|poems by Amy Lowell, born in Brookline, Massachusetts, 1878; died there, 1925
MADONNA OF THE EVENING FLOWERS
All day I have been working,
Now I am tired.
I call: "Where are you?"
But there is only the oak tree rustling inthe wind.
The house is very quiet,
The sun shines in on your books,
On your scissors and thimble just put down,
But you are not there.
Suddenly I am lonely:
Where are you?
I go about searching.
Then I see you,
Standing under a spire of pale blue larkspur,
With a basket of roses on your arm.
You are cool, like silver,
And you smile.
I think the Canterbury bells are plying little tunes,
You tell me that the peonics need spraying,
That the columbines have overrun all bounds,
That the pyrus japonica should be cut back and rounded.
You tell me these things.
But I look at you, heart of silver,
Burning beneath the blue steeples of the larkspur,
And I long to kneel instantly at your feet,
While all about us peal the loud, sweet Te Deums of the
|poems by James Stephens, born in Dublin, Ireland,1882
My enemy came nigh;
Stared fiercely in his face.
My lips went writhing back in a grimace,
And stern I watched him with a narrow eye.
Then, as I turned away, my enemy,
That bitter heart and savage said to me:
"Some day, when this is past,
when all the arrows that we have are cast,
we may ask one another why we hate,
and fail to find a story to relate.
It may seem to us then a mystery
That we could hate each other."
Thus said he,
And did not turn away,
Waiting to hear what I might have to say;
But I fled quickly, fearing if I stayed
I might have kissed him as I would a maid.
IN A STATION OF THE METRO
The apparition of these faces in the crowd;
Petals on a wet, black bough.
Come, my songs, let us express our baser passions.
Let us express our envy for the man with a steady job and no worry
about the future.
You are very idle, my songs,
I fear you will come to a bad end.
You stand about the streets, You loiter at the corners and
You do next to nothing at all.
You do not even express our inner nobilitys,
You will come to a very bad end.
And I? I have gone half-cracked.
I have talked to you so much that I almost see you about me,
Insolent little beasts! Shameless! Devoid of clothing!
But you, newest song of the lot,
You are not old enough to have done much mischief.
I will get you a green coat out of China
With dragons worked upon it.
I will get you the scarlet silk trousers
From the statue of the infant Christ at Santa Maria Novella;
Lest they say we are lacking in taste,
Or that there is no caste in this family.
|poems by T.S.Eliot, born in St. Louis, Missouri, 1888
JOURNEY OF THE MAGI
"A cool coming we had of it,
Just the worst time of the year
For a journey, and such a long journey:
The ways deep and the weather sharp,
The very dead of winter."
And the camels galled, sore-footed, refractory,
Lying down in the melting snow.
There were times we regretted
The summer palaces on slopes, the terraces,
And the silken girls bringing sherbet.
Then the camel men cursing and grumbling
And running away, and wanting their liquor and women,
And the night-fires going out, and the lack of shelters,
And the cities hostile and the towns unfriendly
And the villages dirty and charging high prices:
A hard time we had of it.
At the end we preferred to travel all night,
Sleeping in snatches,
With the voices singing in our ears, saying
That this was all folly.
Then at dawn we came down to a temperate valley,
Wet, below the snow line, smelling of vegetation;
With a running stream and a water-mill beating the darkness,
And three trees on the low sky,
And an old white horse galloped away in the meadow.
Then we came to a tavern with vine-leaves over the lintel,
Six hands at an open door dicing for pieces of silver,
And feet kicking the empty wine-skins.
But there was no information, and so we continued
And arrived at evening, not a moment too soon
Finding the place; it was (you may say) satisfactory.
All this was a long time ago, I remember,
And I would do it again, but set down
This set down
This: were we led that way for
Birth or Death? There was a Birth, certainly,
We had evidence and no doubt. I had seen birth and death,
But had thought they were different; this Birth was
Hard and bitter agony for us, like Death, our death.
We returned to our places, these Kingdoms,
But no longer at ease here, in the old dispensation,
With an alien people clutching their gods.
I should be glad of another death.
|poems by Edna St. Vincent Millay
Night is my sister, and how deep in love,
How drowned in love and weedily washed ashore,
There to be fretted by the drag and shove
At the tide's edge, I lie--these things and more:
Whose arm alone between me and the sand,
Whose voice alone, whose pitiful breath brought near,
Could thaw these nostrils and unlock this hand,
She could advise you, should you care to hear.
Small chance, however, in a storm so black,
A man will leave his friendly fire and snug
For a drowned woman's sake, and bring her back
To drip and scatter shells upon the rug.
No one but Night, with tears on her dark face,
Watches beside me in this windy place.
|poems by Wilfred Owen, born at Oswestry, Shropshire, 1893; died in France, 1918.
ARMS AND THE BOY
Let the boy try along this bayonet-blade
How cold steel is, and keen with hunger of blood;
Blue with all malice, like a madman's flash;
And thinly drawn with famishing for flesh.
Led him to stroke these blind, blunt bullet-heads
Which long to nuzzle in the hearts of lads,
Or give him cartridges of fine zinc teeth,
Sharp with the sharpness of grief and death.
For his teeth seem for laughing round an apple.
There lurk no claws behind his fingers supple;
And God will grow no talons at his heels,
Nor antlers through the thickness of his curls.
|poems by Stephen Vincent Benet
They went with axe and rifle, when the trail was still to blaze,
They went with wife and children, in the prairie-shooner
With banjo and with frying pan-Susanna, don´t you cry!
For I´m off to California to get rich out there or die!
We´ve broken land and cleared it, but we´re tired of where we
They say that wild Nebraska is a better place by far.
There´s gold is far Wyoming, there´s black earth in Ioway,
So pack up the kids and blankets, for we´re moving out today!
The cowards never started and the week died on the road,
And all across the continent the endless campfires glowed.
We´d taken land and settled-but a traveler passed by-
And we´re going West tomorrow-Lordy, never ask us why!
We´re going West tomorrow, where the promises can´t fail.
O`er the hills in legions, boys, and crowd the dusty trail!
We shall starve and freeze and suffer. We shall die, and tame
But we´re going West tomorrow, with our fortune in our
JOHN JAMES AUDOBON
Some men live for warlike deeds,
Some for women’s words.
John James Audubon
Lived to look at birds.
Pretty birds and funny birds,
All our native fowl
From the little cedar waxwing
To the Great Horned Owl.
Let the wind blow hot or cold,
Let it rain or snow,
Everywhere the birds went
Audubon would go.
Scrambling through a wilderness,
Floating down a stream,
All around America
In a feathered dream.
Thirty years of traveling,
Pockets often bare,
(Lucy Bakewell Audubon
Patched them up with care).
Followed grebe and meadowlark,
Saw them sing and splash.
(Lucy Bakewell Audubon
Somehow raised the cash).
Drew them all the way they lived
In their habitats.
(Lucy Bakewell Audubon
sometimes wondered "Cats?")
Colored them and printed them
In a giant book,
"Birds of North America"-
All the world said, "Look!"
Gave him medals and degrees,
Called him noble names,
-Lucy Bakewell Audubon
Kissed her queer John James.