We present this work in honor of the poet’s 80th birthday.
my friends, my sweet barbarians, there is that hunger which is not for food — but an eye at the navel turns the appetite round with visions of some fabulous sandwich, the brain’s golden breakfast eaten with beasts with books on plates
let us make an anthology of recipes, let us edit for breakfast our most unspeakable appetites — let us pool spoons, knives and all cutlery in a cosmic cuisine, let us answer hunger with boiled chimera and apocalyptic tea, an arcane salad of spiced bibles, tossed dictionaries — (O my barbarians we will consume our mysteries)
and can we, can we slake the gaping eye of our desires? we will sit around our hewn wood table until our hair is long and our eyes are feeble, eating, my people, O my insatiates, eating until we are no more able to jack up the jaws any longer —
to no more complain of the soul’s vulgar cavities, to gaze at each other over the rust-heap of cutlery, drinking a coffee that takes an eternity — till, bursting, bleary, we laugh, barbarians, and rock the universe — and exclaim to each other over the table over the table of bones and scrap metal over the gigantic junk-heaped table:
We present this work in honor of the 95th anniversary of the poet’s death.
Unscathed as yet by battle-scars, Trampling the sad December’s snow, The Khaki lads on Champ de Mars Are girding for the distant foe. East with a dream comes marching by; Each all aflame for England’s fight. But O presaging heart, say why That sound of weeping in the night?
The Duke came down one frosty day And walked between the khaki ranks. Full grave his look. We heard him say: “Soldiers, the Empire gives you thanks. Love live the King! Our foes shall learn You stand with Him for simple right; And may God grant you safe return.” But still that sound all through the night!
O, marching from the Camp de Mars They cross the seas; they storm the trench, Fighting beneath the troubled stars With Belgians brave and valiant French; Fighting, till victory austere, Shall crush the Great Betrayer’s might. But O my beating heart, dost hear
We present this work in honor of the 145th anniversary of the poet’s death.
The day was lingering in the pale north-west, And night was hanging o’er my head— Night, where a myriad stars were spread; While down in the east, where the light was least, Seemed the home of the quiet dead. And, as I gazed on the field sublime, To watch the bright, pulsating stars, Adown the deep where the angels sleep Came drawn the golden chime Of those great spheres that sound the years For the horologe of time. Millenniums numberless they told, Millenniums a millionfold From the ancient hour of prime.
They tell of the level sea And the wind rebukes their word. I sing of the long and level plain Which never a storm hath stirred. I sing of the patient plain; That drank of the sun and rain A thousand years, by the burning spheres, To nourish this wisp of grain.
I sing of the honest plain Where nothing doth lie concealed: Where never a branch doth raise her arm; Or never a leaf her shield. Where never a lordly pine Breaks in on the endless line; Or the silver flakes of a poplar takes The strength from the sun’s white wine.
The child of the dancing leaf, Whose laughter sweetens the earth, Doth never lure, on the barren moor, The soul, with her winsome mirth. And the wistful sound I hear Sweep over the spaces drear Is the human dole of a childless soul That mourns in a yearning year.
Let the guilty man depart: For no cover here shall hide His conscious brow from the lights that plough Through the midnight’s mystic tide. For the plain no mantle hath To lessen the strong sun’s wrath; And the tranquil eye of the searching sky Is ever upon your path.
I’ll walk with the winds to-night; And under the burnished moon Shall the white night wake a silver lake Where the rolling grasses croon. Shall waken a silken crest That swings to the night-bird’s breast As the blue waves swing to the sea-gull’s wing When the gallant wind blows west.
Ah! easy to hide from truth In the city’s haunted hole. But you cannot hide, on the prairies wide, Where the winds uncloak the soul. Where the dawn hath pure delight; And the stars are clean and white; And sweet and clean is the floor of green That washes the feet of Night.
Who dwells with me on the Plain Shall never see spire or bell. But he too shall miss the traitor’s kiss And the force that drags to Hell. And what if the coyotes howl When the black night draws her cowl! They have gentler glands than the human bands That under the arc lamps prowl.
And ours is a creedless land, Far-flung from a script’s commands. But we sometimes think at the cold night’s brink Of the wounded Master’s hands. Yea, often at eventide, Our souls through the gloom have cried For a Guiding Light through the awful night That sleeps at the hermit’s side.
I opened my cabin door; And the starry hosts were gone. And I knew that God hath gathered their sparks To kindle the flame of dawn: To kindle a new, white sun That over the sward should run, And drink new hope, on the greening slope, From the dewcups one by one.
Ah! here is the soul’s true sphere: And here is the mind’s true girth. If I could bring, on the swallow’s wing, The sorrowful hosts of earth, To sit in this vacant room, And spin on the wind’s fair loom, What golden bands would their spectral hands Weave over the wraith of Doom.
For there is a wraith of Doom That wanders the crowded street. A heart of care is his pleasant lair, And a soul his judgment seat. He comes in a robe of gray, And stands in the sunbeam’s way. And a blaze of rings, from an hundred kings, He wears on his hands to-day.
I loosed me a steed last night, And plunged in the doleful dusk. And under the sky I heard no cry Save that of the widowed husk; Or a wolf-wail, long and low, That came with a blare of snow; And I rode all night, with a mad delight, ‘Till I met the dawn, aglow.
“Strange fool!” cry the men of gold, “For what could thy wild ride win? Why woo the woe of the winds that blow When the fire burns bright within?” And I said to the men of gold: “My heart could a tale unfold Of the truths we learn when the wild winds yearn, And the kiss of night grows cold.”
So, press on the spurs with me And drink of a freeman’s joys, In the endless land, where the gophers stand With a military poise. And no more will life seem sweet On the yellow, flaming street— A painted shrew, with a changeless hue, And a heart that loves deceit.
And this is the Prairie Song As it came from out my heart. And the winds that moan are its undertone; And the sullen sky its art. And only the craven man, With his rhyming finger span, Shall sulk and whine at my stinging line Or rail at its planless plan.
But there is a king whose soul Hath grown to the Prairie’s girth; Whose heart delights in the Northern Lights, On the borderlands of earth. And when sunset pours her wine, At the weary day’s decline, I shall see him stand in the “Unknown Land” And his lips shall wear my line.
We present this work in honor of the poet’s 185th birthday.
You cannot rob us of the rights we cherish, Nor turn our thoughts away From the bright picture of a “Woman’s Mission” Our hearts portray. We claim to dwell, in quiet and seclusion, Beneath the household roof,— From the great world’s harsh strife, and jarring voices, To stand aloof;— Not in a dreamy and inane abstraction To sleep our life away, But, gathering up the brightness of home sunshine, To deck our way.
As humble plants by country hedgerows growing, That treasure up the rain, And yield in odours, ere the day’s declining, The gift again;
So let us, unobtrusive and unnoticed, But happy none the less, Be privileged to fill the air around us With happiness;
To live, unknown beyond the cherished circle, Which we can bless and aid; To die, and not a heart that does not love us Know where we’re laid.
We present this work in honor of the 60th anniversary of the poet’s death.
Willow weep, let the lake lap up your green trickled tears. Water, love, lip the hot roots, cradle the leaf; Turn a new moon on your tongue, water, lick the deaf rocks, With silk of your pebble-pitched song, water, wimple the beach; Water, wash over the feet of the summer-bowed trees, Wash age from the face of the stone.
I am a hearer of water; My ears hold the sound and the feel of the sound of it mortally. My skin is in love with lake water. My skin is in love and it sings in the arms of its lover, My skin is the leaf of the willow, My nerves are the roots of the weeping willow tree.
My blood is a clot in the stone, The blood of my heart is fused to a pit in the rock; The lips of my lover can wear away stone, My lover can free the blocked heart; The leaf and the root and the red sap will run with lake water, The arms of my lover will carry me home to the sea.