In honor of Constitution Day and Citizenship Day, we present this work by a poet who was denied the benefits of both.
Celestial choir! enthron’d in realms of light, Columbia’s scenes of glorious toils I write. While freedom’s cause her anxious breast alarms, She flashes dreadful in refulgent arms. See mother earth her offspring’s fate bemoan, And nations gaze at scenes before unknown! See the bright beams of heaven’s revolving light Involved in sorrows and the veil of night! The Goddess comes, she moves divinely fair, Olive and laurel binds Her golden hair: Wherever shines this native of the skies, Unnumber’d charms and recent graces rise. Muse! Bow propitious while my pen relates How pour her armies through a thousand gates, As when Eolus heaven’s fair face deforms, Enwrapp’d in tempest and a night of storms; Astonish’d ocean feels the wild uproar, The refluent surges beat the sounding shore; Or think as leaves in Autumn’s golden reign, Such, and so many, moves the warrior’s train. In bright array they seek the work of war, Where high unfurl’d the ensign waves in air. Shall I to Washington their praise recite? Enough thou know’st them in the fields of fight. Thee, first in peace and honors-we demand The grace and glory of thy martial band. Fam’d for thy valour, for thy virtues more, Hear every tongue thy guardian aid implore! One century scarce perform’d its destined round, When Gallic powers Columbia’s fury found; And so may you, whoever dares disgrace The land of freedom’s heaven-defended race! Fix’d are the eyes of nations on the scales, For in their hopes Columbia’s arm prevails. Anon Britannia droops the pensive head, While round increase the rising hills of dead. Ah! Cruel blindness to Columbia’s state! Lament thy thirst of boundless power too late. Proceed, great chief, with virtue on thy side, Thy ev’ry action let the Goddess guide. A crown, a mansion, and a throne that shine, With gold unfading, Washington! Be thine.
We present this work in honor of the 95th anniversary of the poet’s death.
I would like to be the ray of the dawn that lights up your forehead in the morning; to be a flower that you admired for its gallantry and give you an intoxicating essence. I would like to be the echo that disgraces her distant music reaches you: the fugitive and vain sweet shadow that you caress in your dreamy soul. But alas! that the sun the aurora fades, the flower dies and is lost in the wind the soft echo that vibrated in calm: I don’t want to be an illusion that disappears… It’s better to occupy your thoughts and be, like today, the soul of your soul.
We present this work in honor of the poet’s 260th birthday.
In these our days of sentiment When youthful poets all lament Some dear lost joy, some cruel maid; Old friendship changed and faith betrayed; The world’s cold frown and every ill That tender hearts with anguish fill; Loathing this world and all its folly, In lays most musical and melancholy,– Touching a low and homely string, May poet of a Parrot sing With dignity uninjured? say!– No; but a simple rhymester may. Well then, I see thee calm and sage, Perched on the summit of thy cage, With broad, hooked beak and plumage green, Changing to azure in the light, Gay pinions tipped with scarlet bright, And, strong for mischief, use or play, Thick talons, crisped with silver grey,– A gallant bird, I ween! What courtly dame, for ball-room drest– What gartered lord in silken vest– On wedding morn what country bride With groom bedizened by her side– What youngsters in their fair-day geer, Did ever half so fine appear? Alas! at ball, or, church, or fair, Were ne’er assembled visions rare Of moving creatures all so gay As in thy native woods, where day In blazing torrid brightness played Through checkered boughs and gently made A ceaseless morris-dance of sheen and shade! In those blest woods, removed from man, Thy early being first began, ‘Mid gay compeers, who, blest as thou, Hopped busily from bough to bough, Robbing each loaded branch at pleasure Of berries, buds and kerneled treasure; Then rose aloft with outspread wing, Then stooped on flexile twig to swing, Then coursed and circled through the air, Mate chasing mate, full many a pair. It would have set one’s heart a dancing To ‘ve seen their varied feathers glancing, And thought how many happy things Creative Goodness into being brings. But now how changed! it is thy doom Within a walled and windowed room To hold thy home, and (all forgot The traces of thy former lot), Clutching the wires with progress slow, Still round and round thy cage to go. Or cross the carpet:–altered case! This now is all thy daily travel’s space. Yet here thou art a cherished droll, Known by the name of Pretty Poll; Oft fed by lady’s gentle hand With sops and sugar at command, And sometimes too a nut or cherry, Which in thy claws to beak and eye Thou seemest to raise right daintily, Turning it oft, as if thou still Wert scanning it with cautious skill, Provoking urchins near to laughter loud and merry. See, gathered round, a rosy band, With eager upcast eyes they stand, Marking thy motions and withal Delighting on thy name to call; And hear, like human speech, reply Come from thy beak most curiously. They shout, they mowe, they grin, they giggle, Clap hands, hoist arms, and shoulders wriggle; O here, well may we say or sing, That learning is a charming thing! For thou, beneath thy wire-wove dome, A learned creature hast become; And hast, by dint of oft repeating, Got words by rote, the vulgar cheating Which, once in ten times well applied, Are to the skies with praises cried. So lettered dunces oft impose On simple fools their studied prose. Aye; o’er thy round though unwigged head, Full many a circling year has sped, Since thou kept terms within thy college, From many tutors, short and tall, In braid or bonnet, cap or caul, Imbibing wonderous stores of seeming knowledge. And rarely Bachelor of Arts Or Master (dare we say it?) imparts To others such undoubted pleasure From all his stores of classic treasure: And ladies sage, whose learned saws To cognoscenti friends give laws, Rarely, I trow, can so excite A listening circle with delight. And rarely their acquirements shine Through such a lengthened course as thine. The grannums of this group so gay, Who round thee now their homage pay, Belike have in such youthful glee, With admiration gazed on thee; And yet no wrinkled line betrays The long course of thy lengthened days, Thy bark of life has kept afloat As on a shoreless sea, where not Or change or progress may be traced; Time hath with thee been leaden-paced. But ah! proud beauty, on whose head Some three-score years no blight hath shed, Untoward days will come at length, When thou, of spirit reft and strength, Wilt mope and pine, year after year, Which all one moulting-time appear, And this bright plumage, dull and rusty, Will seem neglected shrunk and dusty, And scarce a feather’s rugged stump Be left to grace thy fretted rump. Mewed in a corner of thy home, Having but little heart to roam, Thou’lt wink and peer–a wayward elf, And croon and clutter to thyself, Screaming at visitors with spite, And opening wide thy beak to bite. Yet in old age still wilt thou find Some constant friend thy wants to mind, Whose voice thou’lt know, whose hand thou’lt seek, Turning to it thy feathered cheek; Grateful to her though cross and froward To all beside, and it will go hard But she will love thee, even when life’s last goal Thou’st reached, and call thee still her Pretty Poll. Now from these lines, young friends, I know A lesson might be drawn to shew How, like our bird, on life’s vain stage, Pass human childhood, prime and age: But conned comparisons, I doubt, Might put your patience to the rout, And all my pains small thanks receive, So this to wiser folks leave.
Gracefully she approached, in a dress of bright blue silk; With an olive branch in her hand, and many tales of sorrows in her eyes. Running to her, I greeted her, and took her hand in mine: Pulses could still be felt in her veins; warm was still her body with life.
“But you are dead, mother”, I said; “Oh, many years ago you died!” Neither of embalmment she smelled, Nor in a shroud was she wrapped.
I gave a glance at the olive branch; she held it out to me, And said with a smile, “It is the sign of peace; take it.”
I took it from her and said, “Yes, it is the sign of…”, when My voice and peace were broken by the violent arrival of a horseman. He carried a dagger under his tunic with which he shaped the olive branch Into a rod and looking at it he said to himself: “Not too bad a cane for punishing the sinners!” A real image of a hellish pain! Then, to hide the rod, He opened his saddlebag. in there, O God! I saw a dead dove, with a string tied round its broken neck.
My mother walked away with anger and sorrow; my eyes followed her; Like the mourners she wore a dress of black silk.
I did not want to feel at home of what importance was the town my family were driven from how could I still have thought it mine I have four children why should I expend my love on stones and trees of what signiﬁcance were these to have such power over me
As stones and trees absorb the weather so these had stored my childhood days and from a million surfaces gave back my father and my mother my presence there was dialogue how could I have refused to answer when my own crippled childhood broke from streets and hillsides like a dancer