The faint shadow of the morning moon?
Nay, the snow falling on the earth.
The mist of blossoming flowers?
Nay, poetry smiling up the sky.

This poem is in the public domain. Published in Poem-a-Day on January 8, 2022, by the Academy of American Poets.

I come weary,
In search of an inn—
Ah! These wisteria flowers!

 

 

 

                                              —Translation by William George Aston

This poem is in the public domain.

Ah! the waving lespedeza,
Which spills not a drop
Of the clear dew!

 

 

                                              —Translation by William George Aston

This poem is in the public domain.

translated from the Spanish by Alice Stone Blackwell

Freaks of bright crystal, airy beauties fair,
Whose enigmatic forms amaze the eye—
Crowns fit to deck Apollo’s brows on high,
Adornments meet for halls of splendor rare!
They spring from knots in tree-trunks, rising there
In sweet gradation; winding wondrously,
They twist their serpent stems, and far and nigh
Hang overhead like wingless birds in air.

Lonely, like pensive heads, all fetterless.
Lofty and free they bloom; by no dull chain
Their flowers to any tyrant root are bound;
Because they too, at war with pettiness,
Desire to live, like souls that know no stain,
Without one touch of contact with the ground.

 


 

Las Orquídeas

 

   Caprichos de cristal, airosas galas
de enigmáticas formas sorprendentes,
diademas propias de apolíneas frentes,
adornos dignos de fastuosas salas.

   En los nudos de un tronco hacen escalas;
y ensortijan sus tallos de serpientes,
hasta quedar en la altitud pendientes,
á manera de pájaros sin alas.

   Tristes como cabezas pensativas,
brotan ellas, sin torpes ligaduras
de tirana raíz, libres y altivas;

   porque también, con lo mezquino en guerra,
quieren vivir, como las almas puras,
sin un solo contacto con la tierra . . .

This poem is in the public domain. Published in Poem-a-Day on September 24, 2023, by the Academy of American Poets.

The dandelion stares
In the yellow sunlight.
How very still it is!
When it is old and grey,
I blow its white hair away,
And leave it with a bald head.

From Caroling Dusk (Harper & Brothers, 1927), edited by Countee Cullen. This poem is in the public domain.

O! my heart now feels so cheerful as I go with footsteps light
      In the daily toil of my dear home; 
And I’ll tell to you the secret that now makes my life so bright—
      There’s a flower at my window in full bloom. 

It is radiant in the sunshine, and so cheerful after rain; 
        And it wafts upon the air its sweet perfume. 
It is very, very lovely! May its beauties never wane—
        This dear flower at my window in full bloom. 

Nature has so clothed it in such glorious array, 
      And it does so cheer our home, and hearts illume; 
Its dear mem’ry I will cherish though the flower fade away—
      This dear flower at my window in full bloom. 

Oft I gaze upon this flower with its blossoms pure and white. 
        And I think as I behold its gay costume, 
While through life we all are passing may our lives be always bright 
        Like this flower at my window in full bloom.

This poem is in the public domain. Published in Poem-a-Day on February 22, 2020 by the Academy of American Poets. 

O patient creature with a peasant face, 
Burnt by the summer sun, begrimed with stains, 
And standing humbly in the dingy lanes! 
There seems a mystery in thy work and place, 
Which crowns thee with significance and grace; 
Whose is the milk that fills thy faithful veins? 
What royal nursling comes at night and drains 
Unscorned the food of the plebeian race? 
By day I mark no living thing which rests 
On thee, save butterflies of gold and brown, 
Who turn from flowers that are more fair, more sweet, 
And, crowding eagerly, sink fluttering down, 
And hang, like jewels flashing in the heat, 
Upon thy splendid rounded purple breasts.

Amber husk
fluted with gold,
fruit on the sand
marked with a rich grain,

treasure
spilled near the shrub-pines
to bleach on the boulders:

your stalk has caught root
among wet pebbles
and drift flung by the sea
and grated shells
and split conch-shells.

Beautiful, wide-spread,
fire upon leaf,
what meadow yields
so fragrant a leaf
as your bright leaf?
 

This poem is in the public domain.