Emily Dickinson (1830 -1886)
If you were coming in the Fall,
I'd brush the Summer by
With half a smile, and half a spurn,
As Housewives do, a Fly.
If I could see you in a year,
I'd wind the months in balls —
And put them each in separate Drawers,
For fear the numbers fuse —
If only Centuries, delayed,
I'd count them on my Hand,
Subtracting, till my fingers dropped
Into Van Dieman's Land.
If certain, when this life was out —
That your's and mine, should be-
I'd toss it yonder, like a Rind,
And take Eternity —
But, now, uncertain of the length
Of this, that is between,
It goads me, like the Goblin Bee —
That will not state — it's sting.
Amy Lowell (1874-1925)
Little cramped words scrawling all over the paper
Like draggled fly’s legs,
What can you tell of the flaring moon
Through the oak leaves?
Or of my curtained window and the bare floor
Spattered with moonlight?
Your silly quirks and twists have nothing in them
Of blossoming hawthorns,
And this paper is dull, crisp, smooth, virgin of loveliness
Beneath my hand.
I am tired, Beloved, of chafing my heart against
The want of you;
Of squeezing it into little inkdrops,
And posting it.
And I scald alone, here, under the fire
Of the great moon.
Song for a Lady
Anne Sexton (1928 -1974)
On the day of breasts and small hips
the window pocked with bad rain,
rain coming on like a minister,
we coupled, so sane and insane.
We lay like spoons while the sinister
rain dropped like flies on our lips
and our glad eyes and our small hips.
“The room is so cold with rain,” you said
and you, feminine you, with your flower
said novenas to my ankles and elbows.
You are a national product and power.
Oh my swan, my drudge, my dear wooly rose,
even a notary would notarize our bed
as you knead me and I rise like bread.
The Rainy Summer
Alice Meynell (1847-1922)
There’s much afoot in heaven and earth this year;
The winds hunt up the sun, hunt up the moon,
Trouble the dubious dawn, hasten the drear
Height of a threatening noon.
No breath of boughs, no breath of leaves, of fronds,
May linger or grow warm; the trees are loud;
The forest, rooted, tosses in her bonds,
And strains against the cloud.
No scents may pause within the garden-fold;
The rifled flowers are cold as ocean-shells;
Bees, humming in the storm, carry their cold
Wild honey to cold cells.
Frank O'Hara (1926-1966)
Alone in the dusk with you
while music by Ravel washes over us
and I clasp you in my arms,
your cool white plaster face
is warm against my stubbled cheek
and your arms seem to tremble.
Are you troubled, emotionally troubled?
What things we have heard together!
and afterwards, most of all, what you tell me
of artistic modesty. Your waist feels rough,
rough as the skin that keeps us apart
from each other. I shall be nude
against you, close as we can come.
Charlotte Mew (1869-1928)
Sometimes I know the way
You walk, up over the bay;
It is a wind from the far sea
That blows the fragrance of your hair to me.
Or in this garden when the breeze
Touches my trees
To stir their dreaming shadows on the grass
I see you pass.
In sheltered beds, the heart of every rose
Serenely sleeps tonight. As shut as those
Your guarded heart; as safe as they from the beat, beat
Of hooves that tread dropped roses in the street.
Turn never again
On these eyes blind with a wild rain
Your eyes; they were stars to me.—
There are things stars may not see.
But call, call, and though Christ stands
Still with scarred hands
Over my mouth, I must answer. So
I will come—He shall let me go!
The Green Notebook
Jane Cooper (1924-2007)
There are 64 panes in each window of the Harrisville church
where we sit listening to a late Haydn quartet. Near the ceiling clouds
build up, slowly brightening, then disperse, till the evening sky
glistens like the pink inside of a shell over uncropped grass,
over a few slant graves.
At Sargent Pond the hollows are the color of strong tea.
Looking down you can see decomposed weeds and the muscular bronze and green
stems of some water lilies. Out there on the float
three figures hang between water and air, the heat breathes them, they no longer speak.
It is a seamless July afternoon.
Nameless. Slowly gathering. . . . It seems I am on the edge
of discovering the green notebook containing all the poems of my life,
I mean the ones I never wrote. The meadow turns intensely green.
The notebook is under my fingers. I read. My companions read.
Now thunder joins in, scurry of leaves.
Angelina Weld Grimke (1880-1958)
Molly raised shy eyes to me,
On an April day;
Close we stood beneath a tree,
Molly raised shy eyes to me,
Shining sweet and wistfully,
Wet and yet quite gay;
Molly raised shy eyes to me,
On an April day.
A Night in June
Sarah Orne Jewett (1849-1909)
The starlight from one clear, bright star,
The moonlight, faint and white
From the little moon, low in the sky,
Shone in my face on the hill, where I
Have thought of you to-night.
There was just the last of the sunset left,
Pale-yellow in the west,
And a sleepy bobolink flew by,
And dropped into its nest;
And the field was full of daisies,
That nodded, and waved, and bowed;
The wind was so little it could not play
At once with all the crowd,
And the daisies bowed to the star and moon,
And I called you once aloud.
The nearest daisies looked at me
Because they heard me call;
And they told each other what I had said,
Though they did not hear it all.
And I stood there wishing for you,
All alone on the hill;
While far below were the fields asleep,
And above, the sky so still.
In the twilight the daisies were busy,
And they nodded and looked around
At each other, and bowed to begin a dance;
But their feet never moved from the ground.
Oh, the little wind blew, and I watched them
Till I felt like a daisy, too;
And more kept blooming, it seemed to me;
And they knew I thought of you.
The star went higher, and the moon grew bright,
And the sunset was almost lost,
And the trees below looked black as the night,
But the daisies were white like frost;
And the mountains so far, and so blue by day,
Looked dark against the west,
So grave and still in their solemn gloom,
And the world was all at rest.
But the daisies nodded and looked at me,
And still they bowed and played;
Like children in church, they were merry still,
And why should they be afraid?
I looked up at the hills and down at the fields
All dim with shadows, dear;
Then looked at the sky, and I hid my face,
For its light grew strangely clear.
The flowers were so white that they dazzled me,
And the wind blew against my face;
And the stars seemed nearer than lights below,
While I stood in that lonely place.