Wedding

W
The Star-Apple Kingdom by Derek Walcott
Derek Walcott
There were still shards of an ancient pastoral
in those shires of the island where the cattle drank
their pools of shadow from an older sky,
surviving from when the landscape copied such subjects as
“Herefords at Sunset in the Valley of the Wye.”
The mountain water that fell white from the mill wheel
sprinkling like petals from the star-apple trees,
and all of the windmills and sugar mills moved by mules
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The Anniversary  by Alicia Ostriker
Alicia Ostriker
Of course we failed, by succeeding.
The fiery cherub becomes his smothering.
A greedy heart dives into a dream
Of power or truth, and wakes up middle-aged
In some committee room.
It is eating paper instead of God.
We two are one, my bird, this is a wedding.

When love was war, you swore you’d burn
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An Egg Island Equinox by Brendan Galvin
Brendan Galvin
There is no radical shift of light
or redwings calling areas of marsh
their territories yet, nor plovers
probing for copepods. Only a yellow
front-end loader laying out a new berm
on the beach, from tubes too heavy
to be called hoses, its audience one man
and his protesting dog. No frosted
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Inventory by Gail Mazur
Gail Mazur
Clarice, the Swiss Appraiser, paces our rooms, listing furnishings
on her yellow legal pad with a Waterman pen, a microcamera.
Although I've asked why we have to do this, I forgot the answer.

The answer to why is because, inscrutable, outside of logic,
helpless, useless because. Wing chairs, a deco lamp, my mother's
cherry dining table—nothing we both loved using looks tragic.

Most nights now I sit in the den reading the colorful spines
of your art books, Fra Angelico to Zurburan, volume after volume
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Orfeo by Frank Lima
Frank Lima
To my friends Each hair is a poem I gave my son
Each hair is my allowance from the universe
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Winter Flowers by Stanley Moss
Stanley Moss
In fresh snow that fell on old snow
I see wild roses in bloom, springtime,
an orchard of apple and peach trees in bloom,
lovers of different preferences
walking naked in new snow, not shivering,
no illusion, no delusion, no bluebells.
Why should I live by reality that murders?
I wear a coat of hope and desire.
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The Well of St. Keyne by Robert Southey
Robert Southey

A Well there is in the west country,
And a clearer one never was seen;
There is not a wife in the west country
But has heard of the Well of St. Keyne.

An oak and an elm-tree stand beside,
And behind doth an ash-tree grow,
And a willow from the bank above
Droops to the water below.

A traveller came to the Well of St. Keyne;
Joyfully he drew nigh,
For from the cock-crow he had been travelling,
And there was not a cloud in the sky.
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Joining the Colours by Katharine Tynan
Katharine Tynan
There they go marching all in step so gay!
Smooth-cheeked and golden, food for shells and guns.
Blithely they go as to a wedding day,
The mothers' sons.

The drab street stares to see them row on row
On the high tram-tops, singing like the lark.
Too careless-gay for courage, singing they go
Into the dark.

With tin whistles, mouth-organs, any noise,
They pipe the way to glory and the grave;
Foolish and young, the gay and golden boys
Love cannot save.

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War Mothers by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Ella Wheeler Wilcox
There is something in the sound of drum and fife
That stirs all the savage instincts into life.
In the old times of peace we went our ways,
Through proper days
Of little joys and tasks. Lonely at times,
When from the steeple sounded wedding chimes,
Telling to all the world some maid was wife—
But taking patiently our part in life
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Madeleine in Church by Charlotte Mew
Charlotte Mew
Here, in the darkness, where this plaster saint
Stands nearer than God stands to our distress,
And one small candle shines, but not so faint
As the far lights of everlastingness,
I’d rather kneel than over there, in open day
Where Christ is hanging, rather pray
To something more like my own clay,
Not too divine;
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Christian Bérard by Gertrude Stein
Gertrude Stein

Eating is her subject.
While eating is her subject.
Where eating is her subject.
Withdraw whether it is eating which is her subject. Literally
while she ate eating is her subject. Afterwards too and in be-
tween. This is an introduction to what she ate.
She ate a pigeon and a soufflé.
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Gulf Memo by Stephen Sandy
Stephen Sandy
Tell me the way to the wedding
Tell me the way to the war,
Tell me the needle you’re threading
I won’t raise my voice anymore.

And tell me what axe you are grinding
Where the boy on the bivouac believes,
What reel you are unwinding
For the girl in her bed who grieves.
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Closings by Donald Hall
Donald Hall
1

“Always Be Closing,” Liam told us—
abc of real estate, used cars,
and poetry. Liam the dandy
loved Brooks Brothers shirts, double-breasted
suits, bespoke shoes, and linen jackets.
On the day Liam and Tree married
in our backyard, Liam and I wore
Chuck’s burgundy boho-prep high-tops
that Liam bought on Fifth Avenue.


2

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Identification by Wisława Szymborska
Wisława Szymborska
It’s good you came—she says.
You heard a plane crashed on Thursday?
Well so they came to see me
about it.
The story is he was on the passenger list.
So what, he might have changed his mind.
They gave me some pills so I wouldn’t fall apart.
Then they showed me I don’t know who.
All black, burned except one hand.
A scrap of shirt, a watch, a wedding ring.
I got furious, that can’t be him.
He wouldn’t do that to me, look like that.
The stores are bursting with those shirts.
The watch is just a regular old watch.
And our names on that ring,
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Kin 2 by Michael S. Harper
Michael S. Harper
When news came that your mother’d
smashed her hip, both feet caught
in rungs of the banquet table,
our wedding rebroken on the memory
of the long lake of silence
when the stones of her body
broke as an Irish fence of stones,
I saw your wet dugs drag
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Love Poem by Dorothea Grossman
Dorothea Grossman
In a lightning bolt
of memory,
I see our statue of Buddha
(a wedding gift from Uncle Gene)
which always sat
on top of the speaker cabinet.
When a visitor asked,
“So, does Buddha like jazz?”
you said, “I hope so.
He’s been getting it up the ass
for a long time.”
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The Unreliable Narrator by Keith Waldrop
Keith Waldrop
A great crime: she has
plunged a dagger into the heart
of her mother.

Strange.

The strangest thing: a mocking little pride with
a sinister click as of a fitting together of bad
pieces.

Beyond knowing. The mesmerist’s only
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The Thorn by William Wordsworth
William Wordsworth
I
“There is a Thorn—it looks so old,
In truth, you’d find it hard to say
How it could ever have been young,
It looks so old and grey.
Not higher than a two years' child
It stands erect, this aged Thorn;
No leaves it has, no prickly points;
It is a mass of knotted joints,
A wretched thing forlorn.
It stands erect, and like a stone
With lichens is it overgrown.

II
“Like rock or stone, it is o’ergrown,
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The Depot by Anne Winters
Anne Winters
Sparrows tapping your shutters louvres? snow owls
guano your eaves? Spring rainstorms sway
in your gutters; down-cellar a green pipe pearls

and roots find its fissures. Matter—outside us, out in le Vrai,
matter—un-does; fatiscit; a sort of eternal
breakdown and sloughage. Small wonder that Saturday

finds you botanizing some mast-high aisle
in the Depot. Fazed by stock-names and numbers, distinctions
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The Key to the City by Anne Winters
Anne Winters
All middle age invisible to us, all age
passed close enough behind to seize our napehairs
and whisper in a voice all thatch and smoke
some village-elder warning, some rasped-out
Remember me . . . Mute and grey in her city
uniform (stitch-lettered JUVENILE), the matron
just pointed us to our lockers, and went out.
‘What an old bag!’ ‘Got a butt on you, honey?’ ‘Listen,
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A Little Called Pauline by Gertrude Stein
Gertrude Stein
A little called anything shows shudders.

Come and say what prints all day. A whole few watermelon. There is no pope.

No cut in pennies and little dressing and choose wide soles and little spats really little spices.

A little lace makes boils. This is not true.

Gracious of gracious and a stamp a blue green white bow a blue green lean, lean on the top.

If it is absurd then it is leadish and nearly set in where there is a tight head.

A peaceful life to arise her, noon and moon and moon. A letter a cold sleeve a blanket a shaving house and nearly the best and regular window.

Nearer in fairy sea, nearer and farther, show white has lime in sight, show a stitch of ten. Count, count more so that thicker and thicker is leaning.

I hope she has her cow. Bidding a wedding, widening received treading, little leading mention nothing.

Cough out cough out in the leather and really feather it is not for.

Please could, please could, jam it not plus more sit in when.
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A Poem, on the Supposition of an Advertisement Appearing in a Morning Paper, of the Publication of a Volume of Poems, by a Servant-Maid by Elizabeth Hands
Elizabeth Hands
The tea-kettle bubbled, the tea things were set,
The candles were lighted, the ladies were met;
The how d’ye’s were over, and entering bustle,
The company seated, and silks ceased to rustle:
The great Mrs. Consequence opened her fan,
And thus the discourse in an instant began
(All affected reserve and formality scorning):
“I suppose you all saw in the paper this morning
A volume of Poems advertised—’tis said
They’re produced by the pen of a poor servant-maid.”
“A servant write verses!” says Madam Du Bloom:
“Pray what is the subject—a Mop, or a Broom?”
“He, he, he,” says Miss Flounce: “I suppose we shall see
An ode on a Dishclout—what else can it be?”
Says Miss Coquettilla, “Why, ladies, so tart?
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Lincoln by Delmore Schwartz
Delmore Schwartz
Manic-depressive Lincoln, national hero!
How just and true that this great nation, being conceived
In liberty by fugitives should find
—Strange ways and plays of monstrous History—
This Hamlet-type to be the President—

This failure, this unwilling bridegroom,
This tricky lawyer full of black despair—

He grew a beard, becoming President,
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The Third Hour of the Night by Frank Bidart
Frank Bidart
When the eye

When the edgeless screen receiving
light from the edgeless universe

When the eye first

When the edgeless screen facing
outward as if hypnotized by the edgeless universe

When the eye first saw that it

Hungry for more light
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Abundance by John Ciardi
John Ciardi
I

Once I had 1000 roses.
Literally 1000 roses.
I was working for a florist
back in the shambling ‘Thirties
when iced skids of 250 roses
sold for $2 at Faneuil Hall.
So for $8 I bought
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City Without a Name by Czeslaw Milosz
Czeslaw Milosz
1
Who will honor the city without a name
If so many are dead and others pan gold
Or sell arms in faraway countries?

What shepherd's horn swathed in the bark of birch
Will sound in the Ponary Hills the memory of the absent—
Vagabonds, Pathfinders, brethren of a dissolved lodge?

This spring, in a desert, beyond a campsite flagpole,
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Falling by James L. Dickey
James L. Dickey
A 29-year-old stewardess fell ... to her
death tonight when she was swept
through an emergency door that sud-
denly sprang open ... The body ...
was found ... three hours after the
accident.
—New York Times
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Lady Lazarus by Sylvia Plath
Sylvia Plath
I have done it again.
One year in every ten
I manage it——

A sort of walking miracle, my skin
Bright as a Nazi lampshade,
My right foot

A paperweight,
My face a featureless, fine
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A Marriage by Robert Creeley
Robert Creeley
The first retainer
he gave to her
was a golden
wedding ring.

The second—late at night
he woke up,
leaned over on an elbow,
and kissed her.
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A Psalm of Freudian Life by Franklin Pierce Adams
Franklin Pierce Adams
Tell me not in mormonful numbers
“Life is but an empty dream!”
To a student of the slumbers
Things are never what they seem.

Life is yearning and suppression;
Life is that to be enjoyed;
Puritanical discretion
Was not spoke by Dr. Freud.

Deep enjoyment, and not sorrow,
Is our destined end or way;
But to dream, that each to-morrow
Finds us Freudier than to-day.

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River Road by Herbert Morris
Herbert Morris
Running off with the boy at the gas station,
yellow-haired, clear-eyed, with a pair of hands
nothing, you understand, would prove too much for,
is, it seems, a simple enough solution.

Consequences never enter your thinking
at the start. Whatever the implications
of the act, of the speed with which you act,
all one knows, and all one chooses to know,
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Snow-Bound: A Winter Idyl by John Greenleaf Whittier
John Greenleaf Whittier
To the Memory of the Household It Describes
This Poem is Dedicated by the Author

“As the Spirits of Darkness be stronger in the dark, so Good Spirits, which be Angels of Light, are augmented not only by the Divine light of the Sun, but also by our common Wood Fire: and as the Celestial Fire drives away dark spirits, so also this our Fire of Wood doth the same.” —Cor. Agrippa, Occult Philosophy, Book I.ch. v.

“Announced by all the trumpets of the sky,
Arrives the snow, and, driving o’er the fields,
Seems nowhere to alight: the whited air
Hides hills and woods, the river and the heaven,
And veils the farm-house at the garden’s end.
The sled and traveller stopped, the courier’s feet
Delayed, all friends shut out, the housemates sit
Around the radiant fireplace, enclosed
In a tumultuous privacy of Storm.”
EMERSON, The Snow Storm. The sun that brief December day
Rose cheerless over hills of gray,
And, darkly circled, gave at noon
A sadder light than waning moon.
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The Song of the Smoke by W. E. B. Du Bois
W. E. B. Du Bois
I am the Smoke King
I am black!
I am swinging in the sky,
I am wringing worlds awry;
I am the thought of the throbbing mills,
I am the soul of the soul-toil kills,
Wraith of the ripple of trading rills;
Up I’m curling from the sod,
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Tapestry by Charles Simic
Charles Simic
It hangs from heaven to earth.
There are trees in it, cities, rivers,
small pigs and moons. In one corner
the snow falling over a charging cavalry,
in another women are planting rice.

You can also see:
a chicken carried off by a fox,
a naked couple on their wedding night,
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You Can Have It by Philip Levine
Philip Levine
My brother comes home from work
and climbs the stairs to our room.
I can hear the bed groan and his shoes drop
one by one. You can have it, he says.

The moonlight streams in the window
and his unshaven face is whitened
like the face of the moon. He will sleep
long after noon and waken to find me gone.
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At Darien Bridge by James L. Dickey
James L. Dickey
The sea here used to look
As if many convicts had built it,

Standing deep in their ankle chains,
Ankle-deep in the water, to smite

The land and break it down to salt.
I was in this bog as a child

When they were all working all day
To drive the pilings down.
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Boleros 14 by Jay Wright
Jay Wright
(CALLIOPE ↔ SAHU) Night enters the Plaza, step by step, in the singular
flaring of lamps on churro carts, taco stands,
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A Brown Girl Dead by Countee Cullen
Countee Cullen
With two white roses on her breasts,
White candles at head and feet,
Dark Madonna of the grave she rests;
Lord Death has found her sweet.

Her mother pawned her wedding ring
To lay her out in white;
She’d be so proud she’d dance and sing
To see herself tonight.
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Courtesy by David Ferry
David Ferry
It is an afternoon toward the end of August:
Autumnal weather, cool following on,
And riding in, after the heat of summer,
Into the empty afternoon shade and light,

The shade full of light without any thickness at all;
You can see right through and right down into the depth
Of the light and shade of the afternoon; there isn’t
Any weight of the summer pressing down.
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Dejection: An Ode by Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Late, late yestreen I saw the new Moon,
With the old Moon in her arms;
And I fear, I fear, my Master dear!
We shall have a deadly storm.
(Ballad of Sir Patrick Spence)
I
Well! If the Bard was weather-wise, who made
The grand old ballad of Sir Patrick Spence,
This night, so tranquil now, will not go hence
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The Harpy by Robert W. Service
Robert W. Service
There was a woman, and she was wise; woefully wise was she;
She was old, so old, yet her years all told were but a score and three;
And she knew by heart, from finish to start, the Book of Iniquity.


There is no hope for such as I on earth, nor yet in Heaven;
Unloved I live, unloved I die, unpitied, unforgiven;
A loathèd jade, I ply my trade, unhallowed and unshriven.

I paint my cheeks, for they are white, and cheeks of chalk men hate;
Mine eyes with wine I make them shine, that man may seek and sate;
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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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The Old Clock on the Stairs by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Somewhat back from the village street
Stands the old-fashioned country-seat.
Across its antique portico
Tall poplar-trees their shadows throw;
And from its station in the hall
An ancient timepiece says to all, —
"Forever — never!
Never — forever!"

Half-way up the stairs it stands,
And points and beckons with its hands
From its case of massive oak,
Like a monk, who, under his cloak,
Crosses himself, and sighs, alas!
With sorrowful voice to all who pass, —
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The Photos by Diane Wakoski
Diane Wakoski
My sister in her well-tailored silk blouse hands me
the photo of my father
in naval uniform and white hat.
I say, “Oh, this is the one which Mama used to have on her dresser.”

My sister controls her face and furtively looks at my mother,
a sad rag bag of a woman, lumpy and sagging everywhere,
like a mattress at the Salvation Army, though with no holes or tears,
and says, “No.”
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Prothalamion by Edmund Spenser
Edmund Spenser
CALM was the day, and through the trembling air
Sweet breathing Zephyrus did softly play,
A gentle spirit, that lightly did delay
Hot Titan's beams, which then did glister fair;
When I whose sullen care,
Through discontent of my long fruitless stay
In prince's court, and expectation vain
Of idle hopes, which still do fly away
Like empty shadows, did afflict my brain,
Walked forth to ease my pain
Along the shore of silver streaming Thames,
Whose rutty bank, the which his river hems,
Was painted all with variable flowers,
And all the meads adorned with dainty gems,
Fit to deck maidens' bowers,
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The View from an Attic Window by Howard Nemerov
Howard Nemerov
for Francis and Barbara 1
Among the high-branching, leafless boughs
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