Illinois

State Poet Laureate

On November 2020, Angela Jackson was named Poet Laureate of Illinois. Jackson is the state’s fifth poet laureate, following Howard Austin, Carl Sandburg, Gwendolyn Brooks, Kevin Stein, and honorary Poet Laureate John Prine. 

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The Bibilomaniac's Prayer

Keep me, I pray, in wisdom's way
  That I may truths eternal seek;
I need protecting care to-day,—
  My purse is light, my flesh is weak.
So banish from my erring heart
  All baleful appetites and hints
Of Satan's fascinating art,
  Of first editions, and of prints.
Direct me in some godly walk
  Which leads away from bookish strife,
That I with pious deed and talk
  May extra-illustrate my life.

But if, O Lord, it pleaseth Thee
  To keep me in temptation's way,
I humbly ask that I may be
  Most notably beset to-day;
Let my temptation be a book,
  Which I shall purchase, hold, and keep,
Whereon when other men shall look,
  They'll wail to know I got it cheap.
Oh, let it such a volume be
  As in rare copperplates abounds,
Large paper, clean, and fair to see,
  Uncut, unique, unknown to Lowndes.

The Little Peach

A little peach in the orchard grew,—
A little peach of emerald hue;
Warmed by the sun and wet by the dew,
          It grew.
One day, passing that orchard through,
That little peach dawned on the view
Of Johnny Jones and his sister Sue—
          Them two.
Up at that peach a club they threw—
Down from the stem on which it grew
Fell that peach of emerald hue.
          Mon Dieu!
John took a bite and Sue a chew,
And then the trouble began to brew,—
Trouble the doctor couldn't subdue.
          Too true!
Under the turf where the daisies grew
They planted John and his sister Sue,
And their little souls to the angels flew,—
          Boo hoo!
What of that peach of the emerald hue,
Warmed by the sun, and wet by the dew?
Ah, well, its mission on earth is through.
          Adieu!

Norse Lullaby

The sky is dark and the hills are white
As the storm-king speeds from the north to-night,
And this is the song the storm-king sings,
As over the world his cloak he flings:
  "Sleep, sleep, little one, sleep;"
He rustles his wings and gruffly sings:
  "Sleep, little one, sleep."
On yonder mountain-side a vine
Clings at the foot of a mother pine;
The tree bends over the trembling thing,
And only the vine can hear her sing:
  "Sleep, sleep, little one, sleep;
What shall you fear when I am here?
  Sleep, little one, sleep."
The king may sing in his bitter flight,
The tree may croon to the vine to-night,
But the little snowflake at my breast
Liketh the song I sing the best,—
  Sleep, sleep, little one, sleep;
Weary thou art, anext my heart
  Sleep, little one, sleep.