Friday Poetry: The Road Not Taken, by Robert Frost

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Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,

And sorry I could not travel both

And be one traveller, long I stood

And looked down one as far as I could

To where it bent in the undergrowth;

 

Then took the other, as just as fair,

And having perhaps the better claim,

Because it was grassy and wanted wear;

Though as for that the passing there

Had worn them really about the same,

 

And both that morning equally lay

In leaves no step had trodden black.

Oh, I kept the first for another day!

Yet knowing how way leads on to way,

I doubted if I should ever come back.

 

I shall be telling this with a sigh

Somewhere ages and ages hence:

Two roads  diverged in a wood, and I-

I took the one less travelled by,

And that has made all the difference.


Friday Poetry: The Shell, by James Stephens

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And then I pressed the shell

Close to my ear

And listened well.

And straightaway, like a bell,

Came low and clear

The slow, sad murmur of far distant seas,

Whipped by an icy breeze

Upon a shore

Wind-swept and desolate.

It was a sunless strand that never bore

The footprint of a man,

Nor felt the weight

Since time began

of any human quality or stir

Save what the dreary winds and waves incur.

And in the hush of waters was the sound

Of pebbles rolling round;

For ever rolling with a hollow sound:

And bubbling sew-weeds, as the waters go,

Swish to and fro

Their long, cold tentacles of slimy grey:

There was no day;

Nor ever came a night

Setting the stars alight

To wonder at the moon:

Was twilight only and the frightened croon,

Smitten to whimpers, of the dreary wind

And waves that journeyed blind...

And then loosed my ear - Oh, it was sweet

To hear a cart go jolting down the street.


Friday Poetry: The Swans, by Clifford Dyment

Midstream they met. Challenger and Champion,

They fought a war for honour

Fierce, sharp, but with no honour:

Each had a simple aim and sought it quickly.

The combat over, the victor sailed away,

Broken, but placid as is the gift of swans,

Leaving his rival to his shame alone.

 

I listened for a song, according to story,

But this swan's death was out of character-

No giving up the grace of life

In a sad lingering music,

I saw the beaten swan rise on the water

As though to outreach pain, its webbed feet

Banging the river helplessly, its wings

Loose in a last hysteria. Then the neck

Was floating like a rope and the swan was dead.

It drifted away and all around it swan's down

Bobbed on the river like children's boats.

 


Friday Poetry: Anthem for Doomed Youth by Wilfred Owen

What passing bells for those who die as cattle?

Only the monstrous anger of the guns.

Only the stuttering rifles' rapid rattle

Can patter out their hasty orisons.

No mockeries for them from prayers or bells,

Nor any voice of mourning save the choirs,-

The shrill, demented choirs of wailing shells;

And bugles calling for them from sad shires.

 

What candles may be held to speed them all?

Not in the hands of boys, but in their eyes

Shall shine the holy glimmers of good-byes.

The pallor of girls' brows shall be their pall;

Their flowers the tenderness of patient minds,

And each slow dusk a drawing-down of blinds.

 


Friday Poetry: Crossing the Bar by Alfred Tennyson

Sunset and evening star,

And one clear call for me!

And may there be no moaning of the bar,

When I put out to sea,

 

But such a tide as movingseems asleep,

Too full for sound and foam,

When that which drew from out the boundless deep

Turns against home.

 

Twilight and evening bell,

And after that the dark!

And may there be no sadness of farewell,

WHen I embark;

 

For tho' from out our bourne of Time and Place

The flood may beat me far,

I hope to see my Pilot face to face

When I have crost the bar.


Friday Poetry: Mantis, by Ruth Miller

He lifts his small hands

To god of nothingness,

Jagged legs stand

On pale green crutches.

The pear-shaped pod

Flanged for flight

All dainty lines

Except the head:

Except the triangle terrible as death.

 

Responding to his hands, I touched him once.

His minute mouth roared

In such a horror of silence that my eyes

Widened in a telescopic lens. I saw:

I saw his face grow large as mine

The tender spring-green blades of him

 

Thrust like vengeance. His vicious eyes

Glared. His mouth was red

As hell, the pointed face

Filled with knowledgeable malice.

His hands- O God, his hands

Came for me, crept for me, felt for me through the space

Of cosmic distances that make an inch.

 

Now that I am brittle as a twig

Time having squeezed the sap and wrung me dry

To the bone, to the outdistancing brain,

Being careful to be quiet and restrained

Would the terrible triangle of my face

Make him afraid?


Friday Poetry: Ancient Music, by Izra Pound

Winter is icummen in,

Lhude sing Goddamm

Raineth drop and staineth slop,

And how the wind doth ramm!

    Sing: Goddamm!

Skiddeth bus and sloppeth us,

An ague hath my ham.

Freezeth river, turneth liver,

    Damn you, sing: Goddamm.

Goddamm, Goddamm, 'tis why I am, Goddamm.

    So 'gainst the winter's balm.

Sing goddamm, damm, sing Goddamm,

Sing goddamm, sing goddamm, DAMM.


Friday Poetry: The Panther, by Rainier Maria Rilke

So worn with passing through the bars,

His gaze holds nothing any more.

A thousand bars before him there might loom

And past the thousand bars no world.

 

The lissom stride of soundless padded pacing,

Revolving in the tiniest of rings,

Is like a dance of strength around a pivot,

Impaling in a trance a mighty will.

 

But rarely is the curtain of the eyeball

Softly parted. Then an image enters in

Which seeps through the tremulous stillness of the limbs

To reach the heart, where it expires.