Posts Tagged 'poetry'

Aubade by Edna St. Vincent Millay

from “Aubade”

From the wound of my enemy that thrust me through in the dark wood
I arose; with sweat on my lip and the wild wood grasses in my spur
I arose and stood.
But never did I arise from loving her.

Millay, Edna St. Vincent. Collected Poems of Edna St. Vincent Millay. New York: Harper, 1939.

The Oak Leaves by Edna St. Vincent Millay

The Oak Leaves

Yet in the end, defeated too, worn out and ready to fall,
Hangs from the drowsy tree with cramped and desperate stem above the ditch the last leaf of all.

There is something to be learned, I guess, from looking at the dead leaves under the living tree;
Something to be set to a lusty tune and learned and sung, it well might be;
Something to be learned–though I was ever a ten-o’clock scholar at this school–
Even perhaps by me.

But my heart goes out to the oak-leaves that are the last to sigh “Enough,” and lose their hold;
They have boasted to the nudging frost and to the two-and-thirty winds that they would never die,
Never even grow old.
(These are those russet leaves that cling
All winter, even into the spring,
To the dormant bough, in the wood knee-deep in the snow the only colored thing.

Millay, Edna St. Vincent. Collected Poems of Edna St. Vincent Millay. New York: Harper, 1939.

Autumn Daybreak by Edna St. Vincent Millay

Autumn Daybreak
Edna St. Vincent Millay

Cold wind of autumn, blowing loud
At dawn, a fortnight overdue,
Jostling the doors, and tearing through
My bedroom to rejoin the cloud,

I know—for I can hear the hiss
And scrape of leaves along the floor—
How may boughs, lashed bare by this,
Will rake the cluttered sky once more.

Tardy, and somewhat south of east,
The sun will rise at length, made known
More by the meagre light increased
Than by a disk in splendour shown;

When, having but to turn my head,
Through the stripped maple I shall see,
Bleak and remembered, patched with red,
The hill all summer hid from me.

Millay, Edna St. Vincent. Collected Poems of Edna St. Vincent Millay. New York: Harper, 1939.

From A Very Little Sphinx by Edna St. Vincent Millay

from A Very Little Sphinx…

I
Come along in then, little girl!
Or else stay out!
But in the open door she stands,
And bites her lip and twists her hands,
And stares upon me, trouble-eyed:
“Mother,” she says,
“I can’t decide! I can’t decide!”

Millay, Edna St. Vincent. Collected Poems of Edna St. Vincent Millay. New York: Harper, 1939.

The Anguish by Edna St. Vincent Millay

The Anguish

I would to God I were quenched and fed
As in my youth
From the flask of song, and the good bread
Of beauty richer than truth.

The anguish of the world is on my tongue.
My bowl is filled to the brim with it; there is more than I can eat.
Happy are the toothless old and the toothless young,
That cannot rend this meat.

Millay, Edna St. Vincent. Collected Poems of Edna St. Vincent Millay. New York: Harper, 1939.

The Philosopher by Edna St. Vincent Millay

The Philosopher
Edna St. Vincent Millay

AND what are you that, missing you,
I should be kept awake
As many nights as there are days
With weeping for your sake?

And what are you that, missing you,
As many days as crawl
I should be listening to the wind
And looking at the wall?

I know a man that’s a braver man
And twenty men as kind,
And what are you, that you should be
The one man in my mind?

Yet women’s ways are witless ways,
As any sage will tell,–
And what am I, that I should love
So wisely and so well?

Millay, Edna St. Vincent. Collected Poems of Edna St. Vincent Millay. New York: Harper, 1939.

A Moment by Mary Elizabeth Coleridge

The clouds had made a crimson crown
Above the mountains high.
The stormy sun was going down
In a stormy sky.

Why did you let your eyes so rest on me,
And hold your breath between?
In all the ages this can never be
As if it had not been.

The Letter by Dana Gioia

And in the end, all that is really left
Is a feeling—strong and unavoidable—
That somehow we deserved something better.
That somewhere along the line things
Got fouled up. And that letter from whoever’s
In charge, which certainly would have set
Everything straight between us and the world,
Never reached us. Got lost somewhere.
Possibly mislaid in some provincial station.
Or sent by mistake to an old address
Whose new tenant put it on her dresser
With the curlers and the hairspray forgetting
To give it to the landlord to forward.
And we still wait like children who have sent
Two weeks’ allowance far away
To answer an enticing advertisement
From a crumbling, yellow magazine,
Watching through years as long as a childhood summer,
Checking the postbox with impatient faith
Even on days when mail is never brought.

 

Daily Horoscope: Poems (Graywolf Press, 1986)

The West Wind (Part 9) by Mary Oliver

And what did you think love would be like? A summer day? The brambles in their places, and the long stretches of mud? Flowers in every field, in every garden, with their soft beaks and their pastel shoulders? On one street after another, the litter ticks in the gutter. In one room after another, the lovers meet, quarrel, sicken, break apart, cry out. One or two leap from windows. Most simply lean, exhausted, their thin arms on the sill. They have done all that they could. The golden eagle, that lives not far from here, has perhaps a thousand tiny feathers flowing from the back of its head, each one shaped like an infinitely small but perfect spear.

 

Oliver, Mary. “West Wind.” New and Selected Poems. Volume Two. Boston, MA: Beacon, 2005.  

The Storm by Mary Oliver

Now through the white orchard my little dog
romps, breaking the new snow
with wild feet.
Running here running there, excited,
hardly able to stop, he leaps, he spins
until the white snow is written upon
in large, exuberant letters,
a long sentence, expressing
the pleasures of the body in this world.

Oh, I could not have said it better
myself.

 

Oliver, Mary. “The Storm.” New and Selected Poems. Volume Two. Boston, MA: Beacon, 2005.