Carpe Diem

C
The Baseball Players by Donald Hall
Donald Hall
Against the bright
grass the white-knickered
players, tense, seize,
and attend. A moment
ago, outfielders
and infielders adjusted
their clothing, glanced
at the sun and settled
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Winter: My Secret by Christina Rossetti
Christina Rossetti
I tell my secret? No indeed, not I;
Perhaps some day, who knows?
But not today; it froze, and blows and snows,
And you’re too curious: fie!
You want to hear it? well:
Only, my secret’s mine, and I won’t tell.

Or, after all, perhaps there’s none:
Suppose there is no secret after all,
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35
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The Day by Peter Everwine
Peter Everwine
We walked at the edge of the sea, the dog,
still young then, running ahead of us.

Few people. Gulls. A flock of pelicans
circled beyond the swells, then closed
their wings and dropped head-long
into the dazzle of light and sea. You clapped
your hands; the day grew brilliant.

Later we sat at a small table
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A Poem Called Day by Stanley Moss
Stanley Moss
Day is carved in marble, a man reclining,
a naked giant suffering.
Preoccupied Day faces Night, who is a woman,
huge, naked, Herculean, both pillowed
on their uncarved rough marble bed.
They need light to be seen, neither
has anything to do with the sun or moon.
Art is not astronomy,
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43
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Capricornus, or, The Goat by Joseph Gordon Macleod
Joseph Gordon Macleod
Supervises over the teatable our voluble hostess
The passing round of titterings and toasties.
Her glass-eyed friends, confidence's make-and-breaks,
Give each in series gobbets of another's cakes.
Dough drips into their tight triangular shoes.
Their mouths give vent to evil-smelling news
Keep their minds pure, make mental products crisper,
With speaking eyeball rolls and the not too improper whisper.
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35
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Scorpio, or, The Scorpion by Joseph Gordon Macleod
Joseph Gordon Macleod
Now as the farmer sits at his accounts
Reviewing fleeces neath deciduous beeches
And notes in red contented ink
Net profits of his quite impossible serenity;
As graded apples marketably beautiful
Into the bushel-baskets sink
And trussed hay to the tin roof reaches,
And where red tiles through darkening trees are reared
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from Gilgamesh: Tablet 11 by David Ferry
David Ferry
i

Gilgamesh spoke and said to the old man then:
"When I looked at you I thought that you were not

a man, one made like me; I had resolved
to challenge you as one might challenge a demon,

a stranger-adversary. But now I see
that you are Utnapishtim, made like me,

a man, the one I sought, the one from whom
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August 1914 by May Wedderburn Cannan
May Wedderburn Cannan
The sun rose over the sweep of the hill
All bare for the gathered hay,
And a blackbird sang by the window-sill,
And a girl knelt down to pray:
‘Whom Thou hast kept through the night, O Lord,
Keep Thou safe through the day.’

The sun rose over the shell-swept height,
The guns are over the way,
And a soldier turned from the toil of the night
To the toil of another day,
And a bullet sang by the parapet
To drive in the new-turned clay.

The sun sank slow by the sweep of the hill,
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Speech: “This day is called the feast of Crispian” by William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare
(from Henry V, spoken by King Henry) This day is called the feast of Crispian:
He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,
Will stand a tip-toe when the day is named,
And rouse him at the name of Crispian.
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43
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The Rain-bow by Thomas Love Peacock
Thomas Love Peacock
The day has pass’d in storms, though not unmix’d
With transitory calm. The western clouds,
Dissolving slow, unveil the glorious sun,
Majestic in decline. The wat’ry east
Glows with the many-tinted arch of Heav’n.
We hail it as a pledge that brighter skies
Shall bless the coming morn. Thus rolls the day,
The short dark day of life; with tempests thus,
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Poets at Lunch by Stanley Moss
Stanley Moss
to W.S. Merwin I said, “Nothing for the last time.”
You said, “Everything for the last time.”
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35
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Study in Hands by Théophile Gautier
Théophile Gautier
I

Imperia

I saw a plaster hand, on view
In sculptor’s studio, set apart...
Aspasia’s? Cleopatra’s?... Who?
This fragment’s human work of art?

Like lily silvered by the dawn,
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35
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Psalm 102 by Mary Sidney Herbert Countess of Pembroke
Mary Sidney Herbert Countess of Pembroke

O Lord, my praying hear;
Lord, let my cry come to thine ear.
Hide not thy face away,
But haste, and answer me,
In this my most, most miserable day,
Wherein I pray and cry to thee.

My days as smoke are past;
My bones as flaming fuel waste,
Mown down in me, alas.
With scythe of sharpest pain.
My heart is withered like the wounded grass;
My stomach doth all food disdain.

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April Love by Ernest Dowson
Ernest Dowson
We have walked in Love's land a little way,
We have learnt his lesson a little while,
And shall we not part at the end of day,
With a sigh, a smile?
A little while in the shine of the sun,
We were twined together, joined lips, forgot
How the shadows fall when the day is done,
And when Love is not.
We have made no vows--there will none be broke,
Our love was free as the wind on the hill,
There was no word said we need wish unspoke,
We have wrought no ill.
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The Children by Eugénio de Andrade
Eugénio de Andrade
Children grow in secret. They hide themselves in the depths and darker reaches of the house to become wild cats, white birches.

One day when you’re only half-watching the herd as it straggles back in with the afternoon dust, one child, the prettiest of them all, comes close and rises up on tiptoe to whisper I love you, I’ll be waiting for you in the hay.

Shaking some, you go to find your shotgun; you spend what’s left of the day firing at rooks and jackdaws, uncountable at this hour, and crows.
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39
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Shorter American Memory of the Declaration of Independence by Rosmarie Waldrop
Rosmarie Waldrop
We holler these trysts to be self-exiled that all manatees are credited equi-distant, that they are endured by their Creditor with cervical unanswerable rims. that among these are lightning, lice, and the pushcart of harakiri. That to seduce these rims, graces are insulated among manatees, descanting their juvenile pragmatism from the consistency of the graced. That whenever any formula of grace becomes detained of these endives, it is the rim of the peppery to aluminize or to abominate it. and to insulate Newtonian grace. leaching its fountain pen on such printed matter and orienting its pragmatism in such formula, as to them shall seize most lilac to effuse their sage and harakiri.
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Variations Done for Gerald Van De Wiele by Charles Olson
Charles Olson
I. Le Bonheur

dogwood flakes
what is green

the petals
from the apple
blow on the road

mourning doves
mark the sway
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34
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Limits by Eleanor Ross Taylor
Eleanor Ross Taylor
Only he
Remembered the day we met
And only I
The day we said goodbye:
“Last day of  June, our first blackberry pie,”
He always said.
A wood fire in the summer kitchen,
The hottest day.... A squall in the bedroom.
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Conversation 9: On Varieties of Oblivion by Rosmarie Waldrop
Rosmarie Waldrop
After bitter resistance the river unravels into the night, he says. Washes our daily fare of war out into a dark so deaf, so almost without dimension there is no word to dive from. Body weight displaced by dreams whose own lack promises lucidity so powerful it could shoot a long take to mindlessness. Fish smell travels the regions of sleep, westward like young men and the dawn. Then I return, too early to bring anything back, unsure of what I want, terrified I’ll fail, by a hair, to seize it.



We talk because we can forget, she says. Our bodies open to the dark, and sand runs out. Oblivion takes it all with equal tenderness. As the sea does. As the past. Already it suffuses the present with more inclusive tonalities. Not orchestrating a melodic sequence, but rounding the memory of a rooster on top a hanging silence. Or injured flesh. Impersonal. Only an animal could be so.



An avatar of the holy ghost, he chuckles. Or the angel of the annunciation beating his wings against a door slammed shut. Behind it, love already plays the organ. Without the angel. He is invisible because we have rejected his message.



On the old photos, she says, I see a stranger staking out my skin. As if an apple could fall too far from the tree. Yet I call her “me,” “my” years of furtively expanding flesh, with almost-certainty. It’s a belief that seems exempt from doubt, as if it were the hinge on which my doubts and questions turn. Still, I may seem the same “I” to you while I’ve already rolled it through the next door. From left to right.
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45
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Land’s End by Weldon Kees
Weldon Kees
A day all blue and white, and we
Came out of woods to sand
And snow-capped waves. The sea
Rose with us as we walked, the land
Built dunes, a lighthouse, and a sky of gulls.

Here where I built my life ten years ago,
The day breaks gray and cold;
And brown surf, muddying the shore,
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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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Lines by Ina Coolbrith
Ina Coolbrith
On Hearing Kelley’s Music to ‘Macbeth’ O melody, what children strange are these
From thy most vast, illimitable realm?
These sounds that seize upon and overwhelm
The soul with shuddering ecstasy! Lo! here
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Schemhammphorasch by Rose Terry Cooke
Rose Terry Cooke
‘This is the key which was given by the angel Michael to Pali, and by Pali to Moses. If “thou canst read it, then shalt thou understand the words of men, … the whistling of birds, the language of date-trees, the unity of hearts, ... nay, even the thoughts of the rains.”’
Gleanings after the Talmud
Ah! could I read Schemhammphorasch,
The wondrous keynote of the world,
What voices could I always hear
From tempests, with their black wings furled,
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Fall, leaves, fall by Emily Brontë
Emily Brontë
Fall, leaves, fall; die, flowers, away;
Lengthen night and shorten day;
Every leaf speaks bliss to me
Fluttering from the autumn tree.
I shall smile when wreaths of snow
Blossom where the rose should grow;
I shall sing when night’s decay
Ushers in a drearier day.
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Whispers of Immortality by T. S. Eliot
T. S. Eliot
Webster was much possessed by death
And saw the skull beneath the skin;
And breastless creatures under ground
Leaned backward with a lipless grin.

Daffodil bulbs instead of balls
Stared from the sockets of the eyes!
He knew that thought clings round dead limbs
Tightening its lusts and luxuries.
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3 Pages by Ted Berrigan
Ted Berrigan
For Jack Collom 10 Things I do Every Day

play poker
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Passing the Frontier by Pierre Martory
Pierre Martory
The yellow line could be seen for as long a time
As the highway desired
And if you fell asleep at the wheel
It fulgurated in the dozing soul
Like a brutal revelation
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Hatred and Vengeance, My Eternal Portion by William Cowper
William Cowper
Hatred and vengeance, my eternal portion,
Scarce can endure delay of execution,
Wait, with impatient readiness, to seize my
Soul in a moment.

Damned below Judas: more abhorred than he was,
Who for a few pence sold his holy master.
Twice betrayed, Jesus me, the last delinquent,
Deems the profanest.

Man disavows, and Deity disowns me:
Hell might afford my miseries a shelter;
Therefore hell keeps her ever-hungry mouths all
Bolted against me.

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“Roll on, sad world! not Mercury or Mars” by Frederick Goddard Tuckerman
Frederick Goddard Tuckerman
from Sonnets, Second Series

XVII

Roll on, sad world! not Mercury or Mars
Could swifter speed, or slower, round the sun,
Than in this year of variance thou hast done
For me. Yet pain, fear, heart-break, woes, and wars
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30
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from In Lovely Blue by Friedrich Hölderlin
Friedrich Hölderlin
Like the stamen inside a flower
The steeple stands in lovely blue
And the day unfolds around its needle;

The flock of swallows that circles the steeple
Flies there each day through the same blue air
That carries their cries from me to you;

We know how high the sun is now
As long as the roof of the steeple glows,
The roof that’s covered with sheets of tin;

Up there in the wind, where the wind is not
Turning the vane of the weathercock,
The weathercock silently crows in the wind.
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Bath by Amy Lowell
Amy Lowell
The day is fresh-washed and fair, and there is a smell of tulips and narcissus in the air.
The sunshine pours in at the bath-room window and bores through the water in the bath-tub in lathes and planes of greenish-white. It cleaves the water into flaws like a jewel, and cracks it to bright light.
Little spots of sunshine lie on the surface of the water and dance, dance, and their reflections wobble deliciously over the ceiling; a stir of my finger sets them whirring, reeling. I move a foot and the planes of light in the water jar. I lie back and laugh, and let the green-white water, the sun-flawed beryl water, flow over me. The day is almost too bright to bear, the green water covers me from the too bright day. I will lie here awhile and play with the water and the sun spots. The sky is blue and high. A crow flaps by the window, and there is a whiff of tulips and narcissus in the air.
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The Bear Hunt by Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln
A wild-bear chace, didst never see?
Then hast thou lived in vain.
Thy richest bump of glorious glee,
Lies desert in thy brain.

When first my father settled here,
’Twas then the frontier line:
The panther’s scream, filled night with fear
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The Burial of the Rev. George Gilfillan by Knight of the White Elephant of Burmah William McGonagall
Knight of the White Elephant of Burmah William McGonagall
On the Gilfillan burial day,
In the Hill o’ Balgay,
It was a most solemn sight to see,
Not fewer than thirty thousand people assembled in Dundee,
All watching the funeral procession of Gilfillan that day,
That death had suddenly taken away,
And was going to be buried in the Hill o’ Balgay.

There were about three thousand people in the procession alone,
And many were shedding tears, and several did moan,
And their bosoms heaved with pain,
Because they knew they would never look upon his like again.

There could not be fewer than fifty carriages in the procession that day,
And gentlemen in some of them that had come from far away,
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Clorinda and Damon by Andrew Marvell
Andrew Marvell
C. Damon, come drive thy flocks this way.
D. No, ’tis too late; they went astray.
C. I have a grassy scutcheon spied,
Where Flora blazons all her pride.
The grass I aim to feast thy sheep:
The flowers I for thy temples keep.
D. Grass withers; and the flowers too fade.
C. Seize the short joys then, ere they vade,
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The Conqueror Worm by Edgar Allan Poe
Edgar Allan Poe
Lo! ’t is a gala night
Within the lonesome latter years!
An angel throng, bewinged, bedight
In veils, and drowned in tears,
Sit in a theatre, to see
A play of hopes and fears,
While the orchestra breathes fitfully
The music of the spheres.

Mimes, in the form of God on high,
Mutter and mumble low,
And hither and thither fly—
Mere puppets they, who come and go
At bidding of vast formless things
That shift the scenery to and fro,
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45
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Gloria Mundi by Walter de La Mare
Walter de La Mare
Upon a bank, easeless with knobs of gold,
Beneath a canopy of noonday smoke,
I saw a measureless Beast, morose and bold,
With eyes like one from filthy dreams awoke,
Who stares upon the daylight in despair
For very terror of the nothing there.

This beast in one flat hand clutched vulture-wise
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31
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I Knew a Woman by Theodore Roethke
Theodore Roethke
I knew a woman, lovely in her bones,
When small birds sighed, she would sigh back at them;
Ah, when she moved, she moved more ways than one:
The shapes a bright container can contain!
Of her choice virtues only gods should speak,
Or English poets who grew up on Greek
(I’d have them sing in chorus, cheek to cheek).

How well her wishes went! She stroked my chin,
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In the Orchard by Algernon Charles Swinburne
Algernon Charles Swinburne
Leave go my hands, let me catch breath and see;
Let the dew-fall drench either side of me;
Clear apple-leaves are soft upon that moon
Seen sidelong like a blossom in the tree;
And God, ah God, that day should be so soon.

The grass is thick and cool, it lets us lie.
Kissed upon either cheek and either eye,
I turn to thee as some green afternoon
Turns toward sunset, and is loth to die;
Ah God, ah God, that day should be so soon.

Lie closer, lean your face upon my side,
Feel where the dew fell that has hardly dried,
Hear how the blood beats that went nigh to swoon;
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51
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Lioness Asleep by Babette Deutsch
Babette Deutsch
Content that now the bleeding bone be swept
Out of her reach, she lay upon her side.
In a blonde void sunk deep, she slept, she slept
Bland as a child, slept, breathing like a bride.
Color of noons that shimmer as they sing
Above the dunes, her sandy flanks heaved slow.
Between her paws curled inward, billowing
Waves of desert silence seemed to flow.
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A Man Meets a Woman in the Street by Randall Jarrell
Randall Jarrell
Under the separated leaves of shade
Of the gingko, that old tree
That has existed essentially unchanged
Longer than any other living tree,
I walk behind a woman. Her hair's coarse gold
Is spun from the sunlight that it rides upon.
Women were paid to knit from sweet champagne
Her second skin: it winds and unwinds, winds
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28
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On the Death of Dr. Robert Levet by Samuel Johnson
Samuel Johnson
Condemned to Hope’s delusive mine,
As on we toil from day to day,
By sudden blasts, or slow decline,
Our social comforts drop away.

Well tried through many a varying year,
See Levet to the grave descend;
Officious, innocent, sincere,
Of every friendless name the friend.

Yet still he fills Affection’s eye,
Obscurely wise, and coarsely kind;
Nor, lettered Arrogance, deny
Thy praise to merit unrefined.

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Song: “When that I was and a little tiny boy (With hey, ho, the wind and the rain)” by William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare
(from Twelfth Night) When that I was and a little tiny boy,
With hey, ho, the wind and the rain,
A foolish thing was but a toy,
For the rain it raineth every day.
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from The Vanity of Human Wishes by Samuel Johnson
Samuel Johnson
The Tenth Satire of Juvenal, Imitated Let observation with extensive view,
Survey mankind, from China to Peru;
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When I Heard at the Close of the Day by Walt Whitman
Walt Whitman
When I heard at the close of the day how my name had been receiv’d with plaudits in the capitol, still it was not a happy night for me that follow’d,
And else when I carous’d, or when my plans were accomplish’d, still I was not happy,
But the day when I rose at dawn from the bed of perfect health, refresh’d, singing, inhaling the ripe breath of autumn,
When I saw the full moon in the west grow pale and disappear in the morning light,
When I wander’d alone over the beach, and undressing bathed, laughing with the cool waters, and saw the sun rise,
And when I thought how my dear friend my lover was on his way coming, O then I was happy,
O then each breath tasted sweeter, and all that day my food nourish’d me more, and the beautiful day pass’d well,
And the next came with equal joy, and with the next at evening came my friend,
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45
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The Yellowhammer's Nest by John Clare
John Clare
Just by the wooden brig a bird flew up,
Frit by the cowboy as he scrambled down
To reach the misty dewberry—let us stoop
And seek its nest—the brook we need not dread,
'Tis scarcely deep enough a bee to drown,
So it sings harmless o'er its pebbly bed
—Ay here it is, stuck close beside the bank
Beneath the bunch of grass that spindles rank
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Silent Prophet by Carl Dennis
Carl Dennis
It’s the last day, but I’m keeping the news to myself.
If yesterday it made sense for letter carriers
To carry letters from door to door,
The job still ought to be worth doing.
Why tell what I know and risk a walkout?
Let firefighters race to the last fire.
Let platoons of police set up their last lines
So the factions that come to the demonstration
Do battle only in words and gestures.

The day is different, but only for me,
Knowing as I do that it offers the last chance
For a cautious investor to resist his nature enough
To back a grocery in a battered district,
And the last chance for the would-be grocers
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The Bard: A Pindaric Ode by Thomas Gray
Thomas Gray
I.1.
"Ruin seize thee, ruthless King!
Confusion on thy banners wait,
Tho' fann'd by Conquest's crimson wing
They mock the air with idle state.
Helm, nor hauberk's twisted mail,
Nor even thy virtues, tyrant, shall avail
To save thy secret soul from nightly fears,
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The Cloud Confines by Dante Gabriel Rossetti
Dante Gabriel Rossetti
The day is dark and the night
To him that would search their heart;
No lips of cloud that will part
Nor morning song in the light:
Only, gazing alone,
To him wild shadows are shown,
Deep under deep unknown
And height above unknown height.
Still we say as we go,i
"Strange to think by the way,
Whatever there is to know,
That shall we know one day."

The Past is over and fled;
Nam'd new, we name it the old;
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The Complaint of Lisa by Algernon Charles Swinburne
Algernon Charles Swinburne
(Double Sestina)

DECAMERON, x. 7 There is no woman living that draws breath
So sad as I, though all things sadden her.
There is not one upon life's weariest way
Who is weary as I am weary of all but death.
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55
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Cynthia's Revels: Queen and huntress, chaste and fair by Ben Jonson
Ben Jonson
Queen and huntress, chaste and fair,
Now the sun is laid to sleep,
Seated in thy silver chair
State in wonted manner keep:
Hesperus entreats thy light,
Goddess excellently bright.

Earth, let not thy envious shade
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27
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Don Juan: Canto 11 by Lord Byron (George Gordon)
Lord Byron (George Gordon)
I
When Bishop Berkeley said "there was no matter,"
And proved it—'twas no matter what he said:
They say his system 'tis in vain to batter,
Too subtle for the airiest human head;
And yet who can believe it! I would shatter
Gladly all matters down to stone or lead,
Or adamant, to find the World a spirit,
And wear my head, denying that I wear it.

II
What a sublime discovery 'twas to make the
Universe universal egotism,
That all's ideal—all ourselves: I'll stake the
World (be it what you will) that that's no schism.
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Gnomic Verses by Robert Creeley
Robert Creeley
loop

Down the road Up the hill Into the house
Over the wall Under the bed After the fact
By the way Out of the woods Behind the times
In front of the door Between the lines Along the path


echo

In the way it was in the street

it was in the back it was
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Hyperion by John Keats
John Keats
(excerpt) BOOK I
Deep in the shady sadness of a vale
Far sunken from the healthy breath of morn,
Far from the fiery noon, and eve's one star,
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39
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I Find no Peace by Sir Thomas Wyatt
Sir Thomas Wyatt
I find no peace, and all my war is done.
I fear and hope. I burn and freeze like ice.
I fly above the wind, yet can I not arise;
And nought I have, and all the world I seize on.
That loseth nor locketh holdeth me in prison
And holdeth me not—yet can I scape no wise—
Nor letteth me live nor die at my device,
And yet of death it giveth me occasion.
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I Heard an Angel by William Blake
William Blake
I heard an Angel singing
When the day was springing
Mercy Pity Peace
Is the worlds release

Thus he sung all day
Over the new mown hay
Till the sun went down
And haycocks looked brown

I heard a Devil curse
Over the heath & the furze
Mercy could be no more
If there was nobody poor

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49
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Immortal Sails by Alfred Noyes
Alfred Noyes
Now, in a breath, we’ll burst those gates of gold,
And ransack heaven before our moment fails.
Now, in a breath, before we, too, grow old,
We’ll mount and sing and spread immortal sails.

It is not time that makes eternity.
Love and an hour may quite out-span the years,
And give us more to hear and more to see
Than life can wash away with all its tears.
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Light the Festive Candles by Aileen Lucia Fisher
Aileen Lucia Fisher
(FOR HANUKKAH) Light the first of eight tonight—
the farthest candle to the right.

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25
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Lines Written among the Euganean Hills by Percy Bysshe Shelley
Percy Bysshe Shelley
Many a green isle needs must be
In the deep wide sea of Misery,
Or the mariner, worn and wan,
Never thus could voyage on
Day and night, and night and day,
Drifting on his dreary way,
With the solid darkness black
Closing round his vessel's track;
Whilst above, the sunless sky,
Big with clouds, hangs heavily,
And behind, the tempest fleet
Hurries on with lightning feet,
Riving sail, and cord, and plank,
Till the ship has almost drank
Death from the o'er-brimming deep;
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Love in a Life by Robert Browning
Robert Browning
I
Room after room,
I hunt the house through
We inhabit together.
Heart, fear nothing, for, heart, thou shalt find her—
Next time, herself!—not the trouble behind her
Left in the curtain, the couch's perfume!
As she brushed it, the cornice-wreath blossomed anew:
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42
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Mad Song by William Blake
William Blake
The wild winds weep,
And the night is a-cold;
Come hither, Sleep,
And my griefs infold:
But lo! the morning peeps
Over the eastern steeps,
And the rustling birds of dawn
The earth do scorn.

Lo! to the vault
Of paved heaven,
With sorrow fraught
My notes are driven:
They strike the ear of night,
Make weep the eyes of day;
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45
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Never to Dream of Spiders by Audre Lorde
Audre Lorde
Time collapses between the lips of strangers
my days collapse into a hollow tube
soon implodes against now
like an iron wall
my eyes are blocked with rubble
a smear of perspectives
blurring each horizon
in the breathless precision of silence
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34
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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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32
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Rabbi Ben Ezra by Robert Browning
Robert Browning
Grow old along with me!
The best is yet to be,
The last of life, for which the first was made:
Our times are in His hand
Who saith "A whole I planned,
Youth shows but half; trust God: see all, nor be afraid!''

Not that, amassing flowers,
Youth sighed "Which rose make ours,
Which lily leave and then as best recall?"
Not that, admiring stars,
It yearned "Nor Jove, nor Mars;
Mine be some figured flame which blends, transcends them all!"

Not for such hopes and fears
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52
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The Rape of the Lock: Canto 4 by Alexander Pope
Alexander Pope
But anxious cares the pensive nymph oppress'd,
And secret passions labour'd in her breast.
Not youthful kings in battle seiz'd alive,
Not scornful virgins who their charms survive,
Not ardent lovers robb'd of all their bliss,
Not ancient ladies when refus'd a kiss,
Not tyrants fierce that unrepenting die,
Not Cynthia when her manteau's pinn'd awry,
E'er felt such rage, resentment, and despair,
As thou, sad virgin! for thy ravish'd hair.

For, that sad moment, when the Sylphs withdrew,
And Ariel weeping from Belinda flew,
Umbriel, a dusky, melancholy sprite,
As ever sullied the fair face of light,
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Sestina by Algernon Charles Swinburne
Algernon Charles Swinburne
I saw my soul at rest upon a day
As a bird sleeping in the nest of night,
Among soft leaves that give the starlight way
To touch its wings but not its eyes with light;
So that it knew as one in visions may,
And knew not as men waking, of delight.

This was the measure of my soul's delight;
It had no power of joy to fly by day,
Nor part in the large lordship of the light;
But in a secret moon-beholden way
Had all its will of dreams and pleasant night,
And all the love and life that sleepers may.

But such life's triumph as men waking may
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Sing me a Song of a Lad that is Gone by Robert Louis Stevenson
Robert Louis Stevenson
Sing me a song of a lad that is gone,
Say, could that lad be I?
Merry of soul he sailed on a day
Over the sea to Skye.

Mull was astern, Rum on the port,
Eigg on the starboard bow;
Glory of youth glowed in his soul;
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There Is by Louis Simpson
Louis Simpson
Look! From my window there’s a view
of city streets
where only lives as dry as tortoises
can crawl—the Gallapagos of desire.

There is the day of Negroes with red hair
and the day of insane women on the subway;
there is the day of the word Trieste
and the night of the blind man with the electric guitar.
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35
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Time and the Garden by Yvor Winters
Yvor Winters
The spring has darkened with activity.
The future gathers in vine, bush, and tree:
Persimmon, walnut, loquat, fig, and grape,
Degrees and kinds of color, taste, and shape.
These will advance in their due series, space
The season like a tranquil dwelling-place.
And yet excitement swells me, vein by vein:
I long to crowd the little garden, gain
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The Tyger by William Blake
William Blake
Tyger Tyger, burning bright,
In the forests of the night;
What immortal hand or eye,
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

In what distant deeps or skies.
Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
On what wings dare he aspire?
What the hand, dare seize the fire?
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42
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Far Company by W. S. Merwin
W. S. Merwin
At times now from some margin of the day
I can hear birds of another country
not the whole song but a brief phrase of it
out of a music that I may have heard
once in a moment I appear to have
forgotten for the most part that full day
no sight of which I can remember now
though it must have been where my eyes were then
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