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


John Marshall

19th Century

In the Blue Grass region
A paradox was born
The corn was full of kernels
And the Colonels full of corn.


Cate Dumez

21st Century

It was colder than it ought to be in January
But you took my chills and made them go away
The world dug a hole for my heart to be buried
It was you that kept me from falling in
I held my hand out and hoped you'd take it
My hands are ice, I need you to warm them
You made a promise, please don't break it
You said you'd never leave me cold and alone
A desert storm sweeps through my head
So fierce and angry, yet so empty
I can't remember the words you said
The things you said before, "Goodbye"
So now I'm here, without you
My hope melts away, but I grow cold deep inside
Before I was so sure about life, But now that's not true
I've lost all sense of what I am, from what I was
Without you...

Spring Bereaved 2

William Drummond, of Hawthornden


SWEET Spring, thou turn'st with all thy goodly train,
Thy head with flames, thy mantle bright with flow'rs:
The zephyrs curl the green locks of the plain,
The clouds for joy in pearls weep down their show'rs.
Thou turn'st, sweet youth, but ah! my pleasant hours
And happy days with thee come not again;
The sad memorials only of my pain
Do with thee turn, which turn my sweets in sours.
Thou art the same which still thou wast before,
Delicious, wanton, amiable, fair;
But she, whose breath embalm'd thy wholesome air,
Is gone--nor gold nor gems her can restore.
Neglected virtue, seasons go and come,
While thine forgot lie closed in a tomb.

Old King Cole

Edward Arlington Robinson


In Tilbury Town did Old King Cole
A wise old age anticipate,
Desiring, with his pipe and bowl,
No Khan's extravagant estate.
No crown annoyed his honest head,
No fiddlers three were called or needed;
For two disastrous heirs instead
Made music more than ever three did.

Bereft of her with whom his life
Was harmony without a flaw,
He took no other for a wife,
Nor sighed for any that he saw;
And if he doubted his two sons,
And heirs, Alexis and Evander,
He might have been as doubtful once
Of Robert Burns and Alexander.

Alexis, in his early youth,
Began to steal -- from old and young.
Likewise Evander, and the truth
Was like a bad taste on his tongue.
Born thieves and liars, their affair
Seemed only to be tarred with evil --
The most insufferable pair
Of scamps that ever cheered the devil.

The world went on, their fame went on,
And they went on -- from bad to worse;
Till, goaded hot with nothing done,
And each accoutred with a curse,
The friends of Old King Cole, by twos,
And fours, and sevens, and elevens,
Pronounced unalterable views
Of doings that were not of heaven's.

And having learned again whereby
Their baleful zeal had come about,
King Cole met many a wrathful eye
So kindly that its wrath went out --
Or partly out. Say what they would,
He seemed the more to court their candor;
But never told what kind of good
Was in Alexis and Evander.

And Old King Cole, with many a puff
That haloed his urbanity,
Would smoke till he had smoked enough,
And listen most attentively.
He beamed as with an inward light
That had the Lord's assurance in it;
And once a man was there all night,
Expecting something every minute.

But whether from too little thought,
Or too much fealty to the bowl,
A dim reward was all he got
For sitting up with Old King Cole.
"Though mine," the father mused aloud,
"Are not the sons I would have chosen,
Shall I, less evilly endowed,
By their infirmity be frozen?

"They'll have a bad end, I'll agree,
But I was never born to groan;
For I can see what I can see,
And I'm accordingly alone.
With open heart and open door,
I love my friends, I like my neighbors;
But if I try to tell you more,
Your doubts will overmatch my labors.

"This pipe would never make me calm,
This bowl my grief would never drown.
For grief like mine there is no balm
In Gilead, or in Tilbury Town.
And if I see what I can see,
I know not any way to blind it;
Nor more if any way may be
For you to grope or fly to find it.

"There may be room for ruin yet,
And ashes for a wasted love;
Or, like One whom you may forget,
I may have meat you know not of.
And if I'd rather live than weep
Meanwhile, do you find that surprising?
Why, bless my soul, the man's asleep!
That's good. The sun will soon be rising."

`Through Pleasant Paths'

James Lionel Michael


Through pleasant paths, through dainty ways,
Love leads my feet;
Where beauty shines with living rays,
Soft, gentle, sweet;
The placid heart at random strays,
And sings, and smiles, and laughs and plays,
And gathers from the summer days
Their light and heat,
That in its chambers burn and blaze
And beam and beat.

I throw myself among the ferns
Under the shade,
And watch the summer sun that burns
On dell and glade;
To thee, my dear, my fancy turns,
In thee its Paradise discerns,
For thee it sighs, for thee it yearns,
My chosen maid;
And that still depth of passion learns
Which cannot fade.

The wind that whispers in the night,
Subtle and free,
The gorgeous noonday's blinding light,
On hill and tree,
All lovely things that meet my sight,
All shifting lovelinesses bright,
Speak to my heart with calm delight,
Seeming to be
Cloth'd with enchantment, robed in white,
To sing of thee.

The ways of life are hard and cold
To one alone;
Bitter the strife for place and gold --
We weep and groan:
But when love warms the heart grows bold;
And when our arms the prize enfold,
Dearest! the heart can hardly hold
The bliss unknown,
Unspoken, never to be told --
My own, my own!


Robert Greene


LIKE to Diana in her summer weed,
Girt with a crimson robe of brightest dye,
Goes fair Samela.
Whiter than be the flocks that straggling feed
When wash'd by Arethusa faint they lie,
Is fair Samela.
As fair Aurora in her morning grey,
Deck'd with the ruddy glister of her love
Is fair Samela;
Like lovely Thetis on a calmed day
Whenas her brightness Neptune's fancy move,
Shines fair Samela.

Her tresses gold, her eyes like glassy streams,
Her teeth are pearl, the breasts are ivory
Of fair Samela;
Her cheeks like rose and lily yield forth gleams;
Her brows bright arches framed of ebony.
Thus fair Samela
Passeth fair Venus in her bravest hue,
And Juno in the show of majesty
(For she 's Samela!),
Pallas in wit,--all three, if you well view,
For beauty, wit, and matchless dignity,
Yield to Samela.

Dominus Illuminatio Mea


19th Century

IN the hour of death, after this life's whim,
When the heart beats low, and the eyes grow dim,
And pain has exhausted every limb--
The lover of the Lord shall trust in Him.

When the will has forgotten the lifelong aim,
And the mind can only disgrace its fame,
And a man is uncertain of his own name--
The power of the Lord shall fill this frame.

When the last sigh is heaved, and the last tear shed,
And the coffin is waiting beside the bed,
And the widow and child forsake the dead--
The angel of the Lord shall lift this head.

For even the purest delight may pall,
And power must fail, and the pride must fall,
And the love of the dearest friends grow small--
But the glory of the Lord is all in all.

The Holy Tide

Frederick Tennyson


THE days are sad, it is the Holy tide:
The Winter morn is short, the Night is long;
So let the lifeless Hours be glorified
With deathless thoughts and echo'd in sweet song:
And through the sunset of this purple cup
They will resume the roses of their prime,
And the old Dead will hear us and wake up,
Pass with dim smiles and make our hearts sublime!

The days are sad, it is the Holy tide:
Be dusky mistletoes and hollies strown,
Sharp as the spear that pierced His sacred side,
Red as the drops upon His thorny crown;
No haggard Passion and no lawless Mirth
Fright off the solemn Muse,--tell sweet old tales,
Sing songs as we sit brooding o'er the hearth,
Till the lamp flickers, and the memory fails.

Maritae Suae

William Philpot



OF all the flowers rising now,
Thou only saw'st the head
Of that unopen'd drop of snow
I placed beside thy bed.

In all the blooms that blow so fast,
Thou hast no further part,
Save those the hour I saw thee last,
I laid above thy heart.

Two snowdrops for our boy and girl,
A primrose blown for me,
Wreathed with one often-play'd-with curl
From each bright head for thee.

And so I graced thee for thy grave,
And made these tokens fast
With that old silver heart I gave,
My first gift--and my last.


I dream'd, her babe upon her breast,
Here she might lie and calmly rest
Her happy eyes on that far hill
That backs the landscape fresh and still.

I hoped her thoughts would thrid the boughs
Where careless birds on love carouse,
And gaze those apple-blossoms through
To revel in the boundless blue.

But now her faculty of sight
Is elder sister to the light,
And travels free and unconfined
Through dense and rare, through form and mind.

Or else her life to be complete
Hath found new channels full and meet--
Then, O, what eyes are leaning o'er,
If fairer than they were before!

Miniver Cheevy

Edwin Arlington Robinson


Miniver Cheevy, child of scorn,
Grew lean while he assailed the seasons;
He wept that he was ever born,
And he had reasons.

Miniver loved the days of old
When swords were bright and steeds were prancing;
The vision of a warrior bold
Would set him dancing.

Miniver sighed for what was not,
And dreamed, and rested from his labors;
He dreamed of Thebes and Camelot,
And Priam's neighbors.

Miniver mourned the ripe renown
That made so many a name so fragrant;
He mourned Romance, now on the town,
And Art, a vagrant.

Miniver loved the Medici,
Albeit he had never seen one;
He would have sinned incessantly
Could he have been one.

Miniver cursed the commonplace
And eyed a khaki suit with loathing;
He missed the mediaeval grace
Of iron clothing.

Miniver scorned the gold he sought,
But sore annoyed was he without it;
Miniver thought, and thought, and thought,
And thought about it.

Miniver Cheevy, born too late,
Scratched his head and kept on thinking;
Miniver coughed, and called it fate,
And kept on drinking.

Phillis 1

Thomas Lodge


MY Phillis hath the morning sun
At first to look upon her;
And Phillis hath morn-waking birds
Her risings still to honour.
My Phillis hath prime-feather'd flowers,
That smile when she treads on them;
And Phillis hath a gallant flock,
That leaps since she doth own them.
But Phillis hath too hard a heart,
Alas that she should have it!
It yields no mercy to desert,
Nor grace to those that crave it.


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.