20141129

A Bird Came Down the Walk

by Emily Dickinson

A Bird, came down the Walk - 
He did not know I saw -
He bit an Angle Worm 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 abroad -
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. 

Note:  A recitation can be heard here.

20141127

Thanks

by W. S. Merwin
Listen 
with the night falling we are saying thank you 
we are stopping on the bridges to bow from the railings 
we are running out of the glass rooms 
with our mouths full of food to look at the sky 
and say thank you 
we are standing by the water thanking it 
smiling by the windows looking out 
in our directions 

back from a series of hospitals back from a mugging 
after funerals we are saying thank you 
after the news of the dead 
whether or not we knew them we are saying thank you

over telephones we are saying thank you 
in doorways and in the backs of cars and in elevators 
remembering wars and the police at the door 
and the beatings on stairs we are saying thank you 
in the banks we are saying thank you 
in the faces of the officials and the rich
and of all who will never change
we go on saying thank you thank you

with the animals dying around us 
our lost feelings we are saying thank you 
with the forests falling faster than the minutes 
of our lives we are saying thank you 
with the words going out like cells of a brain 
with the cities growing over us 
we are saying thank you faster and faster 
with nobody listening we are saying thank you 
we are saying thank you and waving 
dark though it is
Note:  A recitation can be heard here.

20141126

"If the Lord Would Make Windows in Heaven"

by Edwin Arlington Robinson

She who had eyes but had not wherewithal
To see that he was doomed to his own way,
Dishonored his illusions day by day,
And year by year was more angelical.
Flaunting an injured instinct for the small,
She stifled always more than she would say;
Nursing a fear, and waited for the roof to fall.

A seer at home, she saw that his high lights
That were not shining, and were not afire,
Were such as never would be seen from there;
A saint abroad, she saw him on the heights,
And feared for him--who, if he went much higher,
Might one day not be seen from anywhere.

Note:  A recitation can be heard here.

20141125

In Flanders Fields

by John McCrae

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.


Note:  A recitation can be heard here.

20141124

For My Contemporaries

by J. V. Cunningham


How time reverses   
The proud in heart!   
I now make verses   
Who aimed at art.


But I sleep well.   
Ambitious boys
Whose big lines swell   
With spiritual noise,


Despise me not!
And be not queasy   
To praise somewhat:   
Verse is not easy.


But rage who will.
Time that procured me   
Good sense and skill   
Of madness cured me.

Note:  A recitation can be heard here.

20141123

Edmund Pollard

by Edgar Lee Masters


I would I had thrust my hands of flesh
Into the disk-flowers bee-infested,
Into the mirror-like core of fire
Of the light of life, the sun of delight.
For what are anthers worth or petals         
Or halo-rays? Mockeries, shadows
Of the heart of the flower, the central flame!
All is yours, young passer-by;
Enter the banquet room with the thought;
Don’t sidle in as if you were doubtful  
Whether you’re welcome—the feast is yours!
Nor take but a little, refusing more
With a bashful “Thank you,” when you’re hungry.
Is your soul alive? Then let it feed!
Leave no balconies where you can climb;  
Nor milk-white bosoms where you can rest;
Nor golden heads with pillows to share;
Nor wine cups while the wine is sweet;
Nor ecstasies of body or soul,
You will die, no doubt, but die while living  
In depths of azure, rapt and mated,
Kissing the queen-bee, Life!

Note:  A recitation can be heard here.

20141120

Sonnet

by Edwin Arlington Robinson

The master and the slave go hand in hand,
Though touch be lost. The poet is a slave,
And there be kings do sorrowfully crave
The joyance that a scullion may command.
But, ah, the sonnet-slave must understand
The mission of his bondage, or the grave
May clasp his bones, or ever he shall save
The perfect word that is the poet's wand.

The sonnet is a crown, whereof the rhymes
Are for Thought's purest gold the jewel-stones;
But shapes and echoes that are never done
Will haunt the workship, as regret sometimes
Will bring with human yearning to sad thrones
The crash of battles that are never won.

Note:  A recitation can be heard here.