Poem of the Day: Two Loves (1894) by Lord Alfred Douglas

Reprinted from The Chameleon, December 1894. See highlighted lines.

I dreamed I stood upon a little hill,
And at my feet there lay a ground, that seemed
Like a waste garden, flowering at its will
With buds and blossoms. There were pools that dreamed
Black and unruffled; there were white lilies
A few, and crocuses, and violets
Purple or pale, snake-like fritillaries
Scarce seen for the rank grass, and through green nets
Blue eyes of shy peryenche winked in the sun.
And there were curious flowers, before unknown,
Flowers that were stained with moonlight, or with shades
Of Nature’s willful moods; and here a one
That had drunk in the transitory tone
Of one brief moment in a sunset; blades
Of grass that in an hundred springs had been
Slowly but exquisitely nurtured by the stars,
And watered with the scented dew long cupped
In lilies, that for rays of sun had seen
Only God’s glory, for never a sunrise mars
The luminous air of Heaven. Beyond, abrupt,
A grey stone wall. o’ergrown with velvet moss
Uprose; and gazing I stood long, all mazed
To see a place so strange, so sweet, so fair.
And as I stood and marvelled, lo! across
The garden came a youth; one hand he raised
To shield him from the sun, his wind-tossed hair
Was twined with flowers, and in his hand he bore
A purple bunch of bursting grapes, his eyes
Were clear as crystal, naked all was he,
White as the snow on pathless mountains frore,
Red were his lips as red wine-spilith that dyes
A marble floor, his brow chalcedony.
And he came near me, with his lips uncurled
And kind, and caught my hand and kissed my mouth,
And gave me grapes to eat, and said, ‘Sweet friend,
Come I will show thee shadows of the world
And images of life. See from the South
Comes the pale pageant that hath never an end.’
And lo! within the garden of my dream
I saw two walking on a shining plain
Of golden light. The one did joyous seem
And fair and blooming, and a sweet refrain
Came from his lips; he sang of pretty maids
And joyous love of comely girl and boy,
His eyes were bright, and ‘mid the dancing blades
Of golden grass his feet did trip for joy;
And in his hand he held an ivory lute
With strings of gold that were as maidens’ hair,
And sang with voice as tuneful as a flute,
And round his neck three chains of roses were.
But he that was his comrade walked aside;
He was full sad and sweet, and his large eyes
Were strange with wondrous brightness, staring wide
With gazing; and he sighed with many sighs
That moved me, and his cheeks were wan and white
Like pallid lilies, and his lips were red
Like poppies, and his hands he clenched tight,
And yet again unclenched, and his head
Was wreathed with moon-flowers pale as lips of death.
A purple robe he wore, o’erwrought in gold
With the device of a great snake, whose breath
Was fiery flame: which when I did behold
I fell a-weeping, and I cried, ‘Sweet youth,
Tell me why, sad and sighing, thou dost rove
These pleasent realms? I pray thee speak me sooth
What is thy name?’ He said, ‘My name is Love.’
Then straight the first did turn himself to me
And cried, ‘He lieth, for his name is Shame,
But I am Love, and I was wont to be
Alone in this fair garden, till he came
Unasked by night; I am true Love, I fill
The hearts of boy and girl with mutual flame.’
Then sighing, said the other, ‘Have thy will,
I am the love that dare not speak its name.’

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Poem of the Day: With only one life by Marin Sorescu

Hold with both hands
The tray of every day
And pass in turn
Along this counter.

There is enough sun
For everybody.
There is enough sky,
And there is moon enough.

The earth gives off the smell
Of luck, of happiness, of glory,
Which tickles your nostrils
Temptingly.

So don’t be miserly,
Live after your heart.
The prices are derisory.

For instance, with only one life
You can acquire
The most beautiful woman,
Plus a biscuit.

[Trans. Joana Russell-Gebbett and D.J. Enright]

Favourite Poem of the Day: I Feel Drunk All the Time by Kenneth Patchen

Jesus, it’s beautiful!
Great mother of big apples, it is a pretty
World!

You’re a bastard, Mr. Death,
And I wish you didn’t have no look-in here.

I don’t know how the rest of you feel,
But I feel drunk all the time

And I wish to hell we didn’t have to die.

Oh, you’re a nervy bastard, Mr. Death,
And I wish you didn’t have no hand in this game

Because it’s too damn beautiful for anybody to die.

Favourite Poem of the Day: Not My City by Taslima Nasrin

This isn’t the kind of city,
Once I called my own.
The city belongs to foxy politicians,
Unscrupulous traders, flesh racketeers, pimps, loompens, rapists,
But this cannot be my city.

The city belongs to mute witnesses,
To rape and murder but not to me,
The city belongs to hypocrites,
Feigning nonchalance to the sight of destitute,
At slums and beggars dying on the avenues of the rich.
This is the city of the escapists,
Who at the slightest premonition of a peril,
Make the hastiest retreat.
This is the city of the spooks
They stoically sit on the piles of injustice;
Here they go into rhapsodies,
Over the question of life after death.
This is the city of the soothsayers,
Agents of self-aggrandizement, opportunists.
I can never call it my own city, never.
Liars, cheats, religious bigots abound in here;
In this city, we’re a handful of men and women
Armed with logic, liberal thoughts,
Voice against injustice,
Live in beating hearts.
Not my City.

Taslima Nasrin is “a Bengali author and former physician who has been living in exile since 1994. From a literary profile as a poet in the late 1970s, she rose to global attention by the beginning of 1990s owing to her essays and novels with feminist views and criticism of all “misogynistic” religions including Islam.” (Wikipedia)

HER POETRY IS AMAZING.

Favourite Poem of the Day: Homeless by Karin Boye

[EN]

To lose the soul’s home and to wander far
and then be unable to find anything else,
and feel that one’s forgotten what truth is,
and fancy one is made of nought but lies,
be sickened by oneself and hate oneself –
yes, that is easy, that is very easy.
Sorrow is easy, but joy is proud and hard,
for joy, it is the simplest thing of all.

But he that seeks for himself a home
must not believe that it exists just anywhere –
he must go wandering homeless for a time;
and he that’s made of lies and would be well,
must hate himself until the day he knows
of truth what others as a gift receive.
What point is there in grieving so for it?
Wait then, my heart, and have some patience yet!

[SWE]

Hemlös

Att mista själens hem och vandra långt
och intet annat kunna hitta sen,
och finna att man glömt vad sanning är,
och tycka man är gjord av bara lögn,
och vämjas vid sig själv och hata sig —
ja det är lätt, ja det är ganska lätt.
Sorgen är lätt, men glädjen stolt och svår,
ty glädjen är det enklaste av allt.

Men den, som söker sig ett hem för sig,
får inte tro, att det finns var som helst —
han måste vandra hemlös någon tid;
och den som är av lögn och vill bli frisk,
han måste hata sig till det han kan
av sanning, som de andra få till skänks.
Vad är det värt att sörja så för det?
Vänta, mitt hjärta, och ha tålamod!

Favourite Prose of the Day: And When My Sorrow was born… by Khalil Gibran

And when my Joy was born, I held it in my arms and stood on the
house-top shouting, “Come ye, my neighbours, come and see, for Joy
this day is born unto me.  Come and behold this gladsome thing that
laugheth in the sun.”

But none of my neighbours came to look upon my Joy, and great was
my astonishment.

And every day for seven moons I proclaimed my Joy from the
house-top—and yet no one heeded me.  And my Joy and I were alone,
unsought and unvisited.

Then my Joy grew pale and weary because no other heart but mine
held its loveliness and no other lips kissed its lips.

Then my Joy died of isolation.

And now I only remember my dead Joy in remembering my dead Sorrow.
But memory is an autumn leaf that murmurs a while in the wind and
then is heard no more.