Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Cupid Lost


-Late in the Forest I did Cupid See
...Colde, wet, and crying he had lost his way,
...And being blind was farther like to stray:
...Which sight a kind compassion bred in me,

I kindly took, and dried him, while that he
...Poor child complain'd he starved was with stay,
...And pined for want of his accustom'd play,
...For none in that wild place his host would be,

I glad was of his finding, thinking sure
...This service should my freedom still procure,
...And in my arms I took him then unharmed,

Carrying him safe unto a myrtle bower
...But in the way he made me feel his power,
...Burning my heart who had him kindly warmed.

(From) A Valentine


When to Love's influence woman yields,
She loves for life! and daily feels
Progressive tenderness!--each hour
Confirms, extends, the tyrant's power!
Her lover is her god! her fate!--
Vain pleasures, riches, wordly state,
Are trifles all!--each sacrifice
Becomes a dear and valued prize,
If made for him, e'en tho' he proves
Forgetful of their former loves!

Pastoral Dialogue


Remember when you love, from that same hour
Your peace you put into your lover’s power;
From that same hour from him you laws receive,
And as he shall ordain, you joy, or grieve,
Hope, fear, laugh, weep; Reason aloof does stand,
Disabled both to act, and to command.
Oh cruel fetters! rather wish to feel
On your soft limbs, the galling weight of steel;
Rather to bloody wounds oppose your breast.
No ill, by which the body can be pressed
You will so sensible a torment find
As shackles on your captived mind.
The mind from heaven its high descent did draw,
And brooks uneasily any other law
Than what from Reason dictated shall be.
Reason, a kind of innate deity,
Which only can adapt to ev’ry soul
A yoke so fit and light, that the control
All liberty excels; so sweet a sway,
The same ’tis to be happy, and obey;
Commands so wise, and with rewards so dressed,
That the according soul replies “I’m blessed.”

Love Letter


Not easy to state the change you made.
If I'm alive now, then I was dead,
Though, like a stone, unbothered by it,
Staying put according to habit.
You didn't just tow me an inch, no--
Nor leave me to set my small bald eye
Skyward again, without hope, of course,
Of apprehending blueness, or stars.

That wasn't it. I slept, say: a snake
Masked among black rocks as a black rock
In the white hiatus of winter--
Like my neighbors, taking no pleasure
In the million perfectly-chisled
Cheeks alighting each moment to melt
My cheeks of basalt. They turned to tears,
Angels weeping over dull natures,
But didn't convince me. Those tears froze.
Each dead head had a visor of ice.

And I slept on like a bent finger.
The first thing I was was sheer air
And the locked drops rising in dew
Limpid as spirits. Many stones lay
Dense and expressionless round about.
I didn't know what to make of it.
I shone, mice-scaled, and unfolded
To pour myself out like a fluid
Among bird feet and the stems of plants.
I wasn't fooled. I knew you at once.

Tree and stone glittered, without shadows.
My finger-length grew lucent as glass.
I started to bud like a March twig:
An arm and a leg, and arm, a leg.
From stone to cloud, so I ascended.
Now I resemble a sort of god
Floating through the air in my soul-shift
Pure as a pane of ice. It's a gift.

Thursday, September 23, 2010



To-day there have been lovely things
I never saw before;
Sunlight through a jar of marmalade;
A blue gate;
A rainbow
In soapsuds on dishwater;
Candelight on butter;
The crinkled smile of a little girl
Who had new shoes with tassels;
A chickadee on a thorn-apple;
Empurpled mud under a willow,
Where white geese slept;
White ruffled curtains sifting moonlight
On the scrubbed kitchen floor;
The under side of a white-oak leaf;
Ruts in the road at sunset:
An egg yolk in a blue bowl.

My love kissed my eyes last night.

Friday, September 17, 2010

A Birthday


My heart is like a singing bird
Whose nest is in a watered shoot;
My heart is like an apple tree
Whose boughs are bent with thickset fruit;
My heart is like a rainbow shell
That paddles in a halcyon sea;
My heart is gladder than all these
Because my love is come to me.
Raise me a dais of silk and down;
Hang it with vair and purple dyes;
Carve it in doves, and pomegranates,
And peacocks with a hundred eyes;
Work it in gold and silver grapes,
In leaves, and silver fleurs-de-lys;
Because the birthday of my life
Is come, my love is come to me.

The Quest


High, hollowed in green
above the rocks of reason
lies the crater lake
whose ice the dreamer breaks
to find a summer season.

'He will plunge like a plummet down
far into hungry tides'
they cry, but as the sea
climbs to a lunar magnet
so the dreamer pursues
the lake where love resides.

A Song


Love, thou art best of Human Joys,
Our chiefest Happiness below;
All other Pleasures are but Toys,
Musick without Thee is but Noise,
And Beauty but an empty show.

Heav’n , who knew best what Man wou’d move,
And raise his Thoughts above the Brute;
Said, Let him Be, and Let him Love;
That must alone his Soul improve,
Howe’er Philosophers dispute.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Saddest Poem


Write, for instance: "The night is full of stars,
and the stars, blue, shiver in the distance."

The night wind whirls in the sky and sings.

I can write the saddest poem of all tonight.
I loved her, and sometimes she loved me too.

On nights like this, I held her in my arms.
I kissed her so many times under the infinite sky.

She loved me, sometimes I loved her.
How could I not have loved her large, still eyes?

I can write the saddest poem of all tonight.
To think I don't have her. To feel that I've lost her.

To hear the immense night, more immense without her.
And the poem falls to the soul as dew to grass.

What does it matter that my love couldn't keep her.
The night is full of stars and she is not with me.

That's all. Far away, someone sings. Far away.
My soul is lost without her.

As if to bring her near, my eyes search for her.
My heart searches for her and she is not with me.

The same night that whitens the same trees.
We, we who were, we are the same no longer.

I no longer love her, true, but how much I loved her.
My voice searched the wind to touch her ear.

Someone else's. She will be someone else's. As she once
belonged to my kisses.
Her voice, her light body. Her infinite eyes.

I no longer love her, true, but perhaps I love her.
Love is so short and oblivion so long.

Because on nights like this I held her in my arms,
my soul is lost without her.

Although this may be the last pain she causes me,
and this may be the last poem I write for her.

I Remember


By the first of August
the invisible beetles began
to snore and the grass was
as tough as hemp and was
no color—no more than
the sand was a color and
we had worn our bare feet
bare since the twentieth
of June and there were times
we forgot to wind up your
alarm clock and some nights
we took our gin warm and neat
from old jelly glasses while
the sun blew out of sight
like a red picture hat and
one day I tied my hair back
with a ribbon and you said
that I looked almost like
a puritan lady and what
I remember best is that
the door to your room was
the door to mine.

I Would Live In Your Love


I would live in your love as the sea-grasses live in the sea,
Borne up by each wave as it passes, drawn down by each wave that recedes;
I would empty my soul of the dreams that have gathered in me,
I would beat with your heart as it beats, I would follow your soul as it leads.



O Love! that stronger art than wine,
Pleasing delusion, witchery divine,
Wont to be prized above all wealth,
Disease that has more joys than health;
Though we blaspheme thee in our pain,
And of thy tyranny complain,
We are all bettered by they reign.
What reason never can bestow
We to this useful passion owe;
Love wakes the dull from sluggish ease,
And learns a clown the art to please,
Humbles the vain, kindles the cold,
Makes misers free, and cowards bold;
’Tis he reforms the sot from drink,
And teaches airy fops to think.

When full brute appetite is fed,
And choked the glutton lies and dead,
Thou new spirits dost dispense
And ’finest the gross delights of sense:
Virtue’s unconquerable aid
That against Nature can persuade,
And makes a roving mind retire
Within the bounds of just desire;
Cheerer of age, youth’s kind unrest,
And half the heaven of the blest!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Uphold Me


And still my feelings sprout richest
in the furrow ploughed by my father:
caress me as a daughter
to gather a total harvest.
I accept you with every blemish
as I did the man in my childhood
as a measure of my own value;
be David to make me Bathsheba,
elaborate me with legends,
uphold me in the image
I formed of myself when I was
indomitable like grass
and passion lay fallow.

The Sea's Wash In The Hollow Of The Heart...


Turn from that road's beguiling ease; return
to your hunger's turret. Enter, climb the stair
chill with disuse, where the croaking toad of time
regards from shimmering eyes your slow ascent
and the drip, drip, of darkness glimmers on the stone
to show you how your longing waits alone.
What alchemy shines from under that shut door,
spinning out gold from the hollow of the heart?

Enter the turret of your love, and lie
close in the arms of the sea; let in new suns
that beat and echo in the mind like sounds
risen from sunken cities lost to fear;
let in the light that answers your desire
awakening at midnight with the fire,
until its magic burns the wavering sea
and flames carress the windows of your tower.

Secret Flowers


Is love a light for me? A steady light,
A lamp within whose pallid pool I dream
Over old love-books? Or is it a gleam,
A lantern coming towards me from afar
Down a dark mountain? Is my love a star?
Ah me!---so high above so coldly bright!

The fire dances. Is my love a fire
Leaping down the twilight muddy and bold?
Nay, I'd be frightened of him. I'm too cold
For quick and eager loving. There's a gold
Sheen on these flower petals as they fold
More truly mine, more like to my desire.

The flower petals fold. They are by the sun
Forgotten. In a shadowy wood they grow
Where the dark trees keep up a to-and-fro
Shadowy waving. Who will watch them shine
When I have dreamed my dream? Ah, darling mine,
Find them, gather them for me one by one.

Heart and Mind


Said the Lion to the Lioness-'When you are amber dust,-
No more a raging fire like the heat of the Sun
(No liking but all lust)-
Remember still the flowering of the amber blood and bone,
The rippling of bright muscles like a sea,
Remember the rose-prickles of bright paws
Though the fire of that sun the heart and the moon-cold bone are one.'

Said the Skeleton lying upon the sands of Time-
'The great gold planet that is the mourning heat of the Sun
Is greater than all gold, more powerful
Than the tawny body of a Lion that fire consumes
Like all that grows or is the heart

More powerful than all dust. Once I was Hercules
Or Samson, strong as the pillars of the seas:
But the flames of the heart consumed me, and the mind
Is but a foolish wind.'

Said the Sun to the Moon-'When you are but a lonely white crone,
And I, a dead King in my golden armour somewhere in a dark wood,
Remember only this of our hopeless love
That never till Time is done
Will the fire of the heart and the fire of the mind be one.'

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Love Me At Last


Love me at last, or if you will not,
Leave me;
Hard words could never, as these half-words,
Grieve me:
Love me at last---or leave me.

Love me at last, or let the last word uttered
Be but your own;
Love me, or leave me---as a cloud, a vapor,
Or a bird flown.
Love me at last---I am but sliding water
Over a stone.

The Request of Alexis


Give, give me back that Trifle you despise,
Give back my Heart, with all its Injuries:
Tho’ by your Cruelty it wounded be,
The Thing is yet of wond’rous Use to me.
A gen’rous Conqueror, when the Battle’s won,
Bestows a Charity on the Undone:
If from the well aim’d Stroke no Hope appear,
He kills the Wretch, and shews Compassion there:
But you, Barbarian! keep alive Pain,
A lasting Trophy of Unjust Disdain.



Whilst thou art far away, I am at peace,
As some poor wretch, delivered from the rack,
Enjoys the slumber of a doubtful ease
Knowing he must be haled to tortured back.

In this embattled city of old days,
The flower of beauty born of blood and fire,
My footsteps wander through the narrow ways,
And seek in vain the soulod of my desire;

I feast upon my dreams' immortal food,
But when there comes again the thought of thee,
It is as if slow heavy drops of blood
Dripped from a wound within unceasingly.

Monday, September 6, 2010

The Vain Advice


Ah, gaze not on those eyes! forbear
That soft enchanting voice to hear:
Not looks of basilisks give surer death,
Nor Syrens sing with more destructive breath.

Fly, if thy freedom thou’dst maintain,
Alas! I feel th’advice is vain!
A heart, whose safety but in flight does lie,
Is too far lost to have the power to fly.



O you,
Who came upon me once
Stretched under apple-trees just after bathing,
Why did you not strangle me before speaking
Rather than fill me with the wild white honey of your words
And then leave me to the mercy
Of the forest bees?

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The Letter


I take my pen in hand
there was a meadow
Beside a field of oats, beside a wood,
Beside a road, beside a day spread out
Green at the edges, yellow at the heart.
The dust lifted a little, a finger’s breadth,
The word of the wood pigeon traveled slow,
A slow half pace behind the tick of time.

To tell you I am well, and thinking of you
And of the walk through the meadow,
and of another walk
Along the neat piled ruin of the town
Under a pale heaven, empty of all but death
And rain beginning. The river ran beside.

It has been a long time since I wrote. I have no news.
I put my head between my hands and hope
My heat will choke me. I put out my hand
To touch you and touch air. I turn to sleep
And find a nightmare, hollowness and fear.

And by the way, I have had no letter now
For eight weeks, it must be
a long eight weeks,
Because you have nothing to say, nothing at all,
Not even to record your emptiness
Or guess what’s to become of you without love.

I know you have cares,
Ashes to shovel, broken glass to mend
And many a cloth to patch before the sunset.

Write to me soon, and tell me how you are.
If you still tremble, sweat and glower, still stretch
A hand for me at dusk, play me the tune,
Show me the leaves and towers, the lamb, the rose.

Because I always wish to hear of you
And feel my heart swell, and the blood run out
At the ungraceful syllable of your name
Said through the scent of stocks, the little snore of fire,
The shoreless waves of symphony, the murmuring night.

I will end this letter now. I am yours with love.
Always with love, with love.