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A Paradise of Poems

A Paradise of Poems

By Camellia Yang
Reading classic and contemporary poems from all over the world every week.
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A Smile to Remember by Charles Bukowski
we had the goldfish and they went around and around in the bowl on the table near the purple drapes across our front picture window and my mother, poor fish, always smiling, wanting to appear happy, she always told me, "be happy, Henry," and she was right: it's better to be happy if you can be but my father beat her two or three times a week while raging through his 6 foot two frame because he couldn't defeat what was attacking him. my mother, poor fish, poor goldfish, poor nothing fish, wanting to be happy, being beaten two or three times a week and telling me to be happy: "Henry, smile! why don't you smile? and then, she always did to show me how, and it was the saddest smile I ever saw upon the earth, like hell and hell and hell and hell, and nothing else one day all the goldfish died, all five of them, they floated on top of the water, on their sides, the eye on each top side still open, and when my father got home he threw them to the cat there on the kitchen floor and we watched as my mother smiled Twitter:@camelliayang Instagram:@camelliayang Website: https://www.camelliayang.com/
04:22
April 17, 2021
Warning Jenny Joseph
When I am an old woman I shall wear purple With a red hat which doesn’t go, and doesn’t suit me. And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves And satin sandals, and say we’ve no money for butter. I shall sit down on the pavement when I’m tired And gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells And run my stick along the public railings And make up for the sobriety of my youth. I shall go out in my slippers in the rain And pick flowers in other people’s gardens And learn to spit. You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat And eat three pounds of sausages at a go Or only bread and pickle for a week And hoard pens and pencils and beermats and things in boxes. But now we must have clothes that keep us dry And pay our rent and not swear in the street And set a good example for the children. We must have friends to dinner and read the papers. But maybe I ought to practise a little now? So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised When suddenly I am old, and start to wear purple. Twitter:@camelliayang Instagram:@camelliayang Website: https://www.camelliayang.com/
04:06
April 17, 2021
I Choose The Mountain by Howard Simon
The low lands call I am tempted to answer They are offering me a free dwelling Without having to conquer The massive mountain makes its move Beckoning me to ascend A much more difficult path To get up the slippery bend I cannot choose both I have a choice to make I must be wise This will determine my fate I choose, I choose the mountain With all its stress and strain Because only by climbing Can I rise above the plane I choose the mountain And I will never stop climbing I choose the mountain And I shall forever be ascending I choose the mountain Twitter:@camelliayang Instagram:@camelliayang Clubhouse: @camelliayang Website: https://www.camelliayang.com/
01:59
April 13, 2021
Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening BY Robert Frost
Whose woods these are I think I know. His house is in the village though; He will not see me stopping here To watch his woods fill up with snow. My little horse must think it queer To stop without a farmhouse near Between the woods and frozen lake The darkest evening of the year. He gives his harness bells a shake To ask if there is some mistake. The only other sound’s the sweep Of easy wind and downy flake. The woods are lovely, dark and deep, But I have promises to keep, And miles to go before I sleep, And miles to go before I sleep. Twitter:@camelliayang Instagram:@camelliayang Clubhouse: @camelliayang Website: https://www.camelliayang.com/
02:00
April 13, 2021
Meditation by Mu Dan (English and Chinese)
Holding the spring of life in my hands. I only feel that it comes fresh  and It is an intense wine, fresh and frothy Into my ambition, my toil, my adventure. It was as if a garden that no one had ever visited before As if it was about to be revealed to me. But now, suddenly facing the grave I look coldly back at my past I see its twists and turns of irrigated sorrow and joy All disappeared into an ancient desert. Then I realise that all my efforts I know that all my efforts  have accomplished nothing more than ordinary life. 《冥想》穆旦 把生命的突泉捧在我手里, 我只觉得它来得新鲜, 是浓烈的酒,清新的泡沫, 注入我的奔波、劳作、冒险。 仿佛前人从未经临的园地 就要展现在我的面前。 但如今,突然面对着坟墓, 我冷眼向过去稍稍回顾, 只见它曲折灌溉的悲喜 都消失在一片亘古的荒漠, 这才知道我的全部努力 不过完成了普通的生活。 Twitter:@camelliayang Instagram:@camelliayang Clubhouse: @camelliayang Website: https://www.camelliayang.com/ 
02:32
April 5, 2021
Kindness by Naomi Shihab Nye
Before you know what kindness really is you must lose things, feel the future dissolve in a moment like salt in a weakened broth. What you held in your hand, what you counted and carefully saved, all this must go so you know how desolate the landscape can be between the regions of kindness. How you ride and ride thinking the bus will never stop, the passengers eating maize and chicken will stare out the window forever. Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness, you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho lies dead by the side of the road. You must see how this could be you, how he too was someone who journeyed through the night with plans and the simple breath that kept him alive. Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside, you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing. You must wake up with sorrow. You must speak to it till your voice catches the thread of all sorrows and you see the size of the cloth. Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore, only kindness that ties your shoes and sends you out into the day to mail letters and purchase bread, only kindness that raises its head from the crowd of the world to say It is I you have been looking for, and then goes with you everywhere like a shadow or a friend. Twitter:@camelliayang Instagram:@camelliayang Clubhouse: @camelliayang Website: https://www.camelliayang.com/ 
02:59
April 5, 2021
Landscape by Charles Baudelaire
I would, to compose my eclogues chastely, Lie down close to the sky like an astrologer, And, near the church towers, listen while I dream To their solemn anthems borne to me by the wind. My chin cupped in both hands, high up in my garret I shall see the workshops where they chatter and sing, The chimneys, the belfries, those masts of the city, And the skies that make one dream of eternity. It is sweet, through the mist, to see the stars Appear in the heavens, the lamps in the windows, The streams of smoke rise in the firmament And the moon spread out her pale enchantment. I shall see the springtimes, the summers, the autumns; And when winter comes with its monotonous snow, I shall close all the shutters and draw all the drapes So I can build at night my fairy palaces. Then I shall dream of pale blue horizons, gardens, Fountains weeping into alabaster basins, Of kisses, of birds singing morning and evening, And of all that is most childlike in the Idyl. Riot, storming vainly at my window, Will not make me raise my head from my desk, For I shall be plunged in the voluptuousness Of evoking the Springtime with my will alone, Of drawing forth a sun from my heart, and making Of my burning thoughts a warm atmosphere. — William Aggeler, The Flowers of Evil (Fresno, CA: Academy Library Guild, 1954) Twitter:@camelliayang Instagram:@camelliayang Clubhouse: @camelliayang Website: https://www.camelliayang.com/ 
02:57
March 30, 2021
Meditation by Charles Baudelaire
Wise up, Sorrow. Calm down. You always lay claim to twilight. Well, here it is, brother, It descends. Obscurity settles over the town, bringing peace to one, worry to another. The restless crowd, whipped on by pleasure— our dogged torturer—carry their hearts’ raw remorse with them as they serve their vapid leisure, while you, my Sorrow, drop by here, take my hand, and draw me apart from them. We watch the dying years in faded gowns lean out from heaven’s balconies, as Regret rears, smiling, out of the deep dark where the dead ones march. Dragging its long train—now a shroud—from its early light in the East, the sun goes to sleep under an arch. Listen, Sorrow, beloved, to the soft approach of Night. Twitter:@camelliayang Instagram:@camelliayang Clubhouse: @camelliayang Website: https://www.camelliayang.com/ 
02:29
March 30, 2021
Having a Coke with You Frank O'Hara
is even more fun than going to San Sebastian, Irún, Hendaye, Biarritz, Bayonne or being sick to my stomach on the Travesera de Gracia in Barcelona partly because in your orange shirt you look like a better happier St. Sebastian partly because of my love for you, partly because of your love for yoghurt partly because of the fluorescent orange tulips around the birches partly because of the secrecy our smiles take on before people and statuary it is hard to believe when I’m with you that there can be anything as still as solemn as unpleasantly definitive as statuary when right in front of it in the warm New York 4 o’clock light we are drifting back and forth between each other like a tree breathing through its spectacles and the portrait show seems to have no faces in it at all, just paint you suddenly wonder why in the world anyone ever did them                                                                                                               I look at you and I would rather look at you than all the portraits in the world except possibly for the Polish Rider occasionally and anyway it’s in the Frick which thank heavens you haven’t gone to yet so we can go together for the first time and the fact that you move so beautifully more or less takes care of Futurism just as at home I never think of the Nude Descending a Staircase or at a rehearsal a single drawing of Leonardo or Michelangelo that used to wow me and what good does all the research of the Impressionists do them when they never got the right person to stand near the tree when the sun sank or for that matter Marino Marini when he didn’t pick the rider as carefully as the horse                                it seems they were all cheated of some marvelous experience which is not going to go wasted on me which is why I’m telling you about it Twitter:@camelliayang Instagram:@camelliayang Clubhouse: @camelliayang Website: https://www.camelliayang.com/ 
03:16
March 23, 2021
Dulce et Decorum Est by Wilfred Owen
Bent double, like old beggars under sacks, Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge, Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs, And towards our distant rest began to trudge. Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots, But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind; Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots Of gas-shells dropping softly behind. Gas! GAS! Quick, boys!—An ecstasy of fumbling Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time, But someone still was yelling out and stumbling And flound’ring like a man in fire or lime.— Dim through the misty panes and thick green light, As under a green sea, I saw him drowning. In all my dreams before my helpless sight, He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning. If in some smothering dreams, you too could pace Behind the wagon that we flung him in, And watch the white eyes writhing in his face, His hanging face, like a devil’s sick of sin; If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs, Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,— My friend, you would not tell with such high zest To children ardent for some desperate glory, The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est Pro patria mori. Twitter:@camelliayang Instagram:@camelliayang Clubhouse: @camelliayang Website: https://www.camelliayang.com/ 
03:08
March 23, 2021
Arete by Keri Stewart
Her mighty skin is basked in wisdom, bones soaked in wondrous prestige. She’s like the essence of love: delicate like a fresh patch of snow and strong like an arctic fox whose pale fur is winter-kissed, a mess of snow and light. She swiftly glides through the night, tail swaying in the wind, her piercing eyes ready for the hunt. Oh, how to find a love so hidden? She glides through the day, her gait risen like reborn plants. She is a Dahlia flower in and out. Her petals curve upwards and out, open to the world all around. They reach for the sun; these friendly sun-kissed buds, bathed in wondrous warm colors, reach towards the sky because she knows she is worth more than the ground below her. NOTES: Keri Stewart is a teenage writer and self-published poet. She reached out to me and shared her poetry collection, featuring empowerment, strength, and self-love. Keri told me she wrote this poem Arete to talk about a woman full of so much power: bright energy that helps her thrive and keeps her pure.  Keri's website: https://keristewartauthor.wixsite.com/my-site  Connect with me Twitter:@camelliayang Instagram:@camelliayang Clubhouse: @camelliayang Website: https://www.camelliayang.com/ 
03:31
March 15, 2021
Thoughts Experience by Camellia Yang (Read in Chinese)
我搭乘着忒休斯之船, 阅尽千帆,思绪云骞。 寻找一个并不存在的答案。 薛定谔的猫与我为伴, 同住在船上的中文房间。 起早挂晚,年复一年。 莎士比亚的猴子在隔壁敲打键盘, 撰写沼泽人的似水流年; 五位闲散的哲学家在旁边就餐, 争论卡涅阿德斯的船板; 我翻开泛黄的报刊, 阅读昔日的街头巷言。 濒死的小提琴手能否撑到迟暮之年? 空地上的奶牛是否依然昙花一现? 是谁,破解了炸弹知情者的谎言? 又是谁,在开凿柏拉图的洞穴? 只是,这一切,都与我无关。 爱因斯坦的光线划过窗前, 我望着彩虹出现在天边。 笼罩在远方孤岛的拉普拉斯之妖已化为乌烟, 我突然分不清现实与梦魇。 维特根斯坦的甲虫在镜中显现, 庄周的蝴蝶应验了关于我的寓言。 一切的一切, 都将云消雾散。 P.S. 最近研究了很多思想实验,索性把他们串联起来写个故事 Twitter:@camelliayang Instagram:@camelliayang Clubhouse: @camelliayang Website: https://www.camelliayang.com/ 
05:08
March 15, 2021
The More Loving One W. H. Auden
Looking up at the stars, I know quite well That, for all they care, I can go to hell, But on earth indifference is the least We have to dread from man or beast. How should we like it were stars to burn With a passion for us we could not return? If equal affection cannot be, Let the more loving one be me. Admirer as I think I am Of stars that do not give a damn, I cannot, now I see them, say I missed one terribly all day. Were all stars to disappear or die, I should learn to look at an empty sky And feel its total dark sublime, Though this might take me a little time. Twitter:@camelliayang Instagram:@camelliayang Clubhouse: @camelliayang Website: https://www.camelliayang.com/ 
02:15
March 8, 2021
Love's Philosophy by Percy Bysshe Shelley
The fountains mingle with the river And the rivers with the ocean, The winds of Heaven mix for ever With a sweet emotion; Nothing in the world is single, All things by a law divine In one spirit meet and mingle - Why not I with thine? See the mountains kiss high Heaven And the waves clasp one another; No sister-flower would be forgiven If it disdained its brother; And the sunlight clasps the earth, And the moonbeams kiss the sea - What are all these kissings worth If thou kiss not me? Twitter:@camelliayang Instagram:@camelliayang Clubhouse: @camelliayang Website: https://www.camelliayang.com/ 
01:30
March 8, 2021
Tobacco Kiosk by Fernando Pessoa
I am nothing I shall always be nothing I cannot wish to be anything. Aside from that, I have within me all the dreams of the world. Windows of my room, The room of one of the world's millions nobody knows about (And if they knew about me, what would they know?) Open onto the mystery of a street continually crossed by people, To a street inaccessible to any thought, Real, impossibly real, certain, unknowingly certain, With the mystery of things beneath the stones and beings, With death making the walls damp and men's hair white, With the Destiny driving the wagon of everything down the road of nothing. Today I am defeated, as if I knew the truth. Today I am clear-minded, as if I were about to die And had no more kinship with things Than a goodbye, this building and this side of the street becoming A long row of train carriages, and a whistle departing From inside my head, And a jolt of my nerves and a creak of bones as we go. Today I am bewildered, as one who wondered and discovered and forgot. Today I am divided between the loyalty I owe To the outward reality of the Tobacco Kiosk of the other side of the street And to the inward real feeling that everything is but a dream. I have missed everything. And since I had no aims, maybe everything was indeed nothing. Twitter:@camelliayang Instagram:@camelliayang Clubhouse: @camelliayang Website: https://www.camelliayang.com/ 
11:07
March 4, 2021
I Like For You To Be Still by Pablo Neruda
I like for you to be still It is as though you are absent And you hear me from far away And my voice does not touch you It seems as though your eyes had flown away And it seems that a kiss had sealed your mouth As all things are filled with my soul You emerge from the things Filled with my soul You are like my soul A butterfly of dream And you are like the word: Melancholy I like for you to be still And you seem far away It sounds as though you are lamenting A butterfly cooing like a dove And you hear me from far away And my voice does not reach you Let me come to be still in your silence And let me talk to you with your silence That is bright as a lamp Simple, as a ring You are like the night With its stillness and constellations Your silence is that of a star As remote and candid I like for you to be still It is as though you are absent Distant and full of sorrow So you would've died One word then, One smile is enough And I'm happy; Happy that it's not true Twitter:@camelliayang Instagram:@camelliayang Clubhouse: @camelliayang Website: https://www.camelliayang.com/ 
03:21
March 4, 2021
When Death Comes by Mary Oliver
When death comes like the hungry bear in autumn; when death comes and takes all the bright coins from his purse to buy me, and snaps the purse shut; when death comes like the measle-pox when death comes like an iceberg between the shoulder blades, I want to step through the door full of curiosity, wondering: what is it going to be like, that cottage of darkness? And therefore I look upon everything as a brotherhood and a sisterhood, and I look upon time as no more than an idea, and I consider eternity as another possibility, and I think of each life as a flower, as common as a field daisy, and as singular, and each name a comfortable music in the mouth, tending, as all music does, toward silence, and each body a lion of courage, and something precious to the earth. When it's over, I want to say all my life I was a bride married to amazement. I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms. When it's over, I don't want to wonder if I have made of my life something particular, and real. I don't want to find myself sighing and frightened, or full of argument. I don't want to end up simply having visited this world.
03:16
February 23, 2021
As I Walked Out One Evening by W. H. Auden
As I walked out one evening,    Walking down Bristol Street, The crowds upon the pavement    Were fields of harvest wheat. And down by the brimming river    I heard a lover sing Under an arch of the railway:    'Love has no ending. 'I'll love you, dear, I'll love you    Till China and Africa meet, And the river jumps over the mountain    And the salmon sing in the street, 'I'll love you till the ocean    Is folded and hung up to dry And the seven stars go squawking    Like geese about the sky. 'The years shall run like rabbits,    For in my arms I hold The Flower of the Ages,    And the first love of the world.' But all the clocks in the city    Began to whirr and chime: 'O let not Time deceive you,    You cannot conquer Time. 'In the burrows of the Nightmare    Where Justice naked is, Time watches from the shadow    And coughs when you would kiss. 'In headaches and in worry    Vaguely life leaks away, And Time will have his fancy    To-morrow or to-day. 'Into many a green valley    Drifts the appalling snow; Time breaks the threaded dances    And the diver's brilliant bow. 'O plunge your hands in water,    Plunge them in up to the wrist; Stare, stare in the basin    And wonder what you've missed. 'The glacier knocks in the cupboard,    The desert sighs in the bed, And the crack in the tea-cup opens    A lane to the land of the dead. 'Where the beggars raffle the banknotes    And the Giant is enchanting to Jack, And the Lily-white Boy is a Roarer,    And Jill goes down on her back. 'O look, look in the mirror,    O look in your distress: Life remains a blessing    Although you cannot bless. 'O stand, stand at the window    As the tears scald and start; You shall love your crooked neighbour    With your crooked heart.' It was late, late in the evening,    The lovers they were gone; The clocks had ceased their chiming,    And the deep river ran on.
04:29
February 23, 2021
Letter to his fiancée Lee by Gerald Durrell
I have seen a thousand sunsets and sunrises, on land where it floods forest and mountains with honey coloured light, at sea where it rises and sets like a blood orange in a multicoloured nest of cloud, slipping in and out of the vast ocean. I have seen a thousand moons: harvest moons like gold coins, winter moons as white as ice chips, new moons like baby swans’ feathers. ...... All this I did without you. This was my loss. All this I want to do with you. This will be my gain. All this I would gladly have forgone for the sake of one minute of your company, for your laugh, your voice, your eyes, hair, lips, body, and above all for your sweet, ever surprising mind which is an enchanting quarry in which it is my privilege to delve.
08:33
February 18, 2021
ONE ART by Elizabeth Bishop
The art of losing isn’t hard to master; so many things seem filled with the intent to be lost that their loss is no disaster. Lose something every day. Accept the fluster of lost door keys, the hour badly spent. The art of losing isn’t hard to master. Then practice losing farther, losing faster: places, and names, and where it was you meant to travel. None of these will bring disaster. I lost my mother’s watch. And look! my last, or next-to-last, of three loved houses went. The art of losing isn’t hard to master. I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster, some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent. I miss them, but it wasn’t a disaster. —Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture I love) I shan’t have lied. It’s evident the art of losing’s not too hard to master though it may look like (Write it!) like disaster.
02:56
February 18, 2021
How Do I Love Thee? (Sonnet 43) by Elizabeth Barrett Browning
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. I love thee to the depth and breadth and height My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight For the ends of being and ideal grace. I love thee to the level of every day's Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light. I love thee freely, as men strive for right. I love thee purely, as they turn from praise. I love thee with the passion put to use In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith. I love thee with a love I seemed to lose With my lost saints. I love thee with the breath, Smiles, tears, of all my life; and, if God choose, I shall but love thee better after death.
02:01
February 12, 2021
I Do Not Love You Except Because I Love You by Pablo Neruda
I do not love you except because I love you; I go from loving to not loving you, From waiting to not waiting for you My heart moves from cold to fire. I love you only because it's you the one I love; I hate you deeply, and hating you Bend to you, and the measure of my changing love for you Is that I do not see you but love you blindly. Maybe January light will consume My heart with its cruel Ray, stealing my key to true calm. In this part of the story I am the one who Dies, the only one, and I will die of love because I love you, Because I love you, Love, in fire and blood.
02:52
February 12, 2021
If Tomorrow Starts Without Me by David Romano
If tomorrow starts without me, and I'm not there to see, If the sun should rise and find your eyes all filled with tears for me; I wish so much you wouldn't cry the way you did today, while thinking of the many things we didn't get to say. I know how much you care for me, and how much I care for you, and each time that you think of me I know you'll miss me too; But when tomorrow starts without me, please try to understand, that an angel came and called my name and took me by the hand, and said my place was ready in heaven far above, and that I'd have to leave behind all those I dearly love. But as I turned to walk away, a tear fell from my eye, for all life, I'd always thought I didn't want to die. I had so much to live for and so much yet to do. it seemed almost impossible that I was leaving you. I thought of all the love we shared and all the fun we had. If I could relive yesterday, I thought, just for a while, I'd say goodbye and hug you and maybe see you smile. But then I fully realised that this could never be, for emptiness and memories would take the place of me. And when I thought of worldly things that I'd miss come tomorrow. I thought of you, and when I did, my heart was filled with sorrow. But when I walked through Heaven's gates, I felt so much at home. When God looked down and smiled at me, from His great golden throne, He said, "This is eternity and all I've promised you, Today your life on earth is past but here it's starts anew. I promise no tomorrow, but today will always last. and since each day's the same, there's no longing for the past. But you have been so faithful, so trusting, so true. Though there were times you did some things you knew you shouldn't do. And you have been forgiven and now at last you're free. So won't you come and take my hand and share my life with me?" So if tomorrow starts without me, don't think we're far apart, for every time you think of me, please know I'm in your heart.
05:10
February 5, 2021
What You Need to Be Warm: Neil Gaiman
A baked potato of a winter’s night to wrap your hands around or burn your mouth. A blanket knitted by your mother’s cunning fingers. Or your grandmother’s. A smile, a touch, trust, as you walk in from the snow or return to it, the tips of your ears pricked pink and frozen. The tink tink tink of iron radiators waking in an old house. To surface from dreams in a bed, burrowed beneath blankets and comforters, the change of state from cold to warm is all that matters, and you think just one more minute snuggled here before you face the chill. Just one. Places we slept as children: they warm us in the memory. We travel to an inside from the outside. To the orange flames of the fireplace or the wood burning in the stove. Breath-ice on the inside of windows, to be scratched off with a fingernail, melted with a whole hand. Frost on the ground that stays in the shadows, waiting for us. Wear a scarf. Wear a coat. Wear a sweater. Wear socks. Wear thick gloves. An infant as she sleeps between us. A tumble of dogs, a kindle of cats and kittens. Come inside. You’re safe now. A kettle boiling at the stove. Your family or friends are there. They smile. Cocoa or chocolate, tea or coffee, soup or toddy, what you know you need. A heat exchange, they give it to you, you take the mug and start to thaw. While outside, for some of us, the journey began as we walked away from our grandparents’ houses away from the places we knew as children: changes of state and state and state, to stumble across a stony desert, or to brave the deep waters, while food and friends, home, a bed, even a blanket become just memories. Sometimes it only takes a stranger, in a dark place, to hold out a badly-knitted scarf, to offer a kind word, to say we have the right to be here, to make us warm in the coldest season. You have the right to be here.
04:48
February 5, 2021
Genius by Mark Twain
If he throws away every opportunity in life and crushes the affection and the patience of his friends and then protests in sickly rhymes of his hard lot, and finally persists, in spite of the sound advice of persons who have got sense but not any genius, persists in going up some infamous back alley dying in rags and dirt, he is beyond all question a genius. But above all things, to deftly throw the incoherent ravings of insanity into verse and then rush off and get booming drunk, is the surest of all the different signs of genius.
03:13
January 31, 2021
Song of the Open Road by Walt Whitman
Now I see the secret of the making of the best persons, It is to grow in the open air and to eat and sleep with the earth. Here a great personal deed has room, (Such a deed seizes upon the hearts of the whole race of men, Its effusion of strength and will overwhelms law and mocks all authority and all argument against it.) Here is the test of wisdom, Wisdom is not finally tested in schools, Wisdom cannot be pass’d from one having it to another not having it, Wisdom is of the soul, is not susceptible of proof, is its own proof, Applies to all stages and objects and qualities and is content, Is the certainty of the reality and immortality of things, and the excellence of things; Something there is in the float of the sight of things that provokes it out of the soul. Now I re-examine philosophies and religions, They may prove well in lecture-rooms, yet not prove at all under the spacious clouds and along the landscape and flowing currents. Here is realization, Here is a man tallied — he realizes here what he has in him, The past, the future, majesty, love — if they are vacant of you, you are vacant of them.
02:49
January 31, 2021
Darkness by Lord Byron
I had a dream, which was not all a dream. The bright sun was extinguish'd, and the stars Did wander darkling in the eternal space, Rayless, and pathless, and the icy earth Swung blind and blackening in the moonless air; Morn came and went—and came, and brought no day, And men forgot their passions in the dread Of this their desolation; and all hearts Were chill'd into a selfish prayer for light: And they did live by watchfires—and the thrones, The palaces of crowned kings—the huts, The habitations of all things which dwell, Were burnt for beacons; cities were consum'd, And men were gather'd round their blazing homes To look once more into each other's face; Happy were those who dwelt within the eye Of the volcanos, and their mountain-torch: A fearful hope was all the world contain'd; Forests were set on fire—but hour by hour They fell and faded—and the crackling trunks Extinguish'd with a crash—and all was black. The brows of men by the despairing light Wore an unearthly aspect, as by fits The flashes fell upon them; some lay down And hid their eyes and wept; and some did rest Their chins upon their clenched hands, and smil'd; And others hurried to and fro, and fed Their funeral piles with fuel, and look'd up With mad disquietude on the dull sky, The pall of a past world; and then again With curses cast them down upon the dust, And gnash'd their teeth and howl'd: the wild birds shriek'd And, terrified, did flutter on the ground, And flap their useless wings; the wildest brutes Came tame and tremulous; and vipers crawl'd And twin'd themselves among the multitude, Hissing, but stingless—they were slain for food.
07:56
January 26, 2021
I Said to Poetry by Alice Walker
I said to Poetry: “I’m finished with you.” Having to almost die before some weird light comes creeping through is no fun. “No thank you, Creation, no muse need apply. I’m out for good times – at the very least, some painless convention.” Poetry laid back and played dead until this morning. I wasn’t sad or anything, only restless. Poetry said: “You remember the desert, and how glad you were that you have an eye to see it with?* You remember that, if ever so slightly?” I said: “I didn’t hear that. Besides, it’s five o’clock in the a.m. I’m not getting up in the dark to talk to you.” Poetry said: “But think about the time you saw the moon over that small canyon that you liked so much better than the grand one – and how suprised you were that the moonlight was green and you still had one good eye to see it with Think of that!” “I’ll join the church!” I said, huffily, turning my face to the wall. “I’ll learn how to pray again!” “Let me ask you,” said Poetry. “When you pray, what do you think you’ll see?” Poetry had me. “There’s no paper in this room,” I said. “And that new pen I bought makes a funny noise.” “Bullshit,” said Poetry. “Bullshit,” said I. – Alice Walker
02:55
January 26, 2021
Caged Bird by Maya Angelou
A free bird leaps on the back of the wind and floats downstream till the current ends and dips his wing in the orange sun rays and dares to claim the sky. But a bird that stalks down his narrow cage can seldom see through his bars of rage his wings are clipped and his feet are tied so he opens his throat to sing. The caged bird sings with a fearful trill of things unknown but longed for still and his tune is heard on the distant hill for the caged bird sings of freedom. The free bird thinks of another breeze and the trade winds soft through the sighing trees and the fat worms waiting on a dawn bright lawn and he names the sky his own But a caged bird stands on the grave of dreams his shadow shouts on a nightmare scream his wings are clipped and his feet are tied so he opens his throat to sing. The caged bird sings with a fearful trill of things unknown but longed for still and his tune is heard on the distant hill for the caged bird sings of freedom.
02:05
January 22, 2021
Ozymandias by Percy Bysshe Shelley
I met a traveller from an antique land, Who said—“Two vast and trunkless legs of stone Stand in the desert. . . . Near them, on the sand, Half sunk a shattered visage lies, whose frown, And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command, Tell that its sculptor well those passions read Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things, The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed; And on the pedestal, these words appear: My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings; Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair! Nothing beside remains. Round the decay Of that colossal Wreck, boundless and bare The lone and level sands stretch far away.”
01:25
January 22, 2021
Mind and Heart by Charles Bukowski
unaccountably we are alone forever alone and it was meant to be that way, it was never meant to be any other way– and when the death struggle begins the last thing I wish to see is a ring of human faces hovering over me– better just my old friends, the walls of my self, let only them be there. I have been alone but seldom lonely. I have satisfied my thirst at the well of my self and that wine was good, the best I ever had, and tonight sitting staring into the dark I now finally understand the dark and the light and everything in between. peace of mind and heart arrives when we accept what is: having been born into this strange life we must accept the wasted gamble of our days and take some satisfaction in the pleasure of leaving it all behind. cry not for me. grieve not for me. read what I’ve written then forget it all. drink from the well of your self and begin again.
02:44
January 18, 2021
Lead by Mary Oliver
Here is a story to break your heart. Are you willing? This winter the loons came to our harbor and died, one by one, of nothing we could see. A friend told me of one on the shore that lifted its head and opened the elegant beak and cried out in the long, sweet savoring of its life which, if you have heard it, you know is a sacred thing., and for which, if you have not heard it, you had better hurry to where they still sing. And, believe me, tell no one just where that is. The next morning this loon, speckled and iridescent and with a plan to fly home to some hidden lake, was dead on the shore. I tell you this to break your heart, by which I mean only that it break open and never close again to the rest of the world.
01:38
January 18, 2021
Gacela of the Dark Death by Federico García Lorca
I want to sleep the dream of the apples, to withdraw from the tumult of cemetries. I want to sleep the dream of that child who wanted to cut his heart on the high seas. I don't want to hear again that the dead do not lose their blood, that the putrid mouth goes on asking for water. I don't want to learn of the tortures of the grass, nor of the moon with a serpent's mouth that labors before dawn. I want to sleep awhile, awhile, a minute, a century; but all must know that I have not died; that there is a stable of gold in my lips; that I am the small friend of the West wing; that I am the intense shadows of my tears. Cover me at dawn with a veil, because dawn will throw fistfuls of ants at me, and wet with hard water my shoes so that the pincers of the scorpion slide. For I want to sleep the dream of the apples, to learn a lament that will cleanse me to earth; for I want to live with that dark child who wanted to cut his heart on the high seas.
02:54
January 14, 2021
Let This Darkness Be a Bell Tower by Rainer Maria Rilke
Quiet friend who has come so far, feel how your breathing makes more space around you. Let this darkness be a bell tower and you the bell. As you ring, what batters you becomes your strength. Move back and forth into the change. What is it like, such intensity of pain? If the drink is bitter, turn yourself to wine. In this uncontainable night, be the mystery at the crossroads of your senses, the meaning discovered there. And if the world has ceased to hear you, say to the silent earth: I flow. To the rushing water, speak: I am.
01:35
January 14, 2021
Gacela Of The Remembrance Of Love by Federico Garcia Lorca
Do not carry your remembrance. Leave it, alone, in my breast, tremor of a white cherry tree in the torment of January. There divides me from the dead a wall of difficult dreams. I give the pain of a fresh lily for a heart of chalk. All night long, in the orchard my eyes, like two dogs. All night long, quinces of poison, flowing. Sometimes the wind is a tulip of fear, a sick tulip, daybreak of winter. A wall of difficult dreams divides me from the dead.
01:02
January 9, 2021
On the Beach at Night Alone by Walt Whitman
On the beach at night alone, As the old mother sways her to and fro singing her husky song, As I watch the bright stars shining, I think a thought of the clef of the universes and of the future. A vast similitude interlocks all, All spheres, grown, ungrown, small, large, suns, moons, planets, All distances of place however wide, All distances of time, all inanimate forms, All souls, all living bodies though they be ever so different, or in different worlds, All gaseous, watery, vegetable, mineral processes, the fishes, the brutes, All nations, colors, barbarisms, civilizations, languages, All identities that have existed or may exist on this globe, or any globe, All lives and deaths, all of the past, present, future, This vast similitude spans them, and always has spann’d, And shall forever span them and compactly hold and enclose them.
02:26
January 9, 2021
Sudden Light by Dante Gabriel Rossetti
I have been here before, But when or how I cannot tell: I know the grass beyond the door, The sweet keen smell, The sighing sound, the lights around the shore. You have been mine before,— How long ago I may not know: But just when at that swallow's soar Your neck turn'd so, Some veil did fall,—I knew it all of yore. Has this been thus before? And shall not thus time's eddying flight Still with our lives our love restore In death's despite, And day and night yield one delight once more?
01:50
January 2, 2021
Say not the Struggle nought Availeth by Arthur Hugh Clough
Say not the struggle nought availeth, The labour and the wounds are vain, The enemy faints not, nor faileth, And as things have been they remain. If hopes were dupes, fears may be liars; It may be, in yon smoke concealed, Your comrades chase e'en now the fliers, And, but for you, possess the field. For while the tired waves, vainly breaking Seem here no painful inch to gain, Far back through creeks and inlets making, Comes silent, flooding in, the main. And not by eastern windows only, When daylight comes, comes in the light, In front the sun climbs slow, how slowly, But westward, look, the land is bright.
02:21
January 2, 2021
The Journey by David Whyte
Above the mountains the geese turn into the light again Painting their black silhouettes on an open sky. Sometimes everything has to be inscribed across the heavens so you can find the one line already written inside you. Sometimes it takes a great sky to find that first, bright and indescribable wedge of freedom in your own heart. Sometimes with the bones of the black sticks left when the fire has gone out someone has written something new in the ashes of your life. You are not leaving. Even as the light fades quickly now, you are arriving.
01:56
December 28, 2020
Roll the Dice by Charles Bukowski
if you’re going to try, go all the way. otherwise, don’t even start. if you’re going to try, go all the way. this could mean losing girlfriends, wives, relatives, jobs and maybe your mind. go all the way. it could mean not eating for 3 or 4 days. it could mean freezing on a park bench. it could mean jail, it could mean derision, mockery, isolation. isolation is the gift, all the others are a test of your endurance, of how much you really want to do it. and you’ll do it despite rejection and the worst odds and it will be better than anything else you can imagine. if you’re going to try, go all the way. there is no other feeling like that. you will be alone with the gods and the nights will flame with fire. do it, do it, do it. do it. all the way all the way. you will ride life straight to perfect laughter, its the only good fight there is.
02:17
December 28, 2020
A Visit from St. Nicholas by Clement Clarke Moore
'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse; The stockings were hung by the chimney with care, In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there; The children were nestled all snug in their beds, While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads; And mamma in her ’kerchief, and I in my cap, Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap, When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter, I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter. Away to the window I flew like a flash, Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash. The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below, When, what to my wondering eyes should appear, But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer, With a little old driver, so lively and quick, I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick. More rapid than eagles his coursers they came, And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name; "Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen! On, Comet! on, Cupid! on, Donder and Blitzen! To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall! Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!" As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly, When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky; So up to the house-top the coursers they flew, With the sleigh full of Toys, and St. Nicholas too. And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof The prancing and pawing of each little hoof. As I drew in my head, and was turning around, Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound. He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot, And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot; A bundle of Toys he had flung on his back, And he looked like a pedler just opening his pack. His eyes—how they twinkled! his dimples how merry! His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry! His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow; The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth, And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath; He had a broad face and a little round belly, That shook when he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly. He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf, And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself; A wink of his eye and a twist of his head, Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread; He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work, And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk, And laying his finger aside of his nose, And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose; He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle, And away they all flew like the down of a thistle, But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight, "Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night."
04:42
December 25, 2020
“O Holy Night” by John Sullivan Dwight
O holy night! The stars are brightly shining,   It is the night of our dear Saviour's birth. Long lay the world in sin and error pining, 'Til He appear'd and the soul felt its worth. A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices, For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn. Fall on your knees! O hear the angel voices! O night divine, O night when Christ was born; O night divine, O night, O night Divine…
02:38
December 24, 2020
City That Does Not Sleep Federico García Lorca
In the sky there is nobody asleep. Nobody, nobody. Nobody is asleep. The creatures of the moon sniff and prowl about their cabins. The living iguanas will come and bite the men who do not dream, and the man who rushes out with his spirit broken will meet on the street corner the unbelievable alligator quiet beneath the tender protest of the stars. Nobody is asleep on earth. Nobody, nobody. Nobody is asleep. In a graveyard far off there is a corpse who has moaned for three years because of a dry countryside on his knee; and that boy they buried this morning cried so much it was necessary to call out the dogs to keep him quiet. Life is not a dream. Careful! Careful! Careful! We fall down the stairs in order to eat the moist earth or we climb to the knife edge of the snow with the voices of the dead dahlias. But forgetfulness does not exist, dreams do not exist; flesh exists. Kisses tie our mouths in a thicket of new veins, and whoever his pain pains will feel that pain forever and whoever is afraid of death will carry it on his shoulders. One day the horses will live in the saloons and the enraged ants will throw themselves on the yellow skies that take refuge in the eyes of cows. Another day we will watch the preserved butterflies rise from the dead and still walking through a country of gray sponges and silent boats we will watch our ring flash and roses spring from our tongue. Careful! Be careful! Be careful! The men who still have marks of the claw and the thunderstorm, and that boy who cries because he has never heard of the invention of the bridge, or that dead man who possesses now only his head and a shoe, we must carry them to the wall where the iguanas and the snakes are waiting, where the bear's teeth are waiting, where the mummified hand of the boy is waiting, and the hair of the camel stands on end with a violent blue shudder. Nobody is sleeping in the sky. Nobody, nobody. Nobody is sleeping. If someone does close his eyes, a whip, boys, a whip! Let there be a landscape of open eyes and bitter wounds on fire. No one is sleeping in this world. No one, no one. I have said it before. No one is sleeping. But if someone grows too much moss on his temples during the night, open the stage trapdoors so he can see in the moonlight the lying goblets, and the poison, and the skull of the theaters.
04:45
December 19, 2020
All Things will Die by Alfred Lord Tennyson
All Things will Die Clearly the blue river chimes in its flowing      Under my eye; Warmly and broadly the south winds are blowing      Over the sky. One after another the white clouds are fleeting; Every heart this May morning in joyance is beating      Full merrily;   Yet all things must die. The stream will cease to flow; The wind will cease to blow; The clouds will cease to fleet; The heart will cease to beat;   For all things must die.      All things must die. Spring will come never more.      O, vanity! Death waits at the door. See! our friends are all forsaking The wine and the merrymaking. We are call’d–we must go. Laid low, very low, In the dark we must lie. The merry glees are still; The voice of the bird Shall no more be heard, Nor the wind on the hill.      O, misery! Hark! death is calling While I speak to ye, The jaw is falling, The red cheek paling, The strong limbs failing; Ice with the warm blood mixing; The eyeballs fixing. Nine times goes the passing bell: Ye merry souls, farewell.      The old earth      Had a birth,      As all men know,      Long ago. And the old earth must die. So let the warm winds range, And the blue wave beat the shore; For even and morn Ye will never see Thro’ eternity. All things were born. Ye will come never more, For all things must die.
03:04
December 19, 2020
On His Blindness by John Milton
When I consider how my light is spent Ere half my days in this dark world and wide, And that one talent which is death to hide Lodg'd with me useless, though my soul more bent To serve therewith my Maker, and present My true account, lest he returning chide, "Doth God exact day-labour, light denied?" I fondly ask. But Patience, to prevent That murmur, soon replies: "God doth not need Either man's work or his own gifts: who best Bear his mild yoke, they serve him best. His state Is kingly; thousands at his bidding speed And post o'er land and ocean without rest: They also serve who only stand and wait."
01:39
December 15, 2020
Death, be not proud (Holy Sonnet 10) John Donne
Death, be not proud, though some have called thee Mighty and dreadful, for thou are not so; For those whom thou think'st thou dost overthrow Die not, poor Death, nor yet canst thou kill me. From rest and sleep, which but thy pictures be, Much pleasure; then from thee much more must flow, And soonest our best men with thee do go, Rest of their bones, and soul's delivery. Thou'art slave to fate, chance, kings, and desperate men, And dost with poison, war, and sickness dwell, And poppy'or charms can make us sleep as well And better than thy stroke; why swell'st thou then? One short sleep past, we wake eternally, And death shall be no more; Death, thou shalt die.
02:07
December 15, 2020
The Chilean Forest by Pablo Neruda
Under the volcanoes, beside the snow-capped mountains, among the huge lakes, the fragrant, the silent, the tangled Chilean forest… My feet sink down into the dead leaves, a fragile twig crackles, the giant rauli trees rise in all their bristling height, a bird from the cold jungle passes over, flaps its wings, and stops in the sunless branches. And then, from its hideaway, it sings like an oboe… The wild scent of the laurel, the dark scent of the boldo herb, enter my nostrils and flood my whole being… The cypress of the Guaitecas blocks my way… This is a vertical world: a nation of birds, a plenitude of leaves… I stumble over a rock, dig up the uncovered hollow, an enormous spider covered with red hair stares up at me, motionless, as huge as a crab… A golden carabus beetle blows its mephitic breath at me, as its brilliant rainbow disappears like lightning… Going on, I pass through a forest of ferns much taller than I am: from their cold green eyes sixty tears splash down on my face and, behind me, their fans go on quivering for a long time… A decaying tree trunk: what a treasure!… Black and blue mushrooms have given it ears, red parasite plants have covered it with rubies, other lazy plants have let it borrow their beards, and a snake springs out of the rotted body like a sudden breath, as if the spirit of the dead trunk were slipping away from it… Farther along, each tree stands away from its fellows… They soar up over the carpet of the secretive forest, and the foliage of each has its own style, linear, bristling, ramulose, lanceolate, as if cut by shears moving in infinite ways… A gorge; below, the crystal water slides over granite and jasper… A butterfly goes past, bright as a lemon, dancing between the water and the sunlight… Close by, innumerable calceolarias nod their little yellow heads in greeting… High up, red copihues (Lapageria rosea) dangle like drops from the magic forest’s arteries… A fox cuts through the silence like a flash, sending a shiver through the leaves, but silence is the law of the plant kingdom… The barely audible cry of some bewildered animal far off… The piercing interruption of a hidden bird… The vegetable world keeps up its low rustle until a storm chums up all the music of the earth. Anyone who hasn’t been in the Chilean forest doesn’t know this planet. I have come out of that landscape, that mud, that silence, to roam, to go singing through the world.
06:03
December 8, 2020
It Troubled Me As Once I Was by Emily Dickinson
It troubled me as once I was — For I was once a Child — Concluding how an Atom — fell — And yet the Heavens — held — The Heavens weighed the most — by far — Yet Blue — and solid — stood — Without a Bolt — that I could prove — Would Giants — understand? Life set me larger — problems — Some I shall keep — to solve Till Algebra is easier — Or simpler proved — above — Then — too — be comprehended — What sorer — puzzled me — Why Heaven did not break away — And tumble — Blue — on me —
01:56
December 8, 2020
Pale Blue Dot by Carl Sagan
Look again at that dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it, everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every "superstar," every "supreme leader," every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there--on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam. The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds. Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves. The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand. It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we've ever known. — Carl Sagan
08:12
December 1, 2020
Remember by Christina Georgina Rossetti
Remember me when I am gone away, Gone far away into the silent land; When you can no more hold me by the hand, Nor I half turn to go yet turning stay. Remember me when no more day by day You tell me of our future that you plann'd: Only remember me; you understand It will be late to counsel then or pray. Yet if you should forget me for a while And afterwards remember, do not grieve: For if the darkness and corruption leave A vestige of the thoughts that once I had, Better by far you should forget and smile Than that you should remember and be sad.
02:15
December 1, 2020
Crossing the Bar by Alfred, Lord Tennyson
Sunset and evening star, And one clear call for me! And may there be no moaning of the bar, When I put out to sea, But such a tide as moving seems asleep, Too full for sound and foam, When that which drew from out the boundless deep Turns again home. Twilight and evening bell, And after that the dark! And may there be no sadness of farewell, When I embark; For tho' from out our bourne of Time and Place The flood may bear me far, I hope to see my Pilot face to face When I have crost the bar.
01:54
November 22, 2020
Bright Star by John Keats
Bright star! would I were steadfast as thou art— Not in lone splendour hung aloft the night, And watching, with eternal lids apart, Like nature's patient sleepless Eremite, The moving waters at their priestlike task Of pure ablution round earth's human shores, Or gazing on the new soft fallen mask Of snow upon the mountains and the moors— No—yet still stedfast, still unchangeable, Pillow'd upon my fair love's ripening breast, To feel for ever its soft fall and swell, Awake for ever in a sweet unrest, Still, still to hear her tender-taken breath, And so live ever—or else swoon to death.
01:53
November 22, 2020
Dreams by Mark Strand
Trying to recall the plot And characters we dreamed,      What life was like Before the morning came, We are seldom satisfied,      And even then There is no way of knowing If what we know is true.      Something nameless Hums us into sleep, Withdraws, and leaves us in      A place that seems Always vaguely familiar. Perhaps it is because      We take the props And fixtures of our days With us into the dark,      Assuring ourselves We are still alive. And yet Nothing here is certain;      Landscapes merge With one another, houses Are never where they should be,      Doors and windows Sometimes open out To other doors and windows,      Even the person Who seems most like ourselves Cannot be counted on,      For there have been Too many times when he, Like everything else, has done      The unexpected. And as the night wears on, The dim allegory of ourselves      Unfolds, and we Feel dreamed by someone else, A sleeping counterpart,      Who gathers in The darkness of his person Shades of the real world.      Nothing is clear; We are not ever sure If the life we live there      Belongs to us. Each night it is the same; Just when we’re on the verge      Of catching on, A sense of our remoteness Closes in, and the world      So lately seen Gradually fades from sight. We wake to find the sleeper      Is ourselves And the dreamt-of is someone who did Something we can’t quite put      Our finger on, But which involved a life We are always, we feel,      About to discover.
06:14
November 14, 2020
My Shadow by Robert Louis Stevenson
I have a little shadow that goes in and out with me, And what can be the use of him is more than I can see. He is very, very like me from the heels up to the head; And I see him jump before me, when I jump into my bed. The funniest thing about him is the way he likes to grow— Not at all like proper children, which is always very slow; For he sometimes shoots up taller like an India-rubber ball, And he sometimes gets so little that there's none of him at all. He hasn't got a notion of how children ought to play, And can only make a fool of me in every sort of way. He stays so close beside me, he's a coward you can see; I'd think shame to stick to nursie as that shadow sticks to me! One morning, very early, before the sun was up, I rose and found the shining dew on every buttercup; But my lazy little shadow, like an arrant sleepy-head, Had stayed at home behind me and was fast asleep in bed.
02:53
November 14, 2020
Endymion (Excerpt) by John Keats
Therefore, 'tis with full happiness that I Will trace the story of Endymion. The very music of the name has gone Into my being, and each pleasant scene Is growing fresh before me as the green Of our own valleys: so I will begin Now while I cannot hear the city's din; Now while the early budders are just new, And run in mazes of the youngest hue About old forests; while the willow trails Its delicate amber; and the dairy pails Bring home increase of milk. And, as the year Grows lush in juicy stalks, I'll smoothly steer My little boat, for many quiet hours, With streams that deepen freshly into bowers. Many and many a verse I hope to write, Before the daisies, vermeil rimm'd and white, Hide in deep herbage; and ere yet the bees Hum about globes of clover and sweet peas, I must be near the middle of my story. O may no wintry season, bare and hoary, See it half finish'd: but let Autumn bold, With universal tinge of sober gold, Be all about me when I make an end. And now, at once adventuresome, I send My herald thought into a wilderness: There let its trumpet blow, and quickly dress My uncertain path with green, that I may speed Easily onward, thorough flowers and weed.
05:54
November 9, 2020
Wild Geese by Mary Oliver
You do not have to be good. You do not have to walk on your knees for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting. You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves. Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine. Meanwhile the world goes on. Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain are moving across the landscapes, over the prairies and the deep trees, the mountains and the rivers. Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air, are heading home again. Whoever you are, no matter how lonely, the world offers itself to your imagination, calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting– over and over announcing your place in the family of things.
01:53
November 9, 2020
A Psalm of Life by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
What The Heart of The Young Man Said to the Psalmist. Tell me not, in mournful numbers, Life is but an empty dream! For the soul is dead that slumbers, And things are not what they seem. Life is real! Life is earnest! And the grave is not its goal; Dust thou art, to dust returnest, Was not spoken of the soul. Not enjoyment, and not sorrow, Is our destined end or way; But to act, that each to-morrow Find us farther than to-day. Art is long, and Time is fleeting, And our hearts, though stout and brave, Still, like muffled drums, are beating Funeral marches to the grave. In the world’s broad field of battle, In the bivouac of Life, Be not like dumb, driven cattle! Be a hero in the strife! Trust no Future, howe’er pleasant! Let the dead Past bury its dead! Act,— act in the living Present! Heart within, and God o’erhead! Lives of great men all remind us We can make our lives sublime, And, departing, leave behind us Footprints on the sands of time; Footprints, that perhaps another, Sailing o’er life’s solemn main, A forlorn and shipwrecked brother, Seeing, shall take heart again. Let us, then, be up and doing, With a heart for any fate; Still achieving, still pursuing, Learn to labor and to wait.
03:30
November 4, 2020
A Dream Within a Dream by Edgar Allan Poe
Take this kiss upon the brow! And, in parting from you now, Thus much let me avow — You are not wrong, who deem That my days have been a dream; Yet if hope has flown away In a night, or in a day, In a vision, or in none, Is it therefore the less gone? All that we see or seem Is but a dream within a dream. I stand amid the roar Of a surf-tormented shore, And I hold within my hand Grains of the golden sand — How few! yet how they creep Through my fingers to the deep, While I weep — while I weep! O God! Can I not grasp Them with a tighter clasp? O God! can I not save One from the pitiless wave? Is all that we see or seem But a dream within a dream?
02:20
November 4, 2020
A Father To His Son By Carl Sandburg
A father sees his son nearing manhood. What shall he tell that son? "Life is hard; be steel; be a rock." And this might stand him for the storms and serve him for humdrum monotony and guide him among sudden betrayals and tighten him for slack moments. "Life is a soft loam; be gentle; go easy." And this too might serve him. Brutes have been gentled where lashes failed. The growth of a frail flower in a path up has sometimes shattered and split a rock. A tough will counts. So does desire. So does a rich soft wanting. Without rich wanting nothing arrives. Tell him too much money has killed men and left them dead years before burial: the quest of lucre beyond a few easy needs has twisted good enough men sometimes into dry thwarted worms. Tell him time as a stuff can be wasted. Tell him to be a fool every so often and to have no shame over having been a fool yet learning something out of every folly hoping to repeat none of the cheap follies thus arriving at intimate understanding of a world numbering many fools. Tell him to be alone often and get at himself and above all tell himself no lies about himself whatever the white lies and protective fronts he may use against other people. Tell him solitude is creative if he is strong and the final decisions are made in silent rooms. Tell him to be different from other people if it comes natural and easy being different. Let him have lazy days seeking his deeper motives. Let him seek deep for where he is born natural. Then he may understand Shakespeare and the Wright brothers, Pasteur, Pavlov, Michael Faraday and free imaginations Bringing changes into a world resenting change. He will be lonely enough to have time for the work he knows as his own. Source: https://www.familyfriendpoems.com/poem/a-father-to-his-son-by-carl-sandburg
05:00
October 27, 2020
Solitude by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Laugh, and the world laughs with you;     Weep, and you weep alone; For the sad old earth must borrow its mirth,     But has trouble enough of its own. Sing, and the hills will answer;     Sigh, it is lost on the air; The echoes bound to a joyful sound,     But shrink from voicing care. Rejoice, and men will seek you;     Grieve, and they turn and go; They want full measure of all your pleasure,     But they do not need your woe. Be glad, and your friends are many;     Be sad, and you lose them all, There are none to decline your nectared wine,     But alone you must drink life's gall. Feast, and your halls are crowded;     Fast, and the world goes by. Succeed and give, and it helps you live,     But no man can help you die. There is room in the halls of pleasure     For a large and lordly train, But one by one we must all file on     Through the narrow aisles of pain. Source: https://www.familyfriendpoems.com/poem/solitude-by-ella-wheeler-wilcox
02:36
October 27, 2020
Former Ode on the Red Cliffs by Su Shi 前赤壁赋
苏子愀然,正襟危坐,而问客曰:“何为其然也?”客曰:“月明星稀,乌鹊南飞,此非曹孟德之诗乎?西望夏口,东望武昌。山川相缪,郁乎苍苍;此非孟德之困于周郎者乎?方其破荆州,下江陵,顺流而东也,舳舻千里,旌旗蔽空,酾酒临江,横槊赋诗;固一世之雄也,而今安在哉?况吾与子,渔樵于江渚之上,侣鱼虾而友糜鹿,驾一叶之扁舟,举匏樽以相属;寄蜉蝣与天地,渺沧海之一粟。哀吾生之须臾,羡长江之无穷;挟飞仙以遨游,抱明月而长终;知不可乎骤得,托遗响于悲风。”   苏子曰:“客亦知夫水与月乎?逝者如斯,而未尝往也;盈虚者如彼,而卒莫消长也。盖将自其变者而观之,而天地曾不能一瞬;自其不变者而观之,则物于我皆无尽也。而又何羡乎?且夫天地之间,物各有主。苟非吾之所有,虽一毫而莫取。惟江上之清风,与山间之明月,耳得之而为声,目遇之而成色。取之无禁,用之不竭。是造物者之无尽藏也,而吾与子之所共适。” Then I asked him, “Have you considered the water and the moon? Water flows away but is never lost; the moon waxes and wanes, but neither increases nor diminished. If you look at its changing aspect, the universe passes in the twinkling of an eye; but if you look at its changeless aspect, all creatures including ourselves are imperishable. What reason have you to envy other things? Besides, everything in this universe has its owner; and if it does not belong to me not a tiny speck can I take. The sole exceptions are the cool breeze on the river, the bright moon over the hills. These serve as music to our ears, as colour to our eyes; these we can take freely and enjoy forever; these are inexhaustible treasures supplied by the Creator, and things in which we can delight together.
04:51
October 22, 2020
The Tyger by William Blake
Tyger Tyger, burning bright, In the forests of the night; What immortal hand or eye, Could frame thy fearful symmetry? In what distant deeps or skies. Burnt the fire of thine eyes? On what wings dare he aspire? What the hand, dare seize the fire? And what shoulder, & what art, Could twist the sinews of thy heart? And when thy heart began to beat, What dread hand? & what dread feet? What the hammer? what the chain, In what furnace was thy brain? What the anvil? what dread grasp, Dare its deadly terrors clasp! When the stars threw down their spears And water'd heaven with their tears: Did he smile his work to see? Did he who made the Lamb make thee? Tyger Tyger burning bright, In the forests of the night: What immortal hand or eye, Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?
02:57
October 22, 2020
The Lantingji Xu by Wang Xizhi 兰亭集序
永和九年,岁在癸丑,暮春之初,会于会稽山阴之兰亭,修禊事也。群贤毕至,少长咸集。此地有崇山峻岭,茂林修竹;又有清流激湍,映带左右,引以为流觞曲水,列坐其次。虽无丝竹管弦之盛,一觞一咏,亦足以畅叙幽情。是日也,天朗气清,惠风和畅,仰观宇宙之大,俯察品类之盛,所以游目骋怀,足以极视听之娱,信可乐也。 夫人之相与,俯仰一世,或取诸怀抱,悟言一室之内;或因寄所托,放浪形骸之外。虽趣舍万殊,静躁不同,当其欣于所遇,暂得于己,快然自足,曾不知老之将至。及其所之既倦,情随事迁,感慨系之矣。向之所欣,俯仰之间,已为陈迹,犹不能不以之兴怀。况修短随化,终期于尽。古人云:“死生亦大矣。”岂不痛哉! 每览昔人兴感之由,若合一契,未尝不临文嗟悼,不能喻之于怀。固知一死生为虚诞,齐彭殇为妄作。后之视今,亦犹今之视昔。悲夫!故列叙时人,录其所述,虽世殊事异,所以兴怀,其致一也。后之览者,亦将有感于斯文。
04:22
October 18, 2020
Crossroads by Louise Glück
My body, now that we will not be traveling together much longer I begin to feel a new tenderness toward you, very raw and unfamiliar, like what I remember of love when I was young – love that was so often foolish in its objectives but never in its choices, its intensities Too much demanded in advance, too much that could not be promised – My soul has been so fearful, so violent; forgive its brutality. As though it were that soul, my hand moves over you cautiously, not wishing to give offense but eager, finally, to achieve expression as substance: it is not the earth I will miss, it is you I will miss.
02:09
October 18, 2020
A BRAVE AND STARTLING TRUTH by Maya Angelou
We, this people, on this small and drifting planet Whose hands can strike with such abandon That in a twinkling, life is sapped from the living Yet those same hands can touch with such healing, irresistible tenderness That the haughty neck is happy to bow And the proud back is glad to bend Out of such chaos, of such contradiction We learn that we are neither devils nor divines When we come to it We, this people, on this wayward, floating body Created on this earth, of this earth Have the power to fashion for this earth A climate where every man and every woman Can live freely without sanctimonious piety Without crippling fear When we come to it We must confess that we are the possible We are the miraculous, the true wonder of this world That is when, and only when We come to it.
06:07
October 11, 2020
Because I could not stop for Death by Emily Dickinson
Because I could not stop for Death, He kindly stopped for me; The carriage held but just ourselves And Immortality. We slowly drove, he knew no haste, And I had put away My labor, and my leisure too, For his civility. We passed the school where children played, Their lessons scarcely done; We passed the fields of gazing grain, We passed the setting sun. We paused before a house that seemed A swelling of the ground; The roof was scarcely visible, The cornice but a mound. Since then 't is centuries; but each Feels shorter than the day I first surmised the horses' heads Were toward eternity.
02:23
October 11, 2020
September 1, 1939 by W. H. Auden
All I have is a voice To undo the folded lie, The romantic lie in the brain Of the sensual man-in-the-street And the lie of Authority Whose buildings grope the sky: There is no such thing as the State And no one exists alone; Hunger allows no choice To the citizen or the police; We must love one another or die.
04:54
October 4, 2020
The Last Rose of Summer by Thomas Moore
Tis the last rose of summer Left blooming alone; All her lovely companions Are faded and gone; No flower of her kindred, No rosebud is nigh, To reflect back her blushes, Or give sigh for sigh. I’ll not leave thee, thou lone one! To pine on the stem; Since the lovely are sleeping, Go, sleep thou with them. Thus kindly I scatter Thy leaves o’er the bed, Where thy mates of the garden Lie scentless and dead. So soon may I follow, When friendships decay, And from Love’s shining circle The gems drop away. When true hearts lie withered And fond ones are flown, Oh! who would inhabit This bleak world alone?
02:14
October 4, 2020
Ode to the West Wind by Percy Bysshe Shelley
Make me thy lyre, even as the forest is: What if my leaves are falling like its own! The tumult of thy mighty harmonies Will take from both a deep, autumnal tone, Sweet though in sadness. Be thou, Spirit fierce, My spirit! Be thou me, impetuous one! Drive my dead thoughts over the universe Like wither'd leaves to quicken a new birth! And, by the incantation of this verse, Scatter, as from an unextinguish'd hearth Ashes and sparks, my words among mankind! Be through my lips to unawaken'd earth The trumpet of a prophecy! O Wind, If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?
07:55
September 29, 2020
Dover Beach by Matthew Arnold
The sea is calm tonight. The tide is full, the moon lies fair Upon the straits; on the French coast the light Gleams and is gone; the cliffs of England stand, Glimmering and vast, out in the tranquil bay. Come to the window, sweet is the night-air! Only, from the long line of spray Where the sea meets the moon-blanched land, Listen! you hear the grating roar Of pebbles which the waves draw back, and fling, At their return, up the high strand, Begin, and cease, and then again begin, With tremulous cadence slow, and bring The eternal note of sadness in. Sophocles long ago Heard it on the Ægean, and it brought Into his mind the turbid ebb and flow Of human misery; we Find also in the sound a thought, Hearing it by this distant northern sea. The Sea of Faith Was once, too, at the full, and round earth’s shore Lay like the folds of a bright girdle furled. But now I only hear Its melancholy, long, withdrawing roar, Retreating, to the breath Of the night-wind, down the vast edges drear And naked shingles of the world. Ah, love, let us be true To one another! for the world, which seems To lie before us like a land of dreams, So various, so beautiful, so new, Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light, Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain; And we are here as on a darkling plain Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight, Where ignorant armies clash by night.
04:08
September 29, 2020
SINGULARITY by Marie Howe
Do you sometimes want to wake up to the singularity we once were? so compact nobody needed a bed, or food or money — nobody hiding in the school bathroom or home alone pulling open the drawer where the pills are kept. For every atom belonging to me as good Belongs to you.   Remember? There was no   Nature.    No them.   No tests to determine if the elephant grieves her calf    or if the coral reef feels pain.    Trashed oceans don’t speak English or Farsi or French; would that we could wake up   to what we were — when we were ocean    and before that to when sky was earth, and animal was energy, and rock was liquid and stars were space and space was not at all — nothing before we came to believe humans were so important before this awful loneliness. Can molecules recall it? what once was?    before anything happened? No I, no We, no one. No was No verb      no noun only a tiny tiny dot brimming with is is is is is All   everything   home
02:30
September 22, 2020
WHEN I AM AMONG THE TREES by Mary Oliver
When I am among the trees, especially the willows and the honey locust, equally the beech, the oaks and the pines, they give off such hints of gladness. I would almost say that they save me, and daily. I am so distant from the hope of myself, in which I have goodness, and discernment, and never hurry through the world but walk slowly, and bow often. Around me the trees stir in their leaves and call out, “Stay awhile.” The light flows from their branches. And they call again, “It’s simple,” they say, “and you too have come into the world to do this, to go easy, to be filled with light, and to shine.”
02:11
September 22, 2020
She Walks in Beauty by George Gordon, Lord Byron
She walks in beauty, like the night Of cloudless climes and starry skies; And all that’s best of dark and bright Meet in her aspect and her eyes; Thus mellowed to that tender light Which heaven to gaudy day denies. One shade the more, one ray the less, Had half impaired the nameless grace Which waves in every raven tress, Or softly lightens o’er her face; Where thoughts serenely sweet express, How pure, how dear their dwelling-place. And on that cheek, and o’er that brow, So soft, so calm, yet eloquent, The smiles that win, the tints that glow, But tell of days in goodness spent, A mind at peace with all below, A heart whose love is innocent!
02:03
September 16, 2020
KEEPING QUIET by Pablo Neruda
Now we will count to twelve and we will all keep still. For once on the face of the earth, let’s not speak in any language; let’s stop for one second, and not move our arms so much. It would be an exotic moment without rush, without engines; we would all be together in a sudden strangeness. Fisherman in the cold sea would not harm whales and the man gathering salt would look at his hurt hands. Those who prepare green wars, wars with gas, wars with fire, victories with no survivors, would put on clean clothes and walk about with their brothers in the shade, doing nothing. What I want should not be confused with total inactivity. Life is what it is about; I want no truck with death. If we were not so single-minded about keeping our lives moving, and for once could do nothing, perhaps a huge silence might interrupt this sadness of never understanding ourselves and of threatening ourselves with death. Perhaps the earth can teach us as when everything seems dead and later proves to be alive. Now I’ll count up to twelve and you keep quiet and I will go.
03:13
September 16, 2020
Burnt Norton by T. S. Eliot
At the still point of the turning world. Neither flesh nor fleshless; Neither from nor towards; at the still point, there the dance is, But neither arrest nor movement. And do not call it fixity, Where past and future are gathered. Neither movement from nor towards, Neither ascent nor decline. Except for the point, the still point, There would be no dance, and there is only the dance. I can only say, there we have been: but I cannot say where. And I cannot say, how long, for that is to place it in time. The inner freedom from the practical desire, The release from action and suffering, release from the inner And the outer compulsion, yet surrounded By a grace of sense, a white light still and moving, Erhebung without motion, concentration Without elimination, both a new world And the old made explicit, understood In the completion of its partial ecstasy, The resolution of its partial horror. Yet the enchainment of past and future Woven in the weakness of the changing body, Protects mankind from heaven and damnation Which flesh cannot endure. Time past and time future Allow but a little consciousness. To be conscious is not to be in time But only in time can the moment in the rose-garden, The moment in the arbour where the rain beat, The moment in the draughty church at smokefall Be remembered; involved with past and future. Only through time time is conquered.
08:21
September 11, 2020
Twenty-One Love Poems by Adrienne Rich
No one’s fated or doomed to love anyone. The accidents happen, we’re not heroines, they happen in our lives like car crashes, books that change us, neighborhoods we move into and come to love. Tristan und Isolde is scarcely the story, women at least should know the difference between love and death. No poison cup, no penance. Merely a notion that the tape-recorder should have caught some ghost of us: that tape-recorder not merely played but should have listened to us, and could instruct those after us: this we were, this is how we tried to love, and these are the forces they had ranged against us, and these are the forces we had ranged within us within us and against us, against us and within us.
05:45
September 11, 2020
Acquainted with the Night by Robert Frost
I have been one acquainted with the night. I have walked out in rain—and back in rain. I have outwalked the furthest city light. I have looked down the saddest city lane. I have passed by the watchman on his beat And dropped my eyes, unwilling to explain. I have stood still and stopped the sound of feet When far away an interrupted cry Came over houses from another street, But not to call me back or say good-bye; And further still at an unearthly height, One luminary clock against the sky Proclaimed the time was neither wrong nor right. I have been one acquainted with the night.
01:40
September 5, 2020
The World Is Too Much With Us by William Wordsworth
The world is too much with us; late and soon, Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers;— Little we see in Nature that is ours; We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon! This Sea that bares her bosom to the moon; The winds that will be howling at all hours, And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers; For this, for everything, we are out of tune; It moves us not. Great God! I’d rather be A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn; So might I, standing on this pleasant lea, Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn; Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea; Or hear old Triton blow his wreathed horn.
01:43
September 5, 2020
Sometimes by David Whyte
Sometimes if you move carefully through the forest, breathing like the ones in the old stories, who could cross a shimmering bed of leaves without a sound, you come to a place whose only task is to trouble you with tiny but frightening requests, conceived out of nowhere but in this place beginning to lead everywhere. Requests to stop what you are doing right now, and to stop what you are becoming while you do it, questions that can make or unmake a life, questions that have patiently waited for you, questions that have no right to go away.
01:39
August 29, 2020
Everything Is Waiting for You by David Whyte
Your great mistake is to act the drama as if you were alone. As if life were a progressive and cunning crime with no witness to the tiny hidden transgressions. To feel abandoned is to deny the intimacy of your surroundings. Surely, even you, at times, have felt the grand array; the swelling presence, and the chorus, crowding out your solo voice. You must note the way the soap dish enables you, or the window latch grants you freedom. Alertness is the hidden discipline of familiarity. The stairs are your mentor of things to come, the doors have always been there to frighten you and invite you, and the tiny speaker in the phone is your dream-ladder to divinity. Put down the weight of your aloneness and ease into the conversation. The kettle is singing even as it pours you a drink, the cooking pots have left their arrogant aloofness and seen the good in you at last. All the birds and creatures of the world are unutterably themselves. Everything is waiting for you.
02:49
August 29, 2020
The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe
Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary, Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore— While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping, As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door. “’Tis some visitor,” I muttered, “tapping at my chamber door— Only this and nothing more.” Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December; And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor. Eagerly I wished the morrow;—vainly I had sought to borrow From my books surcease of sorrow—sorrow for the lost Lenore— For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore— Nameless here for evermore. And the silken, sad, uncertain rustling of each purple curtain Thrilled me—filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before; So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating “’Tis some visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door— Some late visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door;— This it is and nothing more.” Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer, “Sir,” said I, “or Madam, truly your forgiveness I implore; But the fact is I was napping, and so gently you came rapping, And so faintly you came tapping, tapping at my chamber door, That I scarce was sure I heard you”—here I opened wide the door;— Darkness there and nothing more. Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing, Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before; But the silence was unbroken, and the stillness gave no token, And the only word there spoken was the whispered word, “Lenore?” This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the word, “Lenore!”— Merely this and nothing more. Back into the chamber turning, all my soul within me burning, Soon again I heard a tapping somewhat louder than before. “Surely,” said I, “surely that is something at my window lattice; Let me see, then, what thereat is, and this mystery explore— Let my heart be still a moment and this mystery explore;— ’Tis the wind and nothing more!” Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter, In there stepped a stately Raven of the saintly days of yore; Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed he; But, with mien of lord or lady, perched above my chamber door— Perched upon a bust of Pallas just above my chamber door— Perched, and sat, and nothing more. Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling, By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore, “Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou,” I said, “art sure no craven, Ghastly grim and ancient Raven wandering from the Nightly shore— Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night’s Plutonian shore!” Quoth the Raven “Nevermore.”
12:12
August 21, 2020
One Art by Elizabeth Bishop
The art of losing isn’t hard to master; so many things seem filled with the intent to be lost that their loss is no disaster. Lose something every day. Accept the fluster of lost door keys, the hour badly spent. The art of losing isn’t hard to master. Then practice losing farther, losing faster: places, and names, and where it was you meant to travel. None of these will bring disaster. I lost my mother’s watch. And look! my last, or next-to-last, of three loved houses went. The art of losing isn’t hard to master. I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster, some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent. I miss them, but it wasn’t a disaster. —Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture I love) I shan’t have lied. It’s evident the art of losing’s not too hard to master though it may look like (Write it!) like disaster.
02:18
August 21, 2020
Dark August by Derek Walcott
So much rain, so much life like the swollen sky of this black August. My sister, the sun, broods in her yellow room and won't come out. Everything goes to hell; the mountains fume like a kettle, rivers overrun; still, she will not rise and turn off the rain. She is in her room, fondling old things, my poems, turning her album. Even if thunder falls like a crash of plates from the sky, she does not come out. Don't you know I love you but am hopeless at fixing the rain ? But I am learning slowly to love the dark days, the steaming hills, the air with gossiping mosquitoes, and to sip the medicine of bitterness, so that when you emerge, my sister, parting the beads of the rain, with your forehead of flowers and eyes of forgiveness, all with not be as it was, but it will be true (you see they will not let me love as I want), because, my sister, then I would have learnt to love black days like bright ones, The black rain, the white hills, when once I loved only my happiness and you.
02:49
August 14, 2020
A Cool Morning In Mid August by Laughingpoet
A cool morning in mid August has the quietude that follows a rain storm except for the distant white noise of highway traffic. There is no breeze, the air is filled with a light mist so that everything I see resembles a faded photograph. My mind is empty in the early morning stillness. No wildlife is visible, only the wet lawns and the trees against a dull slate blue sky. A few cirrocumulus clouds that look as muddled as my mind hang in confusion above me. I continue and pass a basketball and boulder, both discarded by the road, maybe reminiscing on exciting adventures from their pasts. The only scent in the air is that of fresh laundry from a darkened home. I hear a lone cardinal chit a warning, “Go back!” Across the road, I pass another walker and we solemnly give each other a silent cursory wave. Around the corner, I am suddenly blinded by the blazing frying pan of the rising sun and I turn back toward the coolness behind me. A bird flies over racing for cover. From a nearby tree, invisible crows caw their harsh laughs. I pass prairie onion flowers that lean listlessly. Further on, rose mallow flowers are still wrapped up in dreams, awaiting the sun. I slowly and unsteadily trudge toward a growing ocean of traffic before turning back toward the peace of home.
03:31
August 14, 2020
As I Grew Older by Langston Hughes
It was a long time ago. I have almost forgotten my dream. But it was there then, In front of me, Bright like a sun— My dream. And then the wall rose, Rose slowly, Slowly, Between me and my dream. Rose until it touched the sky— The wall. Shadow. I am black. I lie down in the shadow. No longer the light of my dream before me, Above me. Only the thick wall. Only the shadow. My hands! My dark hands! Break through the wall! Find my dream! Help me to shatter this darkness, To smash this night, To break this shadow Into a thousand lights of sun, Into a thousand whirling dreams Of sun!
02:21
August 8, 2020
Songs for the People by Frances Ellen Watkins Harper
Let me make the songs for the people, Songs for the old and young; Songs to stir like a battle-cry Wherever they are sung. Not for the clashing of sabres, For carnage nor for strife; But songs to thrill the hearts of men With more abundant life. Let me make the songs for the weary, Amid life’s fever and fret, Till hearts shall relax their tension, And careworn brows forget. Let me sing for little children, Before their footsteps stray, Sweet anthems of love and duty, To float o’er life’s highway. I would sing for the poor and aged, When shadows dim their sight; Of the bright and restful mansions, Where there shall be no night. Our world, so worn and weary, Needs music, pure and strong, To hush the jangle and discords Of sorrow, pain, and wrong. Music to soothe all its sorrow, Till war and crime shall cease; And the hearts of men grown tender Girdle the world with peace.
03:28
August 8, 2020
Annabel Lee by Edgar Allan Poe
It was many and many a year ago,          In a kingdom by the sea,    That a maiden there lived whom you may know          By the name of ANNABEL LEE;    And this maiden she lived with no other thought          Than to love and be loved by me.    I was a child and she was a child,          In this kingdom by the sea;    But we loved with a love that was more than love-          I and my Annabel Lee;    With a love that the winged seraphs of heaven          Coveted her and me.    And this was the reason that, long ago,          In this kingdom by the sea,    A wind blew out of a cloud, chilling          My beautiful Annabel Lee;    So that her highborn kinsman came          And bore her away from me,    To shut her up in a sepulchre          In this kingdom by the sea.    The angels, not half so happy in heaven,          Went envying her and me-    Yes!- that was the reason (as all men know,          In this kingdom by the sea)    That the wind came out of the cloud by night,          Chilling and killing my Annabel Lee.    But our love it was stronger by far than the love          Of those who were older than we-          Of many far wiser than we-    And neither the angels in heaven above,          Nor the demons down under the sea,    Can ever dissever my soul from the soul          Of the beautiful Annabel Lee.    For the moon never beams without bringing me dreams          Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;    And the stars never rise but I feel the bright eyes          Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;    And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side    Of my darling- my darling- my life and my bride,          In the sepulchre there by the sea,          In her tomb by the sounding sea.
04:04
July 31, 2020
Alone by Edgar Allan Poe
From childhood's hour I have not been As others were; I have not seen As others saw; I could not bring My passions from a common spring. From the same source I have not taken My sorrow; I could not awaken My heart to joy at the same tone; And all I loved, I loved alone. Then- in my childhood, in the dawn Of a most stormy life- was drawn From every depth of good and ill The mystery which binds me still: From the torrent, or the fountain, From the red cliff of the mountain, From the sun that round me rolled In its autumn tint of gold, From the lightning in the sky As it passed me flying by, From the thunder and the storm, And the cloud that took the form (When the rest of Heaven was blue) Of a demon in my view.
02:13
July 31, 2020
A Red, Red Rose by Robert Burns
O my Luve is like a red, red rose That’s newly sprung in June; O my Luve is like the melody That’s sweetly played in tune. So fair art thou, my bonnie lass, So deep in luve am I; And I will luve thee still, my dear, Till a’ the seas gang dry. Till a’ the seas gang dry, my dear, And the rocks melt wi’ the sun; I will love thee still, my dear, While the sands o’ life shall run. And fare thee weel, my only luve! And fare thee weel awhile! And I will come again, my luve, Though it were ten thousand mile.
01:58
July 24, 2020
Auld Lang Syne by Robert Burns (Scottish and Chinese version)
Should auld acquaintance be forgot, And never brought to mind? Should auld acquaintance be forgot, And auld lang syne! For auld lang syne, my jo, For auld lang syne, We'll tak a cup o' kindness yet, For auld lang syne. And surely ye'll be your pint stowp! And surely I'll be mine! And we'll take a cup o' kindness yet, For auld lang syne. We twa hae run about the braes, And pou'd the gowan fine; But we've wander'd mony a weary fitt, Sin' auld lang syne. We twa hae paidl'd in the burn, Frae morning sun till dine; But seas between us braid hae roar'd Sin' auld lang syne. And there's a hand, my trusty fiere! And gie's a hand o' thine! And we'll tak a right gude-willie-waught, For auld lang syne. For auld lang syne, my jo, For auld lang syne, We'll tak a cup o' kindness yet, For auld lang syne.
03:30
July 24, 2020
When We Two Parted by George Gordon Byron
When we two parted    In silence and tears, Half broken-hearted    To sever for years, Pale grew thy cheek and cold,    Colder thy kiss; Truly that hour foretold    Sorrow for this. The Dew of the morning    Sunk chill on my brow -- It felt like the warning    Of what I feel now. Thy vows are all broken,    And light is thy fame: I hear thy spoken,    And share in its shame. Thy name thee before me,    A knell to mine ear; A shudder comes o'er me --    Why wert thou so dear? They know not I knew thee,    Who knew thee too well; -- Long, long shall I rue thee,    Too deeply to tell. In secret we met --    In silence I grieve That thy heart could forget,    Thy spirit deceive. If I should meet thee    After long years, How should I greet thee? --    With silence and tears.
02:30
July 17, 2020
The Dead Woman by Pablo Neruda
If suddenly you do not exist, if suddenly you no longer live, I shall live on. I do not dare, I do not dare to write it, if you die. I shall live on. For where a man has no voice, there, my voice. Where blacks are beaten, I cannot be dead. When my brothers go to prison I shall go with them. When victory, not my victory, but the great victory comes, even though I am mute I must speak; I shall see it come even though I am blind. No, forgive me. If you no longer live, if you, beloved, my love, if you have died, all the leaves will fall in my breast, it will rain on my soul night and day, the snow will burn my heart, I shall walk with frost and fire and death and snow, my feet will want to walk to where you are sleeping, but I shall stay alive, because above all things you wanted me indomitable, and, my love, because you know that I am not only a man but all mankind.
03:19
July 17, 2020
Tula [“Books are door-shaped”] by Margarita Engle
Books are door-shaped portals carrying me across oceans and centuries, helping me feel less alone. But my mother believes that girls who read too much are unladylike and ugly, so my father's books are locked in a clear glass cabinet. I gaze at enticing covers and mysterious titles, but I am rarely permitted to touch the enchantment of words. Poems. Stories. Plays. All are forbidden. Girls are not supposed to think, but as soon as my eager mind begins to race, free thoughts rush in to replace the trapped ones. I imagine distant times and faraway places. Ghosts. Vampires. Ancient warriors. Fantasy moves into the tangled maze of lonely confusion. Secretly, I open an invisible book in my mind, and I step through its magical door-shape into a universe of dangerous villains and breathtaking heroes. Many of the heroes are men and boys, but some are girls so tall strong and clever that they rescue other children from monsters.
02:20
July 13, 2020
All The World's A Stage By William Shakespeare
All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players; They have their exits and their entrances; And one man in his time plays many parts, His acts being seven ages. At first the infant, Mewling and puking in the nurse’s arms; And then the whining school-boy, with his satchel And shining morning face, creeping like snail Unwillingly to school. And then the lover, Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad Made to his mistress’ eyebrow. Then a soldier, Full of strange oaths, and bearded like the pard, Jealous in honour, sudden and quick in quarrel, Seeking the bubble reputation Even in the cannon’s mouth. And then the justice, In fair round belly with good capon lin’d, With eyes severe and beard of formal cut, Full of wise saws and modern instances; And so he plays his part. The sixth age shifts Into the lean and slipper’d pantaloon, With spectacles on nose and pouch on side; His youthful hose, well sav’d, a world too wide For his shrunk shank; and his big manly voice, Turning again toward childish treble, pipes And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all, That ends this strange eventful history, Is second childishness and mere oblivion; Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.
03:27
July 13, 2020
If You Forget Me by Pablo Neruda
I want you to know one thing. You know how this is: if I look at the crystal moon, at the red branch of the slow autumn at my window, if I touch near the fire the impalpable ash or the wrinkled body of the log, everything carries me to you, as if everything that exists, aromas, light, metals, were little boats that sail toward those isles of yours that wait for me. Well, now, if little by little you stop loving me I shall stop loving you little by little. If suddenly you forget me do not look for me, for I shall already have forgotten you. If you think it long and mad, the wind of banners that passes through my life, and you decide to leave me at the shore of the heart where I have roots, remember that on that day, at that hour, I shall lift my arms and my roots will set off to seek another land. But if each day, each hour, you feel that you are destined for me with implacable sweetness, if each day a flower climbs up to your lips to seek me, ah my love, ah my own, in me all that fire is repeated, in me nothing is extinguished or forgotten, my love feeds on your love, beloved, and as long as you live it will be in your arms without leaving mine.
02:42
July 4, 2020
Tonight I Can Write (The Saddest Lines) by Pablo Neruda
Tonight I can write the saddest lines. Write, for example, 'The night is starry and the stars are blue and shiver in the distance.' The night wind revolves in the sky and sings. Tonight I can write the saddest lines. I loved her, and sometimes she loved me too. Through nights like this one I held her in my arms. I kissed her again and again under the endless sky. She loved me, sometimes I loved her too. How could one not have loved her great still eyes. Tonight I can write the saddest lines. To think that I do not have her. To feel that I have lost her. To hear the immense night, still more immense without her. And the verse falls to the soul like dew to the pasture. What does it matter that my love could not keep her. The night is starry and she is not with me. This is all. In the distance someone is singing. In the distance. My soul is not satisfied that it has lost her. My sight tries to find her as though to bring her closer. My heart looks for her, and she is not with me. The same night whitening the same trees. We, of that time, are no longer the same. I no longer love her, that's certain, but how I loved her. My voice tried to find the wind to touch her hearing. Another's. She will be another's. As she was before my kisses. Her voice, her bright body. Her infinite eyes. I no longer love her, that's certain, but maybe I love her. Love is so short, forgetting is so long. Because through nights like this one I held her in my arms my soul is not satisfied that it has lost her. Though this be the last pain that she makes me suffer and these the last verses that I write for her. Translation by W. S. Merwin
03:06
July 4, 2020
Rain by Edward Thomas
Rain, midnight rain, nothing but the wild rain On this bleak hut, and solitude, and me Remembering again that I shall die And neither hear the rain nor give it thanks For washing me cleaner than I have been Since I was born into this solitude. Blessed are the dead that the rain rains upon: But here I pray that none whom once I loved Is dying tonight or lying still awake Solitary, listening to the rain, Either in pain or thus in sympathy Helpless among the living and the dead, Like a cold water among broken reeds, Myriads of broken reeds all still and stiff, Like me who have no love which this wild rain Has not dissolved except the love of death, If love it be towards what is perfect and Cannot, the tempest tells me, disappoint.
02:41
June 27, 2020
My Heart's In The Highlands by Robert Burns
My heart's in the Highlands, my heart is not here, My heart's in the Highlands, a-chasing the deer; Chasing the wild-deer, and following the roe, My heart's in the Highlands, wherever I go. Farewell to the Highlands, farewell to the North, The birth-place of Valour, the country of Worth ; Wherever I wander, wherever I rove, The hills of the Highlands for ever I love. Farewell to the mountains, high-cover'd with snow, Farewell to the straths and green vallies below; Farewell to the forests and wild-hanging woods, Farewell to the torrents and loud-pouring floods. My heart's in the Highlands, my heart is not here, My heart's in the Highlands, a-chasing the deer; Chasing the wild-deer, and following the roe, My heart's in the Highlands, wherever I go.
02:17
June 27, 2020
Gazing on Mount Tai Du Fu (English and Chinese)
O peak of peaks, how high it stands! One boundless green o’erspreads two States. A marvel done by Nature’s hands, O’er light and shade it dominates. Clouds rise therefrom and lave my breast; My eyes are strained to see birds fleet. Try to ascend the mountain’s crest: It dwarfs all peaks under our feet. 望岳 杜甫 岱宗夫如何? 齐鲁青未了。 造化钟神秀,阴阳割昏晓。 荡胸生层云,决眦入归鸟。 会当凌绝顶,一览众山小。
01:51
June 20, 2020
Alone and Drinking Under the Moon by Li Bai (English and Chinese)
Amongst the flowers I am alone with my pot of wine drinking by myself; then lifting my cup I asked the moon to drink with me, its reflection and mine in the wine cup, just the three of us; then I sigh for the moon cannot drink, and my shadow goes emptily along with me never saying a word; with no other friends here, I can but use these two for company; in the time of happiness, I too must be happy with all around me; I sit and sing and it is as if the moon accompanies me; then if I dance, it is my shadow that dances along with me; while still not drunk, I am glad to make the moon and my shadow into friends, but then when I have drunk too much, we all part; yet these are friends I can always count on these who have no emotion whatsoever; I hope that one day we three will meet again, deep in the Milky Way. 月下独酌 李白 花间一壶酒,独酌无相亲。 举杯邀明月,对影成三人。 月既不解饮,影徒随我身。 暂伴月将影,行乐须及春。 我歌月徘徊,我舞影凌乱。 醒时同交欢,醉后各分散。 永结无情游,相期邈云汉。
03:46
June 20, 2020
If, After I Die by Fernando Pessoa
If, after I die, they should want to write my biography, There's nothing simpler. I've just two dates - of my birth, and of my death. In between the one thing and the other all the days are mine. I am easy to describe. I lived like mad. I loved things without any sentimentality. I never had a desire I could not fulfil, because I never went blind. Even hearing was to me never more than an accompaniment of seeing. I understood that things are real and all different from each other; I understood it with the eyes, never with thinking. To understand it with thinking would be to find them all equal. One day I felt sleepy like a child. I closed my eyes and slept. And by the way, I was only Nature poet.
02:24
June 13, 2020
Amazing Grace by John Newton
Amazing grace!  How sweet the sound That saved a wretch like me! I once was lost, but now am found, Was blind, but now I see. ’Twas grace that taught my heart to fear, And grace my fears relieved; How precious did that grace appear The hour I first believed! Through many dangers, toils and snares I have already come; ’Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far, And grace will lead me home. The Lord has promised good to me, His Word my hope secures; He will my Shield and Portion be As long as life endures. Yea, when this flesh and heart shall fail And mortal life shall cease, I shall possess, within the veil, A life of joy and peace. The earth shall soon dissolve like snow, The sun forbear to shine; But God, Who called me here below, Shall be forever mine!
03:49
June 12, 2020
Everything is Going to Be Alright by Derek Mahon
How should I not be glad to contemplate the clouds clearing beyond the dormer window and a high tide reflected on the ceiling? There will be dying, there will be dying, but there is no need to go into that. The poems flow from the hand unbidden and the hidden source is the watchful heart. The sun rises in spite of everything and the far cities are beautiful and bright. I lie here in a riot of sunlight watching the day break and the clouds flying. Everything is going to be all right.
01:47
June 8, 2020
Love After Love by Derek Walcott
The time will come when, with elation you will greet yourself arriving at your own door, in your own mirror and each will smile at the other's welcome, and say, sit here. Eat. You will love again the stranger who was your self. Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart to itself, to the stranger who has loved you all your life, whom you ignored for another, who knows you by heart. Take down the love letters from the bookshelf, the photographs, the desperate notes, peel your own image from the mirror. Sit. Feast on your life.
01:32
June 8, 2020
Still I Rise by Maya Angelou
You may write me down in history With your bitter, twisted lies, You may trod me in the very dirt But still, like dust, I'll rise. Does my sassiness upset you? Why are you beset with gloom? ’Cause I walk like I've got oil wells Pumping in my living room. Just like moons and like suns, With the certainty of tides, Just like hopes springing high, Still I'll rise. Did you want to see me broken? Bowed head and lowered eyes? Shoulders falling down like teardrops, Weakened by my soulful cries? Does my haughtiness offend you? Don't you take it awful hard ’Cause I laugh like I've got gold mines Diggin’ in my own backyard. You may shoot me with your words, You may cut me with your eyes, You may kill me with your hatefulness, But still, like air, I’ll rise. Does my sexiness upset you? Does it come as a surprise That I dance like I've got diamonds At the meeting of my thighs? Out of the huts of history’s shame I rise Up from a past that’s rooted in pain I rise I'm a black ocean, leaping and wide, Welling and swelling I bear in the tide. Leaving behind nights of terror and fear I rise Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear I rise Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave, I am the dream and the hope of the slave. I rise I rise I rise.
02:32
May 23, 2020
If By Rudyard Kipling
If you can keep your head when all about you Are losing theirs and blaming it on you; If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you, But make allowance for their doubting too: If you can wait and not be tired by waiting, Or, being lied about, don't deal in lies, Or being hated don't give way to hating, And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise; If you can dream - and not make dreams your master; If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim, If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster And treat those two impostors just the same:. If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools, Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken, And stoop and build'em up with worn-out tools; If you can make one heap of all your winnings And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss, And lose, and start again at your beginnings, And never breathe a word about your loss: If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew To serve your turn long after they are gone, And so hold on when there is nothing in you Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on!" If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue, Or walk with Kings - nor lose the common touch, If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you, If all men count with you, but none too much: If you can fill the unforgiving minute With sixty seconds' worth of distance run, Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it, And - which is more - you'll be a Man, my son!
03:25
May 23, 2020
I’d Love to Have a Picnic with You at Hyde Park by Camellia Yang (English and Chinese version)
I’d love to have a picnic with you at Hyde Park, Carrying a bamboo basket, Spreading out our blanket, Enjoying this long cherished afternoon tea moment. I’d love to have a picnic with you at Hyde Park, Birds hovering overhead, Squirrels approaching from behind, Welcome to join us for a cuppa, you said. I’d love to have a picnic with you at Hyde Park, Lying in your arms, Watching my smiling face reflected in your eyes, Old trees, Daffodils, Buzzards, And Egyptian geese, All together cannot match your charms. I’d love to have a picnic with you at Hyde Park, This thought held me down every night, I wish you still around in my sight, that I could whisper you, one more time, a good night, and go on a picnic with you, one more time, with the same delight.
02:55
May 21, 2020
Without A Trace by Walid Salem
We are born, We breath, We grow, And then we are gone. Without a trace. Maybe our laughter continues to echo in a Lover’s ear, maybe our words, written on the pages of a book, forgotten on the shelves of a deserted library, are read by a lonely wanderer, maybe someone tastes our tears in the salty waters of the sea, Or maybe our tale lives forever, silent, in the infinite history of the sand . ©️walid salem March 11, 2020
01:23
May 21, 2020
I Carry Your Heart With Me By E.E. Cummings (English &Chinese)
i carry your heart with me(i carry it in my heart)i am never without it(anywhere i go you go,my dear;and whatever is done by only me is your doing,my darling) i fear no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true) and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant and whatever a sun will always sing is you here is the deepest secret nobody knows (here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows higher than soul can hope or mind can hide) and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)
02:55
May 15, 2020
When You Are Old by William Butler Yeats (English and Chinese version)
When you are old and grey and full of sleep, And nodding by the fire, take down this book, And slowly read, and dream of the soft look Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep; How many loved your moments of glad grace, And loved your beauty with love false or true, But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you, And loved the sorrows of your changing face; And bending down beside the glowing bars, Murmur, a little sadly, how Love fled And paced upon the mountains overhead And hid his face amid a crowd of stars. 当你老了,头发花白,睡意沉沉, 倦坐在炉边,取下这本书来, 慢慢读着,追梦当年的眼神 那柔美的神采与深幽的晕影。 多少人爱过你青春的片影, 爱过你的美貌,以虚伪或是真情, 惟独一人爱你那朝圣者的灵魂, 爱你哀戚的脸上岁月的留痕。 在炉栅边,你弯下了腰, 低语着,带着浅浅的伤感, 爱情是怎样逝去,又怎样步上群山, 怎样在繁星之间藏住了脸。
03:36
May 9, 2020
But You Didn't By Merrill Glass
Remember the time you lent me your car and I dented it? I thought you'd kill me... But you didn't. Remember the time I forgot to tell you the dance was formal, and you came in jeans? I thought you'd hate me... But you didn't. Remember the times I'd flirt with other boys just to make you jealous, and you were? I thought you'd drop me... But you didn't. There were plenty of things you did to put up with me, to keep me happy, to love me, and there are so many things I wanted to tell you when you returned from Vietnam... But you didn't.
01:59
May 1, 2020
Not Waving but Drowning by Stevie Smith
Nobody heard him, the dead man, But still he lay moaning: I was much further out than you thought And not waving but drowning. Poor chap, he always loved larking And now he’s dead It must have been too cold for him his heart gave way, They said. Oh, no no no, it was too cold always (Still the dead one lay moaning) I was much too far out all my life And not waving but drowning.
01:16
May 1, 2020
Sonnet 18 by William Shakespeare
Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day? Thou art more lovely and more temperate: Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May, And summer’s lease hath all too short a date; Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines, And often is his gold complexion dimm'd; And every fair from fair sometime declines, By chance or nature’s changing course untrimm'd; But thy eternal summer shall not fade, Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow’st; Nor shall death brag thou wander’st in his shade, When in eternal lines to time thou grow’st: So long as men can breathe or eyes can see, So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.
02:06
April 22, 2020
The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, And sorry I could not travel both And be one traveler, long I stood And looked down one as far as I could To where it bent in the undergrowth; Then took the other, as just as fair, And having perhaps the better claim, Because it was grassy and wanted wear; Though as for that the passing there Had worn them really about the same, And both that morning equally lay In leaves no step had trodden black. Oh, I kept the first for another day! Yet knowing how way leads on to way, I doubted if I should ever come back. I shall be telling this with a sigh Somewhere ages and ages hence: Two roads diverged in a wood, and I— I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.
01:53
April 19, 2020
Do not go gentle into that good night by Dylan Thomas
Do not go gentle into that good night, Old age should burn and rave at close of day; Rage, rage against the dying of the light. Though wise men at their end know dark is right, Because their words had forked no lightning they Do not go gentle into that good night. Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay, Rage, rage against the dying of the light. Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight, And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way, Do not go gentle into that good night. Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay, Rage, rage against the dying of the light. And you, my father, there on the sad height, Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray. Do not go gentle into that good night. Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
02:21
April 13, 2020
No Man is an Island by John Donne
No man is an island, Entire of itself, Every man is a piece of the continent, A part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less. As well as if a promontory were. As well as if a manor of thy friend's Or of thine own were: Any man's death diminishes me, Because I am involved in mankind, And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; It tolls for thee.
01:23
April 13, 2020
There Will Come Soft Rains by Sara Teasdale
There will come soft rains and the smell of the ground, And swallows circling with their shimmering sound; And frogs in the pools singing at night, And wild plum trees in tremulous white, Robins will wear their feathery fire Whistling their whims on a low fence-wire; And not one will know of the war, not one Will care at last when it is done. Not one would mind, neither bird nor tree If mankind perished utterly; And Spring herself, when she woke at dawn, Would scarcely know that we were gone.
01:35
April 12, 2020
I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud by William Wordsworth
I wandered lonely as a cloud That floats on high o'er vales and hills, When all at once I saw a crowd, A host, of golden daffodils; Beside the lake, beneath the trees, Fluttering and dancing in the breeze. Continuous as the stars that shine And twinkle on the milky way, They stretched in never-ending line Along the margin of a bay: Ten thousand saw I at a glance, Tossing their heads in sprightly dance. The waves beside them danced; but they Out-did the sparkling waves in glee: A poet could not but be gay, In such a jocund company: I gazed—and gazed—but little thought What wealth the show to me had brought: For oft, when on my couch I lie In vacant or in pensive mood, They flash upon that inward eye Which is the bliss of solitude; And then my heart with pleasure fills, And dances with the daffodils.
02:07
April 9, 2020
Water Melody by Su Shi
明月几时有,把酒问青天。 不知天上宫阙,今夕是何年? 我欲乘风归去,又恐琼楼玉宇, 高处不胜寒。 起舞弄清影,何似在人间! 转朱阁,低绮户,照无眠。 不应有恨,何事长向别时圆? 人有悲欢离合,月有阴晴圆缺, 此事古难全。 但愿人长久,千里共婵娟。
04:19
April 7, 2020
Renovation of the Yueyang Building by Fan Zhongyan
庆历四年春,滕子京谪守巴陵郡。越明年,政通人和,百废具兴,乃重修岳阳楼,增其旧制,刻唐贤今人诗赋于其上,属予作文以记之。(具 通:俱) 予观夫巴陵胜状,在洞庭一湖。衔远山,吞长江,浩浩汤汤,横无际涯,朝晖夕阴,气象万千,此则岳阳楼之大观也,前人之述备矣。然则北通巫峡,南极潇湘,迁客骚人,多会于此,览物之情,得无异乎? 若夫淫雨霏霏,连月不开,阴风怒号,浊浪排空,日星隐曜,山岳潜形,商旅不行,樯倾楫摧,薄暮冥冥,虎啸猿啼。登斯楼也,则有去国怀乡,忧谗畏讥,满目萧然,感极而悲者矣。(隐曜 一作:隐耀;淫雨 通:霪雨) 至若春和景明,波澜不惊,上下天光,一碧万顷,沙鸥翔集,锦鳞游泳,岸芷汀兰,郁郁青青。而或长烟一空,皓月千里,浮光跃金,静影沉璧,渔歌互答,此乐何极!登斯楼也,则有心旷神怡,宠辱偕忘,把酒临风,其喜洋洋者矣。 嗟夫!予尝求古仁人之心,或异二者之为,何哉?不以物喜,不以己悲,居庙堂之高则忧其民,处江湖之远则忧其君。是进亦忧,退亦忧。然则何时而乐耶?其必曰“先天下之忧而忧,后天下之乐而乐”乎!噫!微斯人,吾谁与归?时六年九月十五日。
03:46
April 7, 2020
O Captain! My Captain! BY WALT WHITMAN
O Captain! my Captain! our fearful trip is done, The ship has weather’d every rack, the prize we sought is won, The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting, While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring; But O heart! heart! heart! O the bleeding drops of red, Where on the deck my Captain lies, Fallen cold and dead. O Captain! my Captain! rise up and hear the bells; Rise up—for you the flag is flung—for you the bugle trills, For you bouquets and ribbon’d wreaths—for you the shores a-crowding, For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning; Here Captain! dear father! This arm beneath your head! It is some dream that on the deck, You’ve fallen cold and dead. My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still, My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor will, The ship is anchor’d safe and sound, its voyage closed and done, From fearful trip the victor ship comes in with object won; Exult O shores, and ring O bells! But I with mournful tread, Walk the deck my Captain lies, Fallen cold and dead.
02:33
April 7, 2020
"Hope" is the thing with feathers by Emily Dickinson
“Hope” is the thing with feathers - That perches in the soul - And sings the tune without the words - And never stops - at all - And sweetest - in the Gale - is heard - And sore must be the storm - That could abash the little Bird That kept so many warm - I’ve heard it in the chillest land - And on the strangest Sea - Yet - never - in Extremity, It asked a crumb - of me.
01:23
April 7, 2020
Alone With Everybody Poem by Charles Bukowski
the flesh covers the bone and they put a mind in there and sometimes a soul, and the women break vases against the walls and the men drink too much and nobody finds the one but keep looking crawling in and out of beds. flesh covers the bone and the flesh searches for more than flesh. there's no chance at all: we are all trapped by a singular fate. nobody ever finds the one. the city dumps fill the junkyards fill the madhouses fill the hospitals fill the graveyards fill
01:49
April 7, 2020
Down By the Salley Gardens by William Butler Yeats
Down by the salley gardens my love and I did meet; She passed the salley gardens with little snow-white feet. She bid me take love easy, as the leaves grow on the tree; But I, being young and foolish, with her would not agree. In a field by the river my love and I did stand, And on my leaning shoulder she laid her snow-white hand. She bid me take life easy, as the grass grows on the weirs; But I was young and foolish, and now am full of tears.
01:29
April 7, 2020
Bluebird by Charles Bukowski
There's a bluebird in my heart that wants to get out But I'm too tough for him I say, stay in there I'm not going to let anybody see you There's a bluebird in my heart that wants to get out But I pour whiskey on him and inhale cigarette smoke And the whores and the bartenders and the grocery clerks Never know that he's in there There's a bluebird in my heart that wants to get out But I'm too tough for him I say Stay down, do you want to mess me up? You want to screw up the works? You want to blow my book sales in Europe? There's a bluebird in my heart that wants to get out But I'm too clever, I only let him out at night sometimes When everybody's asleep I say, I know that you're there So don't be sad Then I put him back But he's singing a little in there, I haven't quite let him die And we sleep together like that with our Secret pact And it's nice enough to make a man Weep But I don't weep Do you?
02:17
April 7, 2020
And The People Stayed Home By Kitty O’Meara
And the people stayed home.  And read books, and listened, and rested, and exercised, and made art, and played games, and learned new ways of being, and were still.  And listened more deeply.  Some meditated, some prayed, some danced. Some met their shadows. And the people began to think differently. And the people healed. And, in the absence of people living in ignorant, dangerous, mindless, and heartless ways, the earth began to heal. And when the danger passed, and the people joined together again, they grieved their losses, and made new choices, and dreamed new images, and created new ways to live and heal the earth fully, as they had been healed.
02:14
April 7, 2020