Father`s voice by Sonia Sanchez
Sonia Sanchez
the day he traveled to my daughter's house
it was june. he cursed me with his morning nod
of anger as he filtered his callous
walk. skip. hop. feet slipshod
from 125th street bars, face curled with odd
reflections. the skin of a father is accented
in the sentence of the unaccented.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
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Los Vatos by José Montoya
José Montoya
Back in the early fifties el Chonito and I were on the
Way to the bote when we heard the following dialogue:

Police car radio:Pachuco rumble in progress in front of Lyceum
Theatre. Sanger gang crossing tracks heading for
Chinatown. Looks big this time. All available
Westside units . . .

Cop to partner driving car:
Take your time. Let ’em wipe each other out.
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Snails by Francis Ponge
Francis Ponge
Unlike the ashes that make their home with hot coals, snails prefer moist earth. Go on: they advance while gluing themselves to it with their entire bodies. They carry it, they eat it, they shit it. They go through it, it goes through them. It’s the best kind of interpenetration, as between tones, one passive and one active. The passive bathes and nourishes the active, which overturns the other while it eats.

(There is more to be said about snails. First of all their immaculate clamminess. Their sangfroid. Their stretchiness.)

One can scarcely conceive of a snail outside its shell and unmoving. The moment it rests it sinks down deep into itself. In fact, its modesty obliges it to move as soon as it has shown its nakedness and 
revealed its vulnerable shape. The moment it’s exposed, it moves on.

During periods of dryness they withdraw into ditches where it seems their bodies are enough to maintain their dampness. No doubt their neighbors there are toads and frogs and other ectothermic animals. But when they come out again they don’t move as quickly. You have to admire their willingness to go into the ditch, given how hard it is for them to come out again.

Note also that though snails like moist soil, they have no affection for places that are too wet such as marshes or ponds. Most assuredly they prefer firm earth, as long as it’s fertile and damp.

They are fond as well of moisture-rich vegetables and green leafy plants. They know how to feed on them leaving only the veins, cutting free the most tender leaves. They are hell on salads.

What are these beings from the depths of the ditches? Though snails love many of their trenches’ qualities they have every intention of leaving. They are in their element but they are also wanderers. And when they emerge into the daylight onto firm ground their shells will preserve their vagabond’s hauteur.

It must be a pain to have to haul that trailer around with them everywhere, but they never complain and in the end they are happy about it. How valuable, after all, to be able to go home any time, no matter where you may find yourself, eluding all intruders. It must be worth it.
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To have without holding by Marge Piercy
Marge Piercy
Learning to love differently is hard,
love with the hands wide open, love
with the doors banging on their hinges,
the cupboard unlocked, the wind
roaring and whimpering in the rooms
rustling the sheets and snapping the blinds
that thwack like rubber bands
in an open palm.
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And There Was a Great Calm by Thomas Hardy
Thomas Hardy
(On the Signing of the Armistice, 11 Nov. 1918)
There had been years of Passion—scorching, cold,
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Absolution by Siegfried Sassoon
Siegfried Sassoon
The anguish of the earth absolves our eyes
Till beauty shines in all that we can see.
War is our scourge; yet war has made us wise,
And, fighting for our freedom, we are free.

Horror of wounds and anger at the foe,
And loss of things desired; all these must pass.
We are the happy legion, for we know
Time's but a golden wind that shakes the grass.

There was an hour when we were loth to part
From life we longed to share no less than others.
Now, having claimed this heritage of heart,
What need we more, my comrades and my brothers?
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In Memory of Joe Brainard by Frank Bidart
Frank Bidart
the remnant of a vast, oceanic
bruise (wound delivered early and long ago)

was in you purity and
sweetness self-gathered, CHOSEN

When I tried to find words for the moral sense that unifies
and sweetens the country voices in your collage The Friendly Way,

you said It's a code.
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Sickroom by Robert Winner
Robert Winner
I try to carry the gravestone
from the darkness of my mother's sickroom—
scratches of light around drawn shades—
outside, the gold and red of autumn.

She is like a queen in exile
scraping with her nails on silk walls
her message of anger, her weak
insatiable demands and regrets.
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Kora in Hell: Improvisations XIV by William Carlos Williams
William Carlos Williams

The brutal Lord of All will rip us from each other—leave the one to suffer here alone. No need belief in god or hell to postulate that much. The dance: hands touching, leaves touching—eyes looking, clouds rising—lips touching, cheeks touching, arm about . . . Sleep. Heavy head, heavy arm, heavy dream—: Of Ymir’s flesh the earth was made and of his thoughts were all the gloomy clouds created. Oya!

Out of bitterness itself the clear wine of the imagination will be pressed and the dance prosper thereby.

To you! whoever you are, wherever you are! (But I know where you are!) There’s Dürer’s “Nemesis” naked on her sphere over the little town by the river—except she’s too old. There’s a dancing burgess by Tenier and Villon’s maitresse—after he’d gone bald and was skin pocked and toothless: she that had him ducked in the sewage drain. Then there’s that miller’s daughter of “buttocks broad and breastes high.” Something of Nietzsche, something of the good Samaritan, something of the devil himself,—can cut a caper of a fashion, my fashion! Hey you, the dance! Squat. leap. Hips to the left. Chin—ha!—sideways! Stand up, stand up ma bonne! you’ll break my backbone. So again!—and so forth till we’re sweat soaked.

Some fools once were listening to a poet reading his poem. It so happened that the words of the thing spoke of gross matters of the everyday world such as are never much hidden from a quick eye. Out of these semblances, and borrowing certain members from fitting masterpieces of antiquity, the poet began piping up his music, simple fellow, thinking to please his listeners. But they getting the whole matter sadly muddled in their minds made such a confused business of listening that not only were they not pleased at the poet’s exertions but no sooner had he done than they burst out against him with violent imprecations.

It’s all one. Richard worked years to conquer the descending cadence, idiotic sentimentalist. Ha, for happiness! This tore the dress in ribbons from her maid’s back and not spared the nails either; wild anger spit from her pinched eyes! This is the better part. Or a child under a table to be dragged out coughing and biting, eyes glittering evilly. I’ll have it my way! Nothing is any pleasure but misery and brokenness. THIS is the only up-cadence. This is where the secret rolls over and opens its eyes. Bitter words spoken to a child ripple in morning light! Boredom from a bedroom doorway thrills with anticipation! The complaints of an old man dying piecemeal are starling chirrups. Coughs go singing on springtime paths across a field; corruption picks strawberries and slow warping of the mind, blacking the deadly walls—counted and recounted—rolls in the grass and shouts ecstatically. All is solved! The moaning and dull sobbing of infants sets blood tingling and eyes ablaze to listen. Speed sings in the heels at long nights tossing on coarse sheets with bruning sockets staring into the black. Dance! Sing! Coil and uncoil! Whip yourselves about! Shout the deliverance! An old woman has infected her blossomy grand-daughter with a blood illness that every two weeks drives the mother into hidden songs of agony, the pad-footed mirage of creeping death for music. The face muscles keep pace. Then a darting about the compass in a tarantelle that wears flesh from bones. Here is dancing! The mind in tatters. And so the music wistfully takes the lead. Ay de mí, Juana la Loca, reina de España, esa está tu canta, reina mía!
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Genie by Arthur Rimbaud
Arthur Rimbaud
He is affection and the present since he opened the house to foaming winter and the hum of summer, he who purified drink and food, he who is the charm of fleeting places and the superhuman deliciousness of staying still. He is affection and the future, strength and love that we, standing amid rage and troubles, see passing in the storm-rent sky and on banners of ecstasy.
He is love, perfect and reinvented measurement, wonderful and unforeseen reason, and eternity: machine beloved for its fatal qualities. We have all experienced the terror of his yielding and of our own: O enjoyment of our health, surge of our faculties, egoistic affection and passion for him, he who loves us for his infinite life
And we remember him and he travels...And if the Adoration goes away, resounds, its promise resounds: “Away with those superstitions, those old bodies, those couples and those ages. It’s this age that has sunk!”
He won’t go away, nor descend from a heaven again, he won’t accomplish the redemption of women’s anger and the gaiety of men and of all that sin: for it is now accomplished, with him being, and being loved.
O his breaths, his heads, his racing; the terrible swiftness of the perfection of forms and of action.
O fecundity of the spirit and immensity of the universe!
His body! The dreamed-of release, the shattering of grace crossed with new violence!
The sight, the sight of him! all the ancient kneeling and suffering lifted in his wake.
His day! the abolition of all resonant and surging suffering in more intense music.
His footstep! migrations more vast than ancient invasions.
O him and us! pride more benevolent than wasted charities.
O world! and the clear song of new misfortunes!
He has known us all and loved us all. Let us, on this winter night, from cape to cape, from the tumultuous pole to the castle, from the crowd to the beach, from glance to glance, our strengths and feelings numb, learn to hail him and see him, and send him back, and under the tides and at the summit of snowy deserts, follow his seeing, his breathing, his body, his day.
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Closings by Donald Hall
Donald Hall

“Always Be Closing,” Liam told us—
abc of real estate, used cars,
and poetry. Liam the dandy
loved Brooks Brothers shirts, double-breasted
suits, bespoke shoes, and linen jackets.
On the day Liam and Tree married
in our backyard, Liam and I wore
Chuck’s burgundy boho-prep high-tops
that Liam bought on Fifth Avenue.


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The God Called Poetry by Robert Graves
Robert Graves
Now I begin to know at last,
These nights when I sit down to rhyme,
The form and measure of that vast
God we call Poetry, he who stoops
And leaps me through his paper hoops
A little higher every time.

Tempts me to think I’ll grow a proper
Singing cricket or grass-hopper
Making prodigious jumps in air
While shaken crowds about me stare
Aghast, and I sing, growing bolder
To fly up on my master’s shoulder
Rustling the thick stands of his hair.

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The Balustrade by Keith Waldrop
Keith Waldrop
in memory of Edmond Jabès

“And so her worries ran on into the other world.”

The Tale of Genji
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Tuning by Keith Waldrop
Keith Waldrop
Herr Stimmung—purblind—moves in corporeal time.

Think how many, by now, have escaped the world’s memory.

Think, how all his wandering is only thought. Having once tried to
live in the quasi-stupor of sensation, now he picks his way through
areas of spilth, seeking the least among infinite evils.

His hope: intermittent.

To a person so little conscious, what would it mean to die? Though
he feels, true enough, death’s wither-clench. Thinking always of
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An Extraordinary Morning by Philip Levine
Philip Levine
Two young men—you just might call them boys—
waiting for the Woodward streetcar to get
them downtown. Yes, they’re tired, they’re also
dirty, and happy. Happy because they’ve
finished a short work week and if they’re not rich
they’re as close to rich as they’ll ever be
in this town. Are they truly brothers?
You could ask the husky one, the one
in the black jacket he fills to bursting;
he seems friendly enough, snapping
his fingers while he shakes his ass and sings
“Sweet Lorraine,” or if you’re put off
by his mocking tone ask the one leaning
against the locked door of Ruby’s Rib Shack,
the one whose eyelids flutter in time
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The Key to the City by Anne Winters
Anne Winters
All middle age invisible to us, all age
passed close enough behind to seize our napehairs
and whisper in a voice all thatch and smoke
some village-elder warning, some rasped-out
Remember me . . . Mute and grey in her city
uniform (stitch-lettered JUVENILE), the matron
just pointed us to our lockers, and went out.
‘What an old bag!’ ‘Got a butt on you, honey?’ ‘Listen,
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The Butterfly’s Dream by Hannah F. Gould
Hannah F. Gould
A tulip, just opened, had offered to hold
A butterfly, gaudy and gay;
And, rocked in a cradle of crimson and gold,
The careless young slumberer lay.

For the butterfly slept, as such thoughtless ones will,
At ease, and reclining on flowers,
If ever they study, ’t is how they may kill
The best of their mid-summer hours.

And the butterfly dreamed, as is often the case
With indolent lovers of change,
Who, keeping the body at ease in its place,
Give fancy permission to range.

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Soweto by Kamau Brathwaite
Kamau Brathwaite
Out of this roar of innumerable demons

hot cinema tarzan sweat
rolling moth ball eyes yellow teeth
cries of claws slashes clanks

a faint high pallor


oceans rolling over the dry sand of the savanna

your houses homes warm still with the buffalo milk
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“How well do I recall that walk in state” by Frederick Goddard Tuckerman
Frederick Goddard Tuckerman
from Sonnets, Third Series


How well do I recall that walk in state
Across the Common, by the paths we knew:
Myself in silver badge and riband blue,
My little sister with her book and slate;
The elm tree by the Pond, the fence of wood,
The burial place that at the corner stood
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A Valediction of the Book by John Donne
John Donne
I’ll tell thee now (dear Love) what thou shalt do
To anger destiny, as she doth us,
How I shall stay, though she esloygne me thus
And how posterity shall know it too;
How thine may out-endure
Sybil’s glory, and obscure
Her who from Pindar could allure,
And her, through whose help Lucan is not lame,
And her, whose book (they say) Homer did find, and name.

Study our manuscripts, those myriads
Of letters, which have past twixt thee and me,
Thence write our annals, and in them will be
To all whom love’s subliming fire invades,
Rule and example found;
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The Wind Chimes by Shirley Buettner
Shirley Buettner
Two wind chimes,
one brass and prone to anger,
one with the throat of an angel,
swing from my porch eave,
sing with the storm.
Last year I lived five months
under that shrill choir,
boxing your house, crowding books
into crates, from some pages
your own voice crying.
Some days the chimes raged.
Some days they hung still.
They fretted when I dug up
the lily I gave you in April,
blooming, strangely, in fall.
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All the Dead Soldiers by Thomas McGrath
Thomas McGrath
In the chill rains of the early winter I hear something—
A puling anger, a cold wind stiffened by flying bone—
Out of the north ...
and remember, then, what’s up there:
That ghost-bank: home: Amchitka: boot hill ....

They must be very tired, those ghosts; no flesh sustains them
And the bones rust in the rain.
Reluctant to go into the earth
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Apology for Apostasy? by Etheridge Knight
Etheridge Knight
Soft songs, like birds, die in poison air
So my song cannot now be candy.
Anger rots the oak and elm; roses are rare,
Seldom seen through blind despair.

And my murmur cannot be heard
Above the din and damn. The night is full
Of buggers and bastards; no moon or stars
Light the sky. And my candy is deferred
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Baby Villon by Philip Levine
Philip Levine
He tells me in Bangkok he’s robbed
Because he’s white; in London because he’s black;
In Barcelona, Jew; in Paris, Arab:
Everywhere and at all times, and he fights back.

He holds up seven thick little fingers
To show me he’s rated seventh in the world,
And there’s no passion in his voice, no anger
In the flat brown eyes flecked with blood.
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The Envoy of Mr. Cogito by Zbigniew Herbert
Zbigniew Herbert
Go where those others went to the dark boundary
for the golden fleece of nothingness your last prize

go upright among those who are on their knees
among those with their backs turned and those toppled in the dust

you were saved not in order to live
you have little time you must give testimony

be courageous when the mind deceives you be courageous
in the final account only this is important
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The Flower by George Herbert
George Herbert
How fresh, oh Lord, how sweet and clean
Are thy returns! even as the flowers in spring;
To which, besides their own demean,
The late-past frosts tributes of pleasure bring.
Grief melts away
Like snow in May,
As if there were no such cold thing.

Who would have thought my shriveled heart
Could have recovered greenness? It was gone
Quite underground; as flowers depart
To see their mother-root, when they have blown,
Where they together
All the hard weather,
Dead to the world, keep house unknown.
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For Malcolm, A Year After by Etheridge Knight
Etheridge Knight
Compose for Red a proper verse;
Adhere to foot and strict iamb;
Control the burst of angry words
Or they might boil and break the dam.
Or they might boil and overflow
And drench me, drown me, drive me mad.
So swear no oath, so shed no tear,
And sing no song blue Baptist sad.
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Innocence by Thomas Traherne
Thomas Traherne
But that which most I wonder at, which most
I did esteem my bliss, which most I boast,
And ever shall enjoy, is that within
I felt no stain, nor spot of sin.

No darkness then did overshade,
But all within was pure and bright,
No guilt did crush, nor fear invade
But all my soul was full of light.

A joyful sense and purity
Is all I can remember;
The very night to me was bright,
’Twas summer in December.

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The Lay for the Troubled Golfer by Edgar Albert Guest
Edgar Albert Guest
His eye was wild and his face was taut with anger and hate and rage,
And the things he muttered were much too strong for the ink of the printed page.
I found him there when the dusk came down, in his golf clothes still was he,
And his clubs were strewn around his feet as he told his grief to me:
“I’d an easy five for a seventy-nine—in sight of the golden goal—
An easy five and I took an eight—an eight on the eighteenth hole!

“I’ve dreamed my dreams of the ‘seventy men,’ and I’ve worked year after year,
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Like Rousseau by Amiri Baraka
Amiri Baraka
She stands beside me, stands away,
the vague indifference
of her dreams. Dreaming, to go on,
and go on there, like animals fleeing
the rise of the earth. But standing
intangible, my lust a worked anger
a sweating close covering, for the crudely salty soul.

Then back off, and where you go? Box of words
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from Mercian Hymns by Geoffrey Hill
Geoffrey Hill

King of the perennial holly-groves, the riven sandstone: overlord of the M5: architect of the historic rampart and ditch, the citadel at Tamworth, the summer hermitage in Holy Cross: guardian of the Welsh Bridge and the Iron Bridge: contractor to the desirable new estates: saltmaster: moneychanger: commissioner for oaths: martyrologist: the friend of Charlemagne.

‘I liked that,’ said Offa, ‘sing it again.’


I was invested in mother-earth, the crypt of roots and endings. Child’s-play. I abode there, bided my time: where the mole

shouldered the clogged wheel, his gold solidus; where dry-dust badgers thronged the Roman flues, the long-unlooked-for mansions of our tribe.


So much for the elves’ wergild, the true governance of England, the gaunt warrior-gospel armoured in engraved stone. I wormed my way heavenward for ages amid barbaric ivy, scrollwork of fern.
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Replica by Marvin Bell
Marvin Bell
The fake Parthenon in Nashville, Stonehenge reduced by a quarter
near Maryhill on the Columbia, the little Statue of Liberty
taken from the lawn of the high school and not recovered
for months,
Simon Rodia’s Watts Towers in the tile maker’s shape of a ship
to sail home in, the house in the shape of a ship near Milwaukee
where once before the river below rose up to swallow the bank,
World’s Fairs where one can enter the cell of a human body
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A Tapestry for Bayeux by George Starbuck
George Starbuck

Over the
arches a
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Visiting a dead man on a summer day by Marge Piercy
Marge Piercy
In flat America, in Chicago,
Graceland cemetery on the German North Side.
Forty feet of Corinthian candle
celebrate Pullman embedded
lonely raisin in a cake of concrete.
The Potter Palmers float
in an island parthenon.
Barons of hogfat, railroads and wheat
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Anthem for Doomed Youth by Wilfred Owen
Wilfred Owen
What passing-bells for these who die as cattle?
—Only the monstrous anger of the guns.
Only the stuttering rifles' rapid rattle
Can patter out their hasty orisons.
No mockeries now for them; no prayers nor bells;
Nor any voice of mourning save the choirs,—
The shrill, demented choirs of wailing shells;
And bugles calling for them from sad shires.
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The Bad Old Days by Kenneth Rexroth
Kenneth Rexroth
The summer of nineteen eighteen
I read The Jungle and The
Research Magnificent. That fall
My father died and my aunt
Took me to Chicago to live.
The first thing I did was to take
A streetcar to the stockyards.
In the winter afternoon,
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The Ballad of Nat Turner by Robert Hayden
Robert Hayden
Then fled, O brethren, the wicked juba
and wandered wandered far
from curfew joys in the Dismal’s night.
Fool of St. Elmo’s fire

In scary night I wandered, praying,
Lord God my harshener,
speak to me now or let me die;
speak, Lord, to this mourner.
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The Ballad of the Children of the Czar by Delmore Schwartz
Delmore Schwartz

The children of the Czar
Played with a bouncing ball

In the May morning, in the Czar’s garden,
Tossing it back and forth.

It fell among the flowerbeds
Or fled to the north gate.

A daylight moon hung up
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Blizzard by William Carlos Williams
William Carlos Williams
years of anger following
hours that float idly down —
the blizzard
drifts its weight
deeper and deeper for three days
or sixty years, eh? Then
the sun! a clutter of
yellow and blue flakes —
Hairy looking trees stand out
in long alleys
over a wild solitude.
The man turns and there —
his solitary track stretched out
upon the world.
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The Circuit Judge by Edgar Lee Masters
Edgar Lee Masters
Take note, passers-by, of the sharp erosions
Eaten in my head-stone by the wind and rain i
Almost as if an intangible Nemesis or hatred
Were marking scores against me,
But to destroy, and not preserve, my memory.
I in life was the Circuit Judge, a maker of notches,
Deciding cases on the points the lawyers scored,
Not on the right of the matter.
O wind and rain, leave my head-stone alone!
For worse than the anger of the wronged,
The curses of the poor,
Was to lie speechless, yet with vision clear,
Seeing that even Hod Putt, the murderer,
Hanged by my sentence,
Was innocent in soul compared with me.
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The Dark Chamber by Louis Untermeyer
Louis Untermeyer
The brain forgets but the blood will remember.
There, when the play of sense is over,
The last, low spark in the darkest chamber
Will hold all there is of love and lover.

The war of words, the life-long quarrel
Of self against self will resolve into nothing;
Less than the chain of berry-red coral
Crying against the dead black of her clothing.
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Days of Heaven by Carl Dennis
Carl Dennis
That was a great compliment the Greeks paid to human life
When they imagined their gods living as humans do,
With the same pleasure in love and feasting,
Headstrong as we are, turbulent, quick to anger,
Slow to forgive. Just like us, only immortal.
And now that those gods have proven mortal too
And heaven and earth can’t be divided,
Every death means a divine occasion
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The Disappointment by Aphra Behn
Aphra Behn
ONE Day the Amarous Lisander,
By an impatient Passion sway'd,
Surpris'd fair Cloris, that lov'd Maid,
Who cou'd defend her self no longer ;
All things did with his Love conspire,
The gilded Planet of the Day,
In his gay Chariot, drawn by Fire,
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Elegiac Stanzas Suggested by a Picture of Peele Castle in a Storm, Painted by Sir George Beaumont by William Wordsworth
William Wordsworth
I was thy neighbour once, thou rugged Pile!
Four summer weeks I dwelt in sight of thee:
I saw thee every day; and all the while
Thy Form was sleeping on a glassy sea.

So pure the sky, so quiet was the air!
So like, so very like, was day to day!
Whene'er I looked, thy Image still was there;
It trembled, but it never passed away.

How perfect was the calm! it seemed no sleep;
No mood, which season takes away, or brings:
I could have fancied that the mighty Deep
Was even the gentlest of all gentle things.

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The End of an Ethnic Dream by Jay Wright
Jay Wright
Cigarettes in my mouth
to puncture blisters in my brain.
My bass a fine piece of furniture.
My fingers soft, too soft to rattle
rafters in second-rate halls.
The harmonies I could never learn
stick in Ayler's screams.
An African chant chokes us. My image shot.
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Good Friday, 1613. Riding Westward by John Donne
John Donne
Let mans Soule be a Spheare, and then, in this,
The intelligence that moves, devotion is,
And as the other Spheares, by being growne
Subject to forraigne motion, lose their owne,
And being by others hurried every day,
Scarce in a yeare their naturall forme obey:
Pleasure or businesse, so, our Soules admit
For their first mover, and are whirld by it.
Hence is't, that I am carryed towards the West
This day, when my Soules forme bends toward the East.
There I should see a Sunne, by rising set,
And by that setting endlesse day beget;
But that Christ on this Crosse, did rise and fall,
Sinne had eternally benighted all.
Yet dare I'almost be glad, I do not see
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The Heavy Bear Who Goes With Me by Delmore Schwartz
Delmore Schwartz
“the withness of the body” The heavy bear who goes with me,
A manifold honey to smear his face,
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Heritage by Countee Cullen
Countee Cullen
(For Harold Jackman) What is Africa to me:
Copper sun or scarlet sea,
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Humanities Lecture by William E. Stafford
William E. Stafford
Aristotle was a little man with
eyes like a lizard, and he found a streak
down the midst of things, a smooth place for his feet
much more important than the carved handles
on the coffins of the great.

He said you should put your hand out
at the time and place of need:
strength matters little, he said,
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Job’s Question on Nevis by Grace Schulman
Grace Schulman
“Turn back!” was all she snapped out as she passed
in a red dress that caught sunrays through mist.
I saw her lurch upwind, kick off spiked heels,
climb out to the edge of a knife-sharp rockpile,

and, arms outstretched, lead the sea’s tympani,
lure the din, guiding the steamy waves
to shore. Will the Almighty answer me?
she sang out to the ocean’s rising octaves,
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Lucinda Matlock by Edgar Lee Masters
Edgar Lee Masters
I went to the dances at Chandlerville,
And played snap-out at Winchester.
One time we changed partners,
Driving home in the moonlight of middle June,
And then I found Davis.
We were married and lived together for seventy years,
Enjoying, working, raising the twelve children,
Eight of whom we lost
Ere I had reached the age of sixty.
I spun, I wove, I kept the house, I nursed the sick,
I made the garden, and for holiday
Rambled over the fields where sang the larks,
And by Spoon River gathering many a shell,
And many a flower and medicinal weed —
Shouting to the wooded hills, singing to the green valleys.
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The Mosquito by D. H. Lawrence
D. H. Lawrence
When did you start your tricks

What do you stand on such high legs for?
Why this length of shredded shank
You exaltation?

Is it so that you shall lift your centre of gravity upwards
And weigh no more than air as you alight upon me,
Stand upon me weightless, you phantom?
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A Motor by Marvin Bell
Marvin Bell
The heavy, wet, guttural
small-plane engine
fights for air, and goes down in humid darkness
about where the airport should be.
I take a lot for granted,
not pleased to be living under the phlegm-
soaked, gaseous, foggy and irradiated
heavens whose angels wear collars in propjets
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Movement Song by Audre Lorde
Audre Lorde
I have studied the tight curls on the back of your neck
moving away from me
beyond anger or failure
your face in the evening schools of longing
through mornings of wish and ripen
we were always saying goodbye
in the blood in the bone over coffee
before dashing for elevators going
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Mycerinus by Matthew Arnold
Matthew Arnold
"Not by the justice that my father spurn'd,
Not for the thousands whom my father slew,
Altars unfed and temples overturn'd,
Cold hearts and thankless tongues, where thanks are due;
Fell this dread voice from lips that cannot lie,
Stern sentence of the Powers of Destiny.

"I will unfold my sentence and my crime.
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Ode on a Distant Prospect of Eton College by Thomas Gray
Thomas Gray
Ye distant spires, ye antique tow'rs,
That crown the wat'ry glade,
Where grateful Science still adores
Her Henry's holy Shade;
And ye, that from the stately brow
Of Windsor's heights th' expanse below
Of grove, of lawn, of mead survey,
Whose turf, whose shade, whose flowr's among
Wanders the hoary Thames along
His silver-winding way.

Ah, happy hills, ah, pleasing shade,
Ah, fields belov'd in vain,
Where once my careless childhood stray'd,
A stranger yet to pain!
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Ode on Melancholy by John Keats
John Keats
No, no, go not to Lethe, neither twist
Wolf's-bane, tight-rooted, for its poisonous wine;
Nor suffer thy pale forehead to be kiss'd
By nightshade, ruby grape of Proserpine;
Make not your rosary of yew-berries,
Nor let the beetle, nor the death-moth be
Your mournful Psyche, nor the downy owl
A partner in your sorrow's mysteries;
For shade to shade will come too drowsily,
And drown the wakeful anguish of the soul.

But when the melancholy fit shall fall
Sudden from heaven like a weeping cloud,
That fosters the droop-headed flowers all,
And hides the green hill in an April shroud;
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Of the Progress of the Soul: The Second Anniversary by John Donne
John Donne

by occasion of the religious death of Mistress
Elizabeth Drury, the incommodities of the soul in this her life, and her
exaltation in the next, are contemplated
THE SECOND ANNIVERSARY Forget this rotten world, and unto thee
Let thine own times as an old story be.
Be not concern'd; study not why, nor when;
Do not so much as not believe a man.
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The Penitent by Edna St. Vincent Millay
Edna St. Vincent Millay
I had a little Sorrow,
Born of a little Sin,
I found a room all damp with gloom
And shut us all within;
And, "Little Sorrow, weep," said I,
"And, Little Sin, pray God to die,
And I upon the floor will lie
And think how bad I've been!"
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The Rebel by Hilaire Belloc
Hilaire Belloc
There is a wall of which the stones
Are lies and bribes and dead men's bones.
And wrongfully this evil wall
Denies what all men made for all,
And shamelessly this wall surrounds
Our homesteads and our native grounds.

But I will gather and I will ride,
And I will summon a countryside,
And many a man shall hear my halloa
Who never had thought the horn to follow;
And many a man shall ride with me
Who never had thought on earth to see
High Justice in her armoury.

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A Shropshire Lad 31: On Wenlock Edge the wood's in trouble by A. E. Housman
A. E. Housman
On Wenlock Edge the wood's in trouble;
His forest fleece the Wrekin heaves;
The gale, it plies the saplings double,
And thick on Severn snow the leaves.

'Twould blow like this through holt and hanger
When Uricon the city stood:
'Tis the old wind in the old anger,
But then it threshed another wood.

Then, 'twas before my time, the Roman
At yonder heaving hill would stare:
The blood that warms an English yeoman,
The thoughts that hurt him, they were there.

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A Song for St. Cecilia's Day, 1687 by John Dryden
John Dryden
Stanza 1
From harmony, from Heav'nly harmony
This universal frame began.
When Nature underneath a heap
Of jarring atoms lay,
And could not heave her head,
The tuneful voice was heard from high,
Arise ye more than dead.
Then cold, and hot, and moist, and dry,
In order to their stations leap,
And music's pow'r obey.
From harmony, from Heav'nly harmony
This universal frame began:
From harmony to harmony
Through all the compass of the notes it ran,
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Spree by Maxine Kumin
Maxine Kumin
My father paces the upstairs hall
a large confined animal
neither wild nor yet domesticated.
About him hangs the smell of righteous wrath.
My mother is meekly seated
at the escritoire. Rosy from my bath
age eight-nine-ten by now I understand
his right to roar, hers to defy
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Tam Glen by Robert Burns
Robert Burns
My heart is a-breaking, dear Tittie,
Some counsel unto me come len';
To anger them a' is a pity,
But what will I do wi' Tam Glen?

I'm thinking, wi' sic a braw fellow,
In poortith I might mak a fen':
What care I in riches to wallow,
If I mauna marry Tam Glen?

There's Lowrie, the laird o' Dumeller,
"Guid-day to you,"—brute! he comes ben:
He brags and he blaws o' his siller,
But when will he dance like Tam Glen?

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To My Wife by J. V. Cunningham
J. V. Cunningham
And does the heart grow old? You know
In the indiscriminate green
Of summer or in earliest snow
A landscape is another scene,

Inchoate and anonymous,
And every rock and bush and drift
As our affections alter us
Will alter with the season’s shift.
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Who Said It Was Simple by Audre Lorde
Audre Lorde
There are so many roots to the tree of anger
that sometimes the branches shatter
before they bear.

Sitting in Nedicks
the women rally before they march
discussing the problematic girls
they hire to make them free.
An almost white counterman passes
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The Witnesses by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
In Ocean's wide domains,
Half buried in the sands,
Lie skeletons in chains,
With shackled feet and hands.

Beyond the fall of dews,
Deeper than plummet lies,
Float ships, with all their crews,
No more to sink nor rise.

There the black Slave-ship swims,
Freighted with human forms,
Whose fettered, fleshless limbs
Are not the sport of storms.

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Yesterdays by Robert Creeley
Robert Creeley
Sixty-two, sixty-three, I most remember
As time W. C. Williams dies and we are
Back from a hard two years in Guatemala
Where the meager provision of being
Schoolmaster for the kids of the patrones
Of two coffee plantations has managed
Neither a life nor money. Leslie dies in
Horror of bank giving way as she and her
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Dog Music by Paul Zimmer
Paul Zimmer
Amongst dogs are listeners and singers.
My big dog sang with me so purely,
puckering her ruffled lips into an O,
beginning with small, swallowing sounds
like Coltrane musing, then rising to power
and resonance, gulping air to continue—
her passion and sense of flawless form—
singing not with me, but for the art of dogs.
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Mary Shelley in Brigantine by Stephen Dunn
Stephen Dunn
Because the ostracized experience the world
in ways peculiar to themselves, often seeing it
clearly yet with such anger and longing
that they sometimes enlarge what they see,
she at first saw Brigantine as a paradise for gulls.
She must be a horseshoe crab washed ashore.

How startling, though, no one knew about her past,
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