Tonight a shimmer of gold lies mantled o’er
Smooth lovely Ocean. Through the lustrous gloom
A savor steals from linden trees in bloom
And gardens ranged at many a palace door.
Proud walls rise here, and, where the moonbeams pour
Their pale enchantment down the dim coast-line,
Terrace and lawn, trim hedge and flowering vine,
Crown with fair culture all the sounding shore.
How sweet, to such a place, on such a night,
From halls with beauty and festival a-glare,
To come distract and, stretched on the cool turf,
Yield to some fond, improbable delight,
While the moon, reddening, sinks, and all the air
Sighs with the muffled tumult of the surf!
This poem is in the public domain.
What is a wound but a flower dying on its descent to the earth, bag of scent filled with war, forest, torches, some trouble that befell now over and done. A wound is a fire sinking into itself. The tinder serves only so long, the log holds on and still it gives up, collapses into its bed of ashes and sand. I burned my hand cooking over a low flame, that flame now alive under my skin, the smell not unpleasant, the wound beautiful as a full-blown peony. Say goodbye to disaster. Shake hands with the unknown, what becomes of us once we’ve been torn apart and returned to our future, naked and small, sewn back together scar by scar.
Copyright © 2018 by Dorianne Laux. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on May 17, 2018, by the Academy of American Poets.
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.
Oh, oh, you will be sorry for that word! Give back my book and take my kiss instead. Was it my enemy or my friend I heard, “What a big book for such a little head!” Come, I will show you now my newest hat, And you may watch me purse my mouth and prink! Oh, I shall love you still, and all of that. I never again shall tell you what I think. I shall be sweet and crafty, soft and sly; You will not catch me reading any more: I shall be called a wife to pattern by; And some day when you knock and push the door, Some sane day, not too bright and not too stormy, I shall be gone, and you may whistle for me.
This poem is in the public domain.
Dear love, what thing of all the things that be
Is ever worth one thought from you or me,
Save only Love,
Save only Love?
The days so short, the nights so quick to flee,
The world so wide, so deep and dark the sea,
So dark the sea;
So far the suns and every listless star,
Beyond their light—Ah! dear, who knows how far,
Who knows how far?
One thing of all dim things I know is true,
The heart within me knows, and tells it you,
And tells it you.
So blind is life, so long at last is sleep,
And none but Love to bid us laugh or weep,
And none but Love,
And none but Love.
This poem is in the public domain. Published in Poem-a-Day on January 5, 2020, by the Academy of American Poets.
Love is a flame that burns with sacred fire,
And fills the being up with sweet desire;
Yet, once the altar feels love’s fiery breath,
The heart must be a crucible till death.
Say love is life; and say it not amiss,
That love is but a synonym for bliss.
Say what you will of love—in what refrain,
But knows the heart, ‘tis but a word for pain.
This poem is in the public domain. Published in Poem-a-Day on October 20, 2019, by the Academy of American Poets.