Poem of the day

Wishes to His Supposed Mistress
by Richard Crashaw (1613?-1649)

Whoe’er she be—
That not impossible She
That shall command my heart and me:

Where’er she lie,
Lock’d up from mortal eye
In shady leaves of destiny:

Till that ripe birth
Of studied Fate stand forth,
And teach her fair steps to our earth:

Till that divine
Idea take a shrine
Of crystal flesh, through which to shine:

Meet you her, my Wishes,
Bespeak her to my blisses,
And be ye call’d my absent kisses.

I wish her Beauty,
That owes not all its duty
To gaudy tire, or glist’ring shoe-tie:

Something more than
Taffata or tissue can,
Or rampant feather, or rich fan.

A Face, that ’s best
By its own beauty drest,
And can alone commend the rest.

A Face, made up
Out of no other shop
Than what Nature’s white hand sets ope.

A Cheek, where youth
And blood, with pen of truth,
Write what the reader sweetly ru’th.

A Cheek, where grows
More than a morning rose,
Which to no box his being owes.

Lips, where all day
A lover’s kiss may play,
Yet carry nothing thence away.

Looks, that oppress
Their richest tires, but dress
And clothe their simplest nakedness.

Eyes, that displace
The neighbour diamond, and outface
That sunshine by their own sweet grace.

Tresses, that wear
Jewels but to declare
How much themselves more precious are:

Whose native ray
Can tame the wanton day
Of gems that in their bright shades play.

Each ruby there,
Or pearl that dare appear,
Be its own blush, be its own tear.

A well-tamed Heart,
For whose more noble smart
Love may be long choosing a dart.

Eyes, that bestow
Full quivers on love’s bow,
Yet pay less arrows than they owe.

Smiles, that can warm
The blood, yet teach a charm,
That chastity shall take no harm.

Blushes, that bin
The burnish of no sin,
Nor flames of aught too hot within.

Joys, that confess
Virtue their mistress,
And have no other head to dress.

Fears, fond and slight
As the coy bride’s, when night
First does the longing lover right.

Days, that need borrow
No part of their good-morrow
From a fore-spent night of sorrow.

Days, that in spite
Of darkness, by the light
Of a clear mind, are day all night.

Nights, sweet as they,
Made short by lovers’ play,
Yet long by th’ absence of the day.

Life, that dares send
A challenge to his end,
And when it comes, say, ‛Welcome, friend!’

Sydneian showers
Of sweet discourse, whose powers
Can crown old Winter’s head with flowers.

Soft silken hours,
Open suns, shady bowers;
’Bove all, nothing within that lowers.

Whate’er delight
Can make Day’s forehead bright,
Or give down to the wings of Night.

I wish her store
Of worth may leave her poor
Of wishes; and I wish—no more.

Now, if Time knows
That Her, whose radiant brows
Weave them a garland of my vows;

Her, whose just bays
My future hopes can raise,
A trophy to her present praise;

Her, that dares be
What these lines wish to see;
I seek no further, it is She.

’Tis She, and here,
Lo! I unclothe and clear
My Wishes’ cloudy character.

May she enjoy it
Whose merit dare apply it,
But modesty dares still deny it!

Such worth as this is
Shall fix my flying Wishes,
And determine them to kisses.

Let her full glory,
My fancies, fly before ye;
Be ye my fictions—but her story.

Poem of the day

Stanzas (“Oh, come to me in dreams, my love!”)
by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley (1797-1851)

Oh, come to me in dreams, my love!
I will not ask a dearer bliss;
Come with the starry beams, my love,
And press mine eyelids with thy kiss.

’Twas thus, as ancient fables tell,
Love visited a Grecian maid,
Till she disturbed the sacred spell,
And woke to find her hopes betrayed.

But gentle sleep shall veil my sight,
And Psyche’s lamp shall darkling be,
When, in the visions of the night,
Thou dost renew thy vows to me.

Then come to me in dreams, my love,
I will not ask a dearer bliss;
Come with the starry beams, my love,
And press mine eyelids with thy kiss.

Poem of the day

A Birthday Tribute
by Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr (1809-1894)

Who is the shepherd sent to lead,
   Through pastures green, the Master’s sheep?
What guileless “Israelite indeed”
   The folded flock may watch and keep?

He who with manliest spirit joins
   The heart of gentlest human mould,
With burning light and girded loins,
   To guide the flock, or watch the fold;

True to all Truth the world denies,
   Not tongue-tied for its gilded sin;
Not always right in all men’s eyes,
   But faithful to the light within;

Who asks no meed of earhtly fame,
   Who knows no earthly master’s call,
Who hopes for man, through guilt and shame,
   Still answering, “God is over all”;

Who makes another’s grief his own,
   Whose smile lends joy a double cheer;
Where lives the saint, if such be known?—
   Speak softly,—such an one is here!

O faithful shepherd! thou hast born
   The heat and burden of the day;
Yet o’er thee, bright with beams unshorn,
   The sun still shows thine onward way.

To thee our fragrant love we bring,
   In buds that April half displays,
Sweet first-born angels of the spring,
   Caught in their opening hymn of praise.

What though our faltering accents fail,
   Our captives know their message well,
Our words unbreathed their lips exhale,
   And sigh more love than ours can tell.

Poem of the day

Willkommen und Abschied
by Johann Wofgang von Goethe (1749-1832)

Es schlug mein Herz; geschwind zu Pferde!
Es war gethan fast eh’ gedacht;
Der Abend wiegte schon die Erde
Und an den Bergen hing die Nacht:
Schon stand im Nebelkleid die Eiche
Ein aufgethürmter Riese da,
Wo Finsterniß aus dem Gesträuche
Mit hundert schwarzen Augen sah.

Der Mond von einem Wolkenhügel
Sah kläglich aus dem Duft hervor,
Die Winde schwangen leise Flügel,
Umsaus’ten schauerlich mein Ohr;
Die Nacht schuf tausend Ungeheuer;
Doch frisch und fröhlich war mein Muth:
In meinen Adern welches Feuer!
In meinem Herzen welche Gluth!

Dich sah ich, und die milde Freude
Floß von dem süßen Blick auf mich;
Ganz war mein Herz an deiner Seite
Und jeder Athemzug für dich.
Ein rosenfarbnes Frühlingswetter
Umgab das liebliche Gesicht,
Und Zärtlichkeit für mich – Ihr Götter!
Ich hofft’ es, ich verdient’ es nicht!

Doch ach schon mit der Morgensonne
Verengt der Abschied mir das Herz:
In deinen Küssen, welche Wonne!
In deinem Auge, welcher Schmerz!
Ich ging, du standst und sahst zur Erden,
Und sahst mir nach mit nassem Blick:
Und doch, welch Glück geliebt zu werden!
Und lieben, Götter, welch ein Glück!

Poem of the day

Oremus
by Amado Nervo (1870-1919)

Oremos por las nuevas generaciones,
abrumadas de tedios y decepciones;
con ellas en la noche nos hundiremos.
Oremos por los seres desventurados,
de moral impotencia contaminados…
¡Oremos!

Oremos por la turba que a cruel prüeba
sometida, se abate sobre la gleba;
galeote que agita siempre los remos
en el mar de la vida revuelto y hondo,
danaide que sustenta tonel sin fondo…
¡Oremos!

Oremos por los místicos, por los neuróticos
nostálgicos de sombra, de templos góticos
y de cristos llagados, que con supremos
desconsuelos recorren su ruta fiera,
levantando sus cruces como bandera.
¡Oremos!

Oremos por los que odian los ideales,
por los que van cegando los manantiales
de amor y de esperanza de que bebemos,
y derrocan al Cristo con saña impía,
y después lloran, viendo l’ara vacía.
¡Oremos!

Oremos por los sabios, por el enjambre
de artistas exquisitos que mueren de hambre.
¡Ay!, el pan del espíritu les debemos,
aprendimos por ellos a alzar las frentes,
y helos pobres, escuálidos, tristes, dolientes…
¡Oremos!

Oremos por las células de donde brotan
ideas-resplandores, y que se agotan
prodigando su savia: no las burlemos.
¿Qué fuera de nosotros sin su energía?
Oremos por el siglo, por su agonía
del Suicidio en las negras fauces…
¡Oremos!

Poem of the day

See und Wasserfall
by Nikolaus Lenau (1802-1850)

Die Felsen schroff und wild,
Der See, die Waldumnachtung
Sind dir ein stilles Bild
Tiefsinniger Betrachtung.

Und dort, mit Donnerhall
Hineilend zwischen Steinen,
Läßt dir der Wasserfall
Die kühne Tat erscheinen.

Du sollst, gleich jenem Teich,
Betrachtend dich verschließen;
Dann kühn, dem Bache gleich,
Zur Tat hinunterschießen.

Poem of the day

Meine Blume
by Johann Gottfried Herder (1744-1803)

   Sei gegrüßet, kleine Blume,
Blume der Vollkommenheit,
Die die Heiligen und Weisen
Namlos preisen;
Denn des Herzens schönste Zier
Wohnt in Dir.

   Nicht auf Höhn, im stillen Thale
Blühest Du, am frischen Quell,
Zeigst des weiten Himmels Bläue,
Reine Treue,
Und in ihr der Sonne Gold,
Mild und hold.

   Fragst Du mich, wie heißt die Blume,
Die den hohen Schmuck uns zeigt:
Sonnengluth und Himmelsbläue,
Lieb’ und Treue?
Nimm hier dies Vergißmeinnicht,
Treu’ und Licht.

Game of the week

Crossing the line on Greenland

Thomas Wright of the Brookings Institution writes in The Atlantic: “It is one thing to float a cockamamie idea that no one believes is serious or will go anywhere. “Let’s buy Greenland!” Yes, very funny. A good distraction from the economy, the failure to deal with white supremacy, White House staff problems, or whatever is the news of the day. It is quite another to use leverage and impose costs on Denmark in pursuit of that goal—and make no mistake, canceling a presidential visit is using leverage and imposing costs. …

“This is the kind of thing the Russians and the Chinese do. It is territorial revisionism—the use of national power to acquire territory against the desire of its sovereign government and its people. The use of leverage would also call into question the U.S. commitment to the 1975 Helsinki Final Act, which is the cornerstone of stability in Europe. …

“One uncomfortable truth is already inescapable. Free societies and autocracies are at odds with each other—over human rights, the rule of law, technology, freedom of the press, the free flow of information, and territorial expansion. At this particular moment, it is not sufficient to say that the free world is without a leader. He has actually defected to the other side.”

The president crossed an important line when he canceled a meeting with the Danish prime minister.