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Yvor Winters

One Ran Before

I could tell
Of silence where
One ran before
Himself and fell
Into silence
Yet more fair.

And this were more
A thing unseen
Than falling screen
Could make of air.

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Song

Where I walk out
to meet you on the
cloth of burning
fields

the goldfinches
leap up about my
feet like angry
dandelions

quiver like a
heartbeat in the
air and are
no more

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Moonrise

The branches,
jointed, pointing
up and out, shine
out like brass.

Upon the heavy
lip of earth
the dog

      &n bsp;at
moments is
possessed and screams:

The rising moon draws
up his blood and hair.

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Alone

I, one who never speaks,
Listened days in summer trees,
Each day a rustling leaf.

Then, in time, my unbelief
Grew like my running -
My own eyes did not exist,
When I struck I never missed.

Noon, felt and far away -
My brain is a thousand bees.

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Where my sight goes

Who knows
Where my sight goes,
What your sight shows---
Where the peachtree blows?

The frogs sing
Of everything
And children run
As leaves swing.

And many women pass
Dressed in white,
As thoughts of noon pass
From sea to sea.

And all these things would take
My life from me.

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Two Songs of Advent

I

On the desert, between pale mountains, out cries --
Far whispers creeping through an ancient shell.

II

Coyote, on delicate mocking feet,
Hovers down the canyon, among the mountains,
His voice running wild in the wind's valleys.

Listen! Listen! for I enter now your thought.

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A Song in Passing

Where am I now? And what
Am I to say portends?
Death is but death, and not
The most obtuse of ends.

No matter how one leans
One yet fears not to know.
God knows what all this means!
The mortal mind is slow.

Eternity is here.
There is no other place.
The only thing I fear
Is the Almighty Face.

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On Teaching The Young

The young are quick of speech.
Grown middle-aged, I teach
Corrosion and distrust,
Exacting what I must.

A poem is what stands
When imperceptive hands,
Feeling, have gone astray.
It is what one should say.

Few minds will come to this.
The poet’s only bliss
Is in cold certitude—
Laurel, archaic, rude.

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To A Young Writer

Achilles Holt, Stanford, 1930

Here for a few short years
Strengthen affections; meet,
Later, the dull arrears
Of age, and be discreet.

The angry blood burns low.
Some friend of lesser mind
Discerns you not; but so
Your solitude’s defined.

Write little; do it well.
Your knowledge will be such,
At last, as to dispel
What moves you overmuch.

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Night Of Battle

Europe: 1944
as regarded from a great distance


Impersonal the aim
Where giant movements tend;
Each man appears the same;
Friend vanishes from friend.


In the long path of lead
That changes place like light
No shape of hand or head
Means anything tonight.


Only the common will
For which explosion spoke;
And stiff on field and hill
The dark blood of the folk.

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