When we two parted
   In silence and tears,
Half broken-hearted
   To sever for years,
Pale grew thy cheek and cold,
   Colder thy kiss;
Truly that hour foretold
   Sorrow to this.

The dew of the morning
   Sunk chill on my brow— 
It felt like the warning
   Of what I feel now.
Thy vows are all broken,
   And light is thy fame;
I hear thy name spoken,
   And share in its shame.

They name thee before me,
   A knell to mine ear;
A shudder comes o'er me—
   Why wert thou so dear?
They know not I knew thee,
   Who knew thee too well—
Long, long shall I rue thee,
   Too deeply to tell.

In secret we met—
   In silence I grieve,
That thy heart could forget,
   Thy spirit deceive.
If I should meet thee
   After long years,
How should I greet thee?—
   With silence and tears.

This poem is in the public domain.

The wild bee reels from bough to bough
    With his furry coat and his gauzy wing.
Now in a lily-cup, and now
    Setting a jacinth bell a-swing,
            In his wandering;
Sit closer love: it was here I trow
            I made that vow,

Swore that two lives should be like one
    As long as the sea-gull loved the sea,
As long as the sunflower sought the sun,—
    It shall be, I said, for eternity
            ‘Twixt you and me!
Dear friend, those times are over and done.
            Love’s web is spun.

Look upward where the poplar trees
    Sway in the summer air,
Here n the valley never a breeze
    Scatters the thistledown, but there
            Great winds blow fair
From the mighty murmuring mystical seas,
            And the wave-lashed leas.

Look upward where the white gull screams,
    What does it see that we do not see?
Is that a star? or the lamp that gleams
    On some outward voyaging argosy,—
            Ah! can it be
We have lived our lives in a land of dreams!
            How sad it seems.

Sweet, there is nothing left to say
    But this, that love is never lost,
Keen winter stabs the breasts of May
    Whose crimson roses burst his frost,
            Ships tempest-tossed
Will find a harbor in some bay,
            And so we may.

And there is nothing left to do
    But to kiss once again, and part,
Nay, there is nothing we should rue,
    I have my beauty,—you your Art,
            Nay, do not start,
One world was not enough for two
            Like me and you.

This poem is in the public domain.

Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.

From The Poetry of Robert Frost edited by Edward Connery Lathem. Copyright © 1923, 1947, 1969 by Henry Holt and Company, copyright © 1942, 1951 by Robert Frost, copyright © 1970, 1975 by Lesley Frost Ballantine. Reprinted by permission of Henry Holt and Company, LLC.

And a woman who held a babe against her bosom said, Speak to us of Children.
     And he said:
     Your children are not your children.
     They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
     They come through you but not from you,
     And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

     You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
     For they have their own thoughts.
     You may house their bodies but not their souls,
     For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
     You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
     For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
     You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.
     The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite, and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.
     Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;
     For even as He loves the arrow that flies, so He loves also the bow that is stable.

From The Prophet (Knopf, 1923). This poem is in the public domain.

Out of the night that covers me,   
  Black as the Pit from pole to pole,   
I thank whatever gods may be   
  For my unconquerable soul.   

In the fell clutch of circumstance 
  I have not winced nor cried aloud.   
Under the bludgeonings of chance   
  My head is bloody, but unbowed.   

Beyond this place of wrath and tears   
  Looms but the Horror of the shade, 
And yet the menace of the years   
  Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.   

It matters not how strait the gate,   
  How charged with punishments the scroll,   
I am the master of my fate:
  I am the captain of my soul.

This poem is in the public domain.

I wandered lonely as a Cloud
   That floats on high o’er Vales and Hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
   A host of golden Daffodils;
Beside the Lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
   And twinkle on the Milky Way,
They stretched in never-ending line
   Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced, but they
   Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:—
A Poet could not but be gay
   In such a jocund company:
I gazed—and gazed—but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft when on my couch I lie
   In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
   Which is the bliss of solitude,
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the Daffodils.

This poem appeared in Poem-a-Day on October 1, 2017. This poem is in the public domain.

              10

maggie and milly and molly and may
went down to the beach(to play one day)

and maggie discovered a shell that sang
so sweetly she couldn't remember her troubles,and

milly befriended a stranded star
whose rays five languid fingers were;

and molly was chased by a horrible thing
which raced sideways while blowing bubbles:and

may came home with a smooth round stone
as small as a world and as large as alone.

For whatever we lose(like a you or a me)
it's always ourselves we find in the sea

Copyright © 1956, 1984, 1991 by the Trustees for the E. E. Cummings Trust from The Complete Poems: 1904-1962 by E. E. Cummings, Edited by George J. Firmage. Reprinted by permission of Liveright Publishing Corporation. All rights reserved.

Before you know what kindness really is
you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
between the regions of kindness.
How you ride and ride
thinking the bus will never stop,
the passengers eating maize and chicken
will stare out the window forever.

Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness
you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho
lies dead by the side of the road.
You must see how this could be you,
how he too was someone
who journeyed through the night with plans
and the simple breath that kept him alive.

Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.
You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth.
Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes
and sends you out into the day to gaze at bread,
only kindness that raises its head
from the crowd of the world to say
It is I you have been looking for,
and then goes with you everywhere
like a shadow or a friend.

From Words Under the Words: Selected Poems. Copyright © 1995 by Naomi Shihab Nye. Reprinted with the permission of the author.

Be glad your nose is on your face,
not pasted on some other place,
for if it were where it is not,
you might dislike your nose a lot.

Imagine if your precious nose
were sandwiched in between your toes,
that clearly would not be a treat,
for you’d be forced to smell your feet.

Your nose would be a source of dread
were it attached atop your head,
it soon would drive you to despair,
forever tickled by your hair.

Within your ear, your nose would be
an absolute catastrophe,
for when you were obliged to sneeze,
your brain would rattle from the breeze.

Your nose, instead, through thick and thin,
remains between your eyes and chin,
not pasted on some other place—
be glad your nose is on your face!

From The New Kid on the Block, published by Greenwillow, 1984. Used with permission.

O, gather me the rose, the rose,
   While yet in flower we find it,
For summer smiles, but summer goes,
   And winter waits behind it!

For with the dream foregone, foregone,
   The deed forborne for ever,
The worm, regret, will canker on,
   And time will turn him never.

So well it were to love, my love,
   And cheat of any laughter
The death beneath us and above,
   The dark before and after.

The myrtle and the rose, the rose,
   The sunshine and the swallow,
The dream that comes, the wish that goes,
   The memories that follow!

This poem is in the public domain.

The respectable folks,—
Where dwell they?
They whisper in the oaks,
And they sigh in the hay;
Summer and winter, night and day,
Out on the meadow, there dwell they.
They never die,
Nor snivel, nor cry,
Nor ask our pity
With a wet eye.
A sound estate they ever mend,
To every asker readily lend;
To the ocean wealth,
To the meadow health,
To Time his length,
To the rocks strength,
To the stars light,
To the weary night,
To the busy day,
To the idle play;
And so their good cheer never ends,
For all are their debtors, and all their friends.

From Poems of Nature (The Bodley Head, 1895) by Henry David Thoreau. Copyright © 1895 by Henry David Thoreau. This poem is in the public domain. This poem is in the public domain.

No servile little fear shall daunt my will
  This morning, I have courage steeled to say
I will be lazy, conqueringly still,
  I will not lose the hours in toil this day.

The roaring world without, careless of souls,
  Shall leave me to my placid dream of rest,
My four walls shield me from its shouting ghouls,
  And all its hates have fled my quiet breast.

And I will loll here resting, wide awake,
  Dead to the world of work, the world of love,
I laze contented just for dreaming’s sake,
  With not the slightest urge to think or move.

How tired unto death, how tired I was!
  Now for a day I put my burdens by,
And like a child amidst the meadow grass
  Under the southern sun, I languid lie,

And feel the bed about me kindly deep,
  My strength ooze gently from my hollow bones,
My worried brain drift aimlessly to sleep,
  Life soften to a song of tuneful tones.

 

This poem is in the public domain. Published in Poem-a-Day on September 5, 2021, by the Academy of American Poets.

The morning breaks upon the shore, 
    The day from slumber doth awake, 
     Bestir, ye ships of life, and shake
The drowsy anchor for the oar.

Let Indolence with night retire,
    Spread out Industry’s swelling sail,
    Let Commerce catch the morning gale,
And cheer her hearth and trim her fire.

Let Journalism ope the strife,
    And wield her unembarrassed pen,
    And paint the daring deeds of men, 
With all the tints and taints of life.

Let Science with her aspect bold
    Resume her firm, unflinching march,
    In undiscovered fields to search,
The hidden treasures to unfold.

Philosophy of mind profound,
    With doubting step now take the field,
    And strive to break the mystic shield,
The deeper depths of truth to sound.

Let Art uprear her stately head,
  Employ her brush and dye at ease,
  And fling her colors to the breeze,
And round her shaded influence shed.

Let Agriculture’s lowly train,
  With willing heart and nimble hand,
  Sweep onward like a learned band,
And spread profusion o’er the plain.

Let Justice spread her gilded wing
  O’er each oppressed race of man,
  Bid slavery lose her deadly ban,
While all the bells of freedom ring.

Let Knowledge with her myriad plumes
    Bespangle all her prosperous land,
    Let Love and Truth go hand in hand, 
And lay the tracks with sweet perfumes.

Let pompous Pride with tuneful ear,
    And wanton Wealth with piercing eye, 
    Search o’er the vale of Poverty,
Where dwell the creatures of Despair.

Let Charity with liberal hand
    Spread far and wide her ample store,
    Possess the rich, anoint the poor,
And heal the sufferings of the land.

Let sweet Religion lift her voice,
  And bid melodious anthems swell, 
   Jehovah’s praises forth to tell, 
Till all the world His name rejoice.

Let Music with bewitching sound
    Her full-grown symphonies employ,
    Proclaim the genial burst of joy,
And charm the toiling host around.

Let Poesy from sleep awake,
    And touch her strings and rouse her lyre,
    And roll celestial balls of fire,
Till all shall act for Duty's sake.

Let dove-eyed Peace with balmy breath
    Exhale and waft her influence far, 
    And lull the brazen notes of war,
And soothe the bitter pangs of death.

Let each act well his chosen art, 
    In perfect concord with the whole,
    Let streams of progress onward roll, 
Back to the Source that gave them start.

This poem is in the public domain. Published in Poem-a-Day on July 18, 2021, by the Academy of American Poets.

Because I could not stop for Death
He kindly stopped for me
The Carriage held but just Ourselves 
And Immortality.

We slowly droveHe knew no haste
And I had put away
My labor and my leisure too,
For His Civility

We passed the School, where Children strove
At Recessin the Ring
We passed the Fields of Gazing Grain
We passed the Setting Sun

Or ratherHe passed us
The Dews drew quivering and chill
For only Gossamer, my Gown
My Tippetonly Tulle

We paused before a House that seemed
A Swelling of the Ground
The Roof was scarcely visible
The Cornicein the Ground

Since then’tis Centuriesand yet
Feels shorter than the Day
I first surmised the Horses’ Heads
Were toward Eternity

Poetry used by permission of the publishers and the Trustees of Amherst College from The Poems of Emily Dickinson, Ralph W. Franklin ed., Cambridge, Mass.: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, Copyright © 1998 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College. Copyright © 1951, 1955, 1979, by the President and Fellows of Harvard College.

There is something about Death
Like love itself!
If with someone with whom you have known passion,
And the glow of youthful love,
You also, after years of life
Together, feel the sinking of the fire,
And thus fade away together,
Gradually, faintly, delicately,
As it were in each other’s arms,
Passing from the familiar room –
That is a power of unison between souls
Like love itself!

This poem is in the public domain.