Some smaller, rougher pieces.
Winds bitter-cold, bold and biting,
cross over the sea, free and wild,
never meeting shore, nor touching stone,
catching all sails, failing never,
brining cold gloom, doom and darkness.
Sailors ship out, south their sailing,
seeking out warmth, storms avoiding;
they hope for land, sand on beaches,
lasses in ports courting free sailors,
and drams of wet fire. 'Dire' does not daunt:
danger is kin when you sail the high seas.
Black Ant on a Black Rock on a Black Night
Black ant on a black rock on a black night,
and still God sees;
truth upon truth brings terror
and still it frees.
The doors have locks on locks,
but God yet has the keys:
black ant, black rock, black night--
but still God sees.
The mirror flatters itself clear, exact,
but this is far from sterling fact;
its preconceptions on every side
manifest its misty pride.
With cruel disdain it mocks the truth,
turns youth to age and age to youth,
swallows all things with dishonest game
while pretending always to be the same.
Sor Juana's Apologia
Why persecute me, World, behind a thousand faces?
In what do I offend you, when all I am demanding
Is to put graces into my understanding
And not my understanding into these graces?
I regard not treasures nor mundane riches,
And so I always have tranquillity bought
By putting riches into my thought,
Not giving my thought to those riches.
And I do not regard beauties that, taken,
Are imperial spoils for long centuries;
Nor treacherous wealth can my pleasure waken;
Holding it better, in my clear verities,
To let the vanities of life be shaken
Than to waste my life in vain vanities.
Elm the Undertaker
Elm the undertaker spoke to me,
half in waking, half in dream,
his branches swaying in the wind
above the gravestones shaped for men:
"I have a coffin made for you,
grown from rain and earth and dew,
shaped by God with living life
to wait until your death is nigh."