The Fairy Fountain, Glasgow International Exhibition - John Lavery (1888)
Untitled - Zdislav Beksinski
Not the sunset poem you make when you think
with its linden tree in India ink
and the telegraph wires across its pink
not the mirror in you and her delicate bare shoulder still glimmering there;
not the lyrical click of a pocket rhyme—
the tiny music that tells the time;
and not the pennies and weights on those evening papers piled up in the rain;
not the cacodemons of carnal pain;
not the things you can say so much better in plain prose—
but the poem that hurtles from heights unknown
—when you wait for the splash of the stone deep below,
and grope for your pen, and then comes the shiver, and then—
in the tangle of sounds, the leopards of words,
the leaflike insects, the eye-spotted birds
fuse and form a silent, intense,
mimetic pattern of perfect sense.
The Poem - Vladimir Nabokov
Her eyes the glow-worm lend thee,
The shooting stars attend thee;
And the elves also,
Whose little eyes glow
Like the sparks of fire, befriend thee.
No Will-o'-th'-Wisp mis-light thee,
Nor snake or slow-worm bite thee;
But on, on thy way,
Not making a stay,
Since ghost there's none to affright thee.
Let not the dark thee cumber;
What though the moon does slumber?
The stars of the night
Will lend thee their light,
Like tapers clear without number.
Then Julia let me woo thee,
Thus, thus to come unto me;
And when I shall meet
Thy silv'ry feet,
My soul I'll pour into thee.
"The Night Piece, to Julia" - Robert Herrick
Good friend, I want to die
Decently in my own bed -
If it might be, made of steel,
And the linens of fine holland.
Can you see the wound I've taken
From my breastbone to my throat?
"On your white shirt you wear
Three hundred swarthy roses.
Your blood is oozing, pungent,
On all sides of your sash.
But I am no longer I
Nor is my house my own house."
Let me at least, then, climb
Up to the high verandas;
Let me climb, then, let me climb
Up to the green verandas,
Balustrades of the moon
Where the water's voice resounds.
From "Somnambulist Ballad" - Federico Garcia Lorca
Tonight I light the candles of my eyes in the lee
And swing down this branch full of red leaves.
Yellow moon, skull and spine of the hare,
Arrow me to town on the neck of the air.
I hear the undertaker make love in the heather;
The candy maker, poor fellow, is under the weather.
Skunk, moose, raccoon, they go to the doors in threes
With a torch in their hands or pleas: "O, please . . ."
Baruch Spinoza and the butcher are drunk:
One is the tail and one is the trunk
Of a beast who dances in circles for beer
And doesn't think twice to learn how to steer.
Our clock is blind, our clock is dumb.
Its hands are broken, its fingers numb.
No time for the martyr of our fair town
Who wasn't a witch because she could drown.
Now the dogs of the cemetery are starting to bark
At the vision of her, bobbing up through the dark.
When she opens her mouth to gasp for air,
A moth flies out and lands in her hair.
"A Rhyme for Halloween" - Maurice Kilwein Guevara
See this house, how dark it is
Beneath its vast-boughed trees!
Not one trembling leaflet cries
To that Watcher in the skies—
‘Remove, remove thy searching gaze,
Innocent of heaven’s ways,
Brood not, Moon, so wildly bright,
On secrets hidden from sight.’
‘Secrets,’ sighs the night-wind,
‘Vacancy is all I find;
Every keyhole I have made
Wails a summons, faint and sad,
No voice ever answers me,
‘Once, once … ’ the cricket shrills,
And far and near the quiet fills
With its tiny voice, and then
Hush falls again.
Mute shadows creeping slow
Mark how the hours go.
Every stone is mouldering slow.
And the least winds that blow
Some minutest atom shake,
Some fretting ruin make
In roof and walls. How black it is
Beneath these thick boughed trees!
"The Empty House" - Walter de La Mare
For our own private reasons
We live in each other for an hour.
Stranger, I take your body and its seasons,
Aware the moon has gone a little sour
For us. The moon hangs up there like a stone
Shaken out of its proper setting.
We lie down in each other. We lie down alone
and watch the moon’s flawed marble getting
Out of hand. What are the dead doing tonight?
The padlocks of their tongues embrace the black,
Each syllable locked in place, tucked out of sight.
Even this moon could never pull them back,
Even if it held them in its arms
And weighed them down with stones,
Took them entirely on their own terms
And piled the orchard’s blossom on their bones.
I am aware of your body and its dangers.
I spread my cloak for you in leafy weather
Where other fugitives and other strangers
Will put their mouths together.
"Reasons" - William Blake"
They are not angels
though they have the hollow look
of beings bred on ether. There’s an air
of cool removal from your life, the hawk’s
indifference to the hare’s terror.
You see it in their palms, raised casually
against the fresco’s surface, as to glass
of submarine or spacecraft, and you see
it in their eyes, oracular, that let you pass
alone to unknown agony. The song
they sing is merely time.
"The Singers" - Todd Hearon
I tell you that I see her still
At the dark entrance of the hall.
One gas lamp burning near her shoulder
Shone also from her other side
Where hung the long inaccurate glass
Whose pictures were as troubled water.
An immense shadow had its hand
Between us on the floor, and seemed
To hump the knuckles nervously,
A giant crab readying to walk,
Or a blanket moving in its sleep.
You will remember, with a smile
Instructed by movies to reminisce,
How strict her corsets must have been,
How the huge arrangements of her hair
Would certainly betray the least
Impassionate displacement there.
It was no rig for dallying,
And maybe only marriage could
Derange that queenly scaffolding—
As when a great ship, coming home,
Coasts in the harbor, dropping sail
And loosing all the tackle that had laced
Her in the long lanes ....
We need not draw this figure out.
But all that whalebone came from whales.
And all the whales lived in the sea,
In calm beneath the troubled glass,
Until the needle drew their blood.
I see her standing in the hall,
Where the mirror’s lashed to blood and foam,
And the black flukes of agony
Beat at the air till the light blows out.
"I Only Am Escaped Alone To Tell Thee" - Howard Nemerov