whispered love
love

 

 

 

Poetry can capture something of the numinous and the poems below are some that I feel are evocative and resonate with feeling:

 

Milkmaid

By Laurie Lee

 

The girl's far treble, muted to the heat,

calls like a fainting bird across the fields

to where her flock lies panting for her voice,

their black horns buried deep in marigolds.

 

They climb awake, like drowsy butterflies,

and press their red flanks through the tall branched grass,

and as they go their wandering tongues embrace

the vacant summer mirrored in their eyes.

 

Led to the limestone shadows of a barn

they snuff their past embalmŤd in the hay,

while her cool hand, cupped to the udder's fount,

distils the brimming harvest of their day.

 

Look what a cloudy cream the earth gives out,

fat juice of buttercups and meadow-rye;

the girl dreams milk within her body's field

and hears, far off, her muted children cry.

 

 

Day of These Days

By Laurie Lee

 

Such a morning it is when love

leans through geranium windows

and calls with a cockerel's tongue.

 

When red-haired girls scamper like roses

over the rain-green grass,

and the sun drips honey.

 

When hedgerows grow venerable,

berries dry black as blood,

and holes suck in their bees.

 

Such a morning it is when mice

run whispering from the church,

dragging dropped ears of harvest.

 

When the partridge draws back his spring

and shoots like a buzzing arrow

over grained and mahogany fields.

 

When no table is bare,

and no breast dry,

and the tramp feeds off ribs of rabbit.

 

Such a day it is when time

piles up the hills like pumpkins,

and the streams run golden.

 

When all men smell good,

and the cheeks of girls

are as baked bread to the mouth.

 

As bread and beanflowers

the touch of their lips,

and their white teeth sweeter than cucumbers.

 

 

Adlestrop

By Edward Thomas

 

Yes. I remember Adlestrop -

The name, because one afternoon

Of heat the express-train drew up there

Unwontedly. It was late June.

 

The steam hissed. Someone cleared his throat.

No one left and no one came

On the bare platform. What I saw

Was Adlestrop - only the name

 

And willows, willow-herb, and grass,

And meadowsweet, and haycocks dry,

No whit less still and lonely fair

Than the high cloudlets in the sky.

 

And for that minute a blackbird sang

Close by, and round him, mistier,

Farther and farther, all the birds

Of Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire.

 

 

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

By Robert Frost

 

Whose woods these are I think I know.

His house is in the village though;

He will not see me stopping here

To watch his woods fill up with snow.

 

My little horse must think it queer

To stop without a farmhouse near

Between the woods and frozen lake

The darkest evening of the year.

 

He gives his harness bells a shake

To ask if there is some mistake.

The only other soundís the sweep

Of easy wind and downy flake.

 

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,

But I have promises to keep,

And miles to go before I sleep,

And miles to go before I sleep.

 

 

The Road Not Taken

By Robert Frost

 

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,

And sorry I could not travel both

And be one traveler, long I stood

And looked down one as far as I could

To where it bent in the undergrowth;

 

Then took the other, as just as fair,

And having perhaps the better claim,

Because it was grassy and wanted wear;

Though as for that the passing there

Had worn them really about the same,

 

And both that morning equally lay

In leaves no step had trodden black.

Oh, I kept the first for another day!

Yet knowing how way leads on to way,

I doubted if I should ever come back.

 

I shall be telling this with a sigh

Somewhere ages and ages hence:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I -

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.

 

 

Elegy for Jane (My student, thrown by a horse)

By Theodore Roethke

 

I remember the neckcurls, limp and damp as tendrils;

And her quick look, a sidelong pickerel smile;

And how, once startled into talk, the light syllables leaped for her,

And she balanced in the delight of her thought,

 

A wren, happy, tail into the wind,

Her song trembling the twigs and small branches.

The shade sang with her;

The leaves, their whispers turned to kissing,

And the mould sang in the bleached valleys under the rose.

 

Oh, when she was sad, she cast herself down into such a pure depth,

Even a father could not find her:

Scraping her cheek against straw,

Stirring the clearest water.

 

My sparrow, you are not here,

Waiting like a fern, making a spiney shadow.

The sides of wet stones cannot console me,

Nor the moss, wound with the last light.

 

If only I could nudge you from this sleep,

My maimed darling, my skittery pigeon.

Over this damp grave I speak the words of my love:

I, with no rights in this matter,

Neither father nor lover.

 

 

Sea Fever

By John Masefield

I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,

And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by;

And the wheelís kick and the windís song and the white sailís shaking,

And a grey mist on the seaís face, and a grey dawn breaking.

 

I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide

Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;

And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,

And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.

 

I must go down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,

To the gullís way and the whaleís way where the windís like a whetted knife;

And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,

And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trickís over.

 

 

Everyone Sang

By Siegfried Sassoon

 

Everyone suddenly burst out singing;

And I was filled with such delight

As prisoned birds must find in freedom,

Winging wildly across the white

Orchards and dark-green fields; on - on - and out of sight.

 

Everyone's voice was suddenly lifted;

And beauty came like the setting sun:

My heart was shaken with tears; and horror

Drifted away ... O, but Everyone

Was a bird; and the song was wordless; the singing will never be done.

 

 

I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud

By William Wordsworth

 

I wandered lonely as a cloud

That floats on high o'er vales and hills,

When all at once I saw a crowd,

A host, of golden daffodils;

Beside the lake, beneath the trees,

Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

 

Continuous as the stars that shine

And twinkle on the milky way,

They stretched in never-ending line

Along the margin of a bay:

Ten thousand saw I at a glance,

Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

 

The waves beside them danced; but they

Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:

A poet could not but be gay,

In such a jocund company:

I gazed - and gazed - but little thought

What wealth the show to me had brought:

 

For oft, when on my couch I lie

In vacant or in pensive mood,

They flash upon that inward eye

Which is the bliss of solitude;

And then my heart with pleasure fills,

And dances with the daffodils.

 

 

The Canadian Boat Song

(extract - first appeared in 'Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine' in 1829)

 

Listen to me, as when ye heard our father

Sing long ago the song of other shores -

Listen to me, and then in chorus gather

All your deep voices as ye pull the oars;

Fair these broad meads - these hoary woods are grand;

But we are exiles from our fathers' land.

 

From the lone shieling of the misty island

Mountains divide us, and the waste of seas -

Yet still the blood is strong, the heart is Highland,

And we in dreams behold the Hebrides.

 

 

The Lake Isle of Innisfree

By W.B.Yeats

 

I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,

And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made :

Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honey-bee,

And live alone in the bee-loud glade.

 

And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,

Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;

There midnight's all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,

And evening's full of the linnet's wings.

 

I will arise and go now, for always night and day

I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;

While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,

I hear it in the deep heart's core.

 

 

The Song of Wandering Aengus

By W.B.Yeats

 

I went out to the hazel wood,

Because a fire was in my head,

And cut and peeled a hazel wand,

And hooked a berry to a thread;

And when white moths were on the wing,

And moth-like stars were flickering out,

I dropped the berry in a stream

And caught a little silver trout.

 

When I had laid it on the floor

I went to blow the fire aflame,

But something rustled on the floor,

And someone called me by my name:

It had become a glimmering girl

With apple blossom in her hair

Who called me by my name and ran

And faded through the brightening air.

 

Though I am old with wandering

Through hollow lands and hilly lands,

I will find out where she has gone,

And kiss her lips and take her hands;

And walk among long dappled grass,

And pluck till time and times are done

The silver apples of the moon,

The golden apples of the sun.

 

 

To A Child Dancing In The Wind

By W.B.Yeats

 

Dance there upon the shore;

What need have you to care

For wind or water's roar?

And tumble out your hair

That the salt drops have wet;

Being young you have not known

The fool's triumph, nor yet

Love lost as soon as won,

Nor the best labourer dead

And all the sheaves to bind.

What need have you to dread

The monstrous crying of wind?

 

 

The Wild Swans At Coole

By W.B.Yeats

 

The trees are in their autumn beauty,

The woodland paths are dry,

Under the October twilight the water

Mirrors a still sky;

Upon the brimming water among the stones

Are nine-and-fifty swans.

 

The nineteenth autumn has come upon me

Since I first made my count;

I saw, before I had well finished,

All suddenly mount

And scatter wheeling in great broken rings

Upon their clamorous wings.

 

have looked upon those brilliant creatures

And now my heart is sore.

All's changed since I, hearing at twilight,

The first time on this shore,

The bell-beat of their wings above my head,

Trod with a lighter tread.

 

Unwearied still, lover by lover,

They paddle in the cold

Companionable streams or climb the air;

Their hearts have not grown old;

Passion or conquest, wander where they will,

Attend upon them still.

 

But now they drift on the still water,

Mysterious, beautiful;

Among what rushes will they build,

By what lake's edge or pool

Delight men's eyes when I awake some day

To find they have flown away?

 

 

The Fisherman

By W.B.Yeats

 

Although I can see him still,

The freckled man who goes

To a grey place on a hill

In grey Connemara clothes

At dawn to cast his flies,

It's long since I began

To call up to the eyes

This wise and simple man.

All day I'd looked in the face

What I had hoped 'twould be

To write for my own race

And the reality;

The living men that I hate,

The dead man that I loved,

The craven man in his seat,

The insolent unreproved,

And no knave brought to book

Who has won a drunken cheer,

The witty man and his joke

Aimed at the commonest ear,

The clever man who cries

The catch-cries of the clown,

The beating down of the wise

And great Art beaten down.

 

Maybe a twelvemonth since

Suddenly I began,

In scorn of this audience,

Imagining a man,

And his sun-freckled face,

And grey Connemara cloth,

Climbing up to a place

Where stone is dark under froth,

And the down-turn of his wrist

When the flies drop in the stream;

A man who does not exist,

A man who is but a dream;

And cried, 'Before I am old

I shall have written him one

Poem maybe as cold

And passionate as the dawn.'

 

 

 

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