by William Wordsworth [1770-1850]
The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers:
Little we see in Nature that is ours;
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon.
This sea that bares her bosom to the moon;
The winds that will be howling at all hours,
And are up-gather'd now like sleeping flowers;
For this, for everything, we are out of tune;
It moves us not.--Great God! I'd rather be
A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn;
So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,
Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn;
Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea;
Or hear old Triton blow his wreathed horn.
"On Gazing into a Mirror"
by Li Po
Follow Tao, and nothing is old or new.
Lose it, and the ruins of age return.
Someone smiling back in the mirror,
hair white as the frost-stained glass,
you admit lament is empty, ask how
reflections get so worn and withered.
How speak of peach and plum: timeless
South Mountain blazes in the end?
"Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening"
by Robert Frost
Whose woods these are I think I know,
His house is in the village, though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.
My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.
He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sounds the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.
The woods are lonely, dark, and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
Once each year
After a warm day in April
When darkness comes to the desert
Uninvited but planning to spend the night
Something hits me like a shovel
And I am stunned into believing
Anything is possible
There is no overture to frenzy
I simply look up and see Scorpio
Most dangerous of friends
With the last two stars in his tail
Blinking like lights at a railroad crossing
While in one claw he holds the top
Of a mountain in Mexico
And suddenly I know
Everything I need is waiting for me
South of here in another country
And I have been walking through empty
Rooms and talking to furniture
Then I say to myself
Why would I stay home and listen to Bach
Such precision could have happened
To anyone to an infinite number of monkeys with harpsichords
And next morning I start south
With my last chances flapping their wings
While birds of passage stream over me
In the opposite direction
I never find what I am looking for
And each time I return older
With my ugliness intact
But with the knowledge that if it isn’t there
In the darkness under Scorpio
It isn’t anywhere
Richard Sheldon (1976)
Further Philosophical Poems:
Stephen Dunn: "The Metaphysicians of South Jersey"
Keith Schlegel: Three Jonah Poems
Duane Locke: "Circe"
Frank Ebersole: "Conversation With a Dead Philosopher"
Back to PaperEtc.