Emily Jane Bronte
The night is darkening around me,
The wild winds coldly blow;
But a tyrant spell has bound me
And I cannot, cannot go.
The giant trees are bending
Their bare boughs weighed with snow.
And the storm is fast descending,
And yet I cannot go.
Clouds beyond clouds above me,
Wastes beyond wastes below;
But nothing drear can move me;
I will not, cannot go.
Dust of Snow
The way a crow
Shook down on me
The dust of snow
From a hemlock tree
Has given my heart
A change of mood
And saved some part
Of a day I had rued
Crow’s Nerve Fails
Crow, feeling his brain slip,
Finds his every feather the fossil of a murder.
Who murdered all these?
These living dead, that root in his nerves and his blood
Till he is visibly black?
How can he fly from his feathers?
And why have they homed on him?
Is he the archive of their accusations?
Or their ghostly purpose, their pining vengeance?
Or their unforgiven prisoner?
He cannot be forgiven.
His prison is the earth. Clothed in his conviction,
Trying to remember his crimes
Heavily he flies.
Edgar Allan Poe
Poetry to be found here
The Death Bed
He drowsed and was aware of silence heaped
Round him, unshaken as the steadfast walls;
Aqueous like floating rays of amber light,
Soaring and quivering in the wings of sleep.
Silence and safety; and his mortal shore
Lipped by the inward, moonless waves of death.
Someone was holding water to his mouth.
He swallowed, unresisting; moaned and dropped
Through crimson gloom to darkness; and forgot
The opiate throb and ache that was his wound.
Water-calm, sliding green above the weir.
Water-a sky-lit alley for his boat,
Bird- voiced, and bordered with reflected flowers
And shaken hues of summer; drifting down,
He dipped contented oars, and sighed, and slept.
Night, with a gust of wind, was in the ward,
Blowing the curtain to a glimmering curve.
Night. He was blind; he could not see the stars
Glinting among the wraiths of wandering cloud;
Queer blots of colour, purple, scarlet, green,
Flickered and faded in his drowning eyes.
Rain-he could hear it rustling through the dark;
Fragrance and passionless music woven as one;
Warm rain on drooping roses; pattering showers
That soak the woods; not the harsh rain that sweeps
Behind the thunder, but a trickling peace,
Gently and slowly washing life away.
He stirred, shifting his body; then the pain
Leapt like a prowling beast, and gripped and tore
His groping dreams with grinding claws and fangs.
But someone was beside him; soon he lay
Shuddering because that evil thing had passed.
And death, who’d stepped toward him, paused and stared.
Light many lamps and gather round his bed.
Lend him your eyes, warm blood, and will to live.
Speak to him; rouse him; you may save him yet.
He’s young; he hated War; how should he die
When cruel old campaigners win safe through?
But death replied: ‘I choose him.’ So he went,
And there was silence in the summer night;
Silence and safety; and the veils of sleep.
Then, far away, the thudding of the guns.
Percy Bysshe Shelley
I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: “Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown
And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear:
`My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings:
Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!’
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away”.
In Egypt’s sandy silence, all alone,
Stands a gigantic Leg, which far off throws
The only shadow that the Desert knows:
“I am great OZYMANDIAS,” saith the stone,
“The King of Kings; this mighty City shows
“The wonders of my hand.” The City’s gone,
Nought but the Leg remaining to disclose
The site of this forgotten Babylon.
We wonder, and some Hunter may express
Wonder like ours, when thro’ the wilderness
Where London stood, holding the Wolf in chace,
He meets some fragments huge, and stops to guess
What powerful but unrecorded race
Once dwelt in that annihilated place.
(trans. by Norman Shapiro)
Night. Rain. Spires, empty-windowed turrets, jutting;
A distant, lifeless Gothic city, cutting
Sharp silhouettes against a sallow sky.
The plain. A gibbet, corpses banging high,
Withered and wizened, swinging, raven pecked,
Dancing weird night-time jigs, while wolves collect,
Ravenous, foraging upon their feet.
Against a background, outlined, incomplete—
Bramble-twined chaos, murky mass—left, right,
A bush, a brier, pushing its ghostly height.
And there, marching three prisoners—ashen faces,
Barefoot—a squad of halberdiers: their maces,
Stiff as portcullis spikes, rise from the plain,
Glistening athwart the javelins of the rain.
Nuns fret not at their convent’s narrow room;
And hermits are content with their cells;
and students with their pensive citadels;
maids at the wheel, the weaver at his loom, sit blithe & happy;
bees that soar for bloom, high as the highest Peak of Furness-fells,
will murmur by the hour in foxglove bells:
In truth the prison, unto which we doom ourselves,
no prison is: and hence for me, in sundry moods,
’twas pastime to be bound within the Sonnet’s scanty plot of ground;
pleased if some Souls (for such there needs must be) who have felt the weight of too much liberty, should find brief solace there, as I have found.
William Butler Yeats
The Second Coming
Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: a waste of desert sand;
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Wind shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?