Tag Archives: Western Poetry

The Wild Ride by Louise Imogen Guiney

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The Wild Ride

by Louise Imogen Guiney

I hear in my heart, I hear in its ominous pulses,
All day, on the road, the hoofs of invisible horses,
All night, from their stalls, the importunate pawing and neighing.

Let cowards and laggards fall back! But alert to the saddle
Weatherworn and abreast, go men of our galloping legion,
With a stirrup-cup each to the lily of women that loves him.

The trail is through dolor and dread, over crags and morasses;
There are shapes by the way, there are things that appal or entice us:
What odds? We are Knights of the Grail, we are vowed to the riding.

Thought’s self is a vanishing wing, and joy is a cobweb,
And friendship a flower in the dust, and glory a sunbeam:
Not here is our prize, nor, alas! after these our pursuing.

A dipping of plumes, a tear, a shake of the bridle,
A passing salute to this world and her pitiful beauty;
We hurry with never a word in the track of our fathers.

I hear in my heart, I hear in its ominous pulses,
All day, on the road, the hoofs of invisible horses,
All night, from their stalls, the importunate pawing and neighing.

We spur to a land of no name, outracing the storm-wind;
We leap to the infinite dark like sparks from the anvil.
Thou leadest, O God! All’s well with Thy troopers that follow.

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Borderlands by Louise Imogen Guiney

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Borderlands

by Louise Imogen Guiney

Through all the evening,
All the virginal long evening,
Down the blossomed aisle of April it is dread to walk alone;
For there the intangible is nigh, the lost is ever-during;
And who would suffer again beneath a too divine alluring,
Keen as the ancient drift of sleep on dying faces blown?

Yet in the valley,
At a turn of the orchard alley,
When a wild aroma touched me in the moist and moveless air,
Like breath indeed from out Thee, or as airy vesture round
Thee,
Then was it I went faintly, for fear I had nearly found Thee,
O Hidden, O Perfect, O Desired! O first and final Fair!

Mia Carlotta by Thomas Augustine Daly

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Mia Carlotta

by Thomas Augustine Daly

Giuseppe, da barber, ees greata for “mash,”
He gotta da bigga, da blacka mustache,
Good clo’es an’ good styla an’ playnta good cash.

W’enevra Giuseppe ees walk on da street,
Da peopla dey talka, “how nobby! how neat!
How softa da handa, how smalla da feet.”

He raisa hees hat an’ he shaka hees curls,
An’ smila weeth teetha so shiny like pearls;
O! many da heart of da seelly young girls
He gotta.
Yes, playnta he gotta—
But notta
Carlotta!

Giuseppe, da barber, he maka da eye,
An’ lika da steam engine puffa an’ sigh,
For catcha Carlotta w’en she ees go by.

Carlotta she walka weeth nose in da air,
An’ look through Giuseppe weeth far-away stare,
As eef she no see dere ees som’body dere.

Giuseppe, da barber, he gotta da cash,
He gotta da clo’es an’ da bigga mustache,
He gotta da seely young girls for da ‘mash,’
But notta—
You bat my life, notta—
Carlotta.
I gotta!

The Sea Gypsy by Richard Harvey

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The Sea Gypsy

by Richard Harvey

I am fevered with the sunset,
I am fretful with the bay,
For the wander-thirst is on me
And my soul is in Cathay.

There’s a schooner in the offing,
With her topsails shot with fire,
And my heart has gone aboard her
For the Islands of Desire.

I must forth again to-morrow!
With the sunset I must be
Hull down on the trail of rapture
In the wonder of the sea.

Columbus by Joaquin Miller

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Columbus

by Joaquin Miller

Behind him lay the gray Azores,
 Behind the Gates of Hercules;
Before him not the ghost of shores,
 Before him only shoreless seas.
The good mate said: “Now we must pray,
 For lo! the very stars are gone.
Brave Admiral, speak, what shall I say?”
 “Why, say, ‘Sail on! sail on! and on!’ “

“My men grow mutinous day by day;
 My men grow ghastly wan and weak.”
The stout mate thought of home; a spray
 Of salt wave washed his swarthy cheek.
“What shall I say, brave Admiral, say,
 If we sight naught but seas at dawn?”
“Why, you shall say at break of day,
 ‘Sail on! sail on! and on!’ “

They sailed and sailed, as winds might blow,
 Until at last the blanched mate said:
“Why, now not even God would know
 Should I and all my men fall dead.
These very winds forget their way,
 For God from these dead seas is gone.
Now speak, brave Admiral, speak and say” —
 He said, “Sail on! sail on! and on!”

They sailed. They sailed. Then spake the mate:
 “This mad sea shows his teeth tonight.
He curls his lip, he lies in wait,
 With lifted teeth, as if to bite!
Brave Admiral, say but one good word:
 What shall we do when hope is gone?”
The words leapt like a leaping sword:
 “Sail on! sail on! sail on! and on!”

Then pale and worn, he kept his deck,
 And peered through darkness. Ah, that night
Of all dark nights! And then a speck —
 A light! a light! at last a light!
It grew, a starlit flag unfurled!
 It grew to be Time’s burst of dawn.
He gained a world; he gave that world
 Its grandest lesson: “On! sail on!”

 

At Candle-Lightin’ Time by Paul Laurence Dunbar

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At Candle-Lightin’ Time

by Paul Laurence Dunbar

When I come in f’om de co’n–fiel’ aftah wo’kin’ ha’d all day,
It ’s amazin’ nice to fin’ my suppah all erpon de way;
An’ it ’s nice to smell de coffee bubblin’ ovah in de pot,
An’ it ’s fine to see de meat a–sizzlin’ teasin’–lak an’ hot.

But when suppah–time is ovah, an’ de t’ings is cleahed away;
Den de happy hours dat foller are de sweetes’ of de day.
When my co’ncob pipe is sta’ted, an’ de smoke is drawin’ prime,
My ole ‘ooman says, “I reckon, Ike, it ’s candle–lightin’ time.”

Den de chillun snuggle up to me, an’ all commence to call,
“Oh, say, daddy, now it ’s time to mek de shadders on de wall.”
So I puts my han’s togethah—evah daddy knows de way,—
An’ de chillun snuggle closer roun’ ez I begin to say:—

“Fus’ thing, hyeah come Mistah Rabbit; don’ you see him wo’k his eahs?
Huh, uh! dis mus’ be a donkey,—look, how innercent he ‘pears!
Dah ’s de ole black swan a–swimmin’—ain’t she got a’ awful neck?
Who ’s dis feller dat ’s a–comin’? Why, dat ’s ole dog Tray, I ‘spec’!”

Dat ’s de way I run on, tryin’ fu’ to please ‘em all I can;
Den I hollahs, “Now be keerful—dis hyeah las’ ’s de buga–man!”
An’ dey runs an’ hides dey faces; dey ain’t skeered—dey ’s lettin’ on:
But de play ain’t raaly ovah twell dat buga–man is gone.

So I jes’ teks up my banjo, an’ I plays a little chune,
An’ you see dem haids come peepin’ out to listen mighty soon.
Den my wife says, “Sich a pappy fu’ to give you sich a fright!
Jes, you go to baid, an’ leave him: say yo’ prayers an’ say good–night.”

Maryland! My Maryland! by James Ryder Randall

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Maryland! My Maryland!

 by James Ryder Randall

The despot’s heel is on thy shore,
Maryland, My Maryland!
His torch is at thy temple door,
Maryland, My Maryland!
Avenge the patriotic gore
That flecked the streets of Baltimore,
And be the battle queen of yore,
Maryland! My Maryland!

Hark to an exiled son’s appeal,
Maryland, My Maryland!
My Mother State! to thee I kneel,
Maryland, My Maryland!
For life and death, for woe and weal,
Thy peerless chivalry reveal,
And gird they beauteous limbs with steel,
Maryland! My Maryland!

Thou wilt not cower in the dust,
Maryland, My Maryland!
Thy beaming sword shall never rust,
Maryland, My Maryland!
Remember Carroll’s sacred trust,
Remember Howard’s warlike thrust,-
And all they slumberers with the just,
Maryland! My Maryland!

Come! ’tis the red dawn of the day,
Maryland, My Maryland!
Come with thy panoplied array,
Maryland, My Maryland!
With Ringgold’s spirit for the fray,
With Watson’s blood at Monterey,
With fearless Lowe and dashing May,
Maryland! My Maryland!

Come! for thy shield is bright and strong,
Maryland, My Maryland!
Come! for thy dalliance does thee wrong,
Maryland, My Maryland!
Come! to thine own heroic throng,
Stalking with Liberty along,
And cgive a new Key to thy song,
Maryland! My Maryland!

Dear Mother! burst the tyrant’s chain,
Maryland, My Maryland!
Virginia should not call in vain!
Maryland, My Maryland!
She meets her sisters on the plain-
“Sic semper!” ’tis the proud refrain
That baffles minions back amain,
Maryland! My Maryland!

I see the blush upon thy cheek,
Maryland, My Maryland!
For thou wast ever bravely meek,
Maryland, My Maryland!
But lo! There surges forth a shriek
From hill to hill, from creek to creek-
Potomac calls to Chesapeake,
Maryland! My Maryland!

Thou wilt not yield the vandal toll,
Maryland, My Maryland!
Thou wilt not crook to his control,
Maryland, My Maryland!
Better the fire upon thee roll,
Better the blade, the shot, the bowl,
Than crucifixion of the soul,
Maryland! My Maryland!

I hear the distant thunder-hum,
Maryland, My Maryland!
The Old Line’s bugle, fife, and drum,
Maryland, My Maryland!
She is not dead, nor deaf, nor dumb-
Huzza! she spurns the Northern scum!
She breathes! she burns! she’ll come! she’ll come!
Maryland! My Maryland!