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Harold Monro

When the tea is brought at five o'clock And all the neat curtains are drawn with care, The little black cat with bright green eyes Is suddenly purring there.

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The Rebellious Vine

One day, the vine
That clomb on god’s own house
Cried, “I will not
grow

And, ‘I will
not
grow,’
And, I
will
not grow,’
And,
‘I
will not grow,’
So God leaned out his head,
And said:

‘You need
not
Then the vine

[...] Read more

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Overheard on a Salmarsh

Nymph, nymph, what are your beads?
Green glass, goblin. Why do you stare at them?
Give them me.
No.
Give them me. Give them me.
No.
Then I will howl all night in the reeds,
Lie in the mud and howl for them.

Goblin, why do you love them so?

They are better than stars or water,
Better than voices of winds that sing,
Better than any man's fair daughter,
Your green glass beads on a silver ring.

Hush, I stole them out of the moon.
Give me your beads, I want them.
No.

[...] Read more

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Man Carrying Bale

The tough hand closes gently on the load;
Out of the mind, a voice
Calls 'Lift!' and the arms, remembering well their work,
Lengthen and pause for help.
Then a slow ripple flows from head to foot
While all the muscles call to one another:
'Lift! 'and the bulging bale
Floats like a butterfly in June.

So moved the earliest carrier of bales,
And the same watchful sun
Glowed through his body feeding it with light.
So will the last one move,
And halt, and dip his head, and lay his load
Down, and the muscles will relax and tremble.
Earth, you designed your man
Beautiful both in labour and repose.

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Two Poems: (Numbers i and x in 'Strange Meetings.')

I
If suddenly a clod of earth should rise,
And walk about, and breathe, and speak, and love,
How one would tremble, and in what surprise
Gasp: 'Can you move?'

I see men walking, and I always feel:
'Earth! How have you done this? What can you be?'
I can't learn how to know men, or conceal
How strange they are to me.

II
A flower is looking through the ground,
Blinking at the April weather;
Now a child has seen the flower:
Now they go and play together.

Now is seems the flower will speak,
And will call the child its brother --
But, oh strange forgetfulness! --

[...] Read more

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The Nightingale Near The House

Here is the soundless cypress on the lawn:
It listens, listens. Taller trees beyond
Listen. The moon at the unruffled pond
Stares. And you sing, you sing.

That star-enchanted song falls through the air
From lawn to lawn down terraces of sound,
Darts in white arrows on the shadowed ground;
And all the night you sing.

My dreams are flowers to which you are a bee
As all night long I listen, and my brain
Receives your song, then loses it again
In moonlight on the lawn.

Now is your voice a marble high and white,
Then like a mist on fields of paradise,
Now is a raging fire, then is like ice,
Then breaks, and it is dawn.

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The Bird at Dawn

What I saw was just one eye
In the dawn as I was going :
A bird can carry all the sky
In that little button glowing.

Never in my life I went
So deep into the firmament.

He was standing on a tree,
All in blossom overflowing;
And he purposely looked hard at me,
At first, as if to question merrily :
' Where are you going ? '
But next some far more serious thing to say :
I could not answer, could not look away.

Oh, that hard, round, and so distracting eye :
Little mirror of all the sky ! --
And then the after-song another tree
Held, and sent radiating back on me.

[...] Read more

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Solitude

WHEN you have tidied all things for the night,
And while your thoughts are fading to their sleep,
You'll pause a moment in the late firelight,
Too sorrowful to weep.

The large and gentle furniture has stood
In sympathetic silence all the day
With that old kindness of domestic wood;
Nevertheless the haunted room will say:
'Someone must be away.'

The little dog rolls over half awake,
Stretches his paws, yawns, looking up at you,
Wags his tail very slightly for your sake,
That you may feel he is unhappy too.

A distant engine whistles, or the floor
Creaks, or the wandering night-wind bangs a door

Silence is scattered like a broken glass.

[...] Read more

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Great City

When I returned at sunset,
The serving-maid was singing softly
Under the dark stairs, and in the house
Twilight had entered like a moon-ray.
Tune was so dead I could not understand
The meaning of midday or of midnight,
But like falling waters, falling, hissing, falling,
Silence seemed an everlasting sound.

I sat in my room,
And watched sunset,
And saw starlight.
I heard the tramp of homing men,
And the last call of the last child;
Then a lone bird twittered,
And suddenly, beyond the housetops,
I imagined dew in the country,
In the hay, on the buttercups;
The rising moon,
The scent of early night,

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London Interior

Autumn is in the air,
The children are playing everywhere.

One dare not open this old door too wide;
It is so dark inside.
The hall smells of dust;
A narrow squirt of sunlight enters high,
Cold, yellow.
The floor creaks, and I hear a sigh,
Rise in the gloom and die.

Through the hall, far away,
I just can see
The dingy garden with its wall and tree.
A yellow cat is sitting on the wall
Blinking toward the leaves that fall.
And now I hear a woman call
Some child from play.

Then all is still. Time must go

[...] Read more

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