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Thread: neglected poets

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    neglected poets

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    The Emperor of Ice-Cream

    Call the roller of big cigars,
    The muscular one, and bid him whip
    In kitchen cups concupiscent curds.
    Let the wenches dawdle in such dress
    As they are used to wear, and let the boys
    Bring flowers in last month's newspapers.
    Let be be the finale of seem.
    The only emperor is the emperor of ice-cream.

    Take from the dresser of deal,
    Lacking the three glass knobs, that sheet
    On which she embroidered fantails once
    And spread it so as to cover her face.
    If her horny feet protrude, they come
    To show how cold she is, and dumb.
    Let the lamp affix its beam.
    The only emperor is the emperor of ice-cream.

    Wallace Stevens

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    The Bayadere

    [Ed. Note: "Bayadere" means "Hindu dancing girl."]

    NEAR strange, weird temples, where the Ganges' tide
    Bathes domed Lahore, I watched, by spice-trees fanned,
    Her agile form in some quaint saraband,
    A marvel of passionate chastity and pride.
    Nude to the loins, superb and leopard-eyed,
    With fragrant roses in her jeweled hand,
    Before some Kaat-drunk Rajah, mute and grand,
    Her flexile body bends, her white feet glide.
    The dull Kinoors throb one monotonous tune,
    And wail with zeal as in a hasheesh trance;
    Her scintillant eyes in vague, ecstatic charm
    Burn like black stars below the Orient moon,
    While the suave, dreamy languor of the dance
    Lulls the grim, drowsy cobra on her arm.

    Francis S. Saltus

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    The Song of Steel

    Yea, art thou lord, O Man, since Tubal Cain
    Brought me into being, white and torn with pain--
    Wrung me, in fierce, hot agony of birth,
    Writhing from out of the womb of mother earth.

    Art thou, then, king, and did I make thee lord,
    Clothe thee in mail and gird thee with the sword,
    Give thee the plough, the ax, the whirring wheel--
    To every subtle craft its tools of steel?

    Look! We have slain the forests, thou and I--
    Soiled the bright streams and murked the very sky;
    Crushed the glad hills and shocked the quiet stars
    With roaring factories and clanging cars!

    Thou builder of machines, who dost not see!
    That which thou mad'st to drive, is driving thee--
    Ravening, tireless, pitiless its strain
    For thy last ounce of work from hand and brain.
    .........
    Charles Buxton Going

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    Beauty

    HORNS to bulls wise Nature lends;
    Horses she with hoofs defends;
    Hares with nimble feet relieves;
    Dreadful teeth to lions gives;
    Fishes learn through streams to slide;
    Birds through yielding air to glide;
    Men to courage she supplies;
    But to women these denies.
    What then give she? Beauty, this
    Both their arms and armor is:
    She, that can this weapon use,
    Fire and sword with ease subdues.

    Anakreon (Translated by Thomas Stanley, 1651)

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    A Country Boy in Winter

    THE wind may blow the snow about,
    For all I care, says Jack,
    And I don't mind how cold it grows,
    For then the ice won't crack.
    Old folks may shiver all day long,
    But I shall never freeze;
    What cares a jolly boy like me
    For winter days like these?

    Far down the long snow-covered hills
    It is such fun to coast,
    So clear the road! the fastest sled
    There is in school I boast.
    The paint is pretty well worn off,
    But then I take the lead;
    A dandy sled's a loiterer,
    And I go in for speed.

    When I go home at supper-time,
    Ki! but my cheeks are red!
    They burn and sting like anything;
    I'm cross until I'm fed.
    You ought to see the biscuit go,
    I am so hungry then;
    And old Aunt Polly says that boys
    Eat twice as much as men.

    There's always something I can do
    To pass the time away;
    The dark comes quick in winter-time--
    A short and stormy day
    And when I give my mind to it,
    It's just as father says,
    I almost do a man's work now,
    And help him many ways.

    I shall be glad when I grow up
    And get all through with school,
    I'll show them by-and-by that I
    Was not meant for a fool.
    I'll take the crops off this old farm,
    I'll do the best I can.
    A jolly boy like me won't be
    A dolt when he's a man.

    I like to hear the old horse neigh
    Just as I come in sight,
    The oxen poke me with their horns
    To get their hay at night.
    Somehow the creatures seem like friends,
    And like to see me come.
    Some fellows talk about New York,
    But I shall stay at home.

    Sarah Orne Jewett 1849-1909/writer of short stories, novels, poetry and friends with Oliver Wendell Holmes, John Greenleaf Whittier, Henry James, Tennyson, Kipling and Willa Cather

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    The Marshes of Glynn
    by Sidney Lanier
    Glooms of the live-oaks, beautiful-braided and woven
    With intricate shades of the vines that myriad-cloven


    Clamber the forks of the multiform boughs,--

    Emerald twilights,--
    Virginal shy lights,

    Wrought of the leaves to allure to the whisper of vows,
    When lovers pace timidly down through the green colonnades
    Of the dim sweet woods, of the dear dark woods,


    Of the heavenly woods and glades,

    That run to the radiant margianl sand-beach within


    The wide sea-marshes of Glynn;--
    Beautiful glooms, soft dusks in the noon-day fire,--
    Wildwood privacies, closets of lone desire,
    Chamber from chamber parted with wavering arras of leaves,--
    Cells for the passionate pleasure of prayer to the soul that grieves,
    Pure with a sense of the passing of saints through the wood,
    Cool for the dutiful weighing of ill with good;--

    O braided dusks of the oak and woven shades of the vine,
    While the riotous noon-day sun of the June-day long did shine
    Ye held me fast in your heart and I held you fast in mine;
    But now when the noon is no more, and riot is rest,
    And the sun is a-wait at the ponderous gate of the West,
    And the slant yellow beam down the wood-aisle doth seem
    Like a lane into heaven that leads from a dream,--
    Ay, now, when my soul all day hath drunken the soul of the oak,
    And my heart is at ease from men, and the wearisome sound of the stroke


    Of the scythe of time and the trowel of trade is low,
    And belief overmasters doubt, and I know that I know,
    And my spirit is grown to a lordly great compass within,

    That the length and the breadth and the sweep of the marshes of Glynn
    Will work me no fear like the fear they have wrought me of yore
    When length was fatigue, and when breadth was but bitterness sore,
    And when terror and shrinking and dreary unnamable pain
    Drew over me out of the merciless miles of the plain,--

    Oh, now, unafraid, I am fain to face


    The vast sweet visage of space.

    To the edge of the wood I am drawn, I am drawn,
    Where the gray beach glimmering runs, as a belt of the dawn,


    For a mete and a mark

    To the forest-dark:--

    So:

    Affable live-oak, leaning low,--
    Thus--with your favor--soft, with a reverent hand,
    (Not lightly touching your person, Lord of the land!)
    Bending your beauty aside, with a step I stand
    On the firm-packed sand

    SIDNEY LANIER
    Last edited by quasimodo1; 07-16-2007 at 10:14 PM.

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    The Wall Street Pit

    I SEE the hell of faces surge and whirl,
    Like malestrom in the ocean--faces lean
    And fleshless as the talons of a hawk--
    Hot faces like the faces of the wolves
    That track the traveller fleeing through the night--
    Grim faces shrunken up and fallen in,
    Deep-plowed like weather-eaten bark of oak--
    Drawn faces like the faces of the dead,
    Grown suddenly old upon the brink of Earth.

    Is this a whirl of madmen ravening,
    And blowing bubbles in their merriment?
    Is Babel come again with shrieking crew
    To eat the dust and drink the roaring wind?
    And all for what? A handful of bright sand
    To buy a shroud with and a length of earth?

    Oh, saner are the hearts on stiller ways!
    Thrice happier they who, far from these wild hours
    Grow softly as the apples on a bough.
    Wiser the plowman with his scudding blade,
    Turning a straight, fresh furrow down a field--
    Wiser the herdsman whistling to his heart,
    In the long shadows at the break of day--
    Wiser the fisherman with quiet hand,
    Slanting his sail against the evening wind.

    The swallows sweep back south again,
    The green of May is edging all the boughs,
    The shy arbutus shimmers in the wood,
    And yet this hell of faces in the town--
    This storm of tongues, this whirlpool roaring on,
    Surrounded by the quiets of the hills;
    The great calm stars forever overhead,
    And, under all, the silence of the dead!

    Edwin Markham originally Charles Edward Anson American poet, farmer, bronco-rider, ranch hand, teacher, school principal and superintendent

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    Which are You?

    THERE are two kinds of people on earth to-day;
    Just two kinds of people, no more, I say.

    Not the sinner and saint, for it's well understood,
    The good are half bad, and the bad are half good.

    Not the rich and the poor, for to rate a man's wealth,
    You must first know the state of his conscience and health.

    Not the humble and proud, for in life's little span,
    Who puts on vain airs, is not counted a man.

    Not the happy and sad, for the swift flying years
    Bring each man his laughter and each man his tears.

    No; the two kinds of people on earth I mean,
    Are the people who lift, and the people who lean.

    Wherever you go, you will find the earth's masses,
    Are always divided in just these two classes.

    And oddly enough, you will find too, I ween,
    There's only one lifter to twenty who lean.

    In which class are you? Are you easing the load,
    Of overtaxed lifters, who toil down the road?

    Or are you a leaner, who lets others share
    Your portion of labor, and worry and care?

    by Michael Wigglesworth, 1631-1705, American poet

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    Strange Meeting

    IT seemed that out of battle I escaped
    Down some profound dull tunnel, long since scooped
    Through caverns which titanic wars had groined,
    Yet also there encumbered sleepers groaned,
    Too fast in sleep or death to be bestirred.
    Then, as I probed them, one sprang up, and stared
    With piteous recognition in fixed eyes,
    Lifting distressful hands as if to bless.
    And by his smile I knew that sullen hall.
    By his dead smile I knew we stood in Hell.
    With a thousand pains that vision's face was grained,
    Yet no blood reached there from the upper ground,
    And no guns whooped, or down the flues made moan.
    "Strange friend," I said, "here is no cause to mourn."
    "None," said the other, "save the undone years,
    The hopelessness. Whatever hope is yours
    Was my hope also; I went hunting wild
    After the wildest beauty in the world,
    Which lies not calm in eyes, or braided hair,
    But mocks the steady running of the hour,
    And if it grieves, grieves richlier than here.
    For of my glee might many men have laughed,
    And of my weeping something had been left
    Which must die now. I mean the truth untold:
    The pity of war, the pity war distilled.
    Now men will go content with what we spoiled,
    Or, discontent, boil bloody, and be spilled.
    They will be swift, with swiftness of the tigress.
    None will break ranks, though nations trek from progress.
    Courage was mine, and I had mystery;
    Wisdom was mine, and I had mastery
    To miss the march of this retreating world
    Into vain citadels that are not walled.
    Then, when much blood had clogged their chariots wheels,
    I would go up and wash them from sweet wells.
    Even with truths that lie too deep for taint
    I would have poured my spirit without stint.
    But not through wounds; not on the cess of war.
    Foreheads of men have bled where no wounds were.
    I am the enemy you killed, my friend.
    I knew you in this dark--for so you frowned
    Yesterday through me as you jabbed and killed.
    I parried, but my hands were loath and cold.
    Let us sleep now..."

    Wilfred Owen
    Has war changed that much? quasimodo1

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    Rainer Maria Rilke, neglected not by Europeans

    The Fourth Elegy

    O trees of life, oh, what when winter comes?
    We are not of one mind. Are not like birds
    in unison migrating. And overtaken,
    overdue, we thrust ourselves into the wind
    and fall to earth into indifferent ponds.
    Blossoming and withering we comprehend as one.
    And somewhere lions roam, quite unaware,
    in their magnificence, of any weaknesss.

    But we, while wholly concentrating on one thing,
    already feel the pressure of another.
    Hatred is our first response. And lovers,
    are they not forever invading one another's
    boundaries? -although they promised space,
    hunting and homeland. Then, for a sketch
    drawn at a moment's impulse, a ground of contrast
    is prepared, painfully, so that we may see.
    For they are most exact with us. We do not know
    the contours of our feelings. We only know
    what shapes them from the outside.
    ............

    Translated by Albert Ernest Flemming

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    Art

    IN placid hours well-pleased we dream
    Of many a brave unbodied scheme.
    But form to lend, pulsed life create,
    What unlike things must meet and mate:
    A flame to melt--a wind to freeze;
    Sad patience--joyous energies;
    Humility--yet pride and scorn;
    Instinct and study; love and hate;
    Audacity--reverence. These must mate,
    And fuse with Jacob's mystic heart,
    To wrestle with the angel--Art.

    Herman Melville

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    I Was Made of This and This

    (I WAS made of this and this --
    An angel's prayer, a gipsy's kiss.)

    My mother bore me prayerfully
    And reared me sweet as a gift for God,
    And taught me to look shudderingly
    On ways my father trod.
    ...........

    Gertrude Robinson Ross (from the best poems of 1923)

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    I Was Made of This and This

    (I WAS made of this and this --
    An angel's prayer, a gipsy's kiss.)

    My mother bore me prayerfully
    And reared me sweet as a gift for God,
    And taught me to look shudderingly
    On ways my father trod.

    They buried him long and long ago
    (I just remember his eyes were blue),
    He always did -- they say who know --
    Things it was wrong to do.
    ............
    Gertrude Robinson Ross (from the best poems of 1923)

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    I Cannot Sing the Old Songs

    I cannot sing the old songs,
    And even if I could,
    I could not find a listener
    To say that they were good.

    For poetry is modern,
    And poetry is "free,"
    And poetry's "expression,"
    And Poetry is Me.

    And poets all are busy,
    And poets have no time
    To waste on words melodic,
    Or spend on silly rhyme.
    ...........
    Franklin P. Adams
    From Christopher Columbus and Other Patriotic Verses (1931)
    Our task must be to free ourselves by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty
    ~Albert Einstein

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    Thomas Buchanan Read. 1822–1872

    150. Sheridan's Ride

    UP from the South at break of day,
    Bringing to Winchester fresh dismay,
    The affrighted air with a shudder bore,
    Like a herald in haste, to the chieftain's door,
    The terrible grumble, and rumble, and roar, 5
    Telling the battle was on once more,
    And Sheridan twenty miles away.

    And wider still those billows of war,
    Thundered along the horizon's bar;
    And louder yet into Winchester rolled 10
    The roar of that red sea uncontrolled,
    Making the blood of the listener cold,
    As he thought of the stake in that fiery fray,
    And Sheridan twenty miles away.

    But there is a road from Winchester town, 15
    A good, broad highway leading down;
    And there, through the flush of the morning light,
    A steed as black as the steeds of night,
    Was seen to pass, as with eagle flight,
    As if he knew the terrible need; 20
    He stretched away with his utmost speed;
    Hills rose and fell; but his heart was gay,
    With Sheridan fifteen miles away.

    Still sprung from those swift hoofs, thundering South,
    The dust, like smoke from the cannon's mouth; 25
    Or the trail of a comet, sweeping faster and faster,
    Foreboding to traitors the doom of disaster.
    The heart of the steed, and the heart of the master
    Were beating like prisoners assaulting their walls,
    Impatient to be where the battle-field calls; 30
    Every nerve of the charger was strained to full play,
    With Sheridan only ten miles away.

    Under his spurning feet the road
    Like an arrowy Alpine river flowed,
    And the landscape sped away behind 35
    Like an ocean flying before the wind,
    And the steed, like a barque fed with furnace ire,
    Swept on, with his wild eyes full of fire.
    But lo! he is nearing his heart's desire;
    He is snuffing the smoke of the roaring fray, 40
    With Sheridan only five miles away.

    The first that the general saw were the groups
    Of stragglers, and then the retreating troops;
    What was done? what to do? a glance told him both,
    Then, striking his spurs, with a terrible oath, 45
    He dashed down the line 'mid a storm of huzzas,
    And the wave of retreat checked its course there, because
    The sight of the master compelled it to pause.
    With foam and with dust the black charger was gray;
    By the flash of his eye, and the red nostril's play, 50
    He seemed to the whole great army to say,
    "I have brought you Sheridan all the way
    From Winchester, down to save the day!"

    Hurrah! hurrah for Sheridan!
    Hurrah! hurrah for horse and man! 55
    And when their statues are placed on high,
    Under the dome of the Union sky,
    The American soldier's Temple of Fame;
    There with the glorious general's name,
    Be it said, in letters both bold and bright, 60
    "Here is the steed that saved the day,
    By carrying Sheridan into the fight,
    From Winchester, twenty miles away!"

    Thomas Buchanan Read was just one of many poets who wrote immortal lines about the was that allowed the US to survive as a national entity. More soldiers died in one day at Antietem, Maryland than any other day in the military history of the United States.

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