Poem of the day

by Robert Bridges (1844-1930)

Why hast thou nothing in thy face?
Thou idol of the human race,
Thou tyrant of the human heart,
The flower of lovely youth that art;
Yea, and that standest in thy youth
An image of eternal Truth,
With thy exuberant flesh so fair,
That only Pheidias might compare,
Ere from his chaste marmoreal form
Time had decayed the colours warm;
Like to his gods in thy proud dress,
Thy starry sheen of nakedness.

Surely thy body is thy mind,
For in thy face is nought to find,
Only thy soft unchristen’d smile,
That shadows neither love nor guile,
But shameless will and power immense,
In secret sensuous innocence.

O king of joy, what is thy thought?
I dream thou knowest it is nought,
And wouldst in darkness come, but thou
Makest the light where’er thou go.
Ah yet no victim of thy grace,
None who e’er long’d for thy embrace,
Hath cared to look upon thy face.

Poem of the day

Le Colibri
by Charles Marie René Leconte de Lisle (1818-1894)

Le vert colibri, le roi des collines,
Voyant la rosée et le soleil clair
Luire dans son nid tissé d’herbes fines,
Comme un frais rayon s’échappe dans l’air.

Il se hâte et vole aux sources voisines
Où les bambous font le bruit de la mer,
Où l’açoka rouge, aux odeurs divines,
S’ouvre et porte au cœur un humide éclair.

Vers la fleur dorée il descend, se pose,
Et boit tant d’amour dans la coupe rose,
Qu’il meurt, ne sachant s’il l’a pu tarir.

Sur ta lèvre pure, ô ma bien-aimée,
Telle aussi mon âme eût voulu mourir
Du premier baiser qui l’a parfumée!

Poem of the day

Kubla Khan
by Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834)

In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
A stately pleasure-dome decree:
Where Alph, the sacred river, ran
Through caverns measureless to man
Down to a sunless sea.
So twice five miles of fertile ground
With walls and towers were girdled round
And there were gardens bright with sinuous rills
Where blossomed many an incense-bearing tree;
And here were forests ancient as the hills,
Enfolding sunny spots of greenery.

But oh! that deep romantic chasm which slanted
Down the green hill athwart a cedarn cover!
A savage place! as holy and enchanted
As e’er beneath a waning moon was haunted
By woman wailing for her demon-lover!
And from this chasm, with ceaseless turmoil seething,
As if this earth in fast thick pants were breathing,
A mighty fountain momently was forced;
Amid whose swift half-intermitted burst
Huge fragments vaulted like rebounding hail,
Or chaffy grain beneath the thresher’s flail:
And ‘mid these dancing rocks at once and ever
It flung up momently the sacred river.
Five miles meandering with a mazy motion
Through wood and dale the sacred river ran,
Then reached the caverns measureless to man,
And sank in tumult to a lifeless ocean:
And ‘mid this tumult Kubla heard from far
Ancestral voices prophesying war!
The shadow of the dome of pleasure
Floated midway on the waves;
Where was heard the mingled measure
From the fountain and the caves.
It was a miracle of rare device,
A sunny pleasure-dome with caves of ice!

A damsel with a dulcimer
In a vision once I saw:
It was an Abyssinian maid,
And on her dulcimer she played,
Singing of Mount Abora.
Could I revive within me
Her symphony and song,
To such a deep delight ‘twould win me
That with music loud and long,
I would build that dome in air,
That sunny dome! those caves of ice!
And all who heard should see them there,
And all should cry, Beware! Beware!
His flashing eyes, his floating hair!
Weave a circle round him thrice,
And close your eyes with holy dread,
For he on honey-dew hath fed,
And drunk the milk of Paradise.

Poem of the day

Ô saisons, Ô chateaux
by Arthur Rimbaud (1854-1891)

Ô saisons, ô châteaux,
Quelle âme est sans défauts?

Ô saisons, ô châteaux,

J’ai fait la magique étude
Du Bonheur, que nul n’élude.

Ô vive lui, chaque fois
Que chante son coq gaulois.

Mais! je n’aurai plus d’envie,
Il s’est chargé de ma vie.

Ce Charme! il prit âme et corps,
Et dispersa tous efforts.

Que comprendre à ma parole?
Il fait qu’elle fuie et vole!

Ô saisons, ô châteaux!

Et, si le malheur m’entraîne,
Sa disgrâce m’est certaine.

Il faut que son dédain, las!
Me livre au plus prompt trépas!

Ô Saisons, ô Châteaux!

Poem of the day

The Nile
by Leigh Hunt (1784-1859)

It flows through old hush’d Egypt and its sands,
Like some grave mighty thought threading a dream;
And times and things, as in that vision, seem
Keeping along it their eternal stands, —
Caves, pillars, pyramids, the shepherd bands
That roam’d through the young earth, the glory extreme
Of high Sesostris, and that southern beam.
The laughing queen that caught the world’s great hands.
Then comes a mightier silence, stern and strong,
As of a world left empty of its throng,
And the void weighs on us; and then we wake,
And hear the fruitful stream lapsing along
‘Twixt villages, and think how we shall take
Our own calm journey on for human sake.

Poem of the day

The War-Song of Dinas Vawr
by Thomas Love Peacock (1785-1866)

The mountain sheep are sweeter,
But the valley sheep are fatter;
We therefore deemed it meeter
To carry off the latter.
We made an expedition;
We met a host, and quelled it;
We forced a strong position,
And killed the men who held it.

On Dyfed’s richest valley,
Where herds of kine were browsing,
We made a mighty sally,
To furnish our carousing.
Fierce warriors rushed to meet us;
We met them, and o’erthrew them:
They struggled hard to beat us;
But we conquered them, and slew them.

As we drove our prize at leisure,
The king marched forth to catch us:
His rage surpassed all measure,
But his people could not match us.
He fled to his hall-pillars;
And, ere our force we led off,
Some sacked his house and cellars,
While others cut his head off.

We there, in strife bewild’ring,
Spilt blood enough to swim in:
We orphaned many children,
And widowed many women.
The eagles and the ravens
We glutted with our foemen;
The heroes and the cravens,
The spearmen and the bowmen.

We brought away from battle,
And much their land bemoaned them,
Two thousand head of cattle,
And the head of him who owned them:
Ednyfed, king of Dyfed,
His head was borne before us;
His wine and beasts supplied our feasts,
And his overthrow, our chorus.

Game of the week

Poem of the day

Die Nacht
by Georg Büchner (1813-1837)

Niedersinkt des Tages goldner Wagen,
Und die stille Nacht schwebt leis’ herauf,
Stillt mit sanfter Hand des Herzens Klagen,
Bringt uns Ruh im schweren Lebenslauf.

Ruhe gießt sie in das Herz des Müden,
Der ermattet auf der Pilgerbahn,
Bringt ihm wieder seinen stillen Frieden,
Den des Schicksals rauhe Hand ihm nahm.

Ruhig schlummernd liegen alle Wesen,
Feiernd schließet sich das Heiligtum,
Tiefe Stille herrscht im weiten Reiche,
Alles schweigt im öden Kreis herum.

Und der Mond schwebt hoch am klaren Äther,
Geußt sein sanftes Silberlicht herab;
Und die Sternlein funkeln in der Ferne
Schau’nd herab auf Leben und auf Grab.

Willkommen Mond, willkommen sanfter Bote
Der Ruhe in dem rauhen Erdental,
Verkündiger von Gottes Lieb und Gnade,
Des Schirmers in Gefahr und Mühesal.

Willkommen Sterne, seid gegrüßt ihr Zeugen
Der Allmacht Gottes der die Welten lenkt,
Der unter allen Myriaden Wesen
Auch meiner voll von Lieb’ und Gnade denkt.

Ja, heil’ger Gott, du bist der Herr der Welten,
Du hast den Sonnenball emporgetürmt,
Hast den Planeten ihre Bahn bezeichnet,
Du bist es, der das All mit Allmacht schirmt.

Unendlicher, den keine Räume fassen,
Erhabener, den Keines Geist begreift,
Allgütiger, den alle Welten preisen,
Erbarmender, der Sündern Gnade beut!

Erlöse gnädig uns von allem Übel,
Vergib uns liebend jede Missetat,
Laß wandeln uns auf deines Sohnes Wege,
Und siegen über Tod und über Grab.