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Poetic Wanderings

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Words can make one happy, 
Words can bend one's mind; 
Words can make one grumpy, 
words can make one kind.

Words can illuminate a man, 
Words can make one weep; 
Words can hurt so much, 
That a man cannot even sleep.

Words can hide the truth, 
Words can strike the heart; 
Words can provoke the youth, 
To make a revolution start.

Words can give one freedom, 
Words can push one to heights; 
Only words have such powers, 
To separate wrongs from rights.

Words are more than missiles, 
That can make one just die; 
but words, if hit, cause much damage, 
That makes one forget to try.

Words before being spoken, 
Are under our total control; 
But after we speak the words, 
We fall under their control! 


The Power of Words, Omkar Atale

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The mind of the people is like mud,
From which arise strange and beautiful things,
But mud is none the less mud,
Though it bear orchids and prophesying Kings,
Dreams, trees, and water's bright babblings.

It has found form and colour and light,
The cold glimmer of the ice-wrapped Poles;
It has called a far-off glow Arcturus,
And some pale weeds, lilies of the valley.

It has imagined Virgil, Helen and Cassandra;
The sack of Troy, and the weeping for Hector—
Rearing stark up 'mid all this beauty
In the thick dull neck of Ajax.

There is a dark Pine in Lapland,
And the great figured Horn of the Reindeer
Moving soundlessly across the snow,
Is its twin-brother, double-dreamed,
In the mind of a far-off people.

It is strange that a little mud
Should echo with sounds, syllables and letters,
Should rise up and call a mountain Popocatapetl,
And a green-leafed wood Oleander.

These are the ghosts of invisible things;
There is no Lapland, no Helen and no Hector;
And the Reindeer is a darkening of the brain;
And Oleander is but Oleander.

Mary Magdalena and the vine Lachrymæ Christi
Were like ghosts up the ghost of Vesuvius,
As I sat and drank wine with the soldiers,
As I sat in the Inn on the mountain,
Watching the shadows in my mind.

The mind of the people is like mud:
Where are the imperishable things,
The ghosts that flicker in the brain—

Silent women, orchids and prophesying Kings,
Dreams, trees, and water's bright babblings!


W.J. Turner - 'Talking with soldiers'

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  Oh! that my young life were a lasting dream!
  My spirit not awakening, till the beam
  Of an Eternity should bring the morrow.
  Yes! tho' that long dream were of hopeless sorrow,
  'Twere better than the cold reality
  Of waking life, to him whose heart must be,
  And hath been still, upon the lovely earth,
  A chaos of deep passion, from his birth.
  But should it be- that dream eternally
  Continuing- as dreams have been to me
  In my young boyhood- should it thus be given,
  'Twere folly still to hope for higher Heaven.
  For I have revell'd, when the sun was bright
  I' the summer sky, in dreams of living light
  And loveliness,- have left my very heart
  In climes of my imagining, apart
  From mine own home, with beings that have been
  Of mine own thought- what more could I have seen?
  'Twas once- and only once- and the wild hour
  From my remembrance shall not pass- some power
  Or spell had bound me- 'twas the chilly wind
  Came o'er me in the night, and left behind
  Its image on my spirit- or the moon
   Shone on my slumbers in her lofty noon
  Too coldly- or the stars- howe'er it was
  That dream was as that night-wind- let it pass.

  I have been happy, tho' in a dream.
  I have been happy- and I love the theme:
  Dreams! in their vivid coloring of life,
  As in that fleeting, shadowy, misty strife
  Of semblance with reality, which brings
  To the delirious eye, more lovely things
  Of Paradise and Love- and all our own!
  Than young Hope in his sunniest hour hath known


   Dreams, Edgar Allan Poe

Edited by lunababymoonchild

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He did not wear his scarlet coat,
For blood and wine are red,
And blood and wine were on his hands
When they found him with the dead,
The poor dead woman whom he loved,
And murdered in her bed.
He walked amongst the Trial Men
In a suit of shabby gray;
A cricket cap was on his head,
And his step seemed light and gay;
But I never saw a man who looked
So wistfully at the day.
I never saw a man who looked
With such a wistful eye
Upon that little tent of blue
Which prisoners call the sky,
And at every drifting cloud that went
With sails of silver by.
I walked, with other souls in pain,
Within another ring,
And was wondering if the man had done
A great or little thing,
When a voice behind me whispered low,
"That fellow's got to swing."
Dear Christ! the very prison walls
Suddenly seemed to reel,
And the sky above my head became
Like a casque of scorching steel;
And, though I was a soul in pain,
My pain I could not feel.
I only knew what hunted thought
Quickened his step, and why
He looked upon the garish day
With such a wistful eye;
The man had killed the thing he loved,
And so he had to die.
Yet each man kills the thing he loves,
By each let this be heard,
Some do it with a bitter look,
Some with a flattering word,
The coward does it with a kiss,
The brave man with a sword!
Oscar Wilde - from 'The Ballad of Reading Gaol'

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My mother weeping

in the dark hallway, in the arms of a man,

not my father,

as I sat at the top of the stairs unnoticed—

my mother weeping and pleading for what I didn't know

then and can still only imagine—

for things to be somehow other than they were,

not knowing what I would change,

for, or to, or why,

only that my mother was weeping

in the arms of a man not me,

and the rain brought down the winter sky

and hid me in the walls that looked on,

indifferent to my mother's weeping,

or mine,

in the rain that brought down the dark afternoon.


The Rain Poured Down By Dan Gerber

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How can I, that girl standing there,
My attention fix
On Roman or on Russian
Or on Spanish politics,
Yet here's a travelled man that knows
What he talks about,
And there's a politician
That has both read and thought,
And maybe what they say is true
Of war and war's alarms,
But O that I were young again
And held her in my arms.
W.B. Yeats - 'Politics'


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Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village, though; 
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound's the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep. 



Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening, Robert Frost

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Enter these enchanted woods,
You who dare.
Nothing harms beneath the leaves
More than waves a swimmer cleaves.
Toss your heart up with the lark,
Foot at peace with mouse and worm,
Fair you fare.
Only at a dread of dark
Quaver, and they quit their form:
Thousand eyeballs under hoods
Have you by the hair.
Enter these enchanted woods,
You who dare.


Here the snake across your path
Stretches in his golden bath:
Mossy-footed squirrels leap
Soft as winnowing plumes of Sleep:
Yaffles on a chuckle skim
Low to laugh from branches dim:
Up the pine, where sits the star,
Rattles deep the moth-winged jar.

Each has business of his own;
But should you distrust a tone,
Then beware.
Shudder all the haunted roods,
All the eyeballs under hoods
Shroud you in their glare.
Enter these enchanted woods,
You who dare.


George Meredith - from 'The Woods of Westermain'

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A snake came to my water-trough

On a hot, hot day, and I in pyjamas for the heat,

To drink there.


In the deep, strange-scented shade of the great dark carob tree

I came down the steps with my pitcher

And must wait, must stand and wait, for there he was at the trough

            before me.


He reached down from a fissure in the earth-wall in the gloom

And trailed his yellow-brown slackness soft-bellied down, over

            the edge of the stone trough

And rested his throat upon the stone bottom,

And where the water had dripped from the tap, in a small clearness,

He sipped with his straight mouth,

Softly drank through his straight gums, into his slack long body,



Someone was before me at my water-trough,

And I, like a second-comer, waiting.


He lifted his head from his drinking, as cattle do,

And looked at me vaguely, as drinking cattle do,

And flickered his two-forked tongue from his lips, and mused

             a moment,

And stooped and drank a little more,

Being earth-brown, earth-golden from the burning bowels

            of the earth

On the day of Sicilian July, with Etna smoking.


The voice of my education said to me

He must be killed,

For in Sicily the black, black snakes are innocent, the gold

            are venomous.


And voices in me said, If you were a man

You would take a stick and break him now, and finish him off.


But must I confess how I liked him,

How glad I was he had come like a guest in quiet, to drink

            at my water-trough

And depart peaceful, pacified, and thankless,

Into the burning bowels of this earth?


Was it cowardice, that I dared not kill him?

Was it perversity, that I longed to talk to him?

Was it humility, to feel so honoured?

I felt so honoured.


And yet those voices:

If you were not afraid, you would kill him!


And truly I was afraid, I was most afraid,

But even so, honoured still more

That he should seek my hospitality

From out the dark door of the secret earth.


He drank enough

And lifted his head, dreamily, as one who has drunken,

And flickered his tongue like a forked night on the air, so black,

Seeming to lick his lips,

And looked around like a god, unseeing, into the air,

And slowly turned his head,

And slowly, very slowly, as if thrice adream,

Proceeded to draw his slow length curving round

And climb again the broken bank of my wall-face.


And as he put his head into that dreadful hole,

And as he slowly drew up, snake-easing his shoulders,

            and entered farther,

A sort of horror, a sort of protest against his withdrawing into

            that horrid black hole,

Deliberately going into the blackness, and slowly drawing

            himself after,

Overcame me now his back was turned.


I looked round, I put down my pitcher,

I picked up a clumsy log

And threw it at the water-trough with a clatter.


I think it did not hit him,

But suddenly that part of him that was left behind convulsed

            in an undignified haste,

Writhed like lightning, and was gone

Into the black hole, the earth-lipped fissure in the wall-front,

At which, in the intense still noon, I stared with fascination.


And immediately I regretted it.

I thought how paltry, how vulgar, what a mean act!

I despised myself and the voices of my accursed human education.


And I thought of the albatross,

And I wished he would come back, my snake.


For he seemed to me again like a king,

Like a king in exile, uncrowned in the underworld,

Now due to be crowned again.


And so, I missed my chance with one of the lords

Of life.

And I have something to expiate:

A pettiness.




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Here is no water but only rock

Rock and no water and the sandy road
The road winding above among the mountains
Which are mountains of rock without water
If there were water we should stop and drink
Amongst the rock one cannot stop or think
Sweat is dry and feet are in the sand
If there were only water amongst the rock
Dead mountain mouth of carious teeth that cannot spit
Here one can neither stand nor lie nor sit
There is not even silence in the mountains
But dry sterile thunder without rain
There is not even solitude in the mountains
But red sullen faces sneer and snarl
From doors of mudcracked houses
                                      If there were water
   And no rock
   If there were rock
   And also water
   And water
   A spring
   A pool among the rock
   If there were the sound of water only
   Not the cicada
   And dry grass singing
   But sound of water over a rock
   Where the hermit-thrush sings in the pine trees
   Drip drop drip drop drop drop drop
   But there is no water
T.S. Eliot - from 'The Waste Land'

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O my Luve’s like a red, red rose,
That’s newly sprung in June;
O my Luve’s like the melodie
That’s sweetly play’d in tune.


As fair are thou, my bonie lass,
So deep in luve am I;
And I will luve thee still, my Dear,
Till a’ the seas gang dry.


Till a’ the seas gang dry, my Dear,
And the rocks melt wi’ the sun:
I will luve thee still, my dear,
While the sands o’ life shall run.


And fare thee weel, my only Luve!
And fare thee weel, a while!
And I will come again, my Luve,
Tho’ it were ten thousand mile!


A Red, Red Rose by Robert Burns



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Sweet day, so cool, so calm, so bright,
The bridal of the earth and sky;
The dew shall weep thy fall to-night,
For thou must die.
Sweet rose, whose hue angry and brave
Bids the rash gazer wipe his eye;
Thy root is ever in its grave,
And thou must die.
Sweet spring, full of sweet days and roses,
A box where sweets compacted lie;
My music shows ye have your closes,
And all must die.
Only a sweet and virtuous soul,
Like season'd timber, never gives;
But though the whole world turn to coal,
Then chiefly lives.
George Herbert - 'Virtue'

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My Soul. I summon to the winding ancient stair;

   Set all your mind upon the steep ascent,

   Upon the broken, crumbling battlement,

   Upon the breathless starlit air,

   Upon the star that marks the hidden pole;

   Fix every wandering thought upon

   That quarter where all thought is done:

   Who can distinguish darkness from the soul?


My Self. The consecrated blade upon my knees

   Is Sato's ancient blade, still as it was,

   Still razor-keen, still like a looking-glass

   Unspotted by the centuries;

   That flowering, silken, old embroidery, torn

   From some court-lady's dress and round

   The wooden scabbard bound and wound,

   Can, tattered, still protect, faded adorn.


My Soul. Why should the imagination of a man

   Long past his prime remember things that are

   Emblematical of love and war?

   Think of ancestral night that can,

   If but imagination scorn the earth

   And intellect its wandering

   To this and that and t'other thing,

   Deliver from the crime of death and birth.


My Self. Montashigi, third of his family, fashioned it

   Five hundred years ago, about it lie

   Flowers from I know not what embroidery—

   Heart's purple—and all these I set

   For emblems of the day against the tower

   Emblematical of the night,

   And claim as by a soldier's right

   A charter to commit the crime once more.


My Soul. Such fullness in that quarter overflows

   And falls into the basin of the mind

   That man is stricken deaf and dumb and blind,

   For intellect no longer knows

   Is from the Ought, or Knower from the Known—

   That is to say, ascends to Heaven;

   Only the dead can be forgiven;

   But when I think of that my tongue's a stone.





My Self. A living man is blind and drinks his drop.

What matter if the ditches are impure?

What matter if I live it all once more?

Endure that toil of growing up;

The ignominy of boyhood; the distress

Of boyhood changing into man;

The unfinished man and his pain

Brought face to face with his own clumsiness;


The finished man among his enemies?—

How in the name of Heaven can he escape

That defiling and disfigured shape

The mirror of malicious eyes

Casts upon his eyes until at last

He thinks that shape must be his shape?

And what's the good of an escape

If honour find him in the wintry blast?


I am content to live it all again

And yet again, if it be life to pitch

Into the frog-spawn of a blind man's ditch,

A blind man battering blind men;

Or into that most fecund ditch of all,

The folly that man does

Or must suffer, if he woos

A proud woman not kindred of his soul.


I am content to follow to its source

Every event in action or in thought;

Measure the lot; forgive myself the lot!

When such as I cast out remorse

So great a sweetness flows into the breast

We must laugh and we must sing,

We are blest by everything,

Everything we look upon is blest.


A Dialogue of Self and Soul


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'I am of Ireland,
And the Holy Land of Ireland,
And time runs on,' cried she.
'Come out of charity,
Come dance with me in Ireland.'

One man, one man alone
In that outlandish gear,
One solitary man
Of all that rambled there
Had turned his stately head.
That is a long way off,
And time runs on,' he said,
'And the night grows rough.'

'I am of Ireland,
And the Holy Land of Ireland,
And time runs on,' cried she.
'Come out of charity
And dance with me in Ireland.'

'The fiddlers are all thumbs,
Or the fiddle-string accursed,
The drums and the kettledrums
And the trumpets all are burst,
And the trombone,' cried he,
'The trumpet and trombone,'
And cocked a malicious eye,
'But time runs on, runs on.'

I am of Ireland,
And the Holy Land of Ireland,
And time runs on,' cried she.
'Come out of charity
And dance with me in Ireland.'
W.B. Yeats - 'I am of Ireland'

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Three little Piggy’s
Wallow in the swill
Who’s going to show them
What happened to Jill?

Little Jack Horner
Scourge of the sauna
Who’s going to tell him
Bo peeps round the corner. 

Piggy’s in the middle
Cat’s on the fiddle 
Who’s going to stop them
The answer’s a riddle?


Three Little Piggy’s, Steve the burgh, Hellopoetry.com

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Why does she turn in that shy soft way
Whenever she stirs the fire,
And kiss to the chimney-corner wall,
As if entranced to admire
Its whitewashed bareness more than the sight
Of a rose in richest green?
I have known her long, but this raptured rite
I never before have seen.

—Well, once when her son cast his shadow there,
A friend took a pencil and drew him
Upon that flame-lit wall. And the lines
Had a lifelike semblance to him.
And there long stayed his familiar look;
But one day, ere she knew,
The whitener came to cleanse the nook,
And covered the face from view.

‘Yes,’ he said: ‘My brush goes on with a rush,
And the draught is buried under;
When you have to whiten old cots and brighten,
What else can you do, I wonder?’
But she knows he's there. And when she yearns
For him, deep in the labouring night,
She sees him as close at hand, and turns
To him under his sheet of white.


Thomas Hardy - 'The Whitewashed Wall'

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I know not if there is a reason
Why I am so sad at heart.
A legend of bygone ages
Haunts me and will not depart.

The air is cool under nightfall.
The calm Rhine courses its way.
The peak of the mountain is sparkling
With evening's final ray.

The fairest of maidens is sitting
So marvellous up there,
Her golden jewels are shining,
She's combing her golden hair.

She combs with a comb also golden,
And sings a song as well
Whose melody binds a wondrous
And overpowering spell.

In his little boat, the boatman
Is seized with a savage woe,
He'd rather look up at the mountain
Than down at the rocks below.

I think that the waves will devour
The boatman and boat as one;
And this by her song's sheer power
Fair Lorelei has done.


The Lorelei, Heinrich Heine

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Gently dip, but not too deep;
For fear you make the golden beard to weep.
Fair maiden white and red,
Comb me smooth, and stroke my head:
And thou shalt have some cockle bread.

Gently dip, but not too deep,
For fear thou make the golden beard to weep.
Fair maiden white and red,
Comb me smooth, and stroke my head;
And every hair, a sheaf shall be,
And every sheaf a golden tree.


George Peele - 'Gently dip, but not too deep'

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Four Trees—upon a solitary Acre—
Without Design
Or Order, or Apparent Action—

The Sun—upon a Morning meets them—
The Wind—
No nearer Neighbor—have they—
But God—

The Acre gives them—Place—
They—Him—Attention of Passer by—
Of Shadow, or of Squirrel, haply—
Or Boy—

What Deed is Theirs unto the General Nature—
What Plan
They severally—retard—or further—


Four Trees upon A Solitary Acre - by Emily Dickinson

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The schoolboys still their morning ramble take
To neighboring village school with playing speed,
Loitering with passtime's leisure till they quake,
Oft looking up the wild-geese droves to heed,
Watching the letters which their journeys make;
Or plucking haws on which their fieldfares feed,
And hips and sloes; and on each shallow lake
Making glib slides, where they like shadows go
Till some fresh passtimes in their minds awake.
Then off they start anew and hasty blow
Their numbed and clumpsing fingers till they glow;
Then races with their shadows wildly run
That stride huge giants o'er the shining snow
In the pale splendour of the winter sun.


John Clare - 'Schoolboys in winter'

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Stand still, and I will read to thee 
A lecture, love, in love's philosophy. 
         These three hours that we have spent, 
         Walking here, two shadows went 
Along with us, which we ourselves produc'd. 
But, now the sun is just above our head, 
         We do those shadows tread, 
         And to brave clearness all things are reduc'd. 
So whilst our infant loves did grow, 
Disguises did, and shadows, flow 
From us, and our cares; but now 'tis not so. 
That love has not attain'd the high'st degree, 
Which is still diligent lest others see. 
Except our loves at this noon stay, 
We shall new shadows make the other way. 
         As the first were made to blind 
         Others, these which come behind 
Will work upon ourselves, and blind our eyes. 
If our loves faint, and westwardly decline, 
         To me thou, falsely, thine, 
         And I to thee mine actions shall disguise. 
The morning shadows wear away, 
But these grow longer all the day; 
But oh, love's day is short, if love decay. 
Love is a growing, or full constant light, 
And his first minute, after noon, is night. 

A Lecture upon the Shadow by John Donne


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When I consider how my light is spent,
   Ere half my days, in this dark world and wide,
   And that one Talent which is death to hide
   Lodged with me useless, though my Soul more bent
To serve therewith my Maker, and present
   My true account, lest he returning chide;
   “Doth God exact day-labour, light denied?”
   I fondly ask. But patience, to prevent
That murmur, soon replies, “God doth not need
   Either man’s work or his own gifts; who best
   Bear his mild yoke, they serve him best. His state
Is Kingly. Thousands at his bidding speed
   And post o’er Land and Ocean without rest:
   They also serve who only stand and wait.”
John Milton - 'Sonnet 19'

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So, we'll go no more a roving 

   So late into the night, 

Though the heart be still as loving, 

   And the moon be still as bright. 


For the sword outwears its sheath, 

   And the soul wears out the breast, 

And the heart must pause to breathe, 

   And love itself have rest. 


Though the night was made for loving, 

   And the day returns too soon, 

Yet we'll go no more a roving 

   By the light of the moon.


So We'll Go No More a Roving


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With how sad steps, O Moon, thou climb'st the skies!
How silently, and with how wan a face!
What, may it be that even in heav'nly place
That busy archer his sharp arrows tries!
Sure, if that long-with love-acquainted eyes
Can judge of love, thou feel'st a lover's case,
I read it in thy looks; thy languish'd grace
To me, that feel the like, thy state descries.
Then, ev'n of fellowship, O Moon, tell me,
Is constant love deem'd there but want of wit?
Are beauties there as proud as here they be?
Do they above love to be lov'd, and yet
Those lovers scorn whom that love doth possess?
Do they call virtue there ungratefulness?
Sir Philip Sidney - from 'Astrophil and Stella'

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The archer and his bow
Are always two of a kind
Like the bow is alive
They share a synced mind

The archer and his bow
Cannot be torn apart
For shot after shot
They share the same heart

The archer and his bow
Never cease to amaze
They are together
Throughout all days

The archer and his bow
Without each other, are nothing
But when brought together
They are quite something

The archer and his bow
Take aim and let the arrow fly
It hits, fast as lightning
Perfect bulls-eye

The archer and his bow
Celebrate victory
The greatest of all
The archers in history

The archer and his bow
Always achieve glory
Though this is the end
Of their epic story 


The Archer's Bow by Shelbie Hale

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