Poem of the day

Frost at Midnight
by Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1862)

The Frost performs its secret ministry,
Unhelped by any wind. The owlet’s cry
Came loud—and hark, again! loud as before.
The inmates of my cottage, all at rest,
Have left me to that solitude, which suits
Abstruser musings: save that at my side
My cradled infant slumbers peacefully.
’Tis calm indeed! so calm, that it disturbs
And vexes meditation with its strange
And extreme silentness. Sea, hill, and wood,
This populous village! Sea, and hill, and wood,
With all the numberless goings-on of life,
Inaudible as dreams! the thin blue flame
Lies on my low-burnt fire, and quivers not;
Only that film, which fluttered on the grate,

Still flutters there, the sole unquiet thing.
Methinks, its motion in this hush of nature
Gives it dim sympathies with me who live,
Making it a companionable form,
Whose puny flaps and freaks the idling Spirit
By its own moods interprets, every where
Echo or mirror seeking of itself,
And makes a toy of Thought.

                                    But O! how oft,
How oft, at school, with most believing mind,
Presageful, have I gazed upon the bars,
To watch that fluttering stranger ! and as oft
With unclosed lids, already had I dreamt
Of my sweet birth-place, and the old church-tower,
Whose bells, the poor man’s only music, rang
From morn to evening, all the hot Fair-day,
So sweetly, that they stirred and haunted me
With a wild pleasure, falling on mine ear
Most like articulate sounds of things to come!
So gazed I, till the soothing things, I dreamt,
Lulled me to sleep, and sleep prolonged my dreams!
And so I brooded all the following morn,
Awed by the stern preceptor’s face, mine eye
Fixed with mock study on my swimming book:
Save if the door half opened, and I snatched
A hasty glance, and still my heart leaped up,
For still I hoped to see the stranger’s face,
Townsman, or aunt, or sister more beloved,
My play-mate when we both were clothed alike!

         Dear Babe, that sleepest cradled by my side,
Whose gentle breathings, heard in this deep calm,
Fill up the intersperséd vacancies
And momentary pauses of the thought!
My babe so beautiful! it thrills my heart
With tender gladness, thus to look at thee,
And think that thou shalt learn far other lore,
And in far other scenes! For I was reared
In the great city, pent ’mid cloisters dim,
And saw nought lovely but the sky and stars.
But thou, my babe! shalt wander like a breeze
By lakes and sandy shores, beneath the crags
Of ancient mountain, and beneath the clouds,
Which image in their bulk both lakes and shores
And mountain crags: so shalt thou see and hear
The lovely shapes and sounds intelligible
Of that eternal language, which thy God
Utters, who from eternity doth teach
Himself in all, and all things in himself.
Great universal Teacher! he shall mould
Thy spirit, and by giving make it ask.

         Therefore all seasons shall be sweet to thee,
Whether the summer clothe the general earth
With greenness, or the redbreast sit and sing
Betwixt the tufts of snow on the bare branch
Of mossy apple-tree, while the night-thatch
Smokes in the sun-thaw; whether the eave-drops fall
Heard only in the trances of the blast,
Or if the secret ministry of frost
Shall hang them up in silent icicles,
Quietly shining to the quiet Moon.

Poem of the day

To a Poor Old Woman
by William Carlos Williams (1883-1963)

munching a plum on   
the street a paper bag
of them in her hand

They taste good to her
They taste good   
to her. They taste
good to her

You can see it by
the way she gives herself
to the one half
sucked out in her hand

Comforted
a solace of ripe plums
seeming to fill the air
They taste good to her

Poem of the day

Art, The Herald
by Alfred Noyes (1889-1948)
“The voice of one crying in the wilderness”

                           I

Beyond; beyond; and yet again beyond!
What went ye out to seek, oh foolish-fond?
         Is not the heart of all things here and now?
Is not the circle infinite, and the centre
Everywhere, if ye would but hear and enter?
         Come; the porch bends and the great pillars bow.

                           II

Come; come and see the secret of the sun;
The sorrow that holds the warring worlds in one;
         The pain that holds Eternity in an hour;
One God in every seed self-sacrificed,
One star-eyed, star-crowned universal Christ,
         Re-crucified in every wayside flower.

Poem of the day

America
by Claude McKay (1889-1948)

Although she feeds me bread of bitterness,
And sinks into my throat her tiger’s tooth,
Stealing my breath of life, I will confess
I love this cultured hell that tests my youth!
Her vigor flows like tides into my blood,
Giving me strength erect against her hate.
Her bigness sweeps my being like a flood.
Yet as a rebel fronts a king in state,
I stand within her walls with not a shred
Of terror, malice, not a word of jeer.
Darkly I gaze into the days ahead,
And see her might and granite wonders there,
Beneath the touch of Time’s unerring hand,
Like priceless treasures sinking in the sand.

Poem of the day

मातृ-भाषा के प्रति
by Bharatendu Harishchandra (1850-1885)
because today is Hindi Day

निज भाषा उन्नति अहै, सब उन्नति को मूल।
बिन निज भाषा-ज्ञान के, मिटत न हिय को सूल।।

अंग्रेज़ी पढ़ि के जदपि, सब गुन होत प्रवीन।
पै निज भाषाज्ञान बिन, रहत हीन के हीन।।

उन्नति पूरी है तबहिं जब घर उन्नति होय।
निज शरीर उन्नति किये, रहत मूढ़ सब कोय।।

निज भाषा उन्नति बिना, कबहुँ न ह्यैहैं सोय।
लाख उपाय अनेक यों भले करो किन कोय।।

इक भाषा इक जीव इक मति सब घर के लोग।
तबै बनत है सबन सों, मिटत मूढ़ता सोग।।

और एक अति लाभ यह, या में प्रगट लखात।
निज भाषा में कीजिए, जो विद्या की बात।।

तेहि सुनि पावै लाभ सब, बात सुनै जो कोय।
यह गुन भाषा और महं, कबहूँ नाहीं होय।।

विविध कला शिक्षा अमित, ज्ञान अनेक प्रकार।
सब देसन से लै करहू, भाषा माहि प्रचार।।

भारत में सब भिन्न अति, ताहीं सों उत्पात।
विविध देस मतहू विविध, भाषा विविध लखात।।

सब मिल तासों छाँड़ि कै, दूजे और उपाय।
उन्नति भाषा की करहु, अहो भ्रातगन आय।।

Poem of the day

What the Birds Said
by John Greenleaf Whittier (1807-1892)

The birds against the April wind
      Flew northward, singing as they flew;
They sang, “The land we leave behind
      Has swords for corn-blades, blood for dew.”

“O wild-birds, flying from the South,
      What saw and heard ye, gazing down?”
“We saw the mortar’s upturned mouth,
      The sickened camp, the blazing town!

“Beneath the bivouac’s starry lamps,
      We saw your march-worn children die;
In shrouds of moss, in cypress swamps,
      We saw your dead uncoffined lie.

“We heard the starving prisoner’s sighs
      And saw, from line and trench, your sons
Follow our flight with home-sick eyes
      Beyond the battery’s smoking guns.”

“And heard and saw ye only wrong
      And pain,” I cried, “O wing-worn flocks?”
“We heard,” they sang, “the freedman’s song,
      The crash of Slavery’s broken locks!

“We saw from new, uprising States
      The treason-nursing mischief spurned,
As, crowding Freedom’s ample gates,
      The long-estranged and lost returned.

“O’er dusky faces, seamed and old,
      And hands horn-hard with unpaid toil,
With hope in every rustling fold,
      We saw your star-dropt flag uncoil.

“And struggling up through sounds accursed,
      A grateful murmur clomb the air;
A whisper scarcely heard at first,
      It filled the listening heavens with prayer.

“And sweet and far, as from a star,
      Replied a voice which shall not cease,
Till, drowning all the noise of war,
      It sings the blessed song of peace!”

So to me, in a doubtful day
      Of chill and slowly greening spring,
Low stooping from the cloudy gray,
      The wild-birds sang or seemed to sing.

They vanished in the misty air,
      The song went with them in their flight;
But lo! they left the sunset fair,
      And in the evening there was light.

Poem of the day

Everlasting Flowers
by David Herbert Lawrence (1885-1930)

Who do you think stands watching
      The snow-tops shining rosy
In heaven, now that the darkness
      Takes all but the tallest posy?

Who then sees the two-winged
      Boat down there, all alone
And asleep on the snow’s last shadow,
      Like a moth on a stone?

The olive-leaves, light as gad-flies,
      Have all gone dark, gone black.
And now in the dark my soul to you
      Turns back.

To you, my little darling,
      To you, out of Italy.
For what is loveliness, my love,
      Save you have it with me!

So, there’s an oxen wagon
      Comes darkly into sight:
A man with a lantern, swinging
      A little light.

What does he see, my darling
      Here by the darkened lake?
Here, in the sloping shadow
      The mountains make?

He says not a word, but passes,
      Staring at what he sees.
What ghost of us both do you think he saw
      Under the olive trees?

All the things that are lovely—
      The things you never knew—
I wanted to gather them one by one
      And bring them to you.

But never now, my darling
      Can I gather the mountain-tips
From the twilight like half-shut lilies
      To hold to your lips.

And never the two-winged vessel
      That sleeps below on the lake
Can I catch like a moth between my hands
      For you to take.

But hush, I am not regretting:
      It is far more perfect now.
I’ll whisper the ghostly truth to the world
      And tell them how

I know you here in the darkness,
      How you sit in the throne of my eyes
At peace, and look out of the windows
      In glad surprise.

Poem of the day

Solution
by Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)

I am the Muse who sung alway
By Jove, at dawn of the first day.
Star-crowned, sole-sitting, long I wrought
To fire the stagnant earth with thought:
On spawning slime my song prevails,
Wolves shed their fangs, and dragons scales;
Flushed in the sky the sweet May-morn,
Earth smiled with flowers, and man was born.
Then Asia yeaned her shepherd race,
And Nile substructs her granite base,—
Tented Tartary, columned Nile,—
And, under vines, on rocky isle,
Or on wind-blown sea-marge bleak,
Forward stepped the perfect Greek:
That wit and joy might find a tongue,
And earth grow civil, HOMER sung.

   Flown to Italy from Greece,
I brooded long and held my peace,
For I am wont to sing uncalled,
And in days of evil plight
Unlock doors of new delight;
And sometimes mankind I appalled
With a bitter horoscope,
With spasms of terror for balm of hope.
Then by better thought I lead
Bards to speak what nations need;
So I folded me in fears,
And DANTE searched the triple spheres,
Moulding Nature at his will,
So shaped, so colored, swift or still,
And, sculptor-like, his large design
Etched on Alp and Apennine.

   Seethed in mists of Penmanmaur,
Taught by Plinlimmon’s Druid power,
England’s genius filled all measure
Of heart and soul, of strength and pleasure,
Gave to the mind its emperor,
And life was larger than before:
Nor sequent centuries could hit
Orbit and sum of SHAKSPEARE’s wit.
The men who lived with him became
Poets, for the air was fame.

   Far in the North, where polar night
Holds in check the frolic light,
In trance upborne past mortal goal
The Swede EMANUEL leads the soul.
Through snows above, mines underground,
The inks of Erebus he found;
Rehearsed to men the damnèd wails
On which the seraph music sails.
In spirit-worlds he trod alone,
But walked the earth unmarked, unknown.
The near bystander caught no sound,—
Yet they who listened far aloof
Heard rendings of the skyey roof,
And felt, beneath, the quaking ground;
And his air-sown, unheeded words,
In the next age, are flaming swords.

   In newer days of war and trade,
Romance forgot, and faith decayed,
When Science armed and guided war,
And clerks the Janus-gates unbar,
When France, where poet never grew,
Halved and dealt the globe anew,
GOETHE, raised o’er joy and strife,
Drew the firm lines of Fate and Life
And brought Olympian wisdom down
To court and mart, to gown and town.
Stooping, his finger wrote in clay
The open secret of to-day.

   So bloom the unfading petals five,
And verses that all verse outlive.

Poem of the day

Septembermorgen
by Eduard Mörike (1804-1875)

Im Nebel ruhet noch die Welt,
Noch träumen Wald und Wiesen:
Bald siehst du, wenn der Schleier fällt,
Den blauen Himmel unverstellt,
Herbstkräftig die gedämpfte Welt
Im warmen Golde fließen.