Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer’s lease hath all too short a date:
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimm’d;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance or nature’s changing course untrimm’d;
But thy eternal summer shall not fade,
Nor lose possession of that fair thou owest;
Nor shall Death brag thou wander’st in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou grow’st;
So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.
by William Shakespeare
To Althea From Prison
When love with unconfined wings
Hovers within my gates;
And my divine ALTHEA brings
To whisper at the grates;
When I lye tangled in her haire,
And fetterd to her eye,
The birds, that wanton in the aire,
Know no such liberty.
When flowing cups run swiftly round
With no allaying THAMES,
Our carelesse heads with roses bound,
Our hearts with loyal flames;
When thirsty griefe in wine we steepe,
When healths and draughts go free,
Fishes, that tipple in the deepe,
Know no such libertie.
When (like committed linnets) I
With shriller throat shall sing
The sweetnes, mercy, majesty,
And glories of my King.
When I shall voyce aloud, how good
He is, how great should be,
Inlarged winds, that curle the flood,
Know no such liberty.
Stone walls doe not a prison make,
Nor iron bars a cage;
Mindes innocent and quiet take
That for an hermitage;
If I have freedome in my love,
And in my soule am free,
Angels alone that sore above
Enjoy such liberty.
by Richard Lovelace
by Nate Marshall
From behind, standing, from a distance
From behind, standing, from a distance,
in passing, the taxi meter running,
I’d watch her, I’d watch her hair,
and what would I see? My stubborn theatre,
curtain won’t fall, my always-open theatre . . .
Best to leave as soon as the show begins
BY PATRIZIA CAVALLI
GRACIOUS and lovable and sweet,
She made his jaded pulses beat,
And made the glare of streets grow dim
And life more soft and hushed for him….
Over her shoulder now she smiled Trustfully to him, like a child,
The while her fingers gayly movedAlonge these white keys dearly loved,
Making them laugh a jocund measure,
Making them show and sing her pleasure….
A smile that dwelt upon his eyes,
To see what mood might therein rise,–What point of soft light seen afar, Which might dilate to moon or star….
A smile that for a second space, brooded wistfully on her face,
Opening soft her spirit’s door,
Disclosing depths undreamed before:
Passionate depths of half-seen flame,
Young loveliness despising shame,
Desire that trembled to meet desire,
And fire that yearned to fuse with fire….
And lightly then she turned away,
Ironic music rippled gay,–
Subtle sarcastic flippancies,
disguising speechless ecstasies…
“Play something else…”
He rose to turn the pages,
while the deep nocturne struck slow rich chords of plangent pain,
Beautiful, into heart and brain;
A tortured, anguished, suffering thing that seemed at once to cry and sing;
Despairing love that strove to find the face beloved with fingers blind.
He saw her body’s slender grace,
This drooping shoulder,
All of her body, hidden soIn saffron satin’s flush and flow,-
-Its white and simple loveliness,–Came on his heart like giddiness,
Seductive as this music came;
Until her body seemed like flame,–Intense white flame, so swiftly moving that it gave scarcely time for loving;
But rapid as the sun she seemed,
A blinding light that flowed and streamed and sang and shone through roaring space….
The sun itself! for now her face,
Wherein this music’s whole soul dwelt,
Drew him like helpless star,
he felt a fierce compulsion, reckless, mad, a sweet compulsion, troubled, glad,
His trembling hands went out to her,
Her cool flesh made his senses blur;
While, head thrown backward, sinking dim,
She opened wide her soul to him….
Past his life went whirls of lights,
Chaos of music,
days and nights,
Her wild eyes yearned to lure him in and close him up in dark of sin,
To lure him in and drink him down,
and all his soul in love to drown.
Her nakedness he seemed to see.
And breast to breast,
and knee to knee,Tremulous, breathless, swaying, burning,Body to beautiful body yearning,In joy and terror, flesh to flesh,
They flamed in passion’s fine red mesh,-
-Living in one short breath again
The cosmic tide’s whole bliss and pain,
Darkness and ether,
nebulous fire,Vast suns whirled forth by vast desire,Huge moons flung out with monstrous mirthAnd stars in glorious hells of birth,All jubilating, blazing, reeling,An orgiastic splendor wheeling,Moon torn from earth and star from sunIn screaming pain, titanic fun,
And stars whirled back to sun again
To be consumed in flaming pain!…
In them at last all life was met:They were God’s self! This earth had set.
Mad fires of life sang through their veins,
Life the destroyer,
life the breaker,
And death, the everlasting maker….
By Conrad Aiken