DayPoems: A Seven-Century Poetry Slam
93,142 lines of verse * www.daypoems.net
Timothy Bovee, editor
ON parent knees, a naked new-born child,
Weeping thou sat'st while all around thee smiled:
So live, that sinking to thy life's last sleep,
Calm thou may'st smile, whilst all around thee weep.
There's a place I go to
When the world isn't right,
When the black hounds of day
Start to put up a fight.
A place that's well hidden
And not easy to find,
Which lies at the center
Of the back of my mind.
This place is a closet,
A dream wanderer's realm,
Where all of my thoughts run
Like the scenes in a film.
I'm content to stay here
And just stare at the wall,
No matter what you say
I don't think it's too small.
Though you try to understand
What I see in my world,
Or know what I'm feeling
When my mind comes unfurled;
I don't think that you can
Grasp the depth of my pain,
Or realize the emotions
That wash over me like rain.
Here in this closet I
Make all my own choices,
I let no one direct me,
Not even the voices
Which abound in my head
As I lie in the dark,
Waiting to be taken
And play in their park.
These internal voices
Are no cause for alarm,
They comfort me nightly
Without any harm.
I think of them highly
As I would of a friend,
For when I am with them
I don't have to pretend
To be something more than
What I am, can't you see,
A man with a desire
To forever break free
From the ramshackle heart
That's been laid at my door,
And the black hounds of day
Always begging for more.
Is there anything I can say
To be rid of these vultures,
Who keep trying to change me
With their high-minded cultures.
I don't want to sound rude
Or speak out in jest,
So be gone all you vultures;
And to hell with the rest.
Copyright 2001 William August Kobs
THE blessed Damozel lean'd out
From the gold bar of Heaven:
Her blue grave eyes were deeper much
Than a deep water, even.
She had three lilies in her hand,
And the stars in her hair were seven.
Her robe, ungirt from clasp to hem,
No wrought flowers did adorn,
But a white rose of Mary's gift
On the neck meetly worn;
And her hair, lying down her back,
Was yellow like ripe corn.
Herseem'd she scarce had been a day
One of God's choristers;
The wonder was not yet quite gone
From that still look of hers;
Albeit, to them she left, her day
Had counted as ten years.
(To one it is ten years of years:
...Yet now, here in this place,
Surely she lean'd o'er me,--her hair
Fell all about my face....
Nothing: the Autumn-fall of leaves.
The whole year sets apace.)
It was the terrace of God's house
That she was standing on,--
By God built over the sheer depth
In which Space is begun;
So high, that looking downward thence,
She scarce could see the sun.
It lies from Heaven across the flood
Of ether, as a bridge.
Beneath, the tides of day and night
With flame and darkness ridge
The void, as low as where this earth
Spins like a fretful midge.
But in those tracts, with her, it was
The peace of utter light
And silence. For no breeze may stir
Along the steady flight
Of seraphim; no echo there,
Beyond all depth or height.
Heard hardly, some of her new friends,
Playing at holy games,
Spake gentle-mouth'd, among themselves,
Their virginal chaste names;
And the souls, mounting up to God,
Went by her like thin flames.
And still she bow'd herself, and stoop'd
Into the vast waste calm;
Till her bosom's pressure must have made
The bar she lean'd on warm,
And the lilies lay as if asleep
Along her bended arm.
From the fixt lull of Heaven, she saw
Time, like a pulse, shake fierce
Through all the worlds. Her gaze still strove,
In that steep gulf, to pierce
The swarm; and then she spoke, as when
The stars sang in their spheres.
'I wish that he were come to me,
For he will come,' she said.
'Have I not pray'd in solemn Heaven?
On earth, has he not pray'd?
Are not two prayers a perfect strength?
And shall I feel afraid?
'When round his head the aureole clings,
And he is clothed in white,
I'll take his hand, and go with him
To the deep wells of light,
And we will step down as to a stream
And bathe there in God's sight.
'We two will stand beside that shrine,
Occult, withheld, untrod,
Whose lamps tremble continually
With prayer sent up to God;
And where each need, reveal'd, expects
Its patient period.
'We two will lie i' the shadow of
That living mystic tree
Within whose secret growth the Dove
Sometimes is felt to be,
While every leaf that His plumes touch
Saith His name audibly.
'And I myself will teach to him,--
I myself, lying so,--
The songs I sing here; which his mouth
Shall pause in, hush'd and slow,
Finding some knowledge at each pause,
And some new thing to know.'
(Alas! to her wise simple mind
These things were all but known
Before: they trembled on her sense,--
Her voice had caught their tone.
Alas for lonely Heaven! Alas
For life wrung out alone!
Alas, and though the end were reach'd?...
Was thy part understood
Or borne in trust? And for her sake
Shall this too be found good?--
May the close lips that knew not prayer
Praise ever, though they would?)
'We two,' she said, 'will seek the groves
Where the lady Mary is,
With her five handmaidens, whose names
Are five sweet symphonies:--
Cecily, Gertrude, Magdalen,
Margaret and Rosalys.
'Circle-wise sit they, with bound locks
And bosoms covered;
Into the fine cloth, white like flame,
Weaving the golden thread,
To fashion the birth-robes for them
Who are just born, being dead.
'He shall fear, haply, and be dumb.
Then I will lay my cheek
To his, and tell about our love,
Not once abash'd or weak:
And the dear Mother will approve
My pride, and let me speak.
'Herself shall bring us, hand in hand,
To Him round whom all souls
Kneel--the unnumber'd solemn heads
Bow'd with their aureoles:
And Angels, meeting us, shall sing
To their citherns and citoles.
'There will I ask of Christ the Lord
Thus much for him and me:--
To have more blessing than on earth
In nowise; but to be
As then we were,--being as then
At peace. Yea, verily.
'Yea, verily; when he is come
We will do thus and thus:
Till this my vigil seem quite strange
And almost fabulous;
We two will live at once, one life;
And peace shall be with us.'
She gazed, and listen'd, and then said,
Less sad of speech than mild,--
'All this is when he comes.' She ceased:
The light thrill'd past her, fill'd
With Angels, in strong level lapse.
Her eyes pray'd, and she smiled.
(I saw her smile.) But soon their flight
Was vague 'mid the poised spheres.
And then she cast her arms along
The golden barriers,
And laid her face between her hands,
And wept. (I heard her tears.)
Good-bye! -- 'tis like a churchyard bell -- good-bye!
Poor weeping eyes! Poor head, bowed down with woe!
Kiss me again, dear love, before you go.
Ah, me, how fast the precious moments fly!
We are like mourners when they stand and cry
At open grave in wintry wind and rain.
Yes, it is death. But you shall rise again --
Your sun return to this benighted sky.
The great physician, Time, shall pacify
This parting anguish with another friend.
Your heart is broken now, but it will mend.
Though it is death, yet still you will not die.
Dear heart! dear eyes! dear tongue, that cannot lie!
Your love is true, your grief is deep and sore;
But love will pass -- then you will grieve no more.
New love will come. Your tears will soon be dry.
There are some that long for a limpid lake by a blue Italian shore,
Or a palm-grove out where the rollers break and the coral beaches roar;
There are some for the land of the Japanee, and the tea-girls' twinkling feet;
And some for the isles of the summer sea, afloat in the dancing heat;
And others are exiles all their days, midst black or white or brown,
Who yearn for the clashing of crowded ways, and the lights of London town.
But always I would wish to be where the seasons gently fall
On the Further Isle of the Outer Sea, the last little isle of all,
A fair green land of hill and plain, of rivers and water-springs,
Where the sun still follows after the rain, and ever the hours have wings,
With its bosomed valleys where men may find retreat from
the rough world's way . . .
Where the sea-wind kisses the mountain-wind between the dark and the day.
The combers swing from the China Sea to the California Coast,
The North Atlantic takes toll and fee of the best of the Old World's boast,
And the waves run high with the tearing crash that the Cape-bound
steamers fear --
But they're not so free as the waves that lash the rocks by Sumner pier,
And wheresoever my body be, my heart remembers still
The purple shadows upon the sea, low down from Sumner hill.
The warm winds blow through Kuringai; the cool winds from the South
Drive little clouds across the sky by Sydney harbour-mouth;
But Sydney Heads feel no such breeze as comes from nor'-west rain
And takes the pines and the blue-gum trees by hill and gorge and plain,
And whistles down from Porter's Pass, over the fields of wheat,
And brings a breath of tussock grass into a Christchurch street.
Or the East wind dropping its sea-born rain, or the South wind wild and loud
Comes up and over the waiting plain, with a banner of driving cloud;
And if dark clouds bend to the teeming earth, and the hills are dimmed
There is only to wait for a new day's birth and the hills stand out again.
For no less sure than the rising sun, and no less glad to see
Is the lifting sky when the rain is done and the wet grass rustles free.
Some day we may drop the Farewell Light, and lose the winds of home --
But where shall we win to a land so bright, however far we roam?
We shall long for the fields of Maoriland, to pass as we used to pass
Knee-deep in the seeding tussock, and the long lush English-grass.
And we may travel a weary way ere we come to a sight as grand
As the lingering flush of the sun's last ray on the peaks of Maoriland.
AIRLY Beacon, Airly Beacon;
O the pleasant sight to see
Shires and towns from Airly Beacon,
While my love climb'd up to me!
Airly Beacon, Airly Beacon;
O the happy hours we lay
Deep in fern on Airly Beacon,
Courting through the summer's day!
Airly Beacon, Airly Beacon;
O the weary haunt for me,
All alone on Airly Beacon,
With his baby on my knee!
SWEET Spring, thou turn'st with all thy goodly train,
Thy head with flames, thy mantle bright with flow'rs:
The zephyrs curl the green locks of the plain,
The clouds for joy in pearls weep down their show'rs.
Thou turn'st, sweet youth, but ah! my pleasant hours
And happy days with thee come not again;
The sad memorials only of my pain
Do with thee turn, which turn my sweets in sours.
Thou art the same which still thou wast before,
Delicious, wanton, amiable, fair;
But she, whose breath embalm'd thy wholesome air,
Is gone--nor gold nor gems her can restore.
Neglected virtue, seasons go and come,
While thine forgot lie closed in a tomb.
THEY all were looking for a king
To slay their foes and lift them high:
Thou cam'st, a little baby thing
That made a woman cry.
O Son of Man, to right my lot
Naught but Thy presence can avail;
Yet on the road Thy wheels are not,
Nor on the sea Thy sail!
My how or when Thou wilt not heed,
But come down Thine own secret stair,
That Thou mayst answer all my need--
Yea, every bygone prayer.
Ere Greece soared, showering sovranties of light,
Ere Rome shook earth with her tremendous tread,
Ere yon blue-feasting sun-god burst blood-red,
Beneath thee slept thy prodigy, O Night!
Aeons have ta'en like dreams their strange, slow flight,
And vastest, tiniest, creatures paved her bed,
E'en cities sapped by the usurping spread
Of her imperious waves have sunk from sight
Since she first chanted her colossal psalms
That swell and sink beneath the listening stars;
Oft, as with myriad drums beating to arms,
She thunders out the grandeur of her wars;
Then shifts through moaning moods her wizard charms
Of slow flutes and caressing, gay guitars.
When I look out on London's teeming streets,
On grim grey houses, and on leaden skies,
My courage fails me, and my heart grows sick,
And I remember that fair heritage
Barter'd by me for what your London gives.
This is not Nature's city: I am kin
To whatsoever is of free and wild,
And here I pine between these narrow walls,
And London's smoke hides all the stars from me,
Light from mine eyes, and Heaven from my heart.
For in an island of those Southern seas
That lie behind me, guarded by the Cross
That looks all night from out our splendid skies,
I know a valley opening to the East.
There, hour by hour, the lazy tide creeps in
Upon the sands I shall not pace again --
Save in a dream, -- and, hour by hour, the tide
Creeps lazily out, and I behold it not,
Nor the young moon slow sinking to her rest
Behind the hills; nor yet the dead white trees
Glimmering in the starlight: they are ghosts
Of what has been, and shall be never more.
No, never more!
Nor shall I hear again
The wind that rises at the dead of night
Suddenly, and sweeps inward from the sea,
Rustling the tussock, nor the wekas' wail
Echoing at evening from the tawny hills.
In that deserted garden that I lov'd
Day after day, my flowers drop unseen;
And as your Summer slips away in tears,
Spring wakes our lovely Lady of the Bush,
The Kowhai, and she hastes to wrap herself
All in a mantle wrought of living gold;
Then come the birds, who are her worshippers,
To hover round her; tuis swift of wing,
And bell-birds flashing sudden in the sun,
Carolling: Ah! what English nightingale,
Heard in the stillness of a summer eve,
From out the shadow of historic elms,
Sings sweeter than our Bell-bird of the Bush?
And Spring is here: now the Veronica,
Our Koromiko, whitens on the cliff,
The honey-sweet Manuka buds, and bursts
In bloom, and the divine Convolvulus,
Most fair and frail of all our forest flowers,
Stars every covert, running riotous.
O quiet valley, opening to the East,
How far from this thy peacefulness am I!
Ah me, how far! and far this stream of Life
From thy clear creek fast falling to the sea!
Yet let me not lament that these things are
In that lov'd country I shall see no more;
All that has been is mine inviolate,
Lock'd in the secret book of memory.
And though I change, my valley knows no change.
And when I look on London's teeming streets,
On grim grey houses, and on leaden skies,
When speech seems but the babble of a crowd,
And music fails me, and my lamp of life
Burns low, and Art, my mistress, turns from me, --
Then do I pass beyond the Gate of Dreams
Into my kingdom, walking unconstrained
By ways familiar under Southern skies;
Nor unaccompanied; the dear dumb things
I lov'd once, have their immortality.
There too is all fulfilment of desire:
In this the valley of my Paradise
I find again lost ideals, dreams too fair
For lasting; there I meet once more mine own
Whom Death has stolen, or Life estranged from me, --
And thither, with the coming of the dark,
Thou comest, and the night is full of stars.
THE linnet in the rocky dells,
The moor-lark in the air,
The bee among the heather bells
That hide my lady fair:
The wild deer browse above her breast;
The wild birds raise their brood;
And they, her smiles of love caress'd,
Have left her solitude!
I ween that when the grave's dark wall
Did first her form retain,
They thought their hearts could ne'er recall
The light of joy again.
They thought the tide of grief would flow
Uncheck'd through future years;
But where is all their anguish now,
And where are all their tears?
Well, let them fight for honour's breath,
Or pleasure's shade pursue--
The dweller in the land of death
Is changed and careless too.
And if their eyes should watch and weep
Till sorrow's source were dry,
She would not, in her tranquil sleep,
Return a single sigh!
Blow, west wind, by the lonely mound:
And murmur, summer streams!
There is no need of other sound
To soothe my lady's dreams.
From a long forgotten past
the shadows on the wall
are lost in the darkness
as memories dance on the ceiling.
Memories from someone elses past
slowly creep in
as though they belong here.
And the hardest thing to do
is to continue on.
But it doesn't matter
how hard it is.
We still have to climb that hill
to get to the top.
Copyright 2003 by T.J. Daniels. All rights reserved.