DayPoems: A Seven-Century Poetry Slam
93,142 lines of verse * www.daypoems.net
Timothy Bovee, editor
COME not in terrors clad, to claim
An unresisting prey:
Come like an evening shadow, Death!
So stealthily, so silently!
And shut mine eyes, and steal my breath;
Then willingly, O willingly,
With thee I'll go away!
What need to clutch with iron grasp
What gentlest touch may take?
What need with aspect dark to scare,
So awfully, so terribly,
The weary soul would hardly care,
Call'd quietly, call'd tenderly,
From thy dread power to break?
'Tis not as when thou markest out
The young, the blest, the gay,
The loved, the loving--they who dream
So happily, so hopefully;
Then harsh thy kindest call may seem,
And shrinkingly, reluctantly,
The summon'd may obey.
But I have drunk enough of life--
The cup assign'd to me
Dash'd with a little sweet at best,
So scantily, so scantily--
To know full well that all the rest
More bitterly, more bitterly,
Drugg'd to the last will be.
And I may live to pain some heart
That kindly cares for me:
To pain, but not to bless. O Death!
Come quietly--come lovingly--
And shut mine eyes, and steal my breath;
Then willingly, O willingly,
I'll go away with thee!
I have seen it...
I have seen it with my very eyes...
Yes. I have seen it.
Beware; it takes many shapes...
In fact, it's shapeless and also colourless.
Yes, I can testify that I have seen it.
How did I see it?
I closed my eyes. I talked to the Trees.
Even Water and Fire showed me all...
I comes under many forms...
One might only see its' effect.
I don't care how one choose to call it...
I call it Destruction.
Destruction of the Earth.
Destruction of Animals.
Destruction of Human Families.
Even destruction of life itself.
Oh! No...I am sorry ...
That is what we call progress...
That is what we call development.
O love that is not Love, but dear, so dear!
That is not love because it goes full soon,
Like flower born and dead within one moon,
And yet is love, for that it comes too near
The guarded fane where love alone may peer,
Ere, like young spring by summer soon outshone,
It trembles into death; yet comes anon
As thoughts of spring will come though summer's here.
O star prelusive to a dream more fair,
Within my heart I'll keep a heaven for thee
Where thou mayst freely come and freely go,
Touching with thy faint gold ere I am 'ware
A twilight hope -- a dawn I did not see --
O love that is not Love, but nearly so!
O JOY of creation,
O rapture, to fly
And be free!
Be the battle lost or won,
Though its smoke shall hide the sun,
I shall find my love--the one
Born for me!
I shall know him where he stands
With the power in his hands
I shall know him by his face,
By his godlike front and grace;
I shall hold him for a space
All my own!
It is he--O my love!
It is I--all thy love
It is I--O love, what bliss!
Dost thou answer to my kiss?
O sweetheart! what is this
Lieth there so cold?
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.
AH, Chloris! that I now could sit
As unconcern'd as when
Your infant beauty could beget
No pleasure, nor no pain!
When I the dawn used to admire,
And praised the coming day,
I little thought the growing fire
Must take my rest away.
Your charms in harmless childhood lay
Like metals in the mine;
Age from no face took more away
Than youth conceal'd in thine.
But as your charms insensibly
To their perfection prest,
Fond love as unperceived did fly,
And in my bosom rest.
My passion with your beauty grew,
And Cupid at my heart,
Still as his mother favour'd you,
Threw a new flaming dart:
Each gloried in their wanton part;
To make a lover, he
Employ'd the utmost of his art--
To make a beauty, she.
Is there no voice in the world to come crying,
"New dreams for old!
New for old!"?
Many have long in my heart been lying,
Faded, weary, and cold.
All of them, all, would I give for a new one.
(Is there no seeker
Of dreams that were?)
Nor would I ask if the new were a true one:
Only for new dreams!
New for old!
For I am here, half way of my journey,
Here with the old!
All so old!
And the best heart with death is at tourney,
If naught new it is told.
Will there no voice, then, come -- or a vision --
Come with the beauty
That ever blows
Out of the lands that are called Elysian?
I must have new dreams!
New for old!
WHEN like the early rose,
Beauty in childhood blows,
When, like a diadem,
Buds blush around the stem,
Which is the fairest gem?--
Is it the laughing eye,
Is it the timid sigh,
Is it the tender tone,
Soft as the string'd harp's moan?
O, it is truth alone,--
When like the rising day,
Love sends his early ray,
What makes his dawning glow,
Changeless through joy or woe?
Only the constant know:--
I know a valley fair,
I knew a cottage there,
Far in that valley's shade
I knew a gentle maid,
Flower of a hazel glade,--
Who in the song so sweet?
Who in the dance so fleet?
Dear were her charms to me,
Dearer her laughter free,
Dearest her constancy,--
Were she no longer true,
What should her lover do?
Fly with his broken chain
Far o'er the sounding main,
Never to love again,--
Youth must with time decay,
Beauty must fade away,
Castles are sack'd in war,
Chieftains are scatter'd far,
Truth is a fixed star,--
Music I heard with you was more than music,
And bread I broke with you was more than bread;
Now that I am without you, all is desolate;
All that was once so beautiful is dead.
Your hands once touched this table and this silver,
And I have seen your fingers hold this glass.
These things do not remember you, beloved, --
And yet your touch upon them will not pass.
For it was in my heart you moved among them,
And blessed them with your hands and with your eyes;
And in my heart they will remember always, --
They knew you once, O beautiful and wise.
At the gate of the West I stand,
On the isle where the nations throng.
We call them "scum o' the earth";
Stay, are we doing you wrong,
Young fellow from Socrates' land? --
You, like a Hermes so lissome and strong
Fresh from the Master Praxiteles' hand?
So you're of Spartan birth?
Descended, perhaps, from one of the band --
Deathless in story and song --
Who combed their long hair at Thermopylae's pass?
Ah, I forget the straits, alas!
More tragic than theirs, more compassion-worth,
That have doomed you to march in our "immigrant class"
Where you're nothing but "scum o' the earth".
You Pole with the child on your knee,
What dower bring you to the land of the free?
Hark! does she croon
That sad little tune
That Chopin once found on his Polish lea
And mounted in gold for you and for me?
Now a ragged young fiddler answers
In wild Czech melody
That Dvorak took whole from the dancers.
And the heavy faces bloom
In the wonderful Slavic way;
The little, dull eyes, the brows a-gloom,
Suddenly dawn like the day.
While, watching these folk and their mystery,
I forget that they're nothing worth;
That Bohemians, Slovaks, Croatians,
And men of all Slavic nations
Are "polacks" -- and "scum o' the earth".
Genoese boy of the level brow,
Lad of the lustrous, dreamy eyes
A-stare at Manhattan's pinnacles now
In the first sweet shock of a hushed surprise;
Within your far-rapt seer's eyes
I catch the glow of the wild surmise
That played on the Santa Maria's prow
In that still gray dawn,
Four centuries gone,
When a world from the wave began to rise.
Oh, it's hard to foretell what high emprise
Is the goal that gleams
When Italy's dreams
Spread wing and sweep into the skies.
Caesar dreamed him a world ruled well;
Dante dreamed Heaven out of Hell;
Angelo brought us there to dwell;
And you, are you of a different birth? --
You're only a "dago", -- and "scum o' the earth"!
Stay, are we doing you wrong
Calling you "scum o' the earth",
Man of the sorrow-bowed head,
Of the features tender yet strong, --
Man of the eyes full of wisdom and mystery
Mingled with patience and dread?
Have not I known you in history,
Were you the poet-king, worth
Treasures of Ophir unpriced?
Were you the prophet, perchance, whose art
Foretold how the rabble would mock
That shepherd of spirits, erelong,
Who should carry the lambs on his heart
And tenderly feed his flock?
Man -- lift that sorrow-bowed head.
Lo! 't is the face of the Christ!
The vision dies at its birth.
You're merely a butt for our mirth.
You're a "sheeny" -- and therefore despised
And rejected as "scum o' the earth".
Countrymen, bend and invoke
Mercy for us blasphemers,
For that we spat on these marvelous folk,
Nations of darers and dreamers,
Scions of singers and seers,
Our peers, and more than our peers.
"Rabble and refuse", we name them
And "scum o' the earth", to shame them.
Mercy for us of the few, young years,
Of the culture so callow and crude,
Of the hands so grasping and rude,
The lips so ready for sneers
At the sons of our ancient more-than-peers.
Mercy for us who dare despise
Men in whose loins our Homer lies;
Mothers of men who shall bring to us
The glory of Titian, the grandeur of Huss;
Children in whose frail arms shall rest
Prophets and singers and saints of the West.
Newcomers all from the eastern seas,
Help us incarnate dreams like these.
Forget, and forgive, that we did you wrong.
Help us to father a nation, strong
In the comradeship of an equal birth,
In the wealth of the richest bloods of earth.
THIS is a spray the Bird clung to,
Making it blossom with pleasure,
Ere the high tree-top she sprung to,
Fit for her nest and her treasure.
O, what a hope beyond measure
Was the poor spray's, which the flying feet hung to,--
So to be singled out, built in, and sung to!
This is a heart the Queen leant on,
Thrill'd in a minute erratic,
Ere the true bosom she bent on,
Meet for love's regal dalmatic.
O, what a fancy ecstatic
Was the poor heart's, ere the wanderer went on--
Love to be saved for it, proffer'd to, spent on!
already, I am building
an empire of images,
an unclosable coffin of stars
to saturate the ligaments
of my sleeping soul.
Under the smoldering dime
of the moon,
my universe unfolds
against the periphery
of what waits.
Severed from illusion,
clothed in flight,
my shifting persona
wades into the miles bewitched.