Archive for August, 2013

Saturday, 31 August 2013

Toast by Leonard Nathan

There was a woman in Ithaca
who cried softly all night
in the next room and helpless
I fell in love with her under the blanket
of snow that settled on all the roofs
of the town, filling up
every dark depression.

Next morning
in the motel coffee shop
I studied all the made-up faces
of women. Was it the middle-aged blonde
who kidded the waitress
or the young brunette lifting
her cup like a toast?

Love, whoever you are,
your courage was my companion
for many cold towns
after the betrayal of Ithaca,
and when I order coffee
in a strange place, still
I say, lifting, this is for you.


Date: 1985

By: Leonard Nathan (1924-2007)

Friday, 30 August 2013

To Night by Joseph Blanco White (José María Blanco y Crespo)

Mysterious Night! when our first parent knew
Thee from report divine, and heard thy name,
Did he not tremble for this lovely frame,
This glorious canopy of light and blue?
Yet ‘neath a curtain of translucent dew,
Bathed in the rays of the great setting flame,
Hesperus with the host of heaven came,
And lo! Creation widened in man’s view.
Who could have thought such darkness lay concealed
Within thy beams, O Sun! or who could find,
Whilst fly and leaf and insect stood revealed,
That to such countless orbs thou mad’st us blind!
Why do we then shun Death with anxious strife?
If Light can thus deceive, wherefore not Life?


Date: 1828

By: Joseph Blanco White (José María Blanco y Crespo) (1775-1841)

Thursday, 29 August 2013

Camera by Sanford Weiss

It is an opening, a
folding outwards whereby
the iris will draw up
light, encompassing a field

of cyclamen in September
and when the box is flushed
with light, cleansed
with a sweet light

the field is already
darker than we could imagine
and a white deer stands


Date: 1968

By: Sanford Weiss (?- )

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Sonnet IV by Josiah Conder

There’s beauty, motion, music in the stream,
And these are sweet; but sweeter are the flowers
That bathe therein: they live, and in the beam
Of morn unfold, closing when evening lowers,
And seem to feel the sunshine and the showers:—
Yet only seem; and therefore sweeter still,
The insect joying in his conscious powers
Of flight or sport, taking his little fill
Of happiness, ephemeral type of ours
Yet mind’s ethereal spark is wanting there,
And therefore sweeter are those chubby faces
Peeping through yonder gate, in which one traces
The dawn of soul, — speaking of mother’s care,
And hope; and love— in which the heart can share.

From: Conder, Josiah, The Star in the East; with Other Poems, 1824, Taylor and Hessey: London, p. 149.

Date: 1824

By: Josiah Conder (1789-1855)

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

This Gentle Surgery by Malachi Black

Once more the bright blade of a morning breeze
glides almost too easily through me,

and from the scuffle I’ve been sutured to
some flap of me is freed: I am severed

like a simile: an honest tenor
trembling toward the vehicle I mean

to be: a blackbird licking half notes
from the muscled, sap-damp branches

of the sugar maple tree . . . though I am still
a part of any part of every particle

of me, though I’ll be softly reconstructed
by the white gloves of metonymy,

I grieve: there is no feeling in a cut
that doesn’t heal a bit too much.


Date: 2009

By: Malachi Black (1982- )

Monday, 26 August 2013

My Own Epitaph by John Gay

Life is a jest, and all things show it,
I thought so once, but now I know it.

From: Gay, John, Poems on Several Occasions. Volume the Second, 1767, J and R Tonson, H Woodfall, W Strahan, et al: London, p. 154.

Date: 1720

By: John Gay (1685-1732)

Sunday, 25 August 2013

Blue Girls by John Crowe Ransom

Twirling your blue skirts, travelling the sward
Under the towers of your seminary,
Go listen to your teachers old and contrary
Without believing a word.

Tie the white fillets then about your hair
And think no more of what will come to pass
Than bluebirds that go walking on the grass
And chattering on the air.

Practice your beauty, blue girls, before it fail;
And I will cry with my loud lips and publish
Beauty which all our power shall never establish,
It is so frail.

For I could tell you a story which is true;
I know a woman with a terrible tongue,
Blear eyes fallen from blue,
All her perfections tarnished — yet it is not long
Since she was lovelier than any of you.


Date: 1924

By: John Crowe Ransom (1888-1974)

Saturday, 24 August 2013

To the Merry Poetaster at Sadlers-Hall in Cheapside by Samuel Garth

Unwieldy pedant, let thy awkward Muse
With centuries praise, with flatteries abuse.
To lash, and not be felt, in thee’s an art;
Thou ne’er had’st any but thy school-boys smart.
Then be advis’d, and scribble not again;
Thou art fashioned for a flail, and not a pen.
If B—–l’s immortal wit thou would’st descry,
Pretend ’tis he that writ thy poetry.
Thy feeble satire ne’er can do him wrong:
Thy poems and thy patients live not long.

From: Garth, Samuel, The Poetical Works of Sir Samuel Garth, MD, 1773, Kincaid and Creech: Edinburgh, p. 134.

Date: 1700

By: Samuel Garth (1661-1719)

Friday, 23 August 2013

Nothing Compares to You by Prince Rogers Nelson

It’s been seven hours and fifteen days
Since you took your love away
I go out every night and sleep all day
Since you took your love away
Since you been gone I can do whatever I want
I can see whomever I choose
I can eat my dinner in a fancy restaurant
But nothing
I said nothing can take away these blues
`Cause nothing compares
Nothing compares to you

It’s been so lonely without you here
Like a bird without a song
Nothing can stop these lonely tears from falling
Tell me baby where did I go wrong
I could put my arms around every boy I see
But they’d only remind me of you
I went to the doctor and guess what he told me
Guess what he told me
He said girl you better try have fun
No matter what you do
But he’s a fool
`Cause nothing compares
Nothing compares to you

All the flowers that you planted, sugar
In the back yard
All died when you went away
I know that living with you baby was sometimes hard
But I’m willing to give it another try
Nothing compares
Nothing compares to you.


Date: 1985

By: Prince Rogers Nelson (1958- )

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Sun by Henry Rowe

Angel, king of streaming morn;
Cherub, call’d by Heav’n to shine;
T’ orient tread the waste forlorn;
Guide ætherial, pow’r divine;
Thou, Lord of all within!

Golden spirit, lamp of day,
Host, that dips in blood the plain,
Bids the crimson’d mead be gay,
Bids the green blood burst the vein;
Thou, Lord of all within!

Soul, that wraps the globe in light;
Spirit, beckoning to arise;
Drives the frowning brow of night,
Glory bursting o’er the skies;
Thou, Lord of all within!


Date: 1796

By: Henry Rowe (1753-1819)