A frog leaps out across the lawn,
And crouches there—all heavy and alone,
And like a blossom, pale and over-blown,
Once more the moon turns dim against the dawn.

Crawling across the straggling panoply
Of little roses, only half in bloom,
It strides within that beamed and lofty room
Where an ebon stallion looms upon the hay.

The stillness moves, and seems to grow immense,
A shuddering dog starts, dragging at its chain,
Thin, dusty rats slink down within the grain,
And in the vale the first far bells commence.

Here in the dawn, with mournful doomèd eyes
A cow uprises, moving out to bear
A soft-lipped calf with swarthy birth-swirled hair,
And wide wet mouth, and droll uncertainties.

The grey fowls fight for places in the sun,
The mushrooms flare, and pass like painted fans:
All the world is patient in its plans—
The seasons move forever, one on one.

Small birds lie sprawling vaguely in the heat,
And wanly pluck at shadows on their breasts,
And where the heavy grape-vine leans and rests,
White butterflies lift up their furry feet.

The wheat grows querulous with unseen cats;
A fox strides out in anger through the corn,
Bidding each acre wake and rise to mourn
Beneath its sharps and through its throaty flats.

And so it is, and will be year on year,
Time in and out of date, and still on time
A billion grapes plunge bleeding into wine
And bursting, fall like music on the ear.

The snail that marks the girth of night with slime,
The lonely adder hissing in the fern,
The lizard with its ochre eyes aburn—
Each is before, and each behind its time.

This poem is in the public domain. Published in Poem-a-Day on March 20, 2022, by the Academy of American Poets.

If you can keep your head when all about you
   Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
   But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
   Or, being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or, being hated, don’t give way to hating,
   And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
   If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with triumph and disaster
   And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
   Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to broken,
   And stoop and build ’em up with wornout tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
   And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
   And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
   To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
   Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on”;

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
   Or walk with kings—nor lose the common touch;
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
   If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run—
   Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

This poem is in the public domain.

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

From The Poems of Dylan Thomas, published by New Directions. Copyright © 1952, 1953 Dylan Thomas. Copyright © 1937, 1945, 1955, 1962, 1966, 1967 the Trustees for the Copyrights of Dylan Thomas. Copyright © 1938, 1939, 1943, 1946, 1971 New Directions Publishing Corp. Used with permission.

Then one of the judges of the city stood forth and said, Speak to us of Crime and Punishment.
     And he answered, saying:
     It is when your spirit goes wandering upon the wind,
     That you, alone and unguarded, commit a wrong unto others and therefore unto yourself.
     And for that wrong committed must you knock and wait a while unheeded at the gate of the blessed.
     Like the ocean is your god-self;
     It remains for ever undefiled.
     And like the ether it lifts but the winged.
     Even like the sun is your god-self;
     It knows not the ways of the mole nor seeks it the holes of the serpent.
     But your god-self dwells not alone in your being.
     Much in you is still man, and much in you is not yet man,
     But a shapeless pigmy that walks asleep in the mist searching for its own awakening.
     And of the man in you would I now speak.
     For it is he and not your god-self nor the pigmy in the mist, that knows crime and the punishment of crime.

     Oftentimes have I heard you speak of one who commits a wrong as though he were not one of you, but a stranger unto you and an intruder upon your world.
     But I say that even as the holy and the righteous cannot rise beyond the highest which his in each one of you,
     So the wicked and the weak cannot fall lower than the lowest which is in you also.
     And as a single leaf turns not yellow but with the silent knowledge of the whole tree,
     So the wrong-doer cannot do wrong without the hidden will of you all.
     Like a procession you walk together towards your god-self.
     You are the way and the wayfarers.
     And when one of you falls down he falls for those behind him, a caution against the stumbling stone.
     Ay, and he falls for those ahead of him, who though faster and surer of foot, yet removed not the stumbling stone.

     And this also, though the word lie heavy upon your hearts:
     The murdered is not unaccountable for his own murder,
     And the robbed is not blameless in being robbed.
     The righteous is not innocent of the deeds of the wicked,
     And the white-handed is not clean in the doings of the felon.
     Yea, the guilty is oftentimes the victim of the injured,
     And still more often the condemned is the burden bearer for the guiltless and unblamed.
     You cannot separate the just from the unjust and the good from the wicked;
     For they stand together before the face of the sun even as the black thread and the white are woven together. 
     And when the black thread breaks the weaver shall look into the whole cloth, and he shall examine the loom also.

    If any of you would bring to judgement the unfaithful wife,
     Let him also weigh the heart of her husband in scales, and measure his soul with measurements.
     And let him who would lash the offender look unto the spirit of the offended.
     And if any of you would punish in the name of righteousness and lay the ax unto the evil tree, let him see to its roots;
     And verily he will find the roots of the good and the bad, the fruitful and the fruitless, all entwined together in the silent heart of the earth.
     And you judges who would be just,
     What judgement pronounce you upon him who though honest in the flesh yet is the thief in spirit?
     What penalty lay you upon him who slays in the flesh yet is himself slain in the spirit?
     And how prosecute you him who in action is a deceiver and an oppressor,
     Yet who also is aggrieved and outraged?

     And how shall you punish those whose remorse is already greater than their misdeeds?
     Is not remorse the justice which is administered by that very law which you would fain serve?
     Yet you cannot lay remorse upon the innocent nor lift it from the heart of the guilty.
     Unbidden shall it call in the night, that men may wake and gaze upon themselves.
     And you who would understand justice, how shall you unless you look upon all deeds in the fullness of light?
     Only then shall you know that the erect and the fallen are but one man standing in twilight between the night of his pigmy-self and the day of his god-self,
     And that the corner-stone of the temple is not higher than the lowest stone in its foundation.

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

Defeat, my Defeat, my solitude and my aloofness;
You are dearer to me than a thousand triumphs,
And sweeter to my heart than all world-glory.
Defeat, my Defeat, my self-knowledge and my defiance,
Through you I know that I am yet young and swift of foot
And not to be trapped by withering laurels.
And in you I have found aloneness
And the joy of being shunned and scorned.
Defeat, my Defeat, my shining sword and shield,
In your eyes I have read
That to be enthroned is to be enslaved,
And to be understood is to be leveled down,
And to be grasped is but to reach one's fullness
And like a ripe fruit to fall and be consumed.
Defeat, my Defeat, my bold companion,
You shall hear my songs and my cries and my silences,
And none but you shall speak to me of the beating of wings,
And urging of seas,
And of mountains that burn in the night,
And you alone shall climb my steep and rocky soul.
Defeat, my Defeat, my deathless courage,
You and I shall laugh together with the storm,
And together we shall dig graves for all that die in us,
And we shall stand in the sun with a will,
And we shall be dangerous.

This poem is in the public domain.