Art thou pale for weariness Of climbing Heaven, and gazing on the earth, Wandering companionless Among the stars that have a different birth,-- And ever changing, like a joyless eye That finds no object worth its constancy?
This poem is in the public domain.
Looking up at the stars, I know quite well
That, for all they care, I can go to hell,
But on earth indifference is the least
We have to dread from man or beast.
How should we like it were stars to burn
With a passion for us we could not return?
If equal affection cannot be,
Let the more loving one be me.
Admirer as I think I am
Of stars that do not give a damn,
I cannot, now I see them, say
I missed one terribly all day.
Were all stars to disappear or die,
I should learn to look at an empty sky
And feel its total dark sublime,
Though this might take me a little time.
From Homage to Clio by W. H. Auden, published by Random House. Copyright © 1960 W. H. Auden, renewed by the Estate of W. H. Auden. Used by permission of Curtis Brown, Ltd.
is even more fun than going to San Sebastian, Irún, Hendaye, Biarritz, Bayonne
or being sick to my stomach on the Travesera de Gracia in Barcelona
partly because in your orange shirt you look like a better happier St. Sebastian
partly because of my love for you, partly because of your love for yoghurt
partly because of the fluorescent orange tulips around the birches
partly because of the secrecy our smiles take on before people and statuary
it is hard to believe when I’m with you that there can be anything as still
as solemn as unpleasantly definitive as statuary when right in front of it
in the warm New York 4 o’clock light we are drifting back and forth
between each other like a tree breathing through its spectacles
and the portrait show seems to have no faces in it at all, just paint
you suddenly wonder why in the world anyone ever did them
at you and I would rather look at you than all the portraits in the world
except possibly for the Polish Rider occasionally and anyway it’s in the Frick
which thank heavens you haven’t gone to yet so we can go together for the first time
and the fact that you move so beautifully more or less takes care of Futurism
just as at home I never think of the Nude Descending a Staircase or
at a rehearsal a single drawing of Leonardo or Michelangelo that used to wow me
and what good does all the research of the Impressionists do them
when they never got the right person to stand near the tree when the sun sank
or for that matter Marino Marini when he didn’t pick the rider as carefully
as the horse
it seems they were all cheated of some marvelous experience
which is not going to go wasted on me which is why I’m telling you about it
From The Collected Poems of Frank O’Hara by Frank O’Hara, copyright © 1971 by Maureen Granville-Smith, Administratrix of the Estate of Frank O’Hara, copyright renewed 1999 by Maureen O’Hara Granville-Smith and Donald Allen. Used by permission of Alfred A. Knopf, an imprint of the Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House LLC. All rights reserved.
Love set you going like a fat gold watch.
The midwife slapped your footsoles, and your bald cry
Took its place among the elements.
Our voices echo, magnifying your arrival. New statue.
In a drafty museum, your nakedness
Shadows our safety. We stand round blankly as walls.
I’m no more your mother
Than the cloud that distills a mirror to reflect its own slow
Effacement at the wind’s hand.
All night your moth-breath
Flickers among the flat pink roses. I wake to listen:
A far sea moves in my ear.
One cry, and I stumble from bed, cow-heavy and floral
In my Victorian nightgown.
Your mouth opens clean as a cat’s. The window square
Whitens and swallows its dull stars. And now you try
Your handful of notes;
The clear vowels rise like balloons.
From Ariel, published by Harper & Row, 1966. Copyright © 1966 by Ted Hughes. All rights reserved. Used by arrangement with HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.
The new aspirin is a blue-blooded Burberry model With an Oxford classics degree, but my migraine Flares beneath a canopy of melanoma-blurring sun What pains me is the plain human tangle on the L.I.E. And feeling the tricyclics fail me beneath the canopy of melanoma-blurring sun And the long pressed-out El Greco bodies stretched Liked colorless taffy in the studio and At the Night the States Have Ruined Me. Steroid weight gleams off my heart like a chubby Aaron Basha jewelry foot A poem that says "Reinvent the vomitorium!" And At Night the States have ruined me. I can persuade him To be alive and living in hotel rooms is dehumanizing. Inside of this I’m passing out From bravery, dyspepsia, the Boy with an Arab Strap In fluttering tremolo, the way an air of tremor lives in some bordeauxs but Like the Hamptoms rising from the pollutions mist— Something so Anglo-Saxon refusing to die or bonnet its frailty In layers of preservatives. Please somebody peel me dreamlessly aback To inhabit fleshly then brittle climates like a Giacometti fever dream
Copyright © Jeni Olin, 2005. From Blue Collar Holiday. Used with permission of Hanging Loose Press.
Red cloth I lie on the ground otherwise nothing could hold I put my hand on the ground the membrane is gone and nothing does hold your place in the ground is all of it and it is breathing
Copyright © 2009 by Jean Valentine. Originally published in The Nation. Used by permission of the author.