Poem of the moment: William Cullen Bryant on the summer of 2011

July 31, 2011

He did not write specifically for this year, of course.

Here’s one more reason you should subscribe to the Academy of American PoetsPoem-A-Day:

Click banner to go to American Academy of Poets; you may subscribe to Poem a Day

Click banner to go to American Academy of Poets; you may subscribe to Poem-A-Day

Midsummer
by William Cullen Bryant

A power is on the earth and in the air,
From which the vital spirit shrinks afraid,
And shelters him in nooks of deepest shade,
From the hot steam and from the fiery glare.
Look forth upon the earth—her thousand plants
Are smitten; even the dark sun-loving maize
Faints in the field beneath the torrid blaze;
The herd beside the shaded fountain pants;
For life is driven from all the landscape brown;
The bird hath sought his tree, the snake his den,
The trout floats dead in the hot stream, and men
Drop by the sunstroke in the populous town:
As if the Day of Fire had dawned, and sent
Its deadly breath into the firmament.

July 31, 2011 – Today’s poem appears in Poems, published by University of Michigan.  Read more about this book.


Poem-a-Day: William Cullen Bryant, “A Song for New Year’s Eve”

December 31, 2010

Poem-a-Day from the Academy of American Poets (you don’t subscribe?):

Poet William Cullen BryantCullen

Poet William Cullen BryantCullen

A Song for New Year’s Eve

by William Cullen Bryant

Stay yet, my friends, a moment stay—
Stay till the good old year,
So long companion of our way,
Shakes hands, and leaves us here.
Oh stay, oh stay,
One little hour, and then away.

The year, whose hopes were high and strong,
Has now no hopes to wake;
Yet one hour more of jest and song
For his familiar sake.
Oh stay, oh stay,
One mirthful hour, and then away.

The kindly year, his liberal hands
Have lavished all his store.
And shall we turn from where he stands,
Because he gives no more?
Oh stay, oh stay,
One grateful hour, and then away.

Days brightly came and calmly went,
While yet he was our guest;
How cheerfully the week was spent!
How sweet the seventh day’s rest!
Oh stay, oh stay,
One golden hour, and then away.

Dear friends were with us, some who sleep
Beneath the coffin-lid:
What pleasant memories we keep
Of all they said and did!
Oh stay, oh stay,
One tender hour, and then away.

Even while we sing, he smiles his last,
And leaves our sphere behind.
The good old year is with the past;
Oh be the new as kind!
Oh stay, oh stay,
One parting strain, and then away.

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