Collected Poetry

Some of my favorite poems:

Days Philip Larkin
The Stolen Child William Butler Yeats
Blind Men Charles Baudelaire
The name - of it - is "Autumn" Emily Dickinson
The Heart asks Pleasure - first - Emily Dickinson
The Future - never spoke - Emily Dickinson
Leaves Before the Wind May Sarton
The Glass Sharon Olds
Tears, Idle Tears Alfred, Lord Tennyson
I Am John Clare
The Bells Edgar Allan Poe
To One in Paradise Edgar Allan Poe
A Drinking Song William Butler Yeats
Not Waving But Drowning Stevie Smith
The Collar George Herbert
Still Falls the Rain Dame Edith Sitwell
Japanese Death Poems

My own poems

A Short Story:

The Masque of the Red Death Edgar Allan Poe


By Philip Larkin

The Stolen Child

By William Butler Yeats

Where dips the rocky highland
Of Sleuth Wood in the lake,
There lies a leafy island
Where flapping herons wake
The drowsy water rats;
There we've hid our faery vats.
Full of berries,
And of reddest stolen cherries.
Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world's more full of weeping
than you can understand.

Where the wave of moonlight glosses
The dim gray sands with light,
Far off by furthest Rosses
We foot it all the night,
Weaving olden dances,
Mingling hands and mingling glances
Till the moon had taken flight;
To and fro we leap
And chase the frothy bubbles,
While the world is full of troubles
And is anxious in its sleep.
Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world's more full of weeping
than you can understand.

Where the wandering water gushes
From the hills above Glen-Car,
In pools among the rushes
That scarce could bathe a star,
We seek for slumbering trout,
And whispering in their ears
Give them unquiet dreams;
Leaning softly out
From ferns that drop their tears
Over the young streams,
Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world's more full of weeping
than you can understand.

Away with us he's going,
The solemn-eyed:
He'll hear no more the lowing
Of the calves on the warm hillside;
Or the kettle on the hob
Sing peace into his breast,
Or see the brown mice bob
Round and round the oatmeal-chest.
For he comes, the human child,
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
From a world more full of weeping than
he can understand.

Blind Men

By Charles Baudelaire
Translation from French by Richard Howard

The name - of it - is "Autumn" -

The name - of it - is "Autumn" -
The hue - of it - is Blood -
An Artery - upon the Hill -
A Vein - along the Road -

Great Globules - in the Alleys -
And Oh, the Shower of Stain -
When Winds - upset the Basin -
And spill the Scarlet Rain -

It sprinkles Bonnets - far below -
It gathers ruddy Pools -
Then - eddies like a Rose - away -
Upon Vermilion Wheels -

Emily Dickinson

The Heart asks Pleasure - first -

The Heart asks Pleasure - first -
And then - Excuse from Pain -
And then - those little Anodynes
That deaden suffering -

And then - to go to sleep -
And then - if it should be
The will of its Inquisitor
The privilege to die -

Emily Dickinson

The Future - never spoke -

The Future - never spoke -
Nor will He - like the Dumb -
Reveal by sign - a syllable
Of His Profound To Come

But when the News be ripe -
Presents it - in the Act -
Forestalling Preparation -
Escape - or Substitute -

Indifferent to Him -
The Dower - as the Doom -
His Office - but to execute
Fate's Telegram - to Him -

Emily Dickinson

Leaves before the Wind

By May Sarton

The Glass

By Sharon Olds, 1990

Tears, Idle Tears

By Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Tears, idle tears, I know not what they mean,
Tears from the depth of some divine despair
Rise in the heart, and gather to the eyes,
In looking on the happy autumn-fields,
And thinking of the days that are no more.

Fresh as the first beam glittering on a sail,
That brings our friends up from the underworld,
Sad as the last which reddens over one
That sinks with all we love below the verge;
So sad, so fresh, the days that are no more.

Ah, sad and strange as in dark summer dawns
The earliest pipe of half-awakened birds
To dying ears, when unto dying eyes
The casement slowly grows a glimmering square;
So sad, so strange, the days that are no more.

Dear as remembered kisses after death,
And sweet as those by hopeless fancy feigned
On lips that are for others; deep as love,
Deep as first love, and wild with all regret;
O Death in Life, the days that are no more.

I Am

By John Clare 1793-1864
A life marked by poverty, misery and confinement to asylums, and yet he was an incredible poet.

I am: yet what I am none cares or knows:
My friends forsake me like a memory lost,
I am the self-consumer of my woes--
They rise and vanish in oblivious host,
Like shadows in love's frenzied stifled throes--
And yet I am, and live--like vapors tossed

Into the nothingness of scorn and noise,
Into the living sea of waking dreams,
Where there is neither sense of life or joys,
But the vast shipwreck of my life's esteems;
Even the dearest, that I love the best,
And strange--nay, rather stranger than the rest.

I long for scenes where man has never trod,
A place where woman never smiled or wept--
There to abide with my Creator, God,
And sleep as I in childhood sweetly slept,
Untroubling and untroubled where I lie,
The grass below--above the vaulted sky.

The Bells

By Edgar Allan Poe

Hear the sledges with the bells--
Silver bells--
What a world of merriment their melody foretells!
How they tinkle, tinkle, tinkle,
In the icy air of night!
While the stars that oversprinkle
All the heavens, seem to twinkle
With a crystalline delight;
Keeping time, time, time,
In a sort of Runic rhyme,
To the tintinnabulation that so musically wells
From the bells, bells, bells, bells,
Bells, bells, bells,--
From the jingling and the tinkling of the bells.

Hear the mellow wedding-bells,
Golden bells!
What a world of happiness their harmony foretells!
Through the balmy air of night
How they ring out their delight
From the molten-golden notes!
And all in tune,
What a liquid ditty floats
To the turtle-dove that listens, while she gloats
On the moon!
Oh, from out the sounding cells,
What a gust of euphony voluminously wells!
How it swells!
How it dwells
On the Future! how it tells
Of rapture that impels
To the swinging and the ringing
Of the bells, bells, bells--
Of the bells, bells, bells, bells,
Bells, bells, bells--
To the rhyming and the chiming of the bells!

Hear the loud alarum bells--
Brazen bells!
What a tale of terror, now, their turbulancy tells!
In the startled ear of night
How they scream out their affright!
Too much horrified to speak,
They can only shriek, shriek,
Out of tune,
In a clamorous appealing to the mercy of the fire,
In a mad expostulation with the deaf and frantic fire
Leaping higher, higher, higher
With a desperate desire,
And a resolute endeavor,
Now--now to sit or never,
By the side of the pale-faced moon.
Oh, the bells, bells, bells!
What a tale their terror tells
Of despair!
How they clang, and clash, and roar!
What a horror they outpour
On the bosom of the palpitating air!
Yet the ear, it fully knows,
By the twanging
And the clanging,
How the danger ebbs and flows;
Yet the ear distinctly tells,
In the jangling
And the wrangling,
How the danger sinks and swells,
By the sinking of the swelling in the anger of the bells--
Of the bells--
Of the bells, bells, bells, bells,
Bells, bells, bells,--
In the clamor and the clangor of the bells!

Hear the tolling of the bells--
Iron bells!
What a world of solemn thought their monody compels!
In a silence of the night
How we shiver with affright
At the meloncholy menace of their tone!
For every sound that floats
From the rust within their throats,
Is a groan:
And the people--ah, the people--
They that dwell up in the steeple,
All alone,
And who, tolling, tolling, tolling,
In that muffled monotone,
Feel a glory in so rolling
On the human heart a stone--
They are neither man nor woman--
They are neither brute nor human--
They are Ghouls!
And their king it is who tolls;
And he rolls, rolls, rolls, rolls,
A paean from the bells!
And his merry bosom swells
With the paean of the bells!
And he dances and he yells;
Keeping time, time, time
In a sort of Runic rhyme,
To the paean of the bells--
Of the bells;
Keeping time, time, time,
In a sort of Runic rhyme,
To the throbbing of the bells--
Of the bells, bells, bells,
To the sobbing of the bells;
Keeping time, time, time,
As he knells, knells, knells,
In a happy Runic rhyme,
To the rolling of the bells,--
Of the bells, bells, bells--
To the tolling of the bells,
Of the bells, bells, bells, bells,
Bells, bells, bells,--
To the moaning and the groaning of the bells.

To One in Paradise

By Edgar Allan Poe

Thou wast that all to me, love,
For which my soul did pine --
A green isle in the sea, love,
A fountain and a shrine,
All wreathed with fairy fruits and flowers,
And all the flowers were mine.

Ah, Dream too bright to last!

Ah starry Hope! that didst arise
But to be overcast!
A voice from out the future cries,
"On! on!" -- but o'er the Past
(Dim gulf!) my spirit hovering lies
Mute, motionless, aghast!

For, alas! alas! with me
The light of Life is o'er!
No more -- no more -- no more --
(Such language holds the solomn sea
To the sands upon the shore)
Shall bloom the thunder-blasted tree,
Or the stricken eagle soar!

And all my days are trances,
And all my nightly dreams
Are where thy grey eye glances,
And where thy footstep gleams --
In what ethereal dances,
By what eternal streams.

A Drinking Song

By William Yeats (1865-1939)

Wine comes in at the mouth,
And love comes in at the eye;
That's all we know for truth
Before we grow old and die.
I lift the glass to my mouth,
I look at you, and I sigh.

Not Waving But Drowning

By Stevie Smith (1902-1971)

Nobody heard him, the dead man,
But still he lay moaning;
I was much futher 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.

The Collar

By George Herbert

    I struck the board and cried, "No more;
    I will abroad!
    What? shall I ever sigh and pine?
My lines and life are free, free as the road,
    Loose as the wind, as large as store.
    Shall I be still in suit?
    Have I no harvest but a thorn
    To let me blood, and not restore
What I have lost with cordial fruit?
    Sure there was wine
    Before my sighs did dry it; there was corn
    Before my tears did drown it.
    Is the year only lost to me?
    Have I no bays to crown it,
No flowers, no garlands gay? All blasted?
            All wasted?
    Not so, my heart; but there is fruit,
    And thou hast hands.
    Recover all thy sigh-blown age
On double pleasures: leave thy cold dispute
Of what is fit and not. Forsake thy cage,
    Thy rope of sands,
Which petty thoughts have made, and made to thee
    Good cable, to enforce and draw,
    And be thy law,
    While thou didst wink and wouldst not see.
    Away! take heed;
    I will abroad.
Call in thy death's-head there; tie up thy fears.
    He that forbears
To suit and serve his need
    Deserves his load."
But as I raved and grew more fierce and wild
    At every word,
Methought I heard one calling, Child!
    And I replied, My Lord.

Notes on the poem printed in 1633:

Still Falls the Rain

Still falls the Rain--
Dark as the world of man, black as our loss--
Blind as the nineteen hundred and forty nails
Upon the Cross.

Still falls the Rain
With a sound like the pulse of the heart that is changed to the hammerbeat
In the Potter's Field, and the sound of the impious feet
On the Tomb:
Still falls the Rain
In the Field of Blood where the small hopes breed and the human brain
Nurtures its greed, that worm with the brow of Cain.

Still falls the Rain
At the feet of the Starved Man hung upon the Cross.
Christ that each day, each night, nails there, have mercy on us--
On Dives and on Lazarus:
Under the Rain the sore and the gold are as one.

Still falls the Rain--
Still falls the Blood from the Starved Man's wounded Side
He bears in his Heart all wounds,--those of the light that died,
The last faint spark
In the self-murdered hear, the wounds of the sad uncomprehending dark,
The wounds of the baited bear,--
The blind and weeping bear whom the keepers beat
On his helpless flesh... the tears of the hunted hare.

Still falls the Rain--
Then--O Ile leape up to my God: who pulles me doune--
See, see where Christ's blood streames in the firmament:
It flows from the Brow we nailed upon the tree
Deep to the dying, to the thirsting heart
That holds the fires of the world,--dark-smirched with pain
As Caesar's laurel crown.

Then sounds the voice of One who like the heart of man
Was once a child who among the beasts has lain--
`Still do I love, still shed my innocent light, my Blood, for thee.'

Dame Edith Sitwell, 1940

Japanese Death Poems

The Japanese have a tradition of writing poems just before they die. I found some excellent poems in an anthology entitled: Japanese Death Poems, compiled by Yoel Hoffmann. There are all kinds--from peaceful to grief stricken to satirical. The three-lined poems were written in the Haiku form, with lines having 5, 7 and 5 syllables in Japanese. The following poems are all taken from this anthology. The notes are quoted from, or paraphrased versions of, the notes in the anthology.

Dairin Soto

A zen monk. Died on the seventh day of the first month, 1578, at the age of eighty nine.

My whole life I've sharpend my sword
And now, face to face with death
I unsheath it, and lo--
The blade is broken--

Morikawa Kyoriku


Till now I thought
that death befell
the untalented alone.
If those with talent, too, must die
surely they make a better manure?


Died on the twenty-fourth day of July, 1927 at the age of thirty six.

Gaki's real name was Akutagawa Ryunosuke. He gave this poem to his aunt on the night of the twenty third and asked her to deliver it to his doctor who was also a haiku poet. That night he committed suicide by drinking poison.


Died on the second day of the tenth month 1731 ath the age of forty-six.

The "scene" may also be referring to that part of his life before he reaches the age of fifty.


Died on the 29th of January 1919 at the age of forty.


Died on the twelth day of the fifth month, 1727 at the age of sixty-two.


Died on the twenty fourth day of the fifth month, 1731 at the age of sixty-seven.

"The setting of Ippu's death poem is in the fall, but it is not taken from nature as evergreen trees do not shed their leaves. The paradox seems to arise from man's wonder in the face of death. As long as he is alive he sees himself as an 'evergreen,' and the falling of leaves has no part in his world. However when the 'death wind' blows..."


Died in about 1750 past the age of thirty.


Died on the twenty fourth day of the seventh month, 1792


Died on the second day of January, 1893


Died on the twenty-third of the eigth month, 1743 at the age of eighty-three.

"Autumn waters" refer to clear waters, and indicate the season in which Rosen died. The poem refers to the final act of cleaning his site of cremation. Rosen prefaced this poem with the words: "The soul will return to the sky and the body will dwell in the earth."

Last modified: Fri Oct 8 17:17:59 EDT 1999