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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Monday, April 15, 2013

April 15 -- Bliss Carman

[William] Bliss Carman   
April 15, 1861 - June 8, 1929

                                       A Song Before Sailing

                              Wind of the dead men's feet,
                              Blow down the empty street
                              Of this old city by the sea
                              With news for me!
                              Blow me beyond the grime
                              And pestilence of time!
                              I am too sick at heart to war
                              With failure any more.
                              Thy chill is in my bones;
                              The moonlight on the stones
                              Is pale, and palpable, and cold;
                              I am as one grown old.

                              I call from room to room
                              Through the deserted gloom;
                              The echoes are all words I know,
                              Lost in some long ago.

                              I prowl from door to door,
                              And find no comrade more.
                              The wolfish fear that children feel
                              Is snuffing at my heel.

                              I hear the hollow sound
                              Of a great ship coming round,
                              The thunder of tackle and the tread
                              Of sailors overhead.

                              That stormy-blown hulloo
                              Has orders for me, too.
                              I see thee, hand at mouth, and hark,
                              My captain of the dark.

                              O wind of the great East,
                              By whom we are released
                              From this strange dusty port to sail
                              Beyond our fellows' hail,

                              Under the stars that keep
                              The entry of the deep,
                              Thy somber voice brings up the sea's
                              Forgotten melodies;

                              And I have no more need
                              Of bread, or wine, or creed,
                              Bound for the colonies of time
                              Beyond the farthest prime.

                              Wind of the dead men's feet,
                              Blow through the empty street;
                              The last adventurer am I,
                              Then, world, goodby!

                                     Under the April Moon

                              Oh, well the world is dreaming
                              Under the April moon,
                              Her soul in love with beauty,
                              Her senses all a-swoon!
                              Pure hangs the silver crescent
                              Above the twilight wood,
                              And pure the silver music
                              Wakes from the marshy flood.
                              O Earth, with all thy transport,
                              How comes it life should seem
                              A shadow in the moonlight,
                              A murmur in a dream?

                                 A More Ancient Mariner

                              The swarthy bee is a buccaneer,
                              A burly velveted rover,
                              Who loves the booming wind in his ear
                              As he sails the seas of clover.

                              A waif of the goblin pirate crew,
                              With not a soul to deplore him,
                              He steers for the open verge of blue
                              With the filmy world before him.

                              His flimsy sails abroad on the wind
                              Are shivered with fairy thunder;
                              On a line that sings to the light of his wings
                              He makes for the lands of wonder.

                              He harries the ports of Hollyhocks,
                              And levies on poor Sweetbriar;
                              He drinks the whitest wine of Phlox,
                              And the Rose is his desire.

                              He hangs in the Willows a night and a day;
                              He rifles the Buckwheat patches;
                              Then battens his store of pelf galore
                              Under the taughtest hatches.

                              He woos the Poppy and weds the Peach,
                              Inveigles Daffodilly,
                              And then like a tramp abandons each
                              For the gorgeous Canada Lily.

                              There's not a soul in the garden world
                              But wishes the day were shorter,
                              When Mariner B. puts out to sea
                              With the wind in the proper quarter.

                              Or, so they say! But I have my doubts;
                              For the flowers are only human,
                              And the valor and gold of a vagrant bold
                              Were always dear to woman.

                              He dares to boast, along the coast,
                              The beauty of Highland Heather,-
                              How he and she, with night on the sea,
                              Lay out on the hills together.

                              He pilfers every port of the wind,
                              From April to golden autumn;
                              But the theiving ways of his mortal days
                              Are those his mother taught him.

                              His morals are mixed, but his will is fixed;
                              He prospers after his kind,
                              And follows an instinct compass-sure,
                              The philosophers call blind.

                              And that is why, when he comes to die,
                              He'll have an earlier sentence
                              Than someone I know who thinks just so,
                              And then leaves room for repentance.

                              He never could box the compass round;
                              He doesn't know port from starboard;
                              But he knows the gates of the Sundown Straits,
                              Where the choicest goods are harbored.

                              He never could see the Rule of Three,
                              But he knows the rule of thumb
                              Better than Euclid's, better than yours,
                              Or the teachers' yet to come.

                              He knows the smell of the hydromel
                              As if two and two were five;
                              And hides it away for a year and a day
                              In his own hexagonal hive.

                              Out in the day, hap-hazard, alone,
                              Booms the old vagrant hummer,
                              With only his whim to pilot him
                              Throught the splendid vast of summer.

                              He steers and steers on the slant of the gale,
                              Like the fiend or Vanderdecken;
                              And there's never an unknown course to sail
                              But his crazy log can reckon.

                              He drones along with his rough sea-song
                              And the throat of a salty tar,
                              This devil-may-care, till he makes his lair
                              By the light of a yellow star.

                              He looks like a gentleman, lives like a lord,
                              And makes like a Trojan hero;
                              Then loafs all winter upon his hoard,
                              With the mercury at zero.


Sunday, April 14, 2013

April 14 – James Branch Cabell

James Branch Cabell  
April 14, 1879 - May 5, 1958

                                 Ballad Of Plagiary

      "Freres et matres, vous qui cultivez"--PAUL VERVILLE.
      Hey, my masters, lords and brothers, ye that till the fields of rhyme,
      Are ye deaf ye will not hearken to the clamor of your time?
      Still ye blot and change and polish--vary, heighten and transpose--
      Old sonorous metres marching grandly to their tranquil close.
      Ye have toiled and ye have fretted; ye attain perfected speech:
      Ye have nothing new to utter and but platitudes to preach.
      And your rhymes are all of loving, as within the old days when
      Love was lord of the ascendant in the horoscopes of men.
      Still ye make of love the utmost end and scope of all your art;
      And, more blind than he you write of, note not what a modest part
      Loving now may claim in living, when we have scant time to spare,
      Who are plundering the sea-depths, taking tribute of the air,--
      Whilst the sun makes pictures for us; since to-day, for good or ill,
      Earth and sky and sea are harnessed, and the lightnings work our will.
      Hey, my masters, all these love-songs by dust-hidden mouths were sung
      That ye mimic and re-echo with an artful-artless tongue,--
      Sung by poets close to nature, free to touch her garments' hem
      Whom to-day ye know not truly; for ye only copy them.
      Them ye copy--copy always, with your backs turned to the sun,
      Caring not what man is doing, noting that which man has done.
      _We are talking over telephones, as Shakespeare could not talk;_
      _We are riding out in motor-cars where Homer had to walk;_
      _And pictures Dante labored on of mediaeval Hell_
      _The nearest cinematograph paints quicker, and as well._
      But ye copy, copy always;--and ye marvel when ye find
      This new beauty, that new meaning,--while a model stands behind,
      Waiting, young and fair as ever, till some singer turn and trace
      Something of the deathless wonder of life lived in any place.
      Hey, my masters, turn from piddling to the turmoil and the strife!
      Cease from sonneting, my brothers; let us fashion songs from life.
      _Thus I wrote ere Percie passed me. . . . Then did I epitomize_
      _All life's beauty in one poem, and make haste to eulogize_
      _Quite the fairest thing life boasts of, for I wrote of Percie's eyes._