Poems

Poems


“As kingfishers catch fire, dragonflies draw flame”

  • As kingfishers catch fire, dragonflies dráw fláme;
  • As tumbled over rim in roundy wells
  • Stones ring; like each tucked string tells, each hung bell’s
  • Bow swung finds tongue to fling out broad its name;

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Binsey Poplars

  • My aspens dear, whose airy cages quelled,
  • Quelled or quenched in leaves the leaping sun,
  • All felled, felled, are all felled;
  • Of a fresh and following folded rank

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(Carrion Comfort)

  • Not, I’ll not, carrion comfort, Despair, not feast on thee;
  • Not untwist—slack they may be—these last strands of man
  • In me ór, most weary, cry I can no more. I can;
  • Can something, hope, wish day come, not choose not to be.

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Duns Scotus’s Oxford

  • Towery city and branchy between towers;
  • Cuckoo-echoing, bell-swarmèd, lark charmèd, rook-racked, river-rounded;
  • The dapple-eared lily below thee; that country and town did
  • Once encounter in, here coped and poisèd powers;

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Felix Randal

  • Felix Randal the farrier, O is he dead then? my duty all ended,
  • Who have watched his mould of man, big-boned and hardy-handsome
  • Pining, pining, till time when reason rambled in it, and some
  • Fatal four disorders, fleshed there, all contended?

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God’s Grandeur

  • The world is charged with the grandeur of God.
  • It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;
  • It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil
  • Crushed.   Why do men then now not reck his rod?

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Harry Ploughman

  • Hard as hurdle arms, with a broth of goldish flue
  • Breathed round; the rack of ribs; the scooped flank; lank
  • Rope-over thigh; knee-nave; and barrelled shank–
  • Head and foot, shoulder and shank–

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Heaven-Haven

  • I have desired to go
  • Where springs not fail,
  • To fields where flies no sharp and sided hail
  • And a few lilies blow.

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Henry Purcell

  • Have fair fallen, O fair, fair have fallen, so dear
  • To me, so arch-especial a spirit as heaves in Henry Purcell,
  • An age is now since passed, since parted; with the reversal
  • Of the outward sentence low lays him, listed to a heresy, here.

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Hurrahing in Harvest

  • Summer ends now; now, barbarous in beauty, the stooks arise
  • Around; up above, what wind-walks! what lovely behaviour
  • Of silk-sack clouds! has wilder, wilful-wavier
  • Meal-drift moulded ever and melted across skies?

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In Honour of St. Alphonsus Rodriguez

  • Honour is flashed off exploit, so we say;
  • And those strokes once that gashed flesh or galled shield
  • Should tongue that time now, trumpet now that field,
  • And, on the fighter, forge his glorious day.

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“I wake and feel the fell of dark, not day.”

  • I wake and feel the fell of dark, not day.
  • What hours, O what black hoürs we have spent
  • This night! what sights you, heart, saw; ways you went!
  • And more must, in yet longer light’s delay.

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Inversnaid

  • This darksome burn, horseback brown,
  • His rollrock highroad roaring down,
  • In coop and in comb the fleece of his foam
  • Flutes and low to the lake falls home.

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“My own heart let me more have pity on; let”

  • My own heart let me more have pity on; let
  • Me live to my sad self hereafter kind,
  • Charitable; not live this tormented mind
  • With this tormented mind tormenting yet.

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“No worst, there is none. Pitched past pitch of grief,”

  • No worst, there is none.   Pitched past pitch of grief,
  • More pangs will, schooled at forepangs, wilder wring.
  • Comforter, where, where is your comforting?
  • Mary, mother of us, where is your relief?

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“Patience, hard thing! the hard thing but to pray,”

  • Patience, hard thing! the hard thing but to pray,
  • But bid for, Patience is! Patience who asks
  • Wants war, wants wounds; weary his times, his tasks;
  • To do without, take tosses, and obey.

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Peace

  • When will you ever, Peace, wild wooddove, shy wings shut,
  • Your round me roaming end, and under be my boughs?
  • When, when, Peacè, will you, Peace? I’ll not play hypocrite
  • To own my heart: I yield you do come sometimes; but

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Pied Beauty

  • Glory be to God for dappled things—
  • For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
  • For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
  • Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings;

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Ribblesdale

  • Earth, sweet Earth, sweet landscape, with leavès throng
  • And louchèd low grass, heaven that dost appeal
  • To, with no tongue to plead, no heart to feel;
  • That canst but only be, but dost that long—

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Spelt from Sibyl’s Leaves

  • Earnest, earthless, equal, attuneable, | vaulty, voluminous, . .stupendous
  • Evening strains to be tíme’s vást, | womb-of-all, home-of-all, hearse-of-all night.
  • Her fond yellow hornlight wound to the west, | her wild hollow hoarlight hung to the height
  • Waste; her earliest stars, earl-stars, | stárs principal, overbend us,

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Spring

  • Nothing is so beautiful as spring—
  • When weeds, in wheels, shoot long and lovely and lush;
  • Thrush’s eggs look little low heavens, and thrush
  • Through the echoing timber does so rinse and wring

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Spring and Fall

  • Márgarét, áre you gríeving
  • Over Goldengrove unleaving?
  • Leáves, like the things of man, you
  • With your fresh thoughts care for, can you?

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That Nature is a Heraclitean Fire and of the comfort of the Resurrection

  • Cloud-puffball, torn tufts, tossed pillows | flaunt forth, then chevy on an air-
  • built thoroughfare: heaven-roysterers, in gay-gangs | they throng; they glitter in marches.
  • Down roughcast, down dazzling whitewash, | wherever an elm arches,
  • Shivelights and shadowtackle in long | lashes lace, lance, and pair.

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The Blessed Virgin compared to the Air we Breathe

  • Wild air, world-mothering air,
  • Nestling me everywhere,
  • That each eyelash or hair
  • Girdles; goes home betwixt

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The Caged Skylark

  • As a dare-gale skylark scanted in a dull cage
  • Man’s mounting spirit in his bone-house, mean house, dwells—
  • That bird beyond the remembering his free fells;
  • This in drudgery, day-labouring-out life’s age.

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The Lantern Out of Doors

  • Sometimes a lantern moves along the night,
  • That interests our eyes. And who goes there?
  • I think; where from and bound, I wonder, where,
  • With, all down darkness wide, his wading light?

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The Leaden Echo and the Golden Echo

  • How to keep–is there ány any, is there none such, nowhere
  • known some, bow or brooch or braid or brace, láce, latch
  • or catch or key to keep
  • Back beauty, keep it, beauty, beauty, beauty, . . . from vanishing
  • away?

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The Loss of the Eurydice

  • 1
  • THE Eurydice–it concerned thee, O Lord:
  • Three hundred souls, O alas! on board,
  • Some asleep unawakened, all un-
  • warned, eleven fathoms fallen

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The Sea and the Skylark

  • On ear and ear two noises too old to end
  • Trench—right, the tide that ramps against the shore;
  • With a flood or a fall, low lull-off or all roar,
  • Frequenting there while moon shall wear and wend.

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The Starlight Night

  • Look at the stars! look, look up at the skies!
  • O look at all the fire-folk sitting in the air!
  • The bright boroughs, the circle-citadels there!
  • Down in dim woods the diamond delves! the elves’-eyes!

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The Windhover

  • I caught this morning morning’s minion, king-
  • dom of daylight’s dauphin, dapple-dawn-drawn Falcon, in his riding
  • Of the rolling level underneath him steady air, and striding
  • High there, how he rung upon the rein of a wimpling wing

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“Thou art indeed just, Lord, if I contend”

  • Thou art indeed just, Lord, if I contend
  • With thee; but, sir, so what I plead is just.
  • Why do sinners’ ways prosper? and why must
  • Disappointment all I endeavour end?

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To R.B.

  • The fine delight that fathers thought; the strong
  • Spur, live and lancing like the blowpipe flame,
  • Breathes once and, quenchèd faster than it came,
  • Leaves yet the mind a mother of immortal song.

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Tom’s Garland

  • Tom–garlanded with squat and surly steel
  • Tom; then Tom’s fallowbootfellow piles pick
  • By him and rips out rockfire homeforth–sturdy Dick;
  • Tom Heart-at-ease, Tom Navvy: he is all for his meal

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“To seem the stranger lies my lot, my life”

  • To seem the stranger lies my lot, my life
  • Among strangèrs.   Father and mother dear,
  • Brothers and sisters are in Christ not near
  • And he my peace my parting, sword and strife.

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