Category Archives: Poetry
You should know by now that I often turn to poetry here when I lack time and inspiration to write something myself. And really, I have good taste in poetry, so it’s ok.
I wrote a class of D/s themed poetry, or poetry that spoke to me of it, anyway, some time ago. I rarely do it – it’s very few people’s thing, but here are parts of it.
Elinor Wylie, born in 1885, was famous during her life almost as much for her beauty and personality as for her poetry. After an unhappy marriage, she fled to England with Horace Wylie in 1910; following her first husband’s death she married Wylie, and although they were later divorced, she continued to write under the name Elinor Wylie. In 1923 she married William Rose Benét, poet and editor. She died in 1928.
Poets make pets of pretty, docile words:
I love smooth words, like gold-enameled fish
Which circle slowly with a silken swish,
And tender ones, like downy-feathered birds:
Words shy and dappled, deep-eyed deer in herds,
Come to my hand, and playful if I wish,
Or purring softly at a silver dish,
Blue Persian kittens fed on cream and curds.
I love bright words, words up and singing early;
Words that are luminous in the dark, and sing;
Warm lazy words, white cattle under trees;
I love words opalescent, cool, and pearly,
Like midsummer moths, and honied words like bees,
Gilded and sticky, with a little sting.
John Keats, one of the greatest English poets and a major figure in the Romantic movement, was born in 1795 in London. He died of tuberculosis in Italy in 1821. In that tragically short lifetime, he wrote an astonishing amount of poetry. In this work, he takes on the voice of a young knight, entranced and bewitched by La Belle Dame sans Merci – the beautiful lady without mercy.
La Belle Dame sans Merci
O what can ail thee, Knight at arms,
Alone and palely loitering?
The sedge has withered from the Lake
And no birds sing!
O what can ail thee, Knight at arms,
So haggard, and so woebegone?
The squirrel’s granary is full
And the harvest’s done.
I see a lily on thy brow
With anguish moist and fever dew,
And on thy cheeks a fading rose
Fast withereth too.
I met a Lady in the Meads,
Full beautiful, a faery’s child,
Her hair was long, her foot was light
And her eyes were wild.
I made a Garland for her head,
And bracelets too, and fragrant Zone;
She looked at me as she did love
And made sweet moan.
I set her on my pacing steed
And nothing else saw all day long,
For sidelong would she bend and sing
A faery’s song.
She found me roots of relish sweet,
And honey wild, and manna dew,
And sure in language strange she said
I love thee true.
She took me to her elfin grot
And there she wept and sighed full sore,
And there I shut her wild wild eyes
With kisses four.
And there she lull’ed me to sleep,
And there I dreamed, Ah Woe betide!
The latest dream I ever dreamt
On the cold hill side.
I saw pale Kings, and Princes too,
Pale warriors, death-pale were they all;
They cried, La belle dame sans merci
Thee hath in thrall!
I saw their starved lips in the gloam
With horrid warning gap’ed wide,
And I awoke, and found me here
On the cold hill’s side.
And that is why I sojourn here,
Alone and palely loitering;
Though the sedge is withered from the Lake
And no birds sing.
William Butler Yeats, born in Dublin in 1865, died in 1939 was a poet and a playwright. He is considered the greatest lyric poet Ireland has produced and one of the major figures of 20th-century literature. Irish legends and the occult fascinated him. Some of that fascination in evident in his poetry.
A Poet to His Beloved
I bring you with reverent hands
The books of my numberless dreams;
White woman that passion has worn
As the tide wears the dove-gray sands,
And with heart more old than the horn
This is brimmed from the pale fire of time;
White woman with numberless dreams
I bring you my passionate rhyme.
When You Are Old
When you are old and gray and full of sleep,
And nodding by the fire, take down this book,
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;
How many loved your moments of glad grace,
And loved your beauty with love false or true,
But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you,
And loved the sorrows of your changing face;
And bending down beside the glowing bars,
Murmur, a little sadly, how love fled
And paced among the mountains overhead
And hid his face among a crowd of stars.
I couldn’t think of anything I wanted to write about, and a poem came to mind, so I decided to do that, instead.
This is a poem that I think of in winter, always, I’m not sure why. Wendell Berry is a definitively Kentucky writer, one I saw speak a few years ago.
The Peace of Wild Things
When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.
– Wendell Berry
I quoted a bit of this poem yesterday, which put it in my mind, so I had to go and look it up:
The World is Too Much With Us
– William Wordsworth
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 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.
– William Butler Yeats
TO make a prairie it takes a clover and one bee,—
One clover, and a bee,
The revery alone will do
If bees are few.
– Emily Dickinson