Work – Elizabeth Barrett Browning

WHAT are we set on earth for ? Say, to toil;
Nor seek to leave thy tending of the vines
For all the heat o’ the day, till it declines,
And Death’s mild curfew shall from work assoil.
God did anoint thee with his odorous oil,
To wrestle, not to reign; and He assigns
All thy tears over, like pure crystallines,
For younger fellow-workers of the soil
To wear for amulets. So others shall
Take patience, labor, to their heart and hand
From thy hand and thy heart and thy brave cheer,
And God’s grace fructify through thee to
The least flower with a brimming cup may stand,
And share its dew-drop with another near.

Dream-Love – Dante Gabriel Rossetti

Young Love lies sleeping
In May-time of the year,
Among the lilies,
Lapped in the tender light:
White lambs come grazing,
White doves come building there:
And round about him
The May-bushes are white.

Soft moss the pillow
For oh, a softer cheek;
Broad leaves cast shadow
Upon the heavy eyes:
There wind and waters
Grow lulled and scarcely speak;
There twilight lingers
The longest in the skies.

Young Love lies dreaming;
But who shall tell the dream?
A perfect sunlight
On rustling forest tips;
Or perfect moonlight
Upon a rippling stream;
Or perfect silence,
Or song of cherished lips.

Burn odours round him
To fill the drowsy air;
Weave silent dances
Around him to and fro;
For oh, in waking
The sights are no so fair,
And song and silence
Are not like these below.

Young Love lies dreaming
Till summer days are gone, –
Dreaming and drowsing
Away to perfect sleep:
He sees the beauty
Sun hath not looked upon,
And tastes the fountain
Unutterably deep.

Him perfect music
Doth hush unto his rest,
And through the pauses
The perfect silence calms:
Oh, poor the voices
Of earth from east to west,
And poor earth’s stillness
Between her stately palms.

Young Love lies drowsing
Away to poppied death;
Cool shadows deepen
Across the sleeping face:
So fails the summer
With warm delicious breath;
And what hath autumn
To give us in its place?

Draw close the curtains
Of branched evergreen;
Change cannot touch them
With fading fingers sere:
Here first the violets
Perhaps with bud unseen,
And a dove, may be,
Return to nestle here.

Remember – Christina Georgina Rossetti

Remember me when I am gone away,
Gone far away into the silent land;
When you can no more hold me by the hand,
Nor I half turn to go yet turning stay.
Remember me when no more day by day
You tell me of our future that you planned:
Only remember me; you understand
It will be late to counsel then or pray.
Yet if you should forget me for a while
And afterwards remember, do not grieve:
For if the darkness and corruption leave
A vestige of the thoughts that once I had,
Better by far you should forget and smile
Than that you should remember and be sad.

Poem – Mystery

Now I am all
One bowl of kisses,
Such as the tall
Slim votaresses
Of Egypt filled
For a God’s excesses.

I lift to you
My bowl of kisses,
And through the temple’s
Blue recesses
Cry out to you
In wild caresses.

And to my lips’
Bright crimson rim
The passion slips,
And down my slim
White body drips
The shining hymn.

And still before
The altar I
Exult the bowl
Brimful, and cry
To you to stoop
And drink, Most High.

Oh drink me up
That I may be
Within your cup
Like a Mystery,
Like wine that is still
In ecstasy.

Glimmering still
In ecstasy,
Commingled wines
Of you and me
In One fulfill,…
The Mystery.

poem – children

A word will fill the little heart
With pleasure and with pride;
It is a harsh, a cruel thing,
That such can be denied.

And yet how many weary hours
Those joyous creatures know;
How much of sorrow and restraint
They to their elders owe!

How much they suffer from our faults!
How much from our mistakes!
How often, too, mistaken zeal
An infant’s misery makes!

We overrule and overteach,
We curb and we confine,
And put the heart to school too soon,
To learn our narrow line.

No: only taught by love to love,
Seems childhood’s natural task;
Affection, gentleness, and hope,
Are all its brief years ask.

poem – the female god

We curl into your eyes-
They drink our files and have never drained :
In the fierce forest of your hair
Our desires beat blindly for their treasure.

In your eyes’ subtle pit,
Far down, glimmer our souls ;
And your hair like massive forest trees
Shadows our pulses, overtired and dumb.

Like a candle lost in an electric glare
Our spirits tread your eyes’ infinities :
In the wrecking waves of your tumultuous locks
Do you not hear the moaning of our pulses ?

Queen ! Goddess! Animal!
In sleep do your dreams battle with our souls ?
When your hair is spread like a lover on the pillow
Do not our jealous pulses wake between ?

You have dethroned the ancient God,
You have usurped his Sabbath, his common days;
Yea, every moment is delivered to you,
Our Temple, our Eternal, our one God !

Our souls have passed into your eyes,
Our days into your hair;
And you, our rose-deaf prison, are very pleased with the world,
Your world.