You and Yellow Air

John Shaw Neilson
Australian
1872 – 1942

 

I dream of an old kissing-time
And the flowered follies there;
In the dim place of cherry-trees,
Of you, and yellow air.

It was an age of babbling,
When the players would play
Mad with the wine and miracles
Of a charmed holiday.

Bewildered was the warm earth
With whistling and sighs,
And a young foal spoke all his heart
With diamonds for eyes.

You were of Love’s own colour
In eyes and heart and hair;
In the dim place of cherry-trees
Ridden by yellow air.

It was the time when red lovers
With the red fevers burn;
A time of bells and silver seeds
And cherries on the turn.

Children looked into tall trees
And old eyes looked behind;
God in His glad October
No sullen man could find.

Out of your eyes a magic
Fell lazily as dew,
And every lad with lad’s eyes
Made summer love to you.

It was a reign of roses,
Of blue flowers for the eye,
And the rustling of green girls
Under a white sky.

I dream of an old kissing-time
And the flowered follies there,
In the dim place of cherry-trees,
Of you, and yellow air.

Antidotes to Fear of Death

Rebecca Elson
Canadian
1960 – 1999

 

Sometimes as an antidote
To fear of death,
I eat the stars.

Those nights, lying on my back,
I suck them from the quenching dark
Til they are all, all inside me,
Pepper hot and sharp.

Sometimes, instead, I stir myself
Into a universe still young,
Still warm as blood:

No outer space, just space,
The light of all the not yet stars
Drifting like a bright mist,
And all of us, and everything
Already there
But unconstrained by form.

And sometime it’s enough
To lie down here on earth
Beside our long ancestral bones:

To walk across the cobble fields
Of our discarded skulls,
Each like a treasure, like a chrysalis,
Thinking: whatever left these husks
Flew off on bright wings.

Thanksgiving

We present this work in honor of the Thanksgiving holiday.

Ella Wheeler Wilcox
American
1850 – 1919

 

We walk on starry fields of white
And do not see the daisies;
For blessings common in our sight
We rarely offer praises.
We sigh for some supreme delight
To crown our lives with splendor,
And quite ignore our daily store
Of pleasures sweet and tender.

Our cares are bold and push their way
Upon our thought and feeling.
They hand about us all the day,
Our time from pleasure stealing.
So unobtrusive many a joy
We pass by and forget it,
But worry strives to own our lives,
And conquers if we let it.

There’s not a day in all the year
But holds some hidden pleasure,
And looking back, joys oft appear
To brim the past’s wide measure.
But blessings are like friends, I hold,
Who love and labor near us.
We ought to raise our notes of praise
While living hearts can hear us.

Full many a blessing wears the guise
Of worry or of trouble;
Far-seeing is the soul, and wise,
Who knows the mask is double.
But he who has the faith and strength
To thank his God for sorrow
Has found a joy without alloy
To gladden every morrow.

We ought to make the moments notes
Of happy, glad Thanksgiving;
The hours and days a silent phrase
Of music we are living.
And so the theme should swell and grow
As weeks and months pass o’er us,
And rise sublime at this good time,
A grand Thanksgiving chorus.

Life Infinite

We present this work in honor of the Japanese holiday, Labor Thanksgiving Day.

Shinkichi Takahashi
Japanese
1901 – 1987

 

Beyond words,
this no-thingness within,
Which I’ve become.
So to remain
Only one thing’s needed:
Zen sitting.
I think, breathe with my whole body – Marvellous.
The joy’s so pure,
It’s beyond lovemaking, anything.
I can see, live anywhere, everywhere.
I need nothing, not even life.

Nyx

Catherine Pozzi
French
1882 – 1934

 

O you, my nights, O long-awaited blackness,
O proud country, O obstinate secrets,
O long looks, O thundering clouds
O flight beyond skies which are closed

O great desire, O scattered surprise
O beautiful journey of th’ enchanted sprite
O worst evil, O grace that flies
O open door where we enter night

I don’t know why I die today
Before th’ eternal rest above.
I don’t know for whom I’m prey
I don’t know for whom I’m love.

In a Southern Garden

Dorothea MacKellar
Australian
1885 – 1968

 

When the tall bamboos are clicking to the restless little breeze,
And bats begin their jerky skimming flight,
And the creamy scented blossoms of the dark pittosporum trees,
Grow sweeter with the coming of the night.

And the harbour in the distance lies beneath a purple pall,
And nearer, at the garden’s lowest fringe,
Loud the water soughs and gurgles ‘mid the rocks below the wall,
Dark-heaving, with a dim uncanny tinge

Of a green as pale as beryls, like the strange faint-coloured flame
That burns around the Women of the Sea:
And the strip of sky to westward which the camphorlaurels frame,
Has turned to ash-of-rose and ivory—

And a chorus rises valiantly from where the crickets hide,
Close-shaded by the balsams drooping down—
It is evening in a garden by the kindly water-side,
A garden near the lights of Sydney town!

To a Flower

In honor of Revolution Day, we present this work by one of Mexico’s most romantic poets.

Manuel Acuña
Mexican
1849 – 1873

 

When your bud barely half-opened
Aspires to good fortune and happiness,
Do you already bend tired and breathless,
Giving yourself over to pain and despair?

Do you not see that the vile shadow
Which blackens the firmament’s blue,
Is only a cloud which will at the blow
Of the wind, again let you see the day?…

Wake up and rise!… The time is not yet here
When deep within your heart,
You yield to the pain that humbles you.

Unjust to the sun is your accusation
That the shadow which passes and blinds you
Is darkness, for night hasn’t arrived yet.