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These are some of the poems I like the most... In English poetry,
of course! The list is far from being complete, but it isn't easy
to mention everything... And is it necessary, after all?

I hope you like them! Enjoy!


ALFRED EDWARD HOUSMAN
(1859-1936)


***

Oh fair enough are sky and plain,
But I know fairer far:
Those are as beautiful again
That in the water are;

The pools and rivers wash so clean
The trees and clods and air,
The like on earth was never seen,
And oh that I were there.

These are the thoughts I often think
As I stand gazing down
In act upon the cressy brink
To strip and dive and drown;

But in the golden-sanded brooks
And azure metes I spy
A silly lad that longs and looks
And wishes he was I.


***

Say, lad, have you things to do?
Quick then, while your day's at prime.
Quick, and if 'tis work for two,
Here am I, man: now's your time.

Send me now, and I shall go;
Call me, I shall hear you call;
Use me ere they lay me low 
Where a man's no use at all;

Ere the wholesome flesh decay,
And the willing nerve be numb,
And the lips lack breath to say,
"No, my lad, I cannot come."

***

Be still, my soul, be still; the arms you bear are brittle,
Earth and high heaven are fixt of old and founded strong.
Think rather, -- call to though, if now you grieve a little,
The days when we had rest, O soul, for they were long.

Men loved unkindness then, but lightless in the quarry
I slept and saw not; tears fell down, I did not mourn;
Sweat ran and blood sprang out and I was never sorry:
Then it was well with me, in days ere I was born.

Now, and I muse for why and never find the reason,
I pace the earth, and drink the air, and feel the sun.
Be still, be still, my soul; it is but for a season:
Let us endure an hour and see injustice done.

Ay, look: high heaven and earth ail from the prime foundation;
All thought to rive the heart are here, and all are vain:
Horror and scorn and hate and fear and indignation --
Oh why did I awake? when shall I sleep again?


***

Shake hands, we shall never be friends, all's over;
I only vex you the more I try.
All's wrong that ever I've done or said,
And nought to help it in this dull head:
Shake hands, here's luck, good bye.

But if you come to a road where danger
Or guilt or anguish or shame's to share,
Be good to the lad that loves you true
And the soul that was born to die for you,
And whistle and I'll be there.


***

Oh on my breast in days hereafter
Light the earth should lie,
Such weight to bear is now the air,
So heavy hangs the sky.



HILAIR BELLOC
(1870-1953)

***

The world's a stage. The trifling entrance fee
Is paid (by proxy) to the registrar.
The Orchestra is very loud and free
But plays no music in particular.
They do not print a programme, that I know.
The cast is large. There isn't any plot.
The acting of the piece is far below
The very worst of modernistic rot.

The only part about it I enjoy
Is what was called in English the Foyay.
There will I stand apart awhile and toy
With thought, and set my cigarette alight;
And then -- without returning to the play --
On with my coat and out into the night.

___


These two poems come "The Bad Child's Book of Beasts" (1896) 
and "More Beasts for Worse Children" (1897). I have them here 
for two reasons. First - I'm an Aries (or sheep... of the 
Ovine race. ;) and I was born in the year of Tiger. Second - 
these are perfect jems, aren't they? :) 

***
The Welsh Mutton

The Cambrian Welsh or Mountain Sheep
Is of the Ovine race.
His conversation is not deep,
But then -- observe his face.

The Tiger

The Tiger, on the other hand, is kittenish and mild,
He makes a pretty playfellow for any little child;
And mothers of large families (who claim to common sense)
Will find a Tiger well repays the trouble and expense.



WALTER DE LA MARE
(1873-1956)

Silver

Slowly, silently, now the moon
Walks the night in her silver shoon:
This way, and that, she peers, and sees
Silver fruit upon silver trees;
One by one the casements catch
Her beams beneath the silvery thatch;
Couched in his kennel, like a log,
With paws of silver sleeps the dog;
From their shadowy cote the white breasts peep
Of doves in a silver-feathered sleep;
A harvest mouse goes scampering by,
With silver claws and a silver eye;
And moveless fish in the water gleam,
Bye silver reeds in silver stream.


DAVID HOLBROOK
(born in 1923)


Drought

So, we're estranged again -- how it goes on!
Your who-you-are dissolved: my disappointed me
Skulking in silence. Rain falls, then it is gone.
The sun's bright on wet roofs, every washed tree
Has June's hard highlights, while a rivulet 
Runs down the road that has been dry a month.
And with it run the feelings that I let
Flow as I contemplate our last dry month.

We have been very close, we have been sweet,
Fresh, active, despite flaws, and our old rout
Of masked ghost predators. Perhaps tonight
Some sudden shower again will break our draught?
Both of us are, I know, in our sorrow,
Watching the same rain from our each window.







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