Sunday, May 29, 2011

Fear and Its Overcoming -- Poems assembled by Nathaniel Williams

THE SECOND COMING --  William Butler Yeats

    Turning and turning in the widening gyre
    The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
    Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
    Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
    The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
    The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
    The best lack all conviction, while the worst
    Are full of passionate intensity.

    Surely some revelation is at hand;
    Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
    The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
    When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
    Troubles my sight: a waste of desert sand;
    A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
    A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
    Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
    Wind shadows of the indignant desert birds. 

    The darkness drops again but now I know
    That twenty centuries of stony sleep
    Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
    And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
    Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

Hyperion's Song of Fate – Friedrich Holderlin

Up there you walk through the light
on delicate grounds, Elysian Spirits!
Shimmering breezes of Gods
touch you as softly
as the hand of the harpist touches her
sacrosanct strings. 

Unencumbered by fate, like a slumbering
newborn, are breathing the heavenly dwellers;
chastely protected
by a bud unassuming
flowers for them
eternal the spirit
and their hallowéd eyes
shine in serene
clearness forever. 

But to us it is given
never and nowhere to rest:
we suffering humans —
vanishing, falling
blindly from one
hour to the next —
are thrown like the water
cliff down to cliff,
yearlong down to an unknown abyss. 

Devotional -- Novalis

Who in his chamber sitteth lonely,
And weepeth heavy, bitter tears;
To whom in doleful colours, only
Of want and woe, the world appears;

Who of the Past, gulf-like receding,
Would search with questing eyes the core,
Down into which a sweet woe, pleading,
Wiles him from all sides evermore--

As if a treasure past believing
Lay there below, for him high-piled,
After whose lock, with bosom heaving,
He breathless grasps in longing wild:
He sees the Future, waste and arid,

In hideous length before him stretch;
About he roams, alone and harried,
And seeks himself, poor restless wretch!--

I fall upon his bosom, tearful:
I once, like thee, with woe was wan;
But I grew well, am strong and cheerful,
And know the eternal rest of man.

Thou too must find the one consoler
Who inly loved, endured, and died--
Even for them that wrought his dolour
With thousand-fold rejoicing died.

He died--and yet, fresh each to-morrow,
His love and him thy heart doth hold;
Thou mayst, consoled for every sorrow,
Him in thy arms with ardour fold.

New blood shall from his heart be driven
Through thy dead bones like living wine;
And once thy heart to him is given,
Then is his heart for ever thine.

What thou didst lose, he keeps it for thee;
With him thy lost love thou shalt find;
And what his hand doth once restore thee,
That hand to thee will changeless bind.


  1. For some reason the title and author of the last poem did not come through.

    Devotional -- Novalis