Death

D
The Solitary Land by Adonis
Adonis
I inhabit these fugitive words,
I live, my face my face’s lone companion,
And my face is my path,

In your name, my land
That stands tall, enchanted and solitary;
In your name, death, my friend.
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104
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The Death of a Soldier by Wallace Stevens
Wallace Stevens
Life contracts and death is expected,
As in a season of autumn.
The soldier falls.

He does not become a three-days personage,
Imposing his separation,
Calling for pomp.

Death is absolute and without memorial,
As in a season of autumn,
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49
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Spring and All: XIV Of death by William Carlos Williams
William Carlos Williams
Of death
the barber
the barber
talked to me

cutting my
life with
sleep to trim
my hair —
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38
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Sonnet for 1950 by Jack Agüeros
Jack Agüeros
All the kids came rumbling down the wood tenement
Shaky stairs, sneakers slapping against the worn
Tin tread edges, downhall came Pepo, Chino, Cojo,
Curly bursting from the door like shells exploding
Singing "I'm a Rican Doodle Dandy" and "What shall
We be today, Doctors or Junkies, Soldiers or Winos?"

Pepo put a milk crate on a Spanish Harlem johnny pump
And drops opened like paratroopers carrying war news.
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From the Snowmelt of '66 by Tomas Tranströmer
Tomas Tranströmer
Rushing rushing water's rumbling old hypnosis.
The river's flooding the car-graveyard, glittering
behind the masks.
I grab hold of the bridge railing.
The bridge: a large iron bird sailing past death.
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“All the hills and vales along” by Charles Hamilton Sorley
Charles Hamilton Sorley
All the hills and vales along
Earth is bursting into song,
And the singers are the chaps
Who are going to die perhaps.
O sing, marching men,
Till the valleys ring again.
Give your gladness to earth’s keeping,
So be glad, when you are sleeping.

Cast away regret and rue,
Think what you are marching to.
Little live, great pass.
Jesus Christ and Barabbas
Were found the same day.
This died, that went his way.
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Two Fusiliers by Robert Graves
Robert Graves
And have we done with War at last? Well, we've been lucky devils both, And there's no need of pledge or oath
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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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Spring in War-Time by Sara Teasdale
Sara Teasdale
I feel the spring far off, far off,
The faint, far scent of bud and leaf—
Oh, how can spring take heart to come
To a world in grief,
Deep grief?

The sun turns north, the days grow long,
Later the evening star grows bright—
How can the daylight linger on
For men to fight,
Still fight?

The grass is waking in the ground,
Soon it will rise and blow in waves—
How can it have the heart to sway
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The Death Bed by Siegfried Sassoon
Siegfried Sassoon
He drowsed and was aware of silence heaped
Round him, unshaken as the steadfast walls;
Aqueous like floating rays of amber light,
Soaring and quivering in the wings of sleep.
Silence and safety; and his mortal shore
Lipped by the inward, moonless waves of death.

Someone was holding water to his mouth.
He swallowed, unresisting; moaned and dropped
Through crimson gloom to darkness; and forgot
The opiate throb and ache that was his wound.
Water—calm, sliding green above the weir;
Water—a sky-lit alley for his boat,
Bird-voiced, and bordered with reflected flowers
And shaken hues of summer: drifting down,
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Such, Such is Death by Charles Hamilton Sorley
Charles Hamilton Sorley
Such, such is Death: no triumph: no defeat:
Only an empty pail, a slate rubbed clean,
A merciful putting away of what has been.

And this we know: Death is not Life, effete,
Life crushed, the broken pail. We who have seen
So marvellous things know well the end not yet.

Victor and vanquished are a-one in death:
Coward and brave: friend, foe. Ghosts do not say,
“Come, what was your record when you drew breath?”
But a big blot has hid each yesterday
So poor, so manifestly incomplete.
And your bright Promise, withered long and sped,
Is touched, stirs, rises, opens and grows sweet
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All the Hills and Vales Along by Charles Hamilton Sorley
Charles Hamilton Sorley
All the hills and vales along
Earth is bursting into song,
And the singers are the chaps
Who are going to die perhaps.
O sing, marching men,
Till the valleys ring again.
Give your gladness to earth's keeping,
So be glad, when you are sleeping.
Cast away regret and rue,
Think what you are marching to.
Little live, great pass.
Jesus Christ and Barabbas
Were found the same day.
This died, that went his way.
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33
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Had Death Not Had Me in Tears by Kofi Awoonor
Kofi Awoonor
Had death not had me in tears
I would have seen the barges
on life's stream sail.
I would have heard sorrow songs
in groves where the road was lost
long
where men foot prints mix with other men foot prints
By the road I wait
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Stanzas Ending with the Same Two Words by Frank Bidart
Frank Bidart
At first I felt shame because I had entered
through the door marked Your Death.

Not a valuable word written
unsteeped in your death.

You are the ruin whose arm encircles the young woman
at the posthumous bar, before your death.

The grass is still hungry
above you, fed by your death.
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Caelica 83: You that seek what life is in death by Baron Brooke Fulke Greville
Baron Brooke Fulke Greville
You that seek what life is in death,
Now find it air that once was breath.
New names unknown, old names gone:
Till time end bodies, but souls none.
Reader! then make time, while you be,
But steps to your eternity.

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Elegy for Philip Sidney by Baron Brooke Fulke Greville
Baron Brooke Fulke Greville
Silence augmenteth grief, writing increaseth rage,
Staled are my thoughts, which loved and lost the wonder ofour age;
Yet quickened now with fire, though dead with frost ere now,
Enraged I write I know not what; dead, quick, I know not how.

Hard-hearted minds relent and rigor's tears abound,
And envy strangely rues his end, in whom no fault was found.
Knowledge her light hath lost, valor hath slain her knight,
Sidney is dead, dead is my friend, dead is the world's delight.

Place, pensive, wails his fall whose presence was her pride;
Time crieth out, My ebb is come; his life was my spring tide.
Fame mourns in that she lost the ground of her reports;
Each living wight laments his lack, and all in sundry sorts.

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Desdichada by Muriel Rukeyser
Muriel Rukeyser
I.

For that you never acknowledged me, I acknowledge
the spring’s yellow detail, the every drop of rain,
the anonymous unacknowledged men and women.
The shine as it glitters in our child’s wild eyes,
one o’clock at night. This river, this city,
the years of the shadow on the delicate skin
of my hand, moving in time.
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Book 7, Epigram 47: De Hominis Ortu & Sepultura. by Thomas Bastard
Thomas Bastard
Nature which headlong into life doth throw us,
With our feet forward to our grave doth bring us,
What is less ours, than this our borrowed breath,
We stumble into life, we go to death.

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Hurt Hawks by Robinson Jeffers
Robinson Jeffers
I

The broken pillar of the wing jags from the clotted shoulder,
The wing trails like a banner in defeat,
No more to use the sky forever but live with famine
And pain a few days: cat nor coyote
Will shorten the week of waiting for death, there is game without talons.
He stands under the oak-bush and waits
The lame feet of salvation; at night he remembers freedom
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The Lonesome Dream by Lisel Mueller
Lisel Mueller
In the America of the dream
the first rise of the moon
swings free of the ocean,
and she reigns in her shining flesh
over a good, great valley
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41
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What the Bones Know by Carolyn Kizer
Carolyn Kizer
Remembering the past
And gloating at it now,
I know the frozen brow
And shaking sides of lust
Will dog me at my death
To catch my ghostly breath.

I think that Yeats was right,
That lust and love are one.
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Stranger by Allen Tate
Allen Tate
This is the village where the funeral
Stilted its dusty march over deep ruts
Up the hillside covered with queen’s lace
To the patch of weeds known finally to all.

Of her virtues large tongues were loud
As I, a stranger, trudged the streets
Gay with huckstering: loud whispers from a few
Sly wags who squeezed a humor from the shroud.

For this was death.
I should never see these men again
And yet, like the swiftness of remembered evil—
An issue for conscience, say—
The cold heart of death was beating in my brain:
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For Allen Ginsberg by Dorothea Grossman
Dorothea Grossman
Among other things,
thanks for explaining
how the generous death
of old trees
forms
the red powdered floor
of the forest.
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Poem by the Charles River by Robin Blaser
Robin Blaser
It is their way to find the surface
when they die.
Fish feed on fish
and drop those beautiful bones
to swim.
I see them stretch the water to their need
as I domesticate the separate air to be my
breath.
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Death of an Infant by Lydia Huntley Sigourney
Lydia Huntley Sigourney
Death found strange beauty on that cherub brow,
And dash’d it out. – There was a tint of rose
O’er cheek and lip; – he touch’d the veins with ice,
And the rose faded. – Forth from those blue eyes
There spake a wistful tenderness, – a doubt
Whether to grieve or sleep, which Innocence
Alone can wear. – With ruthless haste he bound
The silken fringes of their curtaining lids
Forever. – There had been a murmuring sound
With which the babe would claim its mother’s ear,
Charming her even to tears. – The spoiler set
His seal of silence. – But there beam’d a smile,
So fix’d and holy from that marble brow, –
Death gazed and left it there; – he dared not steal
The signet-ring of Heaven.
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On the Crash of an Airliner at Takeoff by Calvin Thomas Jr.
Calvin Thomas Jr.
When bodies broken and all bodies seared
Are counted up, uncrusted, tagged as feared,
We know next day the scene will stand alone
On pages white and mindless of the bone.
Shall notice recognize beyond the burned,
Or caption past the people tritely charred,
Related dusty partness with the term
Antiquity, the sense of death in stone
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The Last Day by George Seferis
George Seferis
The day was cloudy. No one could come to a decision;
a light wind was blowing. ‘Not a north-easter, the sirocco,’ someone said.
A few slender cypresses nailed to the slope, and, beyond, the sea
grey with shining pools.
The soldiers presented arms as it began to drizzle.
‘Not a north-easter, the sirocco,’ was the only decision heard.
And yet we knew that by the following dawn
nothing would be left to us, neither the woman drinking sleep at our side
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“No, I wasn’t meant to love and be loved” by Mirza Asadullah Khan Ghalib
Mirza Asadullah Khan Ghalib
No, I wasn’t meant to love and be loved.
If I’d lived longer, I would have waited longer.

Knowing you are faithless keeps me alive and hungry.
Knowing you faithful would kill me with joy.

Delicate are you, and your vows are delicate, too,
so easily do they break.

You are a laconic marksman. You leave me
not dead but perpetually dying.
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Zebra by C. K. Williams
C. K. Williams
Kids once carried tin soldiers in their pockets as charms
against being afraid, but how trust soldiers these days
not to load up, aim, blast the pants off your legs?

I have a key-chain zebra I bought at the Thanksgiving fair.
How do I know she won't kick, or bite at my crotch?
Because she's been murdered, machine-gunned: she's dead.

Also, she's a she: even so crudely carved, you can tell
by the sway of her belly a foal's inside her.
Even murdered mothers don't hurt people, do they?

And how know she's murdered? Isn't everything murdered?
Some dictator's thugs, some rebels, some poachers;
some drought, world-drought, world-rot, pollution, extinction.
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from Ajax: Dirge by James Shirley
James Shirley
The glories of our blood and state
Are shadows, not substantial things;
There is no armor against fate;
Death lays his icy hand on kings.
Scepter and crown
Must tumble down
And in the dust be equal made
With the poor crooked scythe and spade.

Some men with swords may reap the field
And plant fresh laurels where they kill,
But their strong nerves at last must yield;
They tame but one another still.
Early or late
They stoop to fate
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Death by George Herbert
George Herbert
Death, thou wast once an uncouth hideous thing,
Nothing but bones,
The sad effect of sadder groans:
Thy mouth was open, but thou couldst not sing.

For we considered thee as at some six
Or ten years hence,
After the loss of life and sense,
Flesh being turned to dust, and bones to sticks.

We looked on this side of thee, shooting short;
Where we did find
The shells of fledge souls left behind,
Dry dust, which sheds no tears, but may extort.

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An Emeritus Addresses the School by John Ciardi
John Ciardi
No one can wish nothing.
Even that death wish sophomores
are nouveau-glib about
reaches for a change of notice.

“I’ll have you know,” it will say
thirty years later to its son,
“I was once widely recognized
for the quality of my death wish.”
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The Expiration by John Donne
John Donne
So, so breake off this last lamenting kisse,
Which sucks two soules, and vapours Both away,
Turne thou ghost that way, and let mee turne this,
And let our selves benight our happiest day,
We ask’d none leave to love; nor will we owe
Any, so cheape a death, as saying, Goe;

Goe; and if that word have not quite kil’d thee,
Ease mee with death, by bidding mee goe too.
Oh, if it have, let my word worke on mee,
And a just office on a murderer doe.
Except it be too late, to kill me so,
Being double dead, going, and bidding, goe.

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For My Daughter by Weldon Kees
Weldon Kees
Looking into my daughter’s eyes I read
Beneath the innocence of morning flesh
Concealed, hintings of death she does not heed.
Coldest of winds have blown this hair, and mesh
Of seaweed snarled these miniatures of hands;
The night’s slow poison, tolerant and bland,
Has moved her blood. Parched years that I have seen
That may be hers appear: foul, lingering
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Idea 61: Since there’s no help, come let us kiss and part by Michael Drayton
Michael Drayton
Since there’s no help, come let us kiss and part.
Nay, I have done, you get no more of me;
And I am glad, yea glad with all my heart,
That thus so cleanly I myself can free.
Shake hands for ever, cancel all our vows,
And when we meet at any time again,
Be it not seen in either of our brows
That we one jot of former love retain.
Now at the last gasp of Love’s latest breath,
When, his pulse failing, Passion speechless lies;
When Faith is kneeling by his bed of death,
And Innocence is closing up his eyes—
Now, if thou wouldst, when all have given him over,
From death to life thou might’st him yet recover!
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“More Light! More Light!” by Anthony Hecht
Anthony Hecht
for Heinrich Blücher and Hannah Arendt Composed in the Tower before his execution
These moving verses, and being brought at that time
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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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Song: “Come away, come away, death”  by William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare
(fromTwelfth Night) Come away, come away, death,
And in sad cypress let me be laid.
Fly away, fly away, breath;
I am slain by a fair cruel maid.
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“Though I am young, and cannot tell” by Ben Jonson
Ben Jonson
Though I am young, and cannot tell
Either what Death or Love is well,
Yet I have heard they both bear darts,
And both do aim at human hearts.
And then again, I have been told
Love wounds with heat, as Death with cold;
So that I fear they do but bring
Extremes to touch, and mean one thing.

As in a ruin we it call
One thing to be blown up, or fall;
Or to our end like way may have
By a flash of lightning, or a wave;
So Love’s inflamèd shaft or brand
May kill as soon as Death’s cold hand;
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The Visitation by Samuel Menashe
Samuel Menashe
His body ahead
Of him on the bed
He faces his feet
Sees himself dead,
A corpse complete
With legs and chest
And belly between
Swelling the scene
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When You Are Not Surprised by Conrad Aiken
Conrad Aiken
When you are not surprised, not surprised,
nor leap in imagination from sunlight into shadow
or from shadow into sunlight
suiting the color of fright or delight
to the bewildering circumstance
when you are no longer surprised
by the quiet or fury of daybreak
the stormy uprush of the sun’s rage
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42
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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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Buffalo Bill 's by E. E. Cummings
E. E. Cummings
Buffalo Bill ’s
defunct
who used to
ride a watersmooth-silver
stallion
and break onetwothreefourfive pigeonsjustlikethat
Jesus

he was a handsome man
and what i want to know is
how do you like your blue-eyed boy
Mister Death
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The Bustle in a House (1108) by Emily Dickinson
Emily Dickinson
The Bustle in a House
The Morning after Death
Is solemnest of industries
Enacted opon Earth –

The Sweeping up the Heart
And putting Love away
We shall not want to use again
Until Eternity –
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The Charge of the Light Brigade by Alfred, Lord Tennyson
Alfred, Lord Tennyson
I
Half a league, half a league,
Half a league onward,
All in the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.
“Forward, the Light Brigade!
Charge for the guns!” he said.
Into the valley of Death
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Choriambics by Algernon Charles Swinburne
Algernon Charles Swinburne
Love, what ailed thee to leave life that was made lovely, we thought, with love?
What sweet visions of sleep lured thee away, down from the light above?

What strange faces of dreams, voices that called, hands that were raised to wave,
Lured or led thee, alas, out of the sun, down to the sunless grave?

Ah, thy luminous eyes! once was their light fed with the fire of day;
Now their shadowy lids cover them close, hush them and hide away.

Ah, thy snow-coloured hands! once were they chains, mighty to bind me fast;
Now no blood in them burns, mindless of love, senseless of passion past.

Ah, thy beautiful hair! so was it once braided for me, for me;
Now for death is it crowned, only for death, lover and lord of thee.

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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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Elusive Time by James Laughlin
James Laughlin
In love it may be dangerous
to reckon on time to count

on it time’s here and then
it’s goneI’m not thinking

of death or disaster but of
the slippage the unpredictable

disappearance of days on which
we were depending for happiness.
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Eyes Fastened with Pins by Charles Simic
Charles Simic
How much death works,
No one knows what a long
Day he puts in. The little
Wife always alone
Ironing death’s laundry.
The beautiful daughters
Setting death’s supper table.
The neighbors playing
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Holy Sonnets: Death, be not proud by John Donne
John Donne
Death, be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so;
For those whom thou think'st thou dost overthrow
Die not, poor Death, nor yet canst thou kill me.
From rest and sleep, which but thy pictures be,
Much pleasure; then from thee much more must flow,
And soonest our best men with thee do go,
Rest of their bones, and soul's delivery.
Thou art slave to fate, chance, kings, and desperate men,
And dost with poison, war, and sickness dwell,
And poppy or charms can make us sleep as well
And better than thy stroke; why swell'st thou then?
One short sleep past, we wake eternally
And death shall be no more; Death, thou shalt die.

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Holy Sonnets: Thou hast made me, and shall thy work decay? by John Donne
John Donne
Thou hast made me, and shall thy work decay?
Repair me now, for now mine end doth haste,
I run to death, and death meets me as fast,
And all my pleasures are like yesterday;
I dare not move my dim eyes any way,
Despair behind, and death before doth cast
Such terror, and my feebled flesh doth waste
By sin in it, which it towards hell doth weigh.
Only thou art above, and when towards thee
By thy leave I can look, I rise again;
But our old subtle foe so tempteth me,
That not one hour I can myself sustain;
Thy grace may wing me to prevent his art,
And thou like adamant draw mine iron heart.
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How It Is by Maxine Kumin
Maxine Kumin
Shall I say how it is in your clothes?
A month after your death I wear your blue jacket.
The dog at the center of my life recognizes
you’ve come to visit, he’s ecstatic.
In the left pocket, a hole.
In the right, a parking ticket
delivered up last August on Bay State Road.
In my heart, a scatter like milkweed,
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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 Would Fain Die a Dry Death by Charlotte Anna Perkins Gilman
Charlotte Anna Perkins Gilman
The American public is patient,
The American public is slow,
The American public will stand as much
As any public I know.
We submit to be killed by our railroads,
We submit to be fooled by our press,
We can stand as much government scandal
As any folks going, I guess,
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In Memoriam A. H. H. OBIIT MDCCCXXXIII: 82 by Alfred, Lord Tennyson
Alfred, Lord Tennyson
I wage not any feud with Death
For changes wrought on form and face;
No lower life that earth's embrace
May breed with him, can fright my faith.

Eternal process moving on,
From state to state the spirit walks;
And these are but the shatter'd stalks,
Or ruin'd chrysalis of one.

Nor blame I Death, because he bare
The use of virtue out of earth:
I know transplanted human worth
Will bloom to profit, otherwhere.

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Irony by Louis Untermeyer
Louis Untermeyer
Why are the things that have no death
The ones with neither sight nor breath!
Eternity is thrust upon
A bit of earth, a senseless stone.
A grain of dust, a casual clod
Receives the greatest gift of God.
A pebble in the roadway lies—
It never dies.
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The Jewish Cemetery at Newport by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
How strange it seems! These Hebrews in their graves,
Close by the street of this fair seaport town,
Silent beside the never-silent waves,
At rest in all this moving up and down!

The trees are white with dust, that o'er their sleep
Wave their broad curtains in the south-wind's breath,
While underneath these leafy tents they keep
The long, mysterious Exodus of Death.

And these sepulchral stones, so old and brown,
That pave with level flags their burial-place,
Seem like the tablets of the Law, thrown down
And broken by Moses at the mountain's base.

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Keats by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
The young Endymion sleeps Endymion's sleep;
The shepherd-boy whose tale was left half told!
The solemn grove uplifts its shield of gold
To the red rising moon, and loud and deep
The nightingale is singing from the steep;
It is midsummer, but the air is cold;
Can it be death? Alas, beside the fold
A shepherd's pipe lies shattered near his sheep.
Lo! in the moonlight gleams a marble white,
On which I read: "Here lieth one whose name
Was writ in water." And was this the meed
Of his sweet singing? Rather let me write:
"The smoking flax before it burst to flame
Was quenched by death, and broken the bruised reed."

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Marrying the Hangman by Margaret Atwood
Margaret Atwood
She has been condemned to death by hanging. A man
may escape this death by becoming the hangman, a
woman by marrying the hangman. But at the present
time there is no hangman; thus there is no escape.
There is only a death, indefinitely postponed. This is
not fantasy, it is history.

*

To live in prison is to live without mirrors. To live
without mirrors is to live without the self. She is
living selflessly, she finds a hole in the stone wall and
on the other side of the wall, a voice. The voice
comes through darkness and has no face. This voice
becomes her mirror.
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40
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Menstruation at Forty by Anne Sexton
Anne Sexton
I was thinking of a son.
The womb is not a clock
nor a bell tolling,
but in the eleventh month of its life
I feel the November
of the body as well as of the calendar.
In two days it will be my birthday
and as always the earth is done with its harvest.
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35
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Niobe by Alfred Noyes
Alfred Noyes
How like the sky she bends above her child,
One with the great horizon of her pain!
No sob from our low seas where woe runs wild,
No weeping cloud, no momentary rain,
Can mar the heaven-high visage of her grief,
That frozen anguish, proud, majestic, dumb.
She stoops in pity above the labouring earth,
Knowing how fond, how brief
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32
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from The Princess: Tears, Idle Tears by Alfred, Lord Tennyson
Alfred, Lord Tennyson
Tears, idle tears, I know not what they mean,
Tears from the depth of some divine despair
Rise in the heart, and gather to the eyes,
In looking on the happy Autumn-fields,
And thinking of the days that are no more.

Fresh as the first beam glittering on a sail,
That brings our friends up from the underworld,
Sad as the last which reddens over one
That sinks with all we love below the verge;
So sad, so fresh, the days that are no more.

Ah, sad and strange as in dark summer dawns
The earliest pipe of half-awaken'd birds
To dying ears, when unto dying eyes
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49
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A Sequence of Sonnets on the Death of Robert Browning by Algernon Charles Swinburne
Algernon Charles Swinburne
I
The clearest eyes in all the world they read
With sense more keen and spirit of sight more true
Than burns and thrills in sunrise, when the dew
Flames, and absorbs the glory round it shed,
As they the light of ages quick and dead,
Closed now, forsake us: yet the shaft that slew
Can slay not one of all the works we knew,
Nor death discrown that many-laurelled head.

The works of words whose life seems lightning wrought,
And moulded of unconquerable thought,
And quickened with imperishable flame,
Stand fast and shine and smile, assured that nought
May fade of all their myriad-moulded fame,
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55
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A Song from the Italian from Limberham: or, the Kind Keeper by John Dryden
John Dryden
By a dismal cypress lying,
Damon cried, all pale and dying,
Kind is death that ends my pain,
But cruel she I lov'd in vain.
The mossy fountains
Murmur my trouble,
And hollow mountains
My groans redouble:
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29
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Sonnet 146: Poor soul, the centre of my sinful earth, by William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare
Poor soul, the centre of my sinful earth,
[......] these rebel powers that thee array,
Why dost thou pine within and suffer dearth,
Painting thy outward walls so costly gay?
Why so large cost, having so short a lease,
Dost thou upon thy fading mansion spend?
Shall worms, inheritors of this excess,
Eat up thy charge? Is this thy body's end?
Then soul, live thou upon thy servant's loss
And let that pine to aggravate thy store;
Buy terms divine in selling hours of dross;
Within be fed, without be rich no more.
So shalt thou feed on Death, that feeds on men,
And, Death once dead, there's no more dying then.
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37
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The To-be-forgotten by Thomas Hardy
Thomas Hardy
I
I heard a small sad sound,
And stood awhile among the tombs around:
"Wherefore, old friends," said I, "are you distrest,
Now, screened from life's unrest?"

II
—"O not at being here;
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44
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To Night by Percy Bysshe Shelley
Percy Bysshe Shelley
Swiftly walk o'er the western wave,
Spirit of Night!
Out of the misty eastern cave,
Where, all the long and lone daylight,
Thou wovest dreams of joy and fear,
Which make thee terrible and dear,—
Swift be thy flight!
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45
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Troop Train by Karl Shapiro
Karl Shapiro
It stops the town we come through. Workers raise
Their oily arms in good salute and grin.
Kids scream as at a circus. Business men
Glance hopefully and go their measured way.
And women standing at their dumbstruck door
More slowly wave and seem to warn us back,
As if a tear blinding the course of war
Might once dissolve our iron in their sweet wish.
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44
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Writ on the Steps of Puerto Rican Harlem by Gregory Corso
Gregory Corso
There’s a truth limits man
A truth prevents his going any farther
The world is changing
The world knows it’s changing
Heavy is the sorrow of the day
The old have the look of doom
The young mistake their fate in that look
That is truth
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30
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ΧΟΡΙΚΣ by Richard Aldington
Richard Aldington
The ancient songs
Pass deathward mournfully.

Cold lips that sing no more, and withered wreaths,
Regretful eyes, and drooping breasts and wings—
Symbols of ancient songs
Mournfully passing
Down to the great white surges,
Watched of none- -
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35
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