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I. the hours descend
the hours rise up putting off stars and it is dawn
into the street of the sky light walks scattering poems
on earth a candle is
extinguished the city
with a song upon her
mouth having death in her eyes
and it is dawn
the world goes forth to murder dreams....
i see in the street where strong
men are digging bread
and i see the brutal faces of
people contented hideous cruel hopeless happy
and it is day,
in the mirror
i see a frail
dreams in the mirror
is dusk on earth
a candle is lighted
and it is dark.
the people are in their houses
the frail man is in his bed
sleeps with death upon her mouth having
a song in her eyes
the hours descend,
putting on stars...
in the street of the sky night walks scattering poems
- E. E. Cummings, 1923
What lips my lips have kissed, and where, and why,
I have forgotten, and what arms have lain
Under my head till morning; but the rain
Is full of ghosts to-night, that tap and sigh
Upon the glass and listen for reply;
And in my heart there stirs a quiet pain,
For unremembered lads that not again
Will turn to me at midnight with a cry.
Thus in the winter stands the lonely tree,
Nor knows what birds have vanished one by one,
Yet knows its boughs more silent than before:
I cannot say what loves have come and gone;
I only know that summer sang in me
A little while, that in me sings no more.
- Edna St. Vincent Millay, 1922
III. If You Want Me Again
The last scud of day holds back for me,
It flings my likeness after the rest and true as any on the shadow’d wilds,
It coaxes me to the vapor and the dusk.
I depart as air, I shake my white locks at the runaway sun,
I effuse my flesh in eddies, and drift it in lacy jags.
I bequeath myself to the dirt to grow from the grass I love,
If you want me again look for me under your boot-soles.
You will hardly know who I am or what I mean,
But I shall be good health to you nevertheless,
And filter and fibre your blood.
Failing to fetch me at first keep encouraged,
Missing me one place search another,
I stop somewhere waiting for you.
- Walt Whitman, 1855