By Maya Angelou
We, unaccustomed to courage
exiles from delight
live coiled in shells of loneliness
until love leaves its high holy temple
and comes into our sight
to liberate us into life.
and in its train come ecstasies
old memories of pleasure
ancient histories of pain.
Yet if we are bold,
love strikes away the chains of fear
from our souls.
We are weaned from our timidity
In the flush of love’s light
we dare be brave
And suddenly we see
that love costs all we are
and will ever be.
Yet it is only love
which sets us free.
DULCE ET DECORUM EST
Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of tired, outstripped Five-Nines that dropped behind.
Gas! Gas! Quick, boys! – An ecstasy of fumbling,
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling,
And flound’ring like a man in fire or lime . . .
Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light,
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.
In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.
If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil’s sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie; Dulce et Decorum est
Pro patria mori.
8 October 1917 – March, 1918
|Seascape by W. H. Auden
Look, stranger, at this island now
The leaping light for your delight discovers,
Stand stable here
And silent be,
That through the channels of the ear
May wander like a river
The swaying sound of the sea.
Here at the small field’s ending pause
Where the chalk wall falls to the foam, and its tall ledges
Oppose the pluck
And knock of the tide,
And the shingle scrambles after the suck-
and the gull lodges
A moment on its sheer side.
Far off like floating seeds the ships
Diverge on urgent voluntary errands;
And the full view
Indeed may enter
And move in memory as now these clouds do,
That pass the harbour mirror
And all the summer through the water saunter.
The Leaden Echo and the Golden Echo by Gerard Manley Hopkins
THE LEADEN ECHO
HOW to kéep—is there ány any, is there none such, nowhere known some, bow or brooch or braid or brace, láce, latch or catch or key to keep
|Back beauty, keep it, beauty, beauty, beauty, … from vanishing away?|
|Ó is there no frowning of these wrinkles, rankéd wrinkles deep,|
|Dówn? no waving off of these most mournful messengers, still messengers, sad and stealing messengers of grey?|
|No there ’s none, there ’s none, O no there ’s none,||5|
|Nor can you long be, what you now are, called fair,|
|Do what you may do, what, do what you may,|
|And wisdom is early to despair:|
|Be beginning; since, no, nothing can be done|
|To keep at bay||10|
|Age and age’s evils, hoar hair,|
|Ruck and wrinkle, drooping, dying, death’s worst, winding sheets, tombs and worms and tumbling to decay;|
|So be beginning, be beginning to despair.|
|O there ’s none; no no no there ’s none:|
|Be beginning to despair, to despair,||15|
|Despair, despair, despair, despair.
THE GOLDEN ECHO
|There ís one, yes I have one (Hush there!);|
|Only not within seeing of the sun,|
|Not within the singeing of the strong sun,||20|
|Tall sun’s tingeing, or treacherous the tainting of the earth’s air,|
|Somewhere elsewhere there is ah well where! one,|
|Oné. Yes I can tell such a key, I do know such a place,|
|Where whatever’s prized and passes of us, everything that ’s fresh and fast flying of us, seems to us sweet of us and swiftly away with, done away with, undone,|
|Undone, done with, soon done with, and yet dearly and dangerously sweet||25|
|Of us, the wimpled-water-dimpled, not-by-morning-matchèd face,|
|The flower of beauty, fleece of beauty, too too apt to, ah! to fleet,|
|Never fleets móre, fastened with the tenderest truth|
|To its own best being and its loveliness of youth: it is an everlastingness of, O it is an all youth!|
|Come then, your ways and airs and looks, locks, maiden gear, gallantry and gaiety and grace,||30|
|Winning ways, airs innocent, maiden manners, sweet looks, loose locks, long locks, lovelocks, gaygear, going gallant, girlgrace—|
|Resign them, sign them, seal them, send them, motion them with breath,|
|And with sighs soaring, soaring síghs deliver|
|Them; beauty-in-the-ghost, deliver it, early now, long before death|
|Give beauty back, beauty, beauty, beauty, back to God, beauty’s self and beauty’s giver.||35|
|See; not a hair is, not an eyelash, not the least lash lost; every hair|
|Is, hair of the head, numbered.|
|Nay, what we had lighthanded left in surly the mere mould|
|Will have waked and have waxed and have walked with the wind what while we slept,|
|This side, that side hurling a heavyheaded hundredfold||40|
|What while we, while we slumbered.|
|O then, weary then why|
|When the thing we freely fórfeit is kept with fonder a care,|
|Fonder a care kept than we could have kept it, kept|
|Far with fonder a care (and we, we should have lost it) finer, fonder||45|
|A care kept.—Where kept? Do but tell us where kept, where.—|
|Yonder.—What high as that! We follow, now we follow.—Yonder, yes yonder, yonder,|