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					Surprised by Joy

by William Wordsworth




Surprised by joy -impatient as the wind

I turned to share the transport - Oh! with whom

But Thee, deep buried in the silent tomb,

That spot which no vicissitude can find?

Love, faithful love, recalled thee to my mind -

But how could I forget thee? Through what power,

Even for the least division of an hour,

Have I been so beguiled as to be blind

To my most grievous loss? - That thought's return

Was the worst pang that sorrow ever bore

Save one, one only, when I stood forlorn,

Knowing my heart's best treasure was no more;

That neither present time, nor years unborn,

Could to my sight that heavenly face restore.
Funeral Blues

by William H. Auden



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 crêpe 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 noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;

I thought that love would last forever: 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 seep up the wood;

For nothing now can ever come to any good.
Wanting to Die
by Anne Sexton

Since you ask, most days I cannot remember.         Still-born, they don't always die,

I walk in my clothing, unmarked by that voyage.     but dazzled, they can't forget a drug so sweet

Then the almost unnameable lust returns.            that even children would look on and smile.



Even then I have nothing against life.              To thrust all that life under your tongue!--

I know well the grass blades you mention,           that, all by itself, becomes a passion.

the furniture you have placed under the sun.        Death's a sad Bone; bruised, you'd say,



But suicides have a special language.               and yet she waits for me, year after year,

Like carpenters they want to know which tools.      to so delicately undo an old wound,

They never ask why build.                           to empty my breath from its bad prison.



Twice I have so simply declared myself,             Balanced there, suicides sometimes meet,

have possessed the enemy, eaten the enemy,          raging at the fruit, a pumped-up moon,

have taken on his craft, his magic.                 leaving the bread they mistook for a kiss,



In this way, heavy and thoughtful,                  leaving the page of the book carelessly open,

warmer than oil or water,                           something unsaid, the phone off the hook

I have rested, drooling at the mouth-hole.          and the love, whatever it was, an infection.



I did not think of my body at needle point.

Even the cornea and the leftover urine were gone.

Suicides have already betrayed the body.
        Lady Lazarus               by Sylvia Plath

I have done it again.                                Dying
One year in every ten                                Is an art, like everything else.
I manage it--                                        I do it exceptionally well.

A sort of walking miracle, my skin                   I do it so it feels like hell.
Bright as a Nazi lampshade,                          I do it so it feels real.
My right foot                                        I guess you could say I've a call.

A paperweight,                                       It's easy enough to do it in a cell.
My face featureless, fine                            It's easy enough to do it and stay put.
Jew linen.                                           It's the theatrical

Peel off the napkin                                  Comeback in broad day
O my enemy.                                          To the same place, the same face, the same brute
Do I terrify?--                                      Amused shout:

The nose, the eye pits, the full set of teeth?       'A miracle!'
The sour breath                                      That knocks me out.
Will vanish in a day.                                There is a charge

Soon, soon the flesh                                 For the eyeing of my scars, there is a charge
The grave cave ate will be                           For the hearing of my heart--
At home on me                                        It really goes.

And I a smiling woman.                               And there is a charge, a very large charge
I am only thirty.                                    For a word or a touch
And like the cat I have nine times to die.           Or a bit of blood

This is Number Three.                                Or a piece of my hair or my clothes.
What a trash                                         So, so, Herr Doktor.
To annihilate each decade.                           So, Herr Enemy.

What a million filaments.                            I am your opus,
The peanut-crunching crowd                           I am your valuable,
Shoves in to see                                     The pure gold baby

Them unwrap me hand and foot--                       That melts to a shriek.
The big strip tease.                                 I turn and burn.
Gentlemen, ladies                                    Do not think I underestimate your great concern.

These are my hands                                   Ash, ash--
My knees.                                            You poke and stir.
I may be skin and bone,                              Flesh, bone, there is nothing there--

Nevertheless, I am the same, identical woman.        A cake of soap,
The first time it happened I was ten.                A wedding ring,
It was an accident.                                  A gold filling.

The second time I meant                              Herr god, Herr Lucifer
To last it out and not come back at all.             Beware
I rocked shut                                        Beware.

As a seashell.                                       Out of the ash
They had to call and call                            I rise with my red hair
And pick the worms off me like sticky pearls.        And I eat men like air.
Dying
by Robert Pinsky

Nothing to be said about it, and everything ---
The change of changes, closer or further away:
The Golden Retriever next door, Gussie, is dead,
Like Sandy, the Crocker Spaniel from three doors down
Who died when I was small; and every day
Things that were in my memory fade and die.

Phrases die out: first, everyone forgets
What doornails are; then after certain decades
As a dead metaphor, “dead as a doornail” flickers

And fades away. But someone I know is dying---
And though one might say glibly, “everyone is,”
The different pace makes the difference absolute.

The tiny invisible spores in the air we breathe,
That settle harmlessly on our drinking water
And on our skin, happen to come together

With certain conditions on the forest floor,
Or even a shady corner of the lawn—
And overnight the fleshy, pale stalks gather,

The colorless growth without a leaf or flower;
And around the stalks, the summer grass keeps growing
With steady pressure, like the insistent whiskers

That grow between shaves on a face, t he nails
Growing and dying from the toes and fingers
At their own humble pace, oblivious

As the nerveless moths, that live their night or two—
Thought like a moth a bright soul keeps on beating,
Bored and impatient in the monster’s moth.
Out, Out
by Robert Frost

The buzz saw snarled and rattled in the yard
And made dust and dropped stove-length sticks of wood,
Sweet-scented stuff when the breeze drew across it.
And from there those that lifted eyes could count
Five mountains ranges one behind the order
Under the sunset far into Vermont.
And the saw snarled and rattled, snarled and rattled,
As it ran light, or had to bear a load.
And nothing happened: day was all but done.
Call it a day, wish they might have said
To please the boy by giving him the half hour
That a boy counts so much when saved from work.
His sister stood beside then in her apron
To tell them “Supper.” At the word, the saw,
As if to prove saws knew what supper meant,
Leaped out at the boy’s or seemed to leap—
He must have given the hand. However it was,
Neither refused the meeting. But the hand!
The boy’s first outcry was rueful laugh,
As he swung toward them holding up the hand,
Half in appeal, but half as if to keep
The life from spilling. Then the boy saw all—
Since he was old enough to know, big boy
Doing a man’s work, though a child at heart—
He saw all spoiled. “Don’t let him cut my hand off—
The doctor, when he comes. Don’t let him, sister!”
So. But the hand was gone already.
The doctor put him in the dark of ether.
He lay and puffed his lips out with his breath.
And then—the watcher at his pulse took fright.
No one believed. They listened at his heart.
Little—less—nothing!—and that ended it.
No more to build on there. And they, since they
Were not the one dead, turned to their affairs.

				
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