Sidney Lanier Poems

  • 101.  
    Once on a time, a Dawn, all red and bright
    Leapt on the conquered ramparts of the Night,And flamed, one brilliant instant, on the world,
  • 102.  
    Swift, through some trap mine eyes have never found,
    Dim-panelled in the painted scene of Sleep, Thou, giant Harlequin of Dreams, dost leap
  • 103.  
    Strange that the termagant winds should scold
    The Christmas Eve so bitterly!But Wife, and Harry the four-year-old,
  • 104.  
    By the Eldest Grandson.

  • 105.  
    “Order A. P. Hill to prepare for battle.”
    “Tell Major Hawks to advance the Commissary train.” “Let us cross the river and rest in the shade.”
  • 106.  
    If haply thou, O Desdemona Morn,
    Shouldst call along the curving sphere, “Remain,Dear Night, sweet Moor; nay, leave me not in scorn!”
  • 107.  
    At midnight, death's and truth's unlocking time,
    When far within the spirit's hearing rollsThe great soft rumble of the course of things-
  • 108.  
    What time I paced, at pleasant morn,
    A deep and dewy wood,I heard a mellow hunting-horn
  • 109.  
    I knowed a man, which he lived in Jones,
    Which Jones is a county of red hills and stones,And he lived pretty much by gittin' of loans,
  • 110.  
    The robin laughed in the orange-tree:
    “Ho, windy North, a fig for thee:While breasts are red and wings are bold
  • 111.  
    In my sleep I was fain of their fellowship, fain
    Of the live-oak, the marsh, and the main.The little green leaves would not let me alone in my sleep;
  • 112.  
    My soul is like the oar that momently
    Dies in a desperate stress beneath the wave,Then glitters out again and sweeps the sea:
  • 113.  
    Oft seems the Time a market-town
    Where many merchant-spirits meet Who up and down and up and down
  • 114.  
    Well: Death is a huge omnivorous Toad
    Grim squatting on a twilight road.He catcheth all that Circumstance
  • 115.  
    All faintly through my soul to-day,
    As from a bell that far awayIs tinkled by some frolic fay,
  • 116.  
    Time, hurry my Love to me:
    Haste, haste! Lov'st not good company? Here's but a heart-break sandy waste
  • 117.  
    Light rain-drops fall and wrinkle the sea,
    Then vanish, and die utterly.One would not know that rain-drops fell
  • 118.  
    The hound was cuffed, the hound was kicked,
    O' the ears was cropped, o' the tail was nicked,(All.) Oo-hoo-o, howled the hound.
  • 119.  
    May the maiden,
    Violet-ladenOut of the violet sea,
  • 120.  
    The sun has kissed the violet sea,
    And burned the violet to a rose.O Sea! wouldst thou not better be
  • 121.  

  • 122.  
    Sometimes in morning sunlights by the river
    Where in the early fall long grasses wave,Light winds from over the moorland sink and shiver
  • 123.  
    “Opinion, let me alone: I am not thine.
    Prim Creed, with categoric point, forbear To feature me my Lord by rule and line.
  • 124.  
    Land of the willful gospel, thou worst and thou best;
    Tall Adam of lands, new-made of the dust of the West;Thou wroughtest alone in the Garden of God, unblest
  • 125.  
    Frowning, the owl in the oak complained him
    Sore, that the song of the robin restrained himWrongly of slumber, rudely of rest.
  • 126.  
    Dear Mother-Earth
    Of Titan birth,Yon hills are your large breasts, and often I
  • 127.  
    Of fret, of dark, of thorn, of chill,
    Complain no more; for these, O heart,Direct the random of the will
  • 128.  
    Fine-tissued as her finger-tips, and white
    As all her thoughts; in shape like shields of prize, As if before young Violet's dreaming eyes
  • 129.  
    The storm hath blown thee a lover, sweet,
    And laid him kneeling at thy feet.But,-guerdon rich for favor rare!
  • 130.  
    Through all that year-scarred agony of height,
    Unblest of bough or bloom, to where expandsHis wandy circlet with his bladed bands
  • 131.  
    Read on the Fourth Commemoration Day, February, 1880.

  • 132.  
    Through seas of dreams and seas of phantasies,
    Through seas of solitudes and vacancies,And through my Self, the deepest of the seas,
  • 133.  
    I was drivin' my two-mule waggin,
    With a lot o' truck for sale,Towards Macon, to git some baggin'
  • 134.  
    A rose of perfect red, embossed
    With silver sheens of crystal frost,Yet warm, nor life nor fragrance lost.
  • 135.  
    The innocent, sweet Day is dead.
    Dark Night hath slain her in her bed.O, Moors are as fierce to kill as to wed!
  • 136.  
    Fair is the wedded reign of Night and Day.
    Each rules a half of earth with different sway,Exchanging kingdoms, East and West, alway.
  • 137.  
    In the heart of the Hills of Life, I know
    Two springs that with unbroken flowForever pour their lucent streams
  • 138.  
    Written for the “Martha Washington Court Journal”.

  • 139.  
    Over the monstrous shambling sea,
    Over the Caliban sea,Bright Ariel-cloud, thou lingerest:
  • 140.  
    Were silver pink, and had a soul,
    Which soul were shy, which shyness mightA visible influence be, and roll
  • 141.  
    “If life were caught by a clarionet,
    And a wild heart, throbbing in the reed,Should thrill its joy and trill its fret,
  • 142.  
    Across the brook of Time man leaping goes
    On stepping-stones of epochs, that upriseFixed, memorable, midst broad shallow flows
  • 143.  
    In the South lies a lonesome, hungry Land;
    He huddles his rags with a cripple's hand;He mutters, prone on the barren sand,
  • 144.  
    “So pulse, and pulse, thou rhythmic-hearted Noon
    That liest, large-limbed, curved along the hills,In languid palpitation, half a-swoon
  • 145.  
    That air same Jones, which lived in Jones,
    He had this pint about him:He'd swear with a hundred sighs and groans,
  • 146.  
    Written for the Art Autograph during the Irish Famine, 1880.

  • 147.  
    Sail on, sail on, fair cousin Cloud:
    Oh loiter hither from the sea. Still-eyed and shadow-brow'd,
  • 148.  
    Life swelleth in a whitening wave,
    And dasheth thee and me apart.I sweep out seaward:- be thou brave.
  • 149.  

  • 150.  
    “To heal his heart of long-time pain
    One day Prince Love for to travel was fain With Ministers Mind and Sense.
Total 170 poems written by Sidney Lanier

Poem of the day

 by Sara Teasdale

My forefathers gave me
My spirit's shaken flame,
The shape of hands, the beat of heart,
The letters of my name.

But it was my lovers,
And not my sleeping sires,
Who gave the flame its changeful

Read complete poem

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