“To a Waterfowl” by William Cullen Bryant
Whither, ‘midst falling dew,
While glows the heavens with the last steps of day,
Far, through their rosy depths, dost thou pursue
Thy solitary way?
Vainly the fowler’s eye
Might mark thy distant flight to do thee wrong,
As, darkly painted on the crimson sky,
Thy figure floats along.
Seek’st thou the plashy brink
Of weedy lake, or marge of river wide,
Or where the rocking billows rise and sink
On the chafed ocean side?
There is a power whose care
Teaches thy way along that pathless coast, --
The desert and illimitable air, --
Lone wandering, but not lost.
All day thy wings have fann’d
At that far height, the cold thin atmosphere;
Yet stoop not, weary, to the welcome land,
Though the dark of night is near.
And soon that toil shall end,
Soon shalt thou find a summer home and rest,
And scream among thy fellows; reeds shall bend
Soon o’er thy sheltered nest.
Thou’rt gone, the abyss of heaven
Hath swallowed up thy form; yet, on my heart
Deeply hath sunk the lesson thou has given,
And shall not soon depart.
He, who, from zone to zone,
Guides through the boundless sky thy certain flight,
In the long way that I must treat alone,
Will lead my steps aright. (1815/1821)
“The Rhodora” Ralph Walso Emerson
On being asked, Whence is the Flower?
In May, when sea-winds pierced our solitudes,
I found the fresh rhodora in the woods,
Spreading its leafless blooms in a damp nook,
To please the desert and the sluggish brook.
The purple petals, fallen in the pool,
Made the black water with their beauty gay;
Here might the red-bird come his plumes to cool,
And court the flower that cheapens his array.
Rhodora! If he sages ask thee why
This charm is wasted on the earth and sky,
Tell them, dear, that if eyes were made for seeing,
Then Beauty is its own excuse for being:
Why thou wert there, O rival of the rose!
I never thought to ask, I never knew;
But, in my simple ignorance, suppose
The self-same Power that brought me there brought you. (1847)
“Design” by Robert Frost
I found a dimpled spider, fat and white,
On a white heal-all, holding up a moth
Like a white piece of rigid satin cloth –
Assorted characters of death and blight
Mixed ready to begin the morning right,
Like the ingredients of a witch’s broth –
A snow-drop spider, a flower like a froth,
And dead wings carried like a paper kite.
What had that flower to do with being white,
The wayside blue and innocent heal-all?
What brought the kindred spider to that height,
And steered the white moth thither in the night?
What but design of darkness to appall?—
If design govern in a thing so small. (1936)
“For a Lamb” by Richard Eberhart
I saw on the slant hill a putrid lamb,
Propped with the daisies. The sleep looked deep,
The face nudged in the green pillow
But the guts were out for the crows to eat.
Where’s the lamb? Whose tender plaint
Said all for the mute breezes.
Say he’s in the wind somewhere,
Say, there’s a lamb in the daisies. (1936)
“The Red Wheel Barrow” W C Williams
so much depends
a red wheel
glazed with rain
beside the white