Friday, August 9, 2013

Today's poem by Henry David Thoreau

The Summer Rain                                                       

My books I’d fain cast off, I cannot read,
  ’Twixt every page my thoughts go stray at large
Down in the meadow, where is richer feed,
  And will not mind to hit their proper targe.

Plutarch was good, and so was Homer too,
  Our Shakespeare’s life were rich to live again,
What Plutarch read, that was not good nor true,
  Nor Shakespeare’s books, unless his books were men.

Here while I lie beneath this walnut bough,
  What care I for the Greeks or for Troy town,
If juster battles are enacted now
  Between the ants upon this hummock’s crown?

Bid Homer wait till I the issue learn,
  If red or black the gods will favor most,
Or yonder Ajax will the phalanx turn,
  Struggling to heave some rock against the host.

Tell Shakespeare to attend some leisure hour,
  For now I’ve business with this drop of dew,
And see you not, the clouds prepare a shower—
  I’ll meet him shortly when the sky is blue.

This bed of herd’s grass and wild oats was spread
  Last year with nicer skill than monarchs use.
A clover tuft is pillow for my head,
  And violets quite overtop my shoes.

And now the cordial clouds have shut all in,
  And gently swells the wind to say all’s well;
The scattered drops are falling fast and thin,                 
  Some in the pool, some in the flower-bell.

I am well drenched upon my bed of oats;
  But see that globe come rolling down its stem,
Now like a lonely planet there it floats,
  And now it sinks into my garment’s hem.

Drip drip the trees for all the country round,
  And richness rare distills from every bough;
The wind alone it is makes every sound,
  Shaking down crystals on the leaves below.

For shame the sun will never show himself,
  Who could not with his beams e’er melt me so;
My dripping locks—they would become an elf,
  Who in a beaded coat does gayly go.

Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862)


  1. Why don't I read more poetry? I love it when you and others post verse and it usually sends me to a book of poetry for an hour or two. I need to keep a volume of the Norton Anthology out and open.

    I particularly like this poem, Nan. We get almost no rain in the summer here and I miss it.

    1. It really is so very special, isn't it. I don't read all that much, but sometimes a poem just hits the spot.
      Boy, do I ever have it wrong geographical - weather speaking; I thought you had rain all the time. We have enough that we rarely need to water gardens in the summers. This year we've had a lot, and things are thriving. It makes me realize that plants are happier with more water than they sometimes get.

  2. Ole HDT liked being out of doors. I can sure identify with that.


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