Piping, William Blake
The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost
The Song of Hiawatha (Hiawatha’s Childhood),
…..Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
When I Was a Lad, Gilbert & Sullivan
Leisure, W.H. Davies
She Walks in Beauty, Lord Byron
Wean Yourself, Rumi
Each in his Own Tongue, William Herbert Carruth
Sweater Weather, Sharon Bryan
Trees, Joyce Kilmer


 
 
 

Piping
(from Songs of Innocence and of Experience)
by William Blake

Piping down the valleys wild
Pipping songs of pleasant glee
On a cloud I saw a child,
And he laughing said to me,

“Pipe a song about a Lamb”;
So I piped with merry chear;
“Piper pipe that song again”
So I piped, he wept to hear.

“Drop they pipe thy happy pipe
Sing thy songs of happy chear”;
So I sung the same again
While he wept with joy to hear.

“Piper, sit thee down and write
In a book that all may read”
So he vanish’d from my sight.
And I pluck’d a hollow reed,

And I made a rural pen,
And I stain’d the water clear,
And I wrote my happy songs
Every child may joy to hear.

 
 
 

The Road Not Taken
by Robert Frost

You should get the text from another source.

 
 
 

The Song of Hiawatha (Hiawatha’s Childhood)
by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

By the shores of Gitche Gumee,
By the shining Big-Sea-Water,
Stood the wigwam of Nokomis,
Daughter of the Moon, Nokomis.
Dark behind it rose the forest,
Rose the black and gloomy pine-trees,
Rose the firs with cones upon them;
Bright before it beat the water,
Beath the clear and sunny water,
Beat the shining Big-Sea-Water.

There the wrinkled old Nokomis
Nursed the little Hiawatha,
Rocked him in his linden cradle,
Bedded soft in moss and rushes,
Safely bound with reindeer sinews:
Stilled his fretful wail by saying,
“Hush! The Naked Bear will hear thee!”
Lulled him into slumber, singing,
“Ewa-yea! My little owlet!
Who is this, that lights the wigwam?
With his great eyes lights the wigwam?
Ewa-yea! My little owlet!”

Many things Nokomis taught him
Of the stars that shine in heaven;
Showed him Ishkoodah, the comet,
Iskoodah, with fiery tresses;
Showed the Death-Dance of the spirits,
Warriors with their plumes and war-clubs,
Flaring far away to northward
In the frosty nights of winter;
Showed the broad white road in heaven,
Pathway of the ghosts, the shadows,
Running straight across the heavens,
Crowded with the ghosts, the shadows.

At the door on summer evenings,
Sat the little Hiawatha;
Heard the whispering of the pine-trees,
Heard the lapping of the waters,
Sounds of music, words of wonder;
“Minnie-wawa!” said the pine-trees,
“Mudway-aushka!” said the water.

Saw the fire-fly Wah-wah-taysee,
flitting through the dusk of evening,
With the twinkle of its candle
Lighting up the brakes and bushes,
And he sang the song of children,
Sang the song Nokomis taught him:
“Wah-wah-taysee, little fire-fly,
Little flitting, white-fire-insect,
Little dancing, white-fire creature,
Light me with your little candle,
Ere upon my bed I lay me,
Ere in sleep I close my eyelids!”

Saw the moon rise from the water,
Rippling, rounding from the water,
Saw the flecks and shadows on it,
Whispered, “What is that, Nokomis?”
And the good Nokomis answered:
“Once a warrior, very angry,
Seized his grandmother, and threw her
Up into the sky at midnight;
Right against the moon he threw her;
‘Tis her body that you see there.”

Saw the rainbow in the heaven,
In the eastern sky, the rainbow,
Whispered, “What is that, Nokomis?”
And the good Nokomis answered:
“‘Tis the heaven of flowers you see there;
All the wild-flowers of the forest,
All the lilies of the praire,
When on earth they fade and perish,
Blossom in that heaven above us.”

When he heard the owls at midnights,
Hooting, laughing in the forest,
“What is that?” he cried in terror;
“what is that,” he said, “Nokomis?”
And the good Nokomis answered:
“That is but the owl and owlet,
Talking in their native language,
Talking, scolding at each other.”

Then the little Hiawatha
Learned of every bird its language,
Learned their names and all their secrets,
How they built their nests in summer.
Where they hid themselves in Winter,
Talked with them when’er he met them,
Called them “Hiawatha’s Chickens.”

Of all beasts he learned the language,
Learned their names and all their secrets,
How the beavers built their lodges,
Where the squirrels hid their acorns,
How the reindeer ran so swiftly,
Why the rabbit was so timid,
Talked with them when’er he met them.
Called them “Hiawatha’s Brothers.”

 
 
 

When I was a Lad
by Gilbert & Sullivan

When I was a lad I served a term
As Office boy to an Attorney’s firm.
I cleaned the windows and I swept the floor,
And I polished up the handle of the big front door.

I polished up that handle so carefulee
That now I am the Ruler of the Queen’s Navee!

As office boy I made such a mark
That they gave me the post of a junior clerk.
I served with writs with a smile so bland,
And I copied all the letters in a big round hand.

I copied all the letters in a hand so free,
That now I am the Ruler of the Queen’s Navee!

Of legal knowledge I acquired such a grip
That they took me into the partnership.
And that junior partnership, I ween,
Was the only ship that I ever had seen.

But that kind of ship so suited me,
That now I am the ruler of the Queen’s Navee!

I grew so rich that I was sent
By a pocket borough into Parliament.
I always voted at my party’s call,
And I never thought of thinking for myself at all.

I thought so little, they rewarded me
By making me the Ruler of the Queen’s Navee!

Now landsmen all, whoever you may be,
If you want to rise to the top of the tree,
If your soul isn’t fettered to an office stool,
Be careful to be guided by this golden rule:

Stick close to your desks and never go to sea,
and you all may be rulers of the Queen’s Navee!

 
 
 

Leisure
by W.H. Davies

What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare?

No time to stand beneath the boughs
And stare as long as sheep or cows.

No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.

No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night.

No time to turn at Beauty’s glance,
And Watch her feet, how they can dance.

No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began.

A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

 
 
 

She Walks in Beauty
by Lord Byron

She walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that’s best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes:
Thus mellow’d to that tender light
Which heaven to gaudy day denies.

One shade the more, one ray the less,
Had half impair’d the nameless grace
Which waves in every raven tress,
Or softly lightens o’er her face;
Where thoughts serenely sweet express
How pure, how dear their dwelling-place.

And on that cheek, and o’er that brow,
So soft, so calm, yet eloquent,
The smiles that win, the tints that glow,
But tell of days in goodness spent,
A mind at peace with all below,
A heart whose love is innocent!

 
 
 

Wean Yourself*
by Rumi
(translated by Coleman Barks)

Little by little, wean yourself.
This is the gist of what I have to say.

From an embryo, whose nourishment comes in the blood,
move to an infant drinking milk,
to a child on solid food,
to a searcher after wisdom,
to a hunter of more invisible game.

Think how it is to have a conversation with an embryo.
You might say, “The world outside is vast and intricate.
There are wheatfields and mountain passes,
and orchards in bloom.

At night there are millions of galaxies, and in sunlight
the beauty of friends dancing at a wedding.”

You ask the embryo why he, or she, stays cooped up
in the dark, with eyes closed.

Listen to the answer:

There is no “other world.”
I only know what I’ve experienced.
You must be hallucinating.

 
 
* Used with the kind permission of Coleman Barks. This poem and other Rumi poems can be found in The Essential Rumi, Translations by Coleman Barks (Harper Collins 2004).
 
 
 

Each in his Own Tongue
by William Herbert Carruth

A fire-mist and a planet,
A crystal and a cell,
A jelly-fish and a saurian,
And caves where the cave-men dwell;
Then a sense of law and beauty
And a face turned from the cold –
Some call it Evolution,
And others call it God.

Like tides on a crescent sea-beach,
When the moon is new and thin,
Into our hearts high yearnings
Come welling and surging in –
Come from the mystic ocean,
Whose rim no foot has trod, –
Some of us call it Longing,
And others call it God.

A haze on the far horizon,
The infinite, tender sky,
The ripe rich tint of the cornfields,
And the wild geese sailing high –
And all over upland and lowland
The charm of the golden-rod –
Some of us call it Autumn
And others call it God.

 
 
 

Sweater Weather
by Sharon Bryan

You should get the text from another source.

 
 
 

Trees
by Joyce Kilmer

I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.

A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the earth’s sweet flowing breast;

A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;

A tree that may in Summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;

Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.

Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.