Entry LXXVI – September

Vulture
William Carlos Williams

I had walked since dawn and lay down to rest on a
bare hillside
Above the ocean. I saw through half-shut eyelids a
vulture wheeling high up in heaven,
And presently it passed again, but lower and nearer,
its orbit narrowing,
I understood then
That I was under inspection. I lay death-still and
heard the flight feathers
Whistle above me and make their circle and come
nearer…
. . . how beautiful he looked, gliding down
On those great sails; how beautiful he looked,
veering away in the sea-light
over the precipice. I tell you solemnly
That I was sorry to have disappointed him. To be
eaten by that beak and
become part of him, to share those wings and
those eyes –
What a sublime end of one’s body, what an ensky-
ment; what a life after death.

 

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Entry LXXXV – September

September Song
Geoffrey Hill

Undesirable you may have been, untouchable
you were not. Not forgotten
or passed over at the proper time.

As estimated, you died. Things marched,
sufficient, to that end.
Just so much Zyklon and leather, patented
terror, so many routine cries.

(I have made
an elegy for myself it
is true)

September fattens on vines. Roses
flake from the wall. The smoke
of harmless fires drifts to my eyes.

This is plenty. This is more than enough.

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Entry LXXXIII – September

The Wanderer

W.H. Auden

Doom is dark and deeper than any sea-dingle.
Upon what man it fall
In spring, day-wishing flowers appearing,
Avalanche sliding, white snow from rock-face,
That he should leave his house,
No cloud-soft hand can hold him, restraint by women;
But ever that man goes
Through place-keepers, through forest trees,
A stranger to strangers over undried sea,
Houses for fishes, suffocating water,
Or lonely on fell as chat,
By pot-holed becks
A bird stone-haunting, an unquiet bird.
There head falls forward, fatigued at evening,
And dreams of home,
Waving from window, spread of welcome,
Kissing of wife under single sheet;
But waking sees
Bird-flocks nameless to him, through doorway voices
Of new men making another love.
Save him from hostile capture,
From sudden tiger’s leap at corner;
Protect his house,
His anxious house where days are counted
From thunderbolt protect,
From gradual ruin spreading like a stain;
Converting number from vague to certain,
Bring joy, bring day of his returning,
Lucky with day approaching, with leaning dawn.
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Entry LXXXII – September

Buffalo Dusk

Carl Sandburg

The buffaloes are gone.
And those who saw the buffaloes are gone.
Those who saw the buffaloes by thousands and how they pawed the prairie sod into dust with their hoofs, their great heads down pawing on in a great pageant of dusk,
Those who saw the buffaloes are gone.
And the buffaloes are gone.
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Entry LXXXI – September

Winter Night

Ted Olson

Blow now against the cold your thin
Ephemeral breath. Evoke the ghost
Of the pale flame that pants within.
This is yourself. This phantom, lost
On air, this filigree in frost,
Is all of warmth and brawn that hold
At bay the interstellar cold.

Trace in the braided wrist the tick
Of tunneling blood. This quiver, brief
As the wind’s tread along the leaf,
This rhythm feebler than the flick
Of cricket’s wing, no less sustains
The thrust of chaos blindly hurled
Against the frail tide of the veins–
The weight of crumbling world on world.

Breathe hard against the icy wind
Once more. Blow forth against the bright
Brave ghost of flame, a javelinned
Defiance to the crowding night.
Then get you in–to bed– forget,
If so you can, how pulse and breath
(A moment yet . . . a moment yet . . .)
Beat back the seismic tides of death.

 

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Entry LXXIX – July

Rannoch, by Glencoe
Thomas Stearns Eliot

Here the crow starves, here the patient stag
Breeds for the rifle. Between the soft moor
And the soft sky, scarcely room
To leap or soar. Substance crumbles, in the thin air
Moon cold or moon hot. The road winds in
Listlessness of ancient war,
Langour of broken steel,
Clamour of confused wrong, apt
In silence. Memory is strong
Beyond the bone. Pride snapped,
Shadow of pride is long, in the long pass
No concurrence of bone.

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Entry LXXVIII – June

The Rime of the Ancient Mariner
Samuel Taylor Coleridge

“God save thee, ancient Mariner!
From the fiends, that plague thee thus!–
Why look ‘st thou so?”– with my cross-bow
I shot the Albatross.

Ah! well a-day! what evil looks
Had I from old and young!
Instead of the cross, the Albatross
About my neck was hung.

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Entry LXXVI – June

Marching Men
Marjorie Pickthall

Under the level winter sky
I saw a thousand Christs go by.
They sang an idle song and free
As they went up to calvary.

Careless of eye and coarse of lip,
They marched in holiest fellowship.
That heaven might heal the world, they gave
Their earth-born dreams to deck the grave.

With souls unpurged and steadfast breath
They supped the sacrament of death.
And for each one, far off, apart,
Seven swords have rent a woman’s heart.

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