By Vachel Lindsay
Once I loved a spider
When I was born a fly,
A velvet-footed spider
With a gown of rainbow-dye.
She ate my wings and gloated.
She bound me with a hair.
She drove me to her parlor
Above her winding stair.
To educate young spiders
She took me all apart.
My ghost came back to haunt her.
I saw her eat my heart.
By Rudyard Kipling
Oh! hush thee, my baby, the night is behind us
And black are the waters that sparkled so green.
The moon, o’er the combers, looks downward to find us
At rest in the hollows that rustle between.
Where billow meets billow, there soft by the pillow.
Oh, weary wee flipperling, curl at thy ease!
The storm shall not wake thee, nor shark overtake thee
Asleep in the storm of slow-swinging seas.
By Vachel Lindsay
Two old crows sat on a fence rail.
Two old crows sat on a fence rail,
Thinking of effect and cause,
Of weeds and flowers,
And nature’s laws.
One of them muttered, one of them stuttered,
One of them stuttered, one of them muttered.
Each of them thought far more than he uttered.
One crow asked the other crow a riddle.
One crow asked the other crow a riddle:
The muttering crow
Asked the stuttering crow,
“Why does a bee have a sword to his fiddle?
Why does a bee have a sword to his fiddle?”
“Bee-cause,” said the other crow,
B B B B B B B B B B B B B B B B-cause.”
Just then a bee flew close to their rail:—
“Buzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz zzzzzzzzz zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz ZZZZZZZZ.”
And those two black crows
And away those crows did sail.
B B B B B B B B B B B B B B B-cause.
By J. R. R. Tolkien
Upon the hearth the fire is red,
Beneath the roof there is a bed;
But not yet weary are our feet,
Still round the corner we may meet
A sudden tree or standing stone
That none have seen but we alone.
Tree and flower and leaf and grass,
Let them pass! Let them pass!
Hill and water under sky,
Pass them by! Pass them by!
Still round the corner there may wait
A new road or a secret gate,
And though we pass them by today,
Tomorrow we may come this way
And take the hidden paths that run
Towards the Moon or to the Sun.
Apple, thorn, and nut and sloe,
Let them go! Let them go!
Sand and stone and pool and dell,
Fare you well! Fare you well!
Home is behind, the world ahead,
And there are many paths to tread
Through shadows to the edge of night,
Until the stars are all alight.
Then world behind and home ahead,
Once in a while you encounter something that for unknown reasons, burrows deeply into you. This happened to me over a decade ago in Dublin. I visited an exhibit about William Butler Yeats at the National Library of Ireland. I had never read any of this poems before and walked through the displays with interest. But it was the moment I stood in the middle of a circular display that burrowed into me. Yeats read one of his poems over speakers, a disembodied voice traveling from the past and into my ears. His voice was haunting and I’d heard nothing like it before, or since. The words were lost to me over time, but his voice was not and I still hear it when I read his poems today. Because of that experience I’ve now read many of his poems as well as his books on Irish…
By Charlotte Mew
Toll no bell for me, dear Father dear Mother,
Waste no sighs;
There are my sisters, there is my little brother
Who plays in the place called Paradise,
Your children all, your children for ever;
But I, so wild,
Your disgrace, with the queer brown face, was never,
Never, I know, but half your child!
In the garden at play, all day, last summer,
Far and away I heard
The sweet “tweet-tweet” of a strange new-comer,
The dearest, clearest call of a bird.
It lived down there in the deep green hollow,
My own old home, and the fairies say
The word of a bird is a thing to follow,
So I was away a night and a day.
One evening, too, by the nursery fire,
We snuggled close and sat round so still,
When suddenly as the wind blew higher,
Something scratched on the window-sill,
A pinched brown face peered in–I shivered;