DayPoems: A Seven-Century Poetry Slam
93,142 lines of verse * www.daypoems.net
Timothy Bovee, editor


I loved a Lass

George Wither

1588-1667



I LOVED a lass, a fair one,
As fair as e'er was seen;
She was indeed a rare one,
Another Sheba Queen:
But, fool as then I was,
I thought she loved me too:
But now, alas! she 's left me,
Falero, lero, loo!

Her hair like gold did glister,
Each eye was like a star,
She did surpass her sister,
Which pass'd all others far;
She would me honey call,
She'd--O she'd kiss me too!
But now, alas! she 's left me,
Falero, lero, loo!

Many a merry meeting
My love and I have had;
She was my only sweeting,
She made my heart full glad;
The tears stood in her eyes
Like to the morning dew:
But now, alas! she 's left me,
Falero, lero, loo!

Her cheeks were like the cherry,
Her skin was white as snow;
When she was blithe and merry
She angel-like did show;
Her waist exceeding small,
The fives did fit her shoe:
But now, alas! she 's left me,
Falero, lero, loo!

In summer time or winter
She had her heart's desire;
I still did scorn to stint her
From sugar, sack, or fire;
The world went round about,
No cares we ever knew:
But now, alas! she 's left me,
Falero, lero, loo!

To maidens' vows and swearing
Henceforth no credit give;
You may give them the hearing,
But never them believe;
They are as false as fair,
Unconstant, frail, untrue:
For mine, alas! hath left me,
Falero, lero, loo!




Walk In

Jennifer Concetta

21st Century



She waited tables at the diner on the Parkway in the city
She watched him come in
Sit down
And light a smoke
She walked over and asked him
"Can I get you anything?"
And he replied " just coffee for now"




Rivals

William Walsh

1663-1708



OF all the torments, all the cares,
With which our lives are curst;
Of all the plagues a lover bears,
Sure rivals are the worst!
By partners in each other kind
Afflictions easier grow;
In love alone we hate to find
Companions of our woe.

Sylvia, for all the pangs you see
Are labouring in my breast,
I beg not you would favour me,
Would you but slight the rest!
How great soe'er your rigours are,
With them alone I'll cope;
I can endure my own despair,
But not another's hope.




Cards and Kisses

John Lyly

1553-1606



CUPID and my Campaspe play'd
At cards for kisses--Cupid paid:
He stakes his quiver, bow, and arrows,
His mother's doves, and team of sparrows;
Loses them too; then down he throws
The coral of his lips, the rose
Growing on 's cheek (but none knows how);
With these, the crystal of his brow,
And then the dimple of his chin:
All these did my Campaspe win.
At last he set her both his eyes--
She won, and Cupid blind did rise.
O Love! has she done this for thee?
What shall, alas! become of me?




The Which's Ballad

William Bell Scott

1812-1890



O, I hae come from far away,
From a warm land far away,
A southern land across the sea,
With sailor-lads about the mast,
Merry and canny, and kind to me.

And I hae been to yon town
To try my luck in yon town;
Nort, and Mysie, Elspie too.
Right braw we were to pass the gate,
Wi' gowden clasps on girdles blue.

Mysie smiled wi' miminy mouth,
Innocent mouth, miminy mouth;
Elspie wore a scarlet gown,
Nort's grey eyes were unco' gleg.
My Castile comb was like a crown.

We walk'd abreast all up the street,
Into the market up the street;
Our hair with marigolds was wound,
Our bodices with love-knots laced,
Our merchandise with tansy bound.

Nort had chickens, I had cocks,
Gamesome cocks, loud-crowing cocks;
Mysie ducks, and Elspie drakes,--
For a wee groat or a pound;
We lost nae time wi' gives and takes.

--Lost nae time, for well we knew,
In our sleeves full well we knew,
When the gloaming came that night,
Duck nor drake, nor hen nor cock
Would be found by candle-light.

And when our chaffering all was done,
All was paid for, sold and done,
We drew a glove on ilka hand,
We sweetly curtsied, each to each,
And deftly danced a saraband.

The market-lassies look'd and laugh'd,
Left their gear, and look'd and laugh'd;
They made as they would join the game,
But soon their mithers, wild and wud,
With whack and screech they stopp'd the same.

Sae loud the tongues o' randies grew,
The flytin' and the skirlin' grew,
At all the windows in the place,
Wi' spoons or knives, wi' needle or awl,
Was thrust out every hand and face.

And down each stair they throng'd anon,
Gentle, semple, throng'd anon:
Souter and tailor, frowsy Nan,
The ancient widow young again,
Simpering behind her fan.

Without a choice, against their will,
Doited, dazed, against their will,
The market lassie and her mither,
The farmer and his husbandman,
Hand in hand dance a' thegither.

Slow at first, but faster soon,
Still increasing, wild and fast,
Hoods and mantles, hats and hose,
Blindly doff'd and cast away,
Left them naked, heads and toes.

They would have torn us limb from limb,
Dainty limb from dainty limb;
But never one of them could win
Across the line that I had drawn
With bleeding thumb a-widdershin.

But there was Jeff the provost's son,
Jeff the provost's only son;
There was Father Auld himsel',
The Lombard frae the hostelry,
And the lawyer Peter Fell.

All goodly men we singled out,
Waled them well, and singled out,
And drew them by the left hand in;
Mysie the priest, and Elspie won
The Lombard, Nort the lawyer carle,
I mysel' the provost's son.

Then, with cantrip kisses seven,
Three times round with kisses seven,
Warp'd and woven there spun we
Arms and legs and flaming hair,
Like a whirlwind on the sea.

Like a wind that sucks the sea,
Over and in and on the sea,
Good sooth it was a mad delight;
And every man of all the four
Shut his eyes and laugh'd outright.

Laugh'd as long as they had breath,
Laugh'd while they had sense or breath;
And close about us coil'd a mist
Of gnats and midges, wasps and flies,
Like the whirlwind shaft it rist.

Drawn up I was right off my feet,
Into the mist and off my feet;
And, dancing on each chimney-top,
I saw a thousand darling imps
Keeping time with skip and hop.

And on the provost's brave ridge-tile,
On the provost's grand ridge-tile,
The Blackamoor first to master me
I saw, I saw that winsome smile,
The mouth that did my heart beguile,
And spoke the great Word over me,
In the land beyond the sea.

I call'd his name, I call'd aloud,
Alas! I call'd on him aloud;
And then he fill'd his hand with stour,
And threw it towards me in the air;
My mouse flew out, I lost my pow'r!

My lusty strength, my power were gone;
Power was gone, and all was gone.
He will not let me love him more!
Of bell and whip and horse's tail
He cares not if I find a store.

But I am proud if he is fierce!
I am as proud as he is fierce;
I'll turn about and backward go,
If I meet again that Blackamoor,
And he'll help us then, for he shall know
I seek another paramour.

And we'll gang once more to yon town,
Wi' better luck to yon town;
We'll walk in silk and cramoisie,
And I shall wed the provost's son
My lady of the town I'll be!

For I was born a crown'd king's child,
Born and nursed a king's child,
King o' a land ayont the sea,
Where the Blackamoor kiss'd me first,
And taught me art and glamourie.

Each one in her wame shall hide
Her hairy mouse, her wary mouse,
Fed on madwort and agramie,--
Wear amber beads between her breasts,
And blind-worm's skin about her knee.

The Lombard shall be Elspie's man,
Elspie's gowden husband-man;
Nort shall take the lawyer's hand;
The priest shall swear another vow:
We'll dance again the saraband!




Have you an Eye

Edwin Ford Piper

1871-1939



Have you an eye for the trails, the trails,
The old mark and the new?
What scurried here, what loitered there,
In the dust and in the dew?

Have you an eye for the beaten track,
The old hoof and the young?
Come name me the drivers of yesterday,
Sing me the songs they sung.

O, was it a schooner last went by,
And where will it ford the stream?
Where will it halt in the early dusk,
And where will the camp-fire gleam?

They used to take the shortest cut
The cattle trails had made;
Get down the hill by the easy slope
To the water and the shade.

But it's barbed wire fence, and section line,
And kill-horse travel now;
Scoot you down the canyon bank, --
The old road's under plough.

Have you an eye for the laden wheel,
The worn tire or the new?
Or the sign of the prairie pony's hoof
Was never trimmed for shoe?




The Happiest Heart

John Vance Cheney

1848-1922



Who drives the horses of the sun
Shall lord it but a day;
Better the lowly deed were done,
And kept the humble way.

The rust will find the sword of fame,
The dust will hide the crown;
Ay, none shall nail so high his name
Time will not tear it down.

The happiest heart that ever beat
Was in some quiet breast
That found the common daylight sweet,
And left to Heaven the rest.




Sic Vita

William Stanley Braithwaite

1878-1962



Heart free, hand free,
Blue above, brown under,
All the world to me
Is a place of wonder.
Sun shine, moon shine,
Stars, and winds a-blowing,
All into this heart of mine
Flowing, flowing, flowing!

Mind free, step free,
Days to follow after,
Joys of life sold to me
For the price of laughter.
Girl's love, man's love,
Love of work and duty,
Just a will of God's to prove
Beauty, beauty, beauty!




Grieve not, Ladies

Anna Hempstead Branch

1875-1937



Oh, grieve not, Ladies, if at night
Ye wake to feel your beauty going.
It was a web of frail delight,
Inconstant as an April snowing.

In other eyes, in other lands,
In deep fair pools, new beauty lingers,
But like spent water in your hands
It runs from your reluctant fingers.

Ye shall not keep the singing lark
That owes to earlier skies its duty.
Weep not to hear along the dark
The sound of your departing beauty.

The fine and anguished ear of night
Is tuned to hear the smallest sorrow.
Oh, wait until the morning light!
It may not seem so gone to-morrow!

But honey-pale and rosy-red!
Brief lights that made a little shining!
Beautiful looks about us shed --
They leave us to the old repining.

Think not the watchful dim despair
Has come to you the first, sweet-hearted!
For oh, the gold in Helen's hair!
And how she cried when that departed!

Perhaps that one that took the most,
The swiftest borrower, wildest spender,
May count, as we would not, the cost --
And grow more true to us and tender.

Happy are we if in his eyes
We see no shadow of forgetting.
Nay -- if our star sinks in those skies
We shall not wholly see its setting.

Then let us laugh as do the brooks
That such immortal youth is ours,
If memory keeps for them our looks
As fresh as are the spring-time flowers.

Oh, grieve not, Ladies, if at night
Ye wake, to feel the cold December!
Rather recall the early light
And in your loved one's arms, remember.




The Clematis

Alexander Bathgate

Born 1845



Fair crown of stars of purest ray,
Hung aloft on Mapau tree,
What floral beauties ye display,
Stars of snowy purity;
Around the dark-leaved mapau's head
Unsullied garlands ye have spread.

Concealed were all thy beauties rare
'Neath the dark umbrageous shade,
But still to gain the loftiest spray,
Thy weak stem its efforts made;
Now, every obstacle o'ercome,
Thou smilest from thy leafy home.

That home secure, 'mid sombre leaves
Yielded by thy stalwart spouse,
Helps thee to show thy fairy crown,
Decorates his dusky boughs:
His strength, thy beauty, both unite
And form a picture to delight.

Fair flower, methinks thou dost afford
Emblem of a perfect wife,
Whose work is hidden from the world,
Till, perchance, her husband's life
Is by her influence beautified,
And this by others is descried.




The Song of Tigilau

Marcus Clarke

4/24/1846-8/2/1881



The song of Tigilau the brave,
Sina's wild lover,
Who across the heaving wave
From Samoa came over:
Came over, Sina, at the setting moon!

The moon shines round and bright;
She, with her dark-eyed maidens at her side,
Watches the rising tide.
While balmy breathes the starry southern night,
While languid heaves the lazy southern tide;
The rising tide, O Sina, and the setting moon!

The night is past, is past and gone,
The moon sinks to the West,
The sea-heart beats opprest,
And Sina's passionate breast
Heaves like the sea, when the pale moon has gone,
Heaves like the passionate sea, Sina, left by the moon alone!

Silver on silver sands, the rippling waters meet --
Will he come soon?
The rippling waters kiss her delicate feet,
The rippling waters, lisping low and sweet,
Ripple with the tide,
The rising tide,
The rising tide, O Sina, and the setting moon!

He comes! -- her lover!
Tigilau, the son of Tui Viti.
Her maidens round her hover,
The rising waves her white feet cover.
O Tigilau, son of Tui Viti,
Through the mellow dusk thy proas glide,
So soon!
So soon by the rising tide,
The rising tide, my Sina, and the setting moon!

The mooring-poles are left,
The whitening waves are cleft,
By the prows of Tui Viti!
By the sharp keels of Tui Viti!
Broad is the sea, and deep,
The yellow Samoans sleep,
But they will wake and weep --
Weep in their luxurious odorous vales,
While the land breeze swells the sails
Of Tui Viti!
Tui Viti -- far upon the rising tide,
The rising tide --
The rising tide, my Sina, beneath the setting moon!

She leaps to meet him!
Her mouth to greet him
Burns at his own.
Away! To the canoes,
To the yoked war canoes!
The sea in murmurous tone
Whispers the story of their loves,
Re-echoes the story of their loves --
The story of Tui Viti,
Of Sina and Tui Viti,
By the rising tide,
The rising tide, Sina, beneath the setting moon!

She has gone!
She has fled!
Sina!
Sina, for whom the warriors decked their shining hair,
Wreathing with pearls their bosoms brown and bare,
Flinging beneath her dainty feet
Mats crimson with the feathers of the parrakeet.
Ho, Samoans! rouse your warriors full soon,
For Sina is across the rippling wave,
With Tigilau, the bold and brave.
Far, far upon the rising tide!
Far upon the rising tide!
Far upon the rising tide, Sina, beneath the setting moon.




Hard to Swallow

Glen Sorestad

21st Century



Poet Laureate of Saskatchewan

I raise the glass to my lips --
Bourgogne Passe-Tout-Grains --
and let the ruby elixir
fill my mouth. From the sixth floor
window of our hotel I see
forty or fifty men lined up
a block or so away,
standing in the cold October drizzle
at the Mission for the evening meal.
I hold the wine in my mouth
for a long, long time
before I swallow.