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The Poem Cards

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Table 1:  Pablo Neruda, Sonnet 17

I don't love you as if you were the salt-rose, topaz
or arrow of carnations that propagate fire;
I love you as certain dark things are loved,
secretly, between the shadow and the soul.

I love you as the plant that doesn't bloom and carries
hidden within itself the light of those flowers,
and thanks to you love, darkly in my body
lives the dense fragrance that rises from the earth.

I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where,
I love you simply, without problems, or pride;
I love you in this way because

I don't know any other way of loving

but this, in which there is no I or you,
so intimate that your hand upon my chest is my hand,
so intimate that when I fall asleep it is your eyes that close.

Table 2: T.S. Eliot, A Dedication To My Wife

To whom I owe the leaping delight
That quickens my senses in our walking time
And the rhythm that governs the repose of our sleeping time,
The breathing in unison.

Of lovers whose bodies smell of each other
Who think the same thoughts without need of speech
And babble the same speech without need of meaning.

No peevish winter wind shall chill
No sullen tropic sun shall wither
The roses in the rose-garden which is ours and ours only

But this dedication is for others to read:
These are my private words addressed to you in public.

Table 3:  Christina Rossetti, A Birthday
My heart is like a singing bird
Whose nest is in a water'd shoot;
My heart is like an apple-tree
Whose boughs are bent with thick-set fruit;
My heart is like a rainbow shell
That paddles in a halcyon sea;
My heart is gladder than all these,
Because my love is come to me.

Raise me a dais of silk and down;
Hang it with vair and purple dyes;
Carve it in doves and pomegranates,
And peacocks with a hundred eyes;
Work it in gold and silver grapes,
In leaves and silver fleurs-de-lys;
Because the birthday of my life
Is come, my love is come to me.

Table 4: Czeslaw Milosz, The Two of You

Don’t run anymore. Quiet. How softly it rains

On the roofs of the city. How perfect

All things are. Now, for the two of you

Waking up in a royal bed by a garret window.

For a man and a woman. For one plant divided

Into masculine and feminine which longed for each other.

Yes this is my gift to you. Above ashes

On a bitter, bitter earth. Above the subterranean

Echo of clamorings and vows. So that now at dawn

You must be attentive: the tilt of a head,

A hand with a comb, two faces in a mirror

Are only forever once, even if unremembered,

So that you watch what is, though it fades away,

And are grateful every moment for your being.

Let that little park with greenish marble busts

In the pearl-gray light, under a summer drizzle,

Remain as it was when you opened the gate.

And the street of tall peeling porticos

Which this love of yours suddenly transformed.

Table 5:  William Butler Yeats, He Wishes For The Cloths of Heaven

Had I the heavens' embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half-light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

Table 6:  William Shakespeare, Sonnet CXVI

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O no! it is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.
Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle's compass come:
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.

Table 7:  Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Sonnets from the Portuguese, XIV

If thou must love me, let it be for nought
Except for love's sake only. Do not say
'I love her for her smile-her look-her way
Of speaking gently, -for a trick of thought
That falls in well with mine, and certes brought
A sense of pleasant ease on such a day'-
For these things in themselves, Beloved, may
Be changed, or change for thee, -and love, so wrought,
May be unwrought so. Neither love me for
Thine own dear pity's wiping my cheeks dry, -

A creature might forget to weep, who bore
Thy comfort long, and lose thy love thereby !
But love me for love's sake, that evermore
Thou mayst love on, through love's eternity.

Table 8: Robert Frost, The Master Speed

No speed of wind or water rushing by

But you have speed far greater. You can climb

Back up a stream of radiance to the sky,

And back though history up the stream of time.

And you were given this swiftness, not for haste

Nor chiefly that you may go where you will,

But in the rush of everything to waste,

That you may have the power of standing still –

Off any still or moving thing you say.

Two such as you with such a master speed

Cannot be parted nor be swept away

From one another once you are agreed

That life is only life forevermore

Together wing to wing and oar to oar.

Table 9:  Christopher Brennan, Because She Would Ask Me Why I Loved Her

If questioning would make us wise
No eyes would ever gaze in eyes;
If all our tale were told in speech
No mouths would wander each to each.

Were spirits free from mortal mesh
And love not bound in hearts of flesh
No aching breasts would yearn to meet
And find their ecstasy complete.

For who is there that lives and knows
The secret powers by which he grows?
Were knowledge all, what were our need
To thrill and faint and sweetly bleed?

Then seek not, sweet, the "If" and "Why"
I love you now until I die.
For I must love because I live
And life in me is what you give.

Table 10:  Boris Pasternak, from A Wedding

Into the enormous sky flew

a whirlwind of blue-gray patches —

a flock of doves spiraling up

suddenly from the dovecotes.

And to see them makes you wish,

just as the wedding-feast is ending,

years of happiness for this couple,

flung onto the wind like doves.

Life too is only an instant,

only a dissolving of ourselves

into everyone,

as if we gave ourselves as gifts.

Only a wedding, only the depths

of a window and the sound rushing in,

only a song, or a dream,

only a blue-gray dove.

Table 11:  e.e. cummings, i carry your heart with me

i carry your heart with me,
i carry it in my heart and i'm never without it.
anywhere i go, you go, my dear.
and whatever is done, by only me, is your doing, my darling.
i fear no fear for you are my fate, my sweet.
i want no world for beautiful, you are my world my true.
it's you or whatever a moon has always meant,
and whatever a sun will always sing is you.
here is the deepest secret nobody knows
here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the tree called life
which grows higher and higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide
and this is the wonder that is keeping the stars apart
i carry your heart,
i carry it in my heart.

Table 12:  Anne Bradstreet, To My Dear Loving Husband

If ever two were one, then surely we.
If ever man were loved by wife, then thee;
If ever wife was happy in a man,
Compare with me, ye woman, if you can.
I prize thy love more than whole mines of gold
Or all the riches that the East doth hold.
My love is such that rivers cannot quench,
Nor ought but love from thee, give recompense.
Thy love is such I can no way repay,
the heavens reward thee manifold, I pray.
The while we live, in love let's so persevere,
That when we live no more, we may live ever.

Table 13:  A.A. Milne, from The House At Pooh Corner

"Pooh, promise you won't forget about me, ever. Not even when I'm a hundred."

Pooh thought for a little.
"How old shall I be then?"
"Ninety-nine." Pooh nodded.
"I promise," he said.

Still with his eyes on the world, Christopher Robin put out a hand and felt for Pooh's paw.

"Pooh," said Christopher Robin earnestly, "if I - if I'm not quite" he stopped and tried again "Pooh, whatever happens, you will understand, won't you?
"Understand what?"
"Oh, nothing." He laughed and jumped to his feet. "Come on!"
"Where?" said Pooh.
"Anywhere," said Christopher Robin.

 

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