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The Wild Old Wicked Man by William Butler Yeats
William Butler Yeats
'Because I am mad about women
I am mad about the hills,'
Said that wild old wicked man
Who travels where God wills.
'Not to die on the straw at home,
Those hands to close the eyes,
That is all I ask, my dear,
From the old man in the skies.
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50
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Purple Anemones by D. H. Lawrence
D. H. Lawrence
Who gave us flowers?
Heaven? The white God?

Nonsense!
Up out of hell,
From Hades;
Infernal Dis!

Jesus the god of flowers—?
Not he.
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38
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He Sees Through Stone by Etheridge Knight
Etheridge Knight
He sees through stone
he has the secret eyes
this old black one
who under prison skies
sits pressed by the sun
against the western wall
his pipe between purple gums

the years fall
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46
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From where I stand by Pat Schneider
Pat Schneider
at the third floor window of the tenement,
the street looks shiny.
It has been washed and rinsed by rain.
Beyond the silver streaks of the streetcar tracks
a single streetlight stands
in a pool of wet light. It is night.
St. Louis. Nineteen forty-seven.
I have just come home from the orphanage
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70
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The Ikons by James K. Baxter
James K. Baxter
Hard, heavy, slow, dark,
Or so I find them, the hands of Te Whaea

Teaching me to die. Some lightness will come later
When the heart has lost its unjust hope

For special treatment. Today I go with a bucket
Over the paddocks of young grass,

So delicate like fronds of maidenhair,
Looking for mushrooms. I find twelve of them,
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36
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Idling by Stanley Moss
Stanley Moss
There’s wondering, idle thoughts,
thinking over what was last said,
some poetry in my head
like traffic outside the window.
In my forgetful marrow, I consider
often lying words, like everything and all.
Nothing is another matter.
Nothing comes of everything and all.
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48
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Didn't You Ever Search For Another Star? by Alfred Starr Hamilton
Alfred Starr Hamilton
I.
did you say
August ponds
ought to have
been surrounded
by September fences?

but did you say
September fences
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31
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Walkative, Talkative by Alfred Starr Hamilton
Alfred Starr Hamilton
When those are the walkative stars
That talked to the immediate prisoners themselves
When those are the talkative stars
That walked along the narrow sedge pathways
Yet those are lines to another star
That were to have been led for changelings
Around a dark dreambox of another kind
That houses our more talkative stars
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27
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Oath by Rosemary Tonks
Rosemary Tonks
I swear that I would not go back
To pole the glass fishpools where the rough breath lies
That built the Earth – there, under the heavy trees
With their bark that’s full of grocer’s spice,

Not for an hour – although my heart
Moves, thirstily, to drink the thought – would I
Go back to run my boat
On the brown rain that made it slippery,
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39
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In What Sense I Am I by Carl Rakosi
Carl Rakosi
In what sense
I am I
a minor observer
as in a dream
absorbed in the interior,

a beardless youth
unaccountably
remote yet present
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41
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Returning, We Hear the Larks by Isaac Rosenberg
Isaac Rosenberg
Sombre the night is:
And, though we have our lives, we know
What sinister threat lurks there.

Dragging these anguished limbs, we only know
This poison-blasted track opens on our camp—
On a little safe sleep.

But hark! Joy—joy—strange joy.
Lo! Heights of night ringing with unseen larks:
Music showering on our upturned listening faces.

Death could drop from the dark
As easily as song—
But song only dropped,
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42
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A Boat by Richard Brautigan
Richard Brautigan
O beautiful
was the werewolf
in his evil forest.
We took him
to the carnival
and he started
crying
when he saw
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72
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Witness by Philip Lamantia
Philip Lamantia
Because the dark suit is worn it is worn warm
with a black tie
and a kiss at the head of the stairs

When you hear the dark suit rip
on the heart’s curb the hurt is big
rose flesh caught on the orange woman’s buttons

As you talk metropole monotone
antique intelligence
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31
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The Old Slave-Music by Sarah Morgan Bryan Piatt
Sarah Morgan Bryan Piatt
Blow back the breath of the bird,
Scatter the song through the air,
There was music you never heard,
And cannot hear anywhere.

It was not the sob of the vain
In the old, old dark so sweet,
(I shall never hear it again,)
Nor the coming of fairy feet.

It was music and music alone,
Not a sigh from a lover’s mouth;
Now it comes in a phantom moan
From the dead and buried South.

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The Snow-Shower by William Cullen Bryant
William Cullen Bryant
Stand here by my side and turn, I pray,
On the lake below, thy gentle eyes;
The clouds hang over it, heavy and gray,
And dark and silent the water lies;
And out of that frozen mist the snow
In wavering flakes begins to flow;
Flake after flake
They sink in the dark and silent lake.

See how in a living swarm they come
From the chambers beyond that misty veil;
Some hover awhile in air, and some
Rush prone from the sky like summer hail.
All, dropping swiftly or settling slow,
Meet, and are still in the depths below;
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30
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The White Room by Charles Simic
Charles Simic
The obvious is difficult
To prove. Many prefer
The hidden. I did, too.
I listened to the trees.

They had a secret
Which they were about to
Make known to me,
And then didn’t.
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39
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Phrases by Arthur Rimbaud
Arthur Rimbaud
When the world is reduced to a single dark wood for our two pairs of dazzled eyes—to a beach for two faithful children—to a musical house for our clear understanding—then I shall find you. When there is only one old man on earth, lonely, peaceful, handsome, living in unsurpassed luxury, then I am at your feet. When I have realized all your memories, —when I am the girl who can tie your hands,—then I will stifle you. When we are very strong, who draws back? or very happy, who collapses from ridicule? When we are very bad, what can they do to us.
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39
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The Chamber by Michael McClure
Michael McClure
for Jack Kerouac  IN LIGHT ROOM IN DARK HELL IN UMBER IN CHROME,
I sit feeling the swell of the cloud made about by movement

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42
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The Tunnel by Robert Creeley
Robert Creeley
Tonight, nothing is long enough—
time isn’t.
Were there a fire,
it would burn now.

Were there a heaven,
I would have gone long ago.
I think that light
is the final image.
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38
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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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38
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Soften and Melt by Alicia Ostriker
Alicia Ostriker
the man made me soften and melt
said the old woman

the bee made me shiver like a rag
said the dark red tulip

the bitch made me push
said the dog


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35
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At the Fair by Edith Sitwell
Edith Sitwell
I. Springing Jack

Green wooden leaves clap light away,
Severely practical, as they

Shelter the children candy-pale,
The chestnut-candles flicker, fail . . .

The showman’s face is cubed clear as
The shapes reflected in a glass

Of water—(glog, glut, a ghost’s speech
Fumbling for space from each to each).

The fusty showman fumbles, must
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29
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Today by Daniel G. Hoffman
Daniel G. Hoffman
Today the sun rose, as it used to do
When its mission was to shine on you.
Since in unrelenting dark you're gone,
What now can be the purpose of  the sun?
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39
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It is not so much that I miss you by Dorothea Grossman
Dorothea Grossman
It is not so much that I miss you
as the remembering
which I suppose is a form of missing
except more positive,
like the time of the blackout
when fear was my first response
followed by love of the dark.

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31
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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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33
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The Annihilation of Nothing by Thom Gunn
Thom Gunn
Nothing remained: Nothing, the wanton name
That nightly I rehearsed till led away
To a dark sleep, or sleep that held one dream.

In this a huge contagious absence lay,
More space than space, over the cloud and slime,
Defined but by the encroachments of its sway.

Stripped to indifference at the turns of time,
Whose end I knew, I woke without desire,
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42
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Evans by R. S. Thomas
R. S. Thomas
Evans? Yes, many a time
I came down his bare flight
Of stairs into the gaunt kitchen
With its wood fire, where crickets sang
Accompaniment to the black kettle’s
Whine, and so into the cold
Dark to smother in the thick tide
Of night that drifted about the walls
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30
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The Little Boy Lost by William Blake
William Blake
Father, father, where are you going
O do not walk so fast.
Speak father, speak to your little boy
Or else I shall be lost,

The night was dark no father was there
The child was wet with dew.
The mire was deep, & the child did weep
And away the vapour flew.
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51
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The Misanthropist by James Monroe Whitfield
James Monroe Whitfield
In vain thou bid’st me strike the lyre,
And sing a song of mirth and glee,
Or, kindling with poetic fire,
Attempt some higher minstrelsy;
In vain, in vain! for every thought
That issues from this throbbing brain,
Is from its first conception fraught
With gloom and darkness, woe and pain.
From earliest youth my path has been
Cast in life’s darkest, deepest shade,
Where no bright ray did intervene,
Nor e’er a passing sunbeam strayed;
But all was dark and cheerless night,
Without one ray of hopeful light.
From childhood, then, through many a shock,
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At the Fishhouses by Elizabeth Bishop
Elizabeth Bishop
Although it is a cold evening,
down by one of the fishhouses
an old man sits netting,
his net, in the gloaming almost invisible,
a dark purple-brown,
and his shuttle worn and polished.
The air smells so strong of codfish
it makes one’s nose run and one’s eyes water.
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35
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The Great Figure by William Carlos Williams
William Carlos Williams
Among the rain
and lights
I saw the figure 5
in gold
on a red
firetruck
moving
tense
unheeded
to gong clangs
siren howls
and wheels rumbling
through the dark city.

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40
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Notes on Poverty by Hayden Carruth
Hayden Carruth
Was I so poor
in those damned days
that I went in the dark
in torn shoes
and furtiveness
to steal fat ears
of cattle corn
from the good cows
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34
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The Place for No Story by Robinson Jeffers
Robinson Jeffers
The coast hills at Sovranes Creek;
No trees, but dark scant pasture drawn thin
Over rock shaped like flame;
The old ocean at the land’s foot, the vast
Gray extension beyond the long white violence;
A herd of cows and the bull
Far distant, hardly apparent up the dark slope;
And the gray air haunted with hawks:
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27
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W.H. by Louise Imogen Guiney
Louise Imogen Guiney
1778-1830 Between the wet trees and the sorry steeple,
Keep, Time, in dark Soho, what once was Hazlitt,
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30
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They Sit Together on the Porch by Wendell Berry
Wendell Berry
They sit together on the porch, the dark
Almost fallen, the house behind them dark.
Their supper done with, they have washed and dried
The dishes–only two plates now, two glasses,
Two knives, two forks, two spoons–small work for two.
She sits with her hands folded in her lap,
At rest. He smokes his pipe. They do not speak,
And when they speak at last it is to say
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32
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I look at the world by Langston Hughes
Langston Hughes
I look at the world
From awakening eyes in a black face—
And this is what I see:
This fenced-off narrow space
Assigned to me.

I look then at the silly walls
Through dark eyes in a dark face—
And this is what I know:
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45
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Autumn Sky by Charles Simic
Charles Simic
In my great grandmother's time,
All one needed was a broom
To get to see places
And give the geese a chase in the sky.



The stars know everything,
So we try to read their minds.
As distant as they are,
We choose to whisper in their presence.



Oh Cynthia,
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30
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An African Elegy by Robert Duncan
Robert Duncan
In the groves of Africa from their natural wonder
the wildebeest, zebra, the okapi, the elephant,
have enterd the marvelous. No greater marvelous
know I than the mind’s
natural jungle. The wives of the Congo
distil there their red and the husbands
hunt lion with spear and paint Death-spore
on their shields, wear his teeth, claws and hair
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43
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The Animals by Josephine Jacobsen
Josephine Jacobsen
At night, alone, the animals came and shone.
The darkness whirled but silent shone the animals:
The lion the man the calf the eagle saying
Sanctus which was and is and is to come.

The sleeper watched the people at the waterless wilderness’ edge;
The wilderness was made of granite, of thorn, of death,
It was the goat which lightened the people praying.
The goat went out with sin on its sunken head.
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40
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Blind Joy by John Frederick Nims
John Frederick Nims
Crude seeing’s all our joy: could we discern
The cold dark infinite vast where atoms burn
—Lone suns—in flesh, our treasure and our play,
Who’d dare to breathe this fern-thick bird-rich day?
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36
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Cassandra by H.D.
H.D.
O Hymen king.

Hymen, O Hymen king,
what bitter thing is this?
what shaft, tearing my heart?
what scar, what light, what fire
searing my eye-balls and my eyes with flame?
nameless, O spoken name,
king, lord, speak blameless Hymen.
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37
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Dead Man’s Dump by Isaac Rosenberg
Isaac Rosenberg
The plunging limbers over the shattered track
Racketed with their rusty freight,
Stuck out like many crowns of thorns,
And the rusty stakes like sceptres old
To stay the flood of brutish men
Upon our brothers dear.

The wheels lurched over sprawled dead
But pained them not, though their bones crunched,
Their shut mouths made no moan.
They lie there huddled, friend and foeman,
Man born of man, and born of woman,
And shells go crying over them
From night till night and now.

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44
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Hymn from a Watermelon Pavilion by Wallace Stevens
Wallace Stevens
You dweller in the dark cabin,
To whom the watermelon is always purple,
Whose garden is wind and moon,

Of the two dreams, night and day,
What lover, what dreamer, would choose
The one obscured by sleep?

Here is the plantain by your door
And the best cock of red feather
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50
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If It Were Not for You by Hayden Carruth
Hayden Carruth
Liebe, meine liebe, I had not hoped
to be so poor

The night winds reach
like the blind breath of the world
in a rhythm without mind, gusting and beating
as if to destroy us, battering our poverty
and all the land’s flat and cold and dark
under iron snow
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39
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In a Dark Time by Theodore Roethke
Theodore Roethke
In a dark time, the eye begins to see,
I meet my shadow in the deepening shade;
I hear my echo in the echoing wood—
A lord of nature weeping to a tree.
I live between the heron and the wren,
Beasts of the hill and serpents of the den.

What’s madness but nobility of soul
At odds with circumstance? The day’s on fire!
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33
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Mnemosyne by Trumbull Stickney
Trumbull Stickney
It’s autumn in the country I remember.

How warm a wind blew here about the ways!
And shadows on the hillside lay to slumber
During the long sun-sweetened summer-days.

It’s cold abroad the country I remember.
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39
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Ondine by Mary Barnard
Mary Barnard
At supper time an ondine’s narrow feet
made dark tracks on the hearth.
Like the heart of a yellow fruit was the fire’s heat,
but they rubbed together quite blue with the cold.
The sandy hem of her skirt dripped on the floor.
She sat there with a silvered cedar knot
for a low stool; and I sat opposite,
my lips and eyelids hot
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38
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Relating to Robinson by Weldon Kees
Weldon Kees
Somewhere in Chelsea, early summer;
And, walking in the twilight toward the docks,
I thought I made out Robinson ahead of me.

From an uncurtained second-story room, a radio
Was playing There’s a Small Hotel; a kite
Twisted above dark rooftops and slow drifting birds.
We were alone there, he and I,
Inhabiting the empty street.
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41
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Somewhere by Robert Creeley
Robert Creeley
The galloping collection of boards
are the house which I afforded
one evening to walk into
just as the night came down.

Dark inside, the candle
lit of its own free will, the attic
groaned then, the stairs
led me up into the air.
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39
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Such Is the Sickness of Many a Good Thing by Robert Duncan
Robert Duncan
Was he then Adam of the Burning Way?
hid away in the heat like wrath
conceald in Love’s face,
or the seed, Eris in Eros,
key and lock
of what I was?I could not speak
the releasing
word.For into a dark
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46
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Third Avenue in Sunlight by Anthony Hecht
Anthony Hecht
Third Avenue in sunlight. Nature’s error.
Already the bars are filled and John is there.
Beneath a plentiful lady over the mirror
He tilts his glass in the mild mahogany air.

I think of him when he first got out of college,
Serious, thin, unlikely to succeed;
For several months he hung around the Village,
Boldly T-shirted, unfettered but unfreed.
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36
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To a Husband by Amy Lowell
Amy Lowell
Brighter than fireflies upon the Uji River
Are your words in the dark, Beloved.

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35
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Ode to a Large Tuna in the Market by Pablo Neruda
Pablo Neruda
Here,
among the market vegetables,
this torpedo
from the ocean
depths,
a missile
that swam,
now
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36
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After Arguing against the Contention That Art Must Come from Discontent by William E. Stafford
William E. Stafford
Whispering to each handhold, “I'll be back,”
I go up the cliff in the dark. One place
I loosen a rock and listen a long time
till it hits, faint in the gulf, but the rush
of the torrent almost drowns it out, and the wind—
I almost forgot the wind: it tears at your side
or it waits and then buffets; you sag outward. . . .

I remember they said it would be hard. I scramble
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37
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After Midnight by Louis Simpson
Louis Simpson
The dark streets are deserted,
With only a drugstore glowing
Softly, like a sleeping body;

With one white, naked bulb
In the back, that shines
On suicides and abortions.

Who lives in these dark houses?
I am suddenly aware
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62
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Bears at Raspberry Time by Hayden Carruth
Hayden Carruth
Fear. Three bears
are not fear, mother
and cubs come berrying
in our neighborhood

like any other family.
I want to see them, or any
distraction. Flashlight
poking across the brook
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37
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The Betrothal by Edna St. Vincent Millay
Edna St. Vincent Millay
Oh, come, my lad, or go, my lad,
And love me if you like!
I hardly hear the door shut
Or the knocker strike.

Oh, bring me gifts or beg me gifts,
And wed me if you will!
I'd make a man a good wife,
Sensible and still.

And why should I be cold, my lad,
And why should you repine,
Because I love a dark head
That never will be mine?

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29
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A Brown Girl Dead by Countee Cullen
Countee Cullen
With two white roses on her breasts,
White candles at head and feet,
Dark Madonna of the grave she rests;
Lord Death has found her sweet.

Her mother pawned her wedding ring
To lay her out in white;
She’d be so proud she’d dance and sing
To see herself tonight.
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39
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The Cricket by Edwin Markham
Edwin Markham
The twilight is the morning of his day.
While Sleep drops seaward from the fading shore,
With purpling sail and dip of silver oar,
He cheers the shadowed time with roundelay,
Until the dark east softens into gray.
Now as the noisy hours are coming—hark!
His song dies gently—it is growing dark—
His night, with its one star, is on the way!
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40
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From the Dark Tower by Countee Cullen
Countee Cullen
(To Charles S. Johnson) We shall not always plant while others reap
The golden increment of bursting fruit,
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36
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The Highwayman by Alfred Noyes
Alfred Noyes
PART ONE

The wind was a torrent of darkness among the gusty trees.
The moon was a ghostly galleon tossed upon cloudy seas.
The road was a ribbon of moonlight over the purple moor,
And the highwayman came riding—
Riding—riding—
The highwayman came riding, up to the old inn-door.

He’d a French cocked-hat on his forehead, a bunch of lace at his chin,
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42
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Hypocrite Women by Denise Levertov
Denise Levertov
Hypocrite women, how seldom we speak
of our own doubts, while dubiously
we mother man in his doubt!

And if at Mill Valley perched in the trees
the sweet rain drifting through western air
a white sweating bull of a poet told us

our cunts are ugly—why didn't we
admit we have thought so too? (And
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In Memoriam A. H. H. OBIIT MDCCCXXXIII: 39 by Alfred, Lord Tennyson
Alfred, Lord Tennyson
Old warder of these buried bones,
And answering now my random stroke
With fruitful cloud and living smoke,
Dark yew, that graspest at the stones

And dippest toward the dreamless head,
To thee too comes the golden hour
When flower is feeling after flower;
But Sorrow—fixt upon the dead,
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39
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In Memoriam A. H. H. OBIIT MDCCCXXXIII: 67 by Alfred, Lord Tennyson
Alfred, Lord Tennyson
When on my bed the moonlight falls,
I know that in thy place of rest
By that broad water of the west,
There comes a glory on the walls:

Thy marble bright in dark appears,
As slowly steals a silver flame
Along the letters of thy name,
And o'er the number of thy years.

The mystic glory swims away;
From off my bed the moonlight dies;
And closing eaves of wearied eyes
I sleep till dusk is dipt in gray:

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35
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Late, Late, so Late by Alfred, Lord Tennyson
Alfred, Lord Tennyson
Late, late, so late! and dark the night and chill!
Late, late, so late! but we can enter still.
Too late, too late! ye cannot enter now.

No light had we: for that we do repent;
And learning this, the bridegroom will relent.
Too late, too late! ye cannot enter now.

No light: so late! and dark and chill the night!
O, let us in, that we may find the light!
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43
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little tree by E. E. Cummings
E. E. Cummings
little tree
little silent Christmas tree
you are so little
you are more like a flower

who found you in the green forest
and were you very sorry to come away?
see i will comfort you
because you smell so sweetly

i will kiss your cool bark
and hug you safe and tight
just as your mother would,
only don't be afraid

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40
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Made Shine by Josephine Miles
Josephine Miles
This face had no use for light, took none of it,
Grew cavernous against stars, bore into noon
A dark of midnight by its own resources.

Yet where it lay in sleep, where the pillows held it
With the blind plaster over it and the four walls
Keeping the night carefully, it was undone.

Sixty-watt light, squared to a window frame,
Across a well of air, across wind and window
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34
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The Sick Rose by William Blake
William Blake
O Rose thou art sick.
The invisible worm,
That flies in the night
In the howling storm:

Has found out thy bed
Of crimson joy:
And his dark secret love
Does thy life destroy.
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42
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Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star by Jane Taylor
Jane Taylor
Twinkle, twinkle, little star,
How I wonder what you are!
Up above the world so high,
Like a diamond in the sky.

When the blazing sun is gone,
When he nothing shines upon,
Then you show your little light,
Twinkle, twinkle, all the night.

Then the traveler in the dark
Thanks you for your tiny spark,
How could he see where to go,
If you did not twinkle so?

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34
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Why Are Your Poems so Dark? by Linda Pastan
Linda Pastan
Isn't the moon dark too,
most of the time?

And doesn't the white page
seem unfinished

without the dark stain
of alphabets?

When God demanded light,
he didn't banish darkness.

Instead he invented
ebony and crows

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