Category Archives: poetry

Sunday Poem

I Shall Not Care by Sara Teasdale

WHEN I am dead and over me bright April
Shakes out her rain-drenched hair,
Though you should lean above me broken-hearted,
I shall not care.

I shall have peace, as leafy trees are peaceful
When rain bends down the bough;
And I shall be more silent and cold-hearted
Than you are now.

From Bartleby

Sunday Poem

Abraham Lincoln Walks at Midnight by Vachel Lindsay
(In Springfield, Illinois)

IT is portentous, and a thing of state
That here at midnight, in our little town
A mourning figure walks, and will not rest,
Near the old court-house pacing up and down,

Or by his homestead, or in shadowed yards
He lingers where his children used to play,
Or through the market, on the well-worn stones
He stalks until the dawn-stars burn away.

A bronzed, lank man! His suit of ancient black,
A famous high top-hat and plain worn shawl
Make him the quaint great figure that men love,
The prairie-lawyer, master of us all.

He cannot sleep upon his hillside now.
He is among us:—as in times before!
And we who toss and lie awake for long,
Breathe deep, and start, to see him pass the door.

His head is bowed. He thinks of men and kings.
Yea, when the sick world cries, how can he sleep?
Too many peasants fight, they know not why;
Too many homesteads in black terror weep.

The sins of all the war-lords burn his heart.
He sees the dreadnaughts scouring every main.
He carries on his shawl-wrapped shoulders now
The bitterness, the folly and the pain.

He cannot rest until a spirit-dawn
Shall come;—the shining hope of Europe free:
A league of sober folk, the Workers’ Earth,
Bringing long peace to Cornland, Alp and Sea.

It breaks his heart that things must murder still,
That all his hours of travail here for men
Seem yet in vain. And who will bring white peace
That he may sleep upon his hill again?

from Bartleby

Sunday Poem

Madonna of the Evening Flowers by Amy Lowell

ALL day long I have been working
Now I am tired.
I call: “Where are you?”
But there is only the oak tree rustling in the wind.
The house is very quiet,
The sun shines in on your books,
On your scissors and thimble just put down,
But you are not there.
Suddenly I am lonely:
Where are you?
I go about searching.

Then I see you,
Standing under a spire of pale blue larkspur,
With a basket of roses on your arm.
You are cool, like silver,
And you smile.
I think the Canterbury bells are playing little tunes,
You tell me that the peonies need spraying,
That the columbines have overrun all bounds,
That the pyrus japonica should be cut back and rounded.
You tell me these things.
But I look at you, heart of silver,
White heart-flame of polished silver,
Burning beneath the blue steeples of the larkspur,
And I long to kneel instantly at your feet,
While all about us peal the loud, sweet Te Deums of the Canterbury bells.

from Bartleby

Sunday Poem

The Elf and the Dormouse by Oliver Herford.

UNDER a toadstool crept a wee Elf,
Out of the rain to shelter himself.

Under the toadstool, sound asleep,
Sat a big Dormouse all in a heap.

Trembled the wee Elf, frightened and yet
Fearing to fly away lest he get wet.

To the next shelter—maybe a mile!
Sudden the wee Elf smiled a wee smile.

Tugged till the toadstool toppled in two.
Holding it over him, gaily he flew.

Soon he was safe home, dry as could be.
Soon woke the Dormouse—”Good gracious me!

“Where is my toadstool?” loud he lamented.
—And that’s how umbrellas first were invented.

from Bartleby

A Conservative by Charlotte Perkins S. Gilman.

THE garden beds I wandered by
One bright and cheerful morn,
When I found a new-fledged butterfly,
A-sitting on a thorn,
A black and crimson butterfly
All doleful and forlorn.

I thought that life could have no sting
To infant butterflies,
So I gazed on this unhappy thing
With wonder and surprise.
While sadly with his waving wing
He wiped his weeping eyes.

Said I, “What can the matter be?
Why weepest thou so sore?
With garden fair and sunlight free
And flowers in goodly store,”—
But he only turned away from me
And burst into a roar.

Cried he, “My legs are thin and few
Where once I had a swarm!
Soft fuzzy fur—a joy to view—
Once kept my body warm,
Before these flapping wing-things grew,
To hamper and deform!”

At that outrageous bug I shot
The fury of mine eye;
Said I, in scorn all burning hot,
In rage and anger high,
“You ignominious idiot!
Those wings are made to fly!”

“I do not want to fly,” said he,
“I only want to squirm!”
And he drooped his wings dejectedly,
But still his voice was firm:
“I do not want to be a fly!
I want to be a worm!

O yesterday of unknown lack
To-day of unknown bliss!
I left my fool in red and black;
The last I saw was this,—
The creature madly climbing back
Into his chrysalis.

From Bartleby

Sunday Poem

A Day for Wandering by Clinton Scollard

I SET apart a day for wandering;
I heard the woodlands ring,
The hidden white-throat sing,
And the harmonic West,
Beyond a far hill-crest,
Touch its Aeolian string.
Remote from all the brawl and bruit of men,
The iron tongue of Trade,
I followed the clear calling of a wren
Deep to the bosom of a sheltered glade,
Where interwoven branches spread a shade
Of soft cool beryl like the evening seas
Unruffled by the breeze.
And there—and there—
I watched the maiden-hair,
The pale blue iris-grass,
The water-spider in its pause and pass
Upon a pool that like a mirror was.

I took for confidant
The diligent ant
Threading the clover and the sorrel aisles;
For me were all the smiles
Of the sequestered blossoms there abloom—
Chalice and crown and plume;
I drank the ripe rich attars blurred and blent,
And won—Content!

from Bartleby

Sunday Poem

Wise by Lizette Woodworth Reese

AN apple orchard smells like wine;
A succory flower is blue;
Until Grief touched these eyes of mine,
Such things I never knew.

And now indeed I know so plain
Why one would like to cry
When spouts are full of April rain—
Such lonely folk go by!

So wise, so wise—that my tears fall
Each breaking of the dawn;
That I do long to tell you all—
But you are dead and gone.

from Bartleby 

Sunday Poem

A Pitcher of Mignonette by Henry Cuyler Bunner

A PITCHER of mignonette
In a tenement’s highest casement,—
Queer sort of flower-pot—yet
That pitcher of mignonette
Is a garden in heaven set,
To the little sick child in the basement—
The pitcher of mignonette,
In a tenement’s highest casement.

from Bartleby