Tag: Poetry

Keepsake Mill – Robert Louis Stevenson

Over the borders, a sin without pardon,
Breaking the branches and crawling below,
Out through the breach in the wall of the garden,
Down by the banks of the river we go.

Here is a mill with the humming of thunder,
Here is the weir with the wonder of foam,
Here is the sluice with the race running under–
Marvellous places, though handy to home!

Sounds of the village grow stiller and stiller,
Stiller the note of the birds on the hill;
Dusty and dim are the eyes of the miller,
Deaf are his ears with the moil of the mill.

Years may go by, and the wheel in the river
Wheel as it wheels for us, children, to-day,
Wheel and keep roaring and foaming for ever
Long after all of the boys are away.

Home for the Indies and home from the ocean,
Heroes and soldiers we all will come home;
Still we shall find the old mill wheel in motion,
Turning and churning that river to foam.

You with the bean that I gave when we quarrelled,
I with your marble of Saturday last,
Honoured and old and all gaily apparelled,
Here we shall meet and remember the past.

They are not long, the days of wine and roses – Ernest Dowson Poem

Vitae Summa Brevis Spem Nos Vetat Incohare Longam
They are not long, the weeping and the laughter,
Love and desire and hate:
I think they have no portion in us after
We pass the gate.

They are not long, the days of wine and roses:
Out of a misty dream
Our path emerges for a while, then closes
Within a dream.

Ernest Dowson

In 1899 Robert Sherard found Dowson almost penniless in a wine bar. Sherard took him to his cottage in Catford, where Dowson spent his last six weeks.

On 23 February 1900 Dowson died in Catford at the age of 32. He was interred in the Roman Catholic section of Brockley and Ladywell Cemeteries in London.

Dowson is best remembered for three phrases from his poems:
“Days of wine and roses”, from the poem “Vitae Summa Brevis”
“Gone with the wind”, from the poem ”Non Sum Qualis eram Bonae Sub Regno Cynarae”
“I have been faithful … in my fashion”, from “Cynarae”

Umberto Eco Re-Lives First Night

Several months ago I was invited to visit the Science Museum of La Corufia, in Galicia. At the end of my visit the curator announced that he had a surprise for me and led me to the planetarium. Planetariums are always suggestive places because when the lights are turned off, one has the impression of being in a desert beneath a starlit sky. But that evening something special awaited me.

Suddenly the room was totally dark, and I could hear a beautiful lullaby by de Falla. Slowly (though slightly faster than in reality, since the presentation lasted fifteen minutes in all) the sky above me began to rotate. It was the sky that had appeared over my birthplace, Alessandria, Italy, on the night of January 5-6, 1932. Almost hyperrealistically, I experienced the first night of my life.

I experienced it for the first time, since I had not seen that first night. Perhaps not even my mother saw it, exhausted as she was after giving birth; but perhaps my father saw it, after quietly stepping out on the terrace, a little restless because of the (to him at least) wondrous event which he had witnessed and which he had jointly caused.

The planetarium used a mechanical device that can be found in a great many places. Perhaps others have had a similar experience. But you will forgive me if during those fifteen minutes I had the impression that I was the only man, since the dawn of time, who had ever had the privilege of being reunited with his own beginning. I was so happy, that I had the feeling—almost the desire—that I could, that I should, die at that very moment, and that any other moment would have been untimely. I would cheerfully have died then, because I had lived through the most beautiful story I had ever read in my entire life. Perhaps I had found the story that we all look for in the pages of books and on the screens of movie theaters: it was a story in which the stars and I were the protagonists. It was fiction because the story had been reinvented by the curator; it was history because it recounted what had happened in the cosmos at a moment in the past; it was real life because I was real, and not the character of a novel. I was, for a moment, the model reader of the Book of Books.

Six Walks in the Fictional Woods
Umberto Eco

Sudden Light – Dante Gabriel Rosetti

I have been here before,
But when or how I cannot tell:
I know the grass beyond the door,
The sweet keen smell,
The sighing sound, the lights around the shore.

You have been mine before,—
How long ago I may not know:
But just when at that swallow’s soar
Your neck turn’d so,
Some veil did fall,—I knew it all of yore.

Has this been thus before?
And shall not thus time’s eddying flight
Still with our lives our love restore
In death’s despite,
And day and night yield one delight once more?


What Happened the Day a Poet Was Appointed Postmaster

What Happened the Day a Poet Was Appointed Postmaster
With violet pencils
he wrote upon the back side
of returned love letters and lost light years
readdressing them
to eternity

Their cancelled postage stamps
wheeled away on round postmarks
and flew off like flying saucers
marked Moscow Los Angeles and New York

The moon turned to tenements
for lack of lovers

And a cancelled George Washington
flew over America

Lawrence Ferlinghetti
Found in -> The Nation, 1865-1990: Selections from the Independent Magazine of Politics and Culture

To Miss the Joy is to Miss All – Stevenson Quote

For, to repeat, the ground of a man’s joy is often hard to hit. It may hinge at times upon a mere accessory, like the lantern, it may reside, like Dancer’s, in the mysterious inwards of psychology. It may consist with perpetual failure, and find exercise in the continued chase. It has so little bond with externals (such as the observer scribbles in his note-book) that it may even touch them not; and the man’s true life, for which he consents to live, lie altogether in the field of fancy. The clergyman, in his spare hours, may be winning battles, the farmer sailing ships, the banker reaping triumph in the arts: all leading another life, plying another trade from that they chose; like the poet’s housebuilder, who, after all is cased in stone.
By his fireside, as impotent fancy prompts,
Rebuilds it to his liking.
In such a case the poetry runs underground. The observer (poor soul, with his documents!) is all abroad. For to look at the man is but to court deception. We shall see the trunk from which he draws his nourishment; but he himself is above and abroad in the green dome of foliage, hummed through by winds and nested in by nightingales. And the true realism were that of the poets, to climb up after him like a squirrel, and catch some glimpse of the heaven for which he lives. And the true realism, always and everywhere, is that of the poets: to find out where joy resides, and give it a voice far beyond singing.

For to miss the joy is to miss all.

From the essay – The Lantern-Bearers
The Lantern-Bearers and Other Essays
Robert Louis Stevenson

In the Desert – Stephen Crane

In the desert
I saw a creature, naked, bestial,
Who, squatting upon the ground,
Held his heart in his hands,
And ate of it.
I said, “Is it good, friend?”
“It is bitter—bitter,” he answered;

“But I like it
“Because it is bitter,
“And because it is my heart.”


“In the Desert”[1] is the name given to a poem written by Stephen Crane (1871–1900), published in 1895 as a part of his collection, The Black Riders and Other Lines. “In the Desert” is the third of fifty-six short poems published in this volume. The poem is short, only ten lines, and briefly describes an interaction between the speaker and “creature, naked, bestial” encountered “in the desert”, eating his heart.

Foundations – Leopold Staff

This poem was written immediately after World War Il, in Poland, among the ruins, of which those in the figurative sense were even more oppressive than the physical ones. There was literally nothing. How could a poet react to that situation? What was left was to do what a child does, who when trying to draw a house often starts with the smoke from the chimney, then draws a chimney, and then the rest. So this is a poem of naked faith.

I built on the sand
And it tumbled down,
I built on a rock
And it tumbled down.
Now when I build, I shall begin
With the smoke from the chimney.

LEOPOLD STAFF 1878 – 1957
Translated from the Polish by Czeslaw Milosz

A Book Of Luminous Things: An International Anthology of Poetry

Music of Spheres – Jean Follain

JEAN FOLLAIN 1903 – 1971
It seems nothing peculiar happens when somebody walks on a road and kicks an empty can. But here, in French poet Jean Follain, this movement, like an immobilized frame of a film, suddenly opens into the cold of the cosmos. Because it is winter, the road is frozen, the keys are iron, the shoe is pointed, and the can itself is cold, empty.

He was walking a frozen road
in his pocket iron keys were jingling
and with his pointed shoe absent-mindedly
he kicked the cylinder
of an old can
which for a few seconds rolled its cold emptiness
wobbled for a while and stopped
under a sky studded with stars.

Translated from the French by Czeslaw Milos and Robert Hass
A Book Of Luminous Things: An International Anthology of Poetry
Czeslaw Milosz

Marginalia – Selection of, Auden

The palm extended in welcome:
Look! for you 
I have unclenched my fist.

Everyone thinks:
“I am the most important
Person at present.”
The sane remember to add:
“important, I mean, to me.”

True Love enjoys
twenty-twenty vision,
but talks like a myopic.

Once having shat
in his new apartment,
he began to feel at home.

When Chiefs of State
prefer to work at night,
let the citizens beware.

1965 – 1968
Collected Poems
W.H. Auden

Remembering Youth from a Distance – Proust Quote

But for a little while now, I have begun to hear again very clearly, if I take care to listen, the sobs that I was strong enough to contain in front of my father and that broke out only when I found myself alone again with Mama. They have never really stopped; and it is only because life is now becoming quieter around me that I can hear them again, like those convent bells covered so well by the clamor of the town during the day that one would think they had ceased altogether but which begin sounding again in the silence of the evening.

Swann’s Way
Marcel Proust

Anthropomorphization Example, Anthropomorphized Variables

Noun. anthropomorphization (countable and uncountable, plural anthropomorphizations) endowing with human qualities. attributing human characteristics to something that is nonhuman.

I thought of the countless hours I had spent in math classes determining how long it took those three musketeers of math pedagogy, A, B and C, rowing at different speeds, to reach a certain bend in the river. No suspense about the outcome relieved the monotony of those races, for the three rowers were as foreordained as figures in a morality play to finish in the same order. It was a matter of character. A was strong and handsome, honest and decent, patriotic and God-fearing; B was plucky but flawed, fated to catch his oar on a rock just when victory seemed possible; and C was the amiable bumbler who is every one of us, capsizing in the stream. I always hoped for an upset—for C to redeem the best dreams of life’s losers, or at least for B to redeem the best dreams of life’s runners-up. It was not to be; in algebra textbooks, life’s races were rigged.

Zinsser, William. Writing to Learn