Best Poems From
(31 May 1819 - 26 March 1892)
What General Has A Good Army
WHAT General has a good army in himself, has a good army;
He happy in himself, or she happy in herself, is happy,
But I tell you you cannot be happy by others, any more than you can
beget or conceive a child by others.
Read more: happy poems, child poems, children poems
Behold This Swarthy Face
BEHOLD this swarthy face--these gray eyes,
This beard--the white wool, unclipt upon my neck,
My brown hands, and the silent manner of me, without charm;
Yet comes one, a Manhattanese, and ever at parting, kisses me lightly
on the lips with robust love,
And I, on the crossing of the street, or on the ship's deck, give a
kiss in return;
We observe that salute of American comrades, land and sea,
We are those two natural and nonchalant persons.
Read more: kiss poems, sea poems, love poems
Brother Of All, With Genesrous Hand
BROTHER of all, with generous hand,
Of thee, pondering on thee, as o'er thy tomb, I and my Soul,
A thought to launch in memory of thee,
A burial verse for thee.
What may we chant, O thou within this tomb?
What tablets, pictures, hang for thee, O millionaire?
--The life thou lived'st we know not,
But that thou walk'dst thy years in barter, 'mid the haunts of
Nor heroism thine, nor war, nor glory.
Yet lingering, yearning, joining soul with thine, 10
If not thy past we chant, we chant the future,
Select, adorn the future.
Lo, Soul, the graves of heroes!
The pride of lands--the gratitudes of men,
The statues of the manifold famous dead, Old World and New,
The kings, inventors, generals, poets, (stretch wide thy vision,
The excellent rulers of the races, great discoverers, sailors,
Marble and brass select from them, with pictures, scenes,
(The histories of the lands, the races, bodied there,
In what they've built for, graced and graved, 20
Monuments to their heroes.)
Silent, my Soul,
With drooping lids, as waiting, ponder'd,
Turning from all the samples, all the monuments of heroes.
While through the interior vistas,
Noiseless uprose, phantasmic (as, by night, Auroras of the North,)
Lambent tableaux, prophetic, bodiless scenes,
In one, among the city streets, a laborer's home appear'd,
After his day's work done, cleanly, sweet-air'd, the gaslight
The carpet swept, and a fire in the cheerful stove.
In one, the sacred parturition scene,
A happy, painless mother birth'd a perfect child.
In one, at a bounteous morning meal,
Sat peaceful parents, with contented sons.
In one, by twos and threes, young people,
Hundreds concentering, walk'd the paths and streets and roads,
Toward a tall-domed school.
In one a trio, beautiful,
Grandmother, loving daughter, loving daughter's daughter, sat, 40
Chatting and sewing.
In one, along a suite of noble rooms,
'Mid plenteous books and journals, paintings on the walls, fine
Were groups of friendly journeymen, mechanics, young and old,
All, all the shows of laboring life,
City and country, women's, men's and children's,
Their wants provided for, hued in the sun, and tinged for once with
Marriage, the street, the factory, farm, the house-room, lodging-
Labor and toil, the bath, gymnasium, play-ground, library,
The student, boy or girl, led forward to be taught;
The sick cared for, the shoeless shod--the orphan father'd and
The hungry fed, the houseless housed;
(The intentions perfect and divine,
The workings, details, haply human.)
O thou within this tomb,
From thee, such scenes--thou stintless, lavish Giver,
Tallying the gifts of Earth--large as the Earth,
Thy name an Earth, with mountains, fields and rivers.
Nor by your streams alone, you rivers, 60
By you, your banks, Connecticut,
By you, and all your teeming life, Old Thames,
By you, Potomac, laving the ground Washington trod--by you Patapsco,
You, Hudson--you, endless Mississippi--not by you alone,
But to the high seas launch, my thought, his memory.
Lo, Soul, by this tomb's lambency,
The darkness of the arrogant standards of the world,
With all its flaunting aims, ambitions, pleasures.
(Old, commonplace, and rusty saws,
The rich, the gay, the supercilious, smiled at long, 70
Now, piercing to the marrow in my bones,
Fused with each drop my heart's blood jets,
Swim in ineffable meaning.)
Lo, Soul, the sphere requireth, portioneth,
To each his share, his measure,
The moderate to the moderate, the ample to the ample.
Lo, Soul, see'st thou not, plain as the sun,
The only real wealth of wealth in generosity,
The only life of life in goodness?
Read more: daughter poems, future poems, city poems, memory poems, marriage poems, brother poems, mother poems, school poems, sick poems, alone poems, women poems, birth poems, girl poems, pride poems, sun poems, war poems, father poems, beautiful poems, life poems, children poems
DELICATE cluster! flag of teeming life!
Covering all my lands! all my sea-shores lining!
Flag of death! (how I watch'd you through the smoke of battle
How I heard you flap and rustle, cloth defiant!)
Flag cerulean! sunny flag! with the orbs of night dappled!
Ah my silvery beauty! ah my woolly white and crimson!
Ah to sing the song of you, my matron mighty!
My sacred one, my mother.
Read more: song poems, mother poems, beauty poems, sea poems, death poems, night poems, life poems