From my cottage kitchen window I can see
Two fields away the blue, the shining sea
And ships that slowly glide to far-off shores
Each one a separate world with its own laws;
They pass beyond my window and are gone.
When morning comes that miracle, the sun
Lifts slowly from the sea, a sacrament
Of grace and glory, or enlightenment.
My cottage truly is a house of light:
By night shines Sirius, cold and bright
And in the afternoon our living room
Seems more like a sunny meadow in mid-June.
From it we see the sun prepare to slumber
Wrapped in the gleaming waters of the Humber
While to the south another lighthouse shines—
Peace be to Spurn and you who read these lines.
The winter sun, golden and tired,
settles on the irregular army
of bottles. Outside the trucks
jostle toward the open road,
outside it’s Saturday afternoon,
and young women in black pass by
arm in arm. This bar
is the house of silence, and we drink
to silence without raising our voices
in the old way. We drink to doors
that don’t open, to the four walls
that dose their eyes, hands that run,
fingers that count change, toes
that add up to ten. Suspended
as we are between our business
and our rest, we feel the sudden peace
of wine and the agony of stale bread.
Columbus sailed from here 30 years ago
and never wrote home. On Saturdays
like this the phone still rings for him.
A little dreaming by the way,
A little toiling day by day;
A little pain, a little strife,
A little joy,–and that is life.
A little short-lived summer’s morn,
When joy seems all so newly born,
When one day’s sky is blue above,
And one bird sings,–and that is love.
A little sickening of the years,
The tribute of a few hot tears
Two folded hands, the failing breath,
And peace at last,–and that is death.
Just dreaming, loving, dying so,
The actors in the drama go–
A flitting picture on a wall,
Love, Death, the themes; but is that all?
A LITTLE bird, with plumage brown,
Beside my window flutters down,
A moment chirps its little strain,
Then taps upon my window-pane,
And chirps again, and hops along,
To call my notice to its song;
But I work on, nor heed its lay,
Till, in neglect, it flies away.
So birds of peace and hope and love
Come fluttering earthward from above,
To settle on life’s window-sills,
And ease our load of earthly ills;
But we, in traffic’s rush and din
Too deep engaged to let them in,
With deadened heart and sense plod on,
Nor know our loss till they are gone.
When thy Beauty appears
In its Graces and Airs,
All bright as an Angel new dropt from the Sky;
At distance I gaze, and am aw’d by my Fears,
So strangely you dazzle my Eye!
But when without Art,
Your kind Thoughts you impart,
When your Love runs in Blushes thro’ ev’ry Vein;
When it darts from your Eyes, when it pants in your Heart,
Then I know you’re a Woman again.
There’s a Passion and Pride
In our Sex, (she reply’d,)
And thus (might I gratify both) I wou’d do:
Still an Angel appear to each Lover beside,
But still be a Woman to you.
Grant heav’n that I may chuse my bliss
If you design me worldly Happiness
Tis not Honour thats but air
Glory has but fancied light
Fame as oft speak’s false as right
Riches have wings & ever dwell with care
Give me an undistemperd mind
As ye third region undisturbd by wind
Content from passions ever free
to rule ones selfs indeed a monarchy
this I request of thee
Tho all we see are fortunes apes
& change as oft as she their shapes
Tho my kinder fortune leave me
Tho my dearest friends deceive me
I in this universall tide
firm on heav’ns mercy would abide
& ‘mongst ye giddy waves securely ride
Tho they should die
Who never did my love abuse
Perhaps in tears I would my passion vent
But straight again I’de be content
Remembring ’twas th’ almighty’s deed tho I
should my best relations loose
Ide sighing cry Heav’ns will be done
It did but lend them now it has its own.
Fortune should never be
Adored as a deity by me
She onely makes them fooles who make her great
But still content on earth intent on heav’n I’de be
an equall temper keep in ev’ry state
nor Care nor fear my destiny
Death when most dreadfull should not fright
Wn ere he comes Ide patiently submitt
Content thus in my soul should build its halcyons nest
As did thy spirit on ye waters rest
& keep an everlasting calm with in my breast.