I take a jewel from a junk-shop tray
And wish I had a love to buy it for.
Nothing I choose will make you turn my way.
Nothing I give will make you love me more.
I know that I’ve embarrassed you too long
And I’m ashamed to linger at your door.
Whatever I embark on will be wrong.
Nothing I do will make you love me more.
I cannot work. I cannot read or write.
How can I frame a letter to implore.
Eloquence is a lie. The truth is trite.
Nothing I say will make you love me more.
So I replace the jewel in the tray
And laughingly pretend I’m far too poor.
Nothing I give, nothing I do or say,
Nothing I am will make you love me more.
I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance. Continue reading ‘Daffodils’ by William Wordsworth
Unbreakable, O Lord,
Is the love
That binds me to You:
Like a diamond,
It breaks the hammer that strikes it.
My heart goes into You
As the polish goes into the gold.
As the lotus lives in its water,
I live in You.
Like the bird
That gazes all night
At the passing moon,
I have lost myself dwelling in You.
O my Beloved Return.
I’ve watched the Seasons passing slow, so slow,
In the fields between La Bassée and Bethune;
Primroses and the first warm day of Spring,
Red poppy floods of June,
August, and yellowing Autumn, so
To Winter nights knee-deep in mud or snow,
And you’ve been everything.
Dear, you’ve been everything that I most lack
In these soul-deadening trenches—pictures, books,
Music, the quiet of an English wood,
The narrow, bouldered mountain-track,
The broad, full-bosomed ocean, green and black,
And Peace, and all that’s good.
Puisque les plus heureux ont des douleurs sans nombre,
Puisque le sol est froid, puisque les cieux sont lourds,
Puisque l’homme ici-bas promène son cœur sombre
Parmi les vains regrets et les courtes amours,
Que faire de la vie? O notre âme immortelle,
Où jeter tes désirs et tes élans secrets ?
Tu voudrais posséder, mais ici tout chancelle ;
Tu veux aimer toujours, mais la tombe est si près!
Le meilleur est encore en quelque étude austère
De s’enfermer, ainsi qu’en un monde enchanté,
Et dans l’art bien aimé de contempler sur terre,
Sous un de ses aspects, l’éternelle beauté. Continue reading ‘A une artiste’ by Louise Ackermann
Love is not all: it is not meat nor drink
Nor slumber nor a roof against the rain;
Nor yet a floating spar to men that sink
And rise and sink and rise and sink again;
Love can not fill the thickened lung with breath,
Nor clean the blood, nor set the fractured bone;
Yet many a man is making friends with death
Even as I speak, for lack of love alone.
It well may be that in a difficult hour,
Pinned down by pain and moaning for release,
Or nagged by want past resolution’s power,
I might be driven to sell your love for peace,
Or trade the memory of this night for food.
It well may be. I do not think I would.
There you met it – the mystery of hatred.
After your billions of years in anonymous matter
That was where you were found – and promptly hated.
You tried your utmost to reach and touch those people
With gifts of yourself –
Just like your first words as a toddler
When you rushed at every visitor to the house
Clasping their legs and crying: ‘I love you! I love you!’
Just as you had danced for your father
In his home of anger – gifts of your life
To sweeten his slow death and mix yourself in it
Where he lay propped on the couch,
To sugar the bitterness of his raging death. Continue reading ‘God Help the Wolf after Whom the Dogs Do Not Bark’ by Ted Hughes
Nobody heard him, the dead man,
But still he lay moaning:
I was much further out than you thought
And not waving but drowning.
Poor chap, he always loved larking
And now he’s dead
It must have been too cold for him his heart gave way,
Oh, no no no, it was too cold always
(Still the dead one lay moaning)
I was much too far out all my life
And not waving but drowning.
The art of losing isn’t hard to master;
so many things seem filled with the intent
to be lost that their loss is no disaster,
Lose something every day. Accept the fluster
of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.
The art of losing isn’t hard to master.
Then practice losing farther, losing faster:
places, and names, and where it was you meant
to travel. None of these will bring disaster.
I lost my mother’s watch. And look! my last, or
next-to-last, of three loved houses went.
The art of losing isn’t hard to master. Continue reading ‘One Art’ by Elizabeth Bishop
Demain, dès l’aube, à l’heure où blanchit la campagne,
Je partirai. Vois-tu, je sais que tu m’attends.
J’irai par la forêt, j’irai par la montagne.
Je ne puis demeurer loin de toi plus longtemps.
Je marcherai les yeux fixés sur mes pensées,
Sans rien voir au dehors, sans entendre aucun bruit,
Seul, inconnu, le dos courbé, les mains croisées,
Triste, et le jour pour moi sera comme la nuit.
Je ne regarderai ni l’or du soir qui tombe,
Ni les voiles au loin descendant vers Harfleur,
Et quand j’arriverai, je mettrai sur ta tombe
Un bouquet de houx vert et de bruyère en fleur.