At eventide the Pilgrim came
   And knocked at the Belovéd’s door.
“Whose there!” a voice within, “Thy name?”
   “ ’T is I,” he said.—“Then knock no more.
As well ask thou a lodging of the sea,—
There is no room herein for thee and me.”

The Pilgrim went again his way
   And dwelt with Love upon the shore 
Of self-oblivion; and one day
   He knocked again at the Belovéd’s door.
   “Whose there?”—“It is thyself,” he now replied,
And suddenly the door was opened wide.

From A Chant of Mystics (James T. White & Co., 1921) by Ameen Rihani. This poem is in the public domain.

translated from the Spanish by William Cullen Bryant

          My bird has flown away,
Far out of sight has flown, I know not where.
          Look in your lawn, I pray,
          Ye maidens, kind and fair,
And see if my beloved bird be there.

          His eyes are full of light;
The eagle of the rock has such an eye;
          And plumes, exceeding bright,
          Round his smooth temples lie,
And sweet his voice and tender as a sigh.

          Look where the grass is gay
With summer blossoms, haply there he cowers;
          And search, from spray to spray,
          The leafy laurel-bowers,
For well he loves the laurels and the flowers.

          Find him, but do not dwell,
With eyes too fond, on the fair form you see,
          Nor love his song too well;
          Send him, at once, to me,
Or leave him to the air and liberty.

          For only from my hand
He takes the seed into his golden beak,
          And all unwiped shall stand
          The tears that wet my cheek,
Till I have found the wanderer I seek.

          My sight is darkened o’er,
Whene’er I miss his eyes, which are my day,
          And when I hear no more
          The music of his lay,
My heart in utter sadness faints away.



El pájaro perdido 


   ¡Huyó con vuelo incierto,
Y de mis ojos ha desparecido! . . .
¡Mirad si a vuestro huerto
Mi pájaro querido,
Niñas hermosas, por acaso ha huido!

   Sus ojos relucientes
Son como los del águila orgullosa;
Plumas resplandecientes
En la cabeza airosa
Lleva, y su voz es tierna y armoniosa.

   Mirad si cuidadoso
Junto a las flores se escondió en la grama:
Ese laurel frondoso
Mirad rama por rama,
Que él los laureles y las flores ama.

   Si le halláis por ventura,
No os enamore su amoroso acento;
No os prende su hermosura:
Volvédmele al momento,
O dejadle, si no, libre en el viento.

   Porque su pico de oro
Sólo en mi mano toma la semilla,
Y no enjugaré el lloro
Que veis en mi mejilla
Hasta encontrar mi prófuga avecilla.

   Mi vista se oscurece
Si sus ojos no ve, que son mi día;
Mi ánima desfallece
Con la melancolía
De no escucharle ya su melodía.

This poem is in the public domain. Published in Poem-a-Day on October 15, 2022, by the Academy of American Poets.

I shall gather myself into myself again,
   I shall take my scattered selves and make them one,
Fusing them into a polished crystal ball
   Where I can see the moon and the flashing sun.

I shall sit like a sibyl, hour after hour intent,
   Watching the future come and the present go,
And the little shifting pictures of people rushing
   In restless self-importance to and fro.

This poem is in the public domain. Published in Poem-a-Day on January 30, 2022, by the Academy of American Poets.

Take it easy, Sadness. Settle down.
You asked for evening. Now, it’s come. It’s here.
A choking fog has blanketed the town,
infecting some with calm, the rest with fear.

While the squalid throng of mortals feels the sting
of heartless pleasure swinging its barbed knout
and finds remorse in slavish partying,
take my hand, Sorrow. I will lead you out,

away from them. Look as the dead years lurch,
in tattered clothes, from heaven’s balconies.
From the depths, regret emerges with a grin.

The spent sun passes out beneath an arch,
and, shroudlike, stretched from the antipodes,
—hear it, O hear, love!—soft night marches in.



Sois sage, ô ma Douleur, et tiens-toi plus tranquille.
Tu réclamais le Soir; il descend; le voici:
Une atmosphère obscure enveloppe la ville,
Aux uns portant la paix, aux autres le souci.

Pendant que des mortels la multitude vile,
Sous le fouet du Plaisir, ce bourreau sans merci,
Va cueillir des remords dans la fête servile,
Ma Douleur, donne-moi la main; viens par ici,

Loin d'eux. Vois se pencher les défuntes Années,
Sur les balcons du ciel, en robes surannées;
Surgir du fond des eaux le Regret souriant;

Le soleil moribond s'endormir sous une arche,
Et, comme un long linceul traînant à l'Orient,
Entends, ma chère, entends la douce Nuit qui marche.

This poem is in the public domain. Translation copyright © 2017 by David Yezzi. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on May 12, 2017, by the Academy of American Poets.