Birth

B
Musée des Beaux Arts by W. H. Auden
W. H. Auden
December 1938 About suffering they were never wrong,
The Old Masters: how well they understood
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What the Dog Perhaps Hears by Lisel Mueller
Lisel Mueller
If an inaudible whistle
blown between our lips
can send him home to us,
then silence is perhaps
the sound of spiders breathing
and roots mining the earth;
it may be asparagus heaving,
headfirst, into the light
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Bastille by Pierre Martory
Pierre Martory
You let your shirt hang down
putting on airs of cuffs
at the edge of ending night
like the end of a java with double ritournelles
or the way the canaries in the cage of still-closed mornings
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Haiku and Tanka for Harriet Tubman by Sonia Sanchez
Sonia Sanchez
1

Picture a woman
riding thunder on
the legs of slavery    ...    


2

Picture her kissing
our spines saying no to
the eyes of slavery    ...    
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The helicopter, by Jean Valentine
Jean Valentine
The helicopter,
a sort of controlled silver leaf
dropped lightly into the clearing.
The searchlights swung, the little girl,
the little girl was crying, her mother, a girl herself,
was giving birth, the forest dropped birdseeds of milk.
Then the helicopter lifted away,
the mother rested.
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The Astronomer by Kahlil Gibran
Kahlil Gibran
In the shadow of the temple my friend and I saw a blind man sittingalone. And my friend said, “Behold the wisest man of our land.”

Then I left my friend and approached the blind man and greeted him.And we conversed.

After a while I said, “Forgive my question; but since when has thoubeen blind?”

“From my birth,” he answered.

Said I, “And what path of wisdom followest thou?”

Said he, “I am an astronomer.”

Then he placed his hand upon his breast saying, “I watch all thesesuns and moons and stars.”
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Before Marching and After by Thomas Hardy
Thomas Hardy
(inMemoriam F. W. G.) Orion swung southward aslant
Where the starved Egdon pine-trees had thinned,
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The War Films by Henry Newbolt
Henry Newbolt
O living pictures of the dead,
O songs without a sound,
O fellowship whose phantom tread
Hallows a phantom ground—
How in a gleam have these revealed
The faith we had not found.

We have sought God in a cloudy Heaven,
We have passed by God on earth:
His seven sins and his sorrows seven,
His wayworn mood and mirth,
Like a ragged cloak have hid from us
The secret of his birth.

Brother of men, when now I see
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The Sun Used to Shine by Edward Thomas
Edward Thomas
The sun used to shine while we two walked
Slowly together, paused and started
Again, and sometimes mused, sometimes talked
As either pleased, and cheerfully parted

Each night. We never disagreed
Which gate to rest on. The to be
And the late past we gave small heed.
We turned from men or poetry

To rumours of the war remote
Only till both stood disinclined
For aught but the yellow flavorous coat
Of an apple wasps had undermined;

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Lament of the Silent Sisters by Kofi Awoonor
Kofi Awoonor
For Chris Okigbo, the well-known poet, killed in 1967 in the Nigerian civil war. That night he came home, he came unto me
at the cold hour of the night
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Church Monuments by George Herbert
George Herbert
While that my soul repairs to her devotion,
Here I intomb my flesh, that it betimes
May take acquaintance of this heap of dust;
To which the blast of death's incessant motion,
Fed with the exhalation of our crimes,
Drives all at last. Therefore I gladly trust

My body to this school, that it may learn
To spell his elements, and find his birth
Written in dusty heraldry and lines ;
Which dissolution sure doth best discern,
Comparing dust with dust, and earth with earth.
These laugh at jet, and marble put for signs,

To sever the good fellowship of dust,
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Walking Parker Home by Bob Kaufman
Bob Kaufman
Sweet beats of jazz impaled on slivers of wind
Kansas Black Morning/ First Horn Eyes/
Historical sound pictures on New Bird wings
People shouts/ boy alto dreams/ Tomorrow’s
Gold belled pipe of stops and future Blues Times
Lurking Hawkins/ shadows of Lester/ realization
Bronze fingers—brain extensions seeking trapped sounds
Ghetto thoughts/ bandstand courage/ solo flight
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A Thought by Elizabeth Drew Barstow Stoddard
Elizabeth Drew Barstow Stoddard
Falling leaves and falling men!
When the snows of winter fall,
And the winds of winter blows,
Will be woven Nature’s pall.

Let us, then, forsake our dead;
For the dead will surely wait
While we rush upon the foe,
Eager for the hero’s fate.

Leaves will come upon the trees;
Spring will show the happy race;
Mothers will give birth to sons—
Loyal souls to fill our place.

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“Oh Fairest of the Rural Maids” by William Cullen Bryant
William Cullen Bryant
Oh fairest of the rural maids!
Thy birth was in the forest shades;
Green boughs, and glimpses of the sky,
Were all that met thine infant eye.

Thy sports, thy wanderings, when a child,
Were even in the sylvan wild;
And all the beauty of the place
Is in thy heart and on thy face.

The twilight of the trees and rocks
Is in the light shade of thy locks;
Thy step is as the wind, that weaves
Its playful way among the leaves.

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Things to Do in New York (City) by Ted Berrigan
Ted Berrigan
for Peter Schjeldahl
Wake up high up
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Me by Amrita Pritam
Amrita Pritam
Lots of contemporaries—
but “me” is not my contemporary.

My birth without “me”
was a blemished offering on the collection plate.
A moment of flesh, imprisoned in flesh.

And when to the tip of this tongue of flesh
some word comes, it kills itself.
If saved from killing itself,
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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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The Kiss by Robert Graves
Robert Graves
Are you shaken, are you stirred
By a whisper of love,
Spellbound to a word
Does Time cease to move,
Till her calm grey eye
Expands to a sky
And the clouds of her hair
Like storms go by?

Then the lips that you have kissed
Turn to frost and fire,
And a white-steaming mist
Obscures desire:
So back to their birth
Fade water, air, earth,
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St. Patrick’s Day: With an Irish Shamrock by Charlotte Elizabeth Tonna
Charlotte Elizabeth Tonna
From the region of zephyrs, the Emerald isle,
The land of thy birth, in my freshness I come,
To waken this long-cherished morn with a smile,
And breathe o’er thy spirit the whispers of home.
O welcome the stranger from Erin’s green sod;
I sprang where the bones of thy fathers repose,
I grew where thy free step in infancy trod,
Ere the world threw around thee its wiles and its woes.
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Seder-Night by Israel Zangwill
Israel Zangwill
Prosaic miles of streets stretch all round,
Astir with restless, hurried life and spanned
By arches that with thund’rous trains resound,
And throbbing wires that galvanize the land;
Gin-palaces in tawdry splendor stand;
The newsboys shriek of mangled bodies found;
The last burlesque is playing in the Strand—
In modern prose all poetry seems drowned.
Yet in ten thousand homes this April night
An ancient People celebrates its birth
To Freedom, with a reverential mirth,
With customs quaint and many a hoary rite,
Waiting until, its tarnished glories bright,
Its God shall be the God of all the earth.
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The Wealth of the Destitute by Denise Levertov
Denise Levertov
How gray and hard the brown feet of the wretched of the earth.
How confidently the crippled from birth
push themselves through the streets, deep in their lives.
How seamed with lines of fate the hands
of women who sit at streetcorners
offering seeds and flowers.
How lively their conversation together.
How much of death they know.
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In the Green Morning, Now, Once More by Delmore Schwartz
Delmore Schwartz
In the green morning, before
Love was destiny,
The sun was king,
And God was famous.

The merry, the musical,
The jolly, the magical,
The feast, the feast of feasts, the festival
Suddenly ended
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The Amen Stone by Yehuda Amichai
Yehuda Amichai
On my desk there is a stone with the word “Amen” on it,
a triangular fragment of stone from a Jewish graveyard destroyed
many generations ago. The other fragments, hundreds upon hundreds,
were scattered helter-skelter, and a great yearning,
a longing without end, fills them all:
first name in search of family name, date of death seeks
dead man’s birthplace, son’s name wishes to locate
name of father, date of birth seeks reunion with soul
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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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Dawn by Ella Higginson
Ella Higginson
The soft-toned clock upon the stair chimed three—
Too sweet for sleep, too early yet to rise.
In restful peace I lay with half-closed eyes,
Watching the tender hours go dreamily;
The tide was flowing in; I heard the sea
Shivering along the sands; while yet the skies
Were dim, uncertain, as the light that lies
Beneath the fretwork of some wild-rose tree
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50
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The Wife Speaks by Elizabeth Drew Barstow Stoddard
Elizabeth Drew Barstow Stoddard
Husband, today could you and I behold
The sun that brought us to our bridal morn
Rising so splendid in the winter sky
(We though fair spring returned), when we were wed;
Could the shades vanish from these fifteen years,
Which stand like columns guarding the approach
To that great temple of the double soul
That is as one – would you turn back, my dear,
And, for the sake of Love’s mysterious dream,
As old as Adam and as sweet as Eve,
Take me, as I took you, and once more go
Towards that goal which none of us have reached?
Contesting battles which but prove a loss,
The victor vanquished by the wounded one;
Teaching each other sacrifice of self,
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from The People, Yes by Carl Sandburg
Carl Sandburg
Lincoln?
He was a mystery in smoke and flags
Saying yes to the smoke, yes to the flags,
Yes to the paradoxes of democracy,
Yes to the hopes of government
Of the people by the people for the people,
No to debauchery of the public mind,
No to personal malice nursed and fed,
Yes to the Constitution when a help,
No to the Constitution when a hindrance
Yes to man as a struggler amid illusions,
Each man fated to answer for himself:
Which of the faiths and illusions of mankind
Must I choose for my own sustaining light
To bring me beyond the present wilderness?
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Invitation To JBC by Matilda Bethem
Matilda Bethem
Now spring appears, with beauty crowned
And all is light and life around,
Why comes not Jane? When friendship calls,
Why leaves she not Augusta’s walls?
Where cooling zephyrs faintly blow,
Nor spread the cheering, healthful glow
That glides through each awakened vein,
As skimming o’er the spacious plain,
We look around with joyous eye,
And view no boundaries but the sky.

Already April’s reign is o’er,
Her evening tints delight no more;
No more the violet scents the gale,
No more the mist o’erspreads the vale;
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Sonnet XXV by George Santayana
George Santayana
As in the midst of battle there is room
For thoughts of love, and in foul sin for mirth;
As gossips whisper of a trinket’s worth
Spied by the death-bed’s flickering candle-gloom;
As in the crevices of Caesar’s tomb
The sweet herbs flourish on a little earth:
So in this great disaster of our birth
We can be happy, and forget our doom.
For morning, with a ray of tenderest joy
Gilding the iron heaven, hides the truth,
And evening gently woos us to employ
Our grief in idle catches. Such is youth;
Till from that summer’s trance we wake, to find
Despair before us, vanity behind.
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Pacemaker by W. D. Snodgrass
W. D. Snodgrass
I

"One Snodgrass, two Snodgrass, three Snodgrass, four . . .
I took my own rollcall when I counted seconds;
"One two three, Two two three, Three . . .," the drum score
Showed only long rests to the tympani's entrance.

"Oh-oh-oh leff; leff; leff-toh-righ-toh-leff,"
The sergeant cadenced us footsore recruits;
The heart, poor drummer, gone lame, deaf,
Then AWOL, gets frogmarched to the noose.

II

Old coots, at the Veterans', might catch breath
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Astrophil and Stella 21: Your words my friend (right healthful caustics) blame  by Sir Philip Sidney
Sir Philip Sidney
Your words my friend (right healthful caustics) blame
My young mind marred, whom Love doth windlass so,
That mine own writings like bad servants show
My wits, quick in vain thoughts, in virtue lame,
That Plato I read for nought, but if he tame
Such coltish gyres, that to my birth I owe
Nobler desires, least else that friendly foe,
Great expectation, wear a train of shame.
For since mad March great promise made of me,
If now the May of my years much decline,
What can be hoped my harvest time will be?
Sure you say well, your wisdom’s golden mine
Dig deep with learning’s spade, now tell me this,
Hath this world ought so fair as Stella is?
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For Christmas Day: Hark! the Herald Angels Sing by Charles Wesley
Charles Wesley
Hark! the herald Angels sing,
Glory to the new-born King,
Peace on earth and mercy mild,
God and sinner reconcil’d.
Hark! the herald Angels sing,
Glory to the new-born King.

Joyful all ye nations rise,
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"I know that all beneath the moon decays" by William Drummond of Hawthornden
William Drummond of Hawthornden
I know that all beneath the moon decays,
And what by mortals in this world is brought,
In Time’s great periods shall return to nought;
That fairest states have fatal nights and days;
I know how all the Muse’s heavenly lays,
With toil of spright which are so dearly bought,
As idle sounds of few or none are sought,
And that nought lighter is than airy praise.
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35
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Immortal Autumn by Archibald MacLeish
Archibald MacLeish
I speak this poem now with grave and level voice
In praise of autumn, of the far-horn-winding fall.

I praise the flower-barren fields, the clouds, the tall
Unanswering branches where the wind makes sullen noise.

I praise the fall: it is the human season.
Now
No more the foreign sun does meddle at our earth,
Enforce the green and bring the fallow land to birth,
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In the Holy Nativity of our Lord by Richard Crashaw
Richard Crashaw
CHORUS
Come we shepherds whose blest sight
Hath met love’s noon in nature’s night;
Come lift we up our loftier song
And wake the sun that lies too long.

To all our world of well-stol’n joy
He slept, and dreamt of no such thing,
While we found out heav’n’s fairer eye,
And kiss’d the cradle of our King.
Tell him he rises now too late
To show us aught worth looking at.

Tell him we now can show him more
Than he e’er show’d to mortal sight,
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Incantation by Czeslaw Milosz
Czeslaw Milosz
Human reason is beautiful and invincible.
No bars, no barbed wire, no pulping of books,
No sentence of banishment can prevail against it.
It establishes the universal ideas in language,
And guides our hand so we write Truth and Justice
With capital letters, lie and oppression with small.
It puts what should be above things as they are,
Is an enemy of despair and a friend of hope.
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Kin by Maya Angelou
Maya Angelou
FOR BAILEY We were entwined in red rings
Of blood and loneliness before
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Look to the Future by Ruth Stone
Ruth Stone
To you born into violence,
the wars of the red ant are nothing;
you, in the heart of the eruption.

I am speaking from immeasurable grass blades.
You, there on the rubble,
what is the river of vapor to you?

You who are helpless as small birds
downed on the ice pack.
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Ode by Henry Timrod
Henry Timrod
Sung on the occasion of decorating the graves of the Confederate dead, at Magnolia Cemetery, Charleston, S. C., 1866 Sleep sweetly in your humble graves,
Sleep, martyrs of a fallen cause!—
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On My First Daughter by Ben Jonson
Ben Jonson
Here lies, to each her parents’ ruth,
Mary, the daughter of their youth;
Yet all heaven’s gifts being heaven’s due,
It makes the father less to rue.
At six months’ end she parted hence
With safety of her innocence;
Whose soul heaven’s queen, whose name she bears,
In comfort of her mother’s tears,
Hath placed amongst her virgin-train:
Where, while that severed doth remain,
This grave partakes the fleshly birth;
Which cover lightly, gentle earth!
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The Real and True and Sure by Robert Browning
Robert Browning
Marriage on earth seems such a counterfeit,
Mere imitation of the inimitable:
In heaven we have the real and true and sure.
’Tis there they neither marry nor are given
In marriage but are as the angels: right,
Oh how right that is, how like Jesus Christ
To say that! Marriage-making for the earth,
With gold so much,— birth, power, repute so much,
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45
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Redemption by George Herbert
George Herbert
Having been tenant long to a rich lord,
Not thriving, I resolvèd to be bold,
And make a suit unto him, to afford
A new small-rented lease, and cancel th’ old.

In heaven at his manor I him sought;
They told me there that he was lately gone
About some land, which he had dearly bought
Long since on earth, to take possessiòn.

I straight returned, and knowing his great birth,
Sought him accordingly in great resorts;
In cities, theaters, gardens, parks, and courts;
At length I heard a ragged noise and mirth

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Some Questions about the Storm by Hilda Raz
Hilda Raz
What's the bird ratio overhead?
Zero: zero. Maybe it's El Niño?

The storm, was it bad?
Here the worst ever. Every tree hurt.

Do you love trees?
Only the gingko, the fir, the birch.

Yours? Do you name your trees?
Who owns the trees? Who's talking
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51
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Sonnet 76: Why is my verse so barren of new pride by William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare
Why is my verse so barren of new pride,
So far from variation or quick change?
Why with the time do I not glance aside
To new-found methods, and to compounds strange?
Why write I still all one, ever the same,
And keep invention in a noted weed,
That every word doth almost tell my name,
Showing their birth, and where they did proceed?
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Woman Unborn by Anna Swir
Anna Swir
I am not born as yet,
five minutes before my birth.
I can still go back
into my unbirth.
Now it’s ten minutes before,
now, it’s one hour before birth.
I go back,
I run
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Snail by Ho Xuan Huong
Ho Xuan Huong
Mother and father gave birth to a snail
Night and day I crawl in smelly weeds
Dear prince, if you love me, unfasten my door
Stop, don't poke your finger up my tail!
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Occupation 1943 by Saadi Youssef
Saadi Youssef
We boys, the neighborhood’s barefoot
We boys, the neighborhood’s naked
We boys of stomachs bloated from eating mud
We boys of teeth porous from eating dates and pumpkin rind

We boys will line up from Hassan al-Basri’s mausoleum to the Ashar River’s source
to meet you in the morning waving green palm fronds

We will cry out: Long Live
We will cry out: Live to Eternity
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An Epitaph on S.P. by Ben Jonson
Ben Jonson
A Child of Queen Elizabeth's Chapel Weep with me, all you that read
This little story:
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The Author to Her Book by Anne Bradstreet
Anne Bradstreet
Thou ill-form’d offspring of my feeble brain,
Who after birth didst by my side remain,
Till snatched from thence by friends, less wise than true,
Who thee abroad, expos’d to publick view,
Made thee in raggs, halting to th’ press to trudge,
Where errors were not lessened (all may judg).
At thy return my blushing was not small,
My rambling brat (in print) should mother call,
I cast thee by as one unfit for light,
Thy Visage was so irksome in my sight;
Yet being mine own, at length affection would
Thy blemishes amend, if so I could:
I wash’d thy face, but more defects I saw,
And rubbing off a spot, still made a flaw.
I stretched thy joynts to make thee even feet,
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The Darkling Thrush by Thomas Hardy
Thomas Hardy
I leant upon a coppice gate
When Frost was spectre-grey,
And Winter's dregs made desolate
The weakening eye of day.
The tangled bine-stems scored the sky
Like strings of broken lyres,
And all mankind that haunted nigh
Had sought their household fires.
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The Definition of Love by Andrew Marvell
Andrew Marvell
My love is of a birth as rare
As ’tis for object strange and high;
It was begotten by Despair
Upon Impossibility.

Magnanimous Despair alone
Could show me so divine a thing
Where feeble Hope could ne’er have flown,
But vainly flapp’d its tinsel wing.

And yet I quickly might arrive
Where my extended soul is fixt,
But Fate does iron wedges drive,
And always crowds itself betwixt.

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Gravelly Run by A. R. Ammons
A. R. Ammons
I don’t know somehow it seems sufficient
to see and hear whatever coming and going is,
losing the self to the victory
of stones and trees,
of bending sandpit lakes, crescent
round groves of dwarf pine:

for it is not so much to know the self
as to know it as it is known
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In Memoriam A. H. H. OBIIT MDCCCXXXIII: 45 by Alfred, Lord Tennyson
Alfred, Lord Tennyson
The baby new to earth and sky,
What time his tender palm is prest
Against the circle of the breast,
Has never thought that "this is I":

But as he grows he gathers much,
And learns the use of "I," and "me,"
And finds "I am not what I see,
And other than the things I touch."

So rounds he to a separate mind
From whence clear memory may begin,
As thro' the frame that binds him in
His isolation grows defined.

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In Memoriam A. H. H. OBIIT MDCCCXXXIII: 99 by Alfred, Lord Tennyson
Alfred, Lord Tennyson
Risest thou thus, dim dawn, again,
So loud with voices of the birds,
So thick with lowings of the herds,
Day, when I lost the flower of men;

Who tremblest thro' thy darkling red
On yon swoll'n brook that bubbles fast
By meadows breathing of the past,
And woodlands holy to the dead;

Who murmurest in the foliaged eaves
A song that slights the coming care,
And Autumn laying here and there
A fiery finger on the leaves;

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"Leave me, O Love, which reachest but to dust" by Sir Philip Sidney
Sir Philip Sidney
from Certain Sonnets Leave me, O Love, which reachest but to dust;
And thou, my mind, aspire to higher things;
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Love-Lily by Dante Gabriel Rossetti
Dante Gabriel Rossetti
Between the hands, between the brows,
Between the lips of Love-Lily,
A spirit is born whose birth endows
My blood with fire to burn through me;
Who breathes upon my gazing eyes,
Who laughs and murmurs in mine ear,
At whose least touch my colour flies,
And whom my life grows faint to hear.
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Margaret Fuller Slack by Edgar Lee Masters
Edgar Lee Masters
I would have been as great as George Eliot
But for an untoward fate.
For look at the photograph of me made by Peniwit,
Chin resting on hand, and deep-set eyes i
Gray, too, and far-searching.
But there was the old, old problem:
Should it be celibacy, matrimony or unchastity?
Then John Slack, the rich druggist, wooed me,
Luring me with the promise of leisure for my novel,
And I married him, giving birth to eight children,
And had no time to write.
It was all over with me, anyway,
When I ran the needle in my hand
While washing the baby's things,
And died from lock-jaw, an ironical death.
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My Shoes by Charles Simic
Charles Simic
Shoes, secret face of my inner life:
Two gaping toothless mouths,
Two partly decomposed animal skins
Smelling of mice nests.

My brother and sister who died at birth
Continuing their existence in you,
Guiding my life
Toward their incomprehensible innocence.
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The Nuns Assist at Childbirth by Barbara Howes
Barbara Howes
Robed in dungeon black, in mourning
For themselves they pass, repace
The dark linoleum corridors
Of humid wards, sure in the grace

Of self-denial. Blown by duty,
Jet sails borne by a high wind,
Only the face and hands creep through
The shapeless clothing, to remind
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Prayer (I) by George Herbert
George Herbert
Prayer the church's banquet, angel's age,
God's breath in man returning to his birth,
The soul in paraphrase, heart in pilgrimage,
The Christian plummet sounding heav'n and earth
Engine against th' Almighty, sinner's tow'r,
Reversed thunder, Christ-side-piercing spear,
The six-days world transposing in an hour,
A kind of tune, which all things hear and fear;
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Queer People by Charlotte Anna Perkins Gilman
Charlotte Anna Perkins Gilman
The people people work with best
Are often very queer
The people people own by birth
Quite shock your first idea;
The people people choose for friends
Your common sense appall,
But the people people marry
Are the queerest folks of all.
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35
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Rose-Cheeked Laura by Thomas Campion
Thomas Campion
Rose-cheek'd Laura, come,
Sing thou smoothly with thy beauty's
Silent music, either other
Sweetly gracing.

Lovely forms do flow
From concent divinely framed;
Heav'n is music, and thy beauty's
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57
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Sonnet 32: If thou survive my well-contented day by William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare
If thou survive my well-contented day,
When that churl Death my bones with dust shall cover,
And shalt by fortune once more re-survey
These poor rude lines of thy deceased lover,
Compare them with the bettering of the time,
And though they be outstripp'd by every pen,
Reserve them for my love, not for their rhyme,
Exceeded by the height of happier men.
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39
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The Spring by Thomas Carew
Thomas Carew
Now that the winter's gone, the earth hath lost
Her snow-white robes, and now no more the frost
Candies the grass, or casts an icy cream
Upon the silver lake or crystal stream;
But the warm sun thaws the benumbed earth,
And makes it tender; gives a sacred birth
To the dead swallow; wakes in hollow tree
The drowsy cuckoo, and the humble-bee.
Now do a choir of chirping minstrels bring
In triumph to the world the youthful Spring.
The valleys, hills, and woods in rich array
Welcome the coming of the long'd-for May.
Now all things smile, only my love doth lour;
Nor hath the scalding noonday sun the power
To melt that marble ice, which still doth hold
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47
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To the Moon by Percy Bysshe Shelley
Percy Bysshe Shelley
I
Art thou pale for weariness
Of climbing heaven and gazing on the earth,
Wandering companionless
Among the stars that have a different birth, —
And ever changing, like a joyless eye
That finds no object worth its constancy?
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40
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To the Muses by William Blake
William Blake
Whether on Ida's shady brow,
Or in the chambers of the East,
The chambers of the sun, that now
From ancient melody have ceas'd;

Whether in Heav'n ye wander fair,
Or the green corners of the earth,
Or the blue regions of the air,
Where the melodious winds have birth;

Whether on crystal rocks ye rove,
Beneath the bosom of the sea
Wand'ring in many a coral grove,
Fair Nine, forsaking Poetry!

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47
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Vulcan by George Oppen
George Oppen
The householder issuing to the street
Is adrift a moment in that ice stiff
Exterior. ‘Peninsula
Low lying in the bay
And wooded—’ Native now
Are the welder and the welder’s arc
In the subway’s iron circuits:
We have not escaped each other,
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35
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A Woman Speaks by Audre Lorde
Audre Lorde
Moon marked and touched by sun
my magic is unwritten
but when the sea turns back
it will leave my shape behind.
I seek no favor
untouched by blood
unrelenting as the curse of love
permanent as my errors
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31
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To Whistler, American by Ezra Pound
Ezra Pound
On the loan exhibit of his paintings at the Tate Gallery. You also, our first great,
Had tried all ways;
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30
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A Woman and Mountains by Helen Hoyt
Helen Hoyt
I am rounded, billowed out, hunched like you;
I am big like you, ugly and beautiful;
Eternal like you.
I have set my body solidly upon the earth, to confront all;
My head to the sky, the sky on my shoulders,
Feet rooted in the earth's depths as mountains are rooted.
Nothing can sweep over me to remove me;
This life in me is ancient, shall go down to the last days,
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37
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