The Last Smile – John Ruskin

She sat beside me yesterday
With lip and eye, so blandly smiling,
So full of soul, of life, of light,
So sweetly my lorn heart beguiling
That she had almost made me gay
Had almost charmed the thought away
(Which, like the poisoned desert wind,
Came sick and heavy o’er my mind)
That memory soon mine all would be,
And she would smile no more for me.

Night – John Ruskin

Faint from the bell the ghastly echoes fall,
That grates within the grey cathedral tower;
Let me not enter through the portal tall,
Lest the strange spirit of the moonless hour
Should give life to those pale people, who
Lie in their fretted niches, two and two,
Each with his head on pillowy stone reposed,
And his hands lifted, and his eyelids closed.

From many a moldering oriel, as to flout,
Its pale, grave brow of ivy-tressed stone,
Comes the incongruous laugh, and revel shout-
Above, some solitary casement, thrown
Wide-open to the wavering night wind,
Admits its chill, so deathful, yet so kind,
Unto the fevered brow and fiery eye
Of one, whose night hour passeth sleeplessly.

Ye melancholy chambers! I could shun
The darkness of your silence, with such fear,
As places where slow murder has been done,
How many noble spirits have died here
Withering away in yearnings to aspire
Gnawed by mocked hope-devoured by their own fire!
Methinks the grave must feel a colder bed
To spirits such as these, then unto common dead.

To-Day, This Insect – Dylan Thomas

To-day, this insect, and the world I breathe,
Now that my symbols have outelbowed space,
Time at the city spectacles, and half
The dear, daft time I take to nudge the sentence,
In trust and tale I have divided sense,
Slapped down the guillotine, the blood-red double
Of head and tail made witnesses to this
Murder of Eden and green genesis.

The insect certain is the plague of fables.

This story’s monster has a serpent caul,
Blind in the coil scrams round the blazing outline,
Measures his own length on the garden wall
And breaks his shell in the last shocked beginning;
A crocodile before the chrysalis,
Before the fall from love the flying heartbone,
Winged like a sabbath ass this children’s piece
Uncredited blows Jericho on Eden.

The insect fable is the certain promise.

Death: death of Hamlet and the nightmare madmen,
An air-drawn windmill on a wooden horse,
John’s beast, Job’s patience, and the fibs of vision,
Greek in the Irish sea the ageless voice:
‘Adam I love, my madmen’s love is endless,
No tell-tale lover has an end more certain,
All legends’ sweethearts on a tree of stories,
My cross of tales behind the fabulous curtain.’

This Bread I Break – Dylan Thomas

This bread I break was once the oat,
This wine upon a foreign tree
Plunged in its fruit;
Man in the day or wine at night
Laid the crops low, broke the grape’s joy.

Once in this time wine the summer blood
Knocked in the flesh that decked the vine,
Once in this bread
The oat was merry in the wind;
Man broke the sun, pulled the wind down.

This flesh you break, this blood you let
Make desolation in the vein,
Were oat and grape
Born of the sensual root and sap;
My wine you drink, my bread you snap.