DayPoems: A Seven-Century Poetry Slam
93,142 lines of verse *
Timothy Bovee, editor

Quis Separabit?

Philip Joseph Holdsworth


All my life's short years had been stern and sterile --
I stood like one whom the blasts blow back --
As with shipmen whirled through the straits of Peril,
So fierce foes menaced my every track.

But I steeled my soul to a strong endeavour,
I bared my brow as the sharp strokes fell,
And I said to my heart -- "Hope on! Hope ever:
Have Courage -- Courage, and all is well."

Then, bright as the blood in my heart's rich chalice,
O Blossom, Blossom! -- you came from far;
And life rang joy, till the World's loud malice
Shrilled to the edge of our utmost star.

And I said: "On me let the rough storms hurtle,
The great clouds gather and shroud my sun --
But you shall be Queen where the rose and myrtle
Laugh with the year till the year is done."

So my Dream fell dead; and the fluctuant passion --
The stress and strain of the past re-grew,
The world laughed on in its heedless fashion,
But Earth whirled worthless, because of you!

In that Lake of Tears which my grief discovered,
I laid dead Love with a passionate kiss,
And over those soundless depths has hovered
The sweet, sad wraith of my vanished bliss.

Heart clings to Heart -- let the strange years sever
The fates of two who had met -- to part;
Love's strength survives, and the harsh world never
Shall crush the passion of heart for heart;

For I know my life, though it droop and dwindle,
Shall leave me Love till I fade and die,
And when hereafter our Souls re-kindle,
Who shall be fonder -- You or I?

My Heart Is Like My Home

Rachael Fernley

21st Century

Age 13

My heart is like my home, broken yet loved.
I hold back the tears like a secret
they're kept hidden for a while, but soon released.
I stare at the mirror, so confused, since it reflects happiness and tranquility
but my heart reflects pain and death,
if only that stranger was me.
I drown in the silence,and get lost in my thoughts,
thoughts of youthful glee and present sorrow.
I want to die, I need to live.
Every day,i wait for the end and the beginning.
Neither will come, I know this now
yet I still wait, discontent and alone
for my heart is like my home.

`The Love in her Eyes lay Sleeping'

William Forster


The love in her eyes lay sleeping,
As stars that unconscious shine,
Till, under the pink lids peeping,
I wakened it up with mine;
And we pledged our troth to a brimming oath
In a bumper of blood-red wine.
Alas! too well I know
That it happened long ago;
Those memories yet remain,
And sting, like throbs of pain,
And I'm alone below,
But still the red wine warms, and the rosy goblets glow;
If love be the heart's enslaver,
'Tis wine that subdues the head.
But which has the fairest flavour,
And whose is the soonest shed?
Wine waxes in power in that desolate hour
When the glory of love is dead.
Love lives on beauty's ray,
But night comes after day,
And when the exhausted sun
His high career has run,
The stars behind him stay,
And then the light that lasts consoles our darkening way.
When beauty and love are over,
And passion has spent its rage,
And the spectres of memory hover,
And glare on life's lonely stage,
'Tis wine that remains to kindle the veins
And strengthen the steps of age.
Love takes the taint of years,
And beauty disappears,
But wine in worth matures
The longer it endures,
And more divinely cheers,
And ripens with the suns and mellows with the spheres.

The Outlaw of Loch Lene, from the Irish

Jeremiah Joseph Callanan


O MANY a day have I made good ale in the glen,
That came not of stream or malt, like the brewing of men:
My bed was the ground; my roof, the green-wood above;
And the wealth that I sought, one far kind glance from my Love.

Alas! on that night when the horses I drove from the field,
That I was not near from terror my angel to shield!
She stretch'd forth her arms; her mantle she flung to the wind,
And swam o'er Loch Lene, her outlaw'd lover to find.

O would that a freezing sleet-wing'd tempest did sweep,
And I and my love were alone, far off on the deep;
I'd ask not a ship, or a bark, or a pinnace, to save--
With her hand round my waist, I'd fear not the wind or the wave.

'Tis down by the lake where the wild tree fringes its sides,
The maid of my heart, my fair one of Heaven resides:
I think, as at eve she wanders its mazes among,
The birds go to sleep by the sweet wild twist of her song.

The Odyssey

Andrew Lang


AS one that for a weary space has lain
Lull'd by the song of Circe and her wine
In gardens near the pale of Proserpine,
Where that Aeaean isle forgets the main,
And only the low lutes of love complain,
And only shadows of wan lovers pine--
As such an one were glad to know the brine
Salt on his lips, and the large air again--
So gladly from the songs of modern speech
Men turn, and see the stars, and feel the free
Shrill wind beyond the close of heavy flowers,
And through the music of the languid hours
They hear like Ocean on a western beach
The surge and thunder of the Odyssey.

Lament of the Irish Emigrant

Helen Selina, Lady Dufferin


I'M sittin' on the stile, Mary,
Where we sat side by side
On a bright May mornin' long ago,
When first you were my bride;
The corn was springin' fresh and green,
And the lark sang loud and high--
And the red was on your lip, Mary,
And the love-light in your eye.

The place is little changed, Mary,
The day is bright as then,
The lark's loud song is in my ear,
And the corn is green again;
But I miss the soft clasp of your hand,
And your breath warm on my cheek,
And I still keep list'ning for the words
You never more will speak.

'Tis but a step down yonder lane,
And the little church stands near,
The church where we were wed, Mary,
I see the spire from here.
But the graveyard lies between, Mary,
And my step might break your rest--
For I've laid you, darling! down to sleep,
With your baby on your breast.

I'm very lonely now, Mary,
For the poor make no new friends,
But, O, they love the better still,
The few our Father sends!
And you were all I had, Mary,
My blessin' and my pride:
There 's nothin' left to care for now,
Since my poor Mary died.

Yours was the good, brave heart, Mary,
That still kept hoping on,
When the trust in God had left my soul,
And my arm's young strength was gone:
There was comfort ever on your lip,
And the kind look on your brow--
I bless you, Mary, for that same,
Though you cannot hear me now.

I thank you for the patient smile
When your heart was fit to break,
When the hunger pain was gnawin' there,
And you hid it, for my sake!
I bless you for the pleasant word,
When your heart was sad and sore--
O, I'm thankful you are gone, Mary,
Where grief can't reach you more!

I'm biddin' you a long farewell,
My Mary--kind and true!
But I'll not forget you, darling!
In the land I'm goin' to;
They say there 's bread and work for all,
And the sun shines always there--
But I'll not forget old Ireland,
Were it fifty times as fair!

And often in those grand old woods
I'll sit, and shut my eyes,
And my heart will travel back again
To the place where Mary lies;
And I'll think I see the little stile
Where we sat side by side:
And the springin' corn, and the bright May morn,
When first you were my bride.

The Dreamer

Nicholas Vachel Lindsay


"~Why do you seek the sun,
In your Bubble-Crown ascending?
Your chariot will melt to mist,
Your crown will have an ending.~"
"Nay, sun is but a Bubble,
Earth is a whiff of Foam --
To my caves on the coast of Thule
Each night I call them home.
Thence Faiths blow forth to angels
And Loves blow forth to men --
They break and turn to nothing
And I make them whole again:
On the crested waves of chaos
I ride them back reborn:
New stars I bring at evening
For those that burst at morn:
My soul is the wind of Thule
And evening is the sign,
The sun is but a Bubble,
A fragile child of mine."

Amantium Irae

Richard Edwardes


IN going to my naked bed as one that would have slept,
I heard a wife sing to her child, that long before had wept;
She sighed sore and sang full sweet, to bring the babe to rest,
That would not cease but cried still, in sucking at her breast.
She was full weary of her watch, and grieved with her child,
She rocked it and rated it, till that on her it smiled.
Then did she say, Now have I found this proverb true to prove,
The falling out of faithful friends renewing is of love.

Then took I paper, pen, and ink, this proverb for to write,
In register for to remain of such a worthy wight:
As she proceeded thus in song unto her little brat,
Much matter utter'd she of weight, in place whereas she sat:
And proved plain there was no beast, nor creature bearing life,
Could well be known to live in love without discord and strife:
Then kissed she her little babe, and sware by God above,
The falling out of faithful friends renewing is of love.

She said that neither king nor prince nor lord could live aright,
Until their puissance they did prove, their manhood and their might.
When manhood shall be matched so that fear can take no place,
Then weary works make warriors each other to embrace,
And left their force that failed them, which did consume the rout,
That might before have lived their time, their strength and nature out:
Then did she sing as one that thought no man could her reprove,
The falling out of faithful friends renewing is of love.

She said she saw no fish nor fowl, nor beast within her haunt,
That met a stranger in their kind, but could give it a taunt:
Since flesh might not endure, but rest must wrath succeed,
And force the fight to fall to play in pasture where they feed,
So noble nature can well end the work she hath begun,
And bridle well that will not cease her tragedy in some:
Thus in song she oft rehearsed, as did her well behove,
The falling out of faithful friends renewing is of love.

I marvel much pardy (quoth she) for to behold the rout,
To see man, woman, boy and beast, to toss the world about:
Some kneel, some crouch, some beck, some check, and some can smoothly
And some embrace others in arm, and there think many a wile,
Some stand aloof at cap and knee, some humble and some stout,
Yet are they never friends in deed until they once fall out:
Thus ended she her song and said, before she did remove,
The falling out of faithful friends renewing is of love.

The Resolve

Alexander Brome


TELL me not of a face that 's fair,
Nor lip and cheek that 's red,
Nor of the tresses of her hair,
Nor curls in order laid,
Nor of a rare seraphic voice
That like an angel sings;
Though if I were to take my choice
I would have all these things:
But if that thou wilt have me love,
And it must be a she,
The only argument can move
Is that she will love me.

The glories of your ladies be
But metaphors of things,
And but resemble what we see
Each common object brings.
Roses out-red their lips and cheeks,
Lilies their whiteness stain;
What fool is he that shadows seeks
And may the substance gain?
Then if thou'lt have me love a lass,
Let it be one that 's kind:
Else I'm a servant to the glass
That 's with Canary lined.

To a Cabbage Rose

Henry Lea Twisleton

Born 11/9/1847

Thy clustering leaves are steeped in splendour;
No evening red, no morning dun,
Can show a hue as rich and tender
As thine -- bright lover of the sun!

What wondrous hints of hidden glory,
Of strains no human lips can sing;
What symbols rare of life's strange story,
Dost thou from earth's dark bosom bring!

What elements have made thy sweetness,
Thy glowing hue, thy emerald stem?
What hand has fashioned to completeness
From tiny germ, thy diadem?

Thou art the fair earth's fond expression
Of tenderness for heaven above --
The virgin blush that yields confession --
Thou bright "ambassador of love"!

Fair are thy leaves when summer glowing
Lies in the lap of swooning spring;
But where art thou when autumn, blowing,
Bids youth and tenderness take wing?

Sweet messenger! thou waftest beauty
Wherever human lives are sown,
Around the peasant's humble duty
Or weary grandeurs of a throne.

Transfused through hearts in future ages,
Thy glowing power anew may shine
Effulgent in the poets' pages
Or music's harmony divine.

But not to thee from future glory
Can shine one added charm or day;
Sweet is thy life's unwritten story
Of radiant bloom and swift decay.

Give, then, to vagrant winds thy sweetness,
Shine, tearful, in the summer shower;
And, heedless of thy season's fleetness,
Enrich with joy the passing hour.

When I am dead and Sister to the Dust

Elsa Barker


When I am dead and sister to the dust;
When no more avidly I drink the wine
Of human love; when the pale Proserpine
Has covered me with poppies, and cold rust
Has cut my lyre-strings, and the sun has thrust
Me underground to nourish the world-vine, --
Men shall discover these old songs of mine,
And say: This woman lived -- as poets must!

This woman lived and wore life as a sword
To conquer wisdom; this dead woman read
In the sealed Book of Love and underscored
The meanings. Then the sails of faith she spread,
And faring out for regions unexplored,
Went singing down the River of the Dead.

Let that love begin

Todd Black

21st Century

Love me in that special way
Keep me close at your heart,
Think of me as here to stay, and never far apart.
Come and take me by the hand
Walk with me through the park,
Show me that you understand, and hold me close after dark.
Let me look into your eyes,
feel the warmth within,
Hear your soft and tender sighs, let that love begin.
Kiss me in the morning,
Keep me dreaming,throughout the day,
Never wake me without warning,
Help me keep my fears at bay.
Make this empty life worth living,
Be my questions,be my answers,
Show me love take all my giving,
And keep oyur faith in this romancer.
Right now let that love begain,
And keep it strong and true,
So I can go to bed again,
At peace and loving you...