Farewell, sweetheart, and again farewell;
To day we part, and who can tell
     If we shall e'er again
Meet, and with clasped hands
Renew our vows of love, and forget
     The sad, dull pain.

Dear heart, 'tis bitter thus to lose thee
And think mayhap, you will forget me;
     And yet, I thrill
As I remember long and happy days
Fraught with sweet love and pleasant memories
     That linger still

You go to loved ones who will smile
And clasp you in their arms, and all the while
     I stay and moan
For you, my love, my heart and strive
To gather up life's dull, gray thread
     And walk alone.

Aye, with you love the red and gold
Goes from my life, and leaves it cold
     And dull and bare,
Why should I strive to live and learn
And smile and jest, and daily try
     You from my heart to tare?

Nay, sweetheart, rather would I lie
Me down, and sleep for aye; or fly
      To regions far
Where cruel Fate is not and lovers live
Nor feel the grim, cold hand of Destiny
      Their way to bar.

I murmur not, dear love, I only say
Again farewell. God bless the day
      On which we met,
And bless you too, my love, and be with you
In sorrow or in happiness, nor let you
      E'er me forget.
 

This poem is in the public domain. Published in Poem-a-Day on January 11, 2020, by the Academy of American Poets.

I slept with all four hooves
                       in the air or I slept like a snail

            in my broken shell.

The periphery of the world
                       dissolved. A giant exit sign

            blinking above my head.

My family sings
                       its death march.

            They are the size of the moon.

No, they are the size
                       of thumbtacks punched

            through the sky’s eyelid.

What beauty, what bruise.

                       What strange lullaby is this
            that sings from its wound?)

Here, my dead father knocks

                       on a little paper door. Here,
            my family knocks, waits.

Come through me, my darlings,

                       whatever you are: flame,
            lampshade, soap.

Leave your shattered shadows

                       behind. I’ll be the doorway
            that watches you go.

Copyright © 2013 by Hadara Bar-Nadav. “Lullaby (with Exit Sign)” was published in Lullaby (with Exit Sign) (Saturnalia Books, 2013). Used with permission of the author.

 

Remember me when I am gone away,
   Gone far away into the silent land;
   When you can no more hold me by the hand,
Nor I half turn to go yet turning stay.
Remember me when no more day by day
   You tell me of our future that you planned:
   Only remember me; you understand
It will be late to counsel then or pray.
Yet if you should forget me for a while
   And afterwards remember, do not grieve:
   For if the darkness and corruption leave
   A vestige of the thoughts that once I had,
Better by far you should forget and smile
   Than that you should remember and be sad.

This poem is in the public domain.

I plucked pink blossoms from mine apple-tree
    And wore them all that evening in my hair:
Then in due season when I went to see
        I found no apples there.

With dangling basket all along the grass
    As I had come I went the selfsame track:
My neighbours mocked me while they saw me pass
        So empty-handed back.

Lilian and Lilias smiled in trudging by,
    Their heaped-up basket teased me like a jeer;
Sweet-voiced they sang beneath the sunset sky,
        Their mother's home was near.

Plump Gertrude passed me with her basket full,
    A stronger hand than hers helped it along;
A voice talked with her through the shadows cool
        More sweet to me than song.

Ah Willie, Willie, was my love less worth
    Than apples with their green leaves piled above?
I counted rosiest apples on the earth
        Of far less worth than love.

So once it was with me you stooped to talk
    Laughing and listening in this very lane:
To think that by this way we used to walk
        We shall not walk again!

I let me neighbours pass me, ones and twos
    And groups; the latest said the night grew chill,
And hastened: but I loitered, while the dews
        Fell fast I loitered still.

This poem is in the public domain.

To conclude, I announce what comes after me.  
   
I remember I said before my leaves sprang at all,   
I would raise my voice jocund and strong with reference to consummations.   
   
When America does what was promis’d,  
When through These States walk a hundred millions of superb persons,   
When the rest part away for superb persons and contribute to them,   
When breeds of the most perfect mothers denote America,   
Then to me and mine our due fruition.
   
I have press’d through in my own right,   
I have sung the body and the soul, war and peace have I sung, and the songs of life and death, 
And the songs of birth, and shown that there are many births. 

I have offer’d my style to everyone, I have journey’d with confident step;   
While my pleasure is yet at the full I whisper So long! 
And take the young woman’s hand and the young man’s hand for the last time.   
     
I announce natural persons to arise,    
I announce justice triumphant,   
I announce uncompromising liberty and equality,    
I announce the justification of candor and the justification of pride.
   
I announce that the identity of These States is a single identity only,   
I announce the Union more and more compact, indissoluble,   
I announce splendors and majesties to make all the previous politics of the earth insignificant.   
   
I announce adhesiveness, I say it shall be limitless, unloosen’d,   
I say you shall yet find the friend you were looking for.
   
I announce a man or woman coming, perhaps you are the one, (So long!)   
I announce the great individual, fluid as Nature, chaste, affectionate, compassionate, fully arm'd.   
   
I announce a life that shall be copious, vehement, spiritual, bold,    
I announce an end that shall lightly and joyfully meet its translation. 
   
I announce myriads of youths, beautiful, gigantic, sweet-blooded, 
I announce a race of splendid and savage old men.   
   
O thicker and faster—(So long!)   
O crowding too close upon me,    
I foresee too much, it means more than I thought,   
It appears to me I am dying.
   
Hasten throat and sound your last,   
Salute me—salute the days once more. Peal the old cry once more.   
   
Screaming electric, the atmosphere using,   
At random glancing, each as I notice absorbing,   
Swiftly on, but a little while alighting,
Curious envelop’d messages delivering,   
Sparkles hot, seed ethereal down in the dirt dropping,   
Myself unknowing, my commission obeying, to question it never daring,   
To ages and ages yet the growth of the seed leaving,   
To troops out of the war arising, they the tasks I have set promulging,  
To women certain whispers of myself bequeathing, their affection me more clearly explaining,  
To young men my problems offering—no dallier I—I the muscle of their brains trying,   
So I pass, a little time vocal, visible, contrary,    
Afterward a melodious echo, passionately bent for, (death making me really undying,)   
The best of me then when no longer visible, for toward that I have been incessantly preparing.
   
What is there more, that I lag and pause, and crouch extended with unshut mouth?   
Is there a single final farewell?   
   
My songs cease, I abandon them,    
From behind the screen where I hid I advance personally solely to you.   
   
Camerado, this is no book, 
Who touches this touches a man,   
(Is it night? are we here together alone?)   
It is I you hold and who holds you,   
I spring from the pages into your arms—decease calls me forth.   
   
O how your fingers drowse me, 
Your breath falls around me like dew, your pulse lulls the tympans of my ears,    
I feel immerged from head to foot;   
Delicious, enough.   
   
Enough O deed impromptu and secret,  
Enough O gliding present—enough, O summ’d-up past. 
   
Dear friend whoever you are take this kiss,   
I give it especially to you, do not forget me,    
I feel like one who has done work for the day to retire awhile,   
I receive now again of my many translations, from my avataras ascending, while others doubtless await me,    
An unknown sphere more real than I dream’d, more direct, darts awakening rays about me, So long!
Remember my words, I may again return,   
I love you, I depart from materials,    
I am as one disembodied, triumphant, dead. 

This poem is in the public domain.