Believe

B
Jesus Wept. by Stanley Plumly
Stanley Plumly
The shortest sentence, I believe, in the New Testament.
Having to do with the raising of  Lazarus, and no less
the crucifixion of  Jesus himself once the Pharisees
realize the power of a voice that can call forth the dead.
Jesus seems to be identifying with this brother of Martha
and Mary, with in fact the whole weeping community.
Take away the stone, Lazarus come forth, and he that was
dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes;
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In a Disused Graveyard by Robert Frost
Robert Frost
The living come with grassy tread
To read the gravestones on the hill;
The graveyard draws the living still,
But never any more the dead.

The verses in it say and say:
‘The ones who living come today
To read the stones and go away
Tomorrow dead will come to stay.’
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The Need of Being Versed in Country Things by Robert Frost
Robert Frost
The house had gone to bring again
To the midnight sky a sunset glow.
Now the chimney was all of the house that stood,
Like a pistil after the petals go.

The barn opposed across the way,
That would have joined the house in flame
Had it been the will of the wind, was left
To bear forsaken the place’s name.
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Poetry Is the Gnomic Utterance from Which the Soul Springs, Fluttering by Joyce Carol Oates
Joyce Carol Oates
At the podium
measured and grave as a metronome
the (white, male) poet with bald-
gleaming head broods in gnom-
ic syllables on the death
of 12-year-old (black, male) Tamir Rice
shot in a park
by a Cleveland police officer
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The Untold Witch by Keith Waldrop
Keith Waldrop
1
She would
sigh, if she
could think of
anything intolerable.
her numbers
fold, in
planes she can
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Mean Particles by John Ashbery
John Ashbery
Sometimes something like a second
washes the base of this street.
The father and his two assistants
are given permission to go.
One of them, a woman, asks, “Why
did we come here in the first place,
to this citadel of dampness?”

Some days are worse than others,
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The Three Ants by Kahlil Gibran
Kahlil Gibran
Three ants met on the nose of a man who was asleep in the sun. And
after they had saluted one another, each according to the custom
of his tribe, they stood there conversing.

The first ant said, “These hills and plains are the most barren I
have known. I have searched all day for a grain of some sort, and
there is none to be found.”

Said the second ant, “I too have found nothing, though I have
visited every nook and glade. This is, I believe, what my people
call the soft, moving land where nothing grows.”

Then the third ant raised his head and said, “My friends, we are
standing now on the nose of the Supreme Ant, the mighty and infinite
Ant, whose body is so great that we cannot see it, whose shadow
is so vast that we cannot trace it, whose voice is so loud that we
cannot hear it; and He is omnipresent.”

When the third ant spoke thus the other ants looked at each other
and laughed.

At that moment the man moved and in his sleep raised his hand and
scratched his nose, and the three ants were crushed.
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Always Something More Beautiful by Stephen Dunn
Stephen Dunn
This time I came to the starting place
with my best running shoes, and pure speed
held back for the finish, came with only love
of the clock and the underfooting
and the other runners. Each of us would
be testing excellence and endurance

in the other, though in the past I’d often
veer off to follow some feral distraction
down a side path, allowing myself
to pursue something odd or beautiful,
becoming acquainted with a few of the ways
not to blame myself for failing to succeed.

I had come to believe what’s beautiful
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Glory of Women by Siegfried Sassoon
Siegfried Sassoon
You love us when we're heroes, home on leave,

Or wounded in a mentionable place.

You worship decorations; you believe

That chivalry redeems the war's disgrace.

You make us shells. You listen with delight,

By tales of dirt and danger fondly thrilled.

You crown our distant ardours while we fight,

And mourn our laurelled memories when we're killed.

You can't believe that British troops “retire”

When hell's last horror breaks them, and they run,

Trampling the terrible corpses—blind with blood.

O German mother dreaming by the fire,

While you are knitting socks to send your son

His face is trodden deeper in the mud.
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Ballad of Orange and Grape by Muriel Rukeyser
Muriel Rukeyser
After you finish your work
after you do your day
after you've read your reading
after you've written your say –
you go down the street to the hot dog stand,
one block down and across the way.
On a blistering afternoon in East Harlem in the twentieth
century.
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Darwin by Lorine Niedecker
Lorine Niedecker

I
His holy
slowly
mulled over
matter

not all “delirium
of delight”
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Believe, Believe by Bob Kaufman
Bob Kaufman
Believe in this. Young apple seeds,
In blue skies, radiating young breast,
Not in blue-suited insects,
Infesting society’s garments.

Believe in the swinging sounds of jazz,
Tearing the night into intricate shreds,
Putting it back together again,
In cool logical patterns,
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Ritual X.  :  The Evening Pair of Ales by Paul Blackburn
Paul Blackburn
EAST OF EDEN
is mountains & desert
until you cross the passes into India .
It is 3 o’clock in the afternoon or
twenty of 8 at night, depending
which clock you believe .

AND WEST IS WEST
It’s where the cups and saucers are,
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Moonlight by Paul Verlaine
Paul Verlaine
Your soul is like a landscape fantasy,
Where masks and Bergamasks, in charming wise,
Strum lutes and dance, just a bit sad to be
Hidden beneath their fanciful disguise.

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The Crystal in Tamalpais by Joanne Kyger
Joanne Kyger

In Tamalpais is a big crystal. An acquaintance told
me the story. A Miwok was giving his grandfather’s medicine
bag to the Kroeber Museum in Berkeley. He said this man
took him over the mountain Tamalpais, at a certain time
in the year. I believe it was about the time of the
Winter Solstice, because then the tides are really low.
They stopped and gathered a certain plant on the way over
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Night Feeding by Muriel Rukeyser
Muriel Rukeyser
Deeper than sleep but not so deep as death
I lay there dreaming and my magic head
remembered and forgot. On first cry I
remembered and forgot and did believe.
I knew love and I knew evil:
woke to the burning song and the tree burning blind,
despair of our days and the calm milk-giver who
knows sleep, knows growth, the sex of fire and grass,
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Living at the End of Time by Robert Bly
Robert Bly
There is so much sweetness in children’s voices,
And so much discontent at the end of day,
And so much satisfaction when a train goes by.

I don’t know why the rooster keeps crying,
Nor why elephants keep raising their trunks,
Nor why Hawthorne kept hearing trains at night.

A handsome child is a gift from God,
And a friend is a vein in the back of the hand,
And a wound is an inheritance from the wind.

Some say we are living at the end of time,
But I believe a thousand pagan ministers
Will arrive tomorrow to baptize the wind.
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Mr. Attila by Carl Sandburg
Carl Sandburg
They made a myth of you, professor,
you of the gentle voice,
the books, the specs,
the furitive rabbit manners
in the mortar-board cap
and the medieval gown.

They didn’t think it, eh professor?
On account of you’re so absent-minded,
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Eating Poetry by Mark Strand
Mark Strand
Ink runs from the corners of my mouth.
There is no happiness like mine.
I have been eating poetry.

The librarian does not believe what she sees.
Her eyes are sad
and she walks with her hands in her dress.

The poems are gone.
The light is dim.
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The Medium by Robin Blaser
Robin Blaser
it is essentially reluctance the language
a darkness, a friendship, tying to the real
but it is unreal

the clarity desired, a wish for true sight,
all tangling

‘you’ tried me, the everyday which
caught me, turning the house

in the wind, a lovecraft the political
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The Prisoner by R. S. Thomas
R. S. Thomas
‘Poems from prison! About
what?’
‘Life and God.’ ‘God
in prison? Friend, you trifle
with me. His face, perhaps,
at the bars, fading
like life.’
‘He came in
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I Am the Only Being Whose Doom by Emily Brontë
Emily Brontë
I am the only being whose doom
No tongue would ask, no eye would mourn;
I never caused a thought of gloom,
A smile of joy, since I was born.

In secret pleasure, secret tears,
This changeful life has slipped away,
As friendless after eighteen years,
As lone as on my natal day.
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The Tummy Beast by Roald Dahl
Roald Dahl
One afternoon I said to mummy,
“Who is this person in my tummy?
“Who must be small and very thin
“Or how could he have gotten in?”
My mother said from where she sat,
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Coming and Going by Pierre Martory
Pierre Martory
As long as you believe in miracles
You watch the sun fall into the sea
Every evening
Then you turn your back and sink
Among the ferns sparkling from a moon or from the other
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“The ribs and terrors in the whale” by Herman Melville
Herman Melville
The ribs and terrors in the whale,
Arched over me a dismal gloom,
While all God’s sun-lit waves rolled by,
And left me deepening down to doom.

I saw the opening maw of hell,
With endless pains and sorrows there;
Which none but they that feel can tell—
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Seeing the Eclipse in Maine by Robert Bly
Robert Bly
It started about noon. On top of Mount Batte,
We were all exclaiming. Someone had a cardboard
And a pin, and we all cried out when the sun
Appeared in tiny form on the notebook cover.

It was hard to believe. The high school teacher
We’d met called it a pinhole camera,
People in the Renaissance loved to do that.
And when the moon had passed partly through
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A Dog Has Died by Pablo Neruda
Pablo Neruda
My dog has died.
I buried him in the garden
next to a rusted old machine.

Some day I'll join him right there,
but now he's gone with his shaggy coat,
his bad manners and his cold nose,
and I, the materialist, who never believed
in any promised heaven in the sky
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Our Valley by Philip Levine
Philip Levine
We don't see the ocean, not ever, but in July and August
when the worst heat seems to rise from the hard clay
of this valley, you could be walking through a fig orchard
when suddenly the wind cools and for a moment
you get a whiff of salt, and in that moment you can almost
believe something is waiting beyond the Pacheco Pass,
something massive, irrational, and so powerful even
the mountains that rise east of here have no word for it.

You probably think I'm nuts saying the mountains
have no word for ocean, but if you live here
you begin to believe they know everything.
They maintain that huge silence we think of as divine,
a silence that grows in autumn when snow falls
slowly between the pines and the wind dies
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Astrophil and Stella 2: Not at first sight, nor with a dribbèd shot by Sir Philip Sidney
Sir Philip Sidney
Not at first sight, nor with a dribbèd shot,
Love gave the wound which while I breathe will bleed:
But known worth did in mine of time proceed,
Till by degrees it had full conquest got.
I saw, and liked; I liked, but lovèd not;
I loved, but straight did not what love decreed:
At length to love’s decrees I, forced, agreed,
Yet with repining at so partial lot.
Now even that footstep of lost liberty
Is gone, and now like slave-born Muscovite
I call it praise to suffer tyranny;
And now employ the remnant of my wit
To make myself believe that all is well,
While with a feeling skill I paint my hell.
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Cities by H.D.
H.D.
Can we believe—by an effort
comfort our hearts:
it is not waste all this,
not placed here in disgust,
street after street,
each patterned alike,
no grace to lighten
a single house of the hundred
crowded into one garden-space.

Crowded—can we believe,
not in utter disgust,
in ironical play—
but the maker of cities grew faint
with the beauty of temple
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Decline and Fall by John Frederick Nims
John Frederick Nims
We had a city also. Hand in hand
Wandered happy as travellers our own land.
Murmured in turn the hearsay of each stone
Or, where a legend faltered, lived our own.
The far-seen obelisk my father set
(Pinning two roads forever where they met)
Waved us in wandering circles, turned our tread
Where once morass engulfed that passionate head.
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i can't stay in the same room with that woman for five minutes by Charles Bukowski
Charles Bukowski
I went over the other day
to pick up my daughter.
her mother came out with workman’s
overalls on.
I gave her the child support money
and she laid a sheaf of poems on me by one
Manfred Anderson.
I read them.
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Isaiah’s Coal by John Frederick Nims
John Frederick Nims
what more can man desire? Always, he woke in those days
With a sense of treasure,
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Legacy by Amiri Baraka
Amiri Baraka
(For Blues People) In the south, sleeping against
the drugstore, growling under
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Narrative Without People by Hilda Raz
Hilda Raz
The soaked books lip open in piles.
The shelves stoop, slough paint.
The doors, their locks sprung, hinge air
open to weather, gulp rain.
Something here enters the trees.

If we believe in ghosts, white pearl
shadows the batten and boards. Rust
runs on the shelves. The sounds on air
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The Old Man Drew the Line by Carl Rakosi
Carl Rakosi
The old man
drew the line
for his son,
the executive:
“I don’t want you spending money on me!
(not as long as there are fathers)”,
the line ageless
as the independence of time.
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On English Monsieur by Ben Jonson
Ben Jonson
Would you believe, when you this monsieur see,
That his whole body should speak French, not he?
That so much scarf of France, and hat, and feather,
And shoe, and tie, and garter should come hether,
And land on one whose face durst never be
Toward the sea farther than Half-Way Tree?
That he, untraveled, should be French so much
As Frenchmen in his company should seem Dutch?
Or had his father, when he did him get,
The French disease, with which he labors yet?
Or hung some monsieur’s picture on the wall,
By which his dam conceived him, clothes and all?
Or is it some French statue? No: ’T doth move,
And stoop, and cringe. O then, it needs must prove
The new French tailor’s motion, monthly made,
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Picture of a Nativity by Geoffrey Hill
Geoffrey Hill
Sea-preserved, heaped with sea-spoils,
Ribs, keels, coral sores,
Detached faces, ephemeral oils,
Discharged on the world’s outer shores,

A dumb child-king
Arrives at his right place; rests,
Undisturbed, among slack serpents; beasts
With claws flesh-buttered. In the gathering
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A Receipt to Cure the Vapors by Lady Mary Wortley Montagu
Lady Mary Wortley Montagu
I
Why will Delia thus retire,
And idly languish life away?
While the sighing crowd admire,
’Tis too soon for hartshorn tea:

II
All those dismal looks and fretting
Cannot Damon’s life restore;
Long ago the worms have eat him,
You can never see him more.

III
Once again consult your toilette,
In the glass your face review:
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The Snowbound City by John Haines
John Haines
I believe in this stalled magnificence,
this churning chaos of traffic,
a beast with broken spine,
its hoarse voice hooded in feathers
and mist; the baffled eyes
wink amber and slowly darken.

Of men and women suddenly walking,
stumbling with little sleighs
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Sonnet 109: O! never say that I was false of heart by William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare
O! never say that I was false of heart,
Though absence seemed my flame to qualify.
As easy might I from myself depart
As from my soul, which in thy breast doth lie:
That is my home of love; if I have ranged,
Like him that travels, I return again,
Just to the time, not with the time exchanged,
So that myself bring water for my stain.
Never believe, though in my nature reigned
All frailties that besiege all kinds of blood,
That it could so preposterously be stained,
To leave for nothing all thy sum of good;
For nothing this wide universe I call,
Save thou, my rose; in it thou art my all.
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Sonnet 138: When my love swears that she is made of truth by William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare
When my love swears that she is made of truth,
I do believe her, though I know she lies,
That she might think me some untutored youth,
Unlearnèd in the world’s false subtleties.
Thus vainly thinking that she thinks me young,
Although she knows my days are past the best,
Simply I credit her false-speaking tongue:
On both sides thus is simple truth suppressed.
But wherefore says she not she is unjust?
And wherefore say not I that I am old?
Oh, love’s best habit is in seeming trust,
And age in love loves not to have years told.
Therefore I lie with her and she with me,
And in our faults by lies we flattered be.
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Thirty Years Later I Meet Your Seventeen-Year-Old Daughter the Poet by Sandra M. Gilbert
Sandra M. Gilbert
in memory of R.I.S. 1.

Would I know her anywhere, this child
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To - by Sarah Helen Whitman
Sarah Helen Whitman
Vainly my heart had with thy sorceries striven:
It had no refuge from thy love,—no Heaven
But in thy fatal presence;—from afar
It owned thy power and trembled like a star
O’erfraught with light and splendor. Could I deem
How dark a shadow should obscure its beam?—
Could I believe that pain could ever dwell
Where thy bright presence cast its blissful spell?
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What Length of Verse? by Sir Philip Sidney
Sir Philip Sidney
What length of verse can serve brave Mopsa’s good to show,
Whose virtues strange, and beauties such, as no man them may know?
Thus shrewdly burden, then, how can my Muse escape?
The gods must help, and precious things must serve to show her shape.

Like great god Saturn, fair, and like fair Venus, chaste;
As smooth as Pan, as Juno mild, like goddess Iris fast.
With Cupid she foresees, and goes god Vulcan’s pace;
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Wild Oats by Philip Larkin
Philip Larkin
About twenty years ago
Two girls came in where I worked—
A bosomy English rose
And her friend in specs I could talk to.
Faces in those days sparked
The whole shooting-match off, and I doubt
If ever one had like hers:
But it was the friend I took out,
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wishes for sons by Lucille Clifton
Lucille Clifton
i wish them cramps.
i wish them a strange town
and the last tampon.
i wish them no 7-11.

i wish them one week early
and wearing a white skirt.
i wish them one week late.

later i wish them hot flashes
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sorrows by Lucille Clifton
Lucille Clifton
who would believe them winged
who would believe they could be

beautifulwho would believe
they could fall so in love with mortals

that they would attach themselves
as scars attach and ride the skin


sometimes we hear them in our dreams
rattling their skullsclicking their bony fingers

envying our crackling hair
our spice filled flesh
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the Cambridge ladies who live in furnished souls by E. E. Cummings
E. E. Cummings
the Cambridge ladies who live in furnished souls
are unbeautiful and have comfortable minds
(also, with the church's protestant blessings
daughters,unscented shapeless spirited)
they believe in Christ and Longfellow, both dead,
are invariably interested in so many things—
at the present writing one still finds
delighted fingers knitting for the is it Poles?
perhaps. While permanent faces coyly bandy
scandal of Mrs. N and Professor D
.... the Cambridge ladies do not care, above
Cambridge if sometimes in its box of
sky lavender and cornerless, the
moon rattles like a fragment of angry candy

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Credo by Robert Creeley
Robert Creeley
Creo que si ... I believe
it will rain
tomorrow ... I believe
the son of a bitch


is going into the river ...
I believe All men are
created equal—By your
leave a leafy
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The Cut by Ann Taylor
Ann Taylor
WELL, what's the matter ? there's a face
What ! has it cut a vein ?
And is it quite a shocking place ?
Come, let us look again.

I see it bleeds, but never mind
That tiny little drop ;
I don't believe you'll ever find
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The Foggy, Foggy Blue by Delmore Schwartz
Delmore Schwartz
When I was a young man, I loved to write poems
And I called a spade a spade
And the only only thing that made me sing
Was to lift the masks at the masquerade.
I took them off my own face,
I took them off others too
And the only only wrong in all my song
Was the view that I knew what was true.
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The Higher Pantheism in a Nutshell by Algernon Charles Swinburne
Algernon Charles Swinburne
One, who is not, we see: but one, whom we see not, is:
Surely this is not that: but that is assuredly this.

What, and wherefore, and whence? for under is over and under:
If thunder could be without lightning, lightning could be without thunder.

Doubt is faith in the main: but faith, on the whole, is doubt:
We cannot believe by proof: but could we believe without?

Why, and whither, and how? for barley and rye are not clover:
Neither are straight lines curves: yet over is under and over.

Two and two may be four: but four and four are not eight:
Fate and God may be twain: but God is the same thing as fate.

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I Saw in Louisiana A Live-Oak Growing by Walt Whitman
Walt Whitman
I saw in Louisiana a live-oak growing,
All alone stood it and the moss hung down from the branches,
Without any companion it grew there uttering joyous leaves of dark green,
And its look, rude, unbending, lusty, made me think of myself,
But I wonder’d how it could utter joyous leaves standing alone there without its friend near, for I knew I could not,
And I broke off a twig with a certain number of leaves upon it, and twined around it a little moss,
And brought it away, and I have placed it in sight in my room,
It is not needed to remind me as of my own dear friends,
(For I believe lately I think of little else than of them,)
Yet it remains to me a curious token, it makes me think of manly love;
For all that, and though the live-oak glistens there in Louisiana solitary in a wide flat space,
Uttering joyous leaves all its life without a friend a lover near,
I know very well I could not.
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In Memoriam A. H. H. OBIIT MDCCCXXXIII: 124 by Alfred, Lord Tennyson
Alfred, Lord Tennyson
That which we dare invoke to bless;
Our dearest faith; our ghastliest doubt;
He, They, One, All; within, without;
The Power in darkness whom we guess;

I found Him not in world or sun,
Or eagle's wing, or insect's eye;
Nor thro' the questions men may try,
The petty cobwebs we have spun:

If e'er when faith had fall'n asleep,
I heard a voice, "Believe no more,"
And heard an ever-breaking shore
That tumbled in the Godless deep,

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In Memoriam A. H. H. OBIIT MDCCCXXXIII: 96 by Alfred, Lord Tennyson
Alfred, Lord Tennyson
You say, but with no touch of scorn,
Sweet-hearted, you, whose light-blue eyes
Are tender over drowning flies,
You tell me, doubt is Devil-born.

I know not: one indeed I knew
In many a subtle question versed,
Who touch'd a jarring lyre at first,
But ever strove to make it true:

Perplext in faith, but pure in deeds,
At last he beat his music out.
There lives more faith in honest doubt,
Believe me, than in half the creeds.

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Last May a Braw Wooer by Robert Burns
Robert Burns
Last May a braw wooer cam down the lang glen,
And sair wi' his love he did deave me;
I said there was naething I hated like men:
The deuce gae wi 'm to believe me, believe me,
The deuce gae wi 'm to believe me.

He spak o' the darts in my bonie black een,
And vow'd for my love he was diein;
I said he might die when he liked for Jean:
The Lord forgie me for liein, for liein,
The Lord forgie me for liein!

A weel-stocked mailen, himsel for the laird,
And marriage aff-hand, were his proffers:
I never loot on that I ken'd it, or car'd,
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Lucifer Alone by Josephine Miles
Josephine Miles
One rat across the floor and quick to floor's a breeze,
But two a whisper of a human tongue.
One is a breath, two voice;
And one a dream, but more are dreamed too long.

Two are the portent which we may believe at length,
And two the tribe we recognize as true.
Two are the total, they saying and they saying,
So we must ponder what we are to do.
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Lyman King by Edgar Lee Masters
Edgar Lee Masters
You may think, passer-by, that Fate
Is a pit-fall outside of yourself,
Around which you may walk by the use of foresight
And wisdom.
Thus you believe, viewing the lives of other men,
As one who in God-like fashion bends over an anthill,
Seeing how their difficulties could be avoided.
But pass on into life:
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the mother by Gwendolyn Brooks
Gwendolyn Brooks
Abortions will not let you forget.
You remember the children you got that you did not get,
The damp small pulps with a little or with no hair,
The singers and workers that never handled the air.
You will never neglect or beat
Them, or silence or buy with a sweet.
You will never wind up the sucking-thumb
Or scuttle off ghosts that come.
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35
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my dream about the second coming by Lucille Clifton
Lucille Clifton
mary is an old woman without shoes.
she doesn’t believe it.
not when her belly starts to bubble
and leave the print of a finger where
no man touches.
not when the snow in her hair melts away.
not when the stranger she used to wait for
appears dressed in lights at her
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44
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Prodigy by Charles Simic
Charles Simic
I grew up bent over
a chessboard.

I loved the word endgame.

All my cousins looked worried.

It was a small house
near a Roman graveyard.
Planes and tanks
shook its windowpanes.
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36
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The Rites of Darkness by Kenneth Patchen
Kenneth Patchen
The sleds of the children
Move down the right slope.
To the left, hazed in the tumbling air,
A thousand lights smudge
Within the branches of the old forest,
Like colored moons in a well of milk.

The sleds of the children
Make no sound on the hard-packed snow.
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32
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Song: Fair Iris I love and hourly I die by John Dryden
John Dryden
from Amphitryon Fair Iris I love and hourly I die,
But not for a lip nor a languishing eye:
She's fickle and false, and there I agree;
For I am as false and as fickle as she:
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33
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Tally by Josephine Miles
Josephine Miles
After her pills the girl slept and counted
Pellet on pellet the regress of life.
Dead to the world, the world's count yet counted
Pellet on pill the antinomies of life.

Refused to turn, the way's back, she counted
Her several stones across the mire of life.
And stones away and sticks away she counted
To keep herself out of the country of life.
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36
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Technical Notes by James Laughlin
James Laughlin
Catullus is my master and I mix
a little acid and a bit of honey
in his bowl love

is my subject & the lack of love
which lack is what makes evil a
poet must strike

Catullus could rub words so hard
together their friction burned a
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52
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Dismantling the House by Stephen Dunn
Stephen Dunn
Rent a flatbed with a winch.
With the right leverage
anything can be hoisted, driven off.

Or the man with a Bobcat comes in,
then the hauler with his enormous truck.
A leveler or a lawyer does the rest;

experts always are willing to help.
The structure was old, rotten in spots.
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34
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Faith by Linda Pastan
Linda Pastan
For Ira With the seal of science
emblazoned
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43
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To Luck by W. S. Merwin
W. S. Merwin
In the cards and at the bend in the road
we never saw you
in the womb and in the crossfire
in the numbers
whatever you had your hand in
which was everything
we were told never to put
our faith in you
to bow to you humbly after all
because in the end there was nothing
else we could do
but not to believe in you

still we might coax you with pebbles
kept warm in the hand
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53
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To the Blank Spaces by W. S. Merwin
W. S. Merwin
For longer than by now I can believe
I assumed that you had nothing to do
with each other I thought you had arrived
whenever that had been

more solitary than single snowflakes
with no acquaintance or understanding
running among you guiding your footsteps
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52
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