March 22, 2012

Antony and Cleopatra [Filed under: Lytle, William Haines]

Antony and Cleopatra

I AM dying, Egypt, dying!
  Ebbs the crimson life-tide fast,
And the dark Plutonian shadows
  Gather on the evening blast;
Let thine arm, O Queen, enfold me,
  Hush thy sobs and bow thine ear,
Listen to the great heart secrets
  Thou, and thou alone, must hear.

Though my scarred and veteran legions
  Bear their eagles high no more,
And my wrecked and scattered galleys
  Strew dark Actium’s fatal shore;
Though no glittering guards surround me,
  Prompt to do their master’s will,
I must perish like a Roman,
  Die the great Triumvir still.

Let not Cæsar’s servile minions
  Mock the lion thus laid low;
‘T was no foeman’s arm that felled him,
  ‘T was his own that struck the blow:
His who, pillowed on thy bosom,
  Turned aside from glory’s ray—
His who, drunk with thy caresses,
  Madly threw the world away.

Should the base plebeian rabble
  Dare assail my name at Rome,
Where the noble spouse Octavia
  Weeps within her widowed home,
Seek her; say the gods bear witness,—
  Altars, augurs, circling wings,—
That her blood, with mine commingled,
  Yet shall mount the throne of kings.

And for thee, star-eyed Egyptian—
  Glorious sorceress of the Nile!
Light the path to Stygian horrors,
  With the splendor of thy smile;
Give the Cæsar crowns and arches,
  Let his brow the laurel twine:
I can scorn the senate’s triumphs,
  Triumphing in love like thine.

I am dying, Egypt, dying!
  Hark! the insulting foeman’s cry;
They are coming—quick, my falchion!
  Let me front them ere I die.
Ah, no more amid the battle
  Shall my heart exulting swell;
Isis and Osiris guard thee—
  Cleopatra—Rome—farewell!

October 17, 2009

Autumnal [Filed under: Dowson, Ernest]

Autumnal

Pale amber sunlight falls across
   The reddening October trees,
   That hardly sway before a breeze
As soft as summer: summer’s loss
   Seems little, dear! on days like these.

Let misty autumn be our part!
   The twilight of the year is sweet:
   Where shadow and the darkness meet
Our love, a twilight of the heart
   Eludes a little time’s deceit.

Are we not better and at home
   In dreamful Autumn, we who deem
   No harvest joy is worth a dream?
A little while and night shall come,
   A little while, then, let us dream.

Beyond the pearled horizons lie
   Winter and night: awaiting these
   We garner this poor hour of ease,
Until love turn from us and die
   Beneath the drear November trees.

May 11, 2006

Post title [Filed under: White, Steve]

Limerick (III)

There once was an X from place B
That satisfied predicate P
He or she did thing A
In an adjective way
Resulting in circumstance C

Maybe my brain is not functioning entirely properly, being three days from freedom, but I found this poem to be rather fun. There’s some more good generic stuff at Mr. White’s website.

January 21, 2006

Kisses [Filed under: Hunt, Leigh]

Jenny Kissed Me

Jenny kissed me when we met,
  Jumping from the chair she sat in;
Time, you thief, who love to get
  Sweets into your list, put that in.
Say I’m weary, say I’m sad,
  Say that health and wealth have missed me;
Say I’m growing old, but add—
  Jenny kissed me!

Dearest Cynara, I have broken faith; come what may, life is beautiful today.

January 20, 2006

Lexicographic [Filed under: MacNeice, Louis]

I had the greatest lexicographic moment of my life when I looked up the word ‘cromlech’ after reading this poem.

The Cromlech

From trivia of froth and pollen
White tufts in the rabbit warren
And every minute like a thicket
Nicked and dropped, nicked and dropped,
Extracters and abstracters ask
What emerges, what survives,
And once the stopper is unstopped
What was the essence in the flask
and what is Life apart from lives
And where, apart from fact, the value

To which we answer, being naive,
Wearing the world upon our sleeve,
That to dissect a given thing
Unravelling its complexity
Outrages its simplicity
For essence is not merely core
And each event implies the world,
A centre needs periphery.

This being so, at times at least
Granted the sympathetic pulse
And granted the perceiving eye
Each pregnant with a history,
Appearance and appearances—
In spite of the philosophers
With their jejune dichotomies—
Can be at times reality.

So Tom and Tessy holding hands
(Dare an abstraction steal a kiss?)
Cannot be generalized away,
Reduced by bleak analysis
To pointers demonstrating laws
Which drain the colour from the day;
Not mere effects of a crude cause
But of themselves significant,
To run-of-brain recalcitrant,
This that they are and do is This…

Tom is here, Tessy is here
At this point in a given year
With all this hour’s accessories,
A given glory—and to look
That gift-horse in the mouth will prove
Or disprove nothing of their love
Which is as sure intact a fact,
Though young and supple, as what stands
Obtuse and old, in time congealed,
Behind them as they mingle hands—
Self-contained, unexplained,
The cromlech in the clover field.