Truth

T
I was washing at night out in the yard by Osip Mandelstam
Osip Mandelstam
I was washing at night out in the yard—
the heavens glowing with rough stars.
A star-beam like salt upon an axe,
the water barrel brimful and cold.

A padlock makes the gate secure,
and conscience gives sternness to the earth—
hard to find a standard anywhere
purer than the truth of new-made cloth.
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What Shall I Tell My Children Who Are Black (Reflections of an African-American Mother) by Margaret Burroughs
Margaret Burroughs
1963 What shall I tell my children who are black
Of what it means to be a captive in this dark skin
What shall I tell my dear one, fruit of my womb,
Of how beautiful they are when everywhere they turn
They are faced with abhorrence of everything that is black.
Villains are black with black hearts.
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What Shall We Tell Our Children? An Addenda, 1973 by Margaret Burroughs
Margaret Burroughs
A lot of water has passed under the bridge since 1963. Then, my concernwas particularly for my own people and this version was written especially for them. I am happy that it has done and is doing its job. However, I want it to be known, that I am not a proponent of the concept of cultural nationalism. I dearly love and am proud of my good, serious, sincere black people, yet at the same time, my concern is with all people of goodwill no matter the color. I make no mystique of blackness. I am a humanist. Indeed, I am auniversalist. This truth, I know. The liberation of black people in the United States is tightly linked with the liberation of black people in the far flungdiaspora. Further, and more important, the liberation of black and oppressed people all over the world, is linked with the struggles of the workers of the world of every nationality and color against the common oppressors, overlords, and exploiters of their labor.
Thus it was only natural that I should write "What Shall We Tell Our Children?" in 1973. I have tried to tell them the facts of life and the truth as I see it:
I hope I have succeeded.
What shall we tell our children who are black?
What shall we tell our children who are white?
What shall we tell children of every race and hue?
For all children are the children of all of us
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Crazy Jane Talks with the Bishop by William Butler Yeats
William Butler Yeats
I met the Bishop on the road
And much said he and I.
`Those breasts are flat and fallen now
Those veins must soon be dry;
Live in a heavenly mansion,
Not in some foul sty.'

`Fair and foul are near of kin,
And fair needs foul,' I cried.
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“What potion should I give the night so she’ll always wonder?” by Abraham Sutzkever
Abraham Sutzkever
What potion should I give the night so she’ll always wonder?
Her pounding heart’s a rider galloping from the burning wood.

Maybe my pharmacist is awake the next street over?
In a crucible of  bone, snake tears mixed with herbs.

Should I hurry? Call the doctor? A heart like hers is rare.
And to tell the truth, if it shattered, what would I do?

Translated from the Yiddish
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On being asked for a War Poem by William Butler Yeats
William Butler Yeats
I think it better that in times like these
A poet's mouth be silent, for in truth
We have no gift to set a statesman right;
He has had enough of meddling who can please
A young girl in the indolence of her youth,
Or an old man upon a winter’s night.
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The Song of the Happy Shepherd by William Butler Yeats
William Butler Yeats
The woods of Arcady are dead,
And over is their antique joy;
Of old the world on dreaming fed;
Grey Truth is now her painted toy;
Yet still she turns her restless head:
But O, sick children of the world,
Of all the many changing things
In dreary dancing past us whirled,
To the cracked tune that Chronos sings,
Words alone are certain good.
Where are now the warring kings,
Word be-mockers? —By the Rood
Where are now the warring kings?
An idle word is now their glory,
By the stammering schoolboy said,
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A Song: Lying is an occupation by Laetitia Pilkington
Laetitia Pilkington
Lying is an occupation,
Used by all who mean to rise;
Politicians owe their station,
But to well concerted lies.

These to lovers give assistance,
To ensnare the fair-one's heart;
And the virgin's best resistance
Yields to this commanding art.
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Delia 33: When men shall find thy flower, thy glory, pass by Samuel Daniel
Samuel Daniel

When men shall find thy flower, thy glory, pass,
And thou with careful brow sitting alone
Received hast this message from thy glass,
That tells thee truth and says that all is gone:
Fresh shalt thou see in me the wounds thou madest,
Though spent thy flame, in me the heat remaining;
I that have lov'd thee thus before thou fadest,
My faith shall wax when thou art in thy waning.
The world shall find this miracle in me,
That fire can burn when all the matter's spent;
Then what my faith hath been thyself shall see,
And that thou wast unkind thou mayst repent.
Thou mayst repent that thou hast scorn'd my tears,
When winter snows upon thy golden hairs.
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Gullinge Sonnets 4: “The hardness of her heart and truth of mine” by John Davies
John Davies
The hardness of her heart and truth of mine
When the all-seeing eyes of heaven did see,
They straight concluded that by power divine
To other forms our hearts should turnèd be.
Then hers, as hard as flint, a flint became,
And mine, as true as steel, to steel was turned;
And then between our hearts sprang forth the flame
Of kindest love, which unextinguished burned.
And long the sacred lamp of mutual love
Incessantly did burn in glory bright,
Until my folly did her fury move
To recompense my service with despite;
And to put out with snuffers of her pride
The lamp of love which else had never died.
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The Phoenix and the Turtle by William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare
Let the bird of loudest lay
On the sole Arabian tree
Herald sad and trumpet be,
To whose sound chaste wings obey.

But thou shrieking harbinger,
Foul precurrer of the fiend,
Augur of the fever's end,
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Tell all the truth but tell it slant — (1263) by Emily Dickinson
Emily Dickinson
Tell all the truth but tell it slant —
Success in Circuit lies
Too bright for our infirm Delight
The Truth's superb surprise
As Lightning to the Children eased
With explanation kind
The Truth must dazzle gradually
Or every man be blind —
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Sonnet 147: My love is as a fever, longing still by William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare
My love is as a fever, longing still
For that which longer nurseth the disease,
Feeding on that which doth preserve the ill,
Th’ uncertain sickly appetite to please.
My reason, the physician to my love,
Angry that his prescriptions are not kept,
Hath left me, and I desperate now approve
Desire is death, which physic did except.
Past cure I am, now reason is past care,
And frantic-mad with evermore unrest;
My thoughts and my discourse as madmen’s are,
At random from the truth vainly expressed:
For I have sworn thee fair, and thought thee bright,
Who art as black as hell, as dark as night.
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Psalm 51 by Mary Sidney Herbert Countess of Pembroke
Mary Sidney Herbert Countess of Pembroke
O Lord, whose grace no limits comprehend;
Sweet Lord, whose mercies stand from measure free;
To me that grace, to me that mercy send,
And wipe, O Lord, my sins from sinful me.
Oh, cleanse, oh, wash, my foul iniquity;
Cleanse still my spots, still wash away my stainings,
Till stains and spots in me leave no remainings.

For I, alas, acknowledging do know
My filthy fault, my faulty filthiness
To my soul’s eye incessantly doth show,
Which done to thee, to thee I do confess,
Just judge, true witness, that for righteousness
Thy doom may pass against my guilt awarded,
Thy evidence for truth may be regarded.
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C.P. Cavafy, Thermopylae by David Ferry
David Ferry
Honor is due to those who are keeping watch,
Sentinels guarding their own Thermopylae;
Never distracted from what is right to do,
And right to be; in all things virtuous,
But never so hardened by virtue as not to be

Compassionate, available to pity;
Generous if they’re rich, but generous too,
Doing whatever they can, if they are poor;
Always true to the truth, no matter what,
But never scornful of those who have to lie.

Even more honor is due when, keeping watch,
They see that the time will come when Ephialtes
Will tell the secret to the Medes and they
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Buddhist New Year Song by Diane di Prima
Diane di Prima
I saw you in green velvet, wide full sleeves
seated in front of a fireplace, our house
made somehow more gracious, and you said
“There are stars in your hair”— it was truth I
brought down with me

to this sullen and dingy place that we must make golden
make precious and mythical somehow, it is our nature,
and it is truth, that we came here, I told you,
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Book 3, Epigram 36 by Thomas Bastard
Thomas Bastard
The peasant Corus of his wealth does boast,
Yet he’s scarce worth twice twenty pounds at most.
I chanc’d to word once with this lowly swain,
He called me base, and beggar in disdain.
To try the truth hereof I rate myself,
And cast the little count of all my wealth.
See how much Hebrew, Greek, and Poetry,
Latin Rhetoric, and Philosophy,
Reading, and sense in sciences profound,
All valued, are not worth forty pounds.

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Learning from History by David Ferry
David Ferry
They said, my saints, my slogan-sayers sang,
Be good, my child, in spite of all alarm.

They stood, my fathers, tall in a row and said,
Be good, be brave, you shall not come to harm.

I heard them in my sleep and muttering dream,
And murmuring cried, How shall I wake to this?

They said, my poets, singers of my song,
We cannot tell, since all we tell you is
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A Spring Song by Donald Davie
Donald Davie
“stooped to truth and moralized his song” Spring pricks a little. I get out the maps. Time to demoralize my song, high time.
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Empty Space by Amrita Pritam
Amrita Pritam
There were two kingdoms only:
the first of them threw out both him and me.
The second we abandoned.

Under a bare sky
I for a long time soaked in the rain of my body,
he for a long time rotted in the rain of his.

Then like a poison he drank the fondness of the years.
He held my hand with a trembling hand.
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A Drinking Song by William Butler Yeats
William Butler Yeats
Wine comes in at the mouth
And love comes in at the eye;
That’s all we shall know for truth
Before we grow old and die.
I lift the glass to my mouth,
I look at you, and I sigh.
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Sonnet for Alice N.  by Jack Collom
Jack Collom
Why & what is sweetness all alone?
Either that or it becomes, alas, fleeting,
Which actually helps, because of rhythm.
& there’s a pale intensity to truth, no matter
How pale it is on the levels we receive on.
I mean, the minute you invent a time interval
The more it seems to “jelly out” the excitation
Of accidents; zum Beispiel, “Saginaw, Michigan.”
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Leviathan by George Oppen
George Oppen
Truth also is the pursuit of it:
Like happiness, and it will not stand.

Even the verse begins to eat away
In the acid. Pursuit, pursuit;

A wind moves a little,
Moving in a circle, very cold.

How shall we say?
In ordinary discourse—
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Mowing by Robert Frost
Robert Frost
There was never a sound beside the wood but one,
And that was my long scythe whispering to the ground.
What was it it whispered? I knew not well myself;
Perhaps it was something about the heat of the sun,
Something, perhaps, about the lack of sound—
And that was why it whispered and did not speak.
It was no dream of the gift of idle hours,
Or easy gold at the hand of fay or elf:
Anything more than the truth would have seemed too weak
To the earnest love that laid the swale in rows,
Not without feeble-pointed spikes of flowers
(Pale orchises), and scared a bright green snake.
The fact is the sweetest dream that labor knows.
My long scythe whispered and left the hay to make.
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On the Great Atlantic Rainway by Kenneth Koch
Kenneth Koch
I set forth one misted white day of June
Beneath the great Atlantic rainway, and heard:
“Honestly you smite worlds of truth, but
Lose your own trains of thought, like a pigeon.
Did you once ride in Kenneth’s machine?”
“Yes, I rode there, an old man in shorts, blind,
Who had lost his way in the filling station; Kenneth was kind.”
“Did he fill your motionless ears with resonance and stain?”
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Epistle to Mrs. Tyler by Christopher Smart
Christopher Smart
It ever was allow’d, dear Madam,
Ev’n from the days of father Adam,
Of all perfection flesh is heir to,
Fair patience is the gentlest virtue;
This is a truth our grandames teach,
Our poets sing, and parsons preach;
Yet after all, dear Moll, the fact is
We seldom put it into practice;
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Faith by Frances Anne Kemble
Frances Anne Kemble
Better trust all, and be deceived,
And weep that trust, and that deceiving;
Than doubt one heart, that, if believed,
Had blessed one’s life with true believing.

Oh, in this mocking world, too fast
The doubting fiend o’ertakes our youth!
Better be cheated to the last,
Than lose the blessèd hope of truth.

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The Statue by Ella Higginson
Ella Higginson
That I might chisel a statue, line on line,
Out of a marble’s chaste severities!
Angular, harsh; no softened curves to please;
Set tears within the eyes to make them shine,
And furrows on the brow, deep, stern, yet fine;
Gaunt, awkward, tall; no courtier of ease;
The trousers bulging at the bony knees;
Long nose, large mouth . . . But ah, the light divine
Of Truth, – the light that set a people free!—
Burning upon it in a steady flame,
As sunset fires a white peak on the sky . . .
Ah, God! To leave it nameless and yet see
Men looking weep and bow themselves and cry—
‘Enough, enough! We know thy statue’s name!’

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On Education by Elizabeth Bentley
Elizabeth Bentley
December 1789 When infant Reason first exerts her sway,
And new-formed thoughts their earliest charms display;
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The One in All by Margaret Fuller
Margaret Fuller
There are who separate the eternal light
In forms of man and woman, day and night;
They cannot bear that God be essence quite.

Existence is as deep a verity:
Without the dual, where is unity?
And the ‘I am’ cannot forbear to be;

But from its primal nature forced to frame
Mysteries, destinies of various name,
Is forced to give what it has taught to claim.

Thus love must answer to its own unrest;
The bad commands us to expect the best,
And hope of its own prospects is the test.
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Sonnet. To Tell the Truth by Alicia Ostriker
Alicia Ostriker
To tell the truth, those brick Housing Authority buildings
For whose loveliness no soul had planned,
Like random dominoes stood, worn out and facing each other,
Creating the enclosure that was our home.

Long basement corridors connected one house to another
And had a special smell, from old bicycles and baby carriages
In the storage rooms. The elevators
Were used by kissing teenagers.
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Sonnet XXV by George Santayana
George Santayana
As in the midst of battle there is room
For thoughts of love, and in foul sin for mirth;
As gossips whisper of a trinket’s worth
Spied by the death-bed’s flickering candle-gloom;
As in the crevices of Caesar’s tomb
The sweet herbs flourish on a little earth:
So in this great disaster of our birth
We can be happy, and forget our doom.
For morning, with a ray of tenderest joy
Gilding the iron heaven, hides the truth,
And evening gently woos us to employ
Our grief in idle catches. Such is youth;
Till from that summer’s trance we wake, to find
Despair before us, vanity behind.
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Thy Brother’s Blood by Jones Very
Jones Very
I have no Brother,—they who meet me now
Offer a hand with their own wills defiled,
And, while they wear a smooth unwrinkled brow,
Know not that Truth can never be beguiled;
Go wash the hand that still betrays thy guilt;
Before the spirit’s gaze what stain can hide?
Abel’s red blood upon the earth is spilt,
And by thy tongue it cannot be denied;
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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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Valentine To RR Written Extempore Feb. 14 1802 by Charlotte Richardson
Charlotte Richardson
Custom, whose laws we all allow,
And bow before his shrine,
Has so ordained, my friend, that you
Are now my Valentine.

Ah, could my humble Muse aspire
To catch the flame divine!
These are the gifts that I’d require
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Anne Rutledge by Edgar Lee Masters
Edgar Lee Masters
Out of me unworthy and unknown
The vibrations of deathless music;
“With malice toward none, with charity for all.”
Out of me the forgiveness of millions toward millions,
And the beneficent face of a nation
Shining with justice and truth.
I am Anne Rutledge who sleep beneath these weeds,
Beloved in life of Abraham Lincoln,
Wedded to him, not through union,
But through separation.
Bloom forever, O Republic,
From the dust of my bosom!


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Nothing New by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Oh, what am I but an engine, shod
With muscle and flesh, by the hand of God,
Speeding on through the dense, dark night,
Guided alone by the soul’s white light.

Often and often my mad heart tires,
And hates its way with a bitter hate,
And longs to follow its own desires,
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Nuns Fret Not at Their Convent’s Narrow Room by William Wordsworth
William Wordsworth
Nuns fret not at their convent’s narrow room;
And hermits are contented with their cells;
And students with their pensive citadels;
Maids at the wheel, the weaver at his loom,
Sit blithe and happy; bees that soar for bloom,
High as the highest Peak of Furness-fells,
Will murmur by the hour in foxglove bells:
In truth the prison, into which we doom
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W.H. by Louise Imogen Guiney
Louise Imogen Guiney
1778-1830 Between the wet trees and the sorry steeple,
Keep, Time, in dark Soho, what once was Hazlitt,
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Art vs. Trade by James Weldon Johnson
James Weldon Johnson
Trade, Trade versus Art,
Brain, Brain versus Heart;
Oh, the earthiness of these hard-hearted times,
When clinking dollars, and jingling dimes,
Drown all the finer music of the soul.

Life as an Octopus with but this creed,
That all the world was made to serve his greed;
Trade has spread out his mighty myriad claw,
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Astrophil and Stella 25: The wisest scholar of the wight most wise  by Sir Philip Sidney
Sir Philip Sidney
The wisest scholar of the wight most wise
By Phoebus’ doom, with sugared sentence says
That Virtue, if it once met with our eyes,
Strange flames of love it in our souls would raise;
But, for that man with pain this truth descries,
While he each thing in sense’s balance weighs,
And so nor will nor can behold those skies
Which inward sun to heroic mind displays,
Virtue of late, with virtuous care to stir
Love of herself, takes Stella’s shape, that she
To mortal eyes might sweetly shine in her.
It is most true, for since I her did see,
Virtue’s great beauty in that face I prove,
And find th’effect, for I do burn in love.
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Bereavement by William Lisle Bowles
William Lisle Bowles
Whose was that gentle voice, that, whispering sweet,
Promised methought long days of bliss sincere!
Soothing it stole on my deluded ear,
Most like soft music, that might sometimes cheat
Thoughts dark and drooping! ’Twas the voice of Hope.
Of love and social scenes, it seemed to speak,
Of truth, of friendship, of affection meek;
That, oh! poor friend, might to life’s downward slope
Lead us in peace, and bless our latest hours.
Ah me! the prospect saddened as she sung;
Loud on my startled ear the death-bell rung;
Chill darkness wrapt the pleasurable bowers,
Whilst Horror, pointing to yon breathless clay,
“No peace be thine,” exclaimed, “away, away!”

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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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Everything that Acts Is Actual by Denise Levertov
Denise Levertov
From the tawny light
from the rainy nights
from the imagination finding
itself and more than itself
alone and more than alone
at the bottom of the well where the moon lives,
can you pull me

into December? a lowland
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Love's Witness by Aphra Behn
Aphra Behn
Slight unpremeditated Words are borne
By every common Wind into the Air;
Carelessly utter’d, die as soon as born,
And in one instant give both Hope and Fear:
Breathing all Contraries with the same Wind
According to the Caprice of the Mind.

But Billetdoux are constant Witnesses,
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Modern Love: XLVII by George Meredith
George Meredith
Their sense is with their senses all mixed in,
Destroyed by subtleties these women are!
More brain, O Lord, more brain! or we shall mar
Utterly this fair garden we might win.
Behold! I looked for peace, and thought it near.
Our inmost hearts had opened, each to each.
We drank the pure daylight of honest speech.
Alas! that was the fatal draught, I fear.
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The New Year by Emma Lazarus
Emma Lazarus
Rosh-Hashanah, 5643 Not while the snow-shroud round dead earth is rolled,
And naked branches point to frozen skies.—
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Retrospect by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
There is a better thing, dear heart,
Than youthful flush or girlish grace.
There is the faith that never fails,
The courage in the danger place,
The duty seen, and duty done,
The heart that yearns for all in need,
The lady soul which could not stoop
To selfish thought or lowly deed.
All that we ever dreamed, dear wife,
Seems drab and common by the truth,
The sweet sad mellow things of life
Are more than golden dreams of youth.
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Sonnet 138: When my love swears that she is made of truth by William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare
When my love swears that she is made of truth,
I do believe her, though I know she lies,
That she might think me some untutored youth,
Unlearnèd in the world’s false subtleties.
Thus vainly thinking that she thinks me young,
Although she knows my days are past the best,
Simply I credit her false-speaking tongue:
On both sides thus is simple truth suppressed.
But wherefore says she not she is unjust?
And wherefore say not I that I am old?
Oh, love’s best habit is in seeming trust,
And age in love loves not to have years told.
Therefore I lie with her and she with me,
And in our faults by lies we flattered be.
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50-50 by Langston Hughes
Langston Hughes
I’m all alone in this world, she said,
Ain’t got nobody to share my bed,
Ain’t got nobody to hold my hand—
The truth of the matter’s
I ain’t got no man.

Big Boy opened his mouth and said,
Trouble with you is
You ain’t got no head!
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A Charm by David Ferry
David Ferry
I have a twin who bears my name;
Bears it about with him in shame;

Who goes a way I would not go;
Has knowledge of things I would not know;

When I was brave he was afraid;
He told the truth, I lied;

What’s sweet to me tastes bitter to him;
My friends, my friends, he doesn’t love them;
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A Death in the Desert by Robert Browning
Robert Browning
[Supposed of Pamphylax the Antiochene:
It is a parchment, of my rolls the fifth,
Hath three skins glued together, is all Greek,
And goeth from Epsilon down to Mu:
Lies second in the surnamed Chosen Chest,
Stained and conserved with juice of terebinth,
Covered with cloth of hair, and lettered Xi,
From Xanthus, my wife's uncle, now at peace:
Mu and Epsilon stand for my own name.
I may not write it, but I make a cross
To show I wait His coming, with the rest,
And leave off here: beginneth Pamphylax.]

I said, "If one should wet his lips with wine,
"And slip the broadest plantain-leaf we find,
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Forget not Yet the Tried Intent by Sir Thomas Wyatt
Sir Thomas Wyatt
Forget not yet the tried intent
Of such a truth as I have meant;
My great travail so gladly spent,
Forget not yet.

Forget not yet when first began
The weary life ye know, since whan
The suit, the service, none tell can;
Forget not yet.

Forget not yet the great assays,
The cruel wrong, the scornful ways;
The painful patience in denays,
Forget not yet.

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Fragment 2: I know 'tis but a Dream, yet feel more anguish by Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Samuel Taylor Coleridge
I know 'tis but a Dream, yet feel more anguish
Than if 'twere Truth. It has been often so:
Must I die under it? Is no one near?
Will no one hear these stifled groans and wake me?

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Gitanjali 35 by Rabindranath Tagore
Rabindranath Tagore
Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high;
Where knowledge is free;
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments by narrow domestic walls;
Where words come out from the depth of truth;
Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection;
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way into the dreary desert sand of dead habit;
Where the mind is led forward by thee into ever-widening thought and action
Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake.
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Half an Hour by Jean Valentine
Jean Valentine
Hurt, hurtful, snake-charmed,
struck white together half an hour we tear
through the half-dark after

some sweet core,
under, over gravity,
some white shore ...

spin, hidden one, spin,
trusted to me! laugh sore tooth
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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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Learning from History by David Ferry
David Ferry
They said, my saints, my slogan-sayers sang,
Be good, my child, in spite of all alarm.

They stood, my fathers, tall in a row and said,
Be good, be brave, you shall not come to harm.

I heard them in my sleep and muttering dream,
And murmuring cried, How shall I wake to this?

They said, my poets, singers of my song,
We cannot tell, since all we tell you is

But history, we speak but of the dead.
And of the dead they said such history

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A Shropshire Lad 30: Others, I am not the first by A. E. Housman
A. E. Housman
Others, I am not the first,
Have willed more mischief than they durst:
If in the breathless night I too
Shiver now, 'tis nothing new.

More than I, if truth were told,
Have stood and sweated hot and cold,
And through their reins in ice and fire
Fear contended with desire.

Agued once like me were they,
But I like them shall win my way
Lastly to the bed of mould
Where there's neither heat nor cold.

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Sonnet 60: Like as the waves make towards the pebbl'd shore by William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare
Like as the waves make towards the pebbl'd shore,
So do our minutes hasten to their end;
Each changing place with that which goes before,
In sequent toil all forwards do contend.
Nativity, once in the main of light,
Crawls to maturity, wherewith being crown'd,
Crooked eclipses 'gainst his glory fight,
And Time that gave doth now his gift confound.
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Sonnet 66: Tir'd with all these, for restful death I cry by William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare
Tir'd with all these, for restful death I cry,
As, to behold desert a beggar born,
And needy nothing trimm'd in jollity,
And purest faith unhappily forsworn,
And gilded honour shamefully misplac'd,
And maiden virtue rudely strumpeted,
And right perfection wrongfully disgrac'd,
And strength by limping sway disabled,
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To a Friend Whose Work Has Come to Nothing by William Butler Yeats
William Butler Yeats
Now all the truth is out,
Be secret and take defeat
From any brazen throat,
For how can you compete,
Being honor bred, with one
Who were it proved he lies
Were neither shamed in his own
Nor in his neighbors' eyes;
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To Any Reader by Robert Louis Stevenson
Robert Louis Stevenson
As from the house your mother sees
You playing round the garden trees,
So you may see, if you will look
Through the windows of this book,
Another child, far, far away,
And in another garden, play.
But do not think you can at all,
By knocking on the window, call
That child to hear you. He intent
Is all on his play-business bent.
He does not hear; he will not look,
Nor yet be lured out of this book.
For, long ago, the truth to say,
He has grown up and gone away,
And it is but a child of air
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Ultima Thule: Dedication to G. W. G. by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
With favoring winds, o'er sunlit seas,
We sailed for the Hesperides,
The land where golden apples grow;
But that, ah! that was long ago.

How far, since then, the ocean streams
Have swept us from that land of dreams,
That land of fiction and of truth,
The lost Atlantis of our youth!

Whither, ah, whither? Are not these
The tempest-haunted Orcades,
Where sea-gulls scream, and breakers roar,
And wreck and sea-weed line the shore?

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Vasectomy by Philip Appleman
Philip Appleman
After the steaming bodies swept
through the hungry streets of swollen cities;
after the vast pink spawning of family
poisoned the rivers and ravaged the prairies;
after the gamble of latex and
diaphragms and pills;
I invoked the white robes, gleaming blades
ready for blood, and, feeling the scourge
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What should I Say by Sir Thomas Wyatt
Sir Thomas Wyatt
What should I say,
Since faith is dead,
And truth away
From you is fled?
Should I be led
With doubleness?
Nay, nay, mistress!
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Whatever Is by Charlotte Anna Perkins Gilman
Charlotte Anna Perkins Gilman
Whatever is we only know
As in our minds we find it so;
No staring fact is half so clear
As one dim, preconceived idea --
No matter how the fact may glow.

Vainly may Truth her trumpet blow
To stir our minds; like heavy dough
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Worldly Place by Matthew Arnold
Matthew Arnold
Even in a palace, life may be led well!
So spake the imperial sage, purest of men,
Marcus Aurelius. But the stifling den
Of common life, where, crowded up pell-mell,

Our freedom for a little bread we sell,
And drudge under some foolish master's ken
Who rates us if we peer outside our pen—
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Writ on the Steps of Puerto Rican Harlem by Gregory Corso
Gregory Corso
There’s a truth limits man
A truth prevents his going any farther
The world is changing
The world knows it’s changing
Heavy is the sorrow of the day
The old have the look of doom
The young mistake their fate in that look
That is truth
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Who Am I? by Carl Sandburg
Carl Sandburg
My head knocks against the stars.
My feet are on the hilltops.
My finger-tips are in the valleys and shores of universal life.
Down in the sounding foam of primal things I reach my hands and play with pebbles of destiny.
I have been to hell and back many times.
I know all about heaven, for I have talked with God.
I dabble in the blood and guts of the terrible.
I know the passionate seizure of beauty
And the marvelous rebellion of man at all signs reading "Keep Off."

My name is Truth and I am the most elusive captive in the universe.

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