I understand them, I know those flames, those
Thou that with fructifying heat and light,
O’er myriad farms, o’er lands and waters North
O’er Mississippi’s endless course, o’er Texas’
grassy plains, Kanada’s woods,
O’er all the globe that turns its face to thee
shining in space,
Thou that impartially infoldest all, not only
Thou that to grapes and weeds and little wild
flowers givest so
Shed, shed thyself on mine and me, with but a
fleeting ray out of
thy million millions,
Strike through these chants.
Nor only launch thy subtle dazzle and thy
strength for these,
Prepare the later afternoon of me myself—
prepare my lengthening shadows,
Prepare my starry nights.
By Robert Hayden
Today as the news from Selma and Saigon
poisons the air like fallout,
I come again to see
the serene, great picture that I love.
Here space and time exist in light
the eye like the eye of faith
The seen, the known
dissolve in iridescence,
become illusive flesh of light
that was not, was, forever is.
O light beheld as through refracting tears.
Here is the aura of the world each of us has lost.
Here is the shadow of its joy.
Percy Bysshe Shelley
Look, look why shine
Those floating bubbles with such light divine?
They break, and from their mist a lily form
Rises from out the wave, in beauty warm.
The wave is by the blue-veined feet scarce
Her silky ringlets float about her breast,
Veiling its fairy loveliness, while her eye
Is soft and deep as the heaven is high.
The Beautiful is born ; sea and earth
May well revere the hour of that mysterious birth.
( The Roman name for Greek Goddess Aphrodite was Venus)
As this girl stares out at the viewer with liquid eyes and parted mouth, she radiates purity, captivating all the gaze upon her. Her soft, smooth skin is as unblemished as the surface of her large tear-drop shaped earring—like a vision emanating from the darkness, she belongs to not specific time or place. Her exotic turban, wrapping her head in crystalline blue, is surmounted by a striking yellow fabric that falls behind her shoulders, lending an air of mystery to the image.
by Andre Breton
Less time than it takes to say it, less tears
than it takes to die; I’ve taken account of
there you have it. I’ve made a census of the
stones, they are as numerous as my fingers
others; I’ve distributed some pamphlets to the
plants, but not all were willing to accept them.
kept company with music for a second only
and now I no longer know what to think of
if I ever want to part from myself, the exit is
on this side and, I add mischievously, the
re-entrance is on the other. You see what you
still have to do. Hours, grief, I don’t keep a
reasonable account of them; I’m alone, I look
out of the window; there is no passerby, or
one passes (underline passes).
know this man? It’s Mr. Same. May I introduce
Madam? And their children. Then I turn back
on my steps, my steps turn back too, but I
know exactly what they turn back on. I consult
a schedule; the names of the towns have
replaced by the names of people who have
been quite close to me. Shall I go to A, return
change at X? Yes, of course I’ll change at X.
Provided I don’t miss the connection with
There we are: boredom, beautiful parallels, ah!
how beautiful the parallels are under God’s
SON OF THE SABLE NIGHT
By Samuel Daniel
Care-charmer Sleep, son of the sable Night,
Brother to Death, in silent darkness born:
Relieve my languish, and restore the light,
With dark forgetting of my cares, return;
And let the day be time enough to mourn
The shipwreck of my ill-adventur’d youth:
Let waking eyes suffice to wail their scorn,
Without the torment of the night’s untruth.
Cease dreams, th’ imagery of our day-
To model forth the passions of the morrow;
Never let rising sun approve you liars,
To add more grief to aggravate my sorrow.
Still let me sleep, embracing clouds in vain;
And never wake to feel the day’s disdain.
by Paul Éluard
It rained bombs on Guernica; then it rained
bombs on Warsaw, and it rained bombs on
It rained bombs on Coventry; it rained bombs
on Brest. It rained bombs on Dresden; it rained
bombs on Tokyo and the rest.
It rained bombs on Belgrade, it rained bombs
on Baghdad. It rained bombs on Beirut, and
bombs on Gaza. It rained on the schools, the
hospitals and the city plaza.
Guernica, the name of a Basque village in
Spain. Its first four letters match the French
word for “guerre” or war in Guernica and the
rest of the world. Guernica, where death came
from the sky.
The bombs fell like rain again and again. The
children lay lifeless on the ground next to the
wounded dogs waiting to die. But why? In the
name of victory!
Guernica, whose villagers were shell shocked,
their bodies torn by shrapnel and burning,
molten, shards of steel, which cut the flesh
and severed their limbs. Guernica, on an
afternoon Monday in 1937, peace was
shattered; the bombers dropped their loads
two friends when the sun set;
suddenly, the sky turned as red as
blood. I stopped and leaned against
the fence, feeling unspeakably tired.
Tongues of fire and blood stretched
over the bluish black fjord. My
friends went on walking, while I
lagged behind, shivering with fear.
Then I heard the enormous infinite
scream of nature.”