Future

F
Think Not All Is Over by Harriet Beecher Stowe
Harriet Beecher Stowe
Think not, when the wailing winds of autumn
Drive the shivering leaflets from the tree,—
Think not all is over: spring returneth,
Buds and leaves and blossoms thou shalt see.

Think not, when the earth lies cold and sealed,
And the weary birds above her mourn,—
Think not all is over: God still liveth,
Songs and sunshine shall again return.
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When the Red Goose Wakes by Marilyn Dorf
Marilyn Dorf
The sky a pure river of dawn
and the red goose wakes, the
breeze weaving, interweaving
leaves newly turned.
In the valley a song,
with no one to sing it,
some voice of the past
or the future. The red goose
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Lines of Life by Letitia Elizabeth Landon
Letitia Elizabeth Landon

Orphan in my first years, I early learnt
To make my heart suffice itself, and seek
Support and sympathy in its own depths.
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The Pomegranate by Kahlil Gibran
Kahlil Gibran
Once when I was living in the heart of a pomegranate, I heard a seed
saying, “Someday I shall become a tree, and the wind will sing in
my branches, and the sun will dance on my leaves, and I shall be
strong and beautiful through all the seasons.”

Then another seed spoke and said, “When I was as young as you, I
too held such views; but now that I can weigh and measure things,
I see that my hopes were vain.”

And a third seed spoke also, “I see in us nothing that promises so
great a future.”

And a fourth said, “But what a mockery our life would be, without
a greater future!”

Said a fifth, “Why dispute what we shall be, when we know not even
what we are.”

But a sixth replied, “Whatever we are, that we shall continue to
be.”

And a seventh said, “I have such a clear idea how everything will
be, but I cannot put it into words.”

Then an eight spoke—and a ninth—and a tenth—and then many—until
all were speaking, and I could distinguish nothing for the many
voices.

And so I moved that very day into the heart of a quince, where the
seeds are few and almost silent.
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Incidents of Travel in Poetry by Frank Lima
Frank Lima
Happy Birthday Kenneth Koch/Feb 27 We went to all those places where they restore sadness and joy
and call it art. We were piloted by Auden who became
Unbearably acrimonious when we dropped off Senghor into the
steamy skies of his beloved West Africa. The termites and ants
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For a Coming Extinction by W. S. Merwin
W. S. Merwin
Gray whale
Now that we are sending you to The End
That great god
Tell him
That we who follow you invented forgiveness
And forgive nothing

I write as though you could understand
And I could say it
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The Old Man's Complaints. And how he gained them by Robert Southey
Robert Southey

You are old, Father William, the young man cried,
The few locks which are left you are grey;
You are hale, Father William, a hearty old man,
Now tell me the reason I pray.

In the days of my youth, Father William replied,
I remember'd that youth would fly fast,
And abused not my health and my vigour at first
That I never might need them at last.

You are old, Father William, the young man cried,
And pleasures with youth pass away,
And yet you lament not the days that are gone,
Now tell me the reason I pray.
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“Oh could I raise the darken’d veil” by Nathaniel Hawthorne
Nathaniel Hawthorne
Oh could I raise the darken’d veil,
Which hides my future life from me,
Could unborn ages slowly sail,
Before my view—and could I see
My every action painted there,
To cast one look I would not dare.
There poverty and grief might stand,
And dark Despair’s corroding hand,
Would make me seek the lonely tomb
To slumber in its endless gloom.
Then let me never cast a look,
Within Fate’s fix’d mysterious book.
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To Germany by Charles Hamilton Sorley
Charles Hamilton Sorley

You are blind like us. Your hurt no man designed,
And no man claimed the conquest of your land.
But gropers both through fields of thought confined
We stumble and we do not understand.
You only saw your future bigly planned,
And we, the tapering paths of our own mind,
And in each other's dearest ways we stand,
And hiss and hate. And the blind fight the blind.

When it is peace, then we may view again
With new-won eyes each other's truer form
And wonder. Grown more loving-kind and warm
We'll grasp firm hands and laugh at the old pain,
When it is peace. But until peace, the storm
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Walking Parker Home by Bob Kaufman
Bob Kaufman
Sweet beats of jazz impaled on slivers of wind
Kansas Black Morning/ First Horn Eyes/
Historical sound pictures on New Bird wings
People shouts/ boy alto dreams/ Tomorrow’s
Gold belled pipe of stops and future Blues Times
Lurking Hawkins/ shadows of Lester/ realization
Bronze fingers—brain extensions seeking trapped sounds
Ghetto thoughts/ bandstand courage/ solo flight
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Weep by George Moses Horton
George Moses Horton
Weep for the country in its present state,
And of the gloom which still the future waits;
The proud confederate eagle heard the sound,
And with her flight fell prostrate to the ground!

Weep for the loss the country has sustained,
By which her now dependent is in jail;
The grief of him who now the war survived,
The conscript husbands and the weeping wives!

Weep for the seas of blood the battle cost,
And souls that ever hope forever lost!
The ravage of the field with no recruit,
Trees by the vengeance blasted to the root!

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A Visit by Marie Ponsot
Marie Ponsot
“Fine bitches all, and Molly Dance...”
—Djuna Barnes Come for duty’s sake (as girls do) we watch
The sly very old woman wile away from her pious
And stagger-blind friend, their daily split of gin.
She pours big drinks. We think of what
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The State of New York by Frederick Seidel
Frederick Seidel
I like the part I play.
They’ve cast me as Pompeii
The day before the day.
It’s my brilliant performance as a luxury man because I act that way.
They say: Just wait, you’ll see, you’ll pay,
Pompeii.

You’re a miracle in a whirlpool
In your blind date’s vagina
At your age. Nothin could be fina.
You eat off her bone china.
Don’t be a ghoul. Don’t be a fool,
You fool.

In the lifelong month of May,
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Music Box by Jorge Luis Borges
Jorge Luis Borges
Music of Japan. Parsimoniously
from the water clock the drops unfold
in lazy honey or ethereal gold
that over time reiterates a weave
eternal, fragile, enigmatic, bright.
I fear that every one will be the last.
They are a yesterday come from the past.
But from what shrine, from what mountain’s slight
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The Craftsman by Marcus B. Christian
Marcus B. Christian
I ply with all the cunning of my art This little thing, and with consummate care
I fashion it—so that when I depart,
Those who come after me shall find it fair
And beautiful. It must be free of flaws—
Pointing no laborings of weary hands;
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The Acts of Youth by John Wieners
John Wieners
And with great fear I inhabit the middle of the night
What wrecks of the mind await me, what drugs
to dull the senses, what little I have left,
what more can be taken away?

The fear of travelling, of the future without hope
or buoy. I must get away from this place and see
that there is no fear without me: that it is within
unless it be some sudden act or calamity
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A Letter by Amrita Pritam
Amrita Pritam
Me—a book in the attic.
Maybe some covenant or hymnal.
Or a chapter from the Kama Sutra,
or a spell for intimate afflictions.
But then it seems I am none of these.
(If I were, someone would have read me.)

Apparently at an assembly of revolutionaries
they passed a resolution,
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spring song by Lucille Clifton
Lucille Clifton
the green of Jesus
is breaking the ground
and the sweet
smell of delicious Jesus
is opening the house and
the dance of Jesus music
has hold of the air and
the world is turning
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The Flowers by Stéphane Mallarmé
Stéphane Mallarmé
From golden showers of the ancient skies,
On the first day, and the eternal snow of stars,
You once unfastened giant calyxes
For the young earth still innocent of scars:

Young gladioli with the necks of swans,
Laurels divine, of exiled souls the dream,
Vermilion as the modesty of dawns
Trod by the footsteps of the seraphim;
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No Words Can Describe It by Mark Strand
Mark Strand
How those fires burned that are no longer, how the weather worsened, how the shadow of the seagull vanished without a trace. Was it the end of a season, the end of a life? Was it so long ago it seems it might never have been? What is it in us that lives in the past and longs for the future, or lives in the future and longs for the past? And what does it matter when light enters the room where a child sleeps and the waking mother, opening her eyes, wishes more than anything to be unwakened by what she cannot name?
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XLIV from The Arab Apocalypse by Etel Adnan
Etel Adnan
Where do you want ghosts to reside?
In our wakeful hours there are flowers which produce nightmares
We burned continents of silence the future of nations
the breathing of the fighters got thicker became like oxen’s

there is in that breath sparkles of scorched flesh and the fainting of stars

we crucify Gilgamesh on a TANK Viking II reaches Mars
Imam Ali dances over a nuclear blast
cursed are the clouds which repel water
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To His Mother, Whose Name Was Maria by Attilio Bertolucci
Attilio Bertolucci
Invoked every sundown, it’s you, painted on clouds
rouging our treasured plain and all who walk it,
with leaf-fresh kids and women damp from traveling,
city-bound, in the radiance of a just-stopped shower;
it’s you, mother eternally young, courtesy of death’s
plucking hand, rose at the fragrant point of unpetaling,
you who are the alpha of every neurosis, every torturing anxiety,
and for this I give you gratitude for time past, time present, time future.

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To Future Eleanors by Eleanor Ross Taylor
Eleanor Ross Taylor
How will you
cut off from Zions,
fall on your knees among the lions?
What if you
cut off from hymns
confound worksong with anthem

Cut off from Scripture
find sense suspect
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Statement on Energy Policy by Carter Revard
Carter Revard
It’s true we have invented quark-extraction,
and this allows our aiming gravity at will;
it’s true also that time
can now be made to flow
backward or forward by

the same process. It may be true as well that
what is happening at the focal point,
the meristem of this process,
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If I Had Known by Alice Moore Dunbar-Nelson
Alice Moore Dunbar-Nelson
If I had known
Two years ago how drear this life should be,
And crowd upon itself allstrangely sad,
Mayhap another song would burst from out my lips,
Overflowing with the happiness of future hopes;
Mayhap another throb than that of joy.
Have stirred my soul into its inmost depths,
If I had known.

If I had known,
Two years ago the impotence of love,
The vainness of a kiss, how barren a caress,
Mayhap my soul to higher things have soarn,
Nor clung to earthly loves and tender dreams,
But ever up aloft into the blue empyrean,
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Sonnet: On Receiving a Letter Informing Me of the Birth of a Son by Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Samuel Taylor Coleridge
When they did greet me Father, sudden Awe
Weigh'd down my spirit! I retired and knelt
Seeking the throne of grace, but inly felt
No heavenly visitation upwards draw
My feeble mind, nor cheering ray impart.
Ah me! before the Eternal Sire I brought
The unquiet silence of confused Thought
And shapeless feelings: my o'erwhelmed Heart
Trembled: & vacant tears stream'd down my face.
And now once more, O Lord! to thee I bend,
Lover of souls! and groan for future grace,
That, ere my Babe youth's perilous maze have trod,
Thy overshadowing Spirit may descend
And he be born again, a child of God!
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Choosing A Profession by Mary Lamb
Mary Lamb
A Creole boy from the West Indies brought,
To be in European learning taught,
Some years before to Westminster he went,
To a Preparatory school was sent.
When from his artless tale the mistress found
The child had not one friend on English ground,
She ev’n as if she his own mother were,
Made the dark Indian her particular care.
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George Moses Horton, Myself by George Moses Horton
George Moses Horton
I feel myself in need
Of the inspiring strains of ancient lore,
My heart to lift, my empty mind to feed,
And all the world explore.

I know that I am old
And never can recover what is past,
But for the future may some light unfold
And soar from ages blast.
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To My Daughter On Being Separated from Her on Her Marriage by Anne Hunter
Anne Hunter
Dear to my heart as life’s warm stream
Which animates this mortal clay,
For thee I court the waking dream,
And deck with smiles the future day;
And thus beguile the present pain
With hopes that we shall meet again.

Yet, will it be as when the past
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Coming and Going by Pierre Martory
Pierre Martory
As long as you believe in miracles
You watch the sun fall into the sea
Every evening
Then you turn your back and sink
Among the ferns sparkling from a moon or from the other
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George Moore by Marianne Moore
Marianne Moore
In speaking of ‘aspiration,’
From the recesses of a pen more dolorous than blackness
itself,
Were you presenting us with one more form of imperturbable
French drollery,
Or was it self directed banter?
Habitual ennui
Took from you, your invisible, hot helmet of anaemia—
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Kosmos by Walt Whitman
Walt Whitman
Who includes diversity and is Nature,
Who is the amplitude of the earth, and the coarseness and sexuality of the earth, and the great charity of the earth and the equilibrium also,
Who has not look’d forth from the windows the eyes for nothing, or whose brain held audience with messengers for nothing,
Who contains believers and disbelievers, who is the most majestic lover,
Who holds duly his or her triune proportion of realism, spiritualism, and of the æsthetic or intellectual,
Who having consider’d the body finds all its organs and parts good,
Who, out of the theory of the earth and of his or her body understands by subtle analogies all other theories,
The theory of a city, a poem, and of the large politics of these States;
Who believes not only in our globe with its sun and moon, but in other globes with their suns and moons,
Who, constructing the house of himself or herself, not for a day but for all time, sees races, eras, dates, generations,
The past, the future, dwelling there, like space, inseparable together.
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Lines by Frances Ellen Watkins Harper
Frances Ellen Watkins Harper
At the Portals of the Future,
Full of madness, guilt and gloom,
Stood the hateful form of Slavery,
Crying, Give, Oh! give me room–

Room to smite the earth with cursing,
Room to scatter, rend and slay,
From the trembling mother’s bosom
Room to tear her child away;

Room to trample on the manhood
Of the country far and wide;
Room to spread o’er every Eden
Slavery’s scorching lava-tide.

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El Dorado by John Ashbery
John Ashbery
We have a friend in common, the retired sophomore.
His concern: that I shall get it like that,
in the right and righter of a green bush
chomping on future considerations. In the ghostly
dreams of others it appears I am all right,
and even going on tomorrow there is much
to be said on all these matters, “issues,” like
“No rest for the weary.” (And yet—why not?)
Feeling under orders is a way of showing up,
but stepping on Earth—she’s not going to.
Ten shades of pleasing himself brings us to tomorrow
evening and will be back for more. I disagree
with you completely but couldn’t be prouder
and fonder of you. So drink up. Feel good for two.

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Scrim by David Ferry
David Ferry
I sit here in a shelter behind the words
Of what I’m writing, looking out as if
Through a dim curtain of rain, that keeps me in here.

The words are like a scrim upon a page,
Obscuring what might be there beyond the scrim.
I can dimly see there’s something or someone there.

But I can’t tell if it’s God, or one of his angels,
Or the past, or future, or who it is I love,
My mother or father lost, or my lost sister,

Or my wife lost when I was too late to get there,
I only know that there’s something, or somebody, there.
Tell me your name. How was it that I knew you?
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The School Where I Studied by Yehuda Amichai
Yehuda Amichai
I passed by the school where I studied as a boy
and said in my heart: here I learned certain things
and didn't learn others. All my life I have loved in vain
the things I didn't learn. I am filled with knowledge,
I know all about the flowering of the tree of knowledge,
the shape of its leaves, the function of its root system, its pests and parasites.
I'm an expert on the botany of good and evil,
I'm still studying it, I'll go on studying till the day I die.
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The Doubt of Future Foes by Queen Elizabeth I
Queen Elizabeth I
The doubt of future foes exiles my present joy,
And wit me warns to shun such snares as threaten mine annoy;
For falsehood now doth flow, and subjects’ faith doth ebb,
Which should not be if reason ruled or wisdom weaved the web.
But clouds of joys untried do cloak aspiring minds,
Which turn to rain of late repent by changed course of winds.
The top of hope supposed the root upreared shall be,
And fruitless all their grafted guile, as shortly ye shall see.
The dazzled eyes with pride, which great ambition blinds,
Shall be unsealed by worthy wights whose foresight falsehood finds.
The daughter of debate that discord aye doth sow
Shall reap no gain where former rule still peace hath taught to know.
No foreign banished wight shall anchor in this port;
Our realm brooks not seditious sects, let them elsewhere resort.
My rusty sword through rest shall first his edge employ
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Drury-lane Prologue Spoken by Mr. Garrick at the Opening of the Theatre in Drury-Lane, 1747 by Samuel Johnson
Samuel Johnson
When Learning’s triumph o’er her barb’rous foes
First rear’d the stage, immortal Shakespear rose;
Each change of many-colour’d life he drew,
Exhausted worlds, and then imagin’d new:
Existence saw him spurn her bounded reign,
And panting Time toil’d after him in vain:
His pow’rful strokes presiding Truth impress’d,
And unresisted Passion storm’d the breast.

Then Jonson came, instructed from the school,
To please in method, and invent by rule;
His studious patience, and laborious art,
By regular approach essay’d the heart;
Cold Approbation gave the ling’ring bays,
For those who durst not censure, scarce could praise.
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I would I might Forget that I am I by George Santayana
George Santayana
Sonnet VII I would I might forget that I am I,
And break the heavy chain that binds me fast,
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Last Month by John Ashbery
John Ashbery
No changes of support—only
Patches of gray, here where sunlight fell.
The house seems heavier
Now that they have gone away.
In fact it emptied in record time.
When the flat table used to result
A match recedes, slowly, into the night.
The academy of the future is
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Live Blindly and upon the Hour by Trumbull Stickney
Trumbull Stickney
Live blindly and upon the hour. The Lord,
Who was the Future, died full long ago.
Knowledge which is the Past is folly. Go,
Poor child, and be not to thyself abhorred.
Around thine earth sun-wingèd winds do blow
And planets roll; a meteor draws his sword;
The rainbow breaks his seven-coloured chord
And the long strips of river-silver flow:
Awake! Give thyself to the lovely hours.
Drinking their lips, catch thou the dream in flight
About their fragile hairs’ aërial gold.
Thou art divine, thou livest,—as of old
Apollo springing naked to the light,
And all his island shivered into flowers.
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Now by Robert Browning
Robert Browning
Out of your whole life give but one moment!
All of your life that has gone before,
All to come after it, – so you ignore,
So you make perfect the present, – condense,
In a rapture of rage, for perfection’s endowment,
Thought and feeling and soul and sense –
Merged in a moment which gives me at last
You around me for once, you beneath me, above me –
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On the Beach at Night Alone by Walt Whitman
Walt Whitman
On the beach at night alone,
As the old mother sways her to and fro singing her husky song,
As I watch the bright stars shining, I think a thought of the clef of the universes and of the future.

A vast similitude interlocks all,
All spheres, grown, ungrown, small, large, suns, moons, planets,
All distances of place however wide,
All distances of time, all inanimate forms,
All souls, all living bodies though they be ever so different, or in different worlds,
All gaseous, watery, vegetable, mineral processes, the fishes, the brutes,
All nations, colors, barbarisms, civilizations, languages,
All identities that have existed or may exist on this globe, or any globe,
All lives and deaths, all of the past, present, future,
This vast similitude spans them, and always has spann’d,
And shall forever span them and compactly hold and enclose them.
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The Past by Henry Timrod
Henry Timrod
To-day’s most trivial act may hold the seed
Of future fruitfulness, or future dearth;
Oh, cherish always every word and deed!
The simplest record of thyself hath worth.

If thou hast ever slighted one old thought,
Beware lest Grief enforce the truth at last;
The time must come wherein thou shalt be taught
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The Portent by Herman Melville
Herman Melville
Hanging from the beam,
Slowly swaying (such the law),
Gaunt the shadow on your green,
Shenandoah!
The cut is on the crown
(Lo, John Brown),
And the stabs shall heal no more.

Hidden in the cap
Is the anguish none can draw;
So your future veils its face,
Shenandoah!
But the streaming beard is shown
(Weird John Brown),
The meteor of the war.
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The Prediction by Mark Strand
Mark Strand
That night the moon drifted over the pond,
turning the water to milk, and under
the boughs of the trees, the blue trees,
a young woman walked, and for an instant

the future came to her:
rain falling on her husband’s grave, rain falling
on the lawns of her children, her own mouth
filling with cold air, strangers moving into her house,
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The Real and True and Sure by Robert Browning
Robert Browning
Marriage on earth seems such a counterfeit,
Mere imitation of the inimitable:
In heaven we have the real and true and sure.
’Tis there they neither marry nor are given
In marriage but are as the angels: right,
Oh how right that is, how like Jesus Christ
To say that! Marriage-making for the earth,
With gold so much,— birth, power, repute so much,
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Revelation at Cap Ferrat by Clarence Major
Clarence Major
It’s not solely the dance
of the juggler but his spirit:
with its turkey wings, perfect thighs,
sensuous hips, large round flat eye.
This eye smiles like lips.
Watch this eye—
it’s not a donkey eye.

It’s not solely the dancer
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See It Through by Edgar Albert Guest
Edgar Albert Guest
When you’re up against a trouble,
Meet it squarely, face to face;
Lift your chin and set your shoulders,
Plant your feet and take a brace.
When it’s vain to try to dodge it,
Do the best that you can do;
You may fail, but you may conquer,
See it through!

Black may be the clouds about you
And your future may seem grim,
But don’t let your nerve desert you;
Keep yourself in fighting trim.
If the worst is bound to happen,
Spite of all that you can do,
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The Speakers by Weldon Kees
Weldon Kees
“A equals X,” says Mister One.
“A equals B,” says Mister Two.
“A equals nothing under the sun
But A,” says Mister Three. A few
Applaud; some wipe their eyes;
Some linger in the shade to see
One and Two in neat disguise
Decapitating Mister Three.
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To One in Paradise by Edgar Allan Poe
Edgar Allan Poe
Thou wast that all to me, love,
For which my soul did pine—
A green isle in the sea, love,
A fountain and a shrine,
All wreathed with fairy fruits and flowers,
And all the flowers were mine.

Ah, dream too bright to last!
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To the Poor by Anna Lætitia Barbauld
Anna Lætitia Barbauld
Child of distress, who meet’st the bitter scorn
Of fellow-men to happier prospects born,
Doomed Art and Nature’s various stores to see
Flow in full cups of joy—and not for thee;
Who seest the rich, to heaven and fate resigned,
Bear thy afflictions with a patient mind;
Whose bursting heart disdains unjust control,
Who feel’st oppression’s iron in thy soul,
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The Asians Dying by W. S. Merwin
W. S. Merwin
When the forests have been destroyed their darkness remains
The ash the great walker follows the possessors
Forever
Nothing they will come to is real
Nor for long
Over the watercourses
Like ducks in the time of the ducks
The ghosts of the villages trail in the sky
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Belief by Josephine Miles
Josephine Miles
Mother said to call her if the H-bomb exploded
And I said I would, and it about did
When Louis my brother robbed a service station
And lay cursing on the oily cement in handcuffs.

But by that time it was too late to tell Mother,
She was too sick to worry the life out of her
Over why why. Causation is sequence
And everything is one thing after another.
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Burning Trash by John Updike
John Updike
At night—the light turned off, the filament
Unburdened of its atom-eating charge,
His wife asleep, her breathing dipping low
To touch a swampy source—he thought of death.
Her father's hilltop home allowed him time
To sense the nothing standing like a sheet
Of speckless glass behind his human future.
He had two comforts he could see, just two.
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A Daughter of Eve by Christina Rossetti
Christina Rossetti
A fool I was to sleep at noon,
And wake when night is chilly
Beneath the comfortless cold moon;
A fool to pluck my rose too soon,
A fool to snap my lily.

My garden-plot I have not kept;
Faded and all-forsaken,
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Grown about by Fragrant Bushes by Robert Louis Stevenson
Robert Louis Stevenson
Grown about by fragrant bushes,
Sunken in a winding valley,
Where the clear winds blow
And the shadows come and go,
And the cattle stand and low
And the sheep bells and the linnets
Sing and tinkle musically.
Between the past and the future,
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37
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Introduction to the Songs of Experience by William Blake
William Blake
Hear the voice of the Bard!
Who Present, Past, & Future sees
Whose ears have heard,
The Holy Word,
That walk'd among the ancient trees.

Calling the lapsed Soul
And weeping in the evening dew:
That might controll,
The starry pole;
And fallen fallen light renew!

O Earth O Earth return!
Arise from out the dewy grass;
Night is worn,
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42
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Light and Dark by Barbara Howes
Barbara Howes
Lady, take care; for in the diamond eyes
Of old old men is figured your undoing;
Love is turned in behind the wrinkled lids
To nurse their fear and scorn at their near going.
Flesh hangs like the curtains in a house
Long unused, damp as cellars without wine;
They are the future of us all, when we
Will be dried-leaf-thin, the sour whine
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39
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my dream about being white by Lucille Clifton
Lucille Clifton
hey music and
me
only white,
hair a flutter of
fall leaves
circling my perfect
line of a nose,
no lips,
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42
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Never the Time and the Place by Robert Browning
Robert Browning
Never the time and the place
And the loved one all together!
This path—how soft to pace!
This May—what magic weather!
Where is the loved one's face?
In a dream that loved one's face meets mine,
But the house is narrow, the place is bleak
Where, outside, rain and wind combine
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55
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Poem for Christian, My Student by Gail Mazur
Gail Mazur
He reminds me of someone I used to know,
but who? Before class,
he comes to my office to shmooze,
a thousand thousand pointless interesting
speculations. Irrepressible boy,
his assignments are rarely completed,
or actually started. This week, instead
of research in the stacks, he’s performing
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36
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Remember by Christina Rossetti
Christina Rossetti
Remember me when I am gone away,
Gone far away into the silent land;
When you can no more hold me by the hand,
Nor I half turn to go yet turning stay.
Remember me when no more day by day
You tell me of our future that you plann'd:
Only remember me; you understand
It will be late to counsel then or pray.
Yet if you should forget me for a while
And afterwards remember, do not grieve:
For if the darkness and corruption leave
A vestige of the thoughts that once I had,
Better by far you should forget and smile
Than that you should remember and be sad.
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The River of Bees by W. S. Merwin
W. S. Merwin
In a dream I returned to the river of bees
Five orange trees by the bridge and
Beside two mills my house
Into whose courtyard a blindman followed
The goats and stood singing
Of what was older

Soon it will be fifteen years

He was old he will have fallen into his eyes
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51
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Song of Social Despair by Marvin Bell
Marvin Bell
Ethics without faith, excuse me,
is the butter and not the bread.
You can’t nourish them all, the dead
pile up at the hospital doors.
And even they are not so numerous
as the mothers come in maternity.

The Provider knows his faults—
love of architecture and repair—
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56
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Sonnets from the Portuguese 28: My letters! all dead paper, ... mute and white ! by Elizabeth Barrett Browning
Elizabeth Barrett Browning
My letters! all dead paper, ... mute and white ! —
And yet they seem alive and quivering
Against my tremulous hands which loose the string
And let them drop down on my knee to-night.
This said, ... he wished to have me in his sight
Once, as a friend: this fixed a day in spring
To come and touch my hand ... a simple thing,
Yet I wept for it! — this, ... the paper's light ...
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35
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Sonnets from The River Duddon: After-Thought by William Wordsworth
William Wordsworth

I thought of Thee, my partner and my guide,
As being past away.—Vain sympathies!
For, backward, Duddon! as I cast my eyes,
I see what was, and is, and will abide;
Still glides the Stream, and shall for ever glide;
The Form remains, the Function never dies;
While we, the brave, the mighty, and the wise,
We Men, who in our morn of youth defied
The elements, must vanish;—be it so!
Enough, if something from our hands have power
To live, and act, and serve the future hour;
And if, as toward the silent tomb we go,
Through love, through hope, and faith's transcendent dower,
We feel that we are greater than we know.
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41
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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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43
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The Tree by Countess of Winchilsea Anne Finch
Countess of Winchilsea Anne Finch

Fair tree! for thy delightful shade
'Tis just that some return be made;
Sure some return is due from me
To thy cool shadows, and to thee.
When thou to birds dost shelter give,
Thou music dost from them receive;
If travellers beneath thee stay
Till storms have worn themselves away,
That time in praising thee they spend
And thy protecting pow'r commend.
The shepherd here, from scorching freed,
Tunes to thy dancing leaves his reed;
Whilst his lov'd nymph, in thanks, bestows
Her flow'ry chaplets on thy boughs.
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Why They Turned Back/Why They Went On by Constance Urdang
Constance Urdang
Because a black bird flew across the road;
Because the attendant at the pump turned surly;
Because the uncertain weather
Made Mother nervous,
And, back home, the telephone kept ringing
In an empty house;
Because a white bird flew across the road.

How far had they come?
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