Above by Harriet Beecher Stowe
Harriet Beecher Stowe
A VISION. Coming down a golden street
I beheld my vanished one,
And he moveth on a cloud,
And his forehead wears a star;
And his blue eyes, deep and holy,
Fixed as in a blessed dream,
See some mystery of joy,
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The Skull of Shakespeare by George Sterling
George Sterling
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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The Thing Written by Stanley Moss
Stanley Moss
The thing written is a sexual thing,
may bite, tell a truth some have died for,
even the most casual initialing
is a touch of love and what love goes for.
A sometime thing, it smiles or has an ugly grin,
on the page or wall may be holy and a sin.
Writing wants, must have, must know,
is flesh, blood, and bone,
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Incidents of Travel in Poetry by Frank Lima
Frank Lima
Happy Birthday Kenneth Koch/Feb 27 We went to all those places where they restore sadness and joy
and call it art. We were piloted by Auden who became
Unbearably acrimonious when we dropped off Senghor into the
steamy skies of his beloved West Africa. The termites and ants
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On the Morning of Christ's Nativity by John Milton
John Milton
This is the month, and this the happy morn,
Wherein the Son of Heav'n's eternal King,
Of wedded Maid, and Virgin Mother born,
Our great redemption from above did bring;
For so the holy sages once did sing,
That he our deadly forfeit should release,
And with his Father work us a perpetual peace.

That glorious Form, that Light unsufferable,
And that far-beaming blaze of Majesty,
Wherewith he wont at Heav'n's high council-table,
To sit the midst of Trinal Unity,
He laid aside, and here with us to be,
Forsook the courts of everlasting day,
And chose with us a darksome house of mortal clay.
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Sonnet 10: I have sought Happiness, but it has been by Alan Seeger
Alan Seeger
I have sought Happiness, but it has been
A lovely rainbow, baffling all pursuit,
And tasted Pleasure, but it was a fruit
More fair of outward hue than sweet within.
Renouncing both, a flake in the ferment
Of battling hosts that conquer or recoil,
There only, chastened by fatigue and toil,
I knew what came the nearest to content.
For there at least my troubled flesh was free
From the gadfly Desire that plagued it so;
Discord and Strife were what I used to know,
Heartaches, deception, murderous jealousy;
By War transported far from all of these,
Amid the clash of arms I was at peace.
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from The Prodigal: 11 by Derek Walcott
Derek Walcott

The dialect of the scrub in the dry season
withers the flow of English. Things burn for days
without translation, with the heat
of the scorched pastures and their skeletal cows.
Every noun is a stump with its roots showing,
and the creole language rushes like weeds
until the entire island is overrun,
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The Rain-bow by Thomas Love Peacock
Thomas Love Peacock
The day has pass’d in storms, though not unmix’d
With transitory calm. The western clouds,
Dissolving slow, unveil the glorious sun,
Majestic in decline. The wat’ry east
Glows with the many-tinted arch of Heav’n.
We hail it as a pledge that brighter skies
Shall bless the coming morn. Thus rolls the day,
The short dark day of life; with tempests thus,
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He is pruning the privet by Joanne Kyger
Joanne Kyger

He is pruning the privet

of sickly sorrow desolation
in loose pieces of air he goes clip clip clip
the green blooming branches fall—‘they’re getting out
of hand’ delirious and adorable what a switch
we perceive multiple
identities when you sing so beautifully the shifting
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Consulting an Elder Poet on an Anti-War Poem by Duane Niatum
Duane Niatum
(for Elizabeth Bishop) One day you said to me,
“there’s nothing you can do,”
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ARK 99, Arches XXXIII by Ronald Johnson
Ronald Johnson
Aship, reel in fountainhead
enclosure of roses
skies indigo, gold moon

Omphalos triumphant
“only connect”
end, point of beginning

of old, apotheosis
chandelier fond du lac
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Structure of Rime XXVIII: In Memoriam Wallace Stevens by Robert Duncan
Robert Duncan
“That God is colouring Newton doth shew”—William Blake Erecting beyond the boundaries of all government his grand Station and Customs, I find what I have made there a Gate, a staking out of his art in Inconsequence. I have in mind a poetry that will frame the willingness of the heart and deliver it over to the arrest of Time, a sentence as if there could stand some solidity most spacial in its intent against the drifts and appearances that arise and fall away in time from the crude events of physical space. The Mind alone holds the consequence of the erection to be true, so that Desire and Imagination usurp the place of the Invisible Throne.

It is an angel then, weeping and yet ever attending the betrayal of the Word I mean to come to in the end. For my sake, the blood must be somewhere in time and in its own naming of place actual, and death must be as my own awaits me immediate to undo from its reality the physical body, all there is of the matter of me that is mine from me. The would-be dialecticians—Inquisitors of the New Dispensation in Poetry and Historians of Opprobrium, the Realists and Materialists—come forward to hold the party line against his ideality. There are too many listeners. There are too many voices in the one line. They must enter the Ideal to do so, for he has changed his mind, as if the Eternal existed only momentarily and went out with him. The Chairman of the Politbureau gets his number and moves to isolate his heresy. The number is no longer the same. He has gone back into the exchange of numbers. The phone continues ringing in the pattern of the message they strive to listen to report to the Bureau of Poetic Numbers and Approved Measures.

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from The Botanic Garden, “The Economy of Vegetation”: Canto I by Erasmus Darwin
Erasmus Darwin

The Genius of the place invites the Goddess of Botany, 1. She descends, is received by Spring, and the Elements, 59. Addresses the Nymphs of Fire. Star-light Night seen in the Camera Obscura, 81. I. Love created the Universe. Chaos explodes. All the Stars revolve. God, 97. II. Shooting Stars. Lightning. Rainbow. Colours of the Morning and Evening Skies. Exterior Atmosphere of inflammable Air. Twilight. Fire-balls. Aurora Borealis. Planets. Comets. Fixed Stars. Sun’s Orb, 115. III. 1. Fires of the Earth’s Centre. Animal Incubation, 137. 2. Volcanic Mountains. Venus visits the Cyclops, 149. IV. Heat confined on the Earth by the Air. Phosphoric lights in the Evening. Bolognian Stone. Calcined Shells. Memnon’s Harp, 173. Ignis fatuus. Luminous Flowers. Glow-worm. Fire-fly. Luminous Sea-insects. Electric Eel. Eagle armed with Lightning, 189. V. 1. Discovery of Fire. Medusa, 209. 2. The chemical Properties of Fire. Phosphorus. Lady in Love, 223. 3. Gunpowder, 237. VI. Steam-engine applied to Pumps, Bellows, Water-engines, Corn-mills, Coining, Barges, Waggons, Flying-chariots, 253. Labours of Hercules. Abyla and Calpe, 297. VII. 1. Electric Machine. Hesperian Dragon. Electric Kiss. Halo round the heads of Saints. Electric Shock. Fairy-rings, 335. 2. Death of Professor Richman, 371. 3. Franklin draws Lightning from the Clouds. Cupid snatches the Thunderbolt from Jupiter, 383. VIII. Phosphoric Acid and Vital Heat produced in the Blood. The great Egg of Night, 399. IX. Western Wind unfettered. Naiad released. Frost assailed. Whale attacked, 421. X. Buds and Flowers expanded by Warmth, Electricity, and Light. Drawings with colourless sympathetic Inks; which appear when warmed by the Fire, 457. XI. Sirius. Jupiter and Semele. Nothern Constellations. Ice-Islands navigated into the Tropic Seas. Rainy Monsoons, 497. XII. Points erected to procure Rain. Elijah on Mount Carmel, 549. Departure of the Nymphs of Fire like Sparks from artificial Fireworks, 587.

“Stay your rude steps; whose throbbing breasts infold
The legion-fiends of Glory, or of Gold!
Stay! whose false lips seductive simpers part,
While Cunning nestles in the harlot-heart!—
For you no Dryads dress the roseate bower,
For you no Nymphs their sparkling vases pour;
Unmark’d by you, light Graces swim the green,
And hovering Cupids aim their shafts, unseen.

“But Thou! whose mind the well-attemper’d ray
Of Taste and Virtue lights with purer day;
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Lines on Nonsense by Eliza Lee Follen
Eliza Lee Follen
Yes, nonsense is a treasure!
I love it from my heart;
The only earthly pleasure
That never will depart.

But, as for stupid reason,
That stalking, ten-foot rule,
She’s always out of season,
A tedious, testy fool.

She’s like a walking steeple,
With a clock for face and eyes,
Still bawling to all people,
Time bids us to be wise.

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I Am the Only Being Whose Doom by Emily Brontë
Emily Brontë
I am the only being whose doom
No tongue would ask, no eye would mourn;
I never caused a thought of gloom,
A smile of joy, since I was born.

In secret pleasure, secret tears,
This changeful life has slipped away,
As friendless after eighteen years,
As lone as on my natal day.
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The Blackstone Rangers by Gwendolyn Brooks
Gwendolyn Brooks

There they are.
Thirty at the corner.
Black, raw, ready.
Sores in the city
that do not want to heal.

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Christmas Tree by John Frederick Nims
John Frederick Nims
This seablue fir that rode the mountain storm
Is swaddled here in splints of tin to die.
Sofas around in chubby velvet swarm;
Onlooking cabinets glitter with flat eye;
Here lacquer in the branches runs like rain
And resin of treasure starts from every vein.

Light is a dancer here and cannot rest.
No tanagers or jays are half so bright
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Coming to Jakarta: A Poem about Terror by Peter Dale Scott
Peter Dale Scott

I am writing this poem
about the 1965 massacre
of Indonesians by Indonesians

which in an article ten years later
I could not publish
except in Nottingham England with

a friend Malcolm Caldwell who has since
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Counselors by Robert Fitzgerald
Robert Fitzgerald
Whom should I consult? Philosophers
Are happy in their homes and seminars.
See this one with the mischievous bright childlike
Gaze going out through walls and air,
A tangent to the bent rays of the star.
Hear the chalk splutter, hear the groping voice:
Conceive the demiurge in his perpetual
Strife with the chaos of the universe,
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Cui Bono by Thomas Carlyle
Thomas Carlyle
What is Hope? A smiling rainbow
Children follow through the wet;
’Tis not here, still yonder, yonder:
Never urchin found it yet.

What is Life? A thawing iceboard
On a sea with sunny shore;—
Gay we sail; it melts beneath us;
We are sunk, and seen no more.

What is Man? A foolish baby,
Vainly strives, and fights, and frets;
Demanding all, deserving nothing;—
One small grave is what he gets.
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Emily Brontë by Louise Imogen Guiney
Louise Imogen Guiney
What sacramental hurt that brings
The terror of the truth of things
Had changed thee? Secret be it yet.
’Twas thine, upon a headland set,
To view no isles of man’s delight,
With lyric foam in rainbow flight,
But all a-swing, a-gleam, mid slow uproar,
Black sea, and curved uncouth sea-bitten shore.
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I Hear a River thro’ the Valley Wander by Trumbull Stickney
Trumbull Stickney
I hear a river thro’ the valley wander
Whose water runs, the song alone remaining.
A rainbow stands and summer passes under.
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A Little Language by Robert Duncan
Robert Duncan
I know a little language of my cat, though Dante says
that animals have no need of speech and Nature
abhors the superfluous.My cat is fluent.He
converses when he wants with me.To speak

is natural.And whales and wolves I’ve heard
in choral soundings of the sea and air
know harmony and have an eloquence that stirs
my mind and heart—they touch the soul.Here
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Live Blindly and upon the Hour by Trumbull Stickney
Trumbull Stickney
Live blindly and upon the hour. The Lord,
Who was the Future, died full long ago.
Knowledge which is the Past is folly. Go,
Poor child, and be not to thyself abhorred.
Around thine earth sun-wingèd winds do blow
And planets roll; a meteor draws his sword;
The rainbow breaks his seven-coloured chord
And the long strips of river-silver flow:
Awake! Give thyself to the lovely hours.
Drinking their lips, catch thou the dream in flight
About their fragile hairs’ aërial gold.
Thou art divine, thou livest,—as of old
Apollo springing naked to the light,
And all his island shivered into flowers.
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Passages from Virgil’s First Georgic by Robert Fitzgerald
Robert Fitzgerald
I. Until Jove let it be, no colonist
Mastered the wild earth; no land was marked,
None parceled out or shared; but everyone
Looked for his living in the common world.

And Jove gave poison to the blacksnakes, and
Made the wolves ravage, made the ocean roll,
Knocked honey from the leaves, took fire away—
So man might beat out various inventions
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The Quaker Graveyard in Nantucket by Robert Lowell
Robert Lowell
Let man have dominion over the fishes of the sea and the fowls of the air and the beasts of the whole earth, and every creeping creature that moveth upon the earth. I
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A Rhapsody of a Southern Winter Night by Henry Timrod
Henry Timrod
Oh! dost thou flatter falsely, Hope?
The day hath scarcely passed that saw thy birth,
Yet thy white wings are plumed to all their scope,
And hour by hour thine eyes have gathered light,
And grown so large and bright,
That my whole future life unfolds what seems,
Beneath their gentle beams,
A path that leads athwart some guiltless earth,
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The Testament of Beauty by Robert Bridges
Robert Bridges
from Book I, Introduction

Man’s Reason is in such deep insolvency to sense,
that tho’ she guide his highest flight heav’nward, and teach him
dignity morals manners and human comfort,
she can delicatly and dangerously bedizen
the rioting joys that fringe the sad pathways of Hell.
Not without alliance of the animal senses
hath she any miracle: Lov’st thou in the blithe hour
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These Lacustrine Cities by John Ashbery
John Ashbery
These lacustrine cities grew out of loathing
Into something forgetful, although angry with history.
They are the product of an idea: that man is horrible, for instance,
Though this is only one example.

They emerged until a tower
Controlled the sky, and with artifice dipped back
Into the past for swans and tapering branches,
Burning, until all that hate was transformed into useless love.
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from To Priapus: Elegies 1.iv by Tibullus
Far from the tender Tribe of Boys remove,
For they’ve a thousand ways to kindle Love.
This, pleases as he strides the manag’d Horse,
And holds the taughten’d Rein with early Force;
This, as he swims, delights thy Fancy best,
Raising the smiling Wave with snowy Breast:
This, with a comely Look and manly Airs;
And that with Virgin Modesty ensnares.
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Alastor; or, The Spirit of Solitude by Percy Bysshe Shelley
Percy Bysshe Shelley
Nondum amabam, et amare amabam, quaerebam quid amarem, amans amare.—
Confess. St. August. Earth, ocean, air, belovèd brotherhood!
If our great Mother has imbued my soul
With aught of natural piety to feel
Your love, and recompense the boon with mine;
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A Birthday by Christina Rossetti
Christina Rossetti
My heart is like a singing bird
Whose nest is in a water'd shoot;
My heart is like an apple-tree
Whose boughs are bent with thickset fruit;
My heart is like a rainbow shell
That paddles in a halcyon sea;
My heart is gladder than all these
Because my love is come to me.
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Burning Island by Gary Snyder
Gary Snyder
O Wave Godwho broke through me today
Sea Bream
massive pink and silver
cool swimming down with me watching
staying away from the spear

Volcano belly Keeper who lifted this island
for our own beaded bodies adornment
and sprinkles us all with his laugh—
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The Caged Skylark by Gerard Manley Hopkins
Gerard Manley Hopkins
As a dare-gale skylark scanted in a dull cage,
Man's mounting spirit in his bone-house, mean house, dwells —
That bird beyond the remembering his free fells;
This in drudgery, day-labouring-out life's age.
Though aloft on turf or perch or poor low stage
Both sing sometímes the sweetest, sweetest spells,
Yet both droop deadly sómetimes in their cells
Or wring their barriers in bursts of fear or rage.

Not that the sweet-fowl, song-fowl, needs no rest —
Why, hear him, hear him babble & drop down to his nest,
But his own nest, wild nest, no prison.

Man's spirit will be flesh-bound, when found at best,
But uncumberèd: meadow-down is not distressed
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Epistles to Several Persons: Epistle II: To a Lady on the Characters of Women by Alexander Pope
Alexander Pope
Nothing so true as what you once let fall,
"Most Women have no Characters at all."
Matter too soft a lasting mark to bear,
And best distinguish'd by black, brown, or fair.

How many pictures of one nymph we view,
All how unlike each other, all how true!
Arcadia's Countess, here, in ermin'd pride,
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The Erotic Philosophers by Carolyn Kizer
Carolyn Kizer
It’s a spring morning; sun pours in the window
As I sit here drinking coffee, reading Augustine.
And finding him, as always, newly minted
From when I first encountered him in school.
Today I’m overcome with astonishment
At the way we girls denied all that was mean
In those revered philosophers we studied;
Who found us loathsome, loathsomely seductive;
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Hero and Leander by Christopher Marlowe
Christopher Marlowe
The First Sestiad

(excerpt) On Hellespont, guilty of true love's blood,
In view and opposite two cities stood,
Sea-borderers, disjoin'd by Neptune's might;
The one Abydos, the other Sestos hight.
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The Life of Lincoln West by Gwendolyn Brooks
Gwendolyn Brooks
Ugliest little boy
that everyone ever saw.
That is what everyone said.

Even to his mother it was apparent—
when the blue-aproned nurse came into the
northeast end of the maternity ward
bearing his squeals and plump bottom
looped up in a scant receiving blanket,
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Ode: Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood by William Wordsworth
William Wordsworth
The child is father of the man;
And I could wish my days to be
Bound each to each by natural piety.
(Wordsworth, "My Heart Leaps Up")
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Ode on Melancholy by John Keats
John Keats
No, no, go not to Lethe, neither twist
Wolf's-bane, tight-rooted, for its poisonous wine;
Nor suffer thy pale forehead to be kiss'd
By nightshade, ruby grape of Proserpine;
Make not your rosary of yew-berries,
Nor let the beetle, nor the death-moth be
Your mournful Psyche, nor the downy owl
A partner in your sorrow's mysteries;
For shade to shade will come too drowsily,
And drown the wakeful anguish of the soul.

But when the melancholy fit shall fall
Sudden from heaven like a weeping cloud,
That fosters the droop-headed flowers all,
And hides the green hill in an April shroud;
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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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To a Skylark by Percy Bysshe Shelley
Percy Bysshe Shelley
Hail to thee, blithe Spirit!
Bird thou never wert,
That from Heaven, or near it,
Pourest thy full heart
In profuse strains of unpremeditated art.

Higher still and higher
From the earth thou springest
Like a cloud of fire;
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Symphony of a Mexican Garden by Grace Hazard Conkling
Grace Hazard Conkling
1. THE GARDEN Poco sostenuto in A major
The laving tide of inarticulate air.

Vivace in A major
The iris people dance.

2. THE POOL Allegretto in A minor
Cool-hearted dim familiar of the dove.

3. THE BIRDSPresto in F major
I keep a frequent tryst.

Presto meno assai
The blossom-powdered orangeitree.

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