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Selected Poetry

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She Walks In Beauty

Graphic She walks in Beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that’s best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes:
Thus mellowed to that tender light
Which Heaven to gaudy day denies.

One shade the more, one ray the less,
Had half impaired the nameless grace
Which waves in every raven tress,
Or softly lightens o’er her face;
Where thoughts serenely sweet express,
How pure, how dear their dwelling-place.

And on that cheek, and o’er that brow,
So soft, so calm, yet eloquent,
The smiles that win, the tints that glow,
But tell of days in goodness spent,
A mind at peace with all below,
A heart whose love is innocent!

– George Gordon, Lord Byron –

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I Wandered Lonely As a Cloud

Graphic I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed—and gazed—but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

– William Wordsworth –

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The Arrow and The Song

Graphic I shot an arrow into the air,
It fell to earth, I knew not where;
For, so swiftly it flew, the sight
Could not follow it in its flight.

I breathed a song into the air,
It fell to earth, I knew not where;
For who has sight so keen and strong,
That it can follow the flight of song?

Long, long afterward, in an oak
I found the arrow, still unbroke;
And the song, from beginning to end,
I found again in the heart of a friend.

– Henry Wadsworth Longfellow –

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Risk And Love

Graphic The person who risks nothing,
does nothing, has nothing,
is nothing, becomes nothing.
He may avoid suffering and sorrow,
but he simply cannot learn
and feel and change
and grow and love and live.
He has forfeited his freedom.
Only the person who risks is truly free.

– Anonymous –

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Graphic Time does not bring relief; you all have lied
Who told me time would ease me of my pain!
I miss him in the weeping of the rain;
I want him at the shrinking of the tide;
The old snows melt from every mountain-side,
And last year’s leaves are smoke in every lane;
But last year’s bitter loving must remain
Heaped on my heart, and my old thoughts abide!

There are a hundred places where I fear
To go, so with his memory they brim!
And entering with relief some quiet place
Where never fell his foot or shone his face
I say, There is no memory of him here!
And so stand stricken, so remembering him!

– Edna St. Vincent Millay –

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The Dream

Graphic Love, if I weep it will not matter,
And if you laugh I shall not care;
Foolish am I to think about it,
But it is good to feel you there.

Love, in my sleep I dreamed of waking,
White and awful the moonlight reached
Over the floor, and somewhere, somewhere,
There was a shutter loose, it screeched!

Swung in the wind, and no wind blowing!
I was afraid, and turned to you,
Put out my hand to you for comfort,
And you were gone! Cold, cold as dew,

Under my hand the moonlight lay!
Love, if you laugh I shall not care,
But if I weep it will not matter,
Ah, it is good to feel you there!

– Edna St. Vincent Millay –

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Love’s Philosophy

Graphic The fountains mingle with the river,
And the rivers with the ocean,
The winds of heaven mix forever
With a sweet emotion;
Nothing in the world is single;
All things by a law divine
In one spirit meet and mingle;
Why not I with thine?

See the mountains kiss high heaven,
And the waves clasp one another;
No sister-flower would be forgiven
If it disdained its brother;
And the sunlight clasps the earth,
And the moonbeams kiss the sea;
What are all these kissings worth,
If thou kiss not me?

– Percy Bysshe Shelley –

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How Do I Love Thee?

Graphic How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being an Ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of everyday’s
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
I love thee with the passion put to use
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints,—I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life!—and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.

– Elizabeth Barrett Browning –

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A Boat Beneath a Sunny Sky

Graphic A boat beneath a sunny sky,
Lingering onward dreamily
In an evening of July

Children three that nestle near,
Eager eye and willing ear,
Pleased a simple tale to hear

Long has paled that sunny sky:
Echoes fade and memories die:
Autumn frosts have slain July.

Still she haunts me, phantomwise,
Alice moving under skies
Never seen by waking eyes.

Children yet, the tale to hear,
Eager eye and willing ear,
Lovingly shall nestle near.

In a Wonderland they lie,
Dreaming as the days go by,
Dreaming as the summers die:

Ever drifting down the stream
Lingering in the golden dream
Life, what is it but a dream?

– Lewis Carroll –

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Sea Fever

Graphic I must go down to the seas again,
to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship
and a star to steer her by,
And the wheel’s kick
and the wind’s song
and the white sail’s shaking,
And a gray mist on the sea’s face,
and a gray dawn breaking.

I must go down to the seas again,
for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call
that may not be denied;
And all I ask is a windy day
with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume,
and the sea-gulls crying.

I must go down to the seas again,
to the vagrant gypsy life,
To the gull’s way and the whale’s way,
where the wind’s like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn
from a laughing fellow-rover,
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream
when the long trick’s over.

– John Masefield –

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Graphic Cold is the northern winds
in December mornings.
Cold is the cry that rings
from this far distant shore.

Winter has come too late.
Too close beside me
How can I chase away
all these fears deep inside?

I’ll wait, the signs to come.
I’ll find a way.
I will wait, the time to come.
I’ll find a way home.

My light shall be the moon
and my path—the ocean.
My guide the morning star
as I sail home to you

I’ll wait the signs to come.
I’ll find a way.
I will wait the time to come.
I’ll find a way home.

Who then can warm my soul?
Who can quell my passion?
Out of these dreams—a boat.
I will sail home to you.

– Enya –

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The Road Not Taken

Graphic Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveller, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

– Robert Frost –

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Meeting At Night

Graphic The gray sea and the long black land
And the yellow half-moon large and low
And the startled little waves that leap
In fiery ringlets from their sleep,
As I gain the cove with pushing prow,
And quench its speed i’ the slushy sand.

Then a mile of warm sea-scented beach
Three fields to cross till a farm appears
A tap at the pane, the quick sharp scratch
And blue spurt of a lighted match,
And a voice less loud, through its joys and fears,
Than the two hearts beating each to each!

– Robert Browning –

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I Saw Thee Weep

Graphic I saw thee weep—the big bright tear
Came o’er that eye of blue;
And then methought it did appear
A violet dropping dew:
I saw thee smile—the sapphire’s blaze
Beside thee ceased to shine;
It could not match the living rays
That filled that glance of thine.
As clouds from yonder sun receive
A deep and mellow dye,
Which scarce the shade of coming eve
Can banish from the sky,
Those smiles unto the moodiest mind
Their own pure joy impart;
Their sunshine leaves a glow behind
That lightens o’er the heart.

– George Gordon, Lord Byron –

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Life in a Love

Graphic Escape me?
While I am I, and you are you,
So long as the world contains us both,
Me the loving and you the loth
While the one eludes, must the other pursue.
My life is a fault at last, I fear:
It seems too much like a fate, indeed!
Though I do my best I shall scarce succeed.
But what if I fail of my purpose here?
It is but to keep the nerves at strain,
To dry one’s eyes and laugh at a fall,
And, baffled, get up and begin again,—
So the chace takes up one’s life ’ that’s all.
While, look but once from your farthest bound
At me so deep in the dust and dark,
No sooner the old hope goes to ground
Than a new one, straight to the self-same mark,
I shape me—

– Robert Browning –

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You Looked So Tempting In The Pew

Graphic You looked so tempting in the pew,
You looked so sly and calm—
My trembling fingers played with yours
As both looked out the Psalm.

Your heart beat hard against my arm,
My foot to yours was set,
Your loosened ringlet burned my cheek
Whenever they two met.

O little, little we hearkened, dear,
And little, little cared,
Although the parson sermonised,
The congregation stared.

– Robert Louis Stevenson –

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Tin Wedding Whistle

Graphic Though you know it anyhow
Listen to me, darling, now,
Proving what I need not prove
How I know I love you, love.
Near and far, near and far,
I am happy where you are;
Likewise I have never learnt
How to be it where you aren't.
Far and wide, far and wide,
I can walk with you beside;
Furthermore, I tell you what,
I sit and sulk where you are not.
Visitors remark my frown
When you're upstairs and I am down,
Yes, and I'm afraid I pout
When I'm indoors and you are out;
But how contentedly I view
Any room containing you.
In fact I care not where you be,
Just as long as it's with me.
In all your absences I glimpse
Fire and flood and trolls and imps.
Is your train a minute slothful?
I goad the stationmaster wrothful.
When with friends to bridge you drive
I never know if you're alive,
And when you linger late in shops
I long to telephone the cops.
Yet how worth the waiting for,
To see you coming through the door.
Somehow, I can be complacent
Never but with you adjacent.
Near and far, near and far,
I am happy where you are;
Likewise I have never learnt
How to be it where you aren't.
Then grudge me not my fond endeavor,
To hold you in my sight forever;
Let none, not even you, disparage
Such a valid reason for a marriage.

– Ogden Nash –

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To What Shall I Compare Her

Graphic To what shall I compare her,
That is as fair as she?
For she is fairer—fairer
Than the sea.
What shall be likened to her,
The sainted of my youth?
For she is truer—truer
Than the truth.

As the stars are from the sleeper,
Her heart is hid from me;
For she is deeper—deeper
Than the sea.
Yet in my dreams I view her
Flush rosy with new ruth—
Dreams! Ah, may these prove truer
Than the truth.

– Robert Louis Stevenson –

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The Human Touch

Graphic ’Tis the human touch
in this world that counts,
The touch of your hand and mine,
Which means far more
to the fainting heart
Than shelter and bread and wine.
For shelter is gone
when the night is o’er,
And bread lasts only a day.
But the touch of the hand
And the sound of the voice
Sing on in the soul always.

– Spencer Michael Free –

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The Last Rose of Summer

Graphic ’Tis the last rose of summer,
Left blooming alone.
All her lovely companions
Are faded and gone.
No flow’r of her kindred,
No rosebud is nigh,
To reflect back her blushes
Or give sigh for sigh.

I’ll not leave thee thou lone one
To pine on the stem,
Since the lovely are sleeping
Go sleep thou with them;
Thus kindly I scatter
Thy leaves o’er the bed,
Where thy mates of the garden
Lie scentless and dead.

So soon may I follow
When friendships decay,
And from loves’ shining circle
The gems drop away!
When true hearts lie withered
And fond ones are flown
Oh! Who would inhabit
This bleak world alone?

– Sir Thomas Moores –

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The Tide Rises, The Tide Falls

Graphic The tide rises, the tide falls,
The twilight darkens, the curlew calls;
Along the sea-sands damp and brown
The traveller hastens toward the town,
And the tide rises, the tide falls.

Darkness settles on roofs and walls,
But the sea, the sea in the darkness calls;
The little waves, with their soft, white hands,
Efface the footprints in the sands,
And the tide rises, the tide falls.

The morning breaks; the steeds in their stalls
Stamp and neigh, as the hostler calls;
The day returns, but nevermore
Returns the traveller to the shore,
And the tide rises, the tide falls.

– Henry Wadsworth Longfellow –

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A Farewell

Graphic Flow down, cold rivulet, to the sea,
Thy tribute wave deliver:
No more by thee my steps shall be,
For ever and for ever.

Flow, softly flow, by lawn and lea,
A rivulet then a river:
Nowhere by thee my steps shall be
For ever and for ever.

But here will sigh thine alder tree
And here thine aspen shiver;
And here by thee will hum the bee,
For ever and for ever.

A thousand suns will stream on thee,
A thousand moons will quiver;
But not by thee my steps shall be,
For ever and for ever.

– Alfred, Lord Tennyson –

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Death Be Not Proud

Graphic Death, be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so;
For those, whom thou think’st thou dost overthrow,
Die not, poor Death, nor yet canst thou kill me.
From rest and sleep, which but thy picture[s] be,
Much pleasure, then from thee much more must flow,
And soonest our best men with thee do go,
Rest of their bones, and soul’s delivery.
Thou’rt slave to Fate, chance, kings, and desperate men,
And dost with poison, war, and sickness dwell,
And poppy, or charms can make us sleep as well,
And better than thy stroke ; why swell’st thou then?
One short sleep past, we wake eternally,
And Death shall be no more ; Death, thou shalt die.

– John Donne –

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I’ll Always Remember

Graphic Last summer,
in Nantucket
all together;
almost all,
in Newburyport
I was alone.

Noctunal calm,
full moon
full sea;
couples cuddling,
holding, listening
I was alone.

Minstral playing,
slightly amplified
softly singing;
celtic ballads,
seafarin’ stories.
I was alone.

– Richard R Plourde –

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