Two In The Campagna | Poem| by Robert Browning

Two In The Campagna
by Robert Browning

I.

I wonder do you feel to-day

As I have felt since, hand in hand,

We sat down on the grass, to stray

In spirit better through the land,

This morn of Rome and May?

II.

For me, I touched a thought, I know,

Has tantalized me many times,

(Like turns of thread the spiders throw

Mocking across our path) for rhymes

To catch at and let go.

III.

Help me to hold it! First it left

The yellowing fennel, run to seed

There, branching from the brickwork’s cleft,

Some old tomb’s ruin: yonder weed

Took up the floating wet,

IV.

Where one small orange cup amassed

Five beetles,–blind and green they grope

Among the honey-meal: and last,

Everywhere on the grassy slope

I traced it.

To A Mouse | Poem| by Robert Burns

To A Mouse
by Robert Burns

Wee, sleekit, cowrin, tim’rous beastie,

O, what a panic’s in thy breastie!

Thou need na start awa sae hasty,

Wi’ bickering brattle!

I wad be laith to rin an’ chase thee

Wi’ murd’ring pattle!

I’m truly sorry man’s dominion,

Has broken nature’s social union,

An’ justifies that ill opinion,

What makes thee startle

At me, thy poor, earth-born companion,

An’ fellow-mortal!

I doubt na, whiles, but thou may thieve;

What then? poor beastie, thou maun live!

A daimen icker in a thrave

‘S a sma’ request;

I’ll get a blessin wi’ the lave,

An’ never miss’t!

Thy wee bit housie, too, in ruin!

It’s silly wa’s the win’s are strewin!

An’ naething, now, to big a new ane,

O’ foggage green!

An’ bleak December’s winds ensuin,

Baith snell an’ keen!

Thou saw the fields laid bare an’ waste,

An’ weary winter comin fast,

An’ cozie here, beneath the blast,

Thou thought to dwell –

Till crash! the cruel coulter past

Out thro’ thy cell.

That wee bit heap o’ leaves an’ stibble,

Has cost thee mony a weary nibble!

Now thou’s turn’d out, for a’ thy trouble,

But house or hald,

To thole the winter’s sleety dribble,

An’ cranreuch cauld!

But Mousie, thou art no thy lane,

In proving foresight may be vain;

The best-laid schemes o’ mice an’ men

Gang aft agley,

An’ lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain,

For promis’d joy!

Still thou art blest, compar’d wi’ me;

The present only toucheth thee:

But och! I backward cast my e’e,

On prospects dreaer!

An’ forward, tho’ I canna see,

I guess an’ fear!

Phenomenal Woman | Poem| by Maya Angelou

Phenomenal Woman
by Maya Angelou

Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.

I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size

But when I start to tell them,

They think I’m telling lies.

I say,

It’s in the reach of my arms

The span of my hips,

The stride of my step,

The curl of my lips.

I’m a woman

Phenomenally.

Phenomenal woman,

That’s me.

I walk into a room

Just as cool as you please,

And to a man,

The fellows stand or

Fall down on their knees.

Then they swarm around me,

A hive of honey bees.

I say,

It’s the fire in my eyes,

And the flash of my teeth,

The swing in my waist,

And the joy in my feet.

I’m a woman

Phenomenally.

Phenomenal woman,

That’s me.

Men themselves have wondered

What they see in me.

They try so much

But they can’t touch

My inner mystery.

When I try to show them

They say they still can’t see.

I say,

It’s in the arch of my back,

The sun of my smile,

The ride of my breasts,

The grace of my style.

I’m a woman

Phenomenally.

Phenomenal woman,

That’s me.

Now you understand

Just why my head’s not bowed.

I don’t shout or jump about

Or have to talk real loud.

When you see me passing

It ought to make you proud.

I say,

It’s in the click of my heels,

The bend of my hair,

the palm of my hand,

The need of my care,

‘Cause I’m a woman

Phenomenally.

Phenomenal woman,

That’s me.

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening | Poem| by Robert Frost

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
by Robert Frost

Whose woods these are I think I know.

His house is in the village, though;

He will not see me stopping here

To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer

To stop without a farmhouse near

Between the woods and frozen lake

The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake

To ask if there is some mistake.

The only other sound’s the sweep

Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,

But I have promises to keep,

And miles to go before I sleep,

And miles to go before I sleep.

Where the Sidewalk Ends | Poem| by Shel Silverstein

Where the Sidewalk Ends
by Shel Silverstein

There is a place where the sidewalk ends

And before the street begins,

And there the grass grows soft and white,

And there the sun burns crimson bright,

And there the moon-bird rests from his flight

To cool in the peppermint wind.

Let us leave this place where the smoke blows black

And the dark street winds and bends.

Past the pits where the asphalt flowers grow

We shall walk with a walk that is measured and slow,

And watch where the chalk-white arrows go

To the place where the sidewalk ends.

Yes we’ll walk with a walk that is measured and slow,

And we’ll go where the chalk-white arrows go,

For the children, they mark, and the children, they know

The place where the sidewalk ends.

The Highwayman | Poem| by Alfred Noyes

The Highwayman
by Alfred Noyes

PART ONE

The wind was a torrent of darkness among the gusty trees,

The moon was a ghostly galleon tossed upon cloudy seas,

The road was a ribbon of moonlight over the purple moor,

And the highwayman came riding–

Riding–riding–

The highwayman came riding, up to the old inndoor.

He’d a French cocked-hat on his forehead, a bunch of lace at his chin,

A coat of claret velvet, and breeches of brown doeskin;

They fitted with never a wrinkle: his boots were up to the thigh!

And he rode with a jewelled twinkle,

His pistol butts a-twinkle

His rapier hilt a-twinkle, under the jewelled sky.

Over the cobbles he clattered and clashed in the dard inn-yard,

And he tapped with his whip on the shutters, but all was locked and barred;

He whistled a tune to the window, and who should be waiting there

But the landlord’s black-eyed daughter,

Bess, the landlord’s daughter,

Plaiting a dark red love-knot into her long black hair.

And dark in the dark old inn-yard a stable-wicket creaked

Where Tim the ostler listened; his face was white and peaked;

His eyes were hollows of madness, his hair like moldy hay,

But he loved the landlord’s daughter,

The landlord’s red-lipped daughter,

Dumb as a dog he listened, and heard the robber say–

“One kiss, my bonny sweetheart, I’m after a prize tonight,

But I shall be back with the yellow gold before morning light;

Yet, if they press me sharply, and harry me through the day,

Then look for me by moonlight,

Watch for me by moonlight,

I’ll come to thee by moonlight, though hell should bar the way.”

He rose upright in the stirrups; he scarce could reach her hand,

But she loosened her hair i’ the casement! His face burnt like a brand

As the black cascade of perfume came tumbling over his breast;

And he kissed its waves in the moonlight,

(Oh, sweet black waves in the moonlight!)

Then he tugged at his rein in the moonlight, and galloped away to the West.

PART TWO

He did not come in the dawning; he did not come at noon;

And out o’ the tawny sunset, before the rise o’ the moon,

When the road was a gypsy’s ribbon, looping the purple moor,

A red coat troop came marching–

marching–marching–

King George’s men came marching, up to the old inn-door.

They said no word to the landlord, they drank his ale instead,

But they gagged his daughter and bound her to the foot of her narrow bed;

Two fo them knelt at her casement, with muskets at their side!

There was death at every window;

And hell at one dark window;

For Bess could see, through her casement, the road that he would ride.

They had tied her up to attention, with many a sniggering jest;

They had bound a musket beside her, with the barrel beneath her breast!

“Now keep good watch!” and they kissed her. She heard the dead man say–

Look for me by moonlight;

Watch for me by moonlight;

I’ll come to thee by moonlight, though hell should bar the way!

She twisted her hands behind her; but all the knots held good!

She writhed her hands till her fingers were wet with sweat or blood!

They stretched and strained in the darkness, and the hours crawled by like years,

Till, now, on the stroke of midnight,

Cold, on the stroke of midnight,

The tip of one finger touched it! The trigger at least was hers!

The tip of one finger touched it; she strove no more for rest!

Up, she stood to attention, with the barrel beneath her breast,

She would not risk their hearing; she would not strive again;

For the road lay bare in the moonlight;

Blank and bare in the moonlight;

And the blood of her veins in the moonlight throbbed to her love’s refrain

Tlot-tlot; tlot-tlot! Had they heard it? This horse-hoofs ringing clear;

Tlot-tlot, tlot-tlot, in the distance? Were they deaf that they did not hear?

Down the ribbon of moonlight, over the brow of the hill,

The highwayman came riding,

Riding, riding!

The red-coats looked to their priming! She stood up, straight and still!

Tlot-tlot, in the frosty silence! Tlot-tlot in the echoing night!

Nearer he came and nearer! Her face was like a light!

Her eyes grew wide for a moment; she drew one last deep breath,

Then her finger moved in the moonlight,

Her musket shattered the moonlight,

Shattered her breast in the moonlight and warned him; with her death.

He turned; he spurred to the West; he did not know who stood

Bowed, with her head o’er the musket, drenched with her own red blood!

Not till the dawn he heard it, his face grew gray to hear

How Bess, the landlord’s daughter,

The landlords black-eyed daughter,

Had watched her love in the moonlight, and died in the darkness there.

Back, he spurred like a madman, shreiking a curse to the sky,

with the white road smoking behind him, and his rapier brain dished high!

Blood-red were his spurs i’ the golden noon; wine-red was his velvet coat.

When they shot him down in the highway,

Down like a dog on the highway,

And he lay his blood on the highway, with a bunch of lace at his throat.

And still of a winter’s night, they say, when the wind is in the trees,

When the moon is a ghostly galleon tossed upon cluody seas,

When the road is a ribbon of moonlight over the purple moor,

A highwayman comes riding–

Riding–riding–

A highwayman comes riding, up to the old inn-door.

Over the cobbles he clatters and clangs in the dark inn-yard;

He taps with his whip on the shutters, but all is locked and barred;

He whistles a tune to the window, and who should be waiting there

But the landlord’s daughter,

Bess, the landlord’s daughter,

Plaiting a dark red love-knot into her long black hair.

Last updated August 31, 2015

Highwayman Poem

The Highwayman poem tells the story of an unnamed highwayman who was in love with Bess, a landlord’s daughter. Betrayed to the authorities by Tim, a jealous ostler, the highwayman escapes ambush when Bess sacrifices her life to warn him. Learning of her death, he dies in a futile attempt at revenge, shot down on the highway. In the final stanza, the ghosts of the lovers meet again on winter nights. This poem is reputed to be the best narrative poem of all time for oral delivery.

The poem makes effective use of vivid imagery for the background and of repetitious phrases to create the sense of a horseman riding at ease through the rural darkness to a lovers’ tryst or of soldiers marching down the same road to ambush him. Almost half a century later, Noyes wrote, “I think the success of the poem… was because it was not an artificial composition, but was written at an age when I was genuinely excited by that kind of romantic story”.

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Love Arm’d | Poem| by Aphra Behn

Love Arm’d
by Aphra Behn

Love in Fantastique Triumph sat,

Whilst bleeding Hearts around him flow’d,

For whom Fresh pains he did create,

And strange Tryanic power he show’d;

From thy Bright Eyes he took his fire,

Which round about, in sport he hurl’d;

But ’twas from mine he took desire,

Enough to undo the Amorous World.

From me he took his sighs and tears,

From thee his Pride and Crueltie;

From me his Languishments and Feares,

And every Killing Dart from thee;

Thus thou and I, the God have arm’d,

And sett him up a Deity;

But my poor Heart alone is harm’d,

Whilst thine the Victor is, and free.

Messy Room | Poem| by Shel Silverstein

Messy Room
by Shel Silverstein

Whosever room this is should be ashamed!

His underwear is hanging on the lamp.

His raincoat is there in the overstuffed chair,

And the chair is becoming quite mucky and damp.

His workbook is wedged in the window,

His sweater’s been thrown on the floor.

His scarf and one ski are beneath the TV,

And his pants have been carelessly hung on the door.

His books are all jammed in the closet,

His vest has been left in the hall.

A lizard named Ed is asleep in his bed,

And his smelly old sock has been stuck to the wall.

Whosever room this is should be ashamed!

Donald or Robert or Willie or–

Huh? You say it’s mine? Oh, dear,

I knew it looked familiar!