Be Secret and Exult

It is National Poetry Month here in the US, so I thought I would offer one from my favorites:

To a Friend Whose Work Has Come to Nothing

By William Butler Yeats

Now all the truth is out,
Be secret and take defeat
From any brazen throat,
For how can you compete,
Being honor bred, with one
Who were it proved he lies
Were neither shamed in his own
Nor in his neighbors' eyes;
Bred to a harder thing
Than Triumph, turn away
And like a laughing string
Whereon mad fingers play
Amid a place of stone,
Be secret and exult,
Because of all things known
That is most difficult.

 

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I Know Why The Caged Bird Doesn't Sing

 

 

 

'I thought how unpleasant it is to be locked out; and I thought how it is worse, perhaps, to be locked in.'

Virginia Woolf

 

 

I know why the caged bird doesn't sing

And why God-given feather falls in spring

The ruthless month bespeaks regeneration

And flight from climes that temper inspiration

To climes where climbs the stallion sun

Envoy of death-blows dealt and done

Vaulting the hurdle of the season

Whilst overruling rhyme and reason

Reckless florescence bursts its stays

And bears blind seed of future days

Rain-sown in heat and glorious folly

Oblivious of winter's volley

For Sibylline November wreathes

The Hope that free midsummer breathes

It mulches cankered autumn sepal

Reveals the worm within the apple.

 

In gilded prison with wings pent

The linnet mourns his element

Preserved from naked thorn and frost

Whilst honeyed halcyon days are lost

Spent life can yield – the seasons show it

But the caged bird can never know it.

 

 

 

and yet...

 

'FROM my spirit’s gray defeat,

From my pulse’s flagging beat,

From my hopes that turned to sand

Sifting through my close-clenched hand,

From my own fault’s slavery,         5

If I can sing, I still am free.

 

For with my singing I can make

A refuge for my spirit’s sake,

A house of shining words, to be

My fragile immortality.'

 

Sara Teasdale

 

 

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First Song

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To that which moves, to that which moves, 

        Which penetrates the universal shine

        And shimmy, Roundabout, where other isn’t

Within, without, non-centric circle thing,

      All light that which in most the light begins

      Nor knows, nor can, who descant;

Because in drawing near to what is dear

      Our swallowy mind perspires and jealous folds

      Into itself where memory cannot go.

Truly whatever the realm holistic

     Powerful treasures, body and mind,

    Mind of which I thee sing.

Apollo, creed of the living

    Vessel me in thy talented power

     Bower of joy and sound!

One sum, it adds up to nought,

    For me for you for both

    Swim to the center and cry.

If you can imagine, you, and breathe

     In deepest drawing scent

    While I watch in awe and innocence.

Ten cents a dance, the best

  That I can do, shadow of the realm

  Stamped in my brain, blessed, so what.

Once there was a tree and a crown

  Underneath it all and nevertheless leaves,

  Which shall you choose, O!

So seldom, Father, so seldom, do we,

  But we try, we have to try and

  of human inspiration can we?

So back to the leaves and so forth,

  They fall all over the crown,

  Where is it I say? I say

But no one answers. Maybe better voices,

  better voices after me, after me.

  Alleluia. Please respond!

 

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Evening Walk

The slant of light gives all a clarity.

Emerald silhouetted leaves quake

against the lustered sky as folded  

wings congregate in glimmered shelters,

light and shadow tangled in the branches.

 

The path curves, and we, dimmer now,

and chill, stepping closer, hand, hand,

turn for shelter and repose,

but somewhere further on we see

shivered light spill redolent evergreen.

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Latest Comments

Rosy Cole Happy Birthday, Will Shakespeare
23 April 2018
I believe his name originally was spelled without the first E. Ah, the days before the iniquity that...
Stephen Evans Be Secret and Exult
15 April 2018
Then I shall be secret and exult
Monika Schott Stop for a minute, or a week
15 April 2018
So true, Rosy. I can really feel that, being 'hustled and swept away into a storyline that doesn't b...
Rosy Cole Stop for a minute, or a week
15 April 2018
A life-affirming post, Moni, so vibrant, and its wisdom was never more needed. The world is desperat...
Rosy Cole Be Secret and Exult
15 April 2018
Steve, I'm not sure that either of us has fully understood this badly crafted poem, at least from th...

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