Poem of the day

The Ecstacy
by John Donne (1572-1631)

Where,like a pillow on a bed,
      A pregnant bank swell’d up, to rest
The violet’s reclining head,
      Sat we two, one another’s best.

Our hands were firmly cemented
      By a fast balm, which thence did spring;
Our eye-beams twisted, and did thread
      Our eyes upon one double string.

So to engraft our hands, as yet
      Was all the means to make us one;
And pictures in our eyes to get
      Was all our propagation.

As, ‘twixt two equal armies, Fate
      Suspends uncertain victory,
Our souls—which to advance their state,
      Were gone out—hung ‘twixt her and me.

And whilst our souls negotiate there,
      We like sepulchral statues lay;
All day, the same our postures were,
      And we said nothing, all the day.

If any, so by love refined,
      That he soul’s language understood,
And by good love were grown all mind,
      Within convenient distance stood,

He—though he knew not which soul spake,
      Because both meant, both spake the same—
Might thence a new concoction take,
      And part far purer than he came.

This ecstasy doth unperplex
      (We said) and tell us what we love;
We see by this, it was not sex;
      We see, we saw not, what did move:

But as all several souls contain
      Mixture of things they know not what,
Love these mix’d souls doth mix again,
      And makes both one, each this, and that.

A single violet transplant,
      The strength, the colour, and the size—
All which before was poor and scant—
      Redoubles still, and multiplies.

When love with one another so
      Interanimates two souls,
That abler soul, which thence doth flow,
      Defects of loneliness controls.

We then, who are this new soul, know,
      Of what we are composed, and made,
For th’ atomies of which we grow
      Are souls, whom no change can invade.

But, O alas! so long, so far,
      Our bodies why do we forbear?
They are ours, though not we; we are
      Th’ intelligences, they the spheres.

We owe them thanks, because they thus
      Did us, to us, at first convey,
Yielded their senses’ force to us,
      Nor are dross to us, but allay.

On man heaven’s influence works not so,
      But that it first imprints the air;
For soul into the soul may flow,
      Though it to body first repair.

As our blood labours to beget
      Spirits, as like souls as it can;
Because such fingers need to knit
      That subtle knot, which makes us man;

So must pure lovers’ souls descend
      To affections, and to faculties,
Which sense may reach and apprehend,
      Else a great prince in prison lies.

To our bodies turn we then, that so
      Weak men on love reveal’d may look;
Love’s mysteries in souls do grow,
      But yet the body is his book.

And if some lover, such as we,
      Have heard this dialogue of one,
Let him still mark us, he shall see
      Small change when we’re to bodies gone.

Poem of the day

Epigram for Wall Street
by Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849)

I’ll tell you a plan for gaining wealth,
         Better than banking, trade or leases —
Take a bank note and fold it up,
         And then you will find your money in creases!
This wonderful plan, without danger or loss,
Keeps your cash in your hands, where nothing can trouble it;
And every time that you fold it across,
         ‘Tis as plain as the light of the day that you double it!

Poem of the day

Halfway Down
by A.A. Milne (1882-1956)

Halfway down the stairs
Is a stair
Where I sit.
There isn’t any
Other stair
Quite like
I’m not at the bottom,
I’m not at the top;
So this is the stair
I always

Halfway up the stairs
Isn’t up,
And isn’t down.
It isn’t in the nursery,
It isn’t in the town.
And all sorts of funny thoughts
Run round my head:
“It isn’t really
It’s somewhere else

Poem of the day

Just Think!
by Robert Service (1874-1958)

Just think! some night the stars will gleam
         Upon a cold, grey stone,
And trace a name with silver beam,
         And lo! ’twill be your own.

That night is speeding on to greet
         Your epitaphic rhyme.
Your life is but a little beat
         Within the heart of Time.

A little gain, a little pain,
         A laugh, lest you may moan;
A little blame, a little fame,
         A star-gleam on a stone.

Poem of the day

by Franz Grillparzer (1791-1872)

Mädchen, willst du mir gehören,
So sprich ja, und schlag’ nur ein!
Kann nicht seufzen, kann nicht schwören,
Willst du! – Gut! – Wenn nicht, – mag’s sein!

Gold hab’ ich nicht aufzuweisen,
Aber Lieder zahlen auch;
Will dich loben, will dich preisen,
Wie’s bei Dichtern heit’rer Brauch.

Doch gefällt’s dir, einst zu brechen,
Thu’s mit Maß, und hüte dich!
Lied, das schmeichelt, kann auch stechen,
Dich verletzest du, nicht mich.

Dichters Gram ist bald verschlafen,
Seine Kunst ist todesreich,
Und die Lieder, die dich strafen,
Trösten heilend ihn zugleich.

Poem of the day

A Square Poem
By Lewis Carroll (1832-1898)
Reading this poem vertically (the first word of each line, then the second word of each line and so on) yields the same poem as reading it in the normal way.

I often wondered when I cursed,
Often feared where I would be—
Wondered where she’d yield her love,
When I yield, so will she.
I would her will be pitied!
Cursed be love! She pitied me.

Poem of the day

My Love Is Like to Ice
By Edmund Spenser(1552-1599)

My love is like to ice, and I to fire:
How comes it then that this her cold so great
Is not dissolved through my so hot desire,
But harder grows the more I her entreat?
Or how comes it that my exceeding heat
Is not allayed by her heart-frozen cold,
But that I burn much more in boiling sweat,
And feel my flames augmented manifold?
What more miraculous thing may be told,
That fire, which all things melts, should harden ice,
And ice, which is congealed with senseless cold,
Should kindle fire by wonderful device?
Such is the power of love in gentle mind,
That it can alter all the course of kind.

Poem of the day

The Darkling Thrush
by Thomas Hardy (1840-1928)

I leant upon a coppice gate
      When Frost was spectre-gray,
And Winter’s dregs made desolate
      The weakening eye of day.
The tangled bine-stems scored the sky
      Like strings of broken lyres,
And all mankind that haunted nigh
      Had sought their household fires.

The land’s sharp features seemed to be
      The Century’s corpse outleant,
His crypt the cloudy canopy,
      The wind his death-lament.
The ancient pulse of germ and birth
      Was shrunken hard and dry,
And every spirit upon earth
      Seemed fervorless as I.

At once a voice arose among
      The bleak twigs overhead
In a full-hearted evensong
      Of joy illimited;
An aged thrush, frail, gaunt, and small,
      In blast-beruffled plume,
Had chosen thus to fling his soul
      Upon the growing gloom.

So little cause for carolings
      Of such ecstatic sound
Was written on terrestrial things
      Afar or nigh around.
That I could think there trembled through
      His happy good-night air
Some blessed Hope, whereof he knew
      And I was unaware.

Poem of the day

Himna slobodi
by Ivan Gundulič (1589-1638)

O liepa, o draga, o slatka slobodo,
dar u kôm sva blaga višnji nam Bog je dô,
uzroče istini od naše sve slave,
uresu jedini od ove Dubrave,
sva srebra, sva zlata, svi ljudcki životi
ne mogu bit plata tvôj čistoj lipoti!

Poem of the day

Little Ball of Yarn
Anonymous folk song
Because today is Distaff Day

One fine day in May, I took a walk one day
Down by my grandfather’s farm
I met a pretty maid and this is what I said
“May I wind up your little ball of yarn?”

I took this pretty maid underneath the shade
Not intending for to do any harm
I took her by surprise and I laid between her thighs
And I winded up her little ball of yarn.

This pretty maid she rose and she pulled on her clothes
And straight to her grandma she did run
And for me, I was never seen as I skipped across the green
After winding up her little ball of yarn.

Come all you young men, never step out after ten
Not intending for to do any harm
For as soon as they lie down, you’ve got to pay your sweet half crown
For the winding of the little ball of yarn.

Come all you young men, take a warning to what I said
Never rise up too early in the morn
For like the blackbird and the thrush
There’ll be someone behind the bush
That will wind up your little ball of yarn.