Loss

L
Her Garden by Donald Hall
Donald Hall
I let her garden go.
let it go, let it go
How can I watch the hummingbird
Hover to sip
With its beak's tip
The purple bee balm—whirring as we heard
It years ago?

The weeds rise rank and thick
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Fifteenth Farewell by Louise Bogan
Louise Bogan
I
You may have all things from me, save my breath,
The slight life in my throat will not give pause
For your love, nor your loss, nor any cause.
Shall I be made a panderer to death,
Dig the green ground for darkness underneath,
Let the dust serve me, covering all that was
With all that will be? Better, from time’s claws,
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Sex, Night by Alejandra Pizarnik
Alejandra Pizarnik
Once again, someone falls in their first falling–fall of two bodies, of two eyes, of four green eyes or eight green eyes if we count those born in the mirror (at midnight, in the purest fear, in the loss), you haven’t been able to recognize the voice of your dull silence, to see the earthly messages scrawled in the middle of one mad state, when the body is a glass and from ourselves and from the other we drink some kind of impossible water.
Desire needlessly spills on me a cursed liqueur. For my thirsty thirst, what can the promise of eyes do? I speak of something not in this world. I speak of someone whose purpose is elsewhere.
And I was naked in memory of the white night. Drunk and I made love all night, just like a sick dog.
Sometimes we suffer too much reality in the space of a single night. We get undressed, we’re horrified. We’re aware the mirror sounds like a watch, the mirror from which your cry will pour out, your laceration.
Night opens itself only once. It’s enough. You see. You’ve seen. Fear of being two in the mirror, and suddenly we’re four. We cry, we moan, my fear, my joy more horrible than my fear, my visceral words, my words are keys that lock me into a mirror, with you, but ever alone. And I am well aware what night is made of. We’ve fallen so completely into jaws that didn’t expect this sacrifice, this condemnation of my eyes which have seen. I speak of a discovery: felt the I in sex, sex in the I. I speak of burying everyday fear to secure the fear of an instant. The purest loss. But who’ll say: you don’t cry anymore at night? Because madness is also a lie. Like night. Like death.
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Wild Bees by James K. Baxter
James K. Baxter
Often in summer, on a tarred bridge plank standing,
Or downstream between willows, a safe Ophelia drifting
In a rented boat — I had seen them come and go,
Those wild bees swift as tigers, their gauze wings a-glitter
In passionless industry, clustering black at the crevice
Of a rotten cabbage tree, where their hive was hidden low.

But never strolled too near. Till one half-cloudy evening
Of ripe January, my friends and I
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Sonnet 34: Why didst thou promise such a beauteous day by William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare
Why didst thou promise such a beauteous day,
And make me travel forth without my cloak,
To let base clouds o’ertake me in my way,
Hiding thy bravery in their rotten smoke?
‘Tis not enough that through the cloud thou break,
To dry the rain on my storm-beaten face,
For no man well of such a salve can speak
That heals the wound and cures not the disgrace:
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Variation on a Line from Elizabeth Bishop’s “Five Flights Up” by Stanley Plumly
Stanley Plumly
Sometimes it’s the shoes, the tying and untying,
the bending of the heart to put them on,
take them off, the rush of blood
between the head and feet, my face,
sometimes, if I could see it, astonished.
Other times the stairs, three, four stages
at the most, “flights” we call them,
in honor of the wings we’ll never have,
the fifth floor the one that kills the breath,
where the bird in the building flies to first.
Love, too, a leveler, a dying all its own,
the parts left behind not to be replaced,
a loss ongoing, and every day increased,
like rising in the night, at 3:00 am,
to watch the snow or the dead leaf fall,
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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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The Children by Rudyard Kipling
Rudyard Kipling
1914-18

("The Honours of War"—A Diversity of Creatures) These were our children who died for our lands: they were dear in our sight.
We have only the memory left of their home-treasured sayings and laughter.
The price of our loss shall be paid to our hands, not another’s hereafter.
Neither the Alien nor Priest shall decide on it. That is our right.
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The End of the Second Year by Arthur Graeme West
Arthur Graeme West
One writes to ask me if I’ve read
Of “the Jutland battle,” of “the great advance
Made by the Russians,” chiding—“History
Is being made these days, these are the things
Thatareworth while.”
These!
Not to one who’s lain
In Heaven before God’s throne with eyes abased,
Worshipping Him, in many forms of Good,
That sate thereon; turning this patchwork world
Wholly to glorify Him, point His plan
Toward some supreme perfection, dimly visioned
By loving faith: not these to him, when, stressed
By some soul-dizzying woe beyond his trust,
He lifts his startled face, and finds the Throne
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Absolution by Siegfried Sassoon
Siegfried Sassoon
The anguish of the earth absolves our eyes
Till beauty shines in all that we can see.
War is our scourge; yet war has made us wise,
And, fighting for our freedom, we are free.

Horror of wounds and anger at the foe,
And loss of things desired; all these must pass.
We are the happy legion, for we know
Time's but a golden wind that shakes the grass.

There was an hour when we were loth to part
From life we longed to share no less than others.
Now, having claimed this heritage of heart,
What need we more, my comrades and my brothers?
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The Ball Poem by John Berryman
John Berryman
What is the boy now, who has lost his ball.
What, what is he to do? I saw it go
Merrily bouncing, down the street, and then
Merrily over—there it is in the water!
No use to say 'O there are other balls':
An ultimate shaking grief fixes the boy
As he stands rigid, trembling, staring down
All his young days into the harbour where
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Pathetic Fallacies Are Bad Science But by Marie Ponsot
Marie Ponsot
On reading Susanne K. Langer’s Mind If  leaf-trash chokes the stream-bed,
reach for rock-bottom as you rake
the muck out. Let it slump dank,
and dry fading, flat above the bank.
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Song (“The world is full of loss ... ”) by Muriel Rukeyser
Muriel Rukeyser
The world is full of loss; bring, wind, my love,
my home is where we make our meeting-place,
and love whatever I shall touch and read
within that face.

Lift, wind, my exile from my eyes;
peace to look, life to listen and confess,
freedom to find to find to find
that nakedness.
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The Southern Refugee by George Moses Horton
George Moses Horton
What sudden ill the world await,
From my dear residence I roam;
I must deplore the bitter fate,
To straggle from my native home.

The verdant willow droops her head,
And seems to bid a fare thee well;
The flowers with tears their fragrance shed,
Alas! their parting tale to tell.

’Tis like the loss of Paradise,
Or Eden’s garden left in gloom,
Where grief affords us no device;
Such is thy lot, my native home.

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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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Springtime in the Rockies, Lichen by Lew Welch
Lew Welch
All these years I overlooked them in the
racket of the rest, this
symbiotic splash of plant and fungus feeding
on rock, on sun, a little moisture, air —
tiny acid-factories dissolving
salt from living rocks and
eating them.

Here they are, blooming!
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The Doleful Lay of Clorinda by Mary Sidney Herbert Countess of Pembroke
Mary Sidney Herbert Countess of Pembroke
Ay me, to whom shall I my case complain,
That may compassion my impatient grief?
Or where shall I unfold my inward pain,
That my enriven heart may find relief?
Shall I unto the heavenly pow’rs it show,
Or unto earthly men that dwell below?

To heavens? Ah, they, alas, the authors were,
And workers of my unremedied woe:
For they foresee what to us happens here,
And they foresaw, yet suffered this be so.
From them comes good, from them comes also ill,
That which they made, who can them warn to spill.

To men? Ah, they, alas, like wretched be,
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To the Angel Spirit of the Most Excellent Sir Philip Sidney by Mary Sidney Herbert Countess of Pembroke
Mary Sidney Herbert Countess of Pembroke
(Variant printed in Samuel Daniel’s 1623 Works) To thee, pure spirit, to thee alone addressed
Is this joint work, by double interest thine,
Thine by his own, and what is done of mine
Inspired by thee, thy secret power impressed.
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Hymn by A. R. Ammons
A. R. Ammons
I know if I find you I will have to leave the earth
and go on out
over the sea marshes and the brant in bays
and over the hills of tall hickory
and over the crater lakes and canyons
and on up through the spheres of diminishing air
past the blackset noctilucent clouds
where one wants to stop and look
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Mechanism by A. R. Ammons
A. R. Ammons
Honor a going thing, goldfinch, corporation, tree,
morality: any working order,
animate or inanimate: it

has managed directed balance,
the incoming and outgoing energies are working right,
some energy left to the mechanism,

some ash, enough energy held
to maintain the order in repair,
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Sence You Went Away by James Weldon Johnson
James Weldon Johnson
Seems lak to me de stars don't shine so bright,
Seems lak to me de sun done loss his light,
Seems lak to me der's nothin' goin' right,
Sence you went away.

Seems lak to me de sky ain't half so blue,
Seems lak to me dat eve'ything wants you,
Seems lak to me I don't know what to do,
Sence you went away.
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Before the Birth of One of Her Children by Anne Bradstreet
Anne Bradstreet
All things within this fading world hath end,
Adversity doth still our joyes attend;
No ties so strong, no friends so dear and sweet,
But with death’s parting blow is sure to meet.
The sentence past is most irrevocable,
A common thing, yet oh inevitable.
How soon, my Dear, death may my steps attend,
How soon’t may be thy Lot to lose thy friend,
We are both ignorant, yet love bids me
These farewell lines to recommend to thee,
That when that knot’s untied that made us one,
I may seem thine, who in effect am none.
And if I see not half my dayes that’s due,
What nature would, God grant to yours and you;
The many faults that well you know I have
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Cups: 8 by Robin Blaser
Robin Blaser
There is no salutation. The
harvesters with gunny sacks
bend picking up jade stones.

(Sure that Amor would appear
in sleep. Director. Guide.)

Secret borrowings fit into their hands.

Cold on the tongue.
White flecks on the water.
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The Wife Speaks by Elizabeth Drew Barstow Stoddard
Elizabeth Drew Barstow Stoddard
Husband, today could you and I behold
The sun that brought us to our bridal morn
Rising so splendid in the winter sky
(We though fair spring returned), when we were wed;
Could the shades vanish from these fifteen years,
Which stand like columns guarding the approach
To that great temple of the double soul
That is as one – would you turn back, my dear,
And, for the sake of Love’s mysterious dream,
As old as Adam and as sweet as Eve,
Take me, as I took you, and once more go
Towards that goal which none of us have reached?
Contesting battles which but prove a loss,
The victor vanquished by the wounded one;
Teaching each other sacrifice of self,
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Friendship After Love by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Ella Wheeler Wilcox
After the fierce midsummer all ablaze
Has burned itself to ashes, and expires
In the intensity of its own fires,
There come the mellow, mild, St. Martin days
Crowned with the calm of peace, but sad with haze.
So after Love has led us, till he tires
Of his own throes, and torments, and desires,
Comes large-eyed friendship: with a restful gaze,
He beckons us to follow, and across
Cool verdant vales we wander free from care.
Is it a touch of frost lies in the air?
Why are we haunted with a sense of loss?
We do not wish the pain back, or the heat;
And yet, and yet, these days are incomplete.
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The Indifferent Shepherdess to Colin by Ann Yearsley
Ann Yearsley
Colin, why this mistake?
Why plead thy foolish love?
My heart shall sooner break
Than I a minion prove;
Nor care I half a rush,
No snare I spread for thee:
Go home, my friend, and blush
For love and liberty.
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The Redbreast by Charlotte Richardson
Charlotte Richardson
Cold blew the freezing northern blast,
And winter sternly frowned;
The flaky snow fell thick and fast,
And clad the fields around.

Forced by the storm’s relentless power,
Emboldened by despair,
A shivering redbreast sought my door,
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from The Spleen by Matthew Green
Matthew Green
An Epistle to Mr. Cuthbert Jackson This motley piece to you I send,
Who always were a faithful friend;
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To Wordsworth by Percy Bysshe Shelley
Percy Bysshe Shelley
Poet of Nature, thou hast wept to know
That things depart which never may return:
Childhood and youth, friendship and love’s first glow,
Have fled like sweet dreams, leaving thee to mourn.
These common woes I feel. One loss is mine
Which thou too feel’st, yet I alone deplore.
Thou wert as a lone star, whose light did shine
On some frail bark in winter’s midnight roar:
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Eurydice by H.D.
H.D.
I

So you have swept me back,
I who could have walked with the live souls
above the earth,
I who could have slept among the live flowers
at last;

so for your arrogance
and your ruthlessness
I am swept back
where dead lichens drip
dead cinders upon moss of ash;

so for your arrogance
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Orpheus Alone by Mark Strand
Mark Strand
It was an adventure much could be made of: a walk
On the shores of the darkest known river,
Among the hooded, shoving crowds, by steaming rocks
And rows of ruined huts half buried in the muck;
Then to the great court with its marble yard
Whose emptiness gave him the creeps, and to sit there
In the sunken silence of the place and speak
Of what he had lost, what he still possessed of his loss,
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On the Death of the Late Earl of Rochester by Aphra Behn
Aphra Behn
Mourn, mourn, ye Muses, all your loss deplore,
The young, the noble Strephon is no more.
Yes, yes, he fled quick as departing light,
And ne’er shall rise from Death’s eternal night,
So rich a prize the Stygian gods ne’er bore,
Such wit, such beauty, never graced their shore.
He was but lent this duller world t’ improve
In all the charms of poetry, and love;
Both were his gift, which freely he bestowed,
And like a god, dealt to the wond’ring crowd.
Scorning the little vanity of fame,
Spight of himself attained a glorious name.
But oh! in vain was all his peevish pride,
The sun as soon might his vast luster hide,
As piercing, pointed, and more lasting bright,
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The Convergence of the Twain by Thomas Hardy
Thomas Hardy
(Lines on the loss of the "Titanic") I
In a solitude of the sea
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And If I Did, What Then? by George Gascoigne
George Gascoigne
“And if I did, what then?
Are you aggriev’d therefore?
The sea hath fish for every man,
And what would you have more?”

Thus did my mistress once,
Amaze my mind with doubt;
And popp’d a question for the nonce
To beat my brains about.

Whereto I thus replied:
“Each fisherman can wish
That all the seas at every tide
Were his alone to fish.

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The Answer by Countess of Winchilsea Anne Finch
Countess of Winchilsea Anne Finch
Highlight Actions Enable or disable annotations
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Baby Villon by Philip Levine
Philip Levine
He tells me in Bangkok he’s robbed
Because he’s white; in London because he’s black;
In Barcelona, Jew; in Paris, Arab:
Everywhere and at all times, and he fights back.

He holds up seven thick little fingers
To show me he’s rated seventh in the world,
And there’s no passion in his voice, no anger
In the flat brown eyes flecked with blood.
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A Broken Appointment by Thomas Hardy
Thomas Hardy
You did not come,
And marching Time drew on, and wore me numb,—
Yet less for loss of your dear presence there
Than that I thus found lacking in your make
That high compassion which can overbear
Reluctance for pure lovingkindness’ sake
Grieved I, when, as the hope-hour stroked its sum,
You did not come.
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Complaint of the Absence of Her Love Being Upon the Sea by Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey
Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey
O happy dames, that may embrace
The fruit of your delight,
Help to bewail the woeful case
And eke the heavy plight
Of me, that wonted to rejoice
The fortune of my pleasant choice;
Good ladies, help to fill my mourning voice.

In ship, freight with remembrance
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Curriculum Vitae by Samuel Menashe
Samuel Menashe
1

Scribe out of work
At a loss for words
Not his to begin with,
The man life passed by
Stands at the window
Biding his time


2
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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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The Flea by John Donne
John Donne
Mark but this flea, and mark in this,
How little that which thou deniest me is;
It sucked me first, and now sucks thee,
And in this flea our two bloods mingled be;
Thou know’st that this cannot be said
A sin, nor shame, nor loss of maidenhead,
Yet this enjoys before it woo,
And pampered swells with one blood made of two,
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For Freckle-Faced Gerald by Etheridge Knight
Etheridge Knight
Now you take ol Rufus. He beat drums,
was free and funky under the arms,
fucked white girls, jumped off a bridge
(and thought nothing of the sacrilege),
he copped out—and he was over twenty-one.

Take Gerald. Sixteen years hadn’t even done
a good job on his voice. He didn’t even know
how to talk tough, or how to hide the glow
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Friendship’s Mystery, To my Dearest Lucasia by Katherine Philips
Katherine Philips
1

Come, my Lucasia, since we see
That Miracles Mens faith do move,
By wonder and by prodigy
To the dull angry world let’s prove
There’s a Religion in our Love.
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The Haunter by Thomas Hardy
Thomas Hardy
He does not think that I haunt here nightly :
How shall I let him know
That whither his fancy sets him wandering
I, too, alertly go?—
Hover and hover a few feet from him
Just as I used to do,
But cannot answer the words he lifts me—
Only listen thereto!
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In School-days by John Greenleaf Whittier
John Greenleaf Whittier
Still sits the school-house by the road,
A ragged beggar sleeping;
Around it still the sumachs grow,
And blackberry-vines are creeping.

Within, the master’s desk is seen,
Deep scarred by raps official;
The warping floor, the battered seats,
The jack-knife’s carved initial;

The charcoal frescos on its wall;
Its door’s worn sill, betraying
The feet that, creeping slow to school,
Went storming out to playing!

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Now by Hilda Raz
Hilda Raz
Some problems of self-loathing, worry:
the thumbnail blotched in a bank box
door grows out, three-quarter moon marrow spot
filled out with white bruise travels down
my thumb at regular speed, so when I glance
down it's what I see left of center, not
the odd breast, the malformed scruff
at head, the old thought leaking pain
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One Art by Elizabeth Bishop
Elizabeth Bishop
The art of losing isn’t hard to master;
so many things seem filled with the intent
to be lost that their loss is no disaster.

Lose something every day. Accept the fluster
of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.
The art of losing isn’t hard to master.

Then practice losing farther, losing faster:
places, and names, and where it was you meant
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Shapes by Ruth Stone
Ruth Stone
In the longer view it doesn’t matter.
However, it’s that having lived, it matters.
So that every death breaks you apart.
You find yourself weeping at the door
of your own kitchen, overwhelmed
by loss. And you find yourself weeping
as you pass the homeless person
head in hands resigned on a cement
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To Anthea by Robert Herrick
Robert Herrick
Let’s call for Hymen if agreed thou art –
Delays in love but crucify the heart.
Love’s thorny tapers yet neglected lie;
Speak thou the word, they’ll kindle by and by.
The nimble hours woo us on to wed,
And Genius waits to have us both to bed.
Behold, for us the naked Graces stay
With maunds of roses for us to strew the way.
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To Sir Henry Cary by Ben Jonson
Ben Jonson
That neither fame nor love might wanting be
To greatness, Cary, I sing that and thee;
Whose house, if it no other honor had,
In only thee might be both great and glad;
Who, to upbraid the sloth of this our time,
Durst valor make almost, but not, a crime;
Which deed I know not, whether were more high,
Or thou more happy, it to justify
Against thy fortune: when no foe, that day,
Could conquer thee but chance, who did betray.
Love thy great loss, which a renown hath won,
To live when Broick not stands, nor Ruhr doth run.
Love honors, which of best example be
When they cost dearest and are done most free;
Though every fortitude deserves applause,
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Amor Vincit Omnia by Edgar Bowers
Edgar Bowers
Love is no more.
It died as the mind dies: the pure desire
Relinquishing the blissful form it wore,
The ample joy and clarity expire.

Regret is vain.
Then do not grieve for what you would efface,
The sudden failure of the past, the pain
Of its unwilling change, and the disgrace.
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The Clod and the Pebble by William Blake
William Blake
"Love seeketh not itself to please,
Nor for itself hath any care,
But for another gives its ease,
And builds a Heaven in Hell's despair."

So sung a little Clod of Clay
Trodden with the cattle's feet,
But a Pebble of the brook
Warbled out these metres meet:

"Love seeketh only self to please,
To bind another to its delight,
Joys in another's loss of ease,
And builds a Hell in Heaven's despite."

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Dear John, Dear Coltrane by Michael S. Harper
Michael S. Harper
a love supreme, a love supreme
a love supreme, a love supreme Sex fingers toes
in the marketplace
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Family by Josephine Miles
Josephine Miles
When you swim in the surf off Seal Rocks, and your family
Sits in the sand
Eating potato salad, and the undertow
Comes which takes you out away down
To loss of breath loss of play and the power of play
Holler, say
Help, help, help. Hello, they will say,
Come back here for some potato salad.
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The Gardener 38 by Rabindranath Tagore
Rabindranath Tagore

My love, once upon a time your poet launched a great epic in his mind.
Alas, I was not careful, and it struck your ringing anklets and came to grief.
It broke up into scraps of songs and lay scattered at your feet.
All my cargo of the stories of old wars was tossed by the laughing waves and soaked in tears and sank.
You must make this loss good to me, my love.
If my claims to immortal fame after death are shattered, make me immortal while I live.
And I will not mourn for my loss nor blame you.

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Hap by Thomas Hardy
Thomas Hardy
If but some vengeful god would call to me
From up the sky, and laugh: “Thou suffering thing,
Know that thy sorrow is my ecstasy,
That thy love's loss is my hate's profiting!”

Then would I bear it, clench myself, and die,
Steeled by the sense of ire unmerited;
Half-eased in that a Powerfuller than I
Had willed and meted me the tears I shed.
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Jordan (I) by George Herbert
George Herbert
Who says that fictions only and false hair
Become a verse? Is there in truth no beauty?
Is all good structure in a winding stair?
May no lines pass, except they do their duty
Not to a true, but painted chair?

Is it no verse, except enchanted groves
And sudden arbours shadow coarse-spun lines?
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The Marché aux Puces and the Jardin des Plantes by Daryl Hine
Daryl Hine
The sight of beauty simply makes us sick:
There are too many hours in the day,
Too many wicked faces built like flowers
And far too many bargains for a song.
Jade and paste, cashmere and ormolu—
Who said that all the arts aspire to music?
It’s obvious, for time is obvious,
That all that art aspires to is junk.
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32
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My Generation Reading the Newspapers by Kenneth Patchen
Kenneth Patchen
We must be slow and delicate; return
the policeman's stare with some esteem,
remember this is not a shadow play
of doves and geese but this is now
the time to write it down, record the words—
I mean we should have left some pride
of youth and not forget the destiny of men
who say goodbye to the wives and homes
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38
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The Solitary Reaper by William Wordsworth
William Wordsworth
Behold her, single in the field,
Yon solitary Highland Lass!
Reaping and singing by herself;
Stop here, or gently pass!
Alone she cuts and binds the grain,
And sings a melancholy strain;
O listen! for the Vale profound
Is overflowing with the sound.
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41
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Song by Marjorie Pickthall
Marjorie Pickthall
I shall not go with pain
Whether you hold me, whether you forget
My little loss and my immortal gain.
O flower unseen, O fountain sealed apart!
Give me one look, one look remembering yet,
Sweet heart.

I shall not go with grief,
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38
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Song: How sweet I roam'd from field to field by William Blake
William Blake
How sweet I roam'd from field to field,
And tasted all the summer's pride,
'Till I the prince of love beheld,
Who in the sunny beams did glide!

He shew'd me lilies for my hair,
And blushing roses for my brow;
He led me through his gardens fair,
Where all his golden pleasures grow.

With sweet May dews my wings were wet,
And Phoebus fir'd my vocal rage;
He caught me in his silken net,
And shut me in his golden cage.

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53
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Sonnet 64: When I have seen by Time's fell hand defac'd by William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare
When I have seen by Time's fell hand defac'd
The rich proud cost of outworn buried age;
When sometime lofty towers I see down-ras'd
And brass eternal slave to mortal rage;
When I have seen the hungry ocean gain
Advantage on the kingdom of the shore,
And the firm soil win of the wat'ry main,
Increasing store with loss and loss with store;
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36
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Sonnet 12: I did but prompt the age to quit their clogs by John Milton
John Milton
I did but prompt the age to quit their clogs
By the known rules of ancient liberty,
When straight a barbarous noise environs me
Of owls and cuckoos, asses, apes and dogs:
As when those hinds that were transform'd to frogs
Rail'd at Latona's twin-born progeny
Which after held the sun and moon in fee.
But this is got by casting pearl to hogs,
That bawl for freedom in their senseless mood,
And still revolt when truth would set them free.
Licence they mean when they cry liberty;
For who loves that, must first be wise and good.
But from that mark how far they rove we see,
For all this waste of wealth and loss of blood.
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36
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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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Unstable Dream by Sir Thomas Wyatt
Sir Thomas Wyatt

Unstable dream, according to the place,
Be steadfast once, or else at least be true.
By tasted sweetness make me not to rue
The sudden loss of thy false feignèd grace.
By good respect in such a dangerous case
Thou broughtest not her into this tossing mew
But madest my sprite live, my care to renew,
My body in tempest her succour to embrace.
The body dead, the sprite had his desire,
Painless was th'one, th'other in delight.
Why then, alas, did it not keep it right,
Returning, to leap into the fire?
And where it was at wish, it could not remain,
Such mocks of dreams they turn to deadly pain.
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34
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The Weaver by Eva Gore-Booth
Eva Gore-Booth
I was the child that passed long hours away
Chopping red beetroot in the hay-piled barn;
Now must I spend the wind-blown April day
Minding great looms and tying knots in yarn.

Once long ago I tramped through rain and slush
In brown waves breaking up the stubborn soil,
I wove and wove the twilight’s purple hush
To fold about the furrowed heart of toil.
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39
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Dismantling the House by Stephen Dunn
Stephen Dunn
Rent a flatbed with a winch.
With the right leverage
anything can be hoisted, driven off.

Or the man with a Bobcat comes in,
then the hauler with his enormous truck.
A leveler or a lawyer does the rest;

experts always are willing to help.
The structure was old, rotten in spots.
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34
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Strength to War by Stephen Stepanchev
Stephen Stepanchev
Dear stranger, reading this small, true book
By a simple man who loved much and wasn't loved,
Merging your own life with the lines on this page,
Lines that remind you of some frightening shore,
Cold rains, shipwreck, and loud winds and waves,
Stirring your lonely mind with brutal images
That conjure loves forgotten, fears disclaimed,
Joining your pulse with mine, tasting my blood,
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31
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