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from Dylan Thomas, Poem in October
William Wordsworth, Ode: Intimations of Immortality
from Recollections of Early Childhood
Alfred Lord Tennyson,
Idylls of the King (Upon
Arthur's 1st sight of Guinevere)
Craig Welch, Lines Written of Pictures Drawn and Given to Jimmy
Night Song of Our Hearts' Desire
The Storm Today
My Springtime Day
On the Death of Robert Kennedy
The Death of Sweetness
Mary Elizabeth Frye, Do not stand at my grave and weep
Streamed again a wonder of summer
Pears and red currants
And I saw in the turning so clearly a child's
Forgotten mornings when he walked with his mother
Through the parables
Of sun light ,
And the legends of the green chapels
And the twice told fields of infancy
That his tears burned my cheeks and his heart moved in mine.
These were the woods the river and sea
Where a boy
In the listening summertime of the dead whispered the truth of his joy
To the trees and the stones and the fish in the tide
And the mystery
Still in the water and singingbirds
And there could I marvel my birthday
Away but the weather turned around. And the true
Joy of the long dead child sang burning
In the sun.
It was my thirtieth
Year to heaven stood there in the summer noon
Though the town below lay leaved in October blood.
O may my heart's truth
Still be sung
On this high hill in a year's turning.
fromDylan Thomas, Poem in October (emphasis added)
There was a time when meadow, grove and
The earth, and every common sight,
To me did seem
Appareled in celestial light,
The glory and the freshness of a dream.
It is not now as it hath been of yore;--
Turn whereso'er I may,
By night or day,
The things which I have seen I now can see no more.
The rainbow comes and goes,
And lovely is the rose,
The moon doth with delight
Look round her when the heavens are bare,
Waters on a starry night
Are beautiful and fair;
The sunshine is a glorious birth
But yet I know, where'er I go,
That there hath passed away a glory from the earth.
Our birth is but a sleep and a
The soul that rises with us, our life's star,
Hath had elsewhere its setting,
And cometh from afar;
Not in entire forgetfulness,
And not in utter nakedness,
But trailing clouds of glory do we come
From God who is our home.
Heaven lies about us in our infancy;
Shades of the prison house begin to close
Upon the growing boy
But he beholds the light, and whence it flows.
The thought of our past years in me doth
Perpetual benediction: not indeed
For that which is most worthy to be blest --
Delight and liberty, the simple creed
Of childhood, whether busy or at rest,
With new-fledged hope still fluttering in his breast:--
Not for these I raise
The song of Thanks and praise
But for those obstinate questionings
Of sense and outward things
Fallings from us, vanishings;
Blank misgivings of a creature
Moving about in worlds not realized,
High instincts before which our mortal nature
Did tremble like a guilty thing surprised:
But for those first affections
Those shadowy recollections,
Which, be they what they may
Are yet the fountain-light of all our day,
Are yet a master-light of all our seeing;
Uphold us, cherish, and have power to make
Our noisy years seem moments in the being
Of the eternal silence; truths that wake
To perish never:
Which neither listlessness, nor mad endeavor,
Nor man nor boy,
Nor all that is at enmity with joy,
Can utterly abolish or destroy!
Hence in a season of calm whether,
Though inland far we be,
Our should have sight of that immortal sea
Which brought us hither,
Can in a moment travel thither
And see the children sport upon the shore
And hear the mighty waters rolling evermore
Then sing, ye birds! Sing, sing a joyous
And let the young lambs bound
As to the tabor's sound!
We in thought will join your throng,
Ye that pipe and ye that play,
Ye that through your hearts today
Feel the gladness of the May!
What though the radiance which was once so bright
Be now forever taken from my sight,
Though nothing can bring back the hour
Of splendor in the grass, or glory in the flower;
We will grieve not, rather find
Strength in what remains behind;
In the primal sympathy
Which having been must ever be;
In the soothing thoughts that spring
Out of human suffering;
In the faith that looks through death
In years that bring the philosophical mind
Ode: Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood
Arthur, passing thence to battle, felt
Travail, and throes and agonies of the life,
Desiring to be join'd with Guinevere,
And thinking as he rode: "Her father said
That there between the man and beast they die.
Shall I not lift her from this land of beasts
Up to my throne and side by side with me?
What happiness to reign a lonely king,
Vext -- O ye stars that shudder over me
O earth that soundest hollow under me,
Vext with waste dreams?
...for saving I be join'd
To her that is the fairest under heaven,
I seem as nothing in the mighty world,
And cannot will my will nor work my work
Wholly, nor make myself in mine own realm
Victor and lord. But were I join'd with her
Then might we live together as one life,
And reigning with one will in everything
Have power on this dark land to lighten it,
And power on this dead world to make it live."
Alfred Lord Tennyson, Idylls of the
Not I, not I, but the wind
that blows through me!
A fine wind is blowing the new direction of Time.
If only I let it bear me, carry me, if only it carry me!
If only I am sensitive, subtle, oh, delicate, a winged gift!
If only, most lovely of all, I yield myself and am borrowed
By the fine, fine wind that takes its course though the chaos of the world
Like a fine, and exquisite chisel, a wedge-blade inserted;
If only I am keen and hard like the sheer tip of a wedge
Driven by invisible blows,
The rock will split, we shall come at the wonder, we shall find the Hesperides.
Oh, for the wonder that bubbles into my soul,
I would be a good fountain, a good well-head,
Would blur no whisper, spoil no expression.
What is the knocking?
What is the knocking at the door in the night?
It's somebody wants to do us harm.
No, no, it is the three strange angels.
Admit them, admit them.
DH Lawrence: The Song of a Man Who Has Come Through
Lines, wandering thoughts,
Curling script of love
Weave intricate rhythms
Beat desire's dew on breath
Upon my pages
Of time's unfolding,
Of forests still untold
Gather thoughts that wander;
Find love's traceries
Upon vacant windows
Panes of eye, leaf and space.
Lines, words unspelled, unspoken
Promises that ever linger Unbroken
Make pictures of spirit-warmth kindled.
These I give my soul's companion
Craig Welch, Lines Written of Pictures Drawn and Given to Jimmy (mid-1970s)
Dark descends upon the mist.
Heavy air of night
Obscures the world from thoughtful view.
The hammock sways.
The mind recedes.
Listening time has come.
Silence fills with
The bird cry sounds,
The mother and its child embrace.
Beloveds hear their suitors’ song.
Each reaching for its other.
Though dark, the jungle is
It’s sounds are life in harmony,
At peace amidst complexity.
Our way is that we seek our love;
We seek our hearts’ desire.
A city night, in darkened cold.
Your face emerged into my light,
Still shadowed but perceptible,
Warily you poked at me,
To sense my mind and heart.
Your caution sought to ask, to test,
To pound your fist and hear my chest.
Through furtive glance, oblique restraint,
In time your heart heard my heart’s song.
Our way is that we seek our love.
We sing our hearts’ desire.
The nights have grown to
months and years,
Some rich with joy, some dark with fear,
And thick with fog of doubt
The mind obsesses round about,
No simple light to see by.
Love settles your anxiety
Enfolded in my care.
Our calls of love, our sweet embrace,
Each reaching for each other..
Though dark, our jungle is
Its sounds are life in harmony,
At peace amidst complexity.
We can not but both sing our love.
We are our hearts’ desire
Night Song of Our Heart's Desire
2002, EcoPark, Amazona, Brasil
At the gate,
Along the roads,
Amidst the marble markers,
Stands a mighty iron cross --
The martyr that is woman.
Worn, but not smooth,
No – ragged and piercing sharp,
With graying eyes that scan the land.
Seeking always the wind that wore her down.
Calling – shouting fiercely – unafraid:
Bring on the wind!
Let it wrap me ‘round
And rip me sharp
Or swathe me smooth
Caress my aching body!
And bring the rain
To shoot down from Above!
Bash and batter,
Splash and splatter
On my back and buttock
The sleet and hail to pierce my head
And wrack my brain;
To lift me –
Not off the ground,
Beyond the pointy, spear-tipped gates
Above the hills and mountain peaks,…
There will I bathe in the softness
of freshly fallen raindrops,
Rolling o’er my roundly rising breast
Sloping sweetly down
To kiss me softly.
The lips of raindrops,
And then again, again…forever.
Yes! Come the wind!
And, Come the storm!
I will fight with it
And delight with it,
Watching it with graying eyes
That scan the land
That see all colors –
All but gray.
With graying eyes I watch the storm
And love the storm
And kiss and hug the mighty storm
Enfold it now
And scold the wind
Then mold the ice
To make the storm both freeze and warm
And bite but soothe
And love Me all about;
That makes the iron on me live.
Yes, bring the wind!
And I will feel them,
Oh, so nice,
Whirl ‘round about me
Howl and shout
And sweetly coo
And woo my heart,
The light of all,
I saw the strangest storm today.
The sky above us ached and swirled in grey,
Threatening with anger, rain and snow
Beyond the nearby grey,
Sunlight lit a peaceful sky,
Filled just right with striking clouds
Rising proud and white.
The wind blew up between us,
Bringing cold and warming
Visiting, it seemed, both here in grey
And there in sunlit blue.
Blustering about, confused,
The clouds would toss off half-formed hail-stones
Turning into rain or snow,
Almost stopping then.
Frank's face was red and messed with hair.
His eyes were wet;
I couldn't separate the rain from tears.
He's racing bikes and winning now;
Yelling at me vigorously,
Shifting all his energy around,
Flushing in the weather --
Telling me of my insults,
How I've twisted others' wills
In selfish, narrow ways.
He said how I ignore my self
And run my race tied down.
He taunted me to cry.
He stuck his fist down in me
And, flinching, pulled with all his might.
I told him, trembling, that I'd hoped
This summer I'd ask him to take me camping
Not just to be with him
But because I thought he'd make me like it.
I told him I'm eating cheese and liking it.
I told him my feelings lately
Center on my men, and crying.
And I cried for him on Grant Street
In the sprinkling wind and sunlight.
And he smiled at me.
I think of Frank and wonder
What I'd feel if I could grab his shirt
And smack him really hard across his face.
Jimmy Winokur, The Storm Today (1975)
My sun is shining on the breeze.
My steps and head are light;
It's almost fun to move.
It's funny, though, that as I ramble forth,
Floating hardly seen amid the crowds that line the streets
My mood keeps my thoughts locked deep within.
The sounds I hear are taken in and kept,
Like the colors quickly passing by.
My voice and soul don't sing a note
There's just a sweetness humming in my chest.
And I am alone.
For once, the loneliness is good.
Today, with me enjoying me
I think no thought about the always silent passersby.
And having sought no warmth from them,
I bask in the self-made music of my own spring day
The other day,
My thoughts were also locked within,
Not by my self's demand to be alone
No, my self that day had loads of thoughts to tell
And people found who needed what I'd say.
But when I'd open up to speak
And let my insides out to feel the air
My feelings once so rich and ripe within
Were mine no longer --
Spoiling in the air and never heard.
And as I watched with horror
The transformation of my own beauty,
The people standing round --
Who waited for my words --
Started to laugh
Almost thankful of what they'd missed.
I can express my deep held thoughts.
I even sense my warmth returned with warmth.
But even in the sweetness of those days
I find my goodness hardened
By the harshness of my words and voice.
Even those with whom I share those special days
Can't really hear the humming in my chest
That song of mine -- so accidental but essential --
Is shared by me alone.
And so today,
With sunlight shining on the breeze,
That floats so swiftly through the crowds,
I'm taking in the world:
The sounds and colors, looks and feelings,
That come together deep inside me
And softly hum my carefree springtime song.
Jimmy Winokur, My Springtime Day (1970)
From a Wall Street window
I can watch the people walking
Perhaps a half-step slower
"Another Kennedy is Dead!"
The papers shout in horror.
But the faces of the masses
Just reflect it with a wince
A nation's heart is shattered:
On Sunday there's a day of mourning!
Until then the TV men
Will chronicle the death
With interviews and in-depth news,
With telegrammed condolences,
And preassembled highlights
Of a Kennedy career.
And we, in the safety of our homes,
Beyond the world's cold stare,
May drop a tear on proper cue
To show that deep inside we care
But we stop short of sobbing.
We show strength and calm composure
So the world can go on
Why does it not occur
That our 'strength' gives others cause for fear,
That love is found in 'weakness'
When, with soul exposed, we draw our brother near
And confess the doubt, the pain, the grief
That we and he can share?
Jimmy Winokur, On the Death of Robert Kennedy (1968)
A gentle ripple in a pool,
Starts sweetly, even meekly
To seek the outer edges of the water.
It flows, rolling, dipping, tripping to the shore.
The motion in
an easy stillness,
Warmed and nursed by the sun,
Which bakes it, not quite crisp.
The ripple in
a soothing sunset,
Loved now by the glowing moon,
Softly lit in heavy darkness.
On the shore
Caring naught about such sweetness,
Men are dancing
Pounding on the ground
Shouting proudly shouts of fright
Cutting loudly through the night.
Rolling now along the shore
Down a slope that slopes too sharply
Whiling ‘round, falling down
And down again, faster down
Yes down so fast, and in –
Into the pool
Creamy filled with lazy water,
Lazy water – able only to bear the ripples.
The ripples –
But the splash – no!
The splash is just a crash.
The bouncing man has bounced to death.
down with him
Deep into the heavy water
Falls the gentle ripple
Meek, and now afraid,
Dropping down to float no more
And never seek the once sought shore
Until it is no more.
The Death of Sweetness
Jimmy Winokur (1964)
Our lives are filled with tales of men who
Who rose above the masses.
The names of such are awed and held on high,
Do we allow our men to stand --
Or do they crawl through life that is as death?
My life is not mine.
I may not stand without rebuke.
"Grow up," I hear, and still don't heed.
"You'll learn," I hear
And ponder now:
If these are things that I must learn,
Then what, O God, is knowledge?
I am growing.
I am learning.
But I will never think the thought
That men should never love, nor hate,
Nor think by whim.
My life will be a life of love and hates and whims --
A good life of strong action and reaction
Jimmy Winokur, Standing
age 18 (1963)
One day you
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
their bad advice--
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
"Mend my life!"
each voice cried.
But you didn't
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do--
determined to save
the only life you could save.
© Mary Oliver.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting --
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.
Mary Oliver , Wild
thanks to Praveen and the Tree Council
Do not stand at
my grave and weep,
I am not there, I do not sleep.
I am in a thousand winds that blow,
I am the softly falling snow.
I am the gentle showers of rain,
I am the fields of ripening grain.
I am in the morning hush,
I am in the graceful rush
Of beautiful birds in circling flight,
I am the starshine of the night.
I am in the flowers that bloom,
I am in a quiet room.
I am in the birds that sing,
I am in each lovely thing.
Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there. I do not die.
Mary Elizabeth Frye
thanks to Maggio and the Tree Council
Ready to run
A sudden movement
She’s gone in a cinnamon flash
On the other side of the room
With rag in mouth
As if to say
I’ll play that way
I jump around
In the other room
Quick as a flash
Her tail waging
Like a fencer’s sword
Ready to attack
Then out the door into the yard
There right next to the water
As if to say
Then she darts back onto the couch
I run in
Suddenly she yawns
She collapses and is immediately asleep
I take the rag
And I say
Sammy Winokur, Mine (March 2011)