Category Archives: Poetry

Sonnet 2

Sonnet 2
By William Shakespeare

When forty winters shall besiege thy brow,
And dig deep trenches in thy beauty’s field,
Thy youth’s proud livery so gazed on now,
Will be a totter’d weed of small worth held:
Then being asked, where all thy beauty lies,
Where all the treasure of thy lusty days;
To say, within thine own deep sunken eyes,
Were an all-eating shame, and thriftless praise.
How much more praise deserv’d thy beauty’s use,
If thou couldst answer ‘This fair child of mine
Shall sum my count, and make my old excuse,’
Proving his beauty by succession thine!
This were to be new made when thou art old,
And see thy blood warm when thou feel’st it cold.

The poet looks ahead to the time when the youth will have aged, and uses this as an argument to urge him to waste no time, and to have a child who will replicate his father and preserve his beauty. The imagery of ageing used is that of siege warfare, forty winters being the besieging army, which digs trenches in the fields before the threatened city. The trenches correspond to the furrows and lines which will mark the young man’s forehead as he ages. He is urged not to throw away all his beauty by devoting himself to self-pleasure, but to have children, thus satisfying the world, and Nature, which will keep an account of what he does with his life.


For Who?

For Who?
by Mary Weston Fordham

When the heavens with stars are gleaming
Like a diadem of light,
And the moon’s pale rays are streaming,
Decking earth with radiance bright;
When the autumn’s winds are sighing,
O’er the hill and o’er the lea,
When the summer time is dying,
Wanderer, wilt thou think of me?

When thy life is crowned with gladness,
And thy home with love is blest,
Not one brow o’ercast with sadness,
Not one bosom of unrest—
When at eventide reclining,
At thy hearthstone gay and free,
Think of one whose life is pining,
Breathe thou, love, a prayer for me.

Should dark sorrows make thee languish,
Cause thy cheek to lose its hue,
In the hour of deepest anguish,
Darling, then I’ll grieve with you.
Though the night be dark and dreary,
And it seemeth long to thee,
I would whisper, “be not weary;”
I would pray love, then, for thee.

Well I know that in the future,
I may cherish naught of earth;
Well I know that love needs nurture,
And it is of heavenly birth.
But though ocean waves may sever
I from thee, and thee from me,
Still this constant heart will never,
Never cease to think of thee.


Before the Dawn

Federico Garcìa Lorca

Federico GarcÌa Lorca, a Spanish poet, was part of the legendary poetry circle The Generation of ’27, which hoped to work with avant-garde forms of art.

Murdered by fascists in the Spanish Civil War for his liberal views, his poetry and plays continue to be read and performed today.

So famous is his work, his name is now immortalized in an airport in Granada.

Here is Before The Dawn:

But like love
the archers
are blind

Upon the green night,
the piercing saetas
leave traces of warm
lily.

The keel of the moon
breaks through purple clouds
and their quivers
fill with dew.

Ay, but like love
the archers
are blind!


The Fluffer Talks of Eternity

The Fluffer Talks of Eternity
BY D. A. POWELL

I can only give you back what you imagine.
I am a soulless man. When I take you
into my mouth, it is not my mouth. It is
an unlit pit, an aperture opened just enough
in the pinhole camera to capture the shade.

I have caused you to rise up to me, and I
have watched as you rose and waned.
Our times together have been innumerable. Still,
like a Capistrano swallow, you come back.
You understand: I understand you. Understand
each jiggle and tug. Your pudgy, mercurial wad.

I am simply a hand inexhaustible as yours
could never be. You’re nevertheless prepared to shoot.
If I could I’d finish you. Be more than just your rag


On the Mississippi

On the Mississippi
by Hamlin Garland – 1860-1940

Through wild and tangled forests
The broad, unhasting river flows—
Spotted with rain-drops, gray with night;
Upon its curving breast there goes
A lonely steamboat’s larboard light,
A blood-red star against the shadowy oaks;
Noiseless as a ghost, through greenish gleam
Of fire-flies, before the boat’s wild scream—
A heron flaps away
Like silence taking flight.


[To find a kiss of yours]

[To find a kiss of yours]
by Federico García Lorca – 1898-1936

translated by Sarah Arvio

To find a kiss of yours
what would I give
A kiss that strayed from your lips
dead to love

My lips taste
the dirt of shadows

To gaze at your dark eyes
what would I give
Dawns of rainbow garnet
fanning open before God—

The stars blinded them
one morning in May

And to kiss your pure thighs
what would I give
Raw rose crystal
sediment of the sun

*

[Por encontrar un beso tuyo]

Por encontrar un beso tuyo,
¿qué daría yo?
¡Un beso errante de tu boca
muerta para el amor!

(Tierra de sombra
come mi boca.)

Por contemplar tus ojos negros,
¿qué daría yo?
¡Auroras de carbunclos irisados
abiertas frente a Dios!

(Las estrellas los cegaron
una mañana de mayo.)

Y por besar tus muslos castos,
¿qué daría yo?

(Cristal de rosa primitiva,
sedimento de sol.)

About This Poem
“‘[To find a kiss of yours]’ is an untitled poem from an undated manuscript by Federico García Lorca. Though the style matches that of the young poet, what is unusual for that time is the erotic frankness—embedded in strange and striking imagery—that is a feature of Lorca’s late great work.”
—Sarah Arvio


The Poet

The Poet
by Raymond Garfield Dandridge

The poet sits and dreams and dreams;
He scans his verse; he probes his themes.

Then turns to stretch or stir about,
Lest, like his thoughts, his strength give out.

Then off to bed, for he must rise
And cord some wood, or tamp some ties,

Or break a field of fertile soil,
Or do some other manual toil.

He dare not live by wage of pen,
Most poorly paid of poor paid men,

With shoes o’er-run, and threadbare clothes,—
And editors among the foes

Who mock his song, deny him bread,
Then sing his praise when he is dead.


Winter Sleep

Winter Sleep
by Edith Matilda Thomas

I know it must be winter (though I sleep)—
I know it must be winter, for I dream
I dip my bare feet in the running stream,
And flowers are many, and the grass grows deep.

I know I must be old (how age deceives!)
I know I must be old, for, all unseen,
My heart grows young, as autumn fields grow green
When late rains patter on the falling sheaves.

I know I must be tired (and tired souls err)—
I know I must be tired, for all my soul
To deeds of daring beats a glad, faint roll,
As storms the riven pine to music stir.

I know I must be dying (Death draws near)—
I know I must be dying, for I crave
Life—life, strong life, and think not of the grave,
And turf-bound silence, in the frosty year.


Hot Tub

Hot Tub
Miguel Murphy

A tryst.
That ends
in a nightly dose.

A contradiction,
emptiness
refused by starlight,

the dark
enflamed with error.
Tell me again

what crime you are
so guilty of?
The hot tub,

26 Seconal—
the moon
like ejaculate.

Delicate.
Poor
Barlow,

you felt
so alone;
you were

the only queer.
January 1, 1951.
In the semantics of

your translation
you intend, in Náhuatl
a long while,

to abandon
your cadaver.
There.

About This Poem
“Robert Barlow, aged 16, was either the 43-year old H. P. Lovecraft’s lover for a summer in 1934, or just his disappointed protégé, who in his own middle years would overdose on Seconal after a student threatened to expose him for being that medical monster of the age, a homosexual. The diagnosis, the name of the disease. In 2019, I sit in my hot tub, but the freedoms of this era feel illusory. A single pill a night makes a frightening plague a kind of historical footnote. Such starlight. The backside of the century.”
Miguel Murphy


A Winter Night

A Winter Night
Sara Teasdale

My window-pane is starred with frost,
The world is bitter cold to-night,
The moon is cruel, and the wind
Is like a two-edged sword to smite.

God pity all the homeless ones,
The beggars pacing to and fro.
God pity all the poor to-night
Who walk the lamp-lit streets of snow.

My room is like a bit of June,
Warm and close-curtained fold on fold,
But somewhere, like a homeless child,
My heart is crying in the cold.


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