poetry that has inspired me

I live my life in widening circles
that reach out across the world.
I may not complete this last one
but I give myself to it.

I circle around God, around the primordial tower.
I've been circling for thousands of years
and I still don't know: am I a falcon,
a storm, or a great song?

                    Rainer Maria Rilke: Book of Hours, I 2

To the Moon

Art thou pale for weariness                                        Of climbing heaven and gazing on the earth,   Wandering companionless                                      Among the stars that have a different birth,             And ever changing, like a joyless eye                     That finds no object worth its constancy?

Percy Bysshe Shelley


I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: "Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown
And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear:
`My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings:
Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!'
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away".

Percy Bysshe Shelley


Annabel Lee

It was many and many a year ago,                              In a kingdom by the sea,                                         That a maiden there lived whom you may know        By the name of Annabel Lee;                                   And this maiden she lived with no other though      Than to love and be loved by me.     

I was a child and she was a child,                               In this kingdom by the sea,                                       But we loved with a love that was more than love-       I and my Annabel Lee—                                           With a love that the wingèd seraphs of Heaven   Coveted her and me.                                              

And this was the reason that, long ago                        In this kingdom by the sea,                                           A wind blew out of a cloud, chilling                             My beautiful Annabel Lee;                                          So that her highborn kinsmen came                        And bore her away from me,                                      To shut her up in a sepulchre                                      In this kingdom by the sea.

The angels, not half so happy in Heaven,              Went envying her and me—                                 Yes!—that was the reason (as all men know,               In this kingdom by the sea)                                      That the wind came out of the cloud by night,    Chilling and killing my Annabel Lee.

But our love it was stronger by far than the love        Of those who were older than we—                             Of many far wiser than we—                                    And neither the angels in Heaven above                   Nor the demons down under the sea                       Can ever dissever my soul from the soul                    Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;

For the moon never beams, without bringing me dreams                                                                        Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;                                  And the stars never rise, but I feel the bright eyes      Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;                                   And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side         Of my darling—my darling—my life and my bride         In her sepulchre there by the sea—                              In her tomb by the sounding sea.

Edgar Allen Poe

O rapturous delight
You are bare and black and sleek and wet
   only another day
and you shall be rich, dank
    brown and green.


I am walking in the moving waters
Stepping in the plashing streams
I look down at the ground
And up looks the sky
We’re all upside down today
                                    it seems.


Today you are sacred
and I will not enter
your green sanctuary
though I know I would
smell trees drinking in the rain
hear warm birds cooing
I will keep that silence
so you can trust even I.

Jessica Stein

small song

let it smack of small things
of hidden, hard to find things

Of lonely things in the underneath
behind and unexpected

let it sing of still silences
of peace in evening light

Of early morning reverence
and autumn birds in flight

I will watch the sun rise there
and turn the floorboards golden brown

Amidst such glory of wild-sweet ordinary
I should hardly make a sound.

Jessica Stein