Showing posts with label Classic poetry. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Classic poetry. Show all posts

Classic Poetry: "The Man in the Moon" (James Whitcomb Riley, 1849-1916)


James Whitcomb Riley, 1913

Said the Raggedy Man on a hot afternoon,
---------------What a lot o' mistakes
Some little folks makes on the Man in the Moon!
But people that's been up to see him like Me,
And calls on him frequent and intimutly,
Might drop a few hints that would interest you
---------------If you wanted 'em to--
Some actual facts that might interest you!"

"O the Man in the Moon has a crick in his back;
---------------Ain't you sorry for him?
And a mole on his nose that is purple and black;
And his eyes are so weak that they water and run
If he dares to dream even he looks at the sun,--
So he jes' dreams of stars, as the doctors advise--
---------------But isn't he wise--
To jes' dream of stars, as the doctors advise?"


Apollo 11: "The Eagle Has Landed," Part 1


"And the Man in the Moon has a boil on his ear--
---------------What a singular thing!
I know! but these facts are authentic, my dear,--
There's a boil on his ear; and a corn on his chin,--
He calls it a dimple,--but dimples stick in,--
Yet it might be a dimple turned over, you know!
---------------Why certainly so!--
It might be a dimple turned over, you know!"


Apollo 11: "The Eagle Has Landed," Part 2


"And the Man in the Moon has a rheumatic knee,
---------------What a pity that is!
And his toes have worked round where his heels ought to be.
So whenever he wants to go North he goes South,
And comes back with the porridge crumbs all round his mouth,
And he brushes them off with a Japanese fan,
---------------What a marvellous man!
What a very remarkably marvellous man!"


Apollo 11: "The Eagle Has Landed," Part 3


"And the Man in the Moon," sighed the Raggedy Man,
---------------Sullonesome, you know!
Up there by himself since creation began!--
That when I call on him and then come away,
He grabs me and holds me and begs me to stay,--
Till--well, if it wasn't for Jimmy-cum-Jim,
---------------I'd go pardners with him!
Jes' jump my bob here and be pardners with him!"

--James Whitcomb Riley, 1892

Classic Poetry--"The Vowels: An Enigma" (Jonathan Swift, 1667-1745)

Jonathan Swift _________________________________________________________

We are little airy creatures,

All of diffrent voice and features;

One of us in glass is set,

One of us you'll find in jet,

T'other you may see in tin,

And the fourth a box within,

If the fifth you should pursue,

It can never fly from you.


Classic Poetry: Robin Redbreast (William Allingham, 1824-1889)

Robin Redbreast

Good-bye, good-bye to Summer!
--For Summer’s nearly done;
The garden smiling faintly,
--Cool breezes in the sun!
Our thrushes now are silent,—
--Our swallows flown away,—
But Robin’s here in coat of brown,
--And scarlet breast-knot gay.
----Robin, Robin Redbreast,
------O Robin dear!
----Robin sings so sweetly
------In the falling of the year.

Bright yellow, red, and orange,
--The leaves come down in hosts;
The trees are Indian princes,
--But soon they’ll turn to ghosts;
The scanty pears and apples
--Hang russet on the bough;
It’s autumn, autumn, autumn late,
--’Twill soon be winter now.
----Robin, Robin Redbreast,
------O Robin dear!
----And what will this poor Robin do?
------For pinching days are near.

The fireside for the cricket,
--The wheat-stack for the mouse,
When trembling night-winds whistle
--And moan all round the house.
The frosty ways like iron,
--The branches plumed with snow,—
Alas! in winter dead and dark,
--Where can poor Robin go?
----Robin, Robin Redbreast,
------O Robin dear!
----And a crumb of bread for Robin,
------His little heart to cheer.

--From Flower Pieces and other poems (London: Reeves and Turner, 1888).

Classic Poetry: Orpheus With His Lute (William Shakespeare, 1564-1616)

Image adapted from a painting by Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot (1796-1875)

Orpheus with his lute made trees

And the mountain tops that freeze

--Bow themselves when he did sing:

To his music plants and flowers

Ever sprung; as sun and showers

--There had made a lasting spring.


Orpheus With His Lute


von Ralph Vaughan Williams
1. Strophe W. Shakespeare
2. Strophe Th. Bremser
Arrangement für Laute und Altus von Thomas Bocklenberg
Thomas B Duo
Live am 30. November 2007 OaR4.6
Thomas Bremser, Altus
Thomas Bocklenberg, Laute


Every thing that heard him play,

Even the billows of the sea,

--Hung their heads and then lay by.

In sweet music is such art, 10

--Killing care and grief of heart

--Fall asleep, or hearing, die.

Classic Poetry: A Riddle (Hannah More, 1745-1833)

Hannah More, After the painting by H.W. Pickersgill, A.R.A.

I'm a strange contraction; I'm new, and I'm old,

I'm often in tatteres, and oft decked with gold.

Though I could never read, yet lettered I'm found;

Though blind, I enlighten; though loose, I am bound,

I'm always in black, and I'm always in white;

I'm grave and I'm gay, I am heavy and light--

In form too, I differ--I'm thick and I'm thin,

I've no flesh and bones, yet I'm covered with skin;

I've more points than the compass, more stops than the flute;

I sing without voice, without speaking confute.

I'm English, I'm German, I'm French, and I'm Dutch;

Some love me too fondly, some slight me too much;

I often die soon, though I sometimes live ages,

And no monarch alive has so many pages.


What am I?

To find out the answer,

highlight the following: A Book!!!!!!!!


Classic Poetry: Tom O'Bedlam (Anonymous Folk Song)


"The Interior of Bedlam," from A Rake's Progress, by William Hogarth, 1763.
(McCormick Library, Northwestern University--From Wikipedia).

From the hag and hungry goblin,
That into rags would rend ye,
------The spirit that stands
------By the naked man
In the Book of Moons, defend ye,

That of your five sound senses,
You never be forsaken,
------Nor wander from
------Yourselves with Tom,
Abroad to beg your bacon.

------ While I do sing "Any food, any feeding?
------ Money, drink, or clothing?
------ Come dame or maid,
------ Be not afraid--
------ Poor Tom will injure nothing."

Of thirty bare years have I,
Twice twenty been enraged,
------ And of forty been
------ Three times fifteen,
in durance soundly caged,

In the lordly lofts of Bedlam,
With the stubble soft and dainty,
------ Brave bracelets strong,
------ Sweet whips ding-dong,
With wholesome hunger plenty.

------ And now I sing "Any food, any feeding?
------ Money, drink, or clothing?
------ Come dame or maid,
------ be not afraid--
------ Poor Tom will injure nothing."

With a thought I took for Maudlin,
And a cruse of cockle pottage.
------ With a thing thus tall,
------ Sky bless you all,
I befell into this dotage.

I slept not since the Conquest,
Till then I never waked.
------ Till the roguish boy
------ Of love where I lay
Me found and stripped me naked.

------ While I do sing "Any food, any feeding?
------ Money, drink, or clothing?
------ Come dame or maid,
------ be not afraid--
------ Poor Tom will injure nothing."

When short I have shorn my sow's face,
And swigged my horny barrel,
------ In an oaken inn,
------ I pound my skin
As a suit of gilt apparel.

The Moon's my constant mistress,
And the lonely owl my marrow.
------The flaming drake
------and the night crow make
Me music to my sorrow.

------ While I do sing "Any food, any feeding?
------ Money, drink, or clothing?
------ Come dame or maid,
------ be not afraid--
------ Poor Tom will injure nothing."

The palsy plagues my pulses,
When I prig your pigs or pullen.
------ Your culvers take,
------ or matchless make
Your Chanticleer or Sullen.

When I want provant, with Humphry
I sup, and when benighted,
------ I repose in Paul's
------ with waking souls,
Yet never am affrighted.

------ But I do sing "Any food, any feeding?
------ Money, drink, or clothing?
------ Come dame or maid,
------ be not afraid--
------ Poor Tom will injure nothing."

I know more than Apollo,
For oft when he lies sleeping
------ I see the stars
------ at mortal wars
In the wounded welkin weeping.

The moon embrace her shepherd,
And the Queen of Love her warrior,
------ While the first doth horn
------ the star of morn,
and the next the heavenly Farrier.

------ While I do sing "Any food, any feeding?
------ Money, drink, or clothing?
------ Come dame or maid,
------ be not afraid--
------ Poor Tom will injure nothing."

The Gypsies, Snap and Pedro,
Are none of Tom's comradoes,
------ The punk I scorn,
------ and the cutpurse sworn
And the roaring boy's bravadoes.

The meek, the white, the gentle,
Me handle not nor spare not;
------ But those that cross
------ Tom Rynosseross
Do what the panther dare not.

------ Although I sing "Any food, any feeding?
------ Money, drink, or clothing?
------ Come dame or maid,
------ be not afraid--
------ Poor Tom will injure nothing."

With an host of furious fancies,
Whereof I am commander.
------ With a burning spear
------ And a horse of Air,
To the wilderness I wander.

By a knight of ghosts and shadows,
I summoned am to tourney
------ Ten leagues beyond
------ The wild world's end--
Methinks it is no journey.

------ Yet I do sing "Any food, any feeding?
------ Money, drink, or clothing?
------ Come dame or maid,
------ be not afraid--
------ Poor Tom will injure nothing."


Classic Poetry: "Pheidippides" (Robert Browning, 1812-1889)


Robert Browning

First I salute this soil of the blessed, river and rock!

Gods of my birthplace, dæmons and heroes, honour to all!

Then I name thee, claim thee for our patron, co-equal in praise

Ay, with Zeus the Defender, with Her of the ægis and spear!

Also, ye of the bow and the buskin, praised be your peer,

Now, henceforth, and forever, O latest to whom I upraise

Hand and heart and voice! For Athens, leave pasture and flock!

Present to help, potent to save, Pan, patron I call!

Archons of Athens, topped by the tettix, see, I return!

See, 'tis myself here standing alive, no spectre that speaks!

Crowned with the myrtle, did you command me, Athens and you,

"Run, Pheidippides, run and race, reach Sparta for aid!

Persia has come, we are here, where is She?" Your command I obeyed,

Ran and raced: like stubble, some field which a fire runs through,

Was the space between city and city: two days, two nights did I burn

Over the hills, under the dales, down pits and up peaks.

Into their midst I broke: breath served but for "Persia has come!

Persia bids Athens proffer slaves'-tribute, water and earth;

Razed to the ground is Eretria. but Athens? shall Athens, sink,

Drop into dust and die, the flower of Hellas utterly die,

Die with the wide world spitting at Sparta, the stupid, the stander-by?

Answer me quick, what help, what hand do you stretch o'er destruction's brink?

How, when? No care for my limbs! there's lightning in all and some,

Fresh and fit your message to bear, once lips give it birth!"

O my Athens, Sparta love thee? did Sparta respond?

Every face of her leered in a furrow of envy, mistrust,

Malice, each eye of her gave me its glitter of gratified hate!

Gravely they turned to take counsel, to cast for excuses. I stood

Quivering, the limbs of me fretting as fire frets, an inch from dry wood:

"Persia has come, Athens asks aid, and still they debate?

Thunder, thou Zeus! Athene, are Spartans a quarry beyond

Swing of thy spear? Phoibos and Artemis, clang them 'Ye must'!"

No bolt launched from Olumpos! Lo, their answer at last!

"Has Persia come, does Athens ask aid, may Sparta befriend?

Nowise precipitate judgment, too weighty the issue at stake!

Count we no time lost time which lags thro' respect to the Gods!

Ponder that precept of old, 'No warfare, whatever the odds

In your favour, so long as the moon, half-orbed, is unable to take

Full-circle her state in the sky!' Already she rounds to it fast:

Athens must wait, patient as we, who judgment suspend."

Athens, except for that sparkle, thy name, I had mouldered to ash!

That sent a blaze thro' my blood; off, off and away was I back,

Not one word to waste, one look to lose on the false and the vile!

Yet "O Gods of my land!" I cried, as each hillock and plain,

Wood and stream, I knew, I named, rushing past them again,

"Have ye kept faith, proved mindful of honours we paid you erewhile?

Vain was the filleted victim, the fulsome libation! Too rash

Love in its choice, paid you so largely service so slack!

"Oak and olive and bay, I bid you cease to en-wreathe

50Brows made bold by your leaf! Fade at the Persian's foot,

You that, our patrons were pledged, should never adorn a slave!

Rather I hail thee, Parnes, trust to thy wild waste tract!

Treeless, herbless, lifeless mountain! What matter if slacked

My speed may hardly be, for homage to crag and to cave

No deity deigns to drape with verdure? at least I can breathe,

Fear in thee no fraud from the blind, no lie from the mute!"

Such my cry as, rapid, I ran over Parnes' ridge;

Gully and gap I clambered and cleared till, sudden, a bar

Jutted, a stoppage of stone against me, blocking the way.

Right! for I minded the hollow to traverse, the fissure across:

"Where I could enter, there I depart by! Night in the fosse?

Athens to aid? Tho' the dive were thro' Erebos, thus I obey

Out of the day dive, into the day as bravely arise! No bridge

Better!" when, ha! what was it I came on, of wonders that are?

There, in the cool of a cleft, sat he, majestical Pan!

Ivy drooped wanton, kissed his head, moss cushioned his hoof;

All the great God was good in the eyes grave-kindly, the curl

Carved on the bearded cheek, amused at a mortal's awe

As, under the human trunk, the goat-thighs grand I saw.

"Halt, Pheidippides!", halt I did, my brain of a whirl:

"Hither to me! Why pale in my presence?"! he gracious began:

"How is it, Athens, only in Hellas, holds me aloof?

"Athens, she only, rears me no fane, makes me no feast!

Wherefore? Than I what godship to Athens more helpful of old?

Ay, and still, and forever her friend! Test Pan, trust me!

Go bid Athens take heart, laugh Persia to scorn, have faith

In the temples and tombs! Go, say to Athens, 'The Goat-God saith:

When Persia so much as strews not the soil, Is cast in the sea,

Then praise Pan who fought in the ranks with your most and least,

Goat-thigh to greaved-thigh, made one cause with the free and the bold!'

"Say Pan saith: 'Let this, foreshowing the place, be the pledge!'"

(Gay, the liberal hand held out this herbage I bear

Fennel, I grasped it a-tremble with dew, whatever it bode),

"While, as for thee..." But enough! He was gone. If I ran hitherto,

Be sure that the rest of my journey, I ran no longer, but flew.

Parnes to Athens, earth no more, the air was my road;

Here am I back. Praise Pan, we stand no more on the razor's edge!

Pan for Athens, Pan for me! I too have a guerdon rare!

Then spoke Miltiades. "And thee, best runner of Greece,

Whose limbs did duty indeed, what gift is promised thyself?

Tell it us straightway, Athens the mother demands of her son!"

Rosily blushed the youth: he paused: but, lifting at length

His eyes from the ground, it seemed as he gathered the rest of his strength

Into the utterance "Pan spoke thus: 'For what thou hast done

Count on a worthy reward! Henceforth be allowed thee release

From the racer's toil, no vulgar reward in praise or in pelf!'

"I am bold to believe, Pan means reward the most to my mind!

Fight I shall, with our foremost, wherever this fennel may grow,

Pound, Pan helping us, Persia to dust, and, under the deep,

Whelm her away forever; and then, no Athens to save,

Marry a certain maid, I know keeps faith to the brave,

Hie to my house and home: and, when my children shall creep

Close to my knees, recount how the God was awful yet kind,

Promised their sire reward to the full, rewarding him, so!"

Unforeseeing one! Yes, he fought on the Marathon day:

So, when Persia was dust, all cried "To Akropolis!

Run, Pheidippides, one race more! the meed is thy due!

'Athens is saved, thank Pan,' go shout!" He flung down his shield,

Ran like fire once more: and the space 'twixt the Fennel-field

And Athens was stubble again, a field which a fire runs through,

Till in he broke: "Rejoice, we conquer!" Like wine thro' clay,

Joy in his blood bursting his heart, he died, the bliss!

So, to this day, when friend meets friend, the word of salute

Is still "Rejoice!" his word which brought rejoicing indeed.

So is Pheidippides happy forever, the noble strong man

Who could race like a god, bear the face of a god, whom a god loved so well,

He saw the land saved he had helped to save, and was suffered to tell

Such tidings, yet never decline, but, gloriously as he began,

So to end gloriously, once to shout, thereafter be mute:

"Athens is saved!" Pheidippides dies in the shout for his meed.

1968 Olympics: John Stephen Akhwari of Tanzania Finishes the Race


It was almost 7 pm in Mexico City, October 1968. One hour earlier the winners of the 26 mile Olympic marathon had crossed the finish line. It had been a grueling hot day as the high altitude affected all the athletes. The sky was beginning to darken and most of the stadium was empty. As the last few spectators were preparing to leave, police sirens and flashing lights caught their attention. A lone runner, wearing the colours of Tanzania had just emerged through the stadium gate. Limping, with his leg bandaged he found the last of his endurance to step up his pace and finish the race. His name was John Stephen Akhwari." Give everything, and then find a little more to finish the race.


Snowflake Song (Hilda Conkling, 1910-1986)


Hilda Conkling as pictured in Poems by a Little Girl _____________________________________________________________________

Snowflakes come in fleets

Like ships over the sea.

The moon shines down on the crusty snow:

The stars make the sky sparkle like gold-fish

In a glassy bowl.

Bluebirds are gone now,

But they left their song behind them.

The moon seems to say:

It is time for summer when the birds come back

To pick up their lonesome songs.


Hilda Conkling was a child poet; between the ages of 4-10, she would often recite her poems to her mother, who would then write them down. Eventually, Hilda's mother stopped writing the poems down.

Most of Conkling poems were written when she was a child and have to do with the natural world.



Classic Poetry: "Fog" (Carl Sandburg, 1878-1967)


Carl Sandburg

The fog comes
on little cat feet.

Harbor Fog (Duluth, Minnesota)


It sits looking
over harbor and city
on silent haunches
and then moves on.

--1917, from Handfuls

Classic Poetry: "There Will Come Soft Rains," Sara Teasdale, 1884-1933

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;


Terrible Beauty


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.


"August 2026: There Will Come Soft Rains" (Based on Ray Bradbury's short story, which includes Teasdale's poem)


Classic Poetry: Meg Merrilies (John Keats, 1795-1821)

John Keats

Old Meg she was a Gipsy,
----And liv'd upon the Moors:
Her bed it was the brown heath turf,
----And her house was out of doors.

Her apples were swart blackberries,
----Her currants pods o' broom;
Her wine was dew of the wild white rose,
----Her book a churchyard tomb.

Her Brothers were the craggy hills,
----Her Sisters larchen trees--
Alone with her great family
----She liv'd as she did please.

No breakfast had she many a morn,
----No dinner many a noon,
And 'stead of supper she would stare
----Full hard against the Moon.

But every morn of woodbine fresh
----She made her garlanding,
And every night the dark glen Yew
----She wove, and she would sing.

And with her fingers old and brown
----She plaited Mats o' Rushes,
And gave them to the Cottagers
----She met among the Bushes.

Old Meg was brave as Margaret Queen
----And tall as Amazon:
An old red blanket cloak she wore;
----A chip hat had she on.
God rest her aged bones somewhere--
----She died full long agone!


Classic Poetry: "The Raven," by Edgar Allan Poe; performed by Vincent Price

Edgar Allan Poe

(First Published in 1845)

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 someone 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 forevermore.

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 the darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing
Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortals 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, something 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."

1884 illustration by Gustave Dore.

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 the lordly name is on the Night's Plutonian shore."
Quoth the raven, "Nevermore."

1858 Illustration by John Tennial

Much I marvelled this ungainly fowl to hear discourse so plainly,
Though its answer little meaning, little relevancy bore;
For we cannot help agreeing that no living human being
Ever yet was blessed with seeing bird above his chamber door,
Bird or beast upon the sculptured bust above his chamber door,
With such name as "Nevermore."

But the raven, sitting lonely on that placid bust, spoke only
That one word, as if his soul in that one word he did outpour.
Nothing further then he uttered; not a feather then he fluttered;
Till I scarcely more than muttered, "Other friends have flown before;
On the morrow he will leave me, as my hopes have flown before."
Then the bird said, "Nevermore."

Startled at the stillness broken by reply so aptly spoken,
"Doubtless," said I, "what it utters is its only stock and store,
Caught from some unhappy master, whom unmerciful disaster
Followed fast and followed faster, till his songs one burden bore,--
Till the dirges of his hope that melancholy burden bore
Of "Never--nevermore."

But the raven still beguiling all my sad soul into smiling,
Straight I wheeled a cushioned seat in front of bird, and bust and door;
Then, upon the velvet sinking, I betook myself to linking
Fancy unto fancy, thinking what this ominous bird of yore --
What this grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt and ominous bird of yore
Meant in croaking "Nevermore."

Thus I sat engaged in guessing, but no syllable expressing
To the fowl, whose fiery eyes now burned into my bosom's core;
This and more I sat divining, with my head at ease reclining
On the cushion's velvet lining that the lamplight gloated o'er,
But whose velvet violet lining with the lamplight gloating o'er
She shall press, ah, nevermore!

Then, methought, the air grew denser, perfumed from an unseen censer
Swung by seraphim whose footfalls tinkled on the tufted floor.
"Wretch," I cried, "thy God hath lent thee -- by these angels he hath
Sent thee respite---respite and nepenthe from thy memories of Lenore!
Quaff, O quaff this kind nepenthe, and forget this lost Lenore!"
Quoth the raven, "Nevermore!"

"Prophet!" said I, "thing of evil!--prophet still, if bird or devil!
Whether tempter sent, or whether tempest tossed thee here ashore,
Desolate, yet all undaunted, on this desert land enchanted--
On this home by horror haunted--tell me truly, I implore:
Is there--is there balm in Gilead?--tell me--tell me I implore!"
Quoth the raven, "Nevermore."

"Prophet!" said I, "thing of evil--prophet still, if bird or devil!
By that heaven that bends above us--by that God we both adore--
Tell this soul with sorrow laden, if, within the distant Aidenn,
It shall clasp a sainted maiden, whom the angels name Lenore---
Clasp a rare and radiant maiden, whom the angels name Lenore?
Quoth the raven, "Nevermore."

"Be that word our sign of parting, bird or fiend!" I shrieked, upstarting--
"Get thee back into the tempest and the Night's Plutonian shore!
Leave no black plume as a token of that lie thy soul hath spoken!
Leave my loneliness unbroken! -- quit the bust above my door!
Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my door!"
Quoth the raven, "Nevermore."

And the raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting
On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door;
And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon's that is dreaming.
And the lamplight o'er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor;
And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor
Shall be lifted---nevermore!

"The Raven" as Performance

MasterMagi, performed by Vincent Price, directed by Johnny Thompson

Classic Poetry: The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" Animated Reading by T.S. Eliot


S’io credesse che mia risposta fosse
A persona che mai tornasse al mondo,
Questa fiamma staria senza piu scosse.
Ma perciocche giammai di questo fondo
Non torno vivo alcun, s’i’odo il vero,
Senza tema d’infamia ti rispondo.


T. S. Eliot "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" Poem Movie


Let us go then, you and I,
When the evening is spread out against the sky
Like a patient etherised upon a table;
Let us go, through certain half-deserted streets,
The muttering retreats 5
Of restless nights in one-night cheap hotels
And sawdust restaurants with oyster-shells:
Streets that follow like a tedious argument
Of insidious intent
To lead you to an overwhelming question …
Oh, do not ask, “What is it?”
Let us go and make our visit.

In the room the women come and go
Talking of Michelangelo.

The yellow fog that rubs its back upon the window-panes,
The yellow smoke that rubs its muzzle on the window-panes
Licked its tongue into the corners of the evening,
Lingered upon the pools that stand in drains,
Let fall upon its back the soot that falls from chimneys,
Slipped by the terrace, made a sudden leap,
And seeing that it was a soft October night,
Curled once about the house, and fell asleep.

And indeed there will be time
For the yellow smoke that slides along the street,
Rubbing its back upon the window-panes;
There will be time, there will be time
To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet;
There will be time to murder and create,
And time for all the works and days of hands
That lift and drop a question on your plate;
Time for you and time for me,
And time yet for a hundred indecisions,
And for a hundred visions and revisions,
Before the taking of a toast and tea.

In the room the women come and go
Talking of Michelangelo.

And indeed there will be time
To wonder, “Do I dare?” and, “Do I dare?”
Time to turn back and descend the stair,
With a bald spot in the middle of my hair—
[They will say: “How his hair is growing thin!”]
My morning coat, my collar mounting firmly to the chin,
My necktie rich and modest, but asserted by a simple pin—
[They will say: “But how his arms and legs are thin!”]
Do I dare
Disturb the universe?
In a minute there is time
For decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse.

For I have known them all already, known them all:—
Have known the evenings, mornings, afternoons,
I have measured out my life with coffee spoons;
I know the voices dying with a dying fall
Beneath the music from a farther room.
--So how should I presume?

And I have known the eyes already, known them all—
The eyes that fix you in a formulated phrase,
And when I am formulated, sprawling on a pin,
When I am pinned and wriggling on the wall,
Then how should I begin
To spit out all the butt-ends of my days and ways?
--And how should I presume?

And I have known the arms already, known them all—
Arms that are braceleted and white and bare
[But in the lamplight, downed with light brown hair!]
It is perfume from a dress 65
That makes me so digress?
Arms that lie along a table, or wrap about a shawl.
--And should I then presume?
--And how should I begin?


Shall I say, I have gone at dusk through narrow streets
And watched the smoke that rises from the pipes
Of lonely men in shirt-sleeves, leaning out of windows?…

I should have been a pair of ragged claws
Scuttling across the floors of silent seas.


And the afternoon, the evening, sleeps so peacefully!
Smoothed by long fingers,
Asleep … tired … or it malingers,
Stretched on the floor, here beside you and me.
Should I, after tea and cakes and ices,
Have the strength to force the moment to its crisis?
But though I have wept and fasted, wept and prayed,
Though I have seen my head [grown slightly bald] brought in upon a platter,
I am no prophet—and here’s no great matter;
I have seen the moment of my greatness flicker,
And I have seen the eternal Footman hold my coat, and snicker,
And in short, I was afraid.

And would it have been worth it, after all,
After the cups, the marmalade, the tea,
Among the porcelain, among some talk of you and me,
Would it have been worth while,
To have bitten off the matter with a smile,
To have squeezed the universe into a ball
To roll it toward some overwhelming question,
To say: “I am Lazarus, come from the dead,
Come back to tell you all, I shall tell you all”—
If one, settling a pillow by her head,
--Should say: “That is not what I meant at all.
--That is not it, at all.”

And would it have been worth it, after all,
Would it have been worth while,
After the sunsets and the dooryards and the sprinkled streets,
After the novels, after the teacups, after the skirts that trail along the floor—
And this, and so much more?—
It is impossible to say just what I mean!
But as if a magic lantern threw the nerves in patterns on a screen:
Would it have been worth while
If one, settling a pillow or throwing off a shawl,
And turning toward the window, should say:
--“That is not it at all,
--That is not what I meant, at all.”


No! I am not Prince Hamlet, nor was meant to be;
Am an attendant lord, one that will do
To swell a progress, start a scene or two,
Advise the prince; no doubt, an easy tool,
Deferential, glad to be of use,
Politic, cautious, and meticulous;
Full of high sentence, but a bit obtuse;
At times, indeed, almost ridiculous—
Almost, at times, the Fool.

I grow old … I grow old …
I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.

Shall I part my hair behind? Do I dare to eat a peach?
I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach.
I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each.

I do not think that they will sing to me.

I have seen them riding seaward on the waves
Combing the white hair of the waves blown back
When the wind blows the water white and black.

We have lingered in the chambers of the sea
By sea-girls wreathed with seaweed red and brown
Till human voices wake us, and we drown.

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