Poetry – Fallen Leaves

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Beneath the frost-stripped forest boughs, the drifted leaves are spread,
Vanished all summer’s green delight, all autumn’s glory fled.

Yet, gathering strength from that dead host, the tree in some far spring
Shall toward the skies a denser growth, a darker foliage fling.

Ah, if some power from us, long dead, should strengthen life to be,
We need not grieve to lie forgot, like sere leaves ’neath the tree!

— Effie Smith

Poetry – Preparation

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“I have no time for those things now,” we say;
“But in the future just a little way,
No longer by this ceaseless toil oppressed,
I shall have leisure then for thought and rest.
When I the debts upon my land have paid,
Or on foundations firm my business laid,
I shall take time for discourse long and sweet
With those beloved who round my hearthstone meet;
I shall take time on mornings still and cool
To seek the freshness dim of wood and pool,
Where, calmed and hallowed by great Nature’s peace,
My life from its hot cares shall find release;
I shall take time to think on destiny,
Of what I was and am and yet shall be,
Till in the hush my soul may nearer prove
To that great Soul in whom we live and move.
All this I shall do sometime but not now—
The press of business cares will not allow.”
And thus our life glides on year after year;
The promised leisure never comes more near.
Perhaps the aim on which we placed our mind
Is high, and its attainment slow to find;
Or if we reach the mark that we have set,
We still would seek another, farther yet.
Thus all our youth, our strength, our time go past
Till death upon the threshold stands at last,
And back unto our Maker we must give
The life we spent preparing well to live.

— Effie Smith

Poetry – To A Silver Dollar

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Pale coin, what various hands have you passed through
Ere you to-day within my hand were laid?
Perchance a laborer’s well-earned hire you made;
Some miser may have gloated long on you;
Perhaps some pitying hand to Want outthrew;
And, lost and won through devious tricks of trade,
You may have been, alas! the full price paid
For some poor soul that loved you past your due.


No doubt ’tis well, O imaged Liberty,
You see not where your placid face is thrust,
Nor know how far man is from being free,
Bound as he is by money’s fateful lust,
While to his anxious soul like mockery
Seem those fair, graven words: “In God we trust.”

— Effie Smith

Poetry – Daffodils

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I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced, but they
Outdid the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not be but gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed – and gazed – but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

— William Wordsworth

Poetry – Hampton Holidays

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LAST comes December with his ruffian wind
Whirled from the maelstrom of the polar sea
To sweep our mighty hill in mockery
Of such enshrouding snows as would be kind
And wrap their frozen mother. Stiffly lined
Through thin and crackling ice the leaves lie stark
As hoar Caina’s ice-locked souls, and dark
In the dark air the branches toss and grind.

Then dawns another day when winds are still;
From our frost-flashing village on the hill
We greet the laggard sun, and far below
All down the valley see the silver spread,
Save where the dim fir-forest’s pungent bed
Lies thatched by tufted pine-plumes bright with snow.

— George Allan England

Poetry – The Trestle And The Buck-Saw

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The Trestle and the Buck-Saw
Went out a-walking once,
And staid away and staid away
For days and weeks and months:
And when they got back home again,
Of all that had occurred,
The neighbors said the gossips said
They never said a word.

— James Whitcomb Riley

Poetry – November In Cambridge

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EVEN in her mourning is the College fair,
With burial robes of scarlet leaves and gold
That flicker down in misty morning cold
Or fall reluctant through gray evening air.
The Gothic elms rise desolately bare;
A clinging flame the twisted ivy crawls
Its blood-red course athwart the time-worn walls
And spreads its crimson arras everywhere.

High noon brings some wan ghost of summer, still;
Fresh stand the rose-trees yet, the lawns show green
With leaves inlaid, and still the pigeons fly
Round sun-warm gables where they court and preen;
But evenfall comes shuddering down, a-chill,
And bare black branches fret the leaden sky

— George Allan England

Poetry – We Defer Things

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We say and we say and we say,
We promise, engage, and declare,
Till a year from to-morrow is yesterday,
And yesterday is—Where?

— James Whitcomb Riley

Poetry – IF

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If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you
But make allowance for their doubting too,
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream–and not make dreams your master,
If you can think–and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it all on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on!”

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings–nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much,
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And–which is more–you’ll be a Man, my son!

— Rudyard Kipling

Poetry – August Rain

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DEAD is the day, and through the list’ning leaves
The wind-dirge sighs. Sad at my dim-lit pane
I darkling sit to hear the pattering rain
And pebbly drip that plashes from the eaves.
Far in the misty fields loll sodden sheaves,
Whilst every wheel-mark in the rutty lane
Leads down its trickling rivulet to drain
Marsh-meadows where the knotted willow grieves.

Gray afternoon to dusk hath given place,
And dusk to silent darkness falls again.
Listless, to see the sad earth veil her face,
I watch the miry fields, the swollen rills,
And, farther, through my glimmering windowpane,
The rain-swept valley and the fading hills…

— George Allan England

Poetry – Gathering Leaves

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Spades take up leaves
No better than spoons,
And bags full of leaves
Are light as balloons.

I make a great noise
Of rustling all day
Like rabbit and deer
Running away.

But the mountains I raise
Elude my embrace,
Flowing over my arms
And into my face.

I may load and unload
Again and again
Till I fill the whole shed,
And what have I then?

Next to nothing for weight,
And since they grew duller
From contact with earth,
Next to nothing for color.

Next to nothing for use,
But a crop is a crop,
And who’s to say where
The harvest shall stop?

— Robert Frost

Poetry – The Road Not Taken

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Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

—Robert Frost

A reading of on YouTube

Poetry – Mandalay

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BY THE old Moulmein Pagoda, lookin’ lazy at the sea,
There’s a Burma girl a-settin’, and I know she thinks o’ me;
For the wind is in the palm-trees, and the temple-bells they say:
“Come you back, you British soldier; come you back to Mandalay! “
Come you back to Mandalay,
Where the old Flotilla lay:
Can’t you ‘ear their paddles chunkin’ from Rangoon to Mandalay ?
On the road to Mandalay,
Where the flyin’-fishes play,
An’ the dawn comes up like thunder outer China ‘crost the Bay!

‘Er petticoat was yaller an’ ‘er little cap was green,
An’ ‘er name was Supi-yaw-lat – jes’ the same as Theebaw’s Queen,
An’ I seed her first a-smokin’ of a whackin’ white cheroot,
An’ a-wastin’ Christian kisses on an ‘eathen idol’s foot:
Bloomin’ idol made o’ mud
Wot they called the Great Gawd Budd
Plucky lot she cared for idols when I kissed ‘er where she stud!
On the road to Mandalay…

When the mist was on the rice-fields an’ the sun was droppin’ slow,
She’d git ‘er little banjo an’ she’d sing “Kulla-lo-lo!
With ‘er arm upon my shoulder an’ ‘er cheek agin my cheek
We useter watch the steamers an’ the hathis pilin’ teak.
Elephints a-pilin’ teak
In the sludgy, squdgy creek,
Where the silence ‘ung that ‘eavy you was ‘arf afraid to speak!
On the road to Mandalay…

But that’s all shove be’ind me – long ago an’ fur away
An’ there ain’t no ‘busses runnin’ from the Bank to Mandalay;
An’ I’m learnin’ ‘ere in London what the ten-year soldier tells:
“If you’ve ‘eard the East a-callin’, you won’t never ‘eed naught else.”
No! you won’t ‘eed nothin’ else
But them spicy garlic smells,
An’ the sunshine an’ the palm-trees an’ the tinkly temple-bells;
On the road to Mandalay…

I am sick o’ wastin’ leather on these gritty pavin’-stones,
An’ the blasted English drizzle wakes the fever in my bones;
Tho’ I walks with fifty ‘ousemaids outer Chelsea to the Strand,
An’ they talks a lot o’ lovin’, but wot do they understand?
Beefy face an’ grubby ‘and –
Law! wot do they understand?
I’ve a neater, sweeter maiden in a cleaner, greener land!
On the road to Mandalay…

Ship me somewheres east of Suez, where the best is like the worst,
Where there aren’t no Ten Commandments an’ a man can raise a thirst;
For the temple-bells are callin’, an’ it’s there that I would be
By the old Moulmein Pagoda, looking lazy at the sea;
On the road to Mandalay,
Where the old Flotilla lay,
With our sick beneath the awnings when we went to Mandalay!
O the road to Mandalay,
Where the flyin’-fishes play,
An’ the dawn comes up like thunder outer China ‘crost the Bay !

— Rudyard Kipling

Poetry – The Children’s Hour

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Between the dark and the daylight,
      When the night is beginning to lower,
Comes a pause in the day’s occupations,
      That is known as the Children’s Hour.

I hear in the chamber above me
      The patter of little feet,
The sound of a door that is opened,
      And voices soft and sweet.

From my study, I see in the lamplight,
      Descending the broad hall stair,
Grave Alice, and laughing Allegra,
      And Edith with golden hair.

A whisper, and then a silence:
      Yet I know by their merry eyes
They are plotting and planning together
      To take me by surprise.

A sudden rush from the stairway,
      A sudden raid from the hall!
By three doors left unguarded
      They enter my castle wall!

They climb up into my turret
      O’er the arms and back of my chair;
If I try to escape, they surround me;
      They seem to be everywhere.

They almost devour me with kisses,
      Their arms about me entwine,
Till I think of the Bishop of Bingen
      In his Mouse-Tower on the Rhine!

Do you think, O blue-eyed banditti,
      Because you have scaled the wall,
Such an old mustache as I am
      Is not a match for you all!

I have you fast in my fortress,
      And will not let you depart,
But put you down into the dungeon
      In the round-tower of my heart.

And there will I keep you forever,
      Yes, forever and a day,
Till the walls shall crumble to ruin,
      And molder in dust away!

— Henry W. Longfellow

Poetry – Summer Flowers

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“The desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose.”

—ISAIAH XXXV. I.

Be-hold the flow-ers of June! how fair
And bright their buds ap-pear,
As, open-ing to the sum-mer air,
Our eyes and hearts they cheer!

Who would have thought there could a-bound
Such beau-ty and de-light
Be-neath the cold and win-try ground
That hid those flow-ers from sight?

That pow-er which made and governs all—
The might-y pow-er of God—
A-lone could life and beau-ty call
Out of the life-less sod.

And He, who from the Win-ter’s gloom
Can Sum-mer thus dis-close,
Shall one day make the de-sert bloom,
And blos-som as the rose.

–anonymous

Poetry – The First Of May

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The haw-thorn blos-som, snow-y white,
Hangs thick upon the hedge to-day;
With many flow-ers the fields are bright
Upon this mer-ry First of May.

So let us ga-ther flow-er-ets fair,
And blos-soms from the haw-thorn spray,
To deck our May-pole stand-ing there,
Upon this mer-ry First of May.

And then, like fai-ries, in a ring,
A-round it we will dance or play,
And all our glad-dest songs will sing
Upon this mer-ry First of May.

And dear-est Maud shall there be seen
With crown of haw-thorn blos-soms gay,
And she shall be our lit-tle queen,
Upon this mer-ry First of May.

— anonymous

Poetry – May Evening

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SILENCE and peace. The warm, love-bringing Night
From the pure zenith soft and slow descending
Lulls the sweet air to rest, with the day’s ending,
Save where the dark bat wheels his fickle flight.
Deep glows the rosy-golden West, still bright,
Beyond the plumy toss of elms down-bending,
Whilst on the close-cut lawns, blurring and bending,
Tall chapel-windows cast their ruddy light.

Now the clear blue of the mid dome of heaven
Darkens, immeasurably deep and still.
That one full star which ushers in the even
Burns in rapt glory o’er the steadfast spire;
And the Night-angel strews at his sweet will
The silvern star-dust of the heavenly choir.

— George Allan England

Poetry – The Lady Pheasant

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Whom meet we, Betsey, in the wood?
The Lady Pheasant and her Brood;
So stand we still, to let them pass
On oak-leaves through the tasselled grass.

Down dappled aisles of hazel shade
They disappear along the glade,
My Lady in her rusty gown,
Ten children clad in useful brown.

But one fledged laggard stops to eat
The plantain seeds at Betsey’s feet,
Who plucks my fingers: “Mother, come
We’ll pick him up and take him home!”

The nestling joins the hidden nine
Deep in the copse; and I lift mine
And bear her home along the lane,—
“I want him!” still pouts Betsey-Jane.

— Helen Parry Eden

Poetry – The Mulberry

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Within our garden walls you see
A huge old-fashioned mulberry
Whose purple fruit in summer falls
Into the shade below the walls.

Its blackened trunk grows grim and hard
From the harsh gravel of the yard,
Its crest beholds the winds go by
And scans the milky evening sky.

And like this tree my soul makes mirth,
(Though rooted deep in blackened earth)
For it shall grow till it hath sight
(The walls o’er-topped) of endless light.

— Helen Parry Eden

Poetry – Fig

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The proper way to eat a fig, in society,
Is to split it in four, holding it by the stump,
And open it, so that it is a glittering, rosy, moist, honied, heavy-petalled four-petalled flower.

Then you throw away the skin
Which is just like a four-sepalled calyx,
After you have taken off the blossom with your lips.

But the vulgar way
Is just to put your mouth to the crack, and take out the flesh in one bite.

Every fruit has its secret.

The fig is a very secretive fruit.
As you see it standing growing, you feel at once it is symbolic:
And it seems male.
But when you come to know it better, you agree with the Romans, it is female.

The Italians vulgarly say, it stands for the female part; the fig-fruit:
The fissure, the yoni,
The wonderful moist conductivity towards the centre.
Involved,
Inturned,
The flowering all inward and womb-fibrilled;
And but one orifice.

The fig, the horse-shoe, the squash-blossom.
Symbols.

There was a flower that flowered inward, womb-ward;
Now there is a fruit like a ripe womb.

It was always a secret.
That’s how it should be, the female should always be secret.

There never was any standing aloft and unfolded on a bough
Like other flowers, in a revelation of petals;
Silver-pink peach, Venetian green glass of medlars and sorb-apples,
Shallow wine-cups on short, bulging stems
Openly pledging heaven:
Here’s to the thorn in flower! Here is to Utterance!
The brave, adventurous rosaceæ.

Folded upon itself, and secret unutterable,
And milky-sapped, sap that curdles milk and makes ricotta,
Sap that smells strange on your fingers, that even goats won’t taste it;
Folded upon itself, enclosed like any Mohammedan woman,
Its nakedness all within-walls, its flowering forever unseen,
One small way of access only, and this close-curtained from the light;
Fig, fruit of the female mystery, covert and inward,
Mediterranean fruit, with your covert nakedness,
Where everything happens invisible, flowering and fertilisation, and fruiting
In the inwardness of your you, that eye will never see
Till it’s finished, and you’re over-ripe, and you burst to give up your ghost.

Till the drop of ripeness exudes,
And the year is over.

And then the fig has kept her secret long enough.
So it explodes, and you see through the fissure the scarlet.
And the fig is finished, the year is over.
That’s how the fig dies, showing her crimson through the purple slit
Like a wound, the exposure of her secret, on the open day.
Like a prostitute, the bursten fig, making a show of her secret.

That’s how women die too.

The year is fallen over-ripe,
The year of our women.
The year of our women is fallen over-ripe.
The secret is laid bare.
And rottenness soon sets in.
The year of our women is fallen over-ripe.

When Eve once knew in her mind that she was naked
She quickly sewed fig-leaves, and sewed the same for the man.
She’d been naked all her days before,
But till then, till that apple of knowledge, she hadn’t had the fact on her mind.

She got the fact on her mind, and quickly sewed fig-leaves.
And women have been sewing ever since.
But now they stitch to adorn the bursten fig, not to cover it.
They have their nakedness more than ever on their mind,
And they won’t let us forget it.

Now, the secret
Becomes an affirmation through moist, scarlet lips
That laugh at the Lord’s indignation.

What then, good Lord! cry the women.
We have kept our secret long enough.
We are a ripe fig.
Let us burst into affirmation.

They forget, ripe figs won’t keep.
Ripe figs won’t keep.

Honey-white figs of the north, black figs with scarlet inside, of the south.
Ripe figs won’t keep, won’t keep in any clime.
What then, when women the world over have all bursten into affirmation?
And bursten figs won’t keep?

—D. H. Lawrence

Poetry – Medlars And Sorb-Apples

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I love you, rotten,
Delicious rottenness.

I love to suck you out from your skins
So brown and soft and coming suave,
So morbid, as the Italians say.

What a rare, powerful, reminiscent flavor
Comes out of your falling through the stages of decay:
Stream within stream.

Something of the same flavor as Syracusan muscat wine
Or vulgar Marsala.

Though even the word Marsala will smack of preciosity
Soon in the pussy-foot West.

What is it?
What is it, in the grape turning raisin,
In the medlar, in the sorb-apple,
Wineskins of brown morbidity,
Autumnal excrementa;
What is it that reminds us of white gods?

Gods nude as blanched nut-kernels,
Strangely, half-sinisterly flesh-fragrant
As if with sweat,
And drenched with mystery.

Sorb-apples, medlars with dead crowns.

I say, wonderful are the hellish experiences
Orphic, delicate
Dionysos of the Underworld.

A kiss, and a vivid spasm of farewell, a moment’s orgasm of rupture,
Then along the damp road alone, till the next turning.
And there, a new partner, a new parting, a new unfusing into twain,
A new gasp of further isolation,
A new intoxication of loneliness, among decaying, frost-cold leaves.

Going down the strange lanes of hell, more and more intensely alone,
The fibers of the heart parting one after the other
And yet the soul continuing, naked-footed, ever more vividly embodied

Like a flame blown whiter and whiter
In a deeper and deeper darkness
Ever more exquisite, distilled in separation.

So, in the strange retorts of medlars and sorb-apples
The distilled essence of hell.
The exquisite odor of leave-taking.
     Jamque vale!
Orpheus, and the winding, leaf-clogged, silent lanes of hell.

Each soul departing with its own isolation,
Strangest of all strange companions,
And best.

Medlars, sorb-apples
More than sweet
Flux of autumn
Sucked out of your empty bladders
And sipped down, perhaps, with a sip of Marsala
So that the rambling, sky-dropped grape can add its music to yours,
Orphic farewell, and farewell, and farewell
And the ego sum [I am ] of Dionysos
The sono io [it’s me] of perfect drunkenness
Intoxication of final loneliness.

— D. H. Lawrence

Poetry – The Mosquito

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When did you start your tricks
Monsieur?

What do you stand on such high legs for?
Why this length of shredded shank
You exaltation?

Is it so that you shall lift your centre of gravity upwards
And weigh no more than air as you alight upon me,
Stand upon me weightless, you phantom?

I heard a woman call you the Winged Victory
In sluggish Venice.
You turn your head towards your tail, and smile.

How can you put so much devilry
Into that translucent phantom shred
Of a frail corpus?

Queer, with your thin wings and your streaming legs
How you sail like a heron, or a dull clot of air,
A nothingness.

Yet what an aura surrounds you;
Your evil little aura, prowling, and casting a numbness on my mind.

That is your trick, your bit of filthy magic:
Invisibility, and the anæsthetic power
To deaden my attention in your direction.

But I know your game now, streaky sorcerer.

Queer, how you stalk and prowl the air
In circles and evasions, enveloping me,
Ghoul on wings
Winged Victory.

Settle, and stand on long thin shanks
Eyeing me sideways, and cunningly conscious that I am aware,
You speck.

I hate the way you lurch off sideways into air
Having read my thoughts against you.

Come then, let us play at unawares,
And see who wins in this sly game of bluff.
Man or mosquito.

You don’t know that I exist, and I don’t know that you exist.
Now then!

It is your trump
It is your hateful little trump
You pointed fiend,
Which shakes my sudden blood to hatred of you:
It is your small, high, hateful bugle in my ear.

Why do you do it?
Surely it is bad policy.

They say you can’t help it.

If that is so, then I believe a little in Providence protecting the innocent.
But it sounds so amazingly like a slogan
A yell of triumph as you snatch my scalp.

Blood, red blood
Super-magical
Forbidden liquor.

I behold you stand
For a second enspasmed in oblivion,
Obscenely ecstasied
Sucking live blood
My blood.

Such silence, such suspended transport,
Such gorging,
Such obscenity of trespass.

You stagger
As well as you may.
Only your accursed hairy frailty
Your own imponderable weightlessness
Saves you, wafts you away on the very draught my anger makes in its snatching.

Away with a pæan of derision
You winged blood-drop.

Can I not overtake you?
Are you one too many for me
Winged Victory?
Am I not mosquito enough to out-mosquito you?

Queer, what a big stain my sucked blood makes
Beside the infinitesimal faint smear of you!
Queer, what a dim dark smudge you have disappeared into!

— Siracusa

Poetry – April

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Emblem of life, see changeful April sail
In varying vest along the shadowy skies,
Now bidding Summer’s softest zephyrs rise,
Anon recalling Winter’s stormy gale,
And pouring from the cloud her sudden hail:
Then smiling through the tear that dims her eyes,
While Iris with her braid the welkin dyes,
Promise of sunshine not so prone to fail.
So, to us sojourners in life’s low vale,
The smiles of Fortune flatter to deceive,
While still the Fates the web of misery weave,
So Hope exultant spreads her airy sail,
And from the present gloom the soul conveys
To distant summers and far happier days.

— Henry Kirke White.

Poetry – April Showers

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“Thou makest the earth soft with showers: Thou bless-est the spring-ing there-of.”

—PSALM lxv. 10.

When A-pril skies be-gin to frown,
And the cold rain comes pelt-ing down,
We must not grum-ble nor com-plain,
Nor i-dly say, we hate the rain.

God sends the rain; the dust-y ground
It soft-ens in the fields a-round;
The mois-ture ev-e-ry plant re-ceives,
And springs a-fresh in flow-ers and leaves.

Should God for-bid the show-ers to fall,
Nor send us any rain at all,
The ground would all grow hard and dry,
And ev-e-ry liv-ing plant would die.

All things would starve and per-ish then—
No food for birds, nor beasts, nor men;
Then do not mur-mur, nor com-plain,
God, in His good-ness, sends the rain.

— anonymous

Poetry – Twilight

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Twilight it is, and the far woods are dim, and the rooks cry and call.
Down in the valley the lamps, and the mist, and a star overall,
Thereby the rick, where they thresh, is the drone at an end,
Twilight it is, and I travel the road with my friend.

I think of the friends who are dead, who were dear long ago in the past,
Beautiful friends who are dead, though I know that death cannot last;
Friends with the beautiful eyes that the dust has defiled,
Beautiful souls who were gentle when I was a child.

— John Masefield

Poetry – Spring Morning

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Now the moisty wood discloses
Wrinkled leaves of primèroses,
While the birds, they flute and sing:
Build your nests, for here is Spring.

All about the open hills
Daisies shew their peasant frills,
Washed and white and newly spun
For a festival of sun.

Like a blossom from the sky,
Drops a yellow butterfly,
Dancing down the hedges grey
Snow-bestrewn till yesterday.

Squirrels skipping up the trees
Smell how Spring is in the breeze,
While the birds, they flute and sing:
Build your nests, for here is Spring.

— Frances Cornford

Poetry – The Snow-Drop (Mower)

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Sweet little unassuming flower,
It stays not for an April shower,
But dares to rear its tiny head,
While threat’ning clouds the skies o’erspread.

It ne’er displays the vain desire
To dress in flaunting gay attire;
No purple, scarlet, blue, or gold,
Deck its fair leaves when they unfold.

Born on a cold and wintry night,
Its flowing robes were snowy white;
No vernal zephyrs fan its form—
It often battles with the storm.

It never drank mild summer’s dew,
But chilling winds around it blew;
And hoary frost his mantle spread
Upon the little snow-drop’s bed.

I love this modest little flower;—
It comes in desolation’s hour
The barren landscape’s face to cheer,
When none beside it dares appear.

Just like the friend, whose brightest smile
Is spared, our sorrows to beguile;
Who like some angel from the sky,
When needed most, is ever nigh—

To pluck vile slander’s envious dart
From out the wounded, bleeding heart,
And raise from earth the drooping head
When all our summer friends are fled.

And shall these humble pages dare
Presume to ask, if they compare
With that fair, fragrant, precious gem,
Plucked from cold winter’s diadem?

‘Tis true both struggled into life,
Through scenes of sorrow, care and strife;
This poor, frail, intellectual flower
Was reared in no elysian bower.

No ray of fortune on it shone,—
It forced its weary way alone;
Up-springing from the barren sod,
Untilled, save by affliction’s rod.

— Sarah S. Mower

Poetry – Across the page of spotless white

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Across the page of spotless white
Friends trail the pen, and in our sight
Grow precious all the lines they write.

As for some white-sailed ship at sea,
So, little book, my watch for thee;
Return with freight of love to me.

— J. S. Ogilvie

Poetry – THE SNOWDROP (Tennyson )

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Many, many welcomes,
February fair-maid!
Ever as of old time,
Solitary firstling,
Coming in the cold time,
Prophet of the gay time,
Prophet of the May time,
Prophet of the roses,
Many, many welcomes,
February fair-maid!

Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Poetry – My Old Coat

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My Old Coat

BE ever true to me, thou well-loved coat,
For we are growing old together now,
These ten long years I’ve brushed thee every day
Myself; great Socrates the Sage, I trow
Had not done better! And if remorseless Fate
Gnaw with sharp tooth that poor, thin cloth of thine,
Resist, say I, with calm philosophy,
Let us not part, thou dear old friend of mine!

How I recall—(for even now I’m bless’d
With a good memory!), that glad day of days
When first I wore thee! It was at my feast;
My friends to crown my glory, sang thy praise.
Thy poverty and age that honor me
Have not yet made their early love decline—
They’re ready still to feast us once again.
Let us not part, thou dear old friend of mine!

Have I perfumed thee with those floods of musk,
Which the vain fop exhales before his glass?
Have I exposed thee, waiting audience,
To scorn and laughter of the great who pass?
Just for a paltry ribbon, all fair wide France
Was rent apart, but simply I combine
A few sweet wild-flowers for thine ornament.
Let us not part, thou dear old friend of mine!…

Fear nevermore those days of struggling vain,
When the same lowly destiny was ours;
Those days of pleasure intermix’d with pain,
Of sunny sky o’ercast by April showers.
Soon comes the night, for evening shadows fall,
And soon forever must I my coat resign.
Wait yet a little, together we’ll end it all,
And never part, thou dear old friend of mine!…

— Pierre Jean de Béranger