H. D., “Orchard”

H. D., “Orchard” I saw the first pearas it fell –the honey-seeking, golden-banded,the yellow swarmwas not more fleet than I,(spare us from loveliness)and I fell prostratecrying:you have flayed uswith your blossoms,spare us the beautyof fruit-trees. The honey-seekingpaused not,the air thundered their song,and I alone was prostrate. O rough-hewngod of the orchard,I bring you an offering…

Amy Lowell, “Thompson’s Lunch Room—Grand Central Station”

Amy Lowell, “Thompson’s Lunch Room—Grand Central Station” STUDY IN WHITES Wax-white—Floor, ceiling, walls.Ivory shadowsOver the pavementPolished to cream surfacesBy constant sweeping.The big room is coloured like the petalsOf a great magnolia,And has a patinaOf flower bloomWhich makes it shine dimlyUnder the electric lamps.Chairs are ranged in rowsLike sepia seedsWaiting fulfilment.The chalk-white spot of a cook’s…

Amy Lowell, “The Pike”

Amy Lowell, “The Pike” In the brown water,Thick and silver-sheened in the sunshine,Liquid and cool in the shade of the reeds,A pike dozed.Lost among the shadows of stemsHe lay unnoticed.Suddenly he flicked his tail,And a green-and-copper brightnessRan under the water. Out from under the reedsCame the olive-green light,And orange flashed upThrough the sun-thickened water.So the…

Charles Reznikoff, “Millinery District”

Charles Reznikoff, “Millinery District” The clouds, piled in rows like merchandise, become dark; lights are lit in the lofts; the milliners, tacking bright flowers on straw shapes, say, glancing out of the windows; It is going to snow; and soon they hear the snow scratching the panes. By night it is high on the sills….

Delmore Schwartz, “The Heavy Bear Who Goes With Me”

Delmore Schwartz, “The Heavy Bear Who Goes With Me” “the withness of the body” The heavy bear who goes with me, A manifold honey to smear his face, Clumsy and lumbering here and there, The central ton of every place, The hungry beating brutish one In love with candy, anger, and sleep, Crazy factotum, dishevelling…

Delmore Schwartz, “In the Naked Bed, in Plato’s Cave”

Delmore Schwartz, “In the Naked Bed, in Plato’s Cave” In the naked bed, in Plato’s cave, Reflected headlights slowly slid the wall, Carpenters hammered under the shaded window, Wind troubled the window curtains all night long, A fleet of trucks strained uphill, grinding, Their freights covered, as usual. The ceiling lightened again, the slanting diagram…

Walt Whitman, “A Sight in Camp in the Daybreak Gray and Dim”

Walt Whitman, “A Sight in Camp in the Daybreak Gray and Dim” A sight in camp in the daybreak gray and dim, As from my tent I emerge so early sleepless, As slow I walk in the cool fresh air the path near by the hospital tent, Three forms I see on stretchers lying, brought…

Thom Gunn, “On the Move”

Thom Gunn, “On the Move” “Man, you gotta Go.” The blue jay scuffling in the bushes follows Some hidden purpose, and the gust of birds That spurts across the field, the wheeling swallows, Has nested in the trees and undergrowth. Seeking their instinct, or their poise, or both, One moves with an uncertain violence Under…

Thom Gunn, “No Speech from the Scaffold”

Thom Gunn, “No Speech from the Scaffold” There will be no speech from the scaffold, the scene must be its own commentary. The glossy chipped surface of the block is like something for kitchen use. And the masked man with his chopper: we know him: he works in a warehouse nearby. Last, the prisoner, he…