You mustn't swim till you're six weeks old, 
Or your head will be sunk by your heels; 
And summer gales and Killer Whales 
   Are bad for baby seals. 
Are bad for baby seals, dear rat, 
   As bad as bad can be. 
But splash and grow strong, 
And you can't be wrong, 
   Child of the Open Sea!

This poem is in the public domain.

How great my grief, my joys how few, 
Since first it was my fate to know thee! 
- Have the slow years not brought to view 
How great my grief, my joys how few, 
Nor memory shaped old times anew, 
    Nor loving-kindness helped to show thee 
How great my grief, my joys how few, 
    Since first it was my fate to know thee?

This poem is in the public domain.

translated by Aimee Lenalie

If you doubt that I have wielded the heavy oars look at my hands and knees; you will find them worn like ancient tools. I know each plant of that marine desert which is violet-hued at times, at others blue, and I also know the principle of each spiral shell. Some of the plants are endowed with human life; these have transparent eyes like jelly, a body like the sow's teats and a multitude of tiny tentacles which are also mouths. Among the perforated shells I have seen some which were pierced more than a thousand times; and through each tiny opening came and went a fleshly foot, by means of which the shell was conveyed about.

After passing Hercules' pillars the ocean that surrounds the world becomes strange and infuriate.

And in its course it creates darksome types of men and wonderful animals. There is a great serpent, with golden beard, which governs its kingdom wisely; and some women of this country have an eye at the extremity of each finger. Others have beaks and crests like birds; otherwise they resemble us. On one isle at which I landed, the inhabitatns carried their heads where our stomachs are located; and when they saluted us they bowed their abdomens. As to cyclops, pigmies and giants I will say naught of them; for their number is too great.

None of these things appeared to partake of the unnatural to me; I felt no terror of them. But one evening we reached Scyllaeum. Our bark touched sand on the Sicilian side. As I was turning the rudder I perceived in the water's midst the head of a woman with closed eyes. Her hair was tinged with gold. She seemed to sleep. And then, indeed, I trembled for I feared to look into her eyes, well knowing that, having once gazed therein, I should turn the rudder of our boat toward the seething whirlpool.

This poem is in the public domain.

G’way an’ quit dat noise, Miss Lucy—
   Put dat music book away;
What’s de use to keep on tryin’?
   Ef you practise twell you’re gray,
You cain’t sta’t no notes a-flyin’
   Lak de ones dat rants and rings
F’om de kitchen to de big woods
   When Malindy sings.

You ain’t got de nachel o’gans
   Fu’ to make de soun’ come right,
You ain’t got de tu’ns an’ twistin’s
   Fu’ to make it sweet an’ light.
Tell you one thing now, Miss Lucy,
   An’ I’m tellin’ you fu’ true,
When hit comes to raal right singin’,
   ‘T ain’t no easy thing to do.

Easy ‘nough fu’ folks to hollah,
   Lookin’ at de lines an’ dots,
When dey ain’t no one kin sence it,
   An’ de chune comes in, in spots;
But fu’ real malojous music,
   Dat jes’ strikes yo’ hea’t and clings,
Jes’ you stan’ an’ listen wif me
   When Malindy sings.

Ain't you nevah hyeahd Malindy?
   Blessed soul, tek up de cross!
Look hyeah, ain't you jokin', honey?
   Well, you don't know whut you los'.
Y' ought to hyeah dat gal a-wa'blin',
   Robins, la'ks, an' all dem things,
Heish dey moufs an' hides dey face.
   When Malindy sings.

Fiddlin’ man jes’ stop his fiddlin’,
   Lay his fiddle on de she’f;
Mockin’-bird quit tryin’ to whistle,
   ‘Cause he jes’ so shamed hisse’f.
Folks a-playin’ on de banjo
   Draps dey fingahs on de strings—
Bless yo’ soul—fu’gits to move ‘em,
   When Malindy sings.

She jes’ spreads huh mouf and hollahs,
   “Come to Jesus,” twell you hyeah
Sinnahs’ tremblin’ steps and voices,
   Timid-lak a-drawin’ neah;
Den she tu’ns to “Rock of Ages,”
   Simply to de cross she clings,
An’ you fin’ yo’ teahs a-drappin’
   When Malindy sings.

Who dat says dat humble praises
   Wif de Master nevah counts?
Heish yo’ mouf, I hyeah dat music,
   Ez hit rises up an’ mounts—
Floatin’ by de hills an’ valleys,
   Way above dis buryin’ sod,
Ez hit makes its way in glory
   To de very gates of God!

Oh, hit’s sweetah dan de music
   Of an edicated band;
An’ hit’s dearah dan de battle’s
   Song o’ triumph in de lan’.
It seems holier dan evenin’
   When de solemn chu’ch bell rings,
Ez I sit an’ ca’mly listen
   While Malindy sings.

Towsah, stop dat ba’kin’, hyeah me!
   Mandy, mek dat chile keep still;
Don’t you hyeah de echoes callin’
   F’om de valley to de hill?
Let me listen, I can hyeah it,
   Th’oo de bresh of angel’s wings,
Sof’ an’ sweet, “Swing Low,
   Sweet Chariot,”
Ez Malindy sings.

This poem is in the public domain.

I am a great inventor, did you but know it.
I have new weapons and explosives and devices to
     substitute for your obsolete tactics and tools.
Mine are the battle-ships of righteousness and integrity—
The armor-plates of a quiet conscience and self-respect—
The impregnable conning-tower of divine manhood—
The Long Toms of persuasion—
The machine guns of influence and example—
The dum-dum bullets of pity and remorse—
The impervious cordon of sympathy—
The concentration camps of brotherhood—
The submarine craft of forgiveness—
The torpedo-boat-destroyer of love—
And behind them all the dynamite of truth!
I do not patent my inventions.
Take them. They are free to all the world.

This poem is in the public domain.

We sat together at one summer's end,
That beautiful mild woman, your close friend,
And you and I, and talked of poetry.
I said, "A line will take us hours maybe;
Yet if it does not seem a moment's thought,
Our stitching and unstitching has been naught.
Better go down upon your marrow-bones
And scrub a kitchen pavement, or break stones
Like an old pauper, in all kinds of weather;
For to articulate sweet sounds together
Is to work harder than all these, and yet
Be thought an idler by the noisy set
Of bankers, schoolmasters, and clergymen
The martyrs call the world." 
                                              And thereupon
That beautiful mild woman for whose sake
There's many a one shall find out all heartache
On finding that her voice is sweet and low
Replied, "To be born woman is to know—
Although they do not talk of it at school—
That we must labour to be beautiful."
I said, "It's certain there is no fine thing
Since Adam's fall but needs much labouring.
There have been lovers who thought love should be
So much compounded of high courtesy
That they would sigh and quote with learned looks
precedents out of beautiful old books;
Yet now it seems an idle trade enough."

We sat grown quiet at the name of love;
We saw the last embers of daylight die,
And in the trembling blue-green of the sky
A moon, worn as if it had been a shell
Washed by time's waters as they rose and fell
About the stars and broke in days and years.
I had a thought for no one's but your ears:
That you were beautiful, and that I strove
To love you in the old high way of love;
That it had all seemed happy, and yet we'd grown
As weary-hearted as that hollow moon.

This poem is in the public domain.

I am Raftery the poet
Full of hope and love
With no light in my eyes
With gentleness that has no misery

Going west upon my pilgrimage
By the light of my heart
Though feeble and tired
To the end of my rove.

Behold me now
With my back to the wall
Playing music
Unto empty pockets.

This poem is in the public domain.