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Poem of the Week

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Autumn

Emily Dickinson

The morns are meeker than they were,
The nuts are getting brown;
The berry’s cheek is plumper,
The rose is out of town.
The maple wears a gayer scarf,
The field a scarlet gown.
Lest I should be old-fashioned,
I’ll put a trinket on.

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Poem of the Week

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An Autumn Sunset
by Edith Wharton

I

Leaguered in fire
The wild black promontories of the coast extend
Their savage silhouettes;
The sun in universal carnage sets,
And, halting higher,
The motionless storm-clouds mass their sullen threats,
Like an advancing mob in sword-points penned,
That, balked, yet stands at bay.
Mid-zenith hangs the fascinated day
In wind-lustrated hollows crystalline,
A wan Valkyrie whose wide pinions shine
Across the ensanguined ruins of the fray,
And in her hand swings high o’erhead,
Above the waster of war,
The silver torch-light of the evening star
Wherewith to search the faces of the dead.

II

Lagooned in gold,
Seem not those jetty promontories rather
The outposts of some ancient land forlorn,
Uncomforted of morn,
Where old oblivions gather,
The melancholy unconsoling fold
Of all things that go utterly to death
And mix no more, no more
With life’s perpetually awakening breath?
Shall Time not ferry me to such a shore,
Over such sailless seas,
To walk with hope’s slain importunities
In miserable marriage? Nay, shall not
All things be there forgot,
Save the sea’s golden barrier and the black
Close-crouching promontories?
Dead to all shames, forgotten of all glories,
Shall I not wander there, a shadow’s shade,
A spectre self-destroyed,
So purged of all remembrance and sucked back
Into the primal void,
That should we on the shore phantasmal meet
I should not know the coming of your feet?

Poem of the Week

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Amoretti I: Happy ye leaves when as those lilly hands

by Edmund Spenser

Happy ye leaves when as those lilly hands,
Which hold my life in their dead doing might
Shall handle you and hold in loves soft bands,
Lyke captives trembling at the victors sight.
And happy lines, on which with starry light,
Those lamping eyes will deigne sometimes to look
And reade the sorrowes of my dying spright,
Written with teares in harts close bleeding book.
And happy rymes bath’d in the sacred brooke,
Of Helicon whence she derived is,
When ye behold that Angels blessed looke,
My soules long lacked foode, my heavens blis.
Leaves, lines, and rymes, seeke her to please alone,
Whom if ye please, I care for other none.

Poem of the Week

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Ballad of Baseball Burdens

The burden of hard hitting. Slug away
      Like Honus Wagner or like Tyrus Cobb.
Else fandom shouteth: “Who said you could play?
      Back to the jasper league, you minor slob!”
      Swat, hit, connect, line out, get on the job.
Else you shall feel the brunt of fandom’s ire
      Biff, bang it, clout it, hit it on the knob—
This is the end of every fan’s desire.
The burden of good pitching. Curved or straight.
      Or in or out, or haply up or down,
To puzzle him that standeth by the plate,
      To lessen, so to speak, his bat-renoun:
      Like Christy Mathewson or Miner Brown,
So pitch that every man can but admire
      And offer you the freedom of the town—
This is the end of every fan’s desire.
The burden of loud cheering. O the sounds!
      The tumult and the shouting from the throats
Of forty thousand at the Polo Grounds
      Sitting, ay, standing sans their hats and coats.
      A mighty cheer that possibly denotes
That Cub or Pirate fat is in the fire;
      Or, as H. James would say, We’ve got their goats—
This is the end of every fan’s desire.
The burden of a pennant. O the hope,
      The tenuous hope, the hope that’s half a fear,
The lengthy season and the boundless dope,
      And the bromidic; “Wait until next year.”
      O dread disgrace of trailing in the rear,
O Piece of Bunting, flying high and higher
      That next October it shall flutter here:
This is the end of every fan’s desire.
ENVOY
Ah, Fans, let not the Quarry but the Chase
      Be that to which most fondly we aspire!
For us not Stake, but Game; not Goal, but Race—
      THIS is the end of every fan’s desire.

Poem of the Week

For a Moment

By Ron Padgett

It’s funny how
if you just let go
of things they
will come to
you. That is to say
sometimes. So what generalization?
Ah, it makes you such things from
time to time,
as if you actually
and really and truly
knew something!

Poem of the Week

To Jane: The Keen Stars Were Twinkling

by Percy Bysshe Shelley

The keen stars were twinkling,
And the fair moon was rising along them
Dear Jane!
The guitar was tinkling,
But the notes were not sweet till you sung them
Again.
As the moon’s soft splendour
O’ er the faint cold starlight of Heaven
Is thrown,
So your voice most tender
To the strings without soul had then given
Its own.
The stars will awaken,
Though the moon sleep a full hour later,
Tonight;
No leaf will be shaken
Whilst the dews of your melody scatter
Delight.
Though the sound overpowers,
Sing again, with your dear voice revealing
A tone
Of some world far from ours,
Where music and moonlight and feeling
Are one.

Poem of the Week

Now Winter Nights

By Thomas Campion

Now winter nights enlarge
The number of their hours;
And clouds their storms discharge
Upon the airy towers.
Let now the chimneys blaze
And cups o’erflow with wine,
Let well-turned words amaze
With harmony divine.
Now yellow waxen lights
Shall wait on honey love
While youthful revels, masques, and courtly sights
Sleep’s leaden spells remove.

This time doth well dispense
With lovers’ long discourse;
Much speech hath some defense,
Though beauty no remorse.
All do not all things well;
Some measures comely tread,
Some knotted riddles tell,
Some poems smoothly read.
The summer hath his joys,
And winter his delights;
Though love and all his pleasures are but toys,
They shorten tedious nights.

Poem of the Week

Nothing Is Lost

by Noel Coward

Deep in our sub-conscious, we are told
Lie all our memories, lie all the notes
Of all the music we have ever heard
And all the phrases those we loved have spoken,
Sorrows and losses time has since consoled,
Family jokes, out-moded anecdotes
Each sentimental souvenir and token
Everything seen, experienced, each word
Addressed to us in infancy, before
Before we could even know or understand
The implications of our wonderland.
There they all are, the legendary lies
The birthday treats, the sights, the sounds, the tears
Forgotten debris of forgotten years
Waiting to be recalled, waiting to rise
Before our world dissolves before our eyes
Waiting for some small, intimate reminder,
A word, a tune, a known familiar scent
An echo from the past when, innocent
We looked upon the present with delight
And doubted not the future would be kinder
And never knew the loneliness of night.

Poem of the Week

The Leafless Garden

by Mehdi Akhavan Sales

The cloud with its cold and damp skin
Has embraced the heaven tightly;

The leafless orchard
Is alone day and night
With his pure and sad silence.

His lyre is rain and his song is wind,
His garment is of nudity cloak,
And if another garment it must wear,
Let his Warf and woof be woven by golden ray.

It can grow or not grow, wherever he wants or doesn’t want;
There is neither a gardener nor a passerby.
The depressed orchard
Expects no spring.

If his eye sheds no warm luster
And on his face no leaf of smile grows,
Who says the leafless orchard is not beautiful?
It relates the tale of fruits raising their heads to the heaven, and now lying in the base coffin in earth.

The leafless orchard,
His laughter is tearful blood,
Mounted for ever on his wild yellow stallion,
It roams in autumn, the king of seasons.

Poem of the Week

Boy and Father

by Carl Sandburg

The boy Alexander understands his father to be a famous lawyer.
The leather law books of Alexander’s father fill a room like hay in a barn.
Alexander has asked his father to let him build a house like bricklayers build, a house with walls and roofs made of big leather law books.

The rain beats on the windows
And the raindrops run down the window glass
And the raindrops slide off the green blinds down the siding.

The boy Alexander dreams of Napoleon in John C. Abbott’s history, Napoleon the grand and lonely man wronged, Napoleon in his life wronged and in his memory wronged.
The boy Alexander dreams of the cat Alice saw, the cat fading off into the dark and leaving the teeth of its Cheshire smile lighting the gloom.

Buffaloes, blizzards, way down in Texas, in the panhandle of Texas snuggling close to New Mexico,
These creep into Alexander’s dreaming by the window when his father talks with strange men about land down in Deaf Smith County.
Alexander’s father tells the strange men: Five years ago we ran a Ford out on the prairie and chased antelopes.

Only once or twice in a long while has Alexander heard his father say ‘my first wife’ so-and-so and such-and-such.
A few times softly the father has told Alexander, ‘Your mother . . . was a beautiful woman . . . but we won’t talk about her.’
Always Alexander listens with a keen listen when he hears his father mention ‘my first wife’ or ‘Alexander’s mother.’

Alexander’s father smokes a cigar and the Episcopal rector smokes a cigar, and the words come often: mystery of life, mystery of life.
These two come into Alexander’s head blurry and grey while the rain beats on the windows and the raindrops run down the window glass and the raindrops slide off the green blinds and down the siding.
These and: There is a God, there must be a God, how can there be rain or sun unless there is a God?

So from the wrongs of Napoleon and the Cheshire cat smile on to the buffaloes and blizzards of Texas and on to his mother and to God, so the blurry grey rain dreams of Alexander have gone on five minutes, maybe ten, keeping slow easy time to the raindrops on the window glass and the raindrops sliding off the green blinds and down the siding.

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