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jfp

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  1. Fall, leaves, fall; die, flowers, away; Lengthen night and shorten day; Every leaf speaks bliss to me, Fluttering from the autumn tree. I shall smile when wreaths of snow Blossom where the rose should grow; I shall sing when night's decay Ushers in a drearier day. Emily Brontë
  2. Cut grass lies frail: Brief is the breath Mown stalks exhale. Long, long the death It dies in the white hours Of young-leafed June With chestnut flowers, With hedges snowlike strewn, White lilac bowed, Lost lanes of Queen Anne's lace, And that high-builded cloud Moving at summer's pace. Philip Larkin, "Cut Grass"
  3. ANTONY This was the noblest Roman of them all: All the conspirators save only he Did that they did in envy of great Caesar; He only, in a general honest thought And common good to all, made one of them. His life was gentle, and the elements So mix'd in him that Nature might stand up And say to all the world 'This was a man!' Shakespeare, Julius Caesar V/v
  4. Come To Sunny Prestatyn Laughed the girl on the poster, Kneeling up on the sand In tautened white satin. Behind her, a hunk of coast, a Hotel with palms Seemed to expand from her thighs and Spread breast-lifting arms. She was slapped up one day in March. A couple of weeks, and her face Was snaggle-toothed and boss-eyed; Huge tits and a fissured crotch Were scored well in, and the space Between her legs held scrawls That set her fairly astride A tuberous cock and balls Autographed Titch Thomas, while Someone had used a knife Or something to stab right through The moustached lips of her smile. She was too good for this life. Very soon, a great transverse tear Left only a hand and some blue. Now Fight Cancer is there. Philip Larkin, "Come To Sunny Prestatyn"
  5. "Love seeketh not itself to please, Nor for itself hath any care, But for another gives its ease, And builds a Heaven in Hell's despair." So sung a little Clod of Clay Trodden with the cattle's feet, But a Pebble of the brook Warbled out these metres meet: "Love seeketh only self to please, To bind another to its delight, Joys in another's loss of ease, And builds a Hell in Heaven's despite." William Blake, "The Clod and the Pebble"
  6. A fat fly fuddles for an exit at the window-pane. Bluntly, stubbornly, in inspects it, like a brain nonplussed by a seemingly simple sentence in a book, which the glaze of unduly protracted acquaintance has turned to gobbledygook. A few inches above where the fly fizzes a gap of air waits, but this has not yet been vouchsafed to the fly. Only retreat and a loop or swoop of despair will give it the sky. Christopher Reid, "Fly"
  7. I also was somewhat taken aback to see a chunk of Paradise Lost laid out as prose. Poetry is traditionally identifiable because of a) its metre/rhythm, which in turns leads to lines of more or less equal length, and b) the use of a rhyme-scheme (with the rhyming words most often at the ends of lines). A prose poem looks like prose in the way it is laid out on the page, but will still rely, more than prose, on poetic (i.e. creative) effects such as alliteration, assonance, and rhymes that are no longer at the ends of lines. PROSPERO Ye elves of hills, brooks, standing lakes and groves, And ye that on the sands with printless foot Do chase the ebbing Neptune and do fly him When he comes back; you demi-puppets that By moonshine do the green sour ringlets make, Whereof the ewe not bites, and you whose pastime Is to make midnight mushrooms, that rejoice To hear the solemn curfew; by whose aid, Weak masters though ye be, I have bedimm'd The noontide sun, call'd forth the mutinous winds, And 'twixt the green sea and the azured vault Set roaring war: to the dread rattling thunder Have I given fire and rifted Jove's stout oak With his own bolt; the strong-based promontory Have I made shake and by the spurs pluck'd up The pine and cedar: graves at my command Have waked their sleepers, oped, and let 'em forth By my so potent art. But this rough magic I here abjure, and, when I have required Some heavenly music, which even now I do, To work mine end upon their senses that This airy charm is for, I'll break my staff, Bury it certain fathoms in the earth, And deeper than did ever plummet sound I'll drown my book. Shakespeare, The Tempest V/i
  8. Betwixt mine eye and heart a league is took, And each doth good turns now unto the other; When that mine eye is famish'd for a look, Or heart in love with sighs himself doth smother, With my love's picture then my eye doth feast, And to the painted banquet bids my heart; Another time mine eye is my heart's guest, And in his thoughts of love doth share a part. So either by thy picture or my love, Thyself away, art present still with me: For thou not farther than my thoughts canst move, And I am still with them, and they with thee; Or if they sleep, thy picture in my sight Awakes my heart to heart's and eye's delight. Shakespeare, Sonnet 47
  9. ROMEO How oft when men are at the point of death Have they been merry! which their keepers call A lightning before death: O, how may I Call this a lightning? O my love! my wife! Death, that hath suck'd the honey of thy breath, Hath had no power yet upon thy beauty: Thou art not conquer'd; beauty's ensign yet Is crimson in thy lips and in thy cheeks, And death's pale flag is not advanced there. Tybalt, liest thou there in thy bloody sheet? O, what more favour can I do to thee, Than with that hand that cut thy youth in twain To sunder his that was thine enemy? Forgive me, cousin! Ah, dear Juliet, Why art thou yet so fair? Shall I believe That unsubstantial death is amorous, And that the lean abhorred monster keeps Thee here in dark to be his paramour? For fear of that, I still will stay with thee; And never from this palace of dim night Depart again: here, here will I remain With worms that are thy chamber-maids; O, here Will I set up my everlasting rest, And shake the yoke of inauspicious stars From this world-wearied flesh. Eyes, look your last! Arms, take your last embrace! and, lips, O you The doors of breath, seal with a righteous kiss A dateless bargain to engrossing death! Come, bitter conduct, come, unsavoury guide! Thou desperate pilot, now at once run on The dashing rocks thy sea-sick weary bark! Here's to my love! Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet V/iii
  10. Their faces shone under some radiance Of mingled moonlight and lamplight That turned the empty kisses into meaning, The island of such penny love Into a costly country, the graves That neighboured them to wells of warmth, (And skeletons had sap). One minute Their faces shone; the midnight rain Hung pointed in the wind, Before the moon shifted and the sap ran out, She, in her cheap frock, saying some cheap thing, And he replying, Not knowing radicance came and passed. The suicides parade again, now ripe for dying. Dylan Thomas
  11. [...] Half-past three, The lamp sputtered, The lamp muttered in the dark. The lamp hummed: "Regard the moon, La lune ne garde aucune rancune, She winks a feeble eye, She smiles into corners. She smoothes the hair of the grass. The moon has lost her memory. A washed-out smallpox cracks her face, Her hand twists a paper rose, That smells of dust and old Cologne, She is alone With all the old nocturnal smells That cross and cross across her brain." The reminiscence comes Of sunless dry geraniums And dust in crevices, Smells of chestnuts in the streets, And female smells in shuttered rooms, And cigarettes in corridors And cocktail smells in bars. The lamp said, "Four o'clock, Here is the number on the door. Memory! You have the key, The little lamp spreads a ring on the stair, Mount. The bed is open; the tooth-brush hangs on the wall, Put your shoes at the door, sleep, prepare for life." The last twist of the knife. From : T.S.Eliot, "Rhapsody on a Windy Night"
  12. MACBETH Be innocent of the knowledge, dearest chuck, Till thou applaud the deed. Come, seeling night, Scarf up the tender eye of pitiful day; And with thy bloody and invisible hand Cancel and tear to pieces that great bond Which keeps me pale! Light thickens; and the crow Makes wing to the rooky wood: Good things of day begin to droop and drowse; While night's black agents to their preys do rouse. Thou marvell'st at my words: but hold thee still; Things bad begun make strong themselves by ill. Shakespeare, Macbeth III/ii
  13. Laugh, and the world laughs with you; Weep, and you weep alone; For the sad old earth must borrow its mirth, But has trouble enough of its own. Sing, and the hills will answer; Sigh, it is lost on the air; The echoes bound to a joyful sound, But shrink from voicing care. Rejoice, and men will seek you; Grieve, and they turn and go; They want full measure of all your pleasure, But they do not need your woe. Be glad, and your friends are many; Be sad, and you lose them all,— There are none to decline your nectared wine, But alone you must drink life’s gall. Feast, and your halls are crowded; Fast, and the world goes by. Succeed and give, and it helps you live, But no man can help you die. There is room in the halls of pleasure For a large and lordly train, But one by one we must all file on Through the narrow aisles of pain. Ella Wheeler Wilcox, "Solitude"
  14. The curfew tolls the knell of parting day, The lowing herd wind slowly o'er the lea, The plowman homeward plods his weary way, And leaves the world to darkness and to me. Now fades the glimm'ring landscape on the sight, And all the air a solemn stillness holds, Save where the beetle wheels his droning flight, And drowsy tinklings lull the distant folds; Save that from yonder ivy-mantled tow'r The moping owl does to the moon complain Of such, as wand'ring near her secret bow'r, Molest her ancient solitary reign. Beneath those rugged elms, that yew-tree's shade, Where heaves the turf in many a mould'ring heap, Each in his narrow cell for ever laid, The rude forefathers of the hamlet sleep. Thomas Gray, "Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard" (first four stanzas)
  15. Glory be to God for dappled things – For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow; For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim; Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings; Landscape plotted and pieced – fold, fallow, and plough; And áll trádes, their gear and tackle and trim. All things counter, original, spare, strange; Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?) With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim; He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change: Praise him. Gerard Manley Hopkins, "Pied Beauty"
  16. It's gone very quiet here... So here's an old favourite: "Whenever I plunge my arm, like this, In a basin of water, I never miss The sweet sharp sense of a fugitive day Fetched back from the thickening shroud of grey.     Hence the only prime     And real love-rhyme     That I know by heart     And that leaves no smart, Is the purl of a little valley fall About three spans wide and two spans tall Over a table of solid rock And into a scoop of the self-same block; The purl of a runlet that never ceases In stir of kingdoms, in wars, in peaces; With a hollow, boiling voice it speaks And has spoken since hills were turfless peaks." "And why gives this the only prime Idea to you of a real love-rhyme? And why does plunging your arm in a bowl Full of spring water, bring throbs to your soul?" "Well, under the fall, in a crease of the stone, Though where precisely none ever has known, Jammed darkly, nothing to show how prized, And by now with its smoothness opalised,     Is a drinking-glass:     For, down that pass,     My love and I     Walked under a sky Of blue with a leaf-wove awning of green, In the burn of August, to paint the scene, And we placed our basket of fruit and wine By the runlet's rim, where we sat to dine; And when we had drunk from the glass together, Arched by the oak-copse from the weather, I held the vessel to rinse in the fall, Where it slipped, and sank, and was past recall, Though we stooped and plumbed the little abyss With long bared arms. There the glass still is. And, as said, if I thrust my arm below Cold water in basin or bowl, a throe From the past awakens a sense of that time, And the glass we used, and the cascade's rhyme. The basin seems the pool, and its edge The hard smooth face of the brook-side ledge, And the leafy pattern of china-ware The hanging plants that were bathing there. "By night, by day, when it shines or lours, There lies intact that chalice of ours, And its presence adds to the rhyme of love Persistently sung by the fall above. No lip has touched it since his and mine In turn therefrom sipped lovers' wine." Thomas Hardy, "Under the Waterfall"
  17. What lips my lips have kissed, and where, and why, I have forgotten, and what arms have lain Under my head till morning; but the rain Is full of ghosts tonight, that tap and sigh Upon the glass and listen for reply, And in my heart there stirs a quiet pain For unremembered lads that not again Will turn to me at midnight with a cry. Thus in the winter stands the lonely tree, Nor knows what birds have vanished one by one, Yet knows its boughs more silent than before: I cannot say what loves have come and gone, I only know that summer sang in me A little while, that in me sings no more. Edna St. Vincent Millay
  18. Since brass, nor stone, nor earth, nor boundless sea, But sad mortality o'er-sways their power, How with this rage shall beauty hold a plea, Whose action is no stronger than a flower? O, how shall summer's honey breath hold out Against the wreckful siege of battering days, When rocks impregnable are not so stout, Nor gates of steel so strong, but Time decays? O fearful meditation! where, alack, Shall Time's best jewel from Time's chest lie hid? Or what strong hand can hold his swift foot back? Or who his spoil of beauty can forbid? O, none, unless this miracle have might, That in black ink my love may still shine bright. Shakespeare, Sonnet 65 (Not sure why this has appeared the way it has...)
  19. I recall seeing the film when it was first released. Luscious photography, and fine perfomances by Kenneth Branagh and Colin Firth.
  20. IAGO How poor are they that have not patience! What wound did ever heal but by degrees? Thou know'st we work by wit, and not by witchcraft; And wit depends on dilatory time. Does't not go well? Cassio hath beaten thee. And thou, by that small hurt, hast cashier'd Cassio: Though other things grow fair against the sun, Yet fruits that blossom first will first be ripe: Content thyself awhile. By the mass, 'tis morning; Pleasure and action make the hours seem short. Retire thee; go where thou art billeted: Away, I say; thou shalt know more hereafter: Nay, get thee gone. Shakespeare, Othello II/iii
  21. Heather: Oh yes, those flat old pennies, chunky twelve-sided "thruppenny bits", florins, half crowns etc. My grandfather had a groat (an old coin worth four pence... or rather fourpence...) I wonder what ever became of it: perhaps one of my cousins has it... She dwelt among th' untrodden ways Beside the springs of Dove, A Maid whom there were none to praise And very few to love: A Violet by a mossy stone Half-hidden from the Eye! — Fair, as a star when only one Is shining in the sky. She lived unknown, and few could know When Lucy ceased to be; But she is in her Grave, and Oh! The difference to me. William Wordsworth, "Song"
  22. Words as plain as hen-birds' wings Do not lie, Do not over-broider things - Are too shy. Thoughts that shuffle round like pence Through each reign, Wear down to their simplest sense, Yet remain. Weeds are not supposed to grow, But by degrees Some achieve a flower, although No one sees. Philip Larkin - "Modesties"
  23. Cut grass lies frail: Brief is the breath Mown stalks exhale. Long, long the death It dies in the white hours Of young-leafed June With chestnut flowers, With hedges snowlike strewn, White lilac bowed, Lost lanes of Queen Anne's lace, And that high-builded cloud Moving at summer's pace. Philip Larkin, "Cut Grass"
  24. If hands could free you, heart, Where would you fly? Far, beyond every part Of earth this running sky Makes desolate? Would you cross City and hill and sea, If hands could set you free? I would not lift the latch; For I could run Through fields, pit-valleys, catch All beauty under the sun — Still end in loss: I should find no bent arm, no bed To rest my head. Philip Larkin
  25. So am I as the rich, whose blessed key Can bring him to his sweet up-locked treasure, The which he will not every hour survey, For blunting the fine point of seldom pleasure; Therefore are feasts so solemn and so rare, Since, seldom coming, in the long year set, Like stones of worth they thinly placed are, Or captain jewels in the carcanet. So is the time that keeps you as my chest, Or as the wardrobe which the robe doth hide, To make some special instant special blessed By new unfolding his imprison'd pride. Blessed are you, whose worthiness gives scope, Being had, to triumph; being lack'd, to hope. Shakespeare, Sonnet 52
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