Poem : The Poet Washes Dishes by Peter Conners
It took several hours. There were spaces in the cookware of which no one was aware, save the poet. The soft downturn of the ladle handle soared and fell like the epic point guard's final jump shot as the seconds die away… Water turned from periods to semi-colons and, finally, ellipses. If the sponge was wrung-out in the perfect combination of soap and water - the poet erupted into mirthful glee. Otherwise, tears. The poet shooed his wife away from the dirty dishes like an Anthropologist hoarding the dirty femur of Java Man, stared out the window at the muddy March snow. He did not love the dishes; merely cherished them as a measure of time's elapse, a graceful collapse. Another chop gone by. The final swallow, the final tine, an expulsion of methane. As the last dish hit the rack the poet pondered the finality of one more meal; this all before dessert and coffee were even served. As always, it took a lifetime.
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Poem : The City by George William Russell
WHAT domination of what darkness dies this hour,
And through what new, rejoicing, winged, ethereal power
O’erthrown, the cells opened, the heart released from fear?
Gay twilight and grave twilight pass. The stars appear
O’er the prodigious, smouldering, dusky, city flare.
The hanging gardens of Babylon were not more fair
Than these blue flickering glades, where childhood in its glee
Re-echoes with fresh voice the heaven-lit ecstasy.
Yon girl whirls like an eastern dervish. Her dance is
No less a god-intoxicated dance than his,
Though all unknowing the arcane fire that lights her feet,
What motions of what starry tribes her limbs repeat.
I, too, firesmitten, cannot linger: I know there lies
Open somewhere this hour a gate to Paradise,
Its blazing battlements with watchers thronged, O where?
I know not, but my flame-winged feet shall lead me there.
O, hurry, hurry, unknown shepherd of desires,
And with thy flock of bright imperishable fires
Pen me within the starry fold, ere the night falls
And I am left alone below immutable walls.
Or am I there already, and is it Paradise
To look on mortal things with an immortal’s eyes?
Above the misty brilliance the streets assume
A night-dilated blue magnificence of gloom
Like many-templed Nineveh tower beyond tower;
And I am hurried on in this immortal hour.
Mine eyes beget new majesties: my spirit greets
The trams, the high-built glittering galleons of the streets
That float through twilight rivers from galaxies of light.
Nay, in the Fount of Days they rise, they take their flight,
And wend to the great deep, the Holy Sepulchre.
Those dark misshapen folk to be made lovely there
Hurry with me, not all ignoble as we seem,
Lured by some inexpressible and gorgeous dream.
The earth melts in my blood. The air that I inhale
Is like enchanted wine poured from the Holy Grail.
What was that glimmer then? Was it the flash of wings
As through the blinded mart rode on the King of Kings?
O stay, departing glory, stay with us but a day,
And burning seraphim shall leap from out our clay,
And plumed and crested hosts shall shine where men have been,
Heaven hold no lordlier court than earth at College Green.
Ah, no, the wizardy is over; the magic flame
That might have melted all in beauty fades as it came.
The stars are far and faint and strange. The night draws down.
Exiled from light, forlorn, I walk in Dublin Town.
Yet had I might to lift the veil, the will to dare,
The fiery rushing chariots of the Lord are there,
The whirlwind path, the blazing gates, the trumpets blown,
The halls of heaven, the majesty of throne by throne,
Enraptured faces, hands uplifted, welcome sung
By the thronged gods, tall, golden-coloured, joyful, young.
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Religious Poems : A Thanksgiving To God, For His House by Robert Herrick
Lord, Thou hast given me a cell
Wherein to dwell,
A little house, whose humble roof
Under the spars of which I lie
Both soft, and dry;
Where Thou my chamber for to ward
Hast set a guard
Of harmless thoughts, to watch and keep
Me, while I sleep.
Low is my porch, as is my fate,
Both void of state;
And yet the threshold of my door
Is worn by th' poor,
Who thither come and freely get
Good words, or meat.
Like as my parlour, so my hall
And kitchen's small;
A little buttery, and therein
A little bin,
Which keeps my little loaf of bread
Some brittle sticks of thorn or briar
Make me a fire,
Close by whose living coal I sit,
And glow like it.
Lord, I confess too, when I dine,
The pulse is Thine,
And all those other bits, that be
There plac'd by Thee;
The worts, the purslain, and the mess
Which of Thy kindness Thou hast sent;
And my content
Makes those, and my beloved beet,
To be more sweet.
'Tis Thou that crown'st my glittering hearth
With guiltless mirth;
And giv'st me wassail-bowls to drink,
Spic'd to the brink.
Lord, 'tis Thy plenty-dropping hand
That soils my land;
And giv'st me, for my bushel sown,
Twice ten for one;
Thou mak'st my teeming hen to lay
Her egg each day;
Besides my healthful ewes to bear
Me twins each year;
The while the conduits of my kine
Run cream, for wine.
All these, and better, Thou dost send
Me, to this end,
That I should render, for my part,
A thankful heart,
Which, fir'd with incense, I resign,
As wholly Thine;
But the acceptance, that must be,
My Christ, by Thee.
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Poem : Garden-Spot by Dorothy Parker
God's acre was her garden-spot, she said;
She sat there often, of the Summer days,
Little and slim and sweet, among the dead,
Her hair a fable in the leveled rays.
She turned the fading wreath, the rusted cross,
And knelt to coax about the wiry stem.
I see her gentle fingers on the moss
Now it is anguish to remember them.
And once I saw her weeping, when she rose
And walked a way and turned to look around-
The quick and envious tears of one that knows
She shall not lie in consecrated ground.