20th century

the archivist February 22, 2024

Desiderata Max Ehrmann Go placidly amid the noise and the haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story. […]

the archivist November 24, 2023

Wild Geese Mary Oliver You do not have to be good. You do not have to walk on your knees for a hundred miles through the desert repenting. You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves. Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine. Meanwhile […]

the archivist November 3, 2023

Seeing for a Moment Denise Levertov I thought I was growing wings— it was a cocoon. I thought, now is the time to step into the fire— it was deep water. Eschatology is a word I learned as a child: the study of Last Things; facing my mirror—no longer young,        the news—always of death, […]

the archivist November 1, 2023

Let America Be America Again Langston Hughes (1901–1967) Let America be America again. Let it be the dream it used to be. Let it be the pioneer on the plain Seeking a home where he himself is free. (America never was America to me.) Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed— Let it be […]

the archivist October 17, 2023

Little Things Sharon Olds After she’s gone to camp, in the early evening I clear our girl’s breakfast dishes from the rosewood table, and find a dinky crystallized pool of maple syrup, the grains standing there, round, in the night, I rub it with my fingertip as if I could read it, this raised dot […]

the archivist August 14, 2022

The Poems of Our Climate Wallace Stevens I Clear water in a brilliant bowl, Pink and white carnations. The light In the room more like a snowy air, Reflecting snow. A newly-fallen snow At the end of winter when afternoons return. Pink and white carnations – one desires So much more than that. The day […]

the archivist June 23, 2022

A Prayer in Spring Robert Frost Oh, give us pleasure in the flowers to-day; And give us not to think so far away As the uncertain harvest; keep us here All simply in the springing of the year. Oh, give us pleasure in the orchard white, Like nothing else by day, like ghosts by night; […]

the archivist November 14, 2021

I Shall Not Care Sara Teasdale When I am dead, and over me bright April Shakes out her rain drenched hair, Tho’ you should lean above me broken-hearted, I shall not care. For I shall have peace. As leafy trees are peaceful When rain bends down the bough. And I shall be more silent and […]

the archivist August 16, 2021

Sea Surface Full Of Clouds Wallace Stevens I In that November off Tehuantepec, The slopping of the sea grew still one night And in the morning summer hued the deck And made one think of rosy chocolate And gilt umbrellas. Paradisal green Gave suavity to the perplexed machine Of ocean, which like limpid water lay. […]

the archivist July 1, 2021

As I Grew Older Langston Hughes It was a long time ago. I have almost forgotten my dream. But it was there then, In front of me, Bright like a sun– My dream. And then the wall rose, Rose slowly, Slowly, Between me and my dream. Rose until it touched the sky– The wall. Shadow. […]

the archivist April 23, 2021

The Far Field Theodore Roethke I. I dream of journeys repeatedly: Of flying like a bat deep into a narrowing tunnel, Of driving alone, without luggage, out a long peninsula, The road lined with snow-laden second growth, A fine dry snow ticking the windshield, Alternate snow and sleet, no on-coming traffic, And no lights behind, […]

the archivist October 2, 2020

The Emperor of Ice-Cream Wallace Stevens Call the roller of big cigars, The muscular one, and bid him whip In kitchen cups concupiscent curds. Let the wenches dawdle in such dress As they are used to wear, and let the boys Bring flowers in last month’s newspapers. Let be be finale of seem. The only […]

the archivist August 26, 2020

La Figlia che Piange T. S. Eliot            O quam te memorem virgo Stand on the highest pavement of the stair— Lean on a garden urn— Weave, weave the sunlight in your hair— Clasp your flowers to you with a pained surprise— Fling them to the ground and turn With a fugitive resentment in your […]

the archivist July 27, 2020

Native Trees W. S. Merwin Neither my father nor my mother knew the names of the trees where I was born what is that I asked and my father and mother did not hear they did not look where I pointed surfaces of furniture held the attention of their fingers and across the room they […]

the archivist July 12, 2020

Skunk Hour Robert Lowell Nautilus Island’s hermit heiress still lives through winter in her Spartan cottage; her sheep still graze above the sea. Her son’s a bishop. Her farmer is first selectman in our village; she’s in her dotage. Thirsting for the hierarchic privacy of Queen Victoria’s century, she buys up all the eyesores facing […]