Ha, ha! keep time: how sour sweet music is,
When time is broke and no proportion kept!
So is it in the music of men’s lives.
And here have I the daintiness of ear
To cheque time broke in a disorder’d string;
But for the concord of my state and time
Had not an ear to hear my true time broke.
I wasted time, and now doth time waste me;
For now hath time made me his numbering clock:
My thoughts are minutes; and with sighs they jar
Their watches on unto mine eyes, the outward watch,
Whereto my finger, like a dial’s point,
Is pointing still, in cleansing them from tears.
Now sir, the sound that tells what hour it is
Are clamorous groans, which strike upon my heart,
Which is the bell: so sighs and tears and groans
Show minutes, times, and hours:
By William Shakespeare
Spoken by Richard the Second, while imprisoned at Pomfret Castle
Full text at : http://shakespeare.mit.edu/richardii/richardii.5.5.html
When all, and birds, and creeping beasts,
When the dark of night is deep,
From the moving wonder of their lives
Commit themselves to sleep.
Without a thought, or fear, they shut
The narrow gates of sense;
Heedless and quiet, in slumber turn
Their strength to impotence.
The transient strangeness of the earth
Their spirits no more see:
Within a silent gloom withdrawn,
They slumber in secrecy.
Two worlds they have–a globe forgot,
Wheeling from dark to light;
And all the enchanted realm of dream
That burgeons out of night.
by Walter de la Mare
Be not afeard; the isle is full of noises,
Sounds and sweet airs, that give delight and hurt not.
Sometimes a thousand twangling instruments
Will hum about mine ears, and sometime voices
That, if I then had waked after long sleep,
Will make me sleep again: and then, in dreaming,
The clouds methought would open and show riches
Ready to drop upon me that, when I waked,
I cried to dream again.
By William Shakespeare
Spoken by Caliban in The Tempest — and used in the London 2012 Olympics Opening Ceremony. “Be not afeard; the isle is full of noises” — I loved it as a description of the British Isles!
Full Text at: http://shakespeare.mit.edu/tempest/tempest.3.2.html
It’s no use
Mother dear, I
can’t finish my
soft as she is
she has almost
killed me with
love for that boy
This poem moved me to tears, causing the Cheeseseller to buy me my first poetry book in a decade or more:
Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.
Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message He Is Dead,
Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.
He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last for ever: I was wrong.
The stars are not wanted now: put out every one;
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun;
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood.
For nothing now can ever come to any good.
by W H Auden
Time does not bring relief; you all have lied
Who told me time would ease me of my pain!
I miss him in the weeping of the rain;
I want him at the shrinking of the tide;
The old snows melt from every mountain-side,
And last year’s leaves are smoke in every lane;
But last year’s bitter loving must remain
Heaped on my heart, and my old thoughts abide.
There are a hundred places where I fear
To go,—so with his memory they brim.
And entering with relief some quiet place
Where never fell his foot or shone his face
I say, “There is no memory of him here!”
And so stand stricken, so remembering him.
by Edna St. Vincent Millay (February 22, 1892 – October 19, 1950)
Safe upon the solid rock
the ugly houses stand:
Come and see my shining palace
built upon the sand!
How can one ever be sure
If true love will endure?
My thoughts this morning are
As tangled as my hair
by Lady Horokawa, Japan, 1142
From ‘Great Short Poems’, Ed. Dorothy Pollack, Dover Books.