Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Niagara Falls, poetry by Thomas Frederick Young

In celebration of the state of New York's 228th birthday, we're featuring a poem by Thomas Frederick Young about one of New York's beloved and iconic landmarks, Niagara Falls.

Niagara Falls
By Thomas Frederick Young

    Niagara, thou mighty flood.
    I've seen thee fall, I've heard thee roar,
    And on the frightful verges stood,
    That overhang thy rocky shore.

    I've sailed o'er surging waves below,
    And view'd the rainbow's colour'd light,
    And felt the spray, thy waters throw,
    When leaping, with resistless might.

    I've seen the rapids in their course,
    Like madden'd, living things rush on,
    With wild, unhesitating force,
    To where thy mighty chasms yawn.

    And there to take the awful leap,
    And fall, with hoarse and sullen roar,
    Into th' unfathomable deep,
    Which rolleth on, from shore to shore.

    Niagara, thou'rt mighty, grand,
    Thou fill'st human souls with awe,
    For thee, and for that mighty Hand,
    Which maketh thee, by nature's law.

    Thou'rt great, thou mighty, foaming mass
    Of water, plunging, roaring down,
    But so are we, yea, we surpass
    Thee, and we wear a nobler crown.

    Thy mighty head is crowned with foam,
    And rainbows wreathe thy robes of blue;
    Our earthly forms - our present home - 
    Are insignificant to you.

    But look, thou mighty thund'rer, thou,
    Tho' puny be our forms to thine,
    These forms possess, yea, even now,
    A spark, a ray of life divine.

    Rush on, O waters! proudly hurl
    Thyself to roaring depths below,
    And let the mists of ages curl,
    And generations come and go.

    But know, stupendous wonder, know,
    Thy rocks would crumble, at the nod
    Of Him, who lets thy waters flow;
    Thy Maker, but our Friend and God.

    Thy rocks shall crumble, fall they must;
    Thy waters, then, shall plunge no more,
    But we shall rise, e'en from the dust,
    To live upon another shore.

*This poem is found in public domain.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

July, a poem by Madison Julius Cawein

July is the heartbeat of summer. To celebrate the essence of this month, enjoy this poem, July by Madison Julius Cawein.

By Madison Julius Cawein

    Now 'tis the time when, tall,
    The long blue torches of the bellflower gleam
    Among the trees; and, by the wooded stream,
    In many a fragrant ball,
    Blooms of the button-bush fall.

    Let us go forth and seek
    Woods where the wild plums redden and the beech
    Plumps its packed burs; and, swelling, just in reach,
    The pawpaw, emerald sleek,
    Ripens along the creek.

    Now 'tis the time when ways
    Of glimmering green flaunt white the misty plumes
    Of the black-cohosh; and through bramble glooms,
    A blur of orange rays,
    The butterfly-blossoms blaze.

    Let us go forth and hear
    The spiral music that the locusts beat,
    And that small spray of sound, so grassy sweet,
    Dear to a country ear,
    The cricket's summer cheer.

    Now golden celandine
    Is hairy hung with silvery sacks of seeds,
    And bugled o'er with freckled gold, like beads,
    Beneath the fox-grape vine,
    The jewel-weed's blossoms shine.

    Let us go forth and see
    The dragon- and the butterfly, like gems,
    Spangling the sunbeams; and the clover stems,
    Weighed down by many a bee,
    Nodding mellifluously.

    Now morns are full of song;
    The catbird and the redbird and the jay
    Upon the hilltops rouse the rosy day,
    Who, dewy, blithe, and strong,
    Lures their wild wings along.

    Now noons are full of dreams;
    The clouds of heaven and the wandering breeze
    Follow a vision; and the flowers and trees,
    The hills and fields and streams,
    Are lapped in mystic gleams.

    The nights are full of love;
    The stars and moon take up the golden tale
    Of the sunk sun, and passionate and pale,
    Mixing their fires above,
    Grow eloquent thereof.

    Such days are like a sigh
    That beauty heaves from a full heart of bliss:
    Such nights are like the sweetness of a kiss
    On lips that half deny,
    The warm lips of July.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

A Father's Day Poem by Siegfried Loraine Sassoon

The Fathers
By Siegfried Loraine Sassoon

    Snug at the club two fathers sat,
    Gross, goggle-eyed, and full of chat.
    One of them said: "My eldest lad
    Writes cheery letters from Bagdad.
    But Arthur's getting all the fun
    At Arras with his nine-inch gun."

    "Yes," wheezed the other, "that's the luck!
    My boy's quite broken-hearted, stuck
    In England training all this year.
    Still, if there's truth in what we hear,
    The Huns intend to ask for more
     Before they bolt across the Rhine."
    I watched them toddle through the door - 
     These impotent old friends of mine.

* This poem is found in public domain.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Presenting Rose Hawthorne Lathrop's poem, Peace

In memory of 22 year-old singer Christina Grimmie, the former contestant on NBC's "The Voice" who was brutally murdered after a concert she just finished on Friday, along with the victims of  The Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Florida mass shootings, we would like for you to observe a moment of silence as we present the poem Peace by Rose Hawthorne Lathrop.

By Rose Hawthorne Lathrop

    An angel spoke with me, and lo, he hoarded
    My falling tears to cheer a flower's face!
    For, so it seems, in all the heavenly space
    A wasted grief was never yet recorded.
    Victorious calm those holy tones afforded
    Unto my soul, whose outcry, in disgrace,
    Changed to low music, leading to the place
    Where, though well armed, with futile end awarded,
    My past lay dead. "Wars are of earth!" he cried;
    "Endurance only breathes immortal air.
    Courage eternal, by a world defied,
    Still wears the front of patience, smooth and fair."
    Are wars so futile, and is courage peace?
    Take, then, my soul, thus gently thy release!

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Celebrating the Birthday of Ralph Waldo Emerson

Ralph Waldo Emerson, Famous Poet, Poetry
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Ralph Waldo Emerson (May 25, 1803 – April 27, 1882), known professionally as Waldo Emerson, was an American essayist, lecturer, and poet who led the Transcendentalist movement of the mid-19th century. He was seen as a champion of individualism and a prescient critic of the countervailing pressures of society, and he disseminated his thoughts through dozens of published essays and more than 1,500 public lectures across the United States.

In 1826, faced with poor health, Emerson went to seek out warmer climates. He first went to Charleston, South Carolina, but found the weather was still too cold. He then went further south, to St. Augustine, Florida, where he took long walks on the beach and began writing poetry. 

Several of Emerson's poems were included in Bloom's The Best Poems of the English Language, although he wrote that none of the poems are as outstanding as the best of Emerson's essays, which Bloom listed as "Self-Reliance", "Circles", "Experience", and "nearly all of Conduct of Life".

Join us as we feature the poem, My Garden by Ralph Waldo Emerson.

My Garden
By Ralph Waldo Emerson

    If I could put my woods in song
    And tell what's there enjoyed,
    All men would to my gardens throng,
    And leave the cities void.

    In my plot no tulips blow,--
    Snow-loving pines and oaks instead;
    And rank the savage maples grow
    From Spring's faint flush to Autumn red.

    My garden is a forest ledge
    Which older forests bound;
    The banks slope down to the blue lake-edge,
    Then plunge to depths profound.

    Here once the Deluge ploughed,
    Laid the terraces, one by one;
    Ebbing later whence it flowed,
    They bleach and dry in the sun.

    The sowers made haste to depart,--
    The wind and the birds which sowed it;
    Not for fame, nor by rules of art,
    Planted these, and tempests flowed it.

    Waters that wash my garden-side
    Play not in Nature's lawful web,
    They heed not moon or solar tide,--
    Five years elapse from flood to ebb.

    Hither hasted, in old time, Jove,
    And every god,--none did refuse;
    And be sure at last came Love,
    And after Love, the Muse.

    Keen ears can catch a syllable,
    As if one spake to another,
    In the hemlocks tall, untamable,
    And what the whispering grasses smother.

    Aeolian harps in the pine
    Ring with the song of the Fates;
    Infant Bacchus in the vine,--
    Far distant yet his chorus waits.

    Canst thou copy in verse one chime
    Of the wood-bell's peal and cry,
    Write in a book the morning's prime,
    Or match with words that tender sky?

    Wonderful verse of the gods,
    Of one import, of varied tone;
    They chant the bliss of their abodes
    To man imprisoned in his own.

    Ever the words of the gods resound;
    But the porches of man's ear
    Seldom in this low life's round
    Are unsealed that he may hear.

    Wandering voices in the air
    And murmurs in the wold
    Speak what I cannot declare,
    Yet cannot all withhold.

    When the shadow fell on the lake,
    The whirlwind in ripples wrote
    Air-bells of fortune that shine and break,
    And omens above thought.

    But the meanings cleave to the lake,
    Cannot be carried in book or urn;
    Go thy ways now, come later back,
    On waves and hedges still they burn.

    These the fates of men forecast,
    Of better men than live to-day;
    If who can read them comes at last
    He will spell in the sculpture, 'Stay.'