by Mary Oliver (1935 – )
Chunky and noisy,
but with stars in their black feathers,
they spring from the telephone wire
they are acrobats
in the freezing wind.
And now, in the theater of air,
they swing over buildings,
dipping and rising;
they float like one stippled star
becomes for a moment fragmented,
then closes again;
and you watch
and you try
but you simply can’t imagine
how they do it
with no articulated instruction, no pause,
only the silent confirmation
that they are this notable thing,
this wheel of many parts, that can rise and spin
over and over again,
full of gorgeous life.
Ah, world, what lessons you prepare for us,
even in the leafless winter,
even in the ashy city.
I am thinking now
of grief, and of getting past it;
I feel my boots
trying to leave the ground,
I feel my heart
pumping hard. I want
to think again of dangerous and noble things.
I want to be light and frolicsome.
I want to be improbable beautiful and afraid of nothing,
as though I had wings.
by Justin Good, 2014
There once Was
Or rather still Is
And Forever will Be
A Moment Before
Time seemed To Be.
Like the River which
Can’t be stepped in Twice
The Present can Hardly be said
To Come and Go
Or Bear a Price.
Everything that Seems
To Change and Leave
The Flow of this Dream
Has Already Returned
Gently Down the Stream.
You know you Know this Already
That Time is a Learning Device
Disappearing at Dawn
When we finally Learn we’re still Here
Even after we’re Gone.
As Timeless Beings of Light
The We inside of Me
The Moment Before
Time Seemed to Be.
Dispelling old myths
There are times in every nation’s history that serve as turning points, and the 1863 dedication of the Gettysburg Cemetery is one of America’s, largely due to the influence of Abraham Lincoln’s 256 word speech. Garry Wills puts paid to the notion that Lincoln dashed something off on the train ride to Gettysburg, painstakingly tracing the cultural, literary, historic, and philosophical underpinnings to one of the world’s oratory masterpieces. Wills also analyzes the surviving five drafts of the speech that were written in the President’s own hand, concluding that the one given to Alexander Bliss is most likely the one from which Lincoln spoke. He also attempts to pinpoint the location of the dais within the cemetery, which was not, as the Park Service contended, at the site of the Soldiers’ Monument.
Readers searching for information about Lincoln’s activities on that fateful day will find little of interest in this slim volume, but for those interested in the best known address in American history, Lincoln at Gettysburg fills the bill.
excerpt from The Pumpkin, by John Greenleaf Whittier
Ah! on Thanksgiving day, when from East and from West,
From North and from South comes the pilgrim and guest;
When the gray-haired New Englander sees round his board
The old broken links of affection restored;
When the care-wearied man seeks his mother once more,
And the worn matron smiles where the girl smiled before;
What moistens the lip and what brightens the eye,
What calls back the past, like the rich Pumpkin pie?
by Katherine Mansfield
Now’s the time when children’s noses
All become as red as roses
And the colour of their faces
Makes me think of orchard places
Where the juicy apples grow,
And tomatoes in a row.
And to-day the hardened sinner
Never could be late for dinner,
But will jump up to the table
Just as soon as he is able,
Ask for three times hot roast mutton–
Oh! the shocking little glutton.
Come then, find your ball and racket,
Pop into your winter jacket,
With the lovely bear-skin lining.
While the sun is brightly shining,
Let us run and play together
And just love the autumn weather.
by Walter de la Mare
Nothing on the grey roof, nothing on the brown
Only a little greening where the rain drips down;
Nobody at the window, nobody at the door,
Only a little hollow which a foot once wore;
But still I tread on tiptoe, still tiptoe on I go,
Past nettles, porch, and weedy well, for oh, I know
A friendless face is peering, and a still clear eye
Peeps closely through the casement
as my step goes by.