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


The Happiest Heart

John Vance Cheney

1848-1922



Who drives the horses of the sun
Shall lord it but a day;
Better the lowly deed were done,
And kept the humble way.

The rust will find the sword of fame,
The dust will hide the crown;
Ay, none shall nail so high his name
Time will not tear it down.

The happiest heart that ever beat
Was in some quiet breast
That found the common daylight sweet,
And left to Heaven the rest.




Falling

Edward Butterfield

21st Century



I'm falling and there seems to be no ground
Accelerating through air thinking I might drown
Gasp for air cause I feel out of breath
Plunging to this eternal death
This never-ending feeling of unrest

Yet my mind seems to be functioning at a normal rate
My thoughts are clear even though I can't escape
This sensation of being out of control
Life flashing before me as if my fortune is being told

Click my heels three times to go home
But that is where the hatred roams
Where my innate love was born
Where those heart felt feelings were torn
Apart by the jealousy and lies
My mother kicking me out so she could survive

Too young to understand the inner workings of a man
Who could not accept you as his own?
And would deprive a mother of a son who is barely grown
So I took to the streets that welcomed me with open arms
Running from the law setting off burglar alarms

Now my final resting place is this cell
Where I write to escape this hell
To be conscious of my conscious is my calling
Maybe one day I will stop from falling

Copyright 2002 by Edward Butterfield. All rights reserved.




Give All to Love

Ralph Waldo Emerson

1803-1882



GIVE all to love;
Obey thy heart;
Friends, kindred, days,
Estate, good fame,
Plans, credit, and the Muse--
Nothing refuse.

'Tis a brave master;
Let it have scope:
Follow it utterly,
Hope beyond hope:
High and more high
It dives into noon,
With wing unspent,
Untold intent;
But it is a god,
Knows its own path,
And the outlets of the sky.

It was never for the mean;
It requireth courage stout,
Souls above doubt,
Valour unbending:
Such 'twill reward;--
They shall return
More than they were,
And ever ascending.

Leave all for love;
Yet, hear me, yet,
One word more thy heart behoved,
One pulse more of firm endeavour--
Keep thee to-day,
To-morrow, for ever,
Free as an Arab
Of thy beloved.

Cling with life to the maid;
But when the surprise,
First vague shadow of surmise,
Flits across her bosom young,
Of a joy apart from thee,
Free be she, fancy-free;
Nor thou detain her vesture's hem,
Nor the palest rose she flung
From her summer diadem.

Though thou loved her as thyself,
As a self of purer clay;
Though her parting dims the day,
Stealing grace from all alive;
Heartily know,
When half-gods go
The gods arrive.




To the Cuckoo

John Logan

1748-1788



HAIL, beauteous stranger of the grove!
Thou messenger of Spring!
Now Heaven repairs thy rural seat,
And woods thy welcome ring.

What time the daisy decks the green,
Thy certain voice we hear:
Hast thou a star to guide thy path,
Or mark the rolling year?

Delightful visitant! with thee
I hail the time of flowers,
And hear the sound of music sweet
From birds among the bowers.

The schoolboy, wand'ring through the wood
To pull the primrose gay,
Starts, the new voice of Spring to hear,
And imitates thy lay.

What time the pea puts on the bloom,
Thou fli'st thy vocal vale,
An annual guest in other lands,
Another Spring to hail.

Sweet bird! thy bower is ever green,
Thy sky is ever clear;
Thou hast no sorrow in thy song,
No Winter in thy year!

O could I fly, I'd fly with thee!
We'd make, with joyful wing,
Our annual visit o'er the globe,
Companions of the Spring.




Jessie

Thomas Edward Brown

1830-1897



WHEN Jessie comes with her soft breast,
And yields the golden keys,
Then is it as if God caress'd
Twin babes upon His knees--
Twin babes that, each to other press'd,
Just feel the Father's arms, wherewith they both are bless'd.

But when I think if we must part,
And all this personal dream be fled--
O then my heart! O then my useless heart!
Would God that thou wert dead--
A clod insensible to joys and ills--
A stone remote in some bleak gully of the hills!




As in the Midst of Battle there is Room

George Santayana

1863-1952



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.




May

Edward Thurlow, Lord Thurlow

1781-1829



MAY! queen of blossoms,
And fulfilling flowers,
With what pretty music
Shall we charm the hours?
Wilt thou have pipe and reed,
Blown in the open mead?
Or to the lute give heed
In the green bowers?

Thou hast no need of us,
Or pipe or wire;
Thou hast the golden bee
Ripen'd with fire;
And many thousand more
Songsters, that thee adore,
Filling earth's grassy floor
With new desire.

Thou hast thy mighty herds,
Tame and free-livers;
Doubt not, thy music too
In the deep rivers;
And the whole plumy flight
Warbling the day and night--
Up at the gates of light,
See, the lark quivers!




Jolly Good Ale and Old

William Stevenson

1530?-1575



I CANNOT eat but little meat,
My stomach is not good;
But sure I think that I can drink
With him that wears a hood.
Though I go bare, take ye no care,
I nothing am a-cold;
I stuff my skin so full within
Of jolly good ale and old.
Back and side go bare, go bare;
Both foot and hand go cold;
But, belly, God send thee good ale enough,
Whether it be new or old.

I love no roast but a nut-brown toast,
And a crab laid in the fire;
A little bread shall do me stead;
Much bread I not desire.
No frost nor snow, no wind, I trow,
Can hurt me if I wold;
I am so wrapp'd and thoroughly lapp'd
Of jolly good ale and old.
Back and side go bare, go bare, &c.

And Tib, my wife, that as her life
Loveth well good ale to seek,
Full oft drinks she till ye may see
The tears run down her cheek:
Then doth she trowl to me the bowl
Even as a maltworm should,
And saith, 'Sweetheart, I took my part
Of this jolly good ale and old.'
Back and side go bare, go bare, &c.

Now let them drink till they nod and wink,
Even as good fellows should do;
They shall not miss to have the bliss
Good ale doth bring men to;
And all poor souls that have scour'd bowls
Or have them lustily troll'd,
God save the lives of them and their wives,
Whether they be young or old.
Back and side go bare, go bare;
Both foot and hand go cold;
But, belly, God send thee good ale enough,
Whether it be new or old.




Song

Sir George Etherege

1635-1691



LADIES, though to your conquering eyes
Love owes his chiefest victories,
And borrows those bright arms from you
With which he does the world subdue,
Yet you yourselves are not above
The empire nor the griefs of love.

Then rack not lovers with disdain,
Lest Love on you revenge their pain:
You are not free because you're fair:
The Boy did not his Mother spare.
Beauty 's but an offensive dart:
It is no armour for the heart.




The Chatelaine

M. A. Sinclair

19th Century



I have built one, so have you;
Paved with marble, domed with blue,
Battlement and ladies' bower,
Donjon keep and watchman's tower.

I have climbed, as you have done,
To the tower at set of sun --
Crying from its parlous height,
"Watchman, tell us of the night."

I have stolen at midnight bell,
Like you, to the secret cell,
Shuddering at its charnel breath --
Left lockfast the spectre, Death.

I have used your lure to call
Choice guests to my golden hall:
Rarely welcome, rarely free
To my hospitality.

In a glow of rosy light
Hours, like minutes, take their flight --
As from you they fled away,
When, like you, I bade them stay.

Ah! the pretty flow of wit,
And the good hearts under it;
While the wheels of life go round
With a most melodious sound.

Not a vestige anywhere
Of our grim familiar, Care --
Roses! from the trees of yore
Blooming by the rivers four.

Not a jar, and not a fret;
Ecstasy and longing met.
But why should I thus define --
Is not your chateau like mine?

Scarcely were it strange to meet
In that magic realm so sweet,
So! I'll take this dreamland train
Bound for my chateau in Spain.




Invocation

Clara Shanafelt

20th Century



O Glass-Blower of time,
Hast blown all shapes at thy fire?
Canst thou no lovelier bell,
No clearer bubble, clear as delight, inflate me --
Worthy to hold such wine
As was never yet trod from the grape,
Since the stars shed their light, since the moon
Troubled the night with her beauty?




The Red Winged Blackbird

Kate Watkins Furman

21st Century



It's said that once, long, long ago,
When Christ had come to die,
The Blackbird saw Him on the cross
And wouldn't pass Him by.

He landed there, beside Our Lord
To see what he could do
To free the deadly crown of thorns
That pierced Our Savior through.

He worked to free the largest thorn
And ease the stinging pain,
Ignoring angry skies and winds
The ever lashing rain.

And when, at least, the thorn broke free
Through strength that true love brings,
The Precious Blood of Heaven’s King
Splashed on his outstretched wings.

The Blackbird's deed was blessed by God
And to this day he's seen,
Bearing the red of his Master's Blood
Across the fields of green !