H O M E

Poems
by Alan Seeger

(1917)



    Juvenilia

  1. An Ode to Natural Beauty
  2. The Deserted Garden
  3. The Torture of Cuauhtemoc
  4. The Nympholept
  5. The Wanderer
  6. The Need to Love
  7. El Extraviado
  8. La Nue
  9. All That's Not Love . . .
  10. Paris
  11. The Sultan's Palace
  12. Fragments

    Thirty Sonnets:

  13. Sonnet I
  14. Sonnet II
  15. Sonnet III
  16. Sonnet IV
  17. Sonnet V
  18. Sonnet VI
  19. Sonnet VII
  20. Sonnet VIII
  21. Sonnet IX
  22. Sonnet X
  23. Sonnet XI
  24. Sonnet XII
  25. Sonnet XIII
  26. Sonnet XIV
  27. Sonnet XV
  28. Sonnet XVI
  29. Kyrenaikos
  30. Antinous
  31. Vivien
  32. I Loved . . .
  33. Virginibus Puerisque . . .
  34. With a Copy of Shakespeare's Sonnets on Leaving College
  35. Written in a Volume of the Comtesse de Noailles
  36. Coucy
  37. Tezcotzinco
  38. The Old Lowe House, Staten Island
  39. Oneata
  40. n the Cliffs, Newport
  41. O
  42. To England at the Outbreak of the Balkan War
  43. At the Tomb of Napoleon Before the Elections in America -- November, 1912

  44. The Rendezvous
  45. Do You Remember Once . . .
  46. The Bayadere
  47. Eudaemon
  48. Broceliande
  49. Lyonesse
  50. Tithonus
  51. An Ode to Antares

    Translations

  52. Dante. Inferno, Canto XXVI
  53. Ariosto. Orlando Furioso, Canto X, 91-99
  54. On a Theme in the Greek Anthology
  55. After an Epigram of Clement Marot

    Last Poems

  56. The Aisne (1914-15)
  57. Champagne (1914-15)
  58. The Hosts
  59. Maktoob
  60. I Have a Rendezvous with Death . . .

    Sonnets:

  61. Sonnet I
  62. Sonnet II
  63. Sonnet III
  64. Sonnet IV
  65. Sonnet V
  66. Sonnet VI
  67. Sonnet VII
  68. Sonnet VIII
  69. Sonnet IX
  70. Sonnet X
  71. Sonnet XI
  72. Sonnet XII

  73. Bellinglise
  74. Liebestod
  75. Resurgam
  76. A Message to America
  77. Introduction and Conclusion of a Long Poem
  78. Ode in Memory of the American Volunteers Fallen for France

Poets' Corner Scripting
© 2009 Bob Blair, S.L. Spanoudis and
theotherpages.org.
All rights reserved worldwide.


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Seegers Enlistment Photo for the French Foreign Legion
Poems




Alan Seeger

(1917)

Edited for the Web by Bob Blair

. Sonnet I

    DOWN the strait vistas where a city street
    Fades in pale dust and vaporous distances,
    Stained with far fumes the light grows less and less
    And the sky reddens round the day's retreat.
    Now out of orient chambers, cool and sweet,
    Like Nature's pure lustration, Dusk comes down.
    Now the lamps brighten and the quickening town
    Rings with the trample of returning feet.
    And Pleasure, risen from her own warm mould
    Sunk all the drowsy and unloved daylight
    In layers of odorous softness, Paphian girls
    Cover with gauze, with satin, and with pearls,
    Crown, and about her spangly vestments fold
    The ermine of the empire of the Night.

    Alan Seeger

. Sonnet II

    HER courts are by the flux of flaming ways,
    Between the rivers and the illumined sky
    Whose fervid depths reverberate from on high
    Fierce lustres mingled in a fiery haze.
    They mark it inland; blithe and fair of face
    Her suitors follow, guessing by the glare
    Beyond the hilltops in the evening air
    How bright the cressets at her portals blaze.
    On the pure fronts Defeat ere many a day
    Falls like the soot and dirt on city-snow;
    There hopes deferred lie sunk in piteous seams.
    Her paths are disillusion and decay,
    With ruins piled and unapparent woe,
    The graves of Beauty and the wreck of dreams.

    Alan Seeger

. Sonnet III

    THERE was a youth around whose early way
    White angels hung in converse and sweet choir,
    Teaching in summer clouds his thought to stray, -- -
    In cloud and far horizon to desire.
    His life was nursed in beauty, like the stream
    Born of clear showers and the mountain dew,
    Close under snow-clad summits where they gleam
    Forever pure against heaven's orient blue.
    Within the city's shades he walked at last.
    Faint and more faint in sad recessional
    Down the dim corridors of Time outworn,
    A chorus ebbed from that forsaken past,
    A hymn of glories fled beyond recall
    With the lost heights and splendor of life's morn.

    Alan Seeger

. Sonnet IV

    UP AT his attic sill the South wind came
    And days of sun and storm but never peace.
    Along the town's tumultuous arteries
    He heard the heart-throbs of a sentient frame:
    Each night the whistles in the bay, the same
    Whirl of incessant wheels and clanging cars:
    For smoke that half obscured, the circling stars
    Burnt like his youth with but a sickly flame.
    Up to his attic came the city cries -- -
    The throes with which her iron sinews heave -- -
    And yet forever behind prison doors
    Welled in his heart and trembled in his eyes
    The light that hangs on desert hills at eve
    And tints the sea on solitary shores. . . .

    Alan Seeger

. Sonnet V

    A TIDE of beauty with returning May
    Floods the fair city; from warm pavements fume
    Odors endeared; down avenues in bloom
    The chestnut-trees with phallic spires are gay.
    Over the terrace flows the thronged cafe;
    The boulevards are streams of hurrying sound;
    And through the streets, like veins when they abound,
    The lust for pleasure throbs itself away.
    Here let me live, here let me still pursue
    Phantoms of bliss that beckon and recede, -- -
    Thy strange allurements, City that I love,
    Maze of romance, where I have followed too
    The dream Youth treasures of its dearest need
    And stars beyond thy towers bring tidings of.

    Alan Seeger

. Sonnet VI

    GIVE me the treble of thy horns and hoofs,
    The ponderous undertones of 'bus and tram,
    A garret and a glimpse across the roofs
    Of clouds blown eastward over Notre Dame,
    The glad-eyed streets and radiant gatherings
    Where I drank deep the bliss of being young,
    The strife and sweet potential flux of things
    I sought Youth's dream of happiness among!
    It walks here aureoled with the city-light,
    Forever through the myriad-featured mass
    Flaunting not far its fugitive embrace, -- -
    Heard sometimes in a song across the night,
    Caught in a perfume from the crowds that pass,
    And when love yields to love seen face to face.

    Alan Seeger

. Sonnet VII

    TO ME, a pilgrim on that journey bound
    Whose stations Beauty's bright examples are,
    As of a silken city famed afar
    Over the sands for wealth and holy ground,
    Came the report of one -- - a woman crowned
    With all perfection, blemishless and high,
    As the full moon amid the moonlit sky,
    With the world's praise and wonder clad around.
    And I who held this notion of success:
    To leave no form of Nature's loveliness
    Unworshipped, if glad eyes have access there, -- -
    Beyond all earthly bounds have made my goal
    To find where that sweet shrine is and extol
    The hand that triumphed in a work so fair.

    Alan Seeger

. Sonnet VIII

    Oft as by chance, a little while apart
    The pall of empty, loveless hours withdrawn,
    Sweet Beauty, opening on the impoverished heart,
    Beams like the jewel on the breast of dawn:
    Not though high heaven should rend would deeper awe
    Fill me than penetrates my spirit thus,
    Nor all those signs the Patmian prophet saw
    Seem a new heaven and earth so marvelous;
    But, clad thenceforth in iridescent dyes,
    The fair world glistens, and in after days
    The memory of kind lips and laughing eyes
    Lives in my step and lightens all my face, -- -
    So they who found the Earthly Paradise
    Still breathed, returned, of that sweet, joyful place.

    Alan Seeger

. Sonnet IX

    AMID the florid multitude her face
    Was like the full moon seen behind the lace
    Of orchard boughs where clouded blossoms part
    When Spring shines in the world and in the heart.
    As the full-moon-beams to the ferny floor
    Of summer woods through flower and foliage pour,
    So to my being's innermost recess
    Flooded the light of so much loveliness;
    She held as in a vase of priceless ware
    The wine that over arid ways and bare
    My youth was the pathetic thirsting for,
    And where she moved the veil of Nature grew
    Diaphanous and that radiance mantled through
    Which, when I see, I tremble and adore.

    Alan Seeger

. Sonnet X

    A SPLENDOR, flamelike, born to be pursued,
    With palms extent for amorous charity
    And eyes incensed with love for all they see,
    A wonder more to be adored than wooed,
    On whom the grace of conscious womanhood
    Adorning every little thing she does
    Sits like enchantment, making glorious
    A careless pose, a casual attitude;
    Around her lovely shoulders mantle-wise
    Hath come the realm of those old fabulous queens
    Whose storied loves are Art's rich heritage,
    To keep alive in this our latter age
    That force that moving through sweet Beauty's means
    Lifts up Man's soul to towering enterprise.

    Alan Seeger

. Sonnet XI

    A paraphrase of Petrarca, Quando fra l'altre donne . . .

    WHEN among creatures fair of countenance
    Love comes enformed in such proud character,
    So far as other beauty yields to her,
    So far the breast with fiercer longing pants;
    I bless the spot, and hour, and circumstance,
    That wed desire to a thing so high,
    And say, Glad soul, rejoice, for thou and I
    Of bliss unpaired are made participants;
    Hence have come ardent thoughts and waking dreams
    That, feeding Fancy from so sweet a cup,
    Leave it no lust for gross imaginings.
    Through her the woman's perfect beauty gleams
    That while it gazes lifts the spirit up
    To that high source from which all beauty springs.

    Alan Seeger

. Sonnet XII

    LIKE as a dryad, from her native bole
    Coming at dusk, when the dim stars emerge,
    To a slow river at whose silent verge
    Tall poplars tremble and deep grasses roll,
    Come thou no less and, kneeling in a shoal
    Of the freaked flag and meadow buttercup,
    Bend till thine image from the pool beam up
    Arched with blue heaven like an aureole.
    See how adorable in fancy then
    Lives the fair face it mirrors even so,
    O thou whose beauty moving among men
    Is like the wind's way on the woods below,
    Filling all nature where its pathway lies
    With arms that supplicate and trembling sighs.

    Alan Seeger

. Sonnet XIII

    I FANCIED, while you stood conversing there,
    Superb, in every attitude a queen,
    Her ermine thus Boadicea bare,
    So moved amid the multitude Faustine.
    My life, whose whole religion Beauty is,
    Be charged with sin if ever before yours
    A lesser feeling crossed my mind than his
    Who owning grandeur marvels and adores.
    Nay, rather in my dream-world's ivory tower
    I made your image the high pearly sill,
    And mounting there in many a wistful hour,
    Burdened with love, I trembled and was still,
    Seeing discovered from that azure height
    Remote, untrod horizons of delight.

    Alan Seeger

. Sonnet XIV

    IT MAY be for the world of weeds and tares
    And dearth in Nature of sweet Beauty's rose
    That oft as Fortune from ten thousand shows
    One from the train of Love's true courtiers
    Straightway on him who gazes, unawares,
    Deep wonder seizes and swift trembling grows,
    Reft by that sight of purpose and repose,
    Hardly its weight his fainting breast upbears.
    Then on the soul from some ancestral place
    Floods back remembrance of its heavenly birth,
    When, in the light of that serener sphere,
    It saw ideal beauty face to face
    That through the forms of this our meaner Earth
    Shines with a beam less steadfast and less clear.

    Alan Seeger

. Sonnet XV

    ABOVE the ruin of God's holy place,
    Where man-forsaken lay the bleeding rood,
    Whose hands, when men had craved substantial food,
    Gave not, nor folded when they cried, Embrace,
    I saw exalted in the latter days
    Her whom west winds with natal foam bedewed,
    Wafted toward Cyprus, lily-breasted, nude,
    Standing with arms out-stretched and flower-like face.
    And, sick with all those centuries of tears
    Shed in the penance for factitious woe,
    Once more I saw the nations at her feet,
    For Love shone in their eyes, and in their ears
    Come unto me, Love beckoned them, for lo!
    The breast your lips abjured is still as sweet.

    Alan Seeger

. Sonnet XVI

    WHO shall invoke her, who shall be her priest,
    With single rites the common debt to pay?
    On some green headland fronting to the East
    Our fairest boy shall kneel at break of day.
    Naked, uplifting in a laden tray
    New milk and honey and sweet-tinctured wine,
    Not without twigs of clustering apple-spray
    To wreath a garland for Our Lady's shrine.
    The morning planet poised above the sea
    Shall drop sweet influence through her drowsing lid;
    Dew-drenched, his delicate virginity
    Shall scarce disturb the flowers he kneels amid,
    That, waked so lightly, shall lift up their eyes,
    Cushion his knees, and nod between his thighs.

    Alan Seeger



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Poets' Corner Scripting © 2009 S.L. Spanoudis and theotherpages.org.
All rights reserved worldwide.