If you were coming in the fall by Emily Dickinson

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If you were coming in the fall

By Emily Dickinson

If you were coming in the Fall,
I’d brush the Summer by
With half a smile, and half a spurn,
As Housewives do, a Fly.

If I could see you in a year,
I’d wind the months in balls—
And put them each in separate Drawers,
For fear the numbers fuse—

If only Centuries, delayed,
I’d count them on my Hand,
Subtracting, til my fingers dropped
Into Van Dieman’s Land,

If certain, when this life was out—
That yours and mine, should be
I’d toss it yonder, like a Rind,
And take Eternity—

But, now, uncertain of the length
Of this, that is between,
It goads me, like the Goblin Bee—
That will not state— its sting.

In a Library by Emily Dickinson

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In a Library

By Emily Dickinson

A precious, mouldering pleasure ‘t is
To meet an antique book,
In just the dress his century wore;
A privilege, I think,

His venerable hand to take,
And warming in our own,
A passage back, or two, to make
To times when he was young.

His quaint opinions to inspect,
His knowledge to unfold
On what concerns our mutual mind,
The literature of old;

What interested scholars most,
What competitions ran
When Plato was a certainty.
And Sophocles a man;

When Sappho was a living girl,
And Beatrice wore
The gown that Dante deified.
Facts, centuries before,

He traverses familiar,
As one should come to town
And tell you all your dreams were true;
He lived where dreams were sown.

His presence is enchantment,
You beg him not to go;
Old volumes shake their vellum heads
And tantalize, just so.

The Mower to the Glow-Worms by Andrew Marvell

The Mower to the Glow-Worms

By Andrew Marvell

Ye living lamps, by whose dear light 
The nightingale does sit so late, 
And studying all the summer night, 
Her matchless songs does meditate; 

Ye country comets, that portend 
No war nor prince’s funeral, 
Shining unto no higher end 
Than to presage the grass’s fall; 

Ye glow-worms, whose officious flame 
To wand’ring mowers shows the way, 
That in the night have lost their aim, 
And after foolish fires do stray; 

Your courteous lights in vain you waste, 
Since Juliana here is come, 
For she my mind hath so displac’d 
That I shall never find my home.

Annabel Lee by Edgar Allan Poe

Did you know that Edgar Allan Poe wrote poetry, specifically a love poem?

I didn’t know this until I listened to Audible’s Classic Love Poems. Edgar Allan Poe wrote a number of poems, but the audiobook features a very sad love poem titled “Annabel Lee.” His wife died not too long into their marriage and I think this is something that affected him. Perhaps the fictional Annabel Lee symbolizes the loss of his wife.

I listened to Classic Love Poems for one reason and one reason only: it’s read by the amazing actor Richard Armitage (Mr. Thornton!!!). If you enjoy listening to poetry, then I recommend this audiobook. It’s very short, only 19 minutes. It includes poems by a variety of amazing poets: William Shakespeare, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Christopher Marlowe and a few others. But again, the highlight of the audiobook is Richard Armitage narrating it. (His voice is smooth and dreamy. There, I said it!)

Do you listen to audiobooks?

xoxo, Jane

Annabel Lee

By Edgar Allan Poe

It was many and many a year ago, 
   In a kingdom by the sea, 
That a maiden there lived whom you may know 
   By the name of Annabel Lee; 
And this maiden she lived with no other thought 
   Than to love and be loved by me. 

I was a child and she was a child, 
   In this kingdom by the sea, 
But we loved with a love that was more than love— 
   I and my Annabel Lee— 
With a love that the wingèd seraphs of Heaven 
   Coveted her and me. 

And this was the reason that, long ago, 
   In this kingdom by the sea, 
A wind blew out of a cloud, chilling 
   My beautiful Annabel Lee; 
So that her highborn kinsmen came 
   And bore her away from me, 
To shut her up in a sepulchre 
   In this kingdom by the sea. 

The angels, not half so happy in Heaven, 
   Went envying her and me— 
Yes!—that was the reason (as all men know, 
   In this kingdom by the sea) 
That the wind came out of the cloud by night, 
   Chilling and killing my Annabel Lee. 

But our love it was stronger by far than the love 
   Of those who were older than we— 
   Of many far wiser than we— 
And neither the angels in Heaven above 
   Nor the demons down under the sea 
Can ever dissever my soul from the soul 
   Of the beautiful Annabel Lee; 

For the moon never beams, without bringing me dreams 
   Of the beautiful Annabel Lee; 
And the stars never rise, but I feel the bright eyes 
   Of the beautiful Annabel Lee; 
And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side 
   Of my darling—my darling—my life and my bride, 
   In her sepulchre there by the sea— 
   In her tomb by the sounding sea.

The Lake Isle of Innisfree by William Butler Yeats

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The Lake Isle of Innisfree

By William Butler Yeats

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.

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Hello.

The social injustice in our country (and actually in the whole world) is making my heart heavy with sorrow. I feel helpless. I vote in every election and I hope you do too. I have also donated to Black Lives Matter and to the Equal Justice Initiative. I will continue to make donations to them and to other causes that work on ending white supremacy in the United States.

As you can image, I am not in the mood to blog about books and such. It seems trivial compared to what is happening right now. I’m going to continue working on my own book while the blog stays quiet for just a little while longer. Thank you for bearing with me.

I leave you with this poem by German pastor, Martin Niemöller, who survived the Nazis. Unfortunately, this poem is as timely as ever.

First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—
     Because I was not a socialist.

Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—
     Because I was not a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
     Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

xoxo, Jane

It sifts from Leaden Sieves By Emily Dickinson

abstract art background blue sky

December’s poem is by Emily Dickinson. Emily Dickinson was so clever. She wrote an entire poem about snow without ever mentioning the word “snow.” Grab your cup of tea and enjoy reading this winter poem. (PS. (October and November poems here.)

It sifts from Leaden Sieves
By Emily Dickinson

It sifts from Leaden Sieves –
It powders all the Wood.
It fills with Alabaster Wool
The Wrinkles of the Road –
It makes an even Face
Of Mountain, and of Plain –
Unbroken Forehead from the East
Unto the East again –
It reaches to the Fence –
It wraps it Rail by Rail
Till it is lost in Fleeces –
It deals Celestial Vail
To Stump, and Stack – and Stem –
A Summer’s empty Room –
Acres of Joints, where Harvests were,
Recordless, but for them –
It Ruffles Wrists of Posts
As Ankles of a Queen –
Then stills it’s Artisans – like Ghosts –
Denying they have been –

 

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November by Thomas Hood

yellow leaf

Since I posted a poem last month, it’s only fair we read another poem for November. I think this one is witty and sarcastic, but in a nice way. Let me know your thoughts.

November by Thomas Hood

No sun — no moon!
No morn
— no noon
No dawn
— no dusk — no proper time of day.

No warmth, no cheerfulness, no healthful ease,
No comfortable feel in any member
No shade, no shine, no butterflies, no bees,
No fruits, no flowers, no leaves, no birds!

November!

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October by Robert Frost

abstract autumn autumn colours beautiful

I’m not normally a fan of poems. I’m more interested in novels and novellas and the occasional short story. But every once in a while, I’m in the mood to read a poem. I think it’s good for us to do something out of the ordinary.

person carrying a pumpkin

I decided to seek out a poem related to autumn. I think this poem by Robert Frost fits the bill. Do you think so too?

October by Robert Frost

O hushed October morning mild,
Thy leaves have ripened to the fall;
Tomorrow’s wind, if it be wild,
Should waste them all.
The crows above the forest call;
Tomorrow they may form and go.
O hushed October morning mild,
Begin the hours of this day slow.
Make the day seem to us less brief.
Hearts not averse to being beguiled,
Beguile us in the way you know.
Release one leaf at break of day;
At noon release another leaf;
One from our trees, one far away.
Retard the sun with gentle mist;
Enchant the land with amethyst.
Slow, slow!
For the grapes’ sake, if they were all,
Whose leaves already are burnt with frost,
Whose clustered fruit must else be lost—
For the grapes’ sake along the wall.

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To My Dear and Loving Husband by Anne Bradstreet

 

midsection of woman making heart shape with hands
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I thought today would be a nice day for a poem. This poem, by Anne Bradstreet, is short and sweet. Plus, it makes me think of my husband.

Feel free to share your favorite poem in the comments.

Enjoy! xoxo, Jane

If ever two were one, then surely we. If ever man were loved by wife, then thee. If ever wife was happy in a man, Compare with me, ye women, if you can. I prize thy love more than whole mines of gold, Or all the rich.png

If ever two were one, then surely we.
If ever man were loved by wife, then thee.
If ever wife was happy in a man,
Compare with me, ye women, if you can.
I prize thy love more than whole mines of gold,
Or all the riches that the East doth hold.
My love is such that rivers cannot quench,
Nor ought but love from thee give recompense.
Thy love is such I can no way repay;
The heavens reward thee manifold, I pray.
Then while we live, in love let’s so persever,
That when we live no more, we may live ever.

Martin Niemöller: First They Came For the Socialists…

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

More about this at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum.

A poem

As you set out for Ithakahope the voyage is a long one,full of adventure, full of discovery.

I thought I’d share with you one of my favorite poems on this very rainy Sunday (rainy in my neck of the woods).

Ithaka by C.P. Cavafy

As you set out for Ithaka
hope the voyage is a long one,
full of adventure, full of discovery.
Laistrygonians and Cyclops,
angry Poseidon—don’t be afraid of them:
you’ll never find things like that on your way
as long as you keep your thoughts raised high,
as long as a rare excitement
stirs your spirit and your body.
Laistrygonians and Cyclops,
wild Poseidon—you won’t encounter them
unless you bring them along inside your soul,
unless your soul sets them up in front of you.

Hope the voyage is a long one.
May there be many a summer morning when,
with what pleasure, what joy,
you come into harbors seen for the first time;
may you stop at Phoenician trading stations
to buy fine things,
mother of pearl and coral, amber and ebony,
sensual perfume of every kind—
as many sensual perfumes as you can;
and may you visit many Egyptian cities
to gather stores of knowledge from their scholars.

Keep Ithaka always in your mind.
Arriving there is what you are destined for.
But do not hurry the journey at all.
Better if it lasts for years,
so you are old by the time you reach the island,
wealthy with all you have gained on the way,
not expecting Ithaka to make you rich.

Ithaka gave you the marvelous journey.
Without her you would not have set out.
She has nothing left to give you now.

And if you find her poor, Ithaka won’t have fooled you.
Wise as you will have become, so full of experience,
you will have understood by then what these Ithakas mean.

Translated by Edmund Keeley/Philip Sherrard