A sweet disorder in the dress Kindles in clothes a wantonness: A lawn about the shoulders thrown Into a fine distraction: An erring lace which here and there Enthralls the crimson stomacher: A cuff neglectful, and thereby Ribbons to flow confusedly: A winning wave, deserving note, In the tempestuous petticoat: A careless shoe-string, in whose tie I see a wild civility: Do more bewitch me than when art Is too precise in every part.
Delight in Disorder by Robert Herrick (1591 to 1674) This week's poem can be found at this link.
"She's built of steel From deck to keel, And bolted strong and tight; In scorn she'll sail The fiercest gale, And pierce the darkest night. "The builder's art Has proved each part Throughout her breadth and length; Deep in the hulk, Of her mighty bulk, Ten thousand Titans' strength." The tempest howls, The Ice Wolf prowls, The winds they shift and veer, But calm I sleep, And faith I keep In the word of an engineer. Along the trail Of the slender rail The train, like a nightmare, flies And dashes on Through the black-mouthed yawn Where the cavernous tunnel lies. Over the ridge, Across the bridge, Swung twixt the sky and hell, On an iron thread Spun from the head Of the man in a draughtsman's cell. And so we ride Over land and tide, Without a thought of fear— Man never had The faith in God That he has in an engineer!
The Word of an Engineer by James Weldon Johnson (1871 to 1938) This fortnight's poem can be found at this link.
On afternoons, when baby boy has had a splendid nap, And sits, like any monarch on his throne, in nurse's lap, In some such wise my handkerchief I hold before my face, And cautiously and quietly I move about the place; Then, with a cry, I suddenly expose my face to view, And you should hear him laugh and crow when I say "Booh"! Sometimes the rascal tries to make believe that he is scared, And really, when I first began, he stared, and stared, and stared; And then his under lip came out and farther out it came, Till mamma and the nurse agreed it was a "cruel shame"— But now what does that same wee, toddling, lisping baby do But laugh and kick his little heels when I say "Booh!" He laughs and kicks his little heels in rapturous glee, and then In shrill, despotic treble bids me "do it all aden!" And I—of course I do it; for, as his progenitor, It is such pretty, pleasant play as this that I am for! And it is, oh, such fun and I am sure that we shall rue The time when we are both too old to play the game "Booh!"
"BOOH!" by Eugene Field (1850 to 1895) This week's poem can be found at this link.
William was holding in his hand The likeness of his wife! Fresh, as if touched by fairy wand, With beauty, grace, and life. He almost thought it spoke:—he gazed Upon the bauble still, Absorbed, delighted, and amazed, To view the artist's skill. "This picture is yourself, dear Jane— 'Tis drawn to nature true: I've kissed it o'er and o'er again, It is much like you." "And has it kissed you back, my dear?" "Why—no—my love," said he. "Then, William, it is very clear 'Tis not at all LIKE ME!"
The Miniature by George P. Morris (1802 to 1864) This week's poem can be found at this link.
'TIS a strange mystery, the power of words! Life is in them, and death. A word can send The crimson colour hurrying to the cheek. Hurrying with many meanings; or can turn The current cold and deadly to the heart. Anger and fear are in them; grief and joy Are on their sound; yet slight, impalpable:-- A word is but a breath of passing air.
The Power of Words by Letitia Elizabeth Landon (1802 to 1838) This week's poem can be found at this link.
Estelle, when you and I were rising nine Perhaps you'd rather I suppressed the date I spent a shilling on a valentine And left it for you at the garden gate. Therein my heart was imaged in a bower Of tinsel roses, with a tender verse on; I followed it in less than half an hour Impatient for your gratitude in person. You ran and kissed my cheek with candied lips, A habit, by the way, you've since neglected; You gambolled up and down in little skips, Yet failed to do the thing that I expected. It should have been a give-and-take affair; You had my tinsel heart, while I had not one, And when I asked for yours, to make it square, You playfully remarked you hadn't got one.
I was appalled my little bosom heaved Such disappointment did not seem correct. With rising tears I felt myself deceived And lost my temper at your base neglect. 'I'll have mine back I paid for it, it's mine!' I cried. We fought and tore the paper frilling. By dint of nail you kept that valentine, And left me howling for my wasted shilling. Since then how many years have slipped away? And time has tamed my temper to submission. You're tall and dignified, and yet to-day I find myself in just the same position. The heart from out my bosom you've decoyed, Though day by day with strenuous endeavour I would recall it to its aching void. I strive in vain my heart is yours for ever.
A Valentine (from an Old Lover) by Jessie Pope (1838 to 1941) This week's poem can be found at this link.
Now, at the hour when ignorant mortals Drowse in the shade of their whirling sphere, Heaven and Hell from invisible portals Breathing comfort and ghastly fear, Voices I hear; I hear strange voices, flitting, calling, Wavering by on the dusky blast,— 'Come, let us go, for the night is falling; Come, let us go, for the day is past!' Troops of joys are they, now departed? Winged hopes that no longer stay? Guardian spirits grown weary-hearted? Powers that have linger'd their latest day? What do they say? What do they sing? I hear them calling, Whispering, gathering, flying fast,— 'Come, come, for the night is falling; Come, come, for the day is past!' Sing they to me?—'Thy taper's wasted; Mortal, thy sands of life run low; Thine hours like a flock of birds have hasted: Time is ending;—we go, we go.' Sing they so? Mystical voices, floating, calling; Dim farewells—the last, the last? Come, come away, the night is falling; 'Come, come away, the day is past.' See, I am ready, Twilight voices! Child of the spirit-world am I; How should I fear you? my soul rejoices, O speak plainer! O draw nigh! Fain would I fly! Tell me your message, Ye who are calling Out of the dimness vague and vast; Lift me, take me,—the night is falling; Quick, let us go,—the day is past.
Twilight Voices by William Allingham (1824 to 1889) This week's poem can be found using this link.