Lonely

L
Hope by Langston Hughes
Langston Hughes
Sometimes when I’m lonely,
Don’t know why,
Keep thinkin’ I won’t be lonely
By and by.
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Invective Against Swans by Wallace Stevens
Wallace Stevens
The soul, O ganders, flies beyond the parks
And far beyond the discords of the wind.

A bronze rain from the sun descending marks
The death of summer, which that time endures

Like one who scrawls a listless testament
Of golden quirks and Paphian caricatures,

Bequeathing your white feathers to the moon
And giving your bland motions to the air.
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To the Oppressors by Pauli Murray
Pauli Murray
Now you are strong
And we are but grapes aching with ripeness.
Crush us!
Squeeze from us all the brave life
Contained in these full skins.
But ours is a subtle strength
Potent with centuries of yearning,
Of being kegged and shut away
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To Sheila Lanyon, on the Flyleaf of a Book by W. S. Graham
W. S. Graham
Sheila, we speak here on the fly
Leaf of a book which was myself
A good few graves ago.
Now I am maintained by other
Words for better or for worse
To whisper my hello.

The seasons turn. Threshold on thresh
Hold forms continually and falls
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The Greater Sea by Kahlil Gibran
Kahlil Gibran
My soul and I went to the great sea to bathe. And when we reached the shore, we went about looking for a hidden and lonely place.

But as we walked, we saw a man sitting on a grey rock taking pinches of salt from a bag and throwing them into the sea.

“This is the pessimist,” said my soul, “Let us leave this place. We cannot bathe here.”

We walked on until we reached an inlet. There we saw, standing on a white rock, a man holding a bejeweled box, from which he took sugar and threw it into the sea.

“And this is the optimist,” said my soul, “And he too must not see our naked bodies.”

Further on we walked. And on a beach we saw a man picking up dead fish and tenderly putting them back into the water.

“And we cannot bathe before him,” said my soul. “He is the humane philanthropist.”

And we passed on.
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The Scarecrow by Kahlil Gibran
Kahlil Gibran
Once I said to a scarecrow, “You must be tired of standing in this
lonely field.”

And he said, “The joy of scaring is a deep and lasting one, and I
never tire of it.”

Said I, after a minute of thought, “It is true; for I too have
known that joy.”

Said he, “Only those who are stuffed with straw can know it.”

Then I left him, not knowing whether he had complimented or belittled
me.

A year passed, during which the scarecrow turned philosopher.

And when I passed by him again I saw two crows building a nest
under his hat.
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In Memory of Eva Gore-Booth and Con Markievicz by William Butler Yeats
William Butler Yeats
The light of evening, Lissadell,
Great windows open to the south,
Two girls in silk kimonos, both
Beautiful, one a gazelle.
But a raving autumn shears
Blossom from the summer's wreath;
The older is condemned to death,
Pardoned, drags out lonely years
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An Irish Airman foresees his Death by William Butler Yeats
William Butler Yeats
I know that I shall meet my fate
Somewhere among the clouds above;
Those that I fight I do not hate,
Those that I guard I do not love;
My country is Kiltartan Cross,
My countrymen Kiltartan’s poor,
No likely end could bring them loss
Or leave them happier than before.
Nor law, nor duty bade me fight,
Nor public men, nor cheering crowds,
A lonely impulse of delight
Drove to this tumult in the clouds;
I balanced all, brought all to mind,
The years to come seemed waste of breath,
A waste of breath the years behind
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On a Political Prisoner by William Butler Yeats
William Butler Yeats
She that but little patience knew,
From childhood on, had now so much
A grey gull lost its fear and flew
Down to her cell and there alit,
And there endured her fingers' touch
And from her fingers ate its bit.

Did she in touching that lone wing
Recall the years before her mind
Became a bitter, an abstract thing,
Her thought some popular enmity:
Blind and leader of the blind
Drinking the foul ditch where they lie?

When long ago I saw her ride
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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 His Dead Body by Siegfried Sassoon
Siegfried Sassoon
When roaring gloom surged inward and you cried,
Groping for friendly hands, and clutched, and died,
Like racing smoke, swift from your lolling head
Phantoms of thought and memory thinned and fled.

Yet, though my dreams that throng the darkened stair
Can bring me no report of how you fare,
Safe quit of wars, I speed you on your way
Up lonely, glimmering fields to find new day,
Slow-rising, saintless, confident and kind—
Dear, red-faced father God who lit your mind.
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America by Kofi Awoonor
Kofi Awoonor
A name only once
crammed into the child's fitful memory
in malnourished villages,
vast deliriums like the galloping foothills of the Colorado:
of Mohawks and the Chippewa,
horsey penny-movies
brought cheap at the tail of the war
to Africa. Where indeed is the Mississippi panorama
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I never hear that one is dead (1325) by Emily Dickinson
Emily Dickinson
I never hear that one is dead
Without the chance of Life
Afresh annihilating me
That mightiest Belief,

Too mighty for the Daily mind
That tilling it’s abyss,
Had Madness, had it once or, Twice
The yawning Consciousness,
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Fin de Fête by Charlotte Mew
Charlotte Mew
Sweetheart, for such a day
One mustn’t grudge the score;
Here, then, it’s all to pay,
It’s Good-night at the door.

Good-night and good dreams to you,—
Do you remember the picture-book thieves
Who left two children sleeping in a wood the long night through,
And how the birds came down and covered them with leaves?
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Sea-Fever by John Masefield
John Masefield
I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky, And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by; And the wheel’s kick and the wind’s song and the white sail’s shaking, And a grey mist on the sea’s face, and a grey dawn breaking.
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The Whip by Robert Creeley
Robert Creeley
I spent a night turning in bed,
my love was a feather, a flat

sleeping thing. She was
very white

and quiet, and above us on
the roof, there was another woman I

also loved, had
addressed myself to in
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Gracious Living ‘Tara’ by Tom Raworth
Tom Raworth
lonely as four cherries on a tree
at night, new moon, wet roads
a moth or a snowflake
whipping past glass

lonely as the red noses of four clowns
thrust up through snow
their shine four whitened panes
drawn from imagined memory
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Adlestrop by Edward Thomas
Edward Thomas
Yes. I remember Adlestrop—
The name, because one afternoon
Of heat the express-train drew up there
Unwontedly. It was late June.

The steam hissed. Someone cleared his throat.
No one left and no one came
On the bare platform. What I saw
Was Adlestrop—only the name

And willows, willow-herb, and grass,
And meadowsweet, and haycocks dry,
No whit less still and lonely fair
Than the high cloudlets in the sky.

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Let the Light Enter by Frances Ellen Watkins Harper
Frances Ellen Watkins Harper
The Dying Words of Goethe “Light! more light! the shadows deepen,
And my life is ebbing low,
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In the Past by Trumbull Stickney
Trumbull Stickney
There lies a somnolent lake
Under a noiseless sky,
Where never the mornings break
Nor the evenings die.

Mad flakes of colour
Whirl on its even face
Iridescent and streaked with pallour;
And, warding the silent place,

The rocks rise sheer and gray
From the sedgeless brink to the sky
Dull-lit with the light of pale half-day
Thro’ a void space and dry.

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'Often rebuked, yet always back returning' by Emily Brontë
Emily Brontë
Often rebuked, yet always back returning
To those first feelings that were born with me,
And leaving busy chase of wealth and learning
For idle dreams of things which cannot be:

To-day, I will seek not the shadowy region;
Its unsustaining vastness waxes drear;
And visions rising, legion after legion,
Bring the unreal world too strangely near.

I’ll walk, but not in old heroic traces,
And not in paths of high morality,
And not among the half-distinguished faces,
The clouded forms of long-past history.

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Things by Lisel Mueller
Lisel Mueller
What happened is, we grew lonely
living among the things,
so we gave the clock a face,
the chair a back,
the table four stout legs
which will never suffer fatigue.

We fitted our shoes with tongues
as smooth as our own
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The Oxen by Thomas Hardy
Thomas Hardy
Christmas Eve, and twelve of the clock.
“Now they are all on their knees,”
An elder said as we sat in a flock
By the embers in hearthside ease.

We pictured the meek mild creatures where
They dwelt in their strawy pen,
Nor did it occur to one of us there
To doubt they were kneeling then.

So fair a fancy few would weave
In these years! Yet, I feel,
If someone said on Christmas Eve,
“Come; see the oxen kneel,

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The Affinity by Anna Wickham
Anna Wickham
I have to thank God I'm a woman,
For in these ordered days a woman only
Is free to be very hungry, very lonely.

It is sad for Feminism, but still clear
That man, more often than woman, is pioneer.
If I would confide a new thought,
First to a man must it be brought.

Now, for our sins, it is my bitter fate
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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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Love Letters by Josephine Delphine Henderson Heard
Josephine Delphine Henderson Heard
Dear Letters, Fond Letters,
Must I with you part?
You are such a source of joy
To my lonely heart.

Sweet Letters, Dear Letters,
What a tell you tell;
O, no power on earth can break
This strange mystic spell!

Dear Letters, Fond Letters,
You my secret know—
Don’t you tell it, any one—
Let it live and grow.

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Song: I once rejoiced, sweet evening gale... by Amelia Opie
Amelia Opie
I once rejoiced, sweet evening gale,
To see thy breath the poplar wave;
But now it makes my cheek turn pale,
It waves the grass o’er Henry’s grave.

Ah! setting sun! how changed I seem!
I to thy rays prefer deep gloom, —
Since now, alas! I see them beam
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Sonnet 92: Behold that tree, in Autumn’s dim decay by Anna Seward
Anna Seward
Behold that tree, in Autumn’s dim decay,
Stripped by the frequent, chill, and eddying wind;
Where yet some yellow, lonely leaves we find
Lingering and trembling on the naked spray,
Twenty, perchance, for millions whirled away!
Emblem, also! too just, of humankind!
Vain man expects longevity, designed
For few indeed; and their protracted day
What is it worth that Wisdom does not scorn?
The blasts of sickness, care, and grief appal,
That laid the friends in dust, whose natal morn
Rose near their own; and solemn is the call;
Yet, like those weak deserted leaves forlorn,
Shivering they cling to life, and fear to fall!
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To a Deaf and Dumb Little Girl by Hartley Coleridge
Hartley Coleridge
Like a loose island on the wide expanse,
Unconscious floating on the fickle sea,
Herself her all, she lives in privacy;
Her waking life as lonely as a trance,
Doom’d to behold the universal dance,
And never hear the music which expounds
The solemn step, coy slide, the merry bounds.
The vague, mute language of the countenance.
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Lincoln by Vachel Lindsay
Vachel Lindsay
Would I might rouse the Lincoln in you all,
That which is gendered in the wilderness
From lonely prairies and God’s tenderness.
Imperial soul, star of a weedy stream,
Born where the ghosts of buffaloes still dream,
Whose spirit hoof-beats storm above his grave,
Above that breast of earth and prairie-fire—
Fire that freed the slave.


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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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Danse Russe by William Carlos Williams
William Carlos Williams
If I when my wife is sleeping
and the baby and Kathleen
are sleeping
and the sun is a flame-white disc
in silken mists
above shining trees,—
if I in my north room
dance naked, grotesquely
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The Dead by Rupert Brooke
Rupert Brooke
Blow out, you bugles, over the rich Dead!
There’s none of these so lonely and poor of old,
But, dying, has made us rarer gifts than gold.
These laid the world away; poured out the red
Sweet wine of youth; gave up the years to be
Of work and joy, and that unhoped serene,
That men call age; and those who would have been,
Their sons, they gave, their immortality.

Blow, bugles, blow! They brought us, for our dearth,
Holiness, lacked so long, and Love, and Pain,
Honour has come back, as a king, to earth,
And paid his subjects with a royal wage;
And Nobleness walks in our ways again;
And we have come into our heritage.
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Dilemma by David Ignatow
David Ignatow
Whatever we do, whether we light
strangers’ cigarettes—it may turn out
to be a detective wanting to know who is free
with a light on a lonely street nights—
or whether we turn away and get a knife
planted between our shoulders for our discourtesy;
whatever we do—whether we marry for love
and wake up to find love is a task,
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The Dying Hunter to his Dog by Susanna Moodie
Susanna Moodie
Lie down—lie down!—my noble hound,
That joyful bark give o’er;
It wakes the lonely echoes round,
But rouses me no more—
Thy lifted ears, thy swelling chest,
Thy eyes so keenly bright,
No longer kindle in my breast
The thrill of fierce delight;
When following thee on foaming steed
My eager soul outstripped thy speed—

Lie down—lie down—my faithful hound!
And watch this night by me,
For thee again the horn shall sound
By mountain, stream, and tree;
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Evening by William Lisle Bowles
William Lisle Bowles
Evening! as slow thy placid shades descend,
Veiling with gentlest hush the landscape still,
The lonely battlement, the farthest hill
And wood, I think of those who have no friend;
Who now, perhaps, by melancholy led,
From the broad blaze of day, where pleasure flaunts,
Retiring, wander to the ring-dove’s haunts
Unseen; and watch the tints that o’er thy bed
Hang lovely; oft to musing Fancy’s eye
Presenting fairy vales, where the tir’d mind
Might rest beyond the murmurs of mankind,
Nor hear the hourly moans of misery!
Alas for man! that Hope’s fair views the while
Should smile like you, and perish as they smile!

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Frederick Douglass by Robert Hayden
Robert Hayden
When it is finally ours, this freedom, this liberty, this beautiful
and terrible thing, needful to man as air,
usable as earth; when it belongs at last to all,
when it is truly instinct, brain matter, diastole, systole,
reflex action; when it is finally won; when it is more
than the gaudy mumbo jumbo of politicians:
this man, this Douglass, this former slave, this Negro
beaten to his knees, exiled, visioning a world
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The Frog by Hilaire Belloc
Hilaire Belloc
Be kind and tender to the Frog,
And do not call him names,
As ‘Slimy skin,’ or ‘Polly-wog,’
Or likewise ‘Ugly James,’
Or ‘Gape-a-grin,’ or ‘Toad-gone-wrong,’
Or ‘Billy Bandy-knees’:
The Frog is justly sensitive
To epithets like these.
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from Georgics, III by Virgil
Virgil
Thus every Creature, and of every Kind,
The secret Joys of sweet Coition find:
Not only Man’s Imperial Race; but they
That wing the liquid Air, or swim the Sea,
Or haunt the Desert, rush into the flame:
For Love is Lord of all; and is in all the same.
’Tis with this rage, the Mother Lion stung,
Scours o’re the Plain; regardless of her young:
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The Hook by Theodore Weiss
Theodore Weiss
I

The students, lost in raucousness,
caught as by the elder Breughel’s eye,
we sit in the college store
over sandwiches and coffee, wondering.
She answers eagerly: the place was fine;
sometimes the winds grew very cold,
the snows so deep and wide she lost
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The Ivy Green by Charles Dickens
Charles Dickens
Oh, a dainty plant is the Ivy green,
That creepeth o’er ruins old!
Of right choice food are his meals, I ween,
In his cell so lone and cold.
The wall must be crumbled, the stone decayed,
To pleasure his dainty whim:
And the mouldering dust that years have made
Is a merry meal for him.
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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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Night Images by Robert Fitzgerald
Robert Fitzgerald
Late in the cold night wakened, and heard wind,
And lay with eyes closed and silent, knowing
These words how bodiless they are, this darkness
Empty under my roof and the panes rattling
Roughed by wind. And so lay and imagined
Somewhere far off black seas heavy-shouldered
Plunging on sand and the ebb off-streaming and
Thunder forever. So lying bethought me, friend,
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Night Piece by Ben Belitt
Ben Belitt
Rise, cleanly trust, divided star,
And spend that delicate fraud upon the night—
A lover’s instance moving mindful air
To make its peace in dedicated light

Whose look is charnel. Lusters, intent and blind,
Give darkness downward with a glow like sheaves—
A gleaner’s pittance withered in the bind
That keeps the summer godhead of the leaves
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San Francisco by Richard Brautigan
Richard Brautigan
This poem was found written on a paper bag by Richard Brautigan in a laundromat in San Francisco. The author is unknown. By accident, you put
Your money in my
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Seaman’s Ditty by Gary Snyder
Gary Snyder
I’m wondering where you are now
Married, or mad, or free:
Wherever you are you’re likely glad,
But memory troubles me.

We could’ve had us children,
We could’ve had a home—
But you thought not, and I thought not,
And these nine years we roam.
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Statement with Rhymes by Weldon Kees
Weldon Kees
Plurality is all. I walk among the restaurants,
the theatres, the grocery stores; I ride the cars
and hear of Mrs. Bedford’s teeth and Albuquerque,
strikes unsettled, someone’s simply marvelous date,
news of the German Jews, the baseball scores,
storetalk and whoretalk, talk of wars. I turn
the pages of a thousand books to read
the names of Buddha, Malthus, Walker Evans, Stendhal, André Gide,
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A Supermarket in California by Allen Ginsberg
Allen Ginsberg
What thoughts I have of you tonight, Walt Whitman, for I walked down the sidestreets under the trees with a headache self-conscious looking at the full moon.
In my hungry fatigue, and shopping for images, I went into the neon fruit supermarket, dreaming of your enumerations!
What peaches and what penumbras! Whole families shopping at night! Aisles full of husbands! Wives in the avocados, babies in the tomatoes!—and you, Garcia Lorca, what were you doing down by the watermelons?

I saw you, Walt Whitman, childless, lonely old grubber, poking among the meats in the refrigerator and eyeing the grocery boys.
I heard you asking questions of each: Who killed the pork chops? What price bananas? Are you my Angel?
I wandered in and out of the brilliant stacks of cans following you, and followed in my imagination by the store detective.
We strode down the open corridors together in our solitary fancy tasting artichokes, possessing every frozen delicacy, and never passing the cashier.

Where are we going, Walt Whitman? The doors close in an hour. Which way does your beard point tonight?
(I touch your book and dream of our odyssey in the supermarket and feel absurd.)
Will we walk all night through solitary streets? The trees add shade to shade, lights out in the houses, we'll both be lonely.
Will we stroll dreaming of the lost America of love past blue automobiles in driveways, home to our silent cottage?
Ah, dear father, graybeard, lonely old courage-teacher, what America did you have when Charon quit poling his ferry and you got out on a smoking bank and stood watching the boat disappear on the black waters of Lethe?
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“What lips my lips have kissed, and where, and why” by Edna St. Vincent Millay
Edna St. Vincent Millay
What lips my lips have kissed, and where, and why,
I have forgotten, and what arms have lain
Under my head till morning; but the rain
Is full of ghosts tonight, that tap and sigh
Upon the glass and listen for reply,
And in my heart there stirs a quiet pain
For unremembered lads that not again
Will turn to me at midnight with a cry.
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Winter Dawn by Kenneth Slessor
Kenneth Slessor
At five I wake, rise, rub on the smoking pane
A port to see—water breathing in the air,
Boughs broken. The sun comes up in a golden stain,
Floats like a glassy sea-fruit. There is mist everywhere,
White and humid, and the Harbour is like plated stone,
Dull flakes of ice. One light drips out alone,
One bead of winter-red, smouldering in the steam,
Quietly over the roof-tops—another window
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Bronzes by Carl Sandburg
Carl Sandburg
I
The bronze General Grant riding a bronze horse in Lincoln Park
Shrivels in the sun by day when the motor cars whirr by in long processions going somewhere to keep apppointment for dinner and matineés and buying and selling
Though in the dusk and nightfall when high waves are piling
On the slabs of the promenade along the lake shore near by
I have seen the general dare the combers come closer
And make to ride his bronze horse out into the hoofs and guns of the storm.

II
I cross Lincoln Park on a winter night when the snow is falling.
Lincoln in bronze stands among the white lines of snow, his bronze forehead meeting soft echoes of the newsies crying forty thousand men are dead along the Yser, his bronze ears listening to the mumbled roar of the city at his bronze feet.
A lithe Indian on a bronze pony, Shakespeare seated with long legs in bronze, Garibaldi in a bronze cape, they hold places in the cold, lonely snow to-night on their pedestals and so they will hold them past midnight and into the dawn.

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Chaplinesque by Hart Crane
Hart Crane
We make our meek adjustments,
Contented with such random consolations
As the wind deposits
In slithered and too ample pockets.

For we can still love the world, who find
A famished kitten on the step, and know
Recesses for it from the fury of the street,
Or warm torn elbow coverts.
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A Dream by Edgar Allan Poe
Edgar Allan Poe
In visions of the dark night
I have dreamed of joy departed—
But a waking dream of life and light
Hath left me broken-hearted.

Ah! what is not a dream by day
To him whose eyes are cast
On things around him with a ray
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The Eagle by Alfred, Lord Tennyson
Alfred, Lord Tennyson
He clasps the crag with crooked hands;
Close to the sun in lonely lands,
Ring'd with the azure world, he stands.

The wrinkled sea beneath him crawls;
He watches from his mountain walls,
And like a thunderbolt he falls.
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Finis by Marjorie Pickthall
Marjorie Pickthall
Give me a few more hours to pass
With the mellow flower of the elm-bough falling,
And then no more than the lonely grass
And the birds calling.

Give me a few more days to keep
With a little love and a little sorrow,
And then the dawn in the skies of sleep
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Fruit-gathering LV by Rabindranath Tagore
Rabindranath Tagore

Tulsidas, the poet, was wandering, deep in thought, by the Ganges, in that lonely spot where they burn their dead.
He found a woman sitting at the feet of the corpse of her dead husband, gaily dressed as for a wedding.
She rose as she saw him, bowed to him, and said, "Permit me, Master, with your blessing, to follow my husband to heaven."
"Why such hurry, my daughter?" asked Tulsidas. "Is not this earth also His who made heaven?"
"For heaven I do not long," said the woman. "I want my husband."
Tulsidas smiled and said to her, "Go back to your home, my child. Before the month is over you will find your husband."
The woman went back with glad hope. Tulsidas came to her every day and gave her high thoughts to think, till her heart was filled to the brim with divine love.
When the month was scarcely over, her neighbours came to her, asking, "Woman, have you found your husband?"
The widow smiled and said, "I have."
Eagerly they asked, "Where is he?"
"In my heart is my lord, one with me," said the woman.

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Her Kind by Anne Sexton
Anne Sexton
I have gone out, a possessed witch,
haunting the black air, braver at night;
dreaming evil, I have done my hitch
over the plain houses, light by light:
lonely thing, twelve-fingered, out of mind.
A woman like that is not a woman, quite.
I have been her kind.

I have found the warm caves in the woods,
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32
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I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud by William Wordsworth
William Wordsworth
I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
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43
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In Memory of a Child by Vachel Lindsay
Vachel Lindsay
I
The angels guide him now,
And watch his curly head,
And lead him in their games,
The little boy we led.

II
He cannot come to harm,
He knows more than we know,
His light is brighter far
Than daytime here below.

III
His path leads on and on,
Through pleasant lawns and flowers,
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39
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The Lonely Pipefish by Barbara Howes
Barbara Howes
Up, up, slender
As an eel’s
Child, weaving
Through water, our lonely
Pipefish seeks out his dinner,

Scanty at best; he blinks
Cut-diamond eyes—snap—he
Grabs morsels so small
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39
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Muier by William Carlos Williams
William Carlos Williams
Oh, black Persian cat!
Was not your life
already cursed with offspring?
We took you for rest to that old
Yankee farm, — so lonely
and with so many field mice
in the long grass —
and you return to us
in this condition —!

Oh, black Persian cat.

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40
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The Murder of William Remington by Howard Nemerov
Howard Nemerov
It is true, that even in the best-run state
Such things will happen; it is true,
What’s done is done. The law, whereby we hate
Our hatred, sees no fire in the flue
But by the smoke, and not for thought alone
It punishes, but for the thing that’s done.

And yet there is the horror of the fact,
Though we knew not the man. To die in jail,
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34
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On Broadway by Claude McKay
Claude McKay
About me young careless feet
Linger along the garish street;
Above, a hundred shouting signs
Shed down their bright fantastic glow
Upon the merry crowd and lines
Of moving carriages below.
Oh wonderful is Broadway — only
My heart, my heart is lonely.
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45
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On the Death of Richard West by Thomas Gray
Thomas Gray
In vain to me the smiling Mornings shine,
And reddening Phœbus lifts his golden fire;
The birds in vain their amorous descant join;
Or cheerful fields resume their green attire;
These ears, alas! for other notes repine,
A different object do these eyes require;
My lonely anguish melts no heart but mine;
And in my breast the imperfect joys expire.
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31
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Shall earth no more inspire thee by Emily Brontë
Emily Brontë
Shall earth no more inspire thee,
Thou lonely dreamer now?
Since passion may not fire thee
Shall Nature cease to bow?

Thy mind is ever moving
In regions dark to thee;
Recall its useless roving—
Come back and dwell with me.
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40
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Storm Windows by Howard Nemerov
Howard Nemerov
People are putting up storm windows now,
Or were, this morning, until the heavy rain
Drove them indoors. So, coming home at noon,
I saw storm windows lying on the ground,
Frame-full of rain; through the water and glass
I saw the crushed grass, how it seemed to stream
Away in lines like seaweed on the tide
Or blades of wheat leaning under the wind.
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44
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Supremacy by Edwin Arlington Robinson
Edwin Arlington Robinson
There is a drear and lonely tract of hell
From all the common gloom removed afar:
A flat, sad land it is, where shadows are,
Whose lorn estate my verse may never tell.
I walked among them and I knew them well:
Men I had slandered on life's little star
For churls and sluggards; and I knew the scar
Upon their brows of woe ineffable.
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30
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To Margaret W------ by Charles Lamb
Charles Lamb
Margaret, in happy hour
Christen'd from that humble flower
Which we a daisy call!
May thy pretty name-sake be
In all things a type of thee,
And image thee in all.

Like it you show a modest face,
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40
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To the Western World by Louis Simpson
Louis Simpson
A siren sang, and Europe turned away
From the high castle and the shepherd’s crook.
Three caravels went sailing to Cathay
On the strange ocean, and the captains shook
Their banners out across the Mexique Bay.

And in our early days we did the same.
Remembering our fathers in their wreck
We crossed the sea from Palos where they came
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39
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Woodcut by Thomas McGrath
Thomas McGrath
It is autumn but early. No crow cries from the dry woods.
The house droops like an eyelid over the leprous hill.
In the bald barnyard one horse, a collection of angles
Cuts at the flies with a spectral tail. A blind man’s
Sentence, the road goes on. Lifts as the slope lifts it.

Comes now one who has been conquered
By all he sees. And asks what—would have what—
Poor fool, frail, this man, mistake, my hero?
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35
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