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Famous Nature Poems
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“The sunlight claps the earth, and the moonbeams kiss the sea: what are all these kissings worth, if thou kiss not me?"
Percy Bysshe Shelley

Enjoy these everlasting nature poems
from some of our most famous poets.

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Song at Sunset

 SPLENDOR of ended day, floating and filling me!
Hour prophetic—hour resuming the past!
Inflating my throat—you, divine average!
You, Earth and Life, till the last ray gleams, I sing.
 

Open mouth of my Soul, uttering gladness,
Eyes of my Soul, seeing perfection,
Natural life of me, faithfully praising things;
Corroborating forever the triumph of things.
 

Illustrious every one!
Illustrious what we name space—sphere of unnumber’d spirits;
Illustrious the mystery of motion, in all beings, even the
tiniest insect;

Illustrious the attribute of speech—the senses—the body;
Illustrious the passing light! Illustrious the pale reflection on the new moon in the
 western sky!
Illustrious whatever I see, or hear, or touch, to the last.
 

Good in all,
In the satisfaction and aplomb of animals,
In the annual return of the seasons,
In the hilarity of youth,
In the strength and flush of manhood,
In the grandeur and exquisiteness of old age,
In the superb vistas of Death.

sunset 


Wonderful to depart;
Wonderful to be here!
The heart, to jet the all-alike and innocent blood!
To breathe the air, how delicious!
To speak! to walk! to seize something by the hand!
To prepare for sleep, for bed—to look on my
rose-color’d flesh;

To be conscious of my body, so satisfied, so large;
To be this incredible God I am;
To have gone forth among other Gods—these men
and women I love.



Wonderful how I celebrate you and myself!
How my thoughts play subtly at the spectacles around!
How the clouds pass silently overhead!
How the earth darts on and on! and how the sun, moon, stars, dart on and on!
How the water sports and sings! (Surely it is alive!)
How the trees rise and stand up—with strong trunks—with branches and leaves!
(Surely there is something more in each of the tree—
some living Soul.)


O amazement of things! even the least particle!
O spirituality of things!
O strain musical, flowing through ages and continents—now reaching me and America!
I take your strong chords—I intersperse them, and cheerfully pass them forward.
 

I too carol the sun, usher’d, or at noon, or, as now, setting,
I too throb to the brain and beauty of the earth, and of all the growths of the earth,
I too have felt the resistless call of myself.
 

As I sail’d down the Mississippi,
As I wander’d over the prairies,
As I have lived—As I have look’d through my windows, my eyes,
As I went forth in the morning—As I beheld the light breaking in the east;
As I bathed on the beach of the Eastern Sea, and again on the beach of the Western Sea;
As I roam’d the streets of inland Chicago—whatever streets I have roam’d;
Or cities, or silent woods, or peace, or even amid the
 sights of war;

Wherever I have been, I have charged myself with
contentment and triumph.

 

I sing the Equalities, modern or old,
I sing the endless finales of things;
I say Nature continues—Glory continues;
I praise with electric voice;
For I do not see one imperfection in the universe;
And I do not see one cause or result lamentable at
last in the universe.

 

O setting sun! though the time has come,
I still warble under you, if none else does,
unmitigated adoration.



Poem by Walt Whitman


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Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

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.
sunset
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.

Poem by Robert Frost




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Hummingbird

A Route of Evanescence
With a revolving Wheel -
A Resonance of Emerald -
A Rush of Cochineal -
And every Blossom on The Bush
Adjusts its tumbled Head -
The mail from Tunis, probably,
An easy Morning's Ride -
sunset

Poem By Emily Dickinson




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Weathers

This is the weather the cuckoo likes, And so do I;
When showers beturnble the chestnut spikes, And
nestlings fly:

And the little brown nightingale bills his best,
And they sit outside at "The Travellers' Rest,
And maids come forth sprig-muslin drest,
And citizens dream of the south and west, And so do I.
This is the weather the shepherd shuns, And so do I;
When beeches drip in browns and duns, and thresh, and ply;
And hill-hid tides throb, throe on throe,
And meadow rivulets overflow,
And drops on gate-bars bang in a row,
And rooks in families homeward go, And so do I.
sunset

Poem By Thomas Hardy


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A Bird Came Down the Walk

A Bird came down the Walk-
He did not know I saw-
He bit an Angleworm in halves
And ate the fellow, raw,
And then he drank a Dew
From a convenient Grass-
And then hopped sidewise to the Wall
To let a Beetle pass-
He glanced with rapid eyes
That hurried all around-

sunset

They looked like frightened Beads,
I thought-
He stirred his Velvet Head
Like one in danger, Cautious,
I offered him a Crumb
And he unrolled his feathers
And rowed him softer home-
Than Oars divide the Ocean,
Too silver for a seam-
Or Butterflies, off Banks of Noon
Leap, plashless as they swim.

Poem By Emily Dickinson



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Sonnets from the Portuguese

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of every day's
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
sunset
I love thee freely, as men strive for right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from praise.
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints-I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life!-and if God choose,
I shall love thee better after death.


Poem By Elizabeth Barrett Browning



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Loveliest of Trees

Loveliest of trees, the cherry now
Is hung with bloom along the bough,
And stands about the woodland ride
Wearing white for Eastertide.
Now, of my threescore years and ten,
Twenty will not come again,
And take from seventy springs a score,
It only leaves me fifty more.
And since to look at things in bloom
Fifty springs are little room,
About the woodlands I will go
To see the cherry hung with snow

sunset


Poem By A.E. Housman


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On the Grasshopper and the Cricket

The poetry of earth is never dead:
When all the birds are faint with the hot sun,
And hide in cooling trees, a voice will run
From hedge to hedge about the new-mown mead;
That is the grasshopper's-he takes the lead
In summer luxury,--he has never done
With his delights, for when tired out with fun
He rests at ease beneath some pleasant weed.
The poetry of earth is ceasing never:
On a lone winter evening, when the frost
Has wrought a silence, from the stove there shrills
The cricket's song, in warmth increasing ever,
And seems to one, in drowsiness half-lost,
The grasshopper's among some grassy hills

sunset


Poem By John Keats


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Fall, Leaves, Fall

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.

sunset

Poem By Emily Bronte


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Birches

 When I see birches bend to left and right
Across the lines of straighter darker trees,
I like to think some boy’s been swinging them.
But swinging doesn’t bend them down to stay
As ice-storms do.  Often you must have seen them
Loaded with ice a sunny winter morning
After a rain.  They click upon themselves
As the breeze rises, and turn many-colored
As the stir cracks and crazes their enamel.
Soon the sun’s warmth makes them shed crystal shells
Shattering and avalanching on the snow-crust--
Such heaps of broken glass to sweep away
You’d think the inner dome of heaven had fallen.
They are dragged to the withered bracken by the load,
And they seem not to break; though once they are bowed
So low for long, they never right themselves:
You may see their trunks arching in the woods
Years afterwards, trailing their leaves on the ground
Like girls on hands and knees that throw their hair
Before them over their heads to dry in the sun.
But I was going to say when Truth broke in
With all her matter-of-fact about the ice-storm
I should prefer to have some boy bend them
As he went out and in to fetch the cows--
Some boy too far from town to learn baseball,
Whose only play was what he found himself,
Summer or winter, and could play alone.
One by one he subdued his father’s trees
By riding them down over and over again
Until he took the stiffness out of them,
And not one but hung limp, not one was left
For him to conquer.  He learned all there was
To learn about not launching out too soon
And so not carrying the tree away
Clear to the ground.  He always kept his poise
To the top branches, climbing carefully
With the same pains you use to fill a cup
Up to the brim, and even above the brim.

sunset
Then he flung outward, feet first, with a swish,
Kicking his way down through the air to the ground.
So was I once myself a swinger of birches.
And so I dream of going back to be.
It’s when I’m weary of considerations,
And life is too much like a pathless wood
Where your face burns and tickles with the cobwebs
Broken across it, and one eye is weeping
From a twig’s having lashed across it open.
I’d like to get away from earth awhile
And then come back to it and begin over.
May no fate willfully misunderstand me
And half grant what I wish and snatch me away
Not to return.  Earth’s the right place for love:
I don’t know where it’s likely to go better.
I’d like to go by climbing a birch tree,
And climb black branches up a snow-white trunk
Toward heaven, till the tree could bear no more,
But dipped its top and set me down again.
That would be good both going and coming back.
One could do worse than be a swinger of birches.


Poem By Robert Frost


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October

 Is it winter again, is it cold again,
didn’t Frank just slip on the ice,
didn’t he heal, weren’t the spring seeds planted

didn’t the night end,
didn’t the melting ice
flood the narrow gutters

wasn’t my body
rescued, wasn’t it safe

didn’t the scar form, invisible
above the injury

terror and cold,
didn’t they just end, wasn’t the back garden
harrowed and planted--

I remember how the earth felt, red and dense,
in stiff rows, weren’t the seeds planted,
didn’t vines climb the south wall

sunset
I can’t hear your voice
for the wind’s cries, whistling over the bare ground

I no longer care
what sound it makes

when was I silenced, when did it first seem
pointless to describe that sound

what it sounds like can’t change what it is--

didn’t the night end, wasn’t the earth
safe when it was planted

didn’t we plant the seeds,
weren’t we necessary to the earth,

the vines, were they harvested?


Poem By Louise Glück


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The Pasture

I’m going out to clean the pasture spring;
I’ll only stop to rake the leaves away
(And wait to watch the water clear, I may):
I sha’n’t be gone long.—You come too.

sunset
I’m going out to fetch the little calf
That’s standing by the mother. It’s so young,
It totters when she licks it with her tongue.
I sha’n’t be gone long.—You come too.

 Poem By Robert Frost


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We Two, How Long We Were Fool’d

We two, how long we were fool’d,
Now transmuted, we swiftly escape as Nature escapes,
We are Nature, long have we been absent, but now we return,
We become plants, trunks, foliage, roots, bark,
We are bedded in the ground, we are rocks,
We are oaks, we grow in the openings side by side,
We browse, we are two among the wild herds spontaneous
as any,

We are two fishes swimming in the sea together,
We are what locust blossoms are, we drop scent around lanes mornings and evenings,
We are also the coarse smut of beasts, vegetables, minerals,
We are two predatory hawks, we soar above and look down,
We are two resplendent suns, we it is who balance ourselves orbic and stellar, we are as two comets,
We prowl fang’d and four-footed in the woods, we
spring on prey,

We are two clouds forenoons and afternoons driving overhead,
We are seas mingling, we are two of those cheerful waves rolling over each other and interwetting each other,
We are what the atmosphere is, transparent, receptive, pervious, impervious,

sunset

Poem By Walt Whitman


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The Sunlight On The Garden

The sunlight on the garden

Hardens and grows cold,
We cannot cage the minute
Within its nets of gold,
When all is told
We cannot beg for pardon.

Our freedom as free lances
Advances towards its end;
The earth compels, upon it
Sonnets and birds descend;
And soon, my friend,
We shall have no time for dances.

sunset
The sky was good for flying
Defying the church bells
And every evil iron
Siren and what it tells:
The earth compels,
We are dying, Egypt, dying

And not expecting pardon,
Hardened in heart anew,
But glad to have sat under
Thunder and rain with you,
And grateful too
For sunlight on the garden.

Poem By Louis MacNeice

The Fish

I caught a tremendous fish
and held him beside the boat
half out of water, with my hook
fast in a corner of his mouth.
He didn’t fight.
He hadn’t fought at all.
He hung a grunting weight,
battered and venerable
and homely. Here and there
his brown skin hung in strips
like ancient wallpaper,
and its pattern of darker brown
was like wallpaper:
shapes like full-blown roses
stained and lost through age.
He was speckled with barnacles,
fine rosettes of lime,
and infested
with tiny white sea-lice,
and underneath two or three
rags of green weed hung down.
While his gills were breathing in
the terrible oxygen
—the frightening gills,
fresh and crisp with blood,
that can cut so badly—
I thought of the coarse white flesh
packed in like feathers,
the big bones and the little bones,
the dramatic reds and blacks
of his shiny entrails,
and the pink swim-bladder
like a big peony.
I looked into his eyes
which were far larger than mine
but shallower, and yellowed,
the irises backed and packed
with tarnished tinfoil
seen through the lenses
of old scratched isinglass.
They shifted a little, but not
to return my stare.
—It was more like the tipping
of an object toward the light.
I admired his sullen face,
the mechanism of his jaw,
and then I saw
that from his lower lip
—if you could call it a lip—
grim, wet, and weaponlike,
hung five old pieces of fish-line,
or four and a wire leader
with the swivel still attached,
with all their five big hooks
grown firmly in his mouth.
A green line, frayed at the end
where he broke it, two heavier lines,
and a fine black thread
still crimped from the strain and snap
when it broke and he got away.
Like medals with their ribbons
frayed and wavering,
a five-haired beard of wisdom
trailing from his aching jaw.
I stared and stared
and victory filled up
the little rented boat,
from the pool of bilge
where oil had spread a rainbow
around the rusted engine
to the bailer rusted orange,
the sun-cracked thwarts,
the oarlocks on their strings,
the gunnels—until everything
was rainbow, rainbow, rainbow!
And I let the fish go.

sunset

Poem By Elizabeth Bishop


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Dust Of Snow

The way a crow
Shook down on me
The dust of snow
From a hemlock tree

Has given my heart
A change of mood
And saved some part
Of a day I had rued.

sunset

Poem By Robert Frost


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I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings

The free bird leaps
on the back of the wind
and floats downstream
till the current ends
and dips his wings
in the orange sun rays
and dares to claim the sky.

But a bird that stalks
down his narrow cage
can seldom see through
his bars of rage
his wings are clipped and
his feet are tied
so he opens his throat to sing.

The caged bird sings
with fearful trill
of the things unknown
but longed for still
and his tune is heard
on the distant hill for the caged bird
sings of freedom

sunset

The free bird thinks of another breeze
and the trade winds soft through the sighing trees
and the fat worms waiting on a dawn-bright lawn
and he names the sky his own.

But a caged bird stands on the grave of dreams
his shadow shouts on a nightmare scream
his wings are clipped and his feet are tied
so he opens his throat to sing

The caged bird sings



Poem By Maya Angelou



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Nature, That Washed Her Hands In Milk

Nature, that washed her hands in milk,
And had forgot to dry them,
Instead of earth took snow and silk,
At love's request to try them,
If she a mistress could compose
To please love’s fancy out of those.

Her eyes he would should be of light,
A violet breath, and lips of jelly;
Her hair not black, nor overbright,
And of the softest down her belly;
As for her inside he’d have it
Only of wantonness and wit.

At love's entreaty such a one
Nature made, but with her beauty
She hath framed a heart of stone;
So as love, by ill destiny,
Must die for her whom nature gave him,
Because her darling would not save him.

sunset

But time (which nature doth despise,
And rudely gives her love the lie,
Makes hope a fool, and sorrow wise)
His hands do neither wash nor dry;
But being made of steel and rust,
Turns snow and silk and milk to dust.

The light, the belly, lips, and breath,
He dims, discolors, and destroys;
With those he feeds but fills not death,
Which sometimes were the food of joys.
Yea, time doth dull each lively wit,
And dries all wantonness with it.

Oh, cruel time! which takes in trust
Our youth, our joys, and all we have,
And pays us but with age and dust;
Who in the dark and silent grave
When we have wandered all our ways
Shuts up the story of our days.

Poem By Sir Walter Raleigh



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How Happy Is The Little Stone   

How happy is the little stone   
That rambles in the road alone,   
And does n’t care about careers,   
And exigencies never fears;   
Whose coat of elemental brown       
A passing universe put on;   
And independent as the sun,   
Associates or glows alone,   
Fulfilling absolute decree   
In casual simplicity.

sunset

Poem By Emily Dickinson




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Snow-Flakes. (Birds Of Passage. Flight The Second)

Out of the bosom of the Air
    Out of the cloud-folds of her garments shaken,
Over the woodlands brown and bare,
    Over the harvest-fields forsaken,
          Silent, and soft, and slow
          Descends the snow.

Even as our cloudy fancies take
    Suddenly shape in some divine expression,
Even as the troubled heart doth make
    In the white countenance confession
          The troubled sky reveals
          The grief it feels.

This is the poem of the air,
    Slowly in silent syllables recorded;
This is the secret of despair,
    Long in its cloudy bosom hoarded,
          Now whispered and revealed
          To wood and field.

sunset

Poem By Henry Wadsworth Longfellow



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Aftermath. (Birds Of Passage. Flight The Third)

When the summer fields are mown,

When the birds are fledged and flown,
  And the dry leaves strew the path;
With the falling of the snow,
With the cawing of the crow,
Once again the fields we mow
  And gather in the aftermath.

sunset
Not the sweet, new grass with flowers
Is this harvesting of ours;
  Not the upland clover bloom;
But the rowen mixed with weeds,
Tangled tufts from marsh and meads,
Where the poppy drops its seeds
  In the silence and the gloom.


Poem By Henry Wadsworth Longfellow



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The Rainy Day

The day is cold, and dark, and dreary;
It rains,and the wind is never weary;
The vine still clings to the mouldering wall,
But at every gust the dead leaves fall,
And the day is dark and dreary.

My life is cold, and dark, and dreary;
It rains,and the wind is never weary;
My thoughts still cling to the mouldering past,
But the hopes of youth fall thick in the blast,
And the days are dark and dreary.

sunset
Be still, sad heart, and cease repining;
Behind the clouds is the sun still shining;
Thy fate is the common fate of all,
Into each life some rain must fall,
Some days must be dark and dreary.

Poem By Henry Wadsworth Longfellow


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The Sound Of The Sea

The sea awoke at midnight from its sleep,
    And round the pebbly beaches far and wide
    I heard the first wave of the rising tide
    Rush onward with uninterrupted sweep;
A voice out of the silence of the deep,
    A sound mysteriously multiplied
    As of a cataract from the mountain's side,
    Or roar of winds upon a wooded steep.
So comes to us at times, from the unknown
    And inaccessible solitudes of being,
    The rushing of the sea-tides of the soul;
And inspirations, that we deem our own,
    Are some divine foreshadowing and foreseeing
    Of things beyond our reason or control.

sunset

Poem By Henry Wadsworth Longfellow



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The Moon

She comes! again she comes, the bright-eyed moon!
Under a ragged cloud I found her out,
Clasping her own dark orb like hope in doubt!
That ragged cloud hath waited her since noon,
And he hath found and he will hide her soon!
Come, all ye little winds that sit without,
And blow the shining leaves her edge about,
And hold her fast—ye have a pleasant tune!
She will forget us in her walks at night
Among the other worlds that are so fair!
She will forget to look on our despair!
She will forget to be so young and bright!
Nay, gentle moon, thou hast the keys of light—
I saw them hanging by thy girdle there!
 
sunset

Poem By George MacDonald


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Come To The Greenwood Tree

Come to the greenwood tree,
   Come where the dark woods be,
   Dearest, O come with me!
Let us rove—O my love—O my love!

   Come—'tis the moonlight hour,
   Dew is on leaf and flower,
   Come to the linden bower,—
Let us rove—O my love—O my love!

sunset
Dark is the wood, and wide
Dangers, they say, betide;
But, at my Albert's side,
Nought I fear, O my love—O my love!

Welcome the greenwood tree,
Welcome the forest free,
Dearest, with thee, with thee,
Nought I fear, O my love—O my love!


Poem By William Makepeace Thackeray


A Patch of Snow

There's a patch of old snow in a corner
That I should have guessed
Was a blow-away paper the rain
Had brought to rest.

It is speckled with grime as if
Small print overspread it,
The news of a day I've forgotten --
If I ever read it.

Poem by Robert Frost

Blue-Butterfly Day

It is a blue-butterfly day here in spring,
And with these sky-flakes down in flurry on flurry
There is more unmixed color on the wing
Than flowers will show for days unless they hurry.

But these are flowers that fly and all but sing:
And now from having ridden out desire
They lie closed over in the wind and cling
Where wheels have freshly sliced the April mire.


Poem by Robert Frost
The Mountain

The mountain held the town as in a shadow
I saw so much before I slept there once:
I noticed that I missed stars in the west,
Where its black body cut into the sky.
Near me it seemed: I felt it like a wall
Behind which I was sheltered from a wind.
And yet between the town and it I found,
When I walked forth at dawn to see new things,
Were fields, a river, and beyond, more fields.
The river at the time was fallen away,
And made a widespread brawl on cobble-stones;
But the signs showed what it had done in spring;
Good grass-land gullied out, and in the grass
Ridges of sand, and driftwood stripped of bark.
I crossed the river and swung round the mountain.
And there I met a man who moved so slow
With white-faced oxen in a heavy cart,
It seemed no hand to stop him altogether.
"What town is this?" I asked.
"This? Lunenburg."
Then I was wrong: the town of my sojourn,
Beyond the bridge, was not that of the mountain,
But only felt at night its shadowy presence.
"Where is your village? Very far from here?"
"There is no village—only scattered farms.
We were but sixty voters last election.
We can't in nature grow to many more:
That thing takes all the room!" He moved his goad.
The mountain stood there to be pointed at.
Pasture ran up the side a little way,
And then there was a wall of trees with trunks:
After that only tops of trees, and cliffs
Imperfectly concealed among the leaves.
A dry ravine emerged from under boughs
Into the pasture.
"That looks like a path.
Is that the way to reach the top from here?—
Not for this morning, but some other time:
I must be getting back to breakfast now."
"I don't advise your trying from this side.
There is no proper path, but those that have
Been up, I understand, have climbed from Ladd's.
That's five miles back. You can't mistake the place:
They logged it there last winter some way up.
I'd take you, but I'm bound the other way."
"You've never climbed it?"
"I've been on the sides
Deer-hunting and trout-fishing. There's a brook
That starts up on it somewhere—I've heard say
Right on the top, tip-top—a curious thing.
But what would interest you about the brook,
It's always cold in summer, warm in winter.
One of the great sights going is to see
It steam in winter like an ox's breath,
Until the bushes all along its banks
Are inch-deep with the frosty spines and bristles—
You know the kind. Then let the sun shine on it!"
"There ought to be a view around the world
From such a mountain—if it isn't wooded
Clear to the top." I saw through leafy screens
Great granite terraces in sun and shadow,
Shelves one could rest a knee on getting up—
With depths behind him sheer a hundred feet;
Or turn and sit on and look out and down,
With little ferns in crevices at his elbow.
"As to that I can't say. But there's the spring,
Right on the summit, almost like a fountain.
That ought to be worth seeing."
"If it's there.
You never saw it?"
"I guess there's no doubt
About its being there. I never saw it.
It may not be right on the very top:
It wouldn't have to be a long way down
To have some head of water from above,
And a good distance down might not be noticed
By anyone who'd come a long way up.
One time I asked a fellow climbing it
To look and tell me later how it was."
"What did he say?"
"He said there was a lake
Somewhere in Ireland on a mountain top."
"But a lake's different. What about the spring?"
"He never got up high enough to see.
That's why I don't advise your trying this side.
He tried this side. I've always meant to go
And look myself, but you know how it is:
It doesn't seem so much to climb a mountain
You've worked around the foot of all your life.
What would I do? Go in my overalls,
With a big stick, the same as when the cows
Haven't come down to the bars at milking time?
Or with a shotgun for a stray black bear?
'Twouldn't seem real to climb for climbing it."
"I shouldn't climb it if I didn't want to—
Not for the sake of climbing. What's its name?"
"We call it Hor: I don't know if that's right."
"Can one walk around it? Would it be too far?"
"You can drive round and keep in Lunenburg,
But it's as much as ever you can do,
The boundary lines keep in so close to it.
Hor is the township, and the township's Hor—
And a few houses sprinkled round the foot,
Like boulders broken off the upper cliff,
Rolled out a little farther than the rest."
"Warm in December, cold in June, you say?"
"I don't suppose the water's changed at all.
You and I know enough to know it's warm
Compared with cold, and cold compared with warm.
But all the fun's in how you say a thing."
"You've lived here all your life?"
"Ever since Hor
Was no bigger than a——" What, I did not hear.
He drew the oxen toward him with light touches
Of his slim goad on nose and offside flank,
Gave them their marching orders and was moving.


Poem by Robert Frost
Storm Fear

When the wind works against us in the dark,
And pelts with snow
The lowest chamber window on the east,
And whispers with a sort of stifled bark,
The beast,
'Come out! Come out!'—
It costs no inward struggle not to go,
Ah, no!
I count our strength,
Two and a child,
Those of us not asleep subdued to mark
How the cold creeps as the fire dies at length,—
How drifts are piled,
Dooryard and road ungraded,
Till even the comforting barn grows far away
And my heart owns a doubt
Whether 'tis in us to arise with day
And save ourselves unaided.


Poem by Robert Frost
Wind And Window Flower

Lovers, forget your love,
    And list to the love of these,
    She a window flower,
    And he a winter breeze.
    When the frosty window veil
    Was melted down at noon,
    And the cagèd yellow bird
    Hung over her in tune,
    He marked her through the pane,
    He could not help but mark,
    And only passed her by,
    To come again at dark.
    He was a winter wind,
    Concerned with ice and snow,
    Dead weeds and unmated birds,
    And little of love could know.
    But he sighed upon the sill,
    He gave the sash a shake,
    As witness all within
    Who lay that night awake.
    Perchance he half prevailed
    To win her for the flight
    From the firelit looking-glass
    And warm stove-window light.
    But the flower leaned aside
    And thought of naught to say,
    And morning found the breeze
    A hundred miles away.


Poem by Robert Frost

Blueberries

Blueberries as big as the end of your thumb,
Real sky-blue, and heavy, and ready to drum
In the cavernous pail of the first one to come!
And all ripe together, not some of them green
And some of them ripe! You ought to have seen!


Poem by Robert Frost
The Old Women Of The Ocean

To the solemn sea the old women come
With their shawls knotted around their necks
With their fragile feet cracking.

They sit down alone on the shore
Without moving their eyes or their hands
Without changing the clouds or the silence.

The obscene sea breaks and claws
Rushes downhill trumpeting
Shakes its bull's beard.

The gentle old ladies seated
As if in a transparent boat
They look at the terrorist waves.

Where will they go and where have they been?
They come from every corner
They come from our own lives.

Now they have the ocean
The cold and burning emptiness
The solitude full of flames.

They come from all the pasts
From houses which were fragrant
From burnt-up evenings.

They look, or don't look, at the sea
With their walking sticks they draw signs in the sand
And the sea erases their calligraphy.

The old women get up and go away
With their fragile bird feet
While the waves flood in
Traveling naked in the wind.

Poem by Pablo Neruda
Tell Me, Is The Rose Naked?

Tell me, is the rose naked
Or is that her only dress?.

Why do trees conceal
The splendor of their roots?.

Who hears the regrets
Of the thieving automobile?.

Is there anything in the world sadder
Than a train standing in the rain?

Poem by Pablo Neruda
Enigma with Flower

Victory. It has come late, I had not learnt
how to arrive, like the lily, at will,
the white figure, that pierces
the motionless eternity of earth,
pushing at clear, faint, form,
till the hour strikes: that clay,
with a white ray, or a spur of milk.
Shedding of clothing, the thick darkness of soil,
on whose cliff the fair flower advances,
till the flag of its whiteness
defeats the contemptible deep of night,
and, from the motion of light,
spills itself in astonished seed.


Poem by Pablo Neruda
There Where The Waves Shatter

There where the waves shatter on the restless rocks
the clear light bursts and enacts its rose,
and the sea-circle shrinks to a cluster of buds,
to one drop of blue salt, falling.

O bright magnolia bursting in the foam,
magnetic transient whose death blooms
and vanishes--being, nothingness--forever:
broken salt, dazzling lurch of the sea.

You & I, Love, together we ratify the silence,
while the sea destroys its perpetual statues,
collapses its towers of wild speed and whiteness:

because in the weavings of those invisible fabrics,
galloping water, incessant sand,
we make the only permanent tenderness.


Poem by Pablo Neruda
The Wide Ocean

Ocean, if you were to give, a measure, a ferment, a fruit
of your gifts and destructions, into my hand,
I would choose your far-off repose, your contour of steel,
your vigilant spaces of air and darkness,
and the power of your white tongue,
that shatters and overthrows columns,
breaking them down to your proper purity.

Not the final breaker, heavy with brine,
that thunders onshore, and creates
the silence of sand, that encircles the world,
but the inner spaces of force,
the naked power of the waters,
the immoveable solitude, brimming with lives.
It is Time perhaps, or the vessel filled
with all motion, pure Oneness,
that death cannot touch, the visceral green
of consuming totality.

Only a salt kiss remains of the drowned arm,
that lifts a spray: a humid scent,
of the damp flower, is left,
from the bodies of men. Your energies
form, in a trickle that is not spent,
form, in retreat into silence.

The falling wave,
arch of identity, shattering feathers,
is only spume when it clears,
and returns to its source, unconsumed.

Your whole force heads for its origin.
The husks that your load threshes,
are only the crushed, plundered, deliveries,
that your act of abundance expelled,
all those that take life from your branches.

Your form extends beyond breakers,
vibrant, and rhythmic, like the chest, cloaking
a single being, and its breathings,
that lift into the content of light,
plains raised above waves,
forming the naked surface of earth.
You fill your true self with your substance.
You overflow curve with silence.

The vessel trembles with your salt and sweetness,
the universal cavern of waters,
and nothing is lost from you, as it is
from the desolate crater, or the bay of a hill,
those empty heights, signs, scars,
guarding the wounded air.

Your petals throbbing against the Earth,
trembling your submarine harvests,
your menace thickening the smooth swell,
with pulsations and swarming of schools,
and only the thread of the net raises
the dead lightning of fish-scale,
one wounded millimetre, in the space
of your crystal completeness.

Poem by Pablo Neruda
In My Sky At Twilight

In my sky at twilight you are like a cloud
and your form and colour are the way I love them.
You are mine, mine, woman with sweet lips
and in your life my infinite dreams live.

The lamp of my soul dyes your feet,
the sour wine is sweeter on your lips,
oh reaper of my evening song,
how solitary dreams believe you to be mine!

You are mine, mine, I go shouting it to the afternoon's
wind, and the wind hauls on my widowed voice.
Huntress of the depth of my eyes, your plunder
stills your nocturnal regard as though it were water.

You are taken in the net of my music, my love,
and my nets of music are wide as the sky.
My soul is born on the shore of your eyes of mourning.
In your eyes of mourning the land of dreams begin.

Poem by Pablo Neruda
The Insect

From your hips down to your feet
I want to make a long journey.

I am smaller than an insect.

Over these hills I pass,
hills the colour of oats,
crossed with faint tracks
that only I know,
scorched centimetres,
pale perspectives.

Now here is a mountain.
I shall never leave this.
What a giant growth of moss!
And a crater, a rose
of moist fire!

Coming down your legs
I trace a spiral,
or sleep on the way,
and arrive at your knees,
round hardness
like the hard peaks
of a bright continent.

Sliding down to your feet
I reach the eight slits
of your pointed, slow,
peninsular toes,
and from them I fall down
to the white emptiness
of the sheet, seeking blindly
and hungrily the form
of your fiery crucible!



Poem by Pablo Neruda
A Lemon

Out of lemon flowers
loosed
on the moonlight, love's
lashed and insatiable
essences,
sodden with fragrance,
the lemon tree's yellow
emerges,
the lemons
move down
from the tree's planetarium

Delicate merchandise!
The harbors are big with it-
bazaars
for the light and the
barbarous gold.
We open
the halves
of a miracle,
and a clotting of acids
brims
into the starry
divisions:
creation's
original juices,
irreducible, changeless,
alive:
so the freshness lives on
in a lemon,
in the sweet-smelling house of the rind,
the proportions, arcane and acerb.

Cutting the lemon
the knife
leaves a little cathedral:
alcoves unguessed by the eye
that open acidulous glass
to the light; topazes
riding the droplets,
altars,
aromatic facades.

So, while the hand
holds the cut of the lemon,
half a world
on a trencher,
the gold of the universe
wells
to your touch:
a cup yellow
with miracles,
a breast and a nipple
perfuming the earth;
a flashing made fruitage,
the diminutive fire of a planet.



Poem by Pablo Neruda
Magellanic Penguin

Neither clown nor child nor black
nor white but verticle
and a questioning innocence
dressed in night and snow:
The mother smiles at the sailor,
the fisherman at the astronaunt,
but the child child does not smile
when he looks at the bird child,
and from the disorderly ocean
the immaculate passenger
emerges in snowy mourning.

I was without doubt the child bird
there in the cold archipelagoes
when it looked at me with its eyes,
with its ancient ocean eyes:
it had neither arms nor wings
but hard little oars
on its sides:
it was as old as the salt;
the age of moving water,
and it looked at me from its age:
since then I know I do not exist;
I am a worm in the sand.

the reasons for my respect
remained in the sand:
the religious bird
did not need to fly,
did not need to sing,
and through its form was visible
its wild soul bled salt:
as if a vein from the bitter sea
had been broken.

Penguin, static traveler,
deliberate priest of the cold,
I salute your vertical salt
and envy your plumed pride.


Poem by Pablo Neruda
Fame Is A Bee

Fame is a bee.
It has a song —
It has a sting —
Ah, too, it has a wing.

Poem by Emily Dickinson
All Overgrown By Cunning Moss

All overgrown by cunning moss,
All interspersed with weed,
The little cage of “Currer Bell”
In quiet “Haworth” laid.

This Bird – observing others
When frosts too sharp became
Retire to other latitudes –
Quietly did the same –

But differed in returning –
Since Yorkshire hills are green –
Yet not in all the nests I meet –
Can Nightingale be seen –


Poem by Emily Dickinson
Lost In The Forest

Lost in the forest, I broke off a dark twig
and lifted its whisper to my thirsty lips:
maybe it was the voice of the rain crying,
a cracked bell, or a torn heart.

Something from far off it seemed
deep and secret to me, hidden by the earth,
a shout muffled by huge autumns,
by the moist half-open darkness of the leaves.

Wakening from the dreaming forest there, the hazel-sprig
sang under my tongue, its drifting fragrance
climbed up through my conscious mind

as if suddenly the roots I had left behind
cried out to me, the land I had lost with my childhood—-
and I stopped, wounded by the wandering scent.


Poem by Pablo Neruda
The Voice of the Rain

And who art thou? said I to the soft-falling shower,
Which, strange to tell, gave me an answer, as here translated:
I am the Poem of Earth, said the voice of the rain,
Eternal I rise impalpable out of the land and the bottomless sea,
Upward to heaven, whence, vaguely form'd, altogether changed, and yet the same,
I descend to lave the drouths, atomies, dust-layers of the globe,
And all that in them without me were seeds only, latent, unborn;
And forever, by day and night, I give back life to my own origin,
and make pure and beautify it;
(For song, issuing from its birth-place, after fulfilment, Wandering,
Reck'd or unreck'd, duly with love returns.)

Poem by Walt Whitman
Look Down, Fair Moon

LOOK down, fair moon, and bathe this scene;
Pour softly down night's nimbus floods, on faces ghastly,
swollen, purple;
On the dead, on their backs, with their arms toss'd wide,
Pour down your unstinted nimbus, sacred moon.


Poem by Walt Whitman
When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom'd


When lilacs last in the door-yard bloom’d,
And the great star early droop’d in the western sky in the night,
I mourn’d—and yet shall mourn with ever-returning spring.

ever-returning spring! trinity sure to me you bring;
Lilac blooming perennial, and drooping star in the west,
And thought of him I love.


powerful, western, fallen star!
shades of night! O moody, tearful night!
great star disappear’d! O the black murk that hides the star!
cruel hands that hold me powerless! O helpless soul of me!
harsh surrounding cloud, that will not free my soul!


In the door-yard fronting an old farm-house, near the white-wash’d palings,
Stands the lilac bush, tall-growing, with heart-shaped leaves of rich green,
With many a pointed blossom, rising, delicate, with the perfume strong I love,
With every leaf a miracle......and from this bush in the door-yard,
With delicate-color’d blossoms, and heart-shaped leaves of rich green,
A sprig, with its flower, I break.


In the swamp, in secluded recesses,
A shy and hidden bird is warbling a song.

Solitary, the thrush,
The hermit, withdrawn to himself, avoiding the settlements,
Sings by himself a song.

Song of the bleeding throat!
Death’s outlet song of life—(for well, dear brother, I know
If thou wast not gifted to sing, thou would’st surely die.)


Poem by Walt Whitman
As A Strong Bird On Pinious Free

As a strong bird on pinions free,
  Joyous, the amplest spaces heavenward cleaving,
  Such be the thought I'd think to-day of thee, America,
  Such be the recitative I'd bring to-day for thee.

  The conceits of the poets of other lands I bring thee not,
  Nor the compliments that have served their turn so long,
  Nor rhyme—nor the classics—nor perfume of foreign court,
 or indoor library;
  But an odor I'd bring to-day as from forests of pine in the north, in
        Maine—or breath of an Illinois prairie,
  With open airs of Virginia, or Georgia, or Tennessee—or from Texas
        uplands, or Florida's glades,
  With presentment of Yellowstone's scenes, or Yosemite;            


  And murmuring under, pervading all, I'd bring the rustling sea-sound,
  That endlessly sounds from the two great seas of the world.

  And for thy subtler sense, subtler refrains, O Union!
  Preludes of intellect tallying these and thee—mind-formulas fitted
        for thee—real, and sane, and large as these and thee;
  Thou, mounting higher, diving deeper than we knew—thou
        transcendental Union!
  By thee Fact to be justified—blended with Thought;
  Thought of Man justified—blended with God:
  Through thy Idea—lo! the immortal Reality!
  Through thy Reality—lo! the immortal Idea!


  Brain of the New World! what a task is thine!                     


  To formulate the Modern…..Out of the peerless grandeur of the
        modern,
  Out of Thyself—comprising Science—to recast Poems, Churches, Art,
  (Recast—may-be discard them, end them—May-be their work is done—
        who knows?)
  By vision, hand, conception, on the background of the mighty past,
        the dead,
  To limn, with absolute faith, the mighty living present.

  (And yet, thou living, present brain! heir of the dead, the Old World
        brain!
  Thou that lay folded, like an unborn babe, within its folds so long!
  Thou carefully prepared by it so long!—haply thou but unfoldest it—
        only maturest it;
  It to eventuate in thee—the essence of the by-gone
time contain'd in thee;
  Its poems, churches, arts, unwitting to themselves, destined with
        reference to thee,                                          


  The fruit of all the Old, ripening to-day in thee.)


  Sail—sail thy best, ship of Democracy!
  Of value is thy freight—'tis not the Present only,
  The Past is also stored in thee!
  Thou holdest not the venture of thyself alone—not of thy western
        continent alone;
  Earth's résumé entire floats on thy keel, O ship—is steadied by thy
        spars;
  With thee Time voyages in trust—the antecedent nations sink or swim
        with thee;
  With all their ancient struggles, martyrs, heroes, epics, wars, thou
        bear'st the other continents;
  Theirs, theirs as much as thine, the destination-port triumphant:
  —Steer, steer with good strong hand and wary eye, O helmsman—thou
        carryest great companions,                                  


  Venerable, priestly Asia sails this day with thee,
  And royal, feudal Europe sails with thee.


  Beautiful World of new, superber Birth, that rises to my eyes,
  Like a limitless golden cloud, filling the western sky;
  Emblem of general Maternity, lifted above all;
  Sacred shape of the bearer of daughters and sons;
  Out of thy teeming womb, thy giant babes in ceaseless procession
        issuing,
  Acceding from such gestation, taking and giving continual strength
        and life;
  World of the Real! world of the twain in one!
  World of the Soul—born by the world of the real alone—led to
        identity, body, by it alone;                                


  Yet in beginning only—incalculable masses of composite, precious
        materials,
  By history's cycles forwarded—by every nation, language, hither
        sent,
  Ready, collected here—a freer, vast, electric World, to be
        constructed here,
  (The true New World—the world of orbic Science, Morals, Literatures
        to come,)
  Thou Wonder World, yet undefined, unform'd—neither do I define thee;
  How can I pierce the impenetrable blank of the future?
  I feel thy ominous greatness, evil as well as good;
  I watch thee, advancing, absorbing the present, transcending the
        past;
  I see thy light lighting and thy shadow shadowing, as if the entire
        globe;
  But I do not undertake to define thee—hardly to comprehend thee; 


  I but thee name—thee prophecy—as now!
  I merely thee ejaculate!

  Thee in thy future;
  Thee in thy only permanent life, career—thy own unloosen'd mind—thy
        soaring spirit;
  Thee as another equally needed sun, America—radiant, ablaze, swift-
        moving, fructifying all;
  Thee! risen in thy potent cheerfulness and joy—thy endless, great
        hilarity!
  (Scattering for good the cloud that hung so long—that weigh'd so
        long upon the mind of man,
  The doubt, suspicion, dread, of gradual, certain decadence of man
  Thee in thy larger, saner breeds of Female, Male—thee in thy
        athletes, moral, spiritual, South, North, West, East,
  (To thy immortal breasts, Mother of All, thy every daughter, son,
        endear'd alike, forever equal                             


  Thee in thy own musicians, singers, artists, unborn yet, but certain;
  Thee in thy moral wealth and civilization (until which thy proudest
        material wealth and civilization must remain in vain
  Thee in thy all-supplying, all-enclosing Worship—thee in no single
        bible, saviour, merely,
  Thy saviours countless, latent within thyself—thy bibles incessant,
        within thyself, equal to any, divine as any;
  Thee in an education grown of thee—in teachers, studies, students,
        born of thee;
  Thee in thy democratic fetes, en masse—thy high original festivals,
        operas, lecturers, preachers;
  Thee in thy ultimata, (the preparations only now completed—the
        edifice on sure foundations tied,)
  Thee in thy pinnacles, intellect, thought—thy topmost rational
        joys—thy love, and godlike aspiration,
  In thy resplendent coming literati—thy full-lung'd orators—thy
        sacerdotal bards—kosmic savans,
  These! these in thee, (certain to come,) to-day I prophecy.  
     


Poem by Walt Whitman
A Clear Midnight

THIS is thy hour O Soul, thy free flight into the wordless,
Away from books, away from art, the day erased, the lesson done,
Thee fully forth emerging, silent, gazing, pondering the themes thou
        lovest best.
Night, sleep, death and the stars.


Poem by Walt Whitman
Roots And Leaves Themselves Alone

ROOTS and leaves themselves alone are these;
Scents brought to men and women from the wild woods, and from the
        pond-side,
Breast-sorrel and pinks of love—fingers that wind around tighter
        than vines,
Gushes from the throats of birds, hid in the foliage of trees, as the
        sun is risen;
Breezes of land and love—breezes set from living shores out to you
        on the living sea—to you, O sailors!
Frost-mellow'd berries, and Third-month twigs, offer'd fresh to young
        persons wandering out in the fields when the winter breaks up,
Love-buds, put before you and within you, whoever you are,
Buds to be unfolded on the old terms;
If you bring the warmth of the sun to them, they will open, and bring
        form, color, perfume, to you;
If you become the aliment and the wet, they will become flowers,
        fruits, tall blanches and trees.


Poem by Walt Whitman
On The Beach At Night

ON the beach, at night,
Stands a child, with her father,
Watching the east, the autumn sky.

Up through the darkness,
While ravening clouds, the burial clouds, in black masses spreading,
Lower, sullen and fast, athwart and down the sky,
Amid a transparent clear belt of ether yet left in the east,
Ascends, large and calm, the lord-star Jupiter;
And nigh at hand, only a very little above,
Swim the delicate brothers, the Pleiades.                         




From the beach, the child, holding the hand of her father,
Those burial-clouds that lower, victorious, soon to devour all,
Watching, silently weeps.

Weep not, child,
Weep not, my darling,
With these kisses let me remove your tears;
The ravening clouds shall not long be victorious,
They shall not long possess the sky—shall devour the stars only in
        apparition:
Jupiter shall emerge—be patient—watch again another night—the
        Pleiades shall emerge,
They are immortal—all those stars, both silvery and golden, shall
        shine out again,                                           


The great stars and the little ones shall shine out again—they
        endure;
The vast immortal suns, and the long-enduring pensive moons, shall
        again shine.


Then, dearest child, mournest thou only for Jupiter?
Considerest thou alone the burial of the stars?

Something there is,
(With my lips soothing thee, adding, I whisper,
I give thee the first suggestion, the problem and indirection,)
Something there is more immortal even than the stars,
(Many the burials, many the days and nights, passing away,)
Something that shall endure longer even than lustrous Jupiter,   


Longer than sun, or any revolving satellite,
Or the radiant brothers, the Pleiades.


Poem by Walt Whitman
Song Of The Redwood-Tree

A prophecy and indirection—a thought impalpable, to breathe, as air;
  A chorus of dryads, fading, departing—or hamadryads departing;
  A murmuring, fateful, giant voice, out of the earth and sky,
  Voice of a mighty dying tree in the Redwood forest dense.

  Farewell, my brethren,
  Farewell, O earth and sky—farewell, ye neighboring waters;
  My time has ended, my term has come.


  Along the northern coast,
  Just back from the rock-bound shore, and the caves,               


  In the saline air from the sea, in the Mendocino country,
  With the surge for bass and accompaniment low and hoarse,
  With crackling blows of axes, sounding musically, driven by strong
        arms,
  Riven deep by the sharp tongues of the axes—there in the Redwood
        forest dense,
  I heard the mighty tree its death-chant chanting.

  The choppers heard not—the camp shanties echoed not;
  The quick-ear'd teamsters, and chain and jack-screw men, heard not,
  As the wood-spirits came from their haunts of a thousand years, to
        join the refrain;
  But in my soul I plainly heard.

  Murmuring out of its myriad leaves,                               


  Down from its lofty top, rising two hundred feet high,
  Out of its stalwart trunk and limbs—out of its foot-thick bark,
  That chant of the seasons and time—chant, not of the past only, but
        the future.


  You untold life of me,
  And all you venerable and innocent joys,
  Perennial, hardy life of me, with joys, 'mid rain, and many a summer
        sun,
  And the white snows, and night, and the wild winds;
  O the great patient, rugged joys! my soul's strong joys, unreck'd by
        man;
  (For know I bear the soul befitting me—I too have consciousness,
        identity,
  And all the rocks and mountains have—and all the earth           


  Joys of the life befitting me and brothers mine,
  Our time, our term has come.

  Nor yield we mournfully, majestic brothers,
  We who have grandly fill'd our time;
  With Nature's calm content, and tacit, huge delight,
  We welcome what we wrought for through the past,
  And leave the field for them.

  For them predicted long,
  For a superber Race—they too to grandly fill their time,
  For them we abdicate—in them ourselves, ye forest kings!         


  In them these skies and airs—these mountain peaks—Shasta—Nevadas,
  These huge, precipitous cliffs—this amplitude—these valleys grand—
        Yosemite,
  To be in them absorb'd, assimilated.


  Then to a loftier strain,
  Still prouder, more ecstatic, rose the chant,
  As if the heirs, the Deities of the West,
  Joining, with master-tongue, bore part.

  Not wan from Asia's fetishes,
  Nor red from Europe's old dynastic slaughter-house,
  (Area of murder-plots of thrones, with scent left yet of wars and
        scaffolds every where,)                                     


  But come from Nature's long and harmless throes—peacefully builded
        thence,
  These virgin lands—Lands of the Western Shore,
  To the new Culminating Man—to you, the Empire New,
  You, promis'd long, we pledge, we dedicate.

  You occult, deep volition's,
  You average Spiritual Manhood, purpose of all, pois'd on yourself—
        giving, not taking law,
  You Womanhood divine, mistress and source of all, whence life and
        love, and aught that comes from life and love,
  You unseen Moral Essence of all the vast materials of America, (age
        upon age, working in Death the same as Life,)
  You that, sometimes known, oftener unknown, really shape and mould
        the New World, adjusting it to Time and Space,
  You hidden National Will, lying in your abysms, conceal'd, but ever
        alert,                                                     


  You past and present purposes, tenaciously pursued, may-be
        unconscious of yourselves,
  Unswerv'd by all the passing errors, perturbations of the surface;
  You vital, universal, deathless germs, beneath all creeds, arts,
        statutes, literatures,
  Here build your homes for good—establish here—These areas entire,
        Lands of the Western Shore,
  We pledge, we dedicate to you.

  For man of you—your characteristic Race,
  Here may be hardy, sweet, gigantic grow—here tower, proportionate to
        Nature,
  Here climb the vast, pure spaces, unconfined, uncheck'd by wall or
        roof,
  Here laugh with storm or sun—here joy—here patiently inure,
  Here heed himself, unfold himself (not others' formulas heed)—here
        fill his time,                                             


  To duly fall, to aid, unreck'd at last,
  To disappear, to serve.

  Thus, on the northern coast,
  In the echo of teamsters' calls, and the clinking chains, and the
        music of choppers' axes,
  The falling trunk and limbs, the crash, the muffled shriek, the
        groan,
  Such words combined from the Redwood-tree—as of wood-spirits' voices
        ecstatic, ancient and rustling,
  The century-lasting, unseen dryads, singing, withdrawing,
  All their recesses of forests and mountains leaving,
  From the Cascade range to the Wasatch—or Idaho far, or Utah,
  To the deities of the Modern henceforth yielding,                 


  The chorus and indications, the vistas of coming humanity—the
        settlements, features all,
  In the Mendocino woods I caught.


  The flashing and golden pageant of California!
  The sudden and gorgeous drama—the sunny and ample lands;
  The long and varied stretch from Puget Sound to Colorado south;
  Lands bathed in sweeter, rarer, healthier air—valleys and mountain
        cliffs;
  The fields of Nature long prepared and fallow—the silent, cyclic
        chemistry;
  The slow and steady ages plodding—the unoccupied surface ripening—
        the rich ores forming beneath;
  At last the New arriving, assuming, taking possession,
  A swarming and busy race settling and organizing every where;
  Ships coming in from the whole round world, and going out to the
        whole world,                                               


  To India and China and Australia, and the thousand island paradises
        of the Pacific;
  Populous cities—the latest inventions—the steamers on the rivers—
        the railroads—with many a thrifty farm, with machinery,
  And wool, and wheat, and the grape—and diggings of yellow gold.


  But more in you than these, Lands of the Western Shore!
  (These but the means, the implements, the standing-ground,)
  I see in you, certain to come, the promise of thousands of years,
        till now deferr'd,
  Promis'd, to be fulfill'd, our common kind, the Race.

  The New Society at last, proportionate to Nature,
  In Man of you, more than your mountain peaks, or stalwart trees
        imperial,                                                 



  In Woman more, far more, than all your gold, or vines, or even vital
        air.

  Fresh come, to a New World indeed, yet long prepared,
  I see the Genius of the Modern, child of the Real and Ideal,
  Clearing the ground for broad humanity, the true America, heir of the
        past so grand,
  To build a grander future.


Poem by Walt Whitman
Proud Music Of The Storm

PROUD music of the storm!
  Blast that careers so free, whistling across the prairies!
  Strong hum of forest tree-tops! Wind of the mountains!
  Personified dim shapes! you hidden orchestras!
  You serenades of phantoms, with instruments alert,
  Blending, with Nature's rhythmus, all the tongues of nations;
  You chords left us by vast composers! you choruses!
  You formless, free, religious dances! you from the Orient!
  You undertone of rivers, roar of pouring cataracts;
  You sounds from distant guns, with galloping cavalry!             


  Echoes of camps, with all the different bugle-calls!
  Trooping tumultuous, filling the midnight late, bending me powerless,
  Entering my lonesome slumber-chamber—Why have you seiz'd me?


  Come forward, O my Soul, and let the rest retire;
  Listen—lose not—it is toward thee they tend;
  Parting the midnight, entering my slumber-chamber,
  For thee they sing and dance, O Soul.

  A festival song!
  The duet of the bridegroom and the bride—a marriage-march,
  With lips of love, and hearts of lovers, fill'd to the brim with
        love;                                                       


  The red-flush'd cheeks, and perfumes—the cortege swarming, full of
        friendly faces, young and old,
  To flutes' clear notes, and sounding harps' cantabile.


  Now loud approaching drums!
  Victoria! see'st thou in powder-smoke the banners torn but flying?
        the rout of the baffled?
  Hearest those shouts of a conquering army?


Poem by Walt Whitman
The Dirge Of The Winds

The four winds of earth, the North, South, East, and West,
Shrieked and groaned, sobbed and wailed, like the soul of unrest.
I stood in the dusk of the twilight alone,
And heard them go by with a terrible moan.
"What is it, O winds! that is grieving you so?
Come tell me your sorrow, and tell me your woe!"
"What is it?" I questioned. They shuddered, and said:
"We mourn for the dead! Oh! we mourn for the dead—


"For the dishonored dead that the wine-cup has slain;
For the wrecks that are lying on hill and on plain;
For the beautiful faces, so young and so fair,
That are lying down under the green grasses there;
For the masterful minds and beautiful souls
That were shattered, and drowned, and debased in the bowls;
For the graves that are scattered broadcast o'er the land,
The graves that were dug by King Alcohol's hand.
For the scenes that we saw, as we came on our way,
The sights and the sounds that degraded the day.
East and West, North and South, the tale is the same—
A tale of debasement, and sorrow, and shame.
And this is our sorrow, and this is our woe:
It is this, it is this, that is grieving us so."


Three winds hushed their voices. The East wind alone
Told her tale in a moaning and sorrowful tone:
"I came yesterday, from the great Eastern land,
Where the mountains are high and the cities are grand;
But the devil walks there, night and day, in the streets,
And he offers red wine to each soul that he greets.
They drink, and the record of crimes and of sins,
And the record of shame and of sorrow begins.
I sped from the sin-burdened East to the West,
But I find not of balm for my agonized breast.
Wine blackens the West as it blackens the East."
And the voice of the wind sobbed and wailed as it ceased.


"I come from the West!" another voice cried,
"Where the rivers are broad, and the prairies are wide.
There is vigor and strength in that beautiful land,
But the devil walks there with a bowl in his hand,
And the strongest grow weak, and the mightiest fall,
In the damnable reign of this King Alcohol."


He ceased, and another came mournfully forth,
And spake: "I came from the land of the North,
Where the streamlets are ice and the hillocks are snow,
And little of passions in mortal veins flow.
But the devil walks there in that land, day and night,
And he covers his face with a mask that is white;
And he smiles as he pours out the wine for his prey,
Nor counts up the legions he kills every day."


The voice of the South wind spoke now in a sigh:
"And I, too, can tell of the thousands that die
By the hand of this king, in my soft, southern clime,
Where the sweet waters flow in a musical chime.
The devil walks there by King Alcohol's side,
And he pours out the wine till it flows in a tide;
It rushes along with a gurgling sound,
And thousands are caught in the current and drowned."


Again the four winds cried aloud in their woe:
"It is this, it is this, that is grieving us so.
We see the mad legions go down to the grave,
Unable to warn them, unable to save,
We shriek and we groan, we shudder in pain,
For the souls that are lost, for the youths that are slain;
And the river flows onward, the river wine-red,
And we mourn for the dead, oh! we mourn for the dead."


Poem by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Memory's River

In Nature's bright blossoms not always reposes
That strange subtle essence more rare than their bloom,
Which lies in the hearts of carnations and roses,
That unexplained something by men called perfume.
Though modest the flower, yet great is its power
And pregnant with meaning each pistil and leaf,
If only it hides there, if only abides there,
The fragrance suggestive of love, joy and grief.


Not always the air that a master composes
Can stir human heart-strings with pleasure or pain.
But strange, subtle chords, like the scent of the roses,
Breathe out of some measures, though simple the strain.
And lo! when you hear them, you love them and fear them,
You tremble with anguish, you thrill with delight,
For back of them slumber old dreams without number,
And faces long vanished peer out into sight.


Those dear foolish days when the earth seemed all beauty,
Before you had knowledge enough to be sad;
When youth held no higher ideal of duty
Than just to lilt on through the world and be glad.
On harmony's river they seemed to float hither
With all the sweet fancies that hung round that time—
Life's burdens and troubles turn into air-bubbles
And break on the music's swift current of rhyme.


Fair Folly comes back with her spell while you listen
And points to the paths where she led you of old.
You gaze on past sunsets, you see dead stars glisten,
You bathe in life's glory, you swoon in death's cold.
All pains and all pleasures surge up through those measures,
Your heart is wrenched open with earthquakes of sound;
From ashes and embers rise Junes and Decembers,
Lost islands in fathoms of feeling refound.


Some airs are like outlets of memory's oceans,
They rise in the past and flow into the heart;
And down them float shipwrecks of mighty emotions,
All sea-soaked and storm-tossed and drifting apart:
Their fair timbers battered, their lordly sails tattered,
Their skeleton crew of dead days on their decks;
Then a crash of chords blending, a crisis, an ending—
The music is over, and vanished the wrecks.

Poem by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
I Step Across The Mystic Border-Land

I step across the mystic border-land,
And look upon the wonder-world of Art.
How beautiful, how beautiful its hills!
And all its valleys, how surpassing fair!


The winding paths that lead up to the heights
Are polished by the footsteps of the great.
The mountain-peaks stand very near to God:
The chosen few whose feet have trod thereon
Have talked with Him. and with the angels walked.


Here are no sounds of discord—no profane
Or senseless gossip of unworthy things—
Only the songs of chisels and of pens,
Of busy brushes, and ecstatic strains
Of souls surcharged with music most divine.
Here is no idle sorrow, no poor grief
For any day or object left behind—
For time is counted precious, and herein
Is such complete abandonment of Self
That tears turn into rainbows, and enhance
The beauty of the land where all is fair,
Awed and afraid, I cross the border-land.
Oh, who am I, that I dare enter here
Where the great artists of the world have trod—
The genius-crowned aristocrats of Earth?
Only the singer of a little song;
Yet loving Art with such a mighty love
I hold it greater to have won a place
Just on the fair land's edge, to make my grave,
Than in the outer world of greed and gain
To sit upon a royal throne and reign.

Poem by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
The River

I am a river flowing from God's sea
Through devious ways. He mapped my course for me;
I cannot change it; mine alone the toil
To keep the waters free from grime and soil.
The winding river ends where it began;
And when my life has compassed its brief span
I must return to that mysterious source.
So let me gather daily on my course
The perfume from the blossoms as I pass,
Balm from the pines, and healing from the grass,
And carry down my current as I go
Not common stones but precious gems to show;
And tears (the holy water from sad eyes)
Back to God's sea, from which all rivers rise
Let me convey, not blood from wounded hearts,
Nor poison which the upas tree imparts.
When over flowery vales I leap with joy,
Let me not devastate them, nor destroy,
But rather leave them fairer to the sight;
Mine be the lot to comfort and delight.
And if down awful chasms I needs must leap
Let me not murmur at my lot, but sweep
On bravely to the end without one fear,
Knowing that He who planned my ways stands near.
Love sent me forth, to Love I go again,
For Love is all, and over all. Amen.

Poem by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
In The Forest

HERE, O my heart, let us burn the dear dreams that are dead,
Here in this wood let us fashion a funeral pyre
Of fallen white petals and leaves that are mellow and red,
Here let us burn them in noon's flaming torches of fire.


We are weary, my heart, we are weary, so long we have borne
The heavy loved burden of dreams that are dead, let us rest,
Let us scatter their ashes away, for a while let us mourn;
We will rest, O my heart, till the shadows are gray in the west.

But soon we must rise, O my heart, we must wander again
Into the war of the world and the strife of the throng;
Let us rise, O my heart, let us gather the dreams that remain,
We will conquer the sorrow of life with the sorrow of song.

Poem by Sarojini Naidu
Autumn Song

Like a joy on the heart of a sorrow,
   The sunset hangs on a cloud;
A golden storm of glittering sheaves,
Of fair and frail and fluttering leaves,
   The wild wind blows in a cloud.

Hark to a voice that is calling
   To my heart in the voice of the wind:
My heart is weary and sad and alone,
For its dreams like the fluttering leaves have gone,
   And why should I stay behind?

Poem by Sarojini Naidu
Kind Sir: These Woods

Kind Sir: This is an old game
that we played when we were eight and ten.
Sometimes on The Island, in down Maine,
in late August, when the cold fog blew in
off the ocean, the forest between Dingley Dell
and grandfather's cottage grew white and strange.
It was as if every pine tree were a brown pole
we did not know; as if day had rearranged
into night and bats flew in sun. It was a trick
to turn around once and know you were lost;
knowing the crow's horn was crying in the dark,
knowing that supper would never come, that the coast's
cry of doom from that far away bell buoy's bell
said your nursemaid is gone. O Mademoiselle,
the rowboat rocked over. Then you were dead.
Turn around once, eyes tight, the thought in your head.
Kind Sir: Lost and of your same kind
I have turned around twice with my eyes sealed
and the woods were white and my night mind
saw such strange happenings, untold and unreal.
And opening my eyes, I am afraid of course
to look—this inward look that society scorns—
Still, I search these woods and find nothing worse
than myself, caught between the grapes and the thorns.

Poem by Anne Sexton
It Is A Spring Afternoon

Everything here is yellow and green.
Listen to its throat, its earthskin,
the bone dry voices of the peepers
as they throb like advertisements.
The small animals of the woods
are carrying their deathmasks
into a narrow winter cave.
The scarecrow has plucked out
his two eyes like diamonds
and walked into the village.
The general and the postman
have taken off their packs.
This has all happened before
but nothing here is obsolete.
Everything here is possible.

Because of this
perhaps a young girl has laid down
her winter clothes and has casually
placed herself upon a tree limb
that hangs over a pool in the river.
She has been poured out onto the limb,
low above the houses of the fishes
as they swim in and out of her reflection
and up and down the stairs of her legs.
Her body carries clouds all the way home.
She is overlooking her watery face
in the river where blind men
come to bathe at midday.

Because of this
the ground, that winter nightmare,
has cured its sores and burst
with green birds and vitamins.
Because of this
the trees turn in their trenches
and hold up little rain cups
by their slender fingers.
Because of this
a woman stands by her stove
singing and cooking flowers.
Everything here is yellow and green.

Surely spring will allow
a girl without a stitch on
to turn softly in her sunlight
and not be afraid of her bed.
She has already counted seven
blossoms in her green green mirror.
Two rivers combine beneath her.
The face of the child wrinkles.
in the water and is gone forever.
The woman is all that can be seen
in her animal loveliness.
Her cherished and obstinate skin
lies deeply under the watery tree.
Everything is altogether possible
and the blind men can also see.

Poem by Anne Sexton
In The Season

IT is the season now to go 
About the country high and low, 
Among the lilacs hand in hand, 
And two by two in fairy land. 
 
The brooding boy, the sighing maid,       
Wholly fain and half afraid, 
Now meet along the hazelled brook 
To pass and linger, pause and look. 
 
A year ago, and blithely paired, 
Their rough-and-tumble play they shared;         
They kissed and quarrelled, laughed and cried, 
A year ago at Eastertide. 
 
With bursting heart, with fiery face, 
She strove against him in the race; 
He unabashed her garter saw,         
That now would touch her skirts with awe. 
 
Now by the stile ablaze she stops, 
And his demurer eyes he drops; 
Now they exchange averted sighs 
Or stand and marry silent eyes.         
 
And he to her a hero is 
And sweeter she than primroses; 
Their common silence dearer far 
Than nightingale and mavis are. 
 
Now when they sever wedded hands,       
Joy trembles in their bosom-strands, 
And lovely laughter leaps and falls 
Upon their lips in madrigals.

Poem by Robert Louis Stevenson
In The Highlands

In  the highlands, in the country places, 
Where the old plain men have rosy faces, 
    And the young fair maidens 
        Quiet eyes; 
Where essential silence chills and blesses,         
And for ever in the hill-recesses 
    Her more lovely music 
        Broods and dies— 
 
O to mount again where erst I haunted; 
Where the old red hills are bird-enchanted,         
    And the low green meadows 
        Bright with sward; 
And when even dies, the million-tinted, 
And the night has come, and planets glinted, 
    Lo, the valley hollow         
        Lamp-bestarr’d! 
 
O to dream, O to awake and wander 
There, and with delight to take and render, 
    Through the trance of silence, 
        Quiet breath!         
Lo! for there, among the flowers and grasses, 
Only the mightier movement sounds and passes; 
    Only winds and rivers, 
        Life and death.

Poem by Robert Louis Stevenson
Envoy For "A Child's Garden Of Verses"

Whether upon the garden seat
You lounge with your uplifted feet
Under the May's whole Heaven of blue;
Or whether on the sofa you,
No grown up person being by,
Do some soft corner occupy;
Take you this volume in your hands
And enter into other lands,
For lo! (as children feign) suppose
You, hunting in the garden rows,
Or in the lumbered attic, or
The cellar - a nail-studded door
And dark, descending stairway found
That led to kingdoms underground:
There standing, you should hear with ease
Strange birds a-singing, or the trees
Swing in big robber woods, or bells
On many fairy citadels:

There passing through (a step or so -
Neither mamma nor nurse need know!)
From your nice nurseries you would pass,
Like Alice through the Looking-Glass
Or Gerda following Little Ray,
To wondrous countries far away.
Well, and just so this volume can
Transport each little maid or man
Presto from where they live away
Where other children used to play.
As from the house your mother sees
You playing round the garden trees,
So you may see if you but look
Through the windows of this book
Another child far, far away
And in another garden play.
But do not think you can at all,
By knocking on the window, call
That child to hear you.  He intent
Is still on his play-business bent.
He does not hear, he will not look,
Nor yet be lured out of this book.
For long ago, the truth to say,
He has grown up and gone away;
And it is but a child of air
That lingers in the garden there.

Poem by Robert Louis Stevenson
Spring Song

The air was full of sun and birds,
The fresh air sparkled clearly.
Remembrance wakened in my heart
And I knew I loved her dearly.

The fallows and the leafless trees
And all my spirit tingled.
My earliest thought of love, and Spring's
First puff of perfume mingled.

In my still heart the thoughts awoke,
Came lone by lone together -
Say, birds and Sun and Spring, is Love
A mere affair of weather?.

Poem by Robert Louis Stevenson
Winter-Time

Late lies the wintry sun a-bed,
A frosty, fiery sleepy-head;
Blinks but an hour or two; and then,
A blood-red orange, sets again.

Before the stars have left the skies,
At morning in the dark I rise;
And shivering in my nakedness,
By the cold candle, bathe and dress.

Close by the jolly fire I sit
To warm my frozen bones a bit;
Or with a reindeer-sled, explore
The colder countries round the door.

When to go out, my nurse doth wrap
Me in my comforter and cap;
The cold wind burns my face, and blows
Its frosty pepper up my nose.

Black are my steps on silver sod;
Thick blows my frosty breath abroad;
And tree and house, and hill and lake,
Are frosted like a wedding cake.

Poem by Robert Louis Stevenson
Man Sails The Deep Awhile

Man sails the deep awhile;
Loud runs the roaring tide;
The seas are wild and wide;
O'er many a salt, o'er many a desert mile,
The unchained breakers ride,
The quivering stars beguile.

Hope bears the sole command;
Hope, with unshaken eyes,
Sees flaw and storm arise;
Hope, the good steersman, with unwearying hand,
Steers, under changing skies,
Unchanged toward the land.

O wind that bravely blows!
O hope that sails with all
Where stars and voices call!
O ship undaunted that forever goes
Where God, her admiral,
His battle signal shows!

What though the seas and wind
Far on the deep should whelm
Colours and sails and helm?
There, too, you touch that port that you designed -
There, in the mid-seas' realm,
Shall you that haven find.

Well hast thou sailed: now die,
To die is not to sleep.
Still your true course you keep,
O sailor soul, still sailing for the sky;
And fifty fathom deep
Your colours still shall fly..

Poem by Robert Louis Stevenson
I Dreamed Of Forest Alleys Fair
I.

I Dof forest alleys fair
And fields of gray-flowered grass,
Where by the yellow summer moon
My Jenny seemed to pass.

I dreamed the yellow summer moon,
Behind a cedar wood,
Lay white on fields of rippling grass
Where I and Jenny stood.

I dreamed - but fallen through my dream,
In a rainy land I lie
Where wan wet morning crowns the hills
Of grim reality.

II.

I am as one that keeps awake
All night in the month of June,
That lies awake in bed to watch
The trees and great white moon.

For memories of love are more
Than the white moon there above,
And dearer than quiet moonshine
Are the thoughts of her I love.

III.

Last night I lingered long without
My last of loves to see.
Alas! the moon-white window-panes
Stared blindly back on me.

To-day I hold her very hand,
Her very waist embrace -
Like clouds across a pool, I read
Her thoughts upon her face.

And yet, as now, through her clear eyes
I seek the inner shrine -
I stoop to read her virgin heart
In doubt if it be mine -

O looking long and fondly thus,
What vision should I see?
No vision, but my own white face
That grins and mimics me.

IV.

Once more upon the same old seat
In the same sunshiny weather,
The elm-trees' shadows at their feet
And foliage move together.

The shadows shift upon the grass,
The dial point creeps on;
The clear sun shines, the loiterers pass,
As then they passed and shone.

But now deep sleep is on my heart,
Deep sleep and perfect rest.
Hope's flutterings now disturb no more
The quiet of my breast.

Poem by Robert Louis Stevenson
Picture-Books In Winter
Summer fading, winter comes—
Frosty mornings, tingling thumbs,
Window robins, winter rooks,
And the picture story-books.

Water now is turned to stone
Nurse and I can walk upon;
Still we find the flowing brooks
In the picture story-books.

All the pretty things put by,
Wait upon the children's eye,
Sheep and shepherds, trees and crooks,
In the picture story-books.

We may see how all things are
Seas and cities, near and far,
And the flying fairies' looks,
In the picture story-books.

How am I to sing your praise,
Happy chimney-corner days,
Sitting safe in nursery nooks,
Reading picture story-books?

Poem by Robert Louis Stevenson
The Gardener

The gardener does not love to talk,
He makes me keep the gravel walk;
And when he puts his tools away,
He locks the door and takes the key.

Away behind the currant row
Where no one else but cook may go,
Far in the plots, I see him dig
Old and serious, brown and big.

He digs the flowers, green, red and blue,
Nor wishes to be spoken to.
He digs the flowers and cuts the hay,
And never seems to want to play.

Silly gardener! summer goes,
And winter comes with pinching toes,
When in the garden bare and brown
You must lay your barrow down.

Well now, and while the summer stays
To profit by these garden days
O how much wiser you would be
To play at Indian wars with me!

Poem by Robert Louis Stevenson
My Ship And I

O it's I that am the captain of a tidy little ship,
Of a ship that goes a sailing on the pond;
And my ship it keeps a-turning all around and all about;
But when I'm a little older, I shall find the secret out
How to send my vessel sailing on beyond.

For I mean to grow a little as the dolly at the helm,
And the dolly I intend to come alive;
And with him beside to help me, it's a-sailing I shall go,
It's a-sailing on the water, when the jolly breezes blow
And the vessel goes a dive-dive-dive.

O it's then you'll see me sailing through the rushes and the reeds,
And you'll hear the water singing at the prow;
For beside the dolly sailor, I'm to voyage and explore,
To land upon the island where no dolly was before,
And to fire the penny cannon in the bow.

Poem by Robert Louis Stevenson



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