Poems

Going and Staying by Thomas Hardy

Posted on May 14, 2008. Filed under: Poems |

   I

 

The moving sun-shapes on the spray,

The sparkles where the brook was flowing,

Pink faces, plightings, moonlit May,

These were the things we wished would stay;

        But they were going.

 

                         II

 

Seasons of blankness as of snow,

The silent bleed of a world decaying,

The moan of multitudes in woe,

These were the things we wished would go;

        But they were staying.

 

                         III

 

Then we looked closelier at Time,

And saw his ghostly arms revolving

To sweet off woeful things with prime,

Things sinister with things sublime

        Alike dissolving.

 

Thomas Hardy

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Poem – “Elk River Falls” by Billy Collins

Posted on October 26, 2007. Filed under: Poems | Tags: , , |

Elk River Falls”

is where the Elk River falls
from a rocky and considerable height,
turning pale with trepidation at the lip
(it seemed from where I stood below)
before it is unbuckled from itself
and plummets, shredded, through the air
into the shadows of a frigid pool,
so calm around the edges, a place
for water to recover from the shock
of falling apart and coming back together
before it picks up its song again,
goes sliding around the massive rocks
and past some islands overgrown with weeds
then flattens out and slips around a bend
and continues on its winding course,
according to this camper’s guide,
then joins the Clearwater at its northern fork,
which must in time find the sea
where this and every other stream
mistakes the monster for itself,
sings its name one final time
then feels the sudden sting of salt.

–By Billy Collins

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Seascape by Elizabeth Bishop

Posted on April 1, 2007. Filed under: Poems |

This celestial seascape, with white herons got up as angels,
flying high as they want and as far as they want sidewise
in tiers and tiers of immaculate reflections;
the whole region, from the highest heron
down to the weightless mangrove island
with bright green leaves edged neatly with bird-droppings
like illumination in silver,
and down to the suggestively Gothic arches of the mangrove roots
and the beautiful pea-green back-pasture
where occasionally a fish jumps, like a wildflower
in an ornamental spray of spray;
this cartoon by Raphael for a tapestry for a Pope:
it does look like heaven.
But a skeletal lighthouse standing there
in black and white clerical dress,
who lives on his nerves, thinks he knows better.
He thinks that hell rages below his iron feet,
that that is why the shallow water is so warm,
and he knows that heaven is not like this.
Heaven is not like flying or swimming,
but has something to do with blackness and a strong glare
and when it gets dark he will remember something
strongly worded to say on the subject.

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