(lyrics by Edwin Arlington Robinson)
For what we owe to other days, Before we poisoned him with praise, May we who shrank to find him weak Remember that he cannot speak.
For envy that we may recall,
And for our faith before the fall, May we who are alive be slow To tell what we shall never know.
For penance he would not confess, And for the fateful emptiness
Of early triumph undermined, May we now venture to be kind.
Observant of the way she told So much of what was true,
No vanity could long withhold Regard that was her due:
She spared him the familiar guide, So easily achieved,
That only made a man to smile And left him undeceived.
Aware that all imagining
Of more than what she meant Would urge an end of everything, He stayed; and when he went,
They parted with a merry word That was to him as light
As any that was ever heard Upon a starry night.
She smiled a little, knowing well That he would not remark
The ruins of the a day that fell Around her in the dark:
He saw no ruins anywhere, Nor fancied there were scars On anyone who lingered there, Along below the stars.
3) Richard Cory
Whenever Richard Cory went down town, We people on the pavement looked at him: He was a gentleman from sole to crown, Clean favored and imperially slim.
And he was always quietly arrayed,
And he was always human when he talked,
But still he fluttered pulses when he said, « Good-morning, » and he glittered when he walked.
And he was rich, yes, richer than a king And admirably schooled in every grace:
In fine, we thought that he was everything To make us wish that we were in his place.
So on we worked, and waited for the light,
And went without the meat and cursed the bread; And Richard Cory, one calm summer night, Went home and put a bullet through his head.
We parted where the old gas-lamp still burned Under the wayside maple and walked on,
Into the dark, as we had always done;
And I, no doubt, if he had not returned,
Might yet be unaware that he had earned More than earth gives to many who have won More than it has to give when they are gone— As duly and indelibly I learned.
The sum of all that he came back to say
Was little then, and would be less today:
With him there were no Delphic heights to climb, Yet his were somehow nearer the sublime.
He spoke, and went again by the old way—
Not knowing it would be for the last time.
5) The Pilot
From the Past and Unavailing Out of cloudland we are steering: After groping, after fearing,
Into starlight we come trailing, And we find the stars are true. Still, O comrade, what of you? You are gone, but we are sailing, And the old ways are all new.
For the Lost and Unreturning
We have drifted, we have waited; Uncommanded and unrated,
We have tossed and wandered, yearning For a charm that comes no more
From the old lights by the shore:
We have shamed ourselves in learning What you knew so long before.
For the Breed of the Far-going
Who are strangers, and all brothers, May forget no more than others
Who looked seaward with eyes flowing. But are brothers to bewail
One who fought so foul a gale?
You have won beyond our knowing, You are gone, but yet we sail.
6) Miniver Cheevy
Miniver Cheevy, child of scorn,
Grew lean while he assailed the seasons; He wept that he was ever born,
And he had reasons.
Miniver loved the days of old
When swords were bright and steeds were prancing; The vision of a warrior bold
Would set him dancing.
Miniver sighed for what was not,
And dreamed, and rested from his labors; He dreamed of Thebes and Camelot,
And Priam’s neighbors.
Miniver mourned the ripe renown
That made so many a name so fragrant; He mourned Romance, now on the town, And Art, a vagrant.
Miniver loved the Medici,
Albeit he had never seen one;
He would have sinned incessantly Could he have been one.
Miniver cursed the commonplace And eyed a khaki suit with loathing; He missed the mediæval grace
Of iron clothing.
Miniver scorned the gold he sought,
But sore annoyed was he without it; Miniver thought, and thought, and thought, And thought about it.
Miniver Cheevy, born too late, Scratched his head and kept on thinking; Miniver coughed, and called it fate,
And kept on drinking.
7) The house on the hill
They are all gone away,
The House is shut and still, There is nothing more to say.
Through broken walls and gray The winds blow bleak and shrill: They are all gone away.
Nor is there one to-day
To speak them good or ill: There is nothing more to say.
Why is it then we stray Around the sunken sill? They are all gone away,
And our poor fancy-play
For them is wasted skill: There is nothing more to say.
There is ruin and decay
In the House on the Hill: They are all gone away, There is nothing more to say.
8) The world
Some are the brothers of all humankind,
And own them, whatsoever their estate;
And some, for sorrow and self-scorn, are blind With enmity for man’s unguarded fate.
For some there is a music all day long Like flutes in Paradise, they are so glad; And there is hell’s eternal under-song
Of curses and the cries of men gone mad.
Some say the Scheme with love stands luminous, Some say ‘t were better back to chaos hurled; And so ‘t is what we are that makes for us
The measure and the meaning of the world.
Ten Poems by Emily Dickinson (2015)
1) She dealt her pretty words like Blades
She dealt her pretty words like Blades —
How glittering they shone —
And every One unbared a Nerve
Or wantoned with a Bone —
She never deemed — she hurt —
That — is not Steel’s Affair —
A vulgar grimace in the Flesh —
How ill the Creatures bear —
To Ache is human — not polite —
The Film upon the eye
Mortality’s old Custom —
Just locking up — to Die.
2) I know some lonely Houses off the Road
I know some lonely Houses off the Road
A Robber’d like the look of—
And Windows hanging low,
Where two could creep—
One—hand the Tools—
The other peep—
To make sure All’s Asleep—
Old fashioned eyes—
Not easy to surprise!
How orderly the Kitchen’d look, by night,
With just a Clock—
But they could gag the Tick—
And Mice won’t bark—
And so the Walls—don’t tell—
A pair of Spectacles ajar just stir—
An Almanac’s aware—
Was it the Mat—winked,
Or a Nervous Star?
The Moon—slides down the stair,
To see who’s there!
Tankard, or Spoon—
A Watch—Some Ancient Brooch
To match the Grandmama—
The Sun has got as far
As the third Sycamore—
« Who’s there »?
And Echoes—Trains away,
Sneer— »Where »!
While the old Couple, just astir,
Fancy the Sunrise—left the door ajar!
3) « Hope » is the thing with feathers
‘Hope’ is the thing with feathers—
That perches in the soul—
And sings the tune without the words—
And never stops—at all—
And sweetest—in the Gale—is heard—
And sore must be the storm—
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm—
I’ve heard it in the chillest land—
And on the strangest Sea—
Yet, never, in Extremity,
It asked a crumb—of Me.
4) The Doomed-regard the sunrise
The Doomed—regard the Sunrise
With different Delight—
Because—when next it burns abroad
They doubt to witness it—
The Man—to die—tomorrow—
Harks for the Meadow Bird—
Because its Music stirs the Axe
That clamors for his head—
Joyful—to whom the Sunrise
Joyful—for whom the Meadow Bird
Has ought but Elegy!
5) She Lay as if at play
She lay as if at play
Her life had leaped away —
Intending to return —
But not so soon —
Her merry Arms, half dropt —
As if for lull of sport —
An instant had forgot —
The Trick to start —
Her dancing Eyes — ajar —
As if their Owner were
Still sparkling through
For fun — at you —
Her Morning at the door —
Devising, I am sure —
To force her sleep —
So light — so deep —
6) It was not Death, for I stood up
It was not Death, for I stood up,
And all the Dead, lie down —
It was not Night, for all the Bells
Put out their Tongues, for Noon.
It was not Frost, for on my Flesh
I felt Siroccos — crawl —
Nor Fire — for just my Marble feet
Could keep a Chancel, cool —
And yet, it tasted, like them all,
The Figures I have seen
Set orderly, for Burial,
Reminded me, of mine —
As if my life were shaven,
And fitted to a frame,
And could not breathe without a key,
And ’twas like Midnight, some –
When everything that ticked — has stopped —
And Space stares all around —
Or Grisly frosts — first Autumn morns,
Repeal the Beating Ground —
But, most, like Chaos – Stopless — cool —
Without a Chance, or Spar —
Or even a Report of Land —
To justify — Despair.
7) Pigmy seraphs gone astray
Pigmy seraphs—gone astray—
Velvet people from Vevay—
Balles from some lost summer day—
Bees exclusive Coterie—
Paris could not lay the fold
Belted down with Emerald—
Venice could not show a check
Of a tint so lustrous meek—
Never such an Ambuscade
As of briar and leaf displayed
For my little damask maid—
I had rather wear her grace
Than an Earl’s distinguished face—
I had rather dwell like her
Than be « Duke of Exeter »—
Royalty enough for me
To subdue the Bumblebee.
8) I cried at Pity not at Pain
I cried at Pity—not at Pain—
I heard a Woman say
« Poor Child »—and something in her voice
Convicted me—of me—
So long I fainted, to myself
It seemed the common way,
And Health, and Laughter, Curious things—
To look at, like a Toy—
To sometimes hear « Rich people » buy
And see the Parcel rolled—
And carried, I supposed—to Heaven,
For children, made of Gold—
But not to touch, or wish for,
Or think of, with a sigh—
And so and so—had been to me,
Had God willed differently.
I wish I knew that Woman’s name—
So when she comes this way,
To hold my life, and hold my ears
For fear I hear her say
She’s « sorry I am dead »—again—
Just when the Grave and I—
Have sobbed ourselves almost to sleep,
Our only Lullaby—
9) There’s a certain Slant of light
There’s a certain Slant of light,
That oppresses, like the Heft
Of Cathedral Tunes—
Heavenly Hurt, it gives us—
We can find no scar,
But internal difference,
Where the Meanings, are—
None may teach it—Any—
‘Tis the Seal Despair—
An imperial affliction
Sent us of the air—
When it comes, the Landscape listens—
Shadows—hold their breath—
When it goes, ’tis like the Distance
On the look of Death—
10) Split the Lark-and you’ll find the Music-
Split the Lark—and you’ll find the Music—
Bulb after Bulb, in Silver rolled—
Scantilly dealt to the Summer Morning
Saved for your Ear when Lutes be old.
Loose the Flood—you shall find it patent—
Gush after Gush, reserved for you—
Scarlet Experiment! Sceptic Thomas!
Now, do you doubt that your Bird was true?
Emily Dickinson poésie complètes (bilingue), éditions Flammarion
A folk tribute to William Blake (2011)
1) A Dream
Once a dream did weave a shade
O’er my angel-guarded bed,
That an emmet lost its way
Where on grass methought I lay.
Troubled, wildered, and forlorn,
Dark, benighted, travel-worn,
Over many a tangle spray,
All heart-broke, I heard her say:
‘Oh my children! do they cry,
Do they hear their father sigh?
Now they look abroad to see,
Now return and weep for me.’
Pitying, I dropped a tear:
But I saw a glow-worm near,
Who replied, ‘What wailing wight
Calls the watchman of the night ?
‘I am set to light the ground,
While the beetle goes his round:
Follow now the beetle’s hum;
Little wanderer, hie thee home!’
2) The Sick Rose
O Rose, thou art sick!
The invisible worm
That flies in the night,
In the howling storm,
Has found out thy bed
Of crimson joy:
And his dark secret love
Does thy life destroy.
3) I laid me down upon a Bank
I laid me down upon a bank,
Where Love lay sleeping;
I heard among the rushes dank
Then I went to the heath and the wild,
To the thistles and thorns of the waste;
And they told me how they were beguil’d,
Driven out, and compell’d to be chaste.
4) Why Was Cupid a Boy
Why was Cupid a boy,
And why a boy was he?
He should have been a girl,
For aught that I can see.
For he shoots with his bow,
And the girl shoots with her eye,
And they both are merry and glad,
And laugh when we do cry.
And to make Cupid a boy
Was the Cupid girl’s mocking plan;
For a boy can’t interpret the thing
Till he is become a man.
And then he’s so pierc’d with cares,
And wounded with arrowy smarts,
That the whole business of his life
Is to pick out the heads of the darts.
‘Twas the Greeks’ love of war
Turn’d Love into a boy,
And woman into a statue of stone–
And away fled every joy.
5) I askéd a Thief
I askéd a thief to steal me a peach,
He turned up his eyes.
I ask’d a lithe lady to lie her down,
Holy & meek, she cries.
As soon as I went
An Angel came:
He wink’d at the thief,
And smil’d at the dame;
And without one word said
Had a peach from the tree,
And still as a maid
Enjoy’d the lady.
6) A Divine Image
Cruelty has a human heart,
And Jealousy a human face;
Terror the human form divine,
And Secresy the human dress.
The human dress is forged iron,
The human form a fiery forge,
The human face a furnace sealed,
The human heart its hungry gorge.
« William Blake selected Poem’s » dover thrift éditions
William Blake Songs of innocence and of experience editions oxford