Ezra Pound

CANTO I. And then went down to the ship, Set keel to breakers, forth on the godly sea, and We set up mast and sail on that swart ship, Bore sheep aboard her, and our bodies also Heavy with weeping, and winds from sternward Bore us onward with bellying canvas, Crice's this craft, the trim-coifed goddess. Then sat we amidships, wind jamming the tiller, Thus with stretched sail, we went over sea till day's end. Sun to his slumber, shadows o'er all the ocean, Came we then to the bounds of deepest water, To the Kimmerian lands, and peopled cities Covered with close-webbed mist, unpierced ever With glitter of sun-rays Nor with stars stretched, nor looking back from heaven Swartest night stretched over wreteched men there. The ocean flowing backward, came we then to the place Aforesaid by Circe. Here did they rites, Perimedes and Eurylochus, And drawing sword from my hip I dug the ell-square pitkin; Poured we libations unto each the dead, First mead and then sweet wine, water mixed with white flour Then prayed I many a prayer to the sickly death's-heads; As set in Ithaca, sterile bulls of the best For sacrifice, heaping the pyre with goods, A sheep to Tiresias only, black and a bell-sheep. Dark blood flowed in the fosse, Souls out of Erebus, cadaverous dead, of brides Of youths and of the old who had borne much; Souls stained with recent tears, girls tender, Men many, mauled with bronze lance heads, Battle spoil, bearing yet dreory arms, These many crowded about me; with shouting, Pallor upon me, cried to my men for more beasts; Slaughtered the herds, sheep slain of bronze; Poured ointment, cried to the gods, To Pluto the strong, and praised Proserpine; Unsheathed the narrow sword, I sat to keep off the impetuous impotent dead, Till I should hear Tiresias. But first Elpenor came, our friend Elpenor, Unburied, cast on the wide earth, Limbs that we left in the house of Circe, Unwept, unwrapped in the sepulchre, since toils urged other. Pitiful spirit. And I cried in hurried speech: "Elpenor, how art thou come to this dark coast? "Cam'st thou afoot, outstripping seamen?" And he in heavy speech: "Ill fate and abundant wine. I slept in Crice's ingle. "Going down the long ladder unguarded, "I fell against the buttress, "Shattered the nape-nerve, the soul sought Avernus. "But thou, O King, I bid remember me, unwept, unburied, "Heap up mine arms, be tomb by sea-bord, and inscribed: "A man of no fortune, and with a name to come. "And set my oar up, that I swung mid fellows." And Anticlea came, whom I beat off, and then Tiresias Theban, Holding his golden wand, knew me, and spoke first: "A second time? why? man of ill star, "Facing the sunless dead and this joyless region? "Stand from the fosse, leave me my bloody bever "For soothsay." And I stepped back, And he strong with the blood, said then: "Odysseus "Shalt return through spiteful Neptune, over dark seas, "Lose all companions." Then Anticlea came. Lie quiet Divus. I mean, that is Andreas Divus, In officina Wecheli, 1538, out of Homer. And he sailed, by Sirens and thence outwards and away And unto Crice. Venerandam, In the Cretan's phrase, with the golden crown, Aphrodite, Cypri munimenta sortita est, mirthful, oricalchi, with golden Girdle and breat bands, thou with dark eyelids Bearing the golden bough of Argicidia. So that:

Robert Frost (Two Tramps in Mud Time)

TWO TRAMPS IN MUD TIME Out of the mud two strangers came And caught me splitting wood in the yard, And one of them put me off my aim By hailing cheerily "Hit them hard!" I knew pretty well why he had dropped behind And let the other go on a way. I knew pretty well what he had in mind: He wanted to take my job for pay. Good blocks of oak it was I split, As large around as the chopping block; And every piece I squarely hit Fell splinterless as a cloven rock. The blows that a life of self-control Spares to strike for the common good, That day, giving a loose my soul, I spent on the unimportant wood. The sun was warm but the wind was chill. You know how it is with an April day When the sun is out and the wind is still, You're one month on in the middle of May. But if you so much as dare to speak, A cloud comes over the sunlit arch, A wind comes off a frozen peak, And you're two months back in the middle of March. A bluebird comes tenderly up to alight And turns to the wind to unruffle a plume, His song so pitched as not to excite A single flower as yet to bloom. It is snowing a flake; and he half knew Winter was only playing possum. Except in color he isn't blue, But he wouldn't advise a thing to blossom. The water for which we may have to look In summertime with a witching wand, In every wheelrut's now a brook, In every print of a hoof a pond. Be glad of water, but don't forget The lurking frost in the earth beneath That will steal forth after the sun is set And show on the water its crystal teeth. The time when most I loved my task The two must make me love it more By coming with what they came to ask. You'd think I never had felt before The weight of an ax-head poised aloft, The grip of earth on outspread feet, The life of muscles rocking soft And smooth and moist in vernal heat. Out of the wood two hulking tramps (From sleeping God knows where last night, But not long since in the lumber camps). They thought all chopping was theirs of right. Men of the woods and lumberjacks, The judged me by their appropriate tool. Except as a fellow handled an ax They had no way of knowing a fool. Nothing on either side was said. They knew they had but to stay their stay And all their logic would fill my head: As that I had no right to play With what was another man's work for gain. My right might be love but theirs was need. And where the two exist in twain Theirs was the better right--agreed. But yield who will to their separation, My object in living is to unite My avocation and my vocation As my two eyes make one in sight. Only where love and need are one, And the work is play for mortal stakes, Is the deed ever really done For Heaven and the future's sakes.

William Butler Yeats

ADAM'S CURSE WE sat together at one summer's end, That beautiful mild woman, your close friend, And you and I, and talked of poetry. I said, "A line will take us hours maybe; Yet if it does not seem a moment's thought, Our stitching and unstitching has been naught. Better go down upon your marrow-bones And scrub a kitchen pavement, or break stones Like an old pauper, in all kinds of weather; For to articulate sweet sounds together Is to work harder than all these, and yet Be thought an idler by the noisy set Of bankers, schoolmasters, and clergymen The martyrs call the world.' And thereupon That beautiful mild woman for whose sake There's many a one shall find out all heartache On finding that her voice is sweet and low Replied, "To be born woman is to know - Although they do not talk of it at school - That we must labour to be beautiful.' I said, "It's certain there is no fine thing Since Adam's fall but needs much labouring. There have been lovers who thought love should be So much compounded of high courtesy That they would sigh and quote with learned looks precedents out of beautiful old books; Yet now it seems an idle trade enough.' We sat grown quiet at the name of love; We saw the last embers of daylight die, And in the trembling blue-green of the sky A moon, worn as if it had been a shell Washed by time's waters as they rose and fell About the stars and broke in days and years. I had a thought for no one's but your ears: That you were beautiful, and that I strove To love you in the old high way of love; That it had all seemed happy, and yet we'd grown As weary-hearted as that hollow moon.