Don Marquis Poems

  • 1.  
    Put by the sword (a dreamer saith),
    The years of peace draw nigh!Already the millennial dawn
  • 2.  
    Above, the baffled twilight fails; beneath, the
    blind snakes creep;Beside us glides the charnel shark, our pilot
  • 3.  
    They haunt me, they tease me with hinted
    Withheld revelations,The songs that I may not utter;
  • 4.  
    A fierce unrest seethes at the core
    Of all existing things:It was the eager wish to soar
  • 5.  
    Formal, quaint, precise, and trim,
    You begin your steps demurely-There's a spirit almost prim
  • 6.  
    Time steals from Love all but Love's wings;
    And how should aught but evil things, Or any good but death, befall
  • 7.  
    I am mine own priest, and I shrive myself
    Of all my wasted yesterdays. Though sinAnd sloth and foolishness, and all ill weeds
  • 8.  
    Where the singers of Saturn find tongue,
    Where the Galaxy's lovers embrace,Our world and its beauty are sung!
  • 9.  
    “Vain was the chief's, the sage's pride!
    They had no poet and they died.”-POPE.
  • 10.  
    Earth loves to gibber o'er her dross,
    Her golden souls, to waste;The cup she fills for her god-men
  • 11.  
    Your triolet should glimmer
    Like a butterfly;In golden light, or dimmer,
  • 12.  
    The wraiths of murdered hopes and loves
    Come whispering at the door,Come creeping through the weeping mist
  • 13.  
    I have been down in a dark valley;
    I have been groping through a deep gorge;Far above, the lips of it were rimmed with moon-
  • 14.  
    A little while, with love and youth,
    He wandered, singing:- He felt life's pulses hot and strong
  • 15.  
    The creeds he wrought of dream and thought
    Fall from him at the touch of life, His old gods fail him in the strife-
  • 16.  
    Ye are dead, they say, but ye swore, ye swore,
    Ye would come to me back from the sea!From out of the sea and the night, ye cried,
  • 17.  
    ‘Twixt ancient Beersheba and Dan
    Another such a caravanDazed Palestine had never seen
  • 18.  
    Your rondeau's tale must still be light-
    No bugle-call to life's stern fight! Rather a smiling interlude
  • 19.  
    No doubt the ordered worlds speed on
    With purpose in their wings;No doubt the ordered songs are sweet
  • 20.  
    Reach over, my Undine, and clutch me a reed-
    Nymph of mine idleness, notch me a pipe-For I am fulfilled of the silence, and long
  • 21.  
    What was his life, back yonder
    In the dusk where time began,This beast uncouth with the jaw of an ape
  • 22.  
    We have come “the primrose way,”
    Folly, thou and I!Such a glamor and a grace
  • 23.  
    Christ was of virgin birth, and, being slain,
    The creedists say, He rose from death again.Oh, futile age-long talk of death and birth!-
  • 24.  
    It shifts and shifts from form to form,
    It drifts and darkles, gleams and glows;It is the passion of the storm,
  • 25.  
    The mother by the gallows-tree,
    The gallows-tree, the gallows-tree,(While the twitching body mocked the sun)
  • 26.  
    And I would seek the country town
    Amid green meadows nestled downIf I could only find the way
  • 27.  
    A toast to the Fools!
    Pierrot, Pantaloon,Harlequin, Clown,
  • 28.  
    Shall the shepherds of Arcady followPan's moods as he lolls by the shore
  • 29.  
    A ghost is the freak of a sick man's brain?
    Then why do ye start and shiver so?That's the sob and drip of a leaky drain?
  • 30.  
    And some still cry: “What is the use?
    The service rendered? What the gain?Heroic, yes!-but in what cause?
  • 31.  

  • 32.  
    Better a pauper, penniless, asleep on the kindly
    sod-Better a gipsy, houseless, but near to the heart
  • 33.  
    Each nation as it draws the sword
    And flings its standard to the airPetitions piously the Lord-
  • 34.  
    There is a legend that the love of God
    So quickened under Mary's heart it wroughtHer very maidenhood to holier stuff. . . .
  • 35.  
    The great guns slay from a league away, the death-
    bolts fly unseen,And bellowing hill replies to hill, machine to brute
  • 36.  
    The steam, the reek, the fume, of prayer
    Blown outward for a million years, Becomes a mist between the spheres,
  • 37.  
    I stood among the boats
    The sinking sun, the angry sun, Across the sullen wave
  • 38.  
    So let them pass, these songs of mine,
    Into oblivion, nor repine;Abandoned ruins of large schemes,
  • 39.  
    I still remember how she moved
    Among the rathe, wild blooms she loved,(When Spring came tip-toe down the slopes,
  • 40.  
    Conquerors leonine, lordly,
    Princes and vaunting kings,Ye are drunk with the sound of your braggart
  • 41.  
    My dust in ruined Babylon
    Is blown along the level plain,And songs of mine at dawn have soared
  • 42.  
    We are deceived by the shadow, we see not the
    substance of things.For the hills are less solid than thought; and
  • 43.  
    Galahads, Galahads, Percivals, gallop!
    Bayards, to the saddle!-the clangorous trumpets,Hoarse with their ecstasy, call to the mellay.
  • 44.  
    Cease to call him sad and sober,
    Merriest of months, October!Patron of the bursting bins,
  • 45.  
    He speaks as straight as his rifles shot,
    As straight as a thrusting blade,Waiting the deed that shall trouble the truce
  • 46.  
    “Archaeologists have discovered a love-letter among the ruins
    of Babylon.”-Newspaper report.
  • 47.  
    She is hot to the sea that crouches beside,
    Human and hot to the cool stars peering down, My passionate city, my quivering town,
  • 48.  
    My lands, not thine, we look upon,
    Friend Croesus, hill and vale and lawn. Mine every woodland madrigal,
  • 49.  
    We stood among the boats and nets;
    We saw the swift clouds fall,We watched the schooners scamper in
  • 50.  
    But see! . . . the body does not sink;
    It rides upon the tide(A starbeam on the dagger's haft),
Total 78 poems written by Don Marquis

Poem of the day

The Comedian As The Letter C: 05 - A Nice Shady Home
 by Wallace Stevens

Crispin as hermit, pure and capable,
Dwelt in the land. Perhaps if discontent
Had kept him still the pricking realist,
Choosing his element from droll confect
Of was and is and shall or ought to be,
Beyond Bordeaux, beyond Havana, far
Beyond carked Yucatan, he might have come
To colonize his polar planterdom

Read complete poem

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