Archive for June, 2017

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

To William Drummond of Hawthornden by Mary Oxlie

I never rested on the Muses bed,
Nor dipt my Quill in the Thessalian Fountaine,
My rustick Muse was rudely fostered,
And flies too low to reach the double mountaine.

Then do not sparkes with your bright Suns compare,
Perfection in a Womans worke is rare;
From an untroubled mind should Verses flow;
My discontents makes mine too muddy show;
And hoarse encumbrances of houshold care
Where these remaine, the Muses ne’re repaire.

If thou dost extoll her Haire,
Or her Ivory Forehead faire,
Or those Stars whose bright reflection
Thrals thy heart in sweet subjection:
Or when to display thou seeks
The snow-mixt Roses on her Cheekes,
Or those Rubies soft and sweet,
Over those pretty Rows that meet.
The Chian Painter as asham’d
Hides his Picture so far fam’d;
And the Queen he carv’d it by.
With a blush her face doth dye,
Since those Lines do limne a Creature
That so far surpast her Feature.
When thou shew’st how fairest Flora
Prankt with pride the banks of Ora,
So thy Verse her streames doth honour,
Strangers grow enamoured on her,
All the Swans that swim in Po
Would their native brooks forgo,
And as loathing Phoebus beames,
Long to bath in cooler streames.
Tree-turn’d Daphne would be seen
In her Groves to flourish green,
And her Boughs would gladly spare
To frame a garland for thy haire,
That fairest Nymphs with finest fingers
May thee crown the best of singers.

But when thy Muse dissolv’d in show’rs,
Wailes that peerlesse Prince of ours,
Cropt by too untimely Fate,
Her mourning doth exasperate
Senselesse things to see thee moane,
Stones do weep, and Trees do groane,
Birds in aire, Fishes in flood,
Beasts in field forsake their food;
The Nymphs forgoing all their Bow’rs
Teare their Chaplets deckt with Flow’rs;
Sol himselfe with misty vapor
Hides from earth his glorious Tapor,
And as mov’d to heare thee plaine
Shews his griefe in show’rs of raine.

From: http://www.inspirationalstories.com/poems/to-william-drummond-of-hawthornden-mary-oxlie-of-morpet-poems/

Date: 1616

By: Mary Oxlie (fl. 1616)

Monday, 26 June 2017

An Hymne of the State of All Adams Posteritie by Elizabeth Oxenbridge Tyrwhitt

I am the fruit of Adams hands, through sin lockt in satans bands,
Destined to deth, the child of ire, a flaming brand of infernall fire:
Borne I was naked and bare, and spend my time in sorowe and care,
And shall returne unto the dust, and be deprived of carnall lust.
Yet thou father didst Jesus send, to pardon them that did offend:
We laud him in the work of might, that we be blessed in his sight.

From: https://www.poetrynook.com/poem/hymne-state-all-adams-posteritie

Date: 1574

By: Elizabeth Oxenbridge Tyrwhitt (c1519-1578)

Sunday, 25 June 2017

Wanting to Preserve by Fujiwara no Tamekane (Kyōgoku Tamekane)

Wanting to preserve
the seeds of the human heart
for eternity,
we return to the deep past —
the source of words in Japanese.

From: Hamill, Sam, Only Companion: Japanese Poems of Love and Longing, 2013, Shambhala: Boston & London, p. [unnumbered].
(https://books.google.com.au/books?id=f2CR_F6m360C)

Date: c1300 (original in Japanese); 1997 (translation in English)

By: Fujiwara no Tamekane (Kyōgoku Tamekane) (1254-1332)

Translated by: Sam Hamill (1943- )

Saturday, 24 June 2017

I Am He Whom I Love by Mansur al-Hallaj

I am He whom I love,
and He whom I love is I:
We are two spirits
dwelling in one body.
If thou seest me,
thou seest Him,
And if thou seest Him,
thou seest us both

From: https://allpoetry.com/Mansur-Al-Hallaj

Date: 9th century (original in Arabic); 1914 (translation in English)

By: Mansur al-Hallaj (c858-922)

Translated by: Reynold Alleyne Nicholson (1868-1945)

Friday, 23 June 2017

Save Water, Prodike by Rufinus

Save water, Prodike-
bath with a friend!
We’ll crown each other with foam,
and knock back some champagne.
We haven’t all that long
before our wrinkles mean
we’re past our shag-by date –
not just that the water is too hot.

From: http://www.poetrymagazines.org.uk/magazine/record.asp?id=16942

Date: ?3rd century (original in Greek); 2005 (translation in English)

By: Rufinus (?3rd century)

Translated by: Neil Philip (19??-)

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Midsummer by Louise Glück

On nights like this we used to swim in the quarry,
the boys making up games requiring them to tear off  the girls’ clothes
and the girls cooperating, because they had new bodies since last summer
and they wanted to exhibit them, the brave ones
leaping off  the high rocks — bodies crowding the water.

The nights were humid, still. The stone was cool and wet,
marble for  graveyards, for buildings that we never saw,
buildings in cities far away.

On cloudy nights, you were blind. Those nights the rocks were dangerous,
but in another way it was all dangerous, that was what we were after.
The summer started. Then the boys and girls began to pair off
but always there were a few left at the end — sometimes they’d keep watch,
sometimes they’d pretend to go off  with each other like the rest,
but what could they do there, in the woods? No one wanted to be them.
But they’d show up anyway, as though some night their luck would change,
fate would be a different fate.

At the beginning and at the end, though, we were all together.
After the evening chores, after the smaller children were in bed,
then we were free. Nobody said anything, but we knew the nights we’d meet
and the nights we wouldn’t. Once or twice, at the end of summer,
we could see a baby was going to come out of all that kissing.

And for those two, it was terrible, as terrible as being alone.
The game was over. We’d sit on the rocks smoking cigarettes,
worrying about the ones who weren’t there.

And then finally walk home through the fields,
because there was always work the next day.
And the next day, we were kids again, sitting on the front steps in the morning,
eating a peach.  Just that, but it seemed an honor to have a mouth.
And then going to work, which meant helping out in the fields.
One boy worked for an old lady, building shelves.
The house was very old, maybe built when the mountain was built.

And then the day faded. We were dreaming, waiting for night.
Standing at the front door at twilight, watching the shadows lengthen.
And a voice in the kitchen was always complaining about the heat,
wanting the heat to break.

Then the heat broke, the night was clear.
And you thought of  the boy or girl you’d be meeting later.
And you thought of  walking into the woods and lying down,
practicing all those things you were learning in the water.
And though sometimes you couldn’t see the person you were with,
there was no substitute for that person.

The summer night glowed; in the field, fireflies were glinting.
And for those who understood such things, the stars were sending messages:
You will leave the village where you were born
and in another country you’ll become very rich, very powerful,
but always you will mourn something you left behind, even though
you can’t say what it was,
and eventually you will return to seek it.

From: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poetrymagazine/poems/detail/50724

Date: 2008

By: Louise Glück (1943- )

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Garland for the Winter Solstice by Ruthven Campbell Todd

The sun stands still and flowers
Are all withdrawn, but memories
Give back cardinal lobelia, tall
Scarlet fountains for the humming-bird—
Vined, broken with blue and liver apios—
Beside hanging horns of jewelweed,
With pods which pop when prodded
By the idle or enquiring finger.

Also remain those favourite swamps
Where calopogon, butterfly-winged orchid,
Flaunted its magenta above pink-
Tinged sphagnum and crimson sundew,
Black water in the mind has purple spires
Of pickerelweed, and sweetly odoured
Lilies, richly scattered, and yellow cups
Of spatter-dock stemmed on the mud.

Orange pompons of butterfly-weed
Brighten the bare expanse of memory,
Where also grow the milkweed,
With rubbery white sap and knobbly pods,
Short-flowering stars of blue-eyed grass,
And rather more persistent amaryllis—
Golden stargrass on untravelled roads—
and the too seldom glory of wood-lily.

Asters and goldenrod for autumn equinox,
With the blue wheels of chicory, and,
At all times, the dandelion, that plant
Which, having become perfect for purpose,
Has forsaken sex and can evolve no more;
Also, little ladies’-tresses in the tawny fields,
And, under various trees, the last red-flushed
Indian-pipe—ghost-flower or fairy-smoke.

Before next solstice, I shall see once more
The arethusa by the woodland paths,
The galaxy of violets, and wintergreen,
Round-leaved and creamy belled,
Skunk-cabbage poke up beside a stream,
Bluets, whose masses make up for lack
Of size, and meadows staring white
With ox-eye daisies, untamed chrysanthemums.

There will be slender blue flag by the swamp,
And saffron-stamened deergrass,
Lambkill and lady’s-slippers in the wood,
And the wild rose with fragile petals.
The yellow thistle will rule sandy banks,
And the devil’s-paint-brush will be obvious
Among the tombstones, a curious irony;
Swamps will have candles, Linnaeus’ mistaken mistletoe.

Now, perched on this polar height
When all sap lies quiet and does not climb,
When all seems dead, I cultivate
The wild garden rioting in my memory,
Count in advance the treasures which
The sleeping sap contains, knowing that
Both alien and native will surely reappear
Regardless of my attentions and delight.

I see also that this deathlike sleep
Is only for a while. All is not interred
For bright scarlet partridge-berries
Shine among the green and polished leather leaves,
And through the snow emerge
Umbrellas and spikes of strange club-moss,
And winter runs from now toward
The waking of the sap and spring.

From: http://www.scottishpoetrylibrary.org.uk/poetry/poems/garland-winter-solstice

Date: 1955

By: Ruthven Campbell Todd (1914-1978)

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Hunting Kestrel, Danebury by Toby Martinez de las Rivas

Here is the ghost of a child I once knew
still playing among the withering harebells
& the gorgeous moue of the fairy flax.
I look beyond his bare golden head
to the kestrel that quarters the ramparts
& see a semblance of absolute love,
absolute mercy – at least a baffling, wild
joy – that, at least – in the watchfully poised
javelin of the head, the rapidity
of hér stoop & strike, hér failure, hér re-
lofting, the gaze that hungers into the spindle
without end: whose flowers are blood-red,
whose roots drive down among the lost chieftains.
A lonely god waits for us in the earth.

From: http://www.tupeloquarterly.com/seven-poems-by-toby-martinez-de-la-rivas/

Date: 2016

By: Toby Martinez de las Rivas (1983- )

Monday, 19 June 2017

Eleven Meetings by Julian Gustave Symons

Between nothing and their first meeting
Was the paraphernalia of greeting.
Hand touching on hand, the sudden
Look from which nothing is hidden.

Between their first and tenth meeting
Was a short time but much loving.
The days long and the nights longer,
Till death spoke with gun in his anger.

Between their tenth and last meeting
Was nothing: but at last the weeping
Face with which she regarded sadly
His face looking up at her coldly.

From: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poetrymagazine/browse?contentId=23175

Date: 1942

By: Julian Gustave Symons (1912-1994)

Sunday, 18 June 2017

He Came Too Late by Elizabeth Bogart

He came too late!–Neglect had tried
Her constancy too long;
Her love had yielded to her pride,
And the deep sense of wrong.
She scorned the offering of a heart
Which lingered on its way,
Till it could no delight impart,
Nor spread one cheering ray.
He came too late!–At once he felt
That all his power was o’er!
Indifference in her calm smile dwelt,
She thought of him no more.
Anger and grief had passed away,
Her heart and thoughts were free;
She met him and her words were gay,
No spell had memory.

He came too late!–the subtle chords
Of love were all unbound,
Not by offence of spoken words,
But by the slights that wound.
She knew that life held nothing now
That could the past repay,
Yet she disdained his tardy vow,
And coldly turned away.

He came too late!–Her countless dreams
Of hope had long since flown;
No charms dwelt in his chosen themes,
Nor in his whispered tone.
And when, with word and smile, he tried
Affection still to prove,
She nerved her heart with woman’s pride,
And spurned his fickle love.

From: http://www.lehigh.edu/~dek7/SSAWW/writ19CenBog.htm

Date: 1837

By: Elizabeth Bogart (1806-18??)