love, away.

    Winds of May by James Joyce
    Winds of May, that dance on the sea,
    Dancing a ring-around in glee
    From furrow to furrow, while overhead
    The foam flies up to be garlanded,
    In silvery arches spanning the air,
    Saw you my true love anywhere?
    Welladay! Welladay!
    For the winds of May!
    Love is unhappy when love is away!


     Oscar Wilde (1854-1900)

    By The Arno

    THE oleander on the wall   
    Grows crimson in the dawning light,
    Though the grey shadows of the night
    Lie yet on Florence like a pall.

    The dew is bright upon the hill,
    And bright the blossoms overhead,
    But ah! the grasshoppers have fled,
    The little Attic song is still.

    Only the leaves are gently stirred
    By the soft breathing of the gale,
    And in the almond-scented vale
    The lonely nightingale is heard.

    The day will make thee silent soon,
    O nightingale sing on for love!
    While yet upon the shadowy grove
    Splinter the arrows of the moon.

    Before across the silent lawn
    In sea-green mist the morning steals,
    And to love's frightened eyes reveals
    The long white fingers of the dawn

    Fast climbing up the eastern sky
    To grasp and slay the shuddering night,
    All careless of my heart's delight,
    Or if the nightingale should die.


    Oliver Goldsmith (1730-1774)

    O MEMORY, thou fond deceiver,
    Still importunate and vain,
    To former joys recurring ever,
    And turning all the past to pain:

    Thou, like the world, th' oppress'd oppressing,
    Thy smiles increase the wretch's woe:
    And he who wants each other blessing
    In thee must ever find a foe.


    The Logicians Refuted by Oliver Goldsmith

    LOGICIANS have but ill defin'd
    As rational, the human kind;
    Reason, they say, belongs to man,
    But let them prove it if they can.
    Wise Aristotle and Smiglecius,
    By ratiocinations specious,
    Have strove to prove with great precision,
    With definition and division,
    'Homo est ratione praeditum',--
    But for my soul I cannot credit 'em;
    And must in spite of them maintain,
    That man and all his ways are vain;
    And that this boasted lord of nature
    Is both a weak and erring creature;
    That instinct is a surer guide
    Than reason-boasting mortals' pride;
    And that brute beasts are far before 'em,
    'Deus est anima brutorum'.
    Who ever knew an honest brute
    At law his neighbour prosecute,
    Bring action for assault and battery,
    Or friend beguile with lies and flattery?
    O'er plains they ramble unconfin'd,
    No politics disturb their mind;
    They eat their meals, and take their sport,
    Nor know who's in or out at court;
    They never to the levee go
    To treat as dearest friend, a foe;
    They never importune his grace,
    Nor ever cringe to men in place;
    Nor undertake a dirty job,
    Nor draw the quill to write for B--b.
    Fraught with invective they ne'er go
    To folks at Pater-Noster-Row;
    No judges, fiddlers, dancing-masters,
    No pick-pockets, or poetasters,
    Are known to honest quadrupeds;
    No single brute his fellow leads.
    Brutes never meet in bloody fray,
    Nor cut each others' throats, for pay.
    Of beasts, it is confess'd, the ape
    Comes nearest us in human shape;
    Like man he imitates each fashion,
    And malice is his ruling passion;
    But both in malice and grimaces
    A courtier any ape surpasses.
    Behold him humbly cringing wait
    Upon a minister of state;
    View him soon after to inferiors,
    Aping the conduct of superiors;
    He promises with equal air,
    And to perform takes equal care.
    He in his turn finds imitators;
    At court, the porters, lacqueys, waiters,
    Their master's manners still contract,
    And footmen, lords and dukes can act.
    Thus at the court both great an small
    Behave alike--for all ape all.

– – Cat


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Tuesday, February 21, 2017

February 21 – W. H. Auden

Wystan Hugh Auden February 21, 1907 – September 29, 1973

Considered one of the greatest writers of the 20th century, W. H. Auden was born in England and became an American citizen.

September 1, 1939
W.H. Auden

I sit in one of the dives
On Fifty-second Street
Uncertain and afraid
As the clever hopes expire
Of a low dishonest decade:
Waves of anger and fear
Circulate over the bright
And darkened lands of the earth,
Obsessing our private lives;
The unmentionable odour of death
Offends the September night.
Accurate scholarship can
Unearth the whole offence
From Luther until now
That has driven a culture mad,
Find what occurred at Linz
What huge imago made
A psychopathic god:
I and the public know
What all schoolchildren learn,
Those to whom evil is done
Do evil in return.

Exiled Thucydides knew
All that a speech can say
About Democracy,
And what dictators do,
The elderly rubbish they talk
To an apathetic grave;
Analysed all in his book,
The enlightenment driven away,
The habit-forming pain,
Mismanagement and grief:
We must suffer them all again.

Into this neutral air
Where blind skyskrapers use
Their full height to proclaim
The strength of Collective Man,
Each language pours its vain
Competitive excuse:
But who can live for long
In an euphoric dream;
Out of the mirror they stare,
Imperialism's face
And the international wrong.

Faces along the bar
Cling to their average day:
The lights must never go out,
The music must always play,
All the conventions conspire
To make this fort assume
The furniture of home;
Lest we should see where we are,
Lost in a haunted wood,
Children afraid of the night
Who have never been happy or good.

The windiest militant trash
Important Persons shout
Is not so crude as our wish:
What mad Nijinsky wrote
About Diaghilev
Is true of the normal heart;
For the error bred in the bone
Of each woman and each man
Craves what it cannot have,
Not universal love
But to be loved alone.

From the conservative dark
Into the ethical life
The dense commuters come,
Repeating their morning vow;
'I will be true to the wife,
I'll concentrate more on my work,'
And helpless governors wake
To resume their compulsory game:
Who can release them now,
Who can reach the deaf,
Who can speak for the dumb?

All I have is a voice
To undo the folded lie,
The romantic lie in the brain
Of the sensual man-in-the-street
And the lie of Authority
Whose buildings grope the sky:
There is no such thing as the State
And no one exists alone;
Hunger allows no choice
To the citizen or the police;
We must love one another or die.

Defenceless under the night
Our world in stupor lies;
Yet, dotted everywhere,
Ironic points of light
Flash out wherever the Just
Exchange their messages:
May I, composed like them
Of Eros and of dust,
Beleaguered by the same
Negation and despair,
Show an affirming flame.

Epitaph On A Tyrant
W.H. Auden

Perfection, of a kind, was what he was after,
And the poetry he invented was easy to understand;
He knew human folly like the back of his hand,
And was greatly interested in armies and fleets;
When he laughed, respectable senators burst with laughter,
And when he cried the little children died in the streets.

If I Could Tell You
W.H. Auden

Time will say nothing but I told you so,
Time only knows the price we have to pay;
If I could tell you I would let you know.

If we should weep when clowns put on their show,
If we should stumble when musicians play,
Time will say nothing but I told you so.

There are no fortunes to be told, although,
Because I love you more than I can say,
If I could tell you I would let you know.

The winds must come from somewhere when they blow,
There must be reasons why the leaves decay;
Time will say nothing but I told you so.

Perhaps the roses really want to grow,
The vision seriously intends to stay;
If I could tell you I would let you know.

Suppose all the lions get up and go,
And all the brooks and soldiers run away;
Will Time say nothing but I told you so?
If I could tell you I would let you know.

As I Walked Out One Evening
W.H. Auden

As I walked out one evening,
  Walking down Bristol Street,
The crowds upon the pavement
  Were fields of harvest wheat.

And down by the brimming river
  I heard a lover sing
Under an arch of the railway:
  "Love has no ending.

"I'll love you, dear, I'll love you
  Till China and Africa meet,
And the river jumps over the mountain
  And the salmon sing in the street,

"I'll love you till the ocean
  Is folded and hung up to dry
And the seven stars go squawking
  Like geese about the sky.

"The years shall run like rabbits,
  For in my arms I hold
The Flower of the Ages,
  And the first love of the world."

But all the clocks in the city
  Began to whirr and chime:
"O let not Time deceive you,
  You cannot conquer Time.

"In the burrows of the Nightmare
  Where Justice naked is,
Time watches from the shadow
  And coughs when you would kiss.

"In headaches and in worry
  Vaguely life leaks away,
And Time will have his fancy
  To-morrow or to-day.

"Into many a green valley
  Drifts the appalling snow;
Time breaks the threaded dances
  And the diver's brilliant bow.

"O plunge your hands in water,
  Plunge them in up to the wrist;
Stare, stare in the basin
  And wonder what you've missed.

"The glacier knocks in the cupboard,
  The desert sighs in the bed,
And the crack in the tea-cup opens
  A lane to the land of the dead.

"Where the beggars raffle the banknotes
  And the Giant is enchanting to Jack,
And the Lily-white Boy is a Roarer,
  And Jill goes down on her back.

"O look, look in the mirror?
  O look in your distress:
Life remains a blessing
  Although you cannot bless.

"O stand, stand at the window
  As the tears scald and start;
You shall love your crooked neighbour
  With your crooked heart."

It was late, late in the evening,
  The lovers they were gone;
The clocks had ceased their chiming,
  And the deep river ran on.

The Fall Of Rome
W.H. Auden

The piers are pummelled by the waves;
In a lonely field the rain
Lashes and abandoned train;
Outlaws fill the mountain caves.

Fantastic grow the evening gowns;
Agenst of the Fisc pursue
Absconding tax-defaulters through
The sewers of provincial towns.

Private rites of magic send
The temple prostitutes to sleep;
All the literati keep
An imaginary friend.

Cerebrotonic Cato may
Extol the Ancient Disciplines,
But the muscle-bound Marines
Mutiny for food and pay.

Caesar's double-bed is warm
As an unimportatnt clerk
On a pink official form.

Unendowed with wealth or pity
Little birds with scalet legs,
Sitting on their speckled eggs,
Eye each flu-infected city.

Altogether elsewhere, vast
Herds of reindeer move across
Miles and miles of golden moss,
Silently and very fast.

– – Cat


Friday, December 16, 2016

December 16 – George Santayana

George Santayana  
December 16, 1863 - September 26, 1952 

A Toast

See this bowl of purple wine,
Life-blood of the lusty vine!
All the warmth of summer suns
In the vintage liquid runs,
All the glow of winter nights
Plays about its jewel lights,
Thoughts of time when love was young
Lurk its ruby drops among,
And its deepest depths are dyed
With delight of friendship tried.
Worthy offering, I ween,
For a god or for a queen,
Is the draught I pour to thee,--
Comfort for all misery,
Single friend of the forlorn,
Haven of all beings born,
Hope when trouble wakes at night,
And when naught delights, delight.
Holy Death, I drink to thee;
Do not part my friends and me.
Take this gift, which for a night
Puts dull leaden care to flight,
Thou who takest grief away
For a night and for a day.


O WORLD, thou choosest not the better part!
It is not wisdom to be only wise,
And on the inward vision close the eyes,
But it is wisdom to believe the heart.
Columbus found a world, and had no chart,
Save one that faith deciphered in the skies;
To trust the soul'd invincible surmise
Was all his science and his only art.
Our knowledge is a torch of smoky pine
That lights the pathway but one step ahead
Across a void of mystery and dread.
Bid, then, the tender light of faith to shine
By which alone the mortal heart is lead
Unto the thinking of the thoughts divine.

The Poet's Testament

I give back to the earth what the earth gave,
All to the furrow, none to the grave,
The candle's out, the spirit's vigil spent;
Sight may not follow where the vision went.

I leave you but the sound of many a word
In mocking echoes haply overheard,
I sang to heaven. My exile made me free,
from world to world, from all worlds carried me.

Spared by the furies, for the Fates were kind,
I paced the pillared cloisters of the mind;
All times my present, everywhere my place,
Nor fear, nor hope, nor envy saw my face.

Blow what winds would, the ancient truth was mine,
And friendship mellowed in the flush of wine,
And heavenly laughter, shaking from its wings
Atoms of light and tears for mortal things.

To trembling harmonies of field and cloud,
Of flesh and spirit was my worship vowed.
Let form, let music, let all quickening air
Fulfil in beauty my imperfect prayer.

The muffled syllables that Nature speaks
Fill us with deeper longing for her word;
She hides a meaning that the spirit seeks,
She makes a sweeter music than is heard.

A hidden light illumines all our seeing,
An unknown love enchants our solitude.
We feel and know that from the depths of being
Exhales an infinite, a perfect good.

Though the heart wear the garment of its sorrow
And be not happy like a naked star,
Yet from the thought of peace some peace we borrow,
Some rapture from the rapture felt afar.

Our heart strings are too coarse for Nature's fingers
Deftly to quicken as she pulses on,
And the harsh tremor that among them lingers
Will into sweeter silence die anon.

We catch the broken prelude and suggestion
Of things unuttered, needing to be sung;
We know the burden of them, and their question
Lies heavy on the heart, nor finds a tongue.

Till haply, lightning through the storm of ages,
Our sullen secret flash from sky to sky,
Glowing in some diviner poet's pages
And swelling into rapture from this sigh.


  -- Cat


Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Something to think about 500 years later



John Donne --  January 21, 1572 – March 31, 1631

                           No Man is an Island

                              No man is an island entire of itself; every man
                             is a piece of the continent, a part of the main;
                             if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe
                              is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as
                     well as a manor of thy friends or of thine
                          own were; any man's death diminishes me,
             because I am involved in mankind.
                           And therefore never send to know for whom
  the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.


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Friday, August 05, 2016

August 5 – Conrad Aiken

Conrad Potter Aiken (August 5, 1889 – August 17, 1973) 
American writer – poetry, short stories, novels, plays 

Poetry by Conrad Aiken

All Lovely Things 

All lovely things will have an ending,
All lovely things will fade and die,
And youth, that's now so bravely spending,
Will beg a penny by and by.

Fine ladies soon are all forgotten,
And goldenrod is dust when dead,
The sweetest flesh and flowers are rotten
And cobwebs tent the brightest head.

Come back, true love! Sweet youth, return!—
But time goes on, and will, unheeding,
Though hands will reach, and eyes will yearn,
And the wild days set true hearts bleeding.

Come back, true love! Sweet youth, remain!—
But goldenrod and daisies wither,
And over them blows autumn rain,
They pass, they pass, and know not whither.

Chance Meetings

In the mazes of loitering people, the watchful and furtive,
The shadows of tree-trunks and shadows of leaves,
In the drowse of the sunlight, among the low voices,
I suddenly face you,
Your dark eyes return for a space from her who is with you,
They shine into mine with a sunlit desire,
They say an 'I love you, what star do you live on?'
They smile and then darken,
And silent, I answer 'You too--I have known you,--I love you!--'
And the shadows of tree-trunks and shadows of leaves
Interlace with low voices and footsteps and sunlight
To divide us forever.

Evening Song Of Senlin

It is moonlight. Alone in the silence
I ascend my stairs once more,
While waves, remote in a pale blue starlight,
Crash on a white sand shore.
It is moonlight. The garden is silent.
I stand in my room alone.
Across my wall, from the far-off moon,
A rain of fire is thrown . . .
There are houses hanging above the stars,
And stars hung under a sea:
And a wind from the long blue vault of time
Waves my curtain for me . . .
I wait in the dark once more,
Swung between space and space:
Before my mirror I lift my hands
And face my remembered face.
Is it I who stand in a question here,
Asking to know my name? . . .
It is I, yet I know not whither I go,
Nor why, nor whence I came.
It is I, who awoke at dawn
And arose and descended the stair,
Conceiving a god in the eye of the sun,—
In a woman's hands and hair.
It is I whose flesh is gray with the stones
I builded into a wall:
With a mournful melody in my brain
Of a tune I cannot recall . . .
There are roses to kiss: and mouths to kiss;
And the sharp-pained shadow of death.
I remember a rain-drop on my cheek,—
A wind like a fragrant breath . . .
And the star I laugh on tilts through heaven;
And the heavens are dark and steep . . .
I will forget these things once more
In the silence of sleep.

Music I Heard

Music I heard with you was more than music,
And bread I broke with you was more than bread;
Now that I am without you, all is desolate;
All that was once so beautiful is dead.

Your hands once touched this table and this silver,
And I have seen your fingers hold this glass.
These things do not remember you, beloved,
And yet your touch upon them will not pass.

For it was in my heart that you moved among them,
And blessed them with your hands and with your eyes;
And in my heart they will remember always,
—They knew you once, O beautiful and wise.

The Dreamer Of Dreams 

The sun goes down in a cold pale flare of light.
The trees grow dark: the shadows lean to the east:
And lights wink out through the windows, one by one.
A clamor of frosty sirens mourns at the night.
Pale slate-grey clouds whirl up from the sunken sun.

And the wandering one, the inquisitive dreamer of dreams,
The eternal asker of answers, stands in the street,
And lifts his palms for the first cold ghost of rain.
The purple lights leap down the hill before him.
The gorgeous night has begun again.

'I will ask them all, I will ask them all their dreams,
I will hold my light above them and seek their faces.
I will hear them whisper, invisible in their veins . . .'
The eternal asker of answers becomes as the darkness,
Or as a wind blown over a myriad forest,
Or as the numberless voices of long-drawn rains.

We hear him and take him among us, like a wind of music,
Like the ghost of a music we have somewhere heard;
We crowd through the streets in a dazzle of pallid lamplight,
We pour in a sinister wave, ascend a stair,
With laughter and cry, and word upon murmured word;
We flow, we descend, we turn . . . and the eternal dreamer
Moves among us like light, like evening air . . .

Good-night! Good-night! Good-night! We go our ways,
The rain runs over the pavement before our feet,
The cold rain falls, the rain sings.
We walk, we run, we ride. We turn our faces
To what the eternal evening brings.

Our hands are hot and raw with the stones we have laid,
We have built a tower of stone high into the sky,
We have built a city of towers.

Our hands are light, they are singing with emptiness.
Our souls are light; they have shaken a burden of hours . . .
What did we build it for? Was it all a dream? . . .
Ghostly above us in lamplight the towers gleam . . .
And after a while they will fall to dust and rain;
Or else we will tear them down with impatient hands;
And hew rock out of the earth, and build them again. 

– Cat 

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Saturday, May 14, 2016

May 28 - Thomas Moore

             Thomas Moore  May 28, 1779 to February 25, 1852  Irish poet, singer


After the Battle by Thomas Moore

Night closed around the conqueror's way,
And lightnings show'd the distant hill,
Where those who lost that dreadful day
Stood few and faint, but fearless still.
The soldier's hope, the patriot's zeal,
For ever dimm'd, for ever crost --
Oh! who shall say what heroes feel,
When all but life and honour's lost?

The last sad hour of freedom's dream,
And valour's task, moved slowly by,
While mute they watch'd, till morning's beam
Should rise and give them light to die.
There's yet a world, where souls are free,
Where tyrants taint not nature's bliss; --
If death that world's bright opening be,
Oh! who would live a slave in this?


Drink To Her by Thomas Moore

Drink to her who long
Hath waked the poet's sigh,
The girl who gave to song
What gold could never buy.
Oh! woman's heart was made
For minstrel hands alone;
By other fingers play'd,
It yields not half the tone.
Then here's to her who long
Hath waked the poet's sigh,
The girl who gave to song
What gold could never buy.

At Beauty's door of glass,
When Wealth and Wit once stood,
They ask'd her, "which might pass?"
She answer'd, "he who could."
With golden key Wealth thought
To pass -- but 'twould not do:
While Wit a diamond brought,
Which cut his bright way through.
So here's to her who long
Hath waked the poet's sigh,
The girl who gave to song
What gold could never buy.

The love that seeks a home
Where wealth or grandeur shines,
Is like the gloomy gnome,
That dwells in dark mines.
But oh! the poet's love
Can boast a brighter sphere;
Its native home's above,
Though woman keeps it here.
Then drink to her who long
Hath waked the poet's sigh,
The girl who gave to song
What gold could never buy.

Erin, Oh Erin by Thomas Moore

Like the bright lamp, that shone in Kildare's holy fane,
And burn'd through long ages of darkness and storm,
Is the heart that sorrows have frown'd on in vain,

Whose spirit outlives them, unfading and warm.
Erin, oh Erin, thus bright through the tears
Of a long night of bondage, thy spirit appears.

The nations have fallen, and thou still art young,

Thy sun is but rising, when others are set;
And though slavery's cloud o'er thy morning hath hung,
The full noon of freedom shall beam round thee yet.
Erin, oh Erin, though long in the shade,
Thy star will shine out when the proudest shall fade.

Unchill'd by the rain, and unwaked by the wind,
The lily lies sleeping through winter's cold hour,
Till Spring's light touch her fetters unbind,
And daylight and liberty bless the young flower.
Thus Erin, oh Erin, thy winter is past,
And the hope that lived through it shall blossom at last.


Go Where Glory Waits Thee by Thomas Moore


Go where glory waits thee,
But while fame elates thee,
Oh! still remember me.
When the praise thou meetest
To thine ear is sweetest,
Oh! then remember me.
Other arms may press thee,
Dearer friends caress thee,
All the joys that bless thee,
Sweeter far may be;
But when friends are nearest,
And when joys are dearest,
Oh! then remember me!

When, at eve, thou rovest
By the star thou lovest,
Oh! then remember me.
Think, when home returning,
Bright we've seen it burning,
Oh! thus remember me.
Oft as summer closes,
When thine eye reposes
On its lingering roses,
Once so loved by thee,
Think of her who wove them,
Her who made thee love them,
Oh! then remember me.

When, around thee dying,
Autumn leaves are lying,
Oh! then remember me.
And, at night, when gazing
On the gay hearth blazing,
Oh! still remember me.
Then should music, stealing
All the soul of feeling,
To thy heart appealing,
Draw one tear from thee;
Then let memory bring thee
Strains I used to sing thee, --
Oh! then remember me.

If Thou'lt Be Mine by Thomas Moore


If thou'lt be mine, the treasures of air,
Of earth, and sea, shall lie at thy feet;
Whatever in Fancy's eye looks fair,
Or in Hope's sweet music sounds most sweet,
Shall be ours -- if thou wilt be mine, love!

Bright flowers shall bloom wherever we rove,
A voice divine shall talk in each stream;
The stars shall look like world of love,
And this earth be all one beautiful dream
In our eyes -- if thou wilt be mine, love!

And thoughts, whose source is hidden and high,
Like streams that come from heaven-ward hills,
Shall keep our hearts, like meads, that lie
To be bathed by those eternal rills,
Ever green, if thou wilt be mine, love!

All this and more the Spirit of Love
Can breathe o'er them who feel his spells;
That heaven, which forms his home above,
He can make on earth, wherever he dwells,
As thou'lt own, -- if thou wilt be mine, love!

Oft, in the Stilly Night by Thomas Moore


Oft, in the stilly night,
Ere slumber's chain has bound me,
Fond memory brings the light
Of other days around me;
The smiles, the tears,
Of boyhood's years,
The words of love then spoken;
The eyes that shone,
Now dimm'd and gone,
The cheerful hearts now broken!
Thus, in the stilly night,
Ere slumber's chain hath bound me,
Sad memory brings the light
Of other days around me.

When I remember all
The friends, so link'd together,
I've seen around me fall,
Like leaves in wintry weather;
I feel like one
Who treads alone
Some banquet-hall deserted,
Whose lights are fled,
Whose garlands dead,
And all but he departed!
Thus, in the stilly night,
Ere slumber's chain has bound me,
Sad memory brings the light
Of other days around me.


-- Cat

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