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- Music, the greatest good that mortals know,
And all of heaven we have below.
- See, as the carver carves a rose,
A wing, a toad, a serpent's eye,
In cruel granite, to disclose
The soft things that in hardness lie
Conrad Aiken, from The Carver
- Your hands once touched this table and this silver,
And I have seen your fingers hold this glass.
These things do not remember you, belovèd,
And yet your touch upon them will not pass.
Conrad Aiken, from Bread and Music
- Sit at the western window. Take the sun
Between your hands like a ball of flaming crystal,
Poise it to let it fall, but hold it still,
And meditate on the beauty of your existence;
The beauty of this, that you exist at all.
Conrad Aiken, from Chiarascuro: Rose
- When I was a boy, and saw bright rows of icicles
In many lengths along a wall
I was dissappointed to find
That I could not play music upon them:
I ran my hand lightly across them
And they fell, tinkling.
I tell you this, young man, so that your expectations of life
Will not be too great.
Conrad Aiken, from Improvisations: Light and Snow
- How many times have I sat here,
How many times will I sit here again,
Thinking these same things over and over in solitude
As a child says over and over
The first word he has learned to say.
Conrad Aiken, from Improvisations: Light and Snow
- All lovely things will have an ending,
All lovely things will fade and die,
And youth, that's now so bravely spending,
Will beg a penny by and by.
Conrad Aiken, from All Lovely Things
- So much do I love wandering,
So much I love the sea and sky,
That it will be a piteous thing
In one small grave to lie.
Zoe Akins, from The Wanderer
- You will hear thunder and remember me,
And think: she wanted storms. The rim
Of the sky will be the colour of hard crimson,
And your heart, as it was then, will be on fire.
- And the sunset itself on such waves of ether that I just can’t comprehend
Whether it is the end of the day, the end of the world,
Or the mystery of mysteries in me again.
- October turned my maple's leaves to gold;
The most are gone now; here and there one lingers:
Soon these will slip from out the twigs weak hold,
Like coins between a dying miser's fingers.
Thomas Bailey Aldrich, from Maple Leaves
- All things bright and beauteous,
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wondrous,
The LORD GOD made them all.
Cecil Frances Alexander, from All things bright and beauteous
- To catch some fragment from her hands
That else would fall into the sands
And lie lost and disintegrate:
For this I wait: for this I wait.
Kenneth Slade Alling, from Beauty
- Honor the maggot,
he spurs the rate of change. . . .
A. R. Ammons, "Catalyst," 1-3
- how we own who are owned!
A. R. Ammons, "Christmas Eve," 68
- Overall is beyond me: is the sum of these events
I cannot draw, the ledger I cannot keep, the accounting
beyond the account. . . .
A. R. Ammons, "Corson's Inlet," 30-32
- Mud is
A. R. Ammons, "Upright," 24-26
- the leaves that shake
in the aftermath shake
in a safe, tested place.
A. R. Ammons, "Storm," 16-18
- Applause is a shower
to the watertable of
self regard. . . .
A. R. Ammons, "Increment," 1-3
- tune up
drill imagination right through necessity. . . .
A. R. Ammons, "Play," 15-17
- shadows are bodiless shapes, yet they have a song.
A. R. Ammons, "Transaction," 24
- The steed bit his master;
How came this to pass?
He heard the good pastor
Cry, "All flesh is grass."
Anonymous, from On a Clergyman's Horse Biting Him
- We cannot kindle when we will
The fire which in the heart resides,
The spirit bloweth and is still,
In mystery our soul abides:
But tasks, in hours of insight willed,
May be through hours of gloom fulfilled.
- Nature, with equal mind,
Sees all her sons at play,
Sees man control the wind,
The wind sweep man away.
- 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.
Matthew Arnold, from Dover Beach
- Man must begin, know this, where Nature ends;
Nature and man can never be fast friends.
Matthew Arnold, from In Harmony with Nature (lines 12-13)
- Yes! in the sea of life enisled,
With echoing straits between us thrown,
Dotting the shoreless watery wild,
We mortal millions live alone.
Matthew Arnold, from To Marguerite--Continued (lines 1-4)
- Wandering between two worlds, one dead,
The other powerless to be born,
With nowhere yet to rest my head,
Like these, on earth I wait forlorn.
Matthew Arnold, from Stanzas from the Grande Chartreuse (85-88)
- For what wears out the life of mortal men?
'Tis that from change to change their being rolls....
Matthew Arnold, from The Scholar-Gipsy (lines 142-143)
- We, in some unknown Power's employ,
Move on a rigorous line;
Can neither, when we will, enjoy,
Nor, when we will, resign.
Matthew Arnold, from Stanzas in Memory of the Author of 'Obermann' (133-136)
- Calm soul of all things! make it mine
To feel, amid the city's jar,
That there abides a peace of thine,
Man did not make, and cannot mar.
Matthew Arnold, from Lines Written in Kensington Gardens (lines 37-40)
- The stars are not wanted now; put out every one,
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun,
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the woods;
For nothing now can ever come to any good.
W. H. Auden, from Four Cabaret Songs for Miss Hedli Anderson
- Let them leave language to their lonely betters
Who count some days and long for certain letters;
We, too, make noises when we laugh or weep,
Words are for those with promises to keep.
W. H. Auden, from Their Lonely Betters
- I'll love you, dear, I'll love you
Till China and Africa meet
And the river jumps over the mountain
And the salmon run in the street.
W. H. Auden, from Song: As I Walked Out One Evening
- When he laughed, respectable senators burst with laughter,
And when he cried the little children died in the streets.
W. H. Auden, from Epitaph on a Tyrant
- When we do evil,
We and our victems
Are equally bewildered.
W. H. Auden
- When have we not preferred some going round
To going straight to where we are?
W. H. Auden, "Our Bias," 13-14
- Genius, that power that dazzles mortal eyes,
Is oft but perserverence in disguise.
Henry Willard Austin, from Perserverence Conquers All