Poem of the day

Lines on the French Revolution (from The Prelude)
by William Wordsworth (1770-1850)

O pleasant exercise of hope and joy!
For mighty were the auxiliars which then stood
Upon our side, us who were strong in love!
Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive,
But to be young was very Heaven! O times,
In which the meagre, stale, forbidding ways
Of custom, law, and statute, took at once
The attraction of a country in romance!
When Reason seemed the most to assert her rights
When most intent on making of herself
A prime enchantress—to assist the work,
Which then was going forward in her name!
Not favoured spots alone, but the whole Earth,
The beauty wore of promise—that which sets
(As at some moments might not be unfelt
Among the bowers of Paradise itself)
The budding rose above the rose full blown.
What temper at the prospect did not wake
To happiness unthought of? The inert
Were roused, and lively natures rapt away!
They who had fed their childhood upon dreams,
The play-fellows of fancy, who had made
All powers of swiftness, subtilty, and strength
Their ministers,—who in lordly wise had stirred
Among the grandest objects of the sense,
And dealt with whatsoever they found there
As if they had within some lurking right
To wield it;—they, too, who of gentle mood
Had watched all gentle motions, and to these
Had fitted their own thoughts, schemers more mild,
And in the region of their peaceful selves;—
Now was it that both found, the meek and lofty
Did both find helpers to their hearts’ desire,
And stuff at hand, plastic as they could wish,—
Were called upon to exercise their skill,
Not in Utopia,—subterranean fields,—
Or some secreted island, Heaven knows where!
But in the very world, which is the world
Of all of us,—the place where, in the end,
We find our happiness, or not at all!

Poem of the day

The Peasant Poet
by John Clare (1793-1864)

He loved the brook’s soft sound,
      The swallow swimming by.
He loved the daisy-covered ground,
      The cloud-bedappled sky.
To him the dismal storm appeared
      The very voice of God;
And when the evening rack was reared
      Stood Moses with his rod.
And everything his eyes surveyed,
      The insects i’ the brake,
Were creatures God Almighty made,
      He loved them for His sake–
A silent man in life’s affairs,
      A thinker from a boy,
A peasant in his daily cares,
      A poet in his joy.

Poem of the day

Perception of an object costs
by Emily Dickinson (1830-1886)

Perception of an object costs
Precise the Object’s loss —
Perception in itself a Gain
Replying to its Price —
The Object Absolute — is nought —
Perception sets it fair
And then upbraids a Perfectness
That situates so far —

Poem of the day

Sonnet XXV from Regrets
by Joachim du Bellay (c. 1522-1560)

Malheureux l’an, le mois, le jour, l’heure, et le poinct,
Et malheureuse soit la flatteuse esperance,
Quand pour venir ici j’abandonnay la France:
La France, et mon Anjou dont le desir me poingt.

Vraiment d’un bon oyseau guidé je ne fus point,
Et mon cœur me donnoit assez signifiance,
Que le ciel estoit plein de mauvaise influence,
Et que Mars estoit lors à Saturne conjoint.

Cent fois le bon advis lors m’en voulut distraire,
Mais toujours le destin me tiroit au contraire:
Et si mon desir n’eust aveuglé ma raison,

N’estoit-ce pas assez pour rompre mon voyage,
Quand sur le seuil de l’huis, d’un sinistre presage,
Je me blessay le pied sortant de ma maison?

Poem of the day

The Parterre
by Edward Henry Palmer (1840-1882)

I don’t know any greatest treat
As sit him in a gay parterre,
And sniff one up the perfume sweet
Of every roses buttoning there.

It only want my charming miss
Who make to blush the self red rose;
Oh! I have envy of to kiss
The end’s tip of her splendid nose.

Oh! I have envy of to be
What grass ’neath her pantoffle push,
And too much happy seemeth me
The margaret which her vestige crush.

But I will meet her nose at nose,
And take occasion for her hairs,
And indicate her all my woes,
That she in fine agree my prayers.

Poem of the day

Von der Freude
by Johann Nikolaus Götz (1721-1781)

Sage, sprach ich, holde Freude!
Sage doch, was fliehst du so?
Hat man dich, so fliehst du wieder!
Niemals wird man deiner froh.

Danke, sprach sie, dem Verhängnis!
Alle Götter lieben mich;
Wenn ich ohne Flügel wäre,
Sie behielten mich für sich.

Poem of the day

Death
by Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822)

1.
They die—the dead return not—Misery
Sits near an open grave and calls them over,
A Youth with hoary hair and haggard eye—
They are the names of kindred, friend and lover,
Which he so feebly calls—they all are gone—
Fond wretch, all dead! those vacant names alone,
This most familiar scene, my pain—
These tombs—alone remain.

2.
Misery, my sweetest friend—oh, weep no more!
Thou wilt not be consoled—I wonder not!
For I have seen thee from thy dwelling’s door
Watch the calm sunset with them, and this spot
Was even as bright and calm, but transitory,
And now thy hopes are gone, thy hair is hoary;
This most familiar scene, my pain—
These tombs—alone remain.

Poem of the day

O Stay, my Love
by Richard Brinsley Sheridan (1751-1816)

O Stay, my love! my William, dear!
⁠      Ah! whither art thou flying?
Nor think’st, thou of my parents here,
⁠      Nor heed’st thy Susan’s sighing?
Thy country’s cause and honour’s call,
⁠      Are words that but deceive thee:
Thou seest my tears, how fast they fall—
⁠      Thou must not, William! leave me.

Who’ll o’er them watch, if thus we part,
⁠      In sickness or in sorrow?
In some cold shed, with breaking heart,
⁠      Where will they comfort borrow;
Neglected left, no William nigh,
⁠      To cheer, protect, relieve them;
I helpless thrown aside to die:
⁠      Thou must not, William! leave them.

Ah! me—and think a summer flown,
⁠      Perhaps we part for ever;
The fondest hearts that e’er were known,
⁠      Unpitying death will sever.
Then why e’er waste or throw away?
⁠      ’Twill pass too soon, believe me,
Our day of love, our little day—
⁠      Thou must not, William! leave me.

Poem of the day

To a Lady Sitting Before Her Glass
by Elijah Fenton (1683-1730)

So smooth and clear the Fountain was
      In which his Face Narcissus spy’d,
When gazing in that liquid Glass,
      He for himself despair’d and dy’d:
Nor, Chloris, can you safer see
Your own Perfections here than he.

The Lark before the Mirror plays,
      Which some deceitful Swain has set,
Pleas’d with her self she fondly stays
      To die deluded in the Net:
Love may such Frauds for you prepare,
Your self the Captive, and the Snare.

But, Chloris, whilst you there review
      Those Graces opening in their Bloom,
Think how Disease and Age pursue,
      Your riper Glories to consume:
Then sighing you would wish your Glass
Cou’d shew to Chloris what she was.

Let Pride no more give Nature Law,
      But free the Youth your Pow’r enslaves:
Her Form, like yours, bright Cynthia saw
      Reflected in the Crystal Waves,
Yet priz’d not all her Charms above
The Pleasure of Endymion’s love.

No longer let your Glass supply
      Too just an Emblem of your Breast;
Where oft’ to my deluded Eye
      Love’s image has appear’d imprest;
But play’d so lightly on your Mind,
It left no lasting Print behind.

Poem of the day

Changements à vue
by Jean Cocteau (1889-1963)

Clef de sol, n’êtes-vous la clef des champs ? Je raye
Ta vitrine, fleuriste éprise de wagons
La mer, la mer murmure au fond de notre oreille
S’il faut partir je pars, tu pars, nous naviguons

Ces livres sont trop gros pour la belle qui charme
Les serpents enroulés aux arbres interdits
Méfions-nous, souvent le serpent est une arme
Sa tête un révolver dans la main des bandits

L’hercule du tréteau, qui mange de la neige
Vous a vaincu, monsieur l’athlète déloyal!
Rendez cinquante francs, on vous tendait un piège
On ne s’attaque pas au grand tigre royal

La princesse imprudente a meublé sa piscine
Avec des anges nus, habitants de Chaillot
Dame, si vous voulez que l’on vous assassine
C’est simple : montrez-leur votre grâce en maillot

Dans ce chiffre superbe écrit en majuscules
On voit singes grimpeurs, œuvre de l’amiral
Qui dessinait parfois, ou bien, au crépuscule
En bouteille mettait lui-même son journal.