Lust

L
Sunstruck While Chopping Cotton by José Montoya
José Montoya
It was at first a single image.
A mirage-like illusional dance
Wavering and decomposing in the
Distance like a plastic mosaic.

Then it cleared.

Not one but three Bothisattvas
Suspended in a cloud of yellow dust
Just above the rows of cotton
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The Skull of Shakespeare by George Sterling
George Sterling
I
Without how small, within how strangely vast!
What stars of terror had their path in thee!
What music of the heavens and the sea
Lived in a sigh or thundered on the blast!
Here swept the gleam and pageant of the Past,
As Beauty trembled to her fate’s decree;
Here swords were forged for armies yet to be,
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Ode to an All-American Boyhood by Paul Carroll
Paul Carroll
To Robert Lowell, Allen Ginsberg, James Dickey Were you guys lucky, too, to caddy, the light
on freshly-sprinkled fairway delicate and bright as eye of an
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Tender Arrivals by Amiri Baraka
Amiri Baraka
Where ever something breathes
Heart beating the rise and fall
Of mountains, the waves upon the sky
Of seas, the terror is our ignorance, that’s
Why it is named after our home, earth
Where art is locked between
Gone and Destination
The destiny of some other where and feeling
The ape knew this, when his old lady pulled him up
Off the ground. Was he grateful, ask him he’s still sitting up there
Watching the sky’s adventures, leaving two holes for his own. Oh sing
Gigantic burp past the insects, swifter than the ugly Stanleys on the ground
Catching monkey meat for Hyenagators, absolute boss of what does not
Arrive in time to say anything. We hear that eating, that doo dooing, that
Burping, we had a nigro mayor used to burp like poison zapalote
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In Memoriam A. H. H. OBIIT MDCCCXXXIII: 106 by Alfred, Lord Tennyson
Alfred, Lord Tennyson
Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
The flying cloud, the frosty light:
The year is dying in the night;
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.

Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.

Ring out the grief that saps the mind
For those that here we see no more;
Ring out the feud of rich and poor,
Ring in redress to all mankind.

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Justice by Rudyard Kipling
Rudyard Kipling
October, 1918 Across a world where all men grieve
And grieving strive the more,
The great days range like tides and leave
Our dead on every shore.
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The Poet As Hero by Siegfried Sassoon
Siegfried Sassoon
You've heard me, scornful, harsh, and discontented,
Mocking and loathing War: you've asked me why
Of my old, silly sweetness I've repented—
My ecstasies changed to an ugly cry.

You are aware that once I sought the Grail,
Riding in armour bright, serene and strong;
And it was told that through my infant wail
There rose immortal semblances of song.

But now I've said good-bye to Galahad,
And am no more the knight of dreams and show:
For lust and senseless hatred make me glad,
And my killed friends are with me where I go.
Wound for red wound I burn to smite their wrongs;
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Blackberry-Picking by Seamus Heaney
Seamus Heaney
for Philip Hobsbaum Late August, given heavy rain and sun
For a full week, the blackberries would ripen.
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Cool gales shall fan the glades by Harry Mathews
Harry Mathews
But how choose the appropriate sticking point to start at?
Who wants to write a poem without the letter e,
Especially for Thee, where the flourished vowel lends such panache to your carnet de bal
(OK, peons: pizzazz to your dance card)? The alphabet’s such a horn
Of plenty, why cork up its treasure? It hurts to think of “you” reduced to u
In stingy text messages, as if ideally expression should be limited to formulas like x ≠ y,

Where the respectable truth of tautology leaves ambiguous beauty standing by
Waiting to take off her clothes, if, that is, her percentage of body fat
Permits it (a statement implicitly unfair, as if beauty, to remain sublime, had to keep up
Lineaments already shaped by uninhibited divinity); implying, as well, fixated onlookers, i.e.,
Men and women kidding themselves that full-front-and-back nudity is the north
Star of delight rather than imagined nakedness, shudderingly draped like a fully rigged, fully laden ship without a drop to bail,

Its hidden cargoes guessed at — perhaps Samian wine (mad-
making!) — or fresh basil
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Church Monuments by George Herbert
George Herbert
While that my soul repairs to her devotion,
Here I intomb my flesh, that it betimes
May take acquaintance of this heap of dust;
To which the blast of death's incessant motion,
Fed with the exhalation of our crimes,
Drives all at last. Therefore I gladly trust

My body to this school, that it may learn
To spell his elements, and find his birth
Written in dusty heraldry and lines ;
Which dissolution sure doth best discern,
Comparing dust with dust, and earth with earth.
These laugh at jet, and marble put for signs,

To sever the good fellowship of dust,
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Christmas Eve   by Bill Berkson
Bill Berkson
for Vincent Warren Behind the black water tower under the grey
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Poem for Haruko by June Jordan
June Jordan
I never thought I’d keep a record of my pain
or happiness
like candles lighting the entire soft lace
of the air
around the full length of your hair/a shower
organized by God
in brown and auburn
undulations luminous like particles
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The Rain by Robert Creeley
Robert Creeley
All night the sound had
come back again,
and again falls
this quiet, persistent rain.

What am I to myself
that must be remembered,
insisted upon
so often? Is it
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What the Bones Know by Carolyn Kizer
Carolyn Kizer
Remembering the past
And gloating at it now,
I know the frozen brow
And shaking sides of lust
Will dog me at my death
To catch my ghostly breath.

I think that Yeats was right,
That lust and love are one.
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Where I've Been All My Life by Carolyn Kizer
Carolyn Kizer
I.

Sirs, in our youth you love the sight of us.
Older, you fall in love with what we’ve seen,
Would lose yourselves by living in our lives.
I’ll spin you tales, play the Arabian girl;
Working close, alone in the blond arena,
Flourish my cape, the cloth on the camera.
For women learn to be a holy show.
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Ghost-Raddled by Robert Graves
Robert Graves
“Come, surly fellow, come! A song!
“What, madmen? Sing to you?
Choose from the clouded tales of wrong
And terror I bring to you.

Of a night so torn with cries,
Honest men sleeping
Start awake with glaring eyes,
Bone chilled, flesh creeping.

Of spirits in the web-hung room
Up above the stable,
Groans, knocking in the gloom
The dancing table.

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Tuning by Keith Waldrop
Keith Waldrop
Herr Stimmung—purblind—moves in corporeal time.

Think how many, by now, have escaped the world’s memory.

Think, how all his wandering is only thought. Having once tried to
live in the quasi-stupor of sensation, now he picks his way through
areas of spilth, seeking the least among infinite evils.

His hope: intermittent.

To a person so little conscious, what would it mean to die? Though
he feels, true enough, death’s wither-clench. Thinking always of
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The Blessing of the Old Woman, the Tulip, and the Dog by Alicia Ostriker
Alicia Ostriker
To be blessed
said the old woman
is to live and work
so hard
God’s love
washes right through you
like milk through a cow

To be blessed
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On the Steps of the Jefferson Memorial by Linda Pastan
Linda Pastan
We invent our gods
the way the Greeks did,
in our own image—but magnified.
Athena, the very mother of wisdom,
squabbled with Poseidon
like any human sibling
until their furious tempers
made the sea writhe.
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Toad dreams by Marge Piercy
Marge Piercy
That afternoon the dream of the toads rang through the elms by Little River and affected the thoughts of men, though they were not conscious that they heard it.--Henry Thoreau The dream of toads: we rarely
credit what we consider lesser
life with emotions big as ours,
but we are easily distracted,
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At a Solemn Musick by Delmore Schwartz
Delmore Schwartz
Let the musicians begin,
Let every instrument awaken and instruct us
In love’s willing river and love’s dear discipline:
We wait, silent, in consent and in the penance
Of patience, awaiting the serene exaltation
Which is the liberation and conclusion of expiation.

Now may the chief musician say:
“Lust and emulation have dwelt amoung us
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I Wasn’t One of the Six Million: And What Is My Life Span? Open Closed Open by Yehuda Amichai
Yehuda Amichai
I
My life is the gardener of my body. The brain—a hothouse closed tight
with its flowers and plants, alien and odd
in their sensitivity, their terror of becoming extinct.
The face—a formal French garden of symmetrical contours
and circular paths of marble with statues and places to rest,
places to touch and smell, to look out from, to lose yourself
in a green maze, and Keep Off and Don’t Pick the Flowers.
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from The Task, Book I: The Sofa by William Cowper
William Cowper
(excerpt) Thou know’st my praise of nature most sincere,
And that my raptures are not conjur’d up
To serve occasions of poetic pomp,
But genuine, and art partner of them all.
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Eclogue the Second: HASSAN; or, the Camel-driver. by William Collins
William Collins
scene, the desert.
time, mid-day.
In silent horror o’er the desert-waste
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The Revisionist Dream by Maxine Kumin
Maxine Kumin
Well, she didn't kill herself that afternoon.
It was a mild day in October, we sat outside
over sandwiches. She said she had begun

to practice yoga, take piano lessons,
rewrite her drama rife with lust and pride
and so she didn't kill herself that afternoon,

hugged me, went home, cranked the garage doors open,
scuffed through the garish leaves, orange and red,
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Slavery by Hannah More
Hannah More
If Heaven has into being deigned to call
Thy light, O Liberty! to shine on all;
Bright intellectual Sun! why does thy ray
To earth distribute only partial day?
Since no resisting cause from spirit flows
Thy universal presence to oppose;
No obstacles by Nature’s hand impressed,
Thy subtle and ethereal beams arrest;
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His Farewell to Sack by Robert Herrick
Robert Herrick
Farewell thou thing, time past so known, so dear
To me as blood to life and spirit; near,
Nay, thou more near than kindred, friend, man, wife,
Male to the female, soul to body; life
To quick action, or the warm soft side
Of the resigning, yet resisting bride.
The kiss of virgins, first fruits of the bed,
Soft speech, smooth touch, the lips, the maidenhead :
These and a thousand sweets could never be
So near or dear as thou wast once to me.
O thou, the drink of gods and angels! wine
That scatter'st spirit and lust, whose purest shine
More radiant than the summer's sunbeam shows;
Each way illustrious, brave, and like to those
Comets we see by night, whose shagg'd portents
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Hamatreya by Ralph Waldo Emerson
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Bulkeley, Hunt, Willard, Hosmer, Meriam, Flint,
Possessed the land which rendered to their toil
Hay, corn, roots, hemp, flax, apples, wool, and wood.
Each of these landlords walked amidst his farm,
Saying, “’Tis mine, my children’s and my name’s.
How sweet the west wind sounds in my own trees!
How graceful climb those shadows on my hill!
I fancy these pure waters and the flags
Know me, as does my dog: we sympathize;
And, I affirm, my actions smack of the soil.”

Where are these men? Asleep beneath their grounds:
And strangers, fond as they, their furrows plough.
Earth laughs in flowers, to see her boastful boys
Earth-proud, proud of the earth which is not theirs;
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Politics by William Meredith
William Meredith
Tonight Hazard’s father and stepmother are having
jazz for McGovern. In the old game-room
the old liberals listen as the quintet builds
crazy houses out of skin and brass, crumbling
the house of decorum, everybody likes that.

For decades they have paid for the refurbishing
of America and they have not got their money’s worth.
Now they listen, hopeful,
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All the Dead Soldiers by Thomas McGrath
Thomas McGrath
In the chill rains of the early winter I hear something—
A puling anger, a cold wind stiffened by flying bone—
Out of the north ...
and remember, then, what’s up there:
That ghost-bank: home: Amchitka: boot hill ....

They must be very tired, those ghosts; no flesh sustains them
And the bones rust in the rain.
Reluctant to go into the earth
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Brothers-American Drama by James Weldon Johnson
James Weldon Johnson
(THE MOB SPEAKS:)

See! There he stands; not brave, but with an air
Of sullen stupor. Mark him well! Is he
Not more like brute than man? Look in his eye!
No light is there; none, save the glint that shines
In the now glaring, and now shifting orbs
Of some wild animal caught in the hunter’s trap.

How came this beast in human shape and form?
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Chorus Sacerdotum by Baron Brooke Fulke Greville
Baron Brooke Fulke Greville
from Mustapha O wearisome condition of humanity!
Born under one law, to another bound;
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Depression by Henry Carlile
Henry Carlile
He is pushing a black Ford
through an empty street -
a car like his father's
that beat the flat roads like wind
in summer and brought him here.

He never forgave his father.
That was the year he left home.
Then there was talk of weather
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The Feast of Stephen by Anthony Hecht
Anthony Hecht
I

The coltish horseplay of the locker room,
Moist with the steam of the tiled shower stalls,
With shameless blends of civet, musk and sweat,
Loud with the cap-gun snapping of wet towels
Under the steel-ribbed cages of bare bulbs,
In some such setting of thick basement pipes
And janitorial realities
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Hymn: Thou Hidden Love of God by Gerhard Tersteegen
Gerhard Tersteegen
Thou hidden love of God, whose height,
Whose depth unfathom’d no man knows,
I see from far thy beauteous light,
Inly I sigh for thy repose;
My heart is pain’d, nor can it be
At rest, till it finds rest in thee.

Thy secret voice invites me still,
The sweetness of thy yoke to prove:
And fain I would: but tho’ my will
Seem fix’d, yet wide my passions rove;
Yet hindrances strew all the way;
I aim at thee, yet from thee stray.

’Tis mercy all, that thou hast brought
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“If no love is, O God, what fele I so?” by Petrarch
Petrarch
If no love is, O God, what fele I so?
And if love is, what thing and which is he?
If love be good, from whennes cometh my woo?
If it be wikke, a wonder thynketh me,
When every torment and adversite
That cometh of hym, may to me savory thinke,
For ay thurst I, the more that ich it drynke.
And if that at myn owen lust I brenne,
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Innocence by Thomas Traherne
Thomas Traherne
But that which most I wonder at, which most
I did esteem my bliss, which most I boast,
And ever shall enjoy, is that within
I felt no stain, nor spot of sin.

No darkness then did overshade,
But all within was pure and bright,
No guilt did crush, nor fear invade
But all my soul was full of light.

A joyful sense and purity
Is all I can remember;
The very night to me was bright,
’Twas summer in December.

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Like Rousseau by Amiri Baraka
Amiri Baraka
She stands beside me, stands away,
the vague indifference
of her dreams. Dreaming, to go on,
and go on there, like animals fleeing
the rise of the earth. But standing
intangible, my lust a worked anger
a sweating close covering, for the crudely salty soul.

Then back off, and where you go? Box of words
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On Gut by Ben Jonson
Ben Jonson
Gut eats all day and lechers all the night;
So all his meat he tasteth over twice;
And, striving so to double his delight,
He makes himself a thoroughfare of vice.
Thus in his belly can he change a sin:
Lust it comes out, that gluttony went in.
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The Rain by Robert Creeley
Robert Creeley
All night the sound had
come back again,
and again falls
this quiet, persistent rain.

What am I to myself
that must be remembered,
insisted upon
so often? Is it
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from The Rape of Lucrece by William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare
Her lily hand her rosy cheek lies under,
Cozening the pillow of a lawful kiss;
Who, therefore angry, seems to part in sunder,
Swelling on either side to want his bliss;
Between whose hills her head entombed is;
Where like a virtuous monument she lies,
To be admired of lewd unhallowed eyes.
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Religio Medici by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
God’s own best will bide the test
And God’s own worst will fall;
But, best or worst or last or first,
He ordereth it all.

For all is good, if understood,
(Ah, could we understand!)
And right and ill are tools of skill
Held in His either hand.

The harlot and the anchorite,
The martyr and the rake,
Deftly He fashions each aright,
Its vital part to take.

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The Road by Herbert Morris
Herbert Morris
I like the story of the circus waif
bought by the man-of-weights to be his mistress,
Profit the demon dragging her to market
and Lust the soul who paid in lire for her.

I like the peculiarities of her faith,
the startling quality of that innocence,
kissing the hand that dealt her cruelty
believing, poor and dumb, that this was love.
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To Elsie by William Carlos Williams
William Carlos Williams
The pure products of America
go crazy—
mountain folk from Kentucky

or the ribbed north end of
Jersey
with its isolate lakes and

valleys, its deaf-mutes, thieves
old names
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from The True Born Englishman by Daniel Defoe
Daniel Defoe
Thus from a mixture of all kinds began,
That het’rogeneous thing, an Englishman:
In eager rapes, and furious lust begot,
Betwixt a painted Britain and a Scot.
Whose gend’ring off-spring quickly learn’d to bow,
And yoke their heifers to the Roman plough:
From whence a mongrel half-bred race there came,
With neither name, nor nation, speech nor fame.
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Young Love by Andrew Marvell
Andrew Marvell
Come, little infant, love me now,
While thine unsuspected years
Clear thine agèd father’s brow
From cold jealousy and fears.

Pretty, surely, ’twere to see
By young love old time beguiled,
While our sportings are as free
As the nurse’s with the child.

Common beauties stay fifteen;
Such as yours should swifter move,
Whose fair blossoms are too green
Yet for lust, but not for love.

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Ars Amoris by J. V. Cunningham
J. V. Cunningham
Speak to her heart!
That manic force
When wits depart
Forbids remorse.

Dream with her dreaming
Until her lust
Seems to her seeming
An act of trust!
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The Brief Journey West by Howard Nemerov
Howard Nemerov
By the dry road the fathers cough and spit,
This is their room. They are the ones who hung
That bloody sun upon the southern wall
And crushed the armored beetle to the floor.

The father’s skin is seamed and dry, the map
Of that wild region where they drained the swamp
And set provision out that they might sit,
Of history the cracked precipitate,
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The Essential Shakespeare, Volume XII: Space-Saver Sonnets by George Starbuck
George Starbuck
purged of accretions & newly published in the corrected hemimeter version prepared under the general folgership of G. Starbuck



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February by Margaret Atwood
Margaret Atwood
Winter. Time to eat fat
and watch hockey. In the pewter mornings, the cat,
a black fur sausage with yellow
Houdini eyes, jumps up on the bed and tries
to get onto my head. It’s his
way of telling whether or not I’m dead.
If I’m not, he wants to be scratched; if I am
He’ll think of something. He settles
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France: An Ode by Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Samuel Taylor Coleridge
I
Ye Clouds! that far above me float and pause,
Whose pathless march no mortal may control!
Ye Ocean-Waves! that, wheresoe'er ye roll,
Yield homage only to eternal laws!
Ye Woods! that listen to the night-birds singing,
Midway the smooth and perilous slope reclined.
Save when your own imperious branches swinging,
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Holy Sonnets: I am a little world made cunningly by John Donne
John Donne
I am a little world made cunningly
Of elements and an angelic sprite,
But black sin hath betray'd to endless night
My world's both parts, and oh both parts must die.
You which beyond that heaven which was most high
Have found new spheres, and of new lands can write,
Pour new seas in mine eyes, that so I might
Drown my world with my weeping earnestly,
Or wash it, if it must be drown'd no more.
But oh it must be burnt; alas the fire
Of lust and envy have burnt it heretofore,
And made it fouler; let their flames retire,
And burn me O Lord, with a fiery zeal
Of thee and thy house, which doth in eating heal.

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Love's Deity by John Donne
John Donne
I long to talk with some old lover's ghost,
Who died before the god of love was born.
I cannot think that he, who then lov'd most,
Sunk so low as to love one which did scorn.
But since this god produc'd a destiny,
And that vice-nature, custom, lets it be,
I must love her, that loves not me.

Sure, they which made him god, meant not so much,
Nor he in his young godhead practis'd it.
But when an even flame two hearts did touch,
His office was indulgently to fit
Actives to passives. Correspondency
Only his subject was; it cannot be
Love, till I love her, that loves me.
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Mine own John Poynz by Sir Thomas Wyatt
Sir Thomas Wyatt

Mine own John Poynz, since ye delight to know
The cause why that homeward I me draw,
And flee the press of courts, whereso they go,
Rather than to live thrall under the awe
Of lordly looks, wrappèd within my cloak,
To will and lust learning to set a law:
It is not for because I scorn or mock
The power of them, to whom fortune hath lent
Charge over us, of right, to strike the stroke.
But true it is that I have always meant
Less to esteem them than the common sort,
Of outward things that judge in their intent
Without regard what doth inward resort.
I grant sometime that of glory the fire
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Nephelidia by Algernon Charles Swinburne
Algernon Charles Swinburne
From the depth of the dreamy decline of the dawn through a notable nimbus of nebulous noonshine,
Pallid and pink as the palm of the flag-flower that flickers with fear of the flies as they float,
Are they looks of our lovers that lustrously lean from a marvel of mystic miraculous moonshine,
These that we feel in the blood of our blushes that thicken and threaten with throbs through the throat?
Thicken and thrill as a theatre thronged at appeal of an actor's appalled agitation,
Fainter with fear of the fires of the future than pale with the promise of pride in the past;
Flushed with the famishing fullness of fever that reddens with radiance of rathe recreation,
Gaunt as the ghastliest of glimpses that gleam through the gloom of the gloaming when ghosts go aghast?
Nay, for the nick of the tick of the time is a tremulous touch on the temples of terror,
Strained as the sinews yet strenuous with strife of the dead who is dumb as the dust-heaps of death:
Surely no soul is it, sweet as the spasm of erotic emotional exquisite error,
Bathed in the balms of beatified bliss, beatific itself by beatitude's breath.
Surely no spirit or sense of a soul that was soft to the spirit and soul of our senses
Sweetens the stress of suspiring suspicion that sobs in the semblance and sound of a sigh;
Only this oracle opens Olympian, in mystical moods and triangular tenses—
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A Nocturnal upon St. Lucy's Day by John Donne
John Donne
'Tis the year's midnight, and it is the day's,
Lucy's, who scarce seven hours herself unmasks;
The sun is spent, and now his flasks
Send forth light squibs, no constant rays;
The world's whole sap is sunk;
The general balm th' hydroptic earth hath drunk,
Whither, as to the bed's feet, life is shrunk,
Dead and interr'd; yet all these seem to laugh,
Compar'd with me, who am their epitaph.

Study me then, you who shall lovers be
At the next world, that is, at the next spring;
For I am every dead thing,
In whom Love wrought new alchemy.
For his art did express
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Of the Mean and Sure Estate by Sir Thomas Wyatt
Sir Thomas Wyatt
My mother's maids, when they did sew and spin,
They sang sometime a song of the field mouse,
That, for because her livelood was but thin,

Would needs go seek her townish sister's house.
She thought herself endurèd too much pain;
The stormy blasts her cave so sore did souse
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Of the Progress of the Soul: The Second Anniversary by John Donne
John Donne
(excerpt)

OF THE PROGRESS OF THE SOUL
Wherein,
by occasion of the religious death of Mistress
Elizabeth Drury, the incommodities of the soul in this her life, and her
exaltation in the next, are contemplated
THE SECOND ANNIVERSARY Forget this rotten world, and unto thee
Let thine own times as an old story be.
Be not concern'd; study not why, nor when;
Do not so much as not believe a man.
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Pig Song by Margaret Atwood
Margaret Atwood
This is what you changed me to:
a greypink vegetable with slug
eyes, buttock
incarnate, spreading like a slow turnip,

a skin you stuff so you may feed
in your turn, a stinking wart
of flesh, a large tuber
of blood which munches
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The Seafarer by Ezra Pound
Ezra Pound
May I for my own self song’s truth reckon,
Journey’s jargon, how I in harsh days
Hardship endured oft.
Bitter breast-cares have I abided,
Known on my keel many a care’s hold,
And dire sea-surge, and there I oft spent
Narrow nightwatch nigh the ship’s head
While she tossed close to cliffs. Coldly afflicted,
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A Shropshire Lad 12: When I watch the living meet by A. E. Housman
A. E. Housman
When I watch the living meet,
And the moving pageant file
Warm and breathing through the street
Where I lodge a little while,

If the heats of hate and lust
In the house of flesh are strong,
Let me mind the house of dust
Where my sojourn shall be long.

In the nation that is not
Nothing stands that stood before;
There revenges are forgot,
And the hater hates no more;

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Since ye so Please by Sir Thomas Wyatt
Sir Thomas Wyatt
Since so ye please to hear me plain,
And that ye do rejoice my smart,
Me list no lenger to remain
To such as be so overthwart.

But cursed be that cruel heart
Which hath procur’d a careless mind
For me and mine unfeigned smart,
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Sonnet 129: Th'expense of spirit in a waste of shame by William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare
Th' expense of spirit in a waste of shame
Is lust in action; and till action, lust
Is perjured, murd'rous, bloody, full of blame,
Savage, extreme, rude, cruel, not to trust,
Enjoyed no sooner but despisèd straight,
Past reason hunted; and, no sooner had
Past reason hated as a swallowed bait
On purpose laid to make the taker mad;
Mad in pursuit and in possession so,
Had, having, and in quest to have, extreme;
A bliss in proof and proved, a very woe;
Before, a joy proposed; behind, a dream.
All this the world well knows; yet none knows well
To shun the heaven that leads men to this hell.
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'Thou art indeed just, Lord, if I contend' by Gerard Manley Hopkins
Gerard Manley Hopkins
Justus quidem tu es, Domine, si disputem tecum; verumtamen
justa loquar ad te: Quare via impiorum prosperatur? &c.
Thou art indeed just, Lord, if I contend
With thee; but, sir, so what I plead is just.
Why do sinners’ ways prosper? and why must
Disappointment all I endeavour end?
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32
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To His Coy Mistress by Andrew Marvell
Andrew Marvell
Had we but world enough and time,
This coyness, lady, were no crime.
We would sit down, and think which way
To walk, and pass our long love’s day.
Thou by the Indian Ganges’ side
Shouldst rubies find; I by the tide
Of Humber would complain. I would
Love you ten years before the flood,
And you should, if you please, refuse
Till the conversion of the Jews.
My vegetable love should grow
Vaster than empires and more slow;
An hundred years should go to praise
Thine eyes, and on thy forehead gaze;
Two hundred to adore each breast,
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from Troilus and Criseyde: Book V by Geoffrey Chaucer
Geoffrey Chaucer
(excerpt)

From Book V The morwen com, and gostly for to speke,
This Diomede is come un-to Criseyde;
And shortly, lest that ye my tale breke,
So wel he for hym-selven spak and seyde,
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68
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Untitled Poem “Why feel guilty because the death of a lover causes lust?” by Alan Dugan
Alan Dugan
Why feel guilty because the death of a lover causes lust?
It is only an animal urge to perpetuate the species,
but if I do not inhibit my imagination and dreams
I can see your skull smiling up at me from underground
and your bones loosely arranged in the missionary position.
This is not an incapacitating vision except at night,
and not a will of constancy, nor an irrevocable trust,
so I take on a woman with a mouth like an open wound.
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Wanting to Die by Anne Sexton
Anne Sexton
Since you ask, most days I cannot remember.
I walk in my clothing, unmarked by that voyage.
Then the almost unnameable lust returns.

Even then I have nothing against life.
I know well the grass blades you mention,
the furniture you have placed under the sun.

But suicides have a special language.
Like carpenters they want to know which tools.
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The Witnesses by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
In Ocean's wide domains,
Half buried in the sands,
Lie skeletons in chains,
With shackled feet and hands.

Beyond the fall of dews,
Deeper than plummet lies,
Float ships, with all their crews,
No more to sink nor rise.

There the black Slave-ship swims,
Freighted with human forms,
Whose fettered, fleshless limbs
Are not the sport of storms.

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Nightwatchman's Song by W. D. Snodgrass
W. D. Snodgrass
After Heinrich I. F. Biber I

What’s unseen may not exist—
Or so those secret powers insist
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