Last night, as I was sleeping,
I dreamt—marvelous error!—
that a spring was breaking
out in my heart.
I said: Along which secret aqueduct,
oh water, are you coming to me,
water of a new life
that I have never drunk?

Last night, as I was sleeping,
I dreamt—marvelous error!—
that I had a beehive
here inside my heart.
And the golden bees
were making white combs
and sweet honey
from my old failures.

Last night, as I was sleeping,
I dreamt—marvelous error!—
that a fiery sun was giving
light inside my heart.
It was fiery because I felt
warmth as from a hearth,
and sun because it gave light
and brought tears to my eyes.

Last night, as I slept,
I dreamt—marvelous error!—
that it was God I had
here inside my heart.

— Antonio Machado, “Last night as I was sleeping,” from Times Alone: Selected Poems of Antonio Machado, 1983 Bly translation.

And lonely as it is that loneliness
Will be more lonely ere it will be less—
A blanker whiteness of benighted snow
With no expression, nothing to express.


They cannot scare me with their empty spaces
Between stars—on stars where no human race is.
I have it in me so much nearer home
To scare myself with my own desert places.

— Robert Frost, “Desert Places.”
“Red river, red river,
Slow flow heat is silence
No will is still as a river
Still. Will heat move
Only through the mocking-bird
Heard once? Still hills
Wait. Gates wait. Purple trees,
White trees, wait, wait,
Delay, decay. Living, living,
Never moving. Ever moving
Iron thoughts came with me
And go with me:
Red river, river, river.”
— T.S. Eliot, “Virginia,” part II of “Landscapes,” from The Complete Poems and Plays 1909-1950.

Last Thoughts Before the Revolution

My father the king was god, my father
the king is dead; he and his chariot
lost on twilit shores of unhappy isles.
When I was young, I walked the wind-graven
standing stones that point out the swordbelt of
Orion, the dusky unwinking eye
of Mars; into the lith, a dagger carved,
the sign of dead druids, long laid in the
barrow. What shall mark my grave? Not a word.
They will pry the garnets from my dagger,
they will melt the silver from my cloak-clasp,
they will make mock of my body. Even
the bull—I remember his hot blood in
the red dust of the sacrificial pit!—
his bones and fat were burnt on the temple
pyre, with proper rites, among mourning girls.
They may make a goblet of my skull. They
may make a flute of my thigh’s bone. How can
they? I ran on these legs with the children
of thanes, with these fingers I cracked the white
pulp of pomegranates, painted, poured wine.
My eye, the astrologers said, full of
the blue wisdom of the sea. No statue
for this face, but an axe. No red-gold torc
for this neck, but a gibbet. Where is it
written that fifteen springs can be enough?
In my sixth I climbed the garden cedar
fetching a clutch of speckled songbirds’ eggs;
I stumbled, I cried out, I fell headlong:
the undreaming stuff of them spilled on the
flagstones. I am that wan yolk now—this arm
could have raised a scepter, while that arm spread
its feathers, and I’d become that new thing
that lays a shadow across the sunrise.
My eye shall be full of the red wisdom
of ruin. But no one has seen a bird
that never flew or will; my god is dead. 

“White in the moon the long road lies,
The moon stands blank above;
White in the moon the long road lies
That leads me from my love.
Still hangs the hedge without a gust,
Still, still, the shadows stay:
My feet upon the moonlit dust
Pursue the ceaseless way.
The world is round, so travellers tell,
And straight though reach the track,
Trudge on, trudge on, ‘twill all be well,
The way will guide one back.
But ere the circle homeward hies
Far, far must it remove:
White in the moon the long road lies
That leads me from my love.”
— A.E. Housman, “White in the moon the long road lies,” from A Shropshire Lad.
“You, if a man may, dare aspire to KNOW:
And that this aim shall differ from a host
Of aims alike in character and kind,
Mostly in this, — that in itself alone
Shall its reward be, not an alien end
Blending therewith; no hope nor fear nor joy
Nor woe, to elsewhere move you, but this pure
Devotion to sustain you or betray:
Thus you aspire.”
— Robert Browning, “Paracelsus.”
“And they shall stretch their arms and starting, wake
With “Helen!” on their lips, and in their eyes
The vision of me. Always I shall be
Limned on the darkness like a shaft of light
That glimmers and is gone. They shall behold
Each one his dream that fashions me anew; —
With hair like lakes that glint beneath the stars
Dark as sweet midnight, or with hair aglow
Like burnished gold that still retains the fire.
Yea, I shall haunt until the dusk of time
The heavy eyelids filled with fleeting dreams.”
— Sara Teasdale, “Helen of Troy,” from Helen of Troy and Other Poems.
“Fanatics have their dreams, wherewith they weave
A paradise for a sect; the savage too
From forth the loftiest fashion of his sleep
Guesses at Heaven; pity these have not
Trac’d upon vellum or wild Indian leaf
The shadows of melodious utterance.”
— John Keats, The Fall of Hyperion: A Dream.

No Nightingale did ever chaunt
More welcome notes to weary bands
Of travellers in some shady haunt,
Among Arabian sands:
A voice so thrilling ne’er was heard
In spring-time from the Cuckoo-bird,
Breaking the silence of the seas
Among the farthest Hebrides.

Will no one tell me what she sings?—
Perhaps the plaintive numbers flow
For old, unhappy, far-off things,
And battles long ago:
Or is it some more humble lay,
Familiar matter of to-day?
Some natural sorrow, loss, or pain,
That has been, and may be again?

— William Wordsworth, “Solitary Reaper.”
“Thou canst not prove the Nameless, O my son,
Nor canst thou prove the world thou movest in,
Thou canst not prove that thou art body alone,
Nor canst thou prove that thou art spirit alone,
Nor canst thou prove that thou art both in one:
Thou canst not prove thou art immortal, no
Nor yet that thou art mortal—nay my son,
Thou canst not prove that I, who speak with thee,
Am not thyself in converse with thyself,
For nothing worthy proving can be proven,
Nor yet disproven: wherefore thou be wise,
Cleave ever to the sunnier side of doubt,
And cling to Faith beyond the forms of Faith!”
— "The Ancient Sage," Alfred, Lord Tennyson, from Tiresias, and Other Poems.
“He clasps the crag with hooked hands;
Close to the sun in lonely lands,
Ring’d with the azure world, he stands.
The wrinkled sea beneath him crawls;
He watches from his mountain walls,
And like a thunderbolt he falls.”
— "The Eagle," Alfred, Lord Tennyson.

Under the wide and starry sky
Dig the grave and let me lie:
Glad did I live and gladly die,
And I laid me down with a will.

This be the verse you ‘grave for me:
‘Here he lies where he long’d to be;
Home is the sailor, home from the sea,
And the hunter home from the hill.’

— Robert Louis Stevenson, “Requiem.”
“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.”
— W.B. Yeats, “Aedh Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven,” from The Wind Among the Reeds.
“He that hath a Gospel
To loose upon Mankind,
Though he serve it utterly—
Body, soul and mind—
Though he go to Calvary
Daily for its gain—
It is His Disciple
Shall make his labour vain.”
— Rudyard Kipling, “The Disciple.”

Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message He Is Dead,
Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.

He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My moon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last for ever: I was wrong.

The stars are not wanted now; put out every one:
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun;
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood:
For nothing now can ever come to any good.

— W.H. Auden, “Funeral Blues.”