A Few NICE Poems
IT was many and many a year ago
In this 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 in heaven
Coveted her and me.
And that 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 high-born kinsmen came
And bore her away from me,
To shut her up in a sepulcher
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 a wind blew out of a cloud by night,
Chilling and killing my Annabel Lee.
But our love it was stronger by far than the love
Of those that 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 her sepulcher there by the sea--
In her tomb by the sounding sea.
Edgar Allan Poe
THE HOUND OF HEAVEN
I fled Him, down the nights and down the days;
I fled Him, down the arches of the years;
I fled Him, down the labyrinthine ways
Of my own mind; and in the mist of tears
I hid from Him, and under running laughter.
Up vistaed hopes I sped;
And shot, precipitated,
Adown Titanic glooms of chasmed fears,
From those strong Feet that followed, followed after.
But with unhurrying chase,
And unperturbed pace,
Deliberate speed, majestic instancy,
They beat--and a Voice beat
More instant than the Feet--
"All things betray thee, who betrayest Me."
I pleaded, outlaw-wise,
By many a hearted casement, curtained red,
Trellised with intertwining charities
(For, though I knew His love Who followed,
Yet was I sore adread
Lest having Him, I must have naught beside);
But if one little casement parted wide,
The gust of His approach would clash it to.
Fear wist not to evade, as Love wist to pursue.
Across the margent of the world I fled,
And troubled the gold gateways of the stars,
Smiting for shelter on their clanged bars;
Fretted to dulcet jars
And silvern chatter the pale ports o' the moon.
I said to dawn, Be sudden; to eve, Be soon;
With thy young skyey blossoms heap me over
From this tremendous Lover!
Float thy vague veil about me, lest He see!
I tempted all His servitors, but to find
My own betrayal in their constancy,
In faith to Him their fickleness to me,
Their traitorous trueness, and their loyal deceit.
To all swift things for swiftness did I sue;
Clung to the whistling mane of every wind.
But whether they swept, smoothly fleet,
The long savannahs of the blue;
Or whether, Thunder-driven,
They clanged his chariot 'thwart a heaven
flashy with flying lightnings round the spurn o' their feet--
Still with unhurrying chase,
And unperturbèd pace,
Deliberate speed, majestic instancy,
Came on the following Feet,
And a Voice above their beat--
"Naught shelters thee, who wilt not shelter Me." I sought no more that after which I strayed
In face of man or maid;
But still within the little children's eyes
Seems something, something that replies;
They at least are for me, surely for me!
I turned me to them very wistfully;
But, just as their young eyes grew sudden fair
With dawning answers there,
Their angel plucked them from me by the hair.
"Come then, ye other children, Nature's--share
With me," said I, "your delicate fellowship;
Let me greet you lip to lip,
Let me twine with you caresses,
With our Lady-Mother's vagrant tresses'
With her in her wind-walled palace,
Underneath her azured daïs,
Quaffing, as your taintless way is,
From a chalice
Lucent-weeping out of the dayspring."
So it was done;
I in their delicate fellowship was one--
Drew the bolt of Nature's secrecies.
I knew all the swift importings
On the wilful face of skies;
I knew how the clouds arise
Spumèd of the wild sea-snortings;
All that's born or dies
Rose and drooped with--made them shapers
Of mine own moods, or wailful or divine--
With them joyed and was bereaven.
I was heavy with the even,
When she lit her glimmering tapers
Round the day's dead sanctities.
I laughed in the morning's eyes.
I triumphed and I saddened with all weather,
Heaven and I wept together,
And its sweet tears were salt with mortal mine;
Against the red throb of its sunset-heart
I laid my own to beat,
And share commingling heat;
But not by that, by that, was eased my human heart.
In vain my tears were wet on Heaven's gray cheek.
For ah! we know not what each other says,
These things and I; in sound I speak--
Their sound is but their stir, they speak by silences.
Nature, poor stepdame, cannot slake my drouth;
Let her, if she would owe me,
Drop yon blue blossom-veil of sky, and show me
The breasts of her tenderness;
Never did any milk of hers once bless
My thirsting mouth.
Nigh and nigh draws the chase,
With unperturbèd pace,
Deliberate speed, majestic instancy;
And past those noisèd Feet
A voice comes yet more fleet--
"Lo naught contents thee, who content'st not Me." Naked I wait Thy love's uplifted stroke!
My harness piece by piece Thou hast hewn from me,
And smitten me to my knee;
I am defenseless utterly.
I slept, methinks, and woke,
And, slowly gazing, find me stripped in sleep.
In the rash lustihead of my young powers,
I shook the pillaring hours
And pulled my life upon me; grimed with smears,
I stand amid the dust o' the mounded years--
My mangled youth lies dead beneath the heap.
My days have crackled and gone up in smoke,
Have puffed and burst as sun-starts on a stream.
Yea, faileth now even dream
The dreamer, and the lute the lutanist;
Even the linked fantasies, in whose blossomy twist
I swung the earth a trinket at my wrist,
Are yielding; cords of all too weak account
For earth with heavy griefs so overplussed.
Ah! is Thy love indeed
A weed, albeit amaranthine weed,
Suffering no flowers except its own to mount?
Ah! must Thou clear the wood ere Thou canst limn with it?
My freshness spent its wavering shower i' the dust;
And now my heart is a broken fount,
Wherein tear-drippings stagnate, spilt down ever
From the dank thoughts that shiver
Upon the sightful branches of my mind.
Such is; what is to be?
The pulp so bitter, how shall taste the rind?
I dimly guess what Time in mist confounds;
Yet ever and anon a trumpet sounds
From the hid battlements of Eternity;
Those shaken mists a space unsettle, then
But not ere him who summoneth
I first have seen, enwound
With blooming robes, purpureal, cypress-crowned;
His name I know, and what his trumpet saith.
Whether man's heart or life it be which yields
Thee harvest, must Thy harvest fields
Be dunged with rotten death?
Now of that long pursuit
Comes on at hand the bruit;
That Voice is round me like a bursting sea:
"And is thy earth so marred,
Shattered in shard on shard?
Lo, all things fly thee, for thou fliest Me!
Strange, piteous, futile thing,
Wherefore should any set thee love apart?
Seeing none but I makes much of naught," He said,
"And human love needs human meriting,
How hast thou merited--
Of all man's clotted clay the dingiest clot?
Alack, thou knowest not
How little worthy of any love thou art!
Whom wilt thou find to love ignoble thee
Save Me, save only Me?
All which I took from thee I did but take,
Not for thy harms.
But just that thou might'st seek it in my arms.
All which thy child's mistake
Fancies as lost, I have stored for the at home;
Rise, clasp My hand, and come!" Halts by me that footfall;
Is my gloom, after all,
Shade of His hand, outstreched caressingly?
"Ah, fondest, blindest, weakest,
I am He Whom thou seekest!
Thou dravest love from thee, who dravest Me."
Francis Thompson (1859-1907)
THE PASSIONATE SHEPHERD TO HIS LOVE
COME live with me and be my love,
And we will all the pleasures prove,
That valleys, groves, hills, and fields,
Woods or steepy mountain yields.
And we will sit upon the rocks,
Seeing the shepherds feed their flocks,
By shallow rivers to whose falls
Melodious birds sing madrigals.
And I will make thee beds of roses
And a thousand fragrant posies,
A cap of flowers, and a kirtle
Embroidered all with leaves of myrtle;
A gown made of the finest wool
Which from our pretty lambs we pull;
Fair lined slippers for the cold,
With buckles of the purest gold;
A belt of straw and ivy buds,
With coral clasps and amber studs:
And if these pleasures may thee move,
Come live with me and be my love.
The shepherds' swains shall dance and sing
For thy delight each May morning:
If these delights thy mind may move,
Then live with me and be my love.
By Zhou Xuanjing
Light smoke and thin mist
Block the empty sky;
Leaving the spiritual brightness
No place to abide.
Hate and love, prosperity and decline,
Are all sharp swords;
I am like a despoiled virgin
How can you look at me?
My mind is like the autumn
In the heartland of Chan;
I earnestly sit in mental work
From midnight and noon.
Fish and dragons are lively,
While the waves are still --
There is just the moonlight remaining
In the eternal sky.
The secret of the receptive
Must be sought in stillness;
Within stillness there remains
The potential for action.
If you force empty sitting,
Holding dead images in mind,
The tiger runs, the dragon flees --
How can the elixir be given?
By Sun Bu-er
The relic from before birth
Enters one's heart one day.
Be as careful as if you were holding a full vessel,
Be as gentle as if you were caressing an infant.
The gate of earth should be shut tight,
The portals of heaven should be first opened.
Wash the yellow sprouts clean,
And atop a mountain is thunder shaking the earth.
Before our body existed,
One energy was already there.
Like jade, more lustrous as it's polished
Like gold, brighter as it's refined,
Sweep clear the ocean of birth and death,
Stay firm by the door of total mastery,
A particle at the point of open awareness,
The gentle firing is warm.
The beginning of the sustenance of life
Is all in yin and yang.
The limitless can open up
The light of the great limit.
Diligently polished, the mirror of mind
Is bright as the moon;
The universe in a grain
May rise or it may hide.
You need companions to travel
To the Isle of Immortals --
It is hard to climb
The azure cliffs alone.
If you take dead stillness for refinement,
The weak water brimming
Will lack a convenient boat.
A springlike autumn's balmy breeze reaches afar.
The sun shines on the house of a recluse
south of the river;
they encourage the December apricots
to burst into bloom:
a simplehearted person
faces the simplehearted flowers.
By Tang Guangzhen
If you don't know essence and don't know life,
You split the creative and receptive into two paths.
But the day you join them together to form the elixir,
You fall drunken into the jug yet have no need of support.
Copyright © 2002
Though the mystic way is right before us,
We need to look for it;
Only when you set eyes on it do you know
The depth of the ultimate design.
The study of essence
Can hardly be directed by words;
When the conditions of karma are wrapped up
You see the real true mind.
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