A Jigsaw Cut-up is composed of verses or passages and/or single words taken from two individual poetry pieces and disposed in a new form or order. A Jigsaw Cut-up may be a Cento and a Cut-up but it is not “an aleatory literary technique” since “aleatory” is defined “Depending on the throw of a die; random, arising by chance“; or, as was written once, “Un Coup de Dés Jamais N’Abolira Le Hasard.”


What They Did Yesterday

What They Did Yesterday Afternoon
Warsan Shire

they set my aunts house on fire
i cried the way women on tv do
folding at the middle
like a five pound note.
i called the boy who use to love me
tried to ‘okay’ my voice
i said hello
he said warsan, what’s wrong, what’s happened?

i’ve been praying,
and these are what my prayers look like;
dear god
i come from two countries
one is thirsty
the other is on fire
both need water.

later that night
i held an atlas in my lap
ran my fingers across the whole world
and whispered
where does it hurt?

it answered

[F.E. Clark]

Chidiock Tichborne

My prime of youth is but a frost of cares;
My feast of joy is but a dish of pain,
My crop of corn is but a field of tares,
And all my good is but vain hope of gain:
The day is past, and yet I saw no sun,
And now I live, and now my life is done.

My tale was heard, and yet it was not told,
My fruit is fallen, and yet my leaves are green,
My youth is spent, and yet I am not old,
I saw the world, and yet I was not seen:
My thread is cut, and yet it is not spun,
And now I live, and now my life is done.

I sought my death, and found it in my womb,
I looked for life, and saw it was a shade,
I trod the earth, and knew it was my tomb,
And now I die, and now I was but made;
The glass is full, and now the glass is run,
And now I live, and now my life is done.

[Stephanie Ellis]

The Tempest, Act 4, Scene 1
William Shakespeare

Our revels now are ended. These our actors,
As I foretold you, were all spirits and
Are melted into air, into thin air:
And, like the baseless fabric of this vision,
The cloud-capp’d towers, the gorgeous palaces,
The solemn temples, the great globe itself,
Ye all which it inherit, shall dissolve
And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,
Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff
As dreams are made on, and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep.

[Mary Frances]

Shadow Girl Reconciled
Sean Fraser
This work is a Cento Poem. It contains the six poems (including titles) submitted to the March-16 Jigsaw Cut-up episode which were written by Stephanie Ellis, Voima Oy, Pleasant Street, F.E. Clark, CR Smith, and Mary Frances.

All of the blue Summer air
and light of the sun leaf-dappled through

Sleeps beyond the tides of time

Ebbing flowing ebbing flowing

Yesterday I was sitting alone
in the purple splendor of that valley

The Dancing Shade

Earth-bound child alone woven in shadow Spun from my heart

My blood My breath

O there goes Sister Sunlight

my secret saltblood lover-bride

Flushing the cheek round rosy ghosts of the red curtained Splendour

She passed me by where nothing wild remained

Supple limb with breast flushing in thy primal breath give me one song

While a deeper music threads through my breast
I hear how the music swells kisses of salt
It swells in harmony with lonely grief

and rose because of the Spring

And in the silent valley dark I merged the song of life and death

Light and darkness sun and star

Grey breakers on a primal reef

Wild-rose kisses everywhere

There goes
Sister Sunlight

Sunset eyes of lightflash darkness

wildchild spinning deeper spells making wine of chill blue air

of her laughter cheek so leopard-sleek her dancing blue anklets

Spinning humming bees catch rhythm beyond the tides of Time

to make one old beyond his Time whisper

O Ghost My wandering maid

Humming -bees
flickering glistening green-veined gray

so near so clear she rose she ran red curtained in the silken sky

Take my heaven wisdom past knowing a dream of grief

Nothing remained of my dream

and who shall quarrel with her not I earthbound in shadowcloud

here in the dark alone again

being too reconciled to earth grief and the wine

[Sean Fraser]

The Prairie-Grass Dividing
Walt Whitman

The prairie-grass dividing, its special odor breathing,
I demand of it the spiritual corresponding,
Demand the most copious and close companionship of men,
Demand the blades to rise of words, acts, beings,
Those of the open atmosphere, coarse, sunlit, fresh, nutritious,
Those that go their own gait, erect, stepping with freedom and
command, leading not following,
Those with a never-quell’d audacity, those with sweet and lusty
flesh clear of taint,
Those that look carelessly in the faces of Presidents and governors,
as to say Who are you? Those of earth-born passion, simple, never constrain’d, never
Those of inland America.

[Voima Oy]

Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard
Thomas Gray

The curfew tolls the knell of parting day,
The lowing herd wind slowly o’er the lea,
The plowman homeward plods his weary way,
And leaves the world to darkness and to me.

Now fades the glimm’ring landscape on the sight,
And all the air a solemn stillness holds,
Save where the beetle wheels his droning flight,
And drowsy tinklings lull the distant folds;

Save that from yonder ivy-mantled tow’r
The moping owl does to the moon complain
Of such, as wand’ring near her secret bow’r,
Molest her ancient solitary reign.

Beneath those rugged elms, that yew-tree’s shade,
Where heaves the turf in many a mould’ring heap,
Each in his narrow cell for ever laid,
The rude forefathers of the hamlet sleep.

The breezy call of incense-breathing Morn,
The swallow twitt’ring from the straw-built shed,
The cock’s shrill clarion, or the echoing horn,
No more shall rouse them from their lowly bed.

For them no more the blazing hearth shall burn,
Or busy housewife ply her evening care:
No children run to lisp their sire’s return,
Or climb his knees the envied kiss to share.

Oft did the harvest to their sickle yield,
Their furrow oft the stubborn glebe has broke;
How jocund did they drive their team afield!
How bow’d the woods beneath their sturdy stroke!

Let not Ambition mock their useful toil,
Their homely joys, and destiny obscure;
Nor Grandeur hear with a disdainful smile
The short and simple annals of the poor.

The boast of heraldry, the pomp of pow’r,
And all that beauty, all that wealth e’er gave,
Awaits alike th’ inevitable hour.
The paths of glory lead but to the grave.

Nor you, ye proud, impute to these the fault,
If Mem’ry o’er their tomb no trophies raise,
Where thro’ the long-drawn aisle and fretted vault
The pealing anthem swells the note of praise.

Can storied urn or animated bust
Back to its mansion call the fleeting breath?
Can Honour’s voice provoke the silent dust,
Or Flatt’ry soothe the dull cold ear of Death?

Perhaps in this neglected spot is laid
Some heart once pregnant with celestial fire;
Hands, that the rod of empire might have sway’d,
Or wak’d to ecstasy the living lyre.

But Knowledge to their eyes her ample page
Rich with the spoils of time did ne’er unroll;
Chill Penury repress’d their noble rage,
And froze the genial current of the soul.

Full many a gem of purest ray serene,
The dark unfathom’d caves of ocean bear:
Full many a flow’r is born to blush unseen,
And waste its sweetness on the desert air.

Some village-Hampden, that with dauntless breast
The little tyrant of his fields withstood;
Some mute inglorious Milton here may rest,
Some Cromwell guiltless of his country’s blood.

Th’ applause of list’ning senates to command,
The threats of pain and ruin to despise,
To scatter plenty o’er a smiling land,
And read their hist’ry in a nation’s eyes,

Their lot forbade: nor circumscrib’d alone
Their growing virtues, but their crimes confin’d;
Forbade to wade through slaughter to a throne,
And shut the gates of mercy on mankind,

The struggling pangs of conscious truth to hide,
To quench the blushes of ingenuous shame,
Or heap the shrine of Luxury and Pride
With incense kindled at the Muse’s flame.

Far from the madding crowd’s ignoble strife,
Their sober wishes never learn’d to stray;
Along the cool sequester’d vale of life
They kept the noiseless tenor of their way.

Yet ev’n these bones from insult to protect,
Some frail memorial still erected nigh,
With uncouth rhymes and shapeless sculpture deck’d,
Implores the passing tribute of a sigh.

Their name, their years, spelt by th’ unletter’d muse,
The place of fame and elegy supply:
And many a holy text around she strews,
That teach the rustic moralist to die.

For who to dumb Forgetfulness a prey,
This pleasing anxious being e’er resign’d,
Left the warm precincts of the cheerful day,
Nor cast one longing, ling’ring look behind?

On some fond breast the parting soul relies,
Some pious drops the closing eye requires;
Ev’n from the tomb the voice of Nature cries,
Ev’n in our ashes live their wonted fires.

For thee, who mindful of th’ unhonour’d Dead
Dost in these lines their artless tale relate;
If chance, by lonely contemplation led,
Some kindred spirit shall inquire thy fate,

Haply some hoary-headed swain may say,
“Oft have we seen him at the peep of dawn
Brushing with hasty steps the dews away
To meet the sun upon the upland lawn.

“There at the foot of yonder nodding beech
That wreathes its old fantastic roots so high,
His listless length at noontide would he stretch,
And pore upon the brook that babbles by.

“Hard by yon wood, now smiling as in scorn,
Mutt’ring his wayward fancies he would rove,
Now drooping, woeful wan, like one forlorn,
Or craz’d with care, or cross’d in hopeless love.

“One morn I miss’d him on the custom’d hill,
Along the heath and near his fav’rite tree;
Another came; nor yet beside the rill,
Nor up the lawn, nor at the wood was he;

“The next with dirges due in sad array
Slow thro’ the church-way path we saw him borne.
Approach and read (for thou canst read) the lay,
Grav’d on the stone beneath yon aged thorn.”

Here rests his head upon the lap of Earth
A youth to Fortune and to Fame unknown.
Fair Science frown’d not on his humble birth,
And Melancholy mark’d him for her own.

Large was his bounty, and his soul sincere,
Heav’n did a recompense as largely send:
He gave to Mis’ry all he had, a tear,
He gain’d from Heav’n (’twas all he wish’d) a friend.

No farther seek his merits to disclose,
Or draw his frailties from their dread abode,
(There they alike in trembling hope repose)
The bosom of his Father and his God.

[CR Smith]

Little Boy Blue
Eugene Field

THE little toy dog is covered with dust,
But sturdy and staunch he stands;
The little toy soldier is red with rust,
And his musket moulds in his hands.
Time was when the little toy dog was new,
And the soldier was passing fair;
And that was the time when our Little Boy Blue
Kissed them and put them there.

“Now don’t you go till I come,” he said,
“And don’t you make any noise!” 10
So, toddling off to his trundle bed,
He dreamt of the pretty toys;
And, as he was dreaming, an angel song
Awakened our Little Boy Blue—
Oh! the years are many, the years are long,
But the little toy friends are true!

Ay, faithful to Little Boy Blue they stand,
Each in the same old place,
Awaiting the touch of a little hand,
The smile of a little face;
And they wonder, as waiting the long years through
In the dust of that little chair,
What has become of our Little Boy Blue,
Since he kissed them and put them there.

[Pleasant Street]

Golgi Outposts
John Trefry
Adapted from Golgi Outposts Shape Dendrite Morphology by Functioning as Sites of Acentrosomal Microtubule Nucleation in Neurons by Kassandra M. Ori-McKenney and Tent Life in Siberia by George Kennan

Northtubulesf Lesnoi the great central organized of into the dynamicchatka arrays mountains broke offs abruptly into theirectedkhotskvesicular transport and are essential for the proper establishmentongaline of maintenanceprecipiceseuronalerposeditecture rugged wall between us and the steppes of the Wandering Koraks. Nucleating mountain rangeplexes, as very difficulticular, pass necessaryorsesauseespontaneoussummertion of waswoftubulininfinitely worse nowticallythe mountain streams were vivowollen bynd the falln rains vitro foaming torrents, and the storms whichma (λ)eraldulin the ispproach a of wintermponentt be of at anycrotubulement expected. Centers and has a well-established role in Flags nucleating a codeinofle signalsandas agreed uponmasmic heavy baggage was transferredtubules whale-boat and a large sealskin canoe, a Indeed, earlyection onf antibodies against λ-tubulin 4thr I severingMajoroteinsoddnhibited at a the beachtgrowthey inpushedurons Wecultured upfor ourne trainy of vitros (DIV1) he boats disappeared around a projecting bluffsophila cantered away dsas-4 mutantsss thehatvalley lackward acentriolesin theorganization ofthroughdiscwhichronse anderedontheoutgrouthness normal in third-instar larvae I tried, by climbing a low mountain back of Dendritic to get a sightorization sea; but we were neurons fifteenovidets from theexcellent and system was limitedstigating an thinterveninguestion ofeyggedreeaks, manytypewhich reachltipolartudeuronspetualthenowNS ofas Drosophilaly melanogasterat which produce complexingendritic Dodd’ss and doeerful facetain the fireside, and I missed moretrosomes thought I should the lively sallies, comical storeis Whengood-humoured pleasantry which hadfragmentedghtened treatment with nocodazole, long dispersed campGolgi life minitstacks canld still promotethoughtscrotubuleveningucleationsat inndicating thatsty byesee firesideidual wouldinistackseen satisfied thate hisnecessary wasmachineryppreciateducleations absence unfelt. Viushin took Drosophila pains with class preparationurons, ofhe Golgiyoutpostspperear throughout did dendritic arbort includinghewithin thecouldminal branches fellow, to enliven the solitary meal The storieslgiand funnypostsminiscencesy of Kamchatkambrane; but fore venison cutletswingd lostdendrite branchtheiras usuale savourmicsnd ofhe smallern Golgi outpostsies I could note understandighly supper I layorrelatedon mythearsskinsdritehe tentnchingll asleep watchingsion round moon rise over a ragged volcanic unknown eastether of Drosophila valleygi outposts contain nucleation machinery similar Justto mammalianforeGolgi stacksark such machinerychedould a conceivably support microtubule innucleationirectionthineemede to complex absolutely dynamic dendritic by arbora range of high mountains which ran inectlydercross understand itowwashe theicrotubule ridgeytoskeletone is Samankaizedountains branches lookedss IV dendritic arborization (da) neuronse we ofnalyzediringe dynamics ofatEB1-GFP guide, who throughoutdirectlyntireerdendriticangeborand vivo. that there lay we observed that roadlgi outposts correlated birch extended comett formation up thendritentainranchpoints, wasdistalceededps, by and withineenthe terminal branchailingthere, organelles, such as Rab11-positive blackdosomes rising mitochondria did where correlate thethardy1 reindeer-mossmation innd vivo. Enough to bury its roots. Whole, live, third-instar larvae Viushin mounted me inearly 90% theglyceroling under theverslipsouncement with grease and snowingaged us.

[John Trefry]


Dr. Seuss (2 March 1904 – 24 September 1991)

Green Eggs and Ham

a — am — and — anywhere — are — be — boat — box — car — could — dark — do — eat — eggs — fox — goat — good — green — ham — here — house — I — if — in — let — like — may — me — mouse — not — on — or — rain — Sam — say — see — so — thank — that — the — them — there — they — train — tree — try — will — with — would — you

[ Ref.: ]

The Cat in the Hat

a — about — all — always — and — another — any — are — as — asked — at — away — back — bad — ball — be — bed — bent — bet — big — bit — bite — book — books — bow — box — bump — bumps — but — cake — call — came — can — cat — cold — come — could — cup — day — dear — deep — did — dish — do — dots — down — fall — fan — fast — fear — fell — find — fish — fly — for — fox — from — fun — funny — game — games — gave — get — give — go — gone — good — got — gown — had — hall — hand — hands — has — hat — have — he — head — hear — her — here — high — him — his — hit — hold — home — hook — hop — hops — house — how — I — if — in — into — is — it — jump — jumps — kicks — kind — kinds — kite — kites — know — last — let — like — lit — little — look — looked — lot — lots — made — make — man — mat — me — mess — milk — mind — mother — mother’s — my — near — net — new — no — not — nothing — now — of — oh — on — one — our — out — pack — pat — pick — picked — pink — play — playthings — plop — pot — put — rake — ran — red — rid — run — sad — said — Sally — sank — sat — saw — say — see — shake — shame — she — shine — ship — shook — should — show — shut — sit — so — some — something — stand — step — stop — string — strings — sun — sunny — tail — take — tall — tame — tell — that — the — their — them — then — there — these — they — thing — things — think — this — those — thump — thumps — tip — to — too — top — toy — trick — tricks — two — up — us — wall — want — was — way — we — well — went — were — wet — what — when — white — who — why — will — wish — with — wood — would — yes — yet — you — your

[ Ref.: ]


A Birthday
Christina Georgina Rossetti (5 December 1830 – 29 December 1894)

My heart is like a singing bird
Whose nest is in a watered shoot;
My heart is like an apple-tree
Whose boughs are bent with thickset fruit;
My heart is like a rainbow shell
That paddles in a halcyon sea;
My heart is gladder than all these
Because my love is come to me.
Raise me a dais of silk and down;
Hang it with vair and purple dyes;
Carve it in doves, and pomegranates,
And peacocks with a hundred eyes;
Work it in gold and silver grapes,
In leaves, and silver fleurs-de-lys;
Because the birthday of my life
Is come, my love is come to me.

The Charge of the Light Brigade
Alfred, Lord Tennyson (6 August 1809 – 6 October 1892)

Half a league, half a league,
Half a league onward,
All in the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.
“Forward, the Light Brigade!
“Charge for the guns!” he said:
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.
“Forward, the Light Brigade!”
Was there a man dismay’d?
Not tho’ the soldier knew
Some one had blunder’d:
Their’s not to make reply,
Their’s not to reason why,
Their’s but to do and die,
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.
Cannon to right of them,
Cannon to left of them,
Cannon in front of them
Volley’d and thunder’d;
Storm’d at with shot and shell,
Boldly they rode and well,
Into the jaws of Death,
Into the mouth of Hell
Rode the six hundred.
Flash’d all their sabres bare,
Flash’d as they turn’d in air,
Sabring the gunners there,
Charging an army, while
All the world wonder’d:
Plunged in the battery-smoke
Right thro’ the line they broke;
Cossack and Russian
Reel’d from the sabre-stroke
Shatter’d and sunder’d.
Then they rode back, but not
Not the six hundred.
Cannon to right of them,
Cannon to left of them,
Cannon behind them
Volley’d and thunder’d;
Storm’d at with shot and shell,
While horse and hero fell,
They that had fought so well
Came thro’ the jaws of Death
Back from the mouth of Hell,
All that was left of them,
Left of six hundred.
When can their glory fade?
O the wild charge they made!
All the world wonder’d.
Honour the charge they made!
Honour the Light Brigade,
Noble six hundred!


The Siren
Oliver Herford (2 December 1860 – 5 July 1935)

Tell me,
The Siren may be said to be
The Chorus-Lady of the Sea;
Tho’ Mermaids claim her as their kin,
Instead of fishy tail and fin
Two shapely feet rejoice the view
(With all that appertains thereto).
When to these other charms we add
A voice that drives the hearer mad,
Who will dispute her claim to be
The Chorus-Lady of the Sea?

Lunar Baedeker
Mina Loy (27 December 1882 – 25 September 1966)

A silver Lucifer
cocaine in cornucopia

To some somnambulists
of adolescent thighs
in satirical draperies

Peris in livery
for posthumous parvenues

Delirious Avenues
with the chandelier souls
of infusoria
from Pharoah’s tombstones

to mercurial doomsdays
Odious oasis
in furrowed phosphorous—

the eye-white sky-light
white-light district
of lunar lusts

—Stellectric signs
“Wing shows on Starway”
“Zodiac carrousel”

of ecstatic dust
and ashes whirl
from hallucinatory citadels
of shattered glass
into evacuate craters

A flock of dreams
browse on Necropolis

From the shores
of oval oceans
in the oxidized Orient

Onyx-eyed Odalisques
and ornithologists
the flight
of Eros obsolete

And “Immortality”
in the museums of the moon

“Nocturnal cyclops”
“Crystal concubine”
Pocked with personification
the fossil virgin of the skies
waxes and wanes—-


Venus Transiens
Amy Lowell (February 9, 1874 – May 12, 1925)

Tell me,
Was Venus more beautiful
Than you are,
When she topped
The crinkled waves,
Drifting shoreward
On her plaited shell?
Was Botticelli’s vision
Fairer than mine;
And were the painted rosebuds
He tossed his lady,
Of better worth
Than the words I blow about you
To cover your too great loveliness
As with a gauze
Of misted silver?

For me,
You stand poised
In the blue and buoyant air,
Cinctured by bright winds,
Treading the sunlight.
And the waves which precede you
Ripple and stir
The sands at my feet.

The Lover Speaks
E. E. Cummings (October 14, 1894 – September 3, 1962)

Over the wires came leaping

and I felt suddenly


With the jostling and shouting of merry flowers

wee skipping high-heeled flames

courtesied before my eyes

or twinkling over to my side

Looked up

with impertinently exquisite faces

floating hands were laid upon me

I was whirled and tossed into delicious dancing



with the pale important

stars and the Humorous


dear girl

How I was crazy how I cried when I heard

over time

and tide and death



your voice


The Rime of the Ancyent Marinere
Samuel Taylor Coleridge (21 October 1772 – 25 July 1834)


There passed a weary time. Each throat
Was parched, and glazed each eye.
A weary time! a weary time!
How glazed each weary eye,
When looking westward, I beheld
A something in the sky.

At first it seemed a little speck,
And then it seemed a mist:
It moved and moved, and took at last
A certain shape, I wist.

A speck, a mist, a shape, I wist!
And still it neared and neared:
As if it dodged a water-sprite,
It plunged and tacked and veered.

With throats unslaked, with black lips baked,
We could not laugh nor wail;
Through utter drought all dumb we stood!
I bit my arm, I sucked the blood,
And cried, A sail! a sail!

With throats unslaked, with black lips baked,
Agape they heard me call:
Gramercy! they for joy did grin,
And all at once their breath drew in,
As they were drinking all.

See! see! (I cried) she tacks no more!
Hither to work us weal;
Without a breeze, without a tide,
She steadies with upright keel!

The western wave was all a-flame
The day was well nigh done!
Almost upon the western wave
Rested the broad bright Sun;
When that strange shape drove suddenly
Betwixt us and the Sun.

And straight the Sun was flecked with bars,
(Heaven’s Mother send us grace!)
As if through a dungeon-grate he peered,
With broad and burning face.

Alas! (thought I, and my heart beat loud)
How fast she nears and nears!
Are those her sails that glance in the Sun,
Like restless gossameres!

Are those her ribs through which the Sun
Did peer, as through a grate?
And is that Woman all her crew?
Is that a DEATH? and are there two?
Is DEATH that woman’s mate?

Her lips were red, her looks were free,
Her locks were yellow as gold:
Her skin was as white as leprosy,
The Night-Mare LIFE-IN-DEATH was she,
Who thicks man’s blood with cold.

The naked hulk alongside came,
And the twain were casting dice;
“The game is done! I’ve won! I’ve won!”
Quoth she, and whistles thrice.

The Sun’s rim dips; the stars rush out:
At one stride comes the dark;
With far-heard whisper, o’er the sea.
Off shot the spectre-bark.

We listened and looked sideways up!
Fear at my heart, as at a cup,
My life-blood seemed to sip!

The stars were dim, and thick the night,
The steersman’s face by his lamp gleamed white;
From the sails the dew did drip—
Till clombe above the eastern bar
The horned Moon, with one bright star
Within the nether tip.

One after one, by the star-dogged Moon
Too quick for groan or sigh,
Each turned his face with a ghastly pang,
And cursed me with his eye.

Four times fifty living men,
(And I heard nor sigh nor groan)
With heavy thump, a lifeless lump,
They dropped down one by one.

The souls did from their bodies fly,—
They fled to bliss or woe!
And every soul, it passed me by,
Like the whizz of my CROSS-BOW!

Herman Melville (August 1, 1819 – September 28, 1891)

from CHAPTER 42. The Whiteness of the Whale.

Bethink thee of the albatross, whence come those clouds of spiritual wonderment and pale dread, in which that white phantom sails in all imaginations? Not Coleridge first threw that spell; but God’s great, unflattering laureate, Nature.

I remember the first albatross I ever saw. It was during a prolonged gale, in waters hard upon the Antarctic seas. From my forenoon watch below, I ascended to the overclouded deck; and there, dashed upon the main hatches, I saw a regal, feathery thing of unspotted whiteness, and with a hooked, Roman bill sublime. At intervals, it arched forth its vast archangel wings, as if to embrace some holy ark. Wondrous flutterings and throbbings shook it. Though bodily unharmed, it uttered cries, as some king’s ghost in supernatural distress. Through its inexpressible, strange eyes, methought I peeped to secrets which took hold of God. As Abraham before the angels, I bowed myself; the white thing was so white, its wings so wide, and in those for ever exiled waters, I had lost the miserable warping memories of traditions and of towns. Long I gazed at that prodigy of plumage. I cannot tell, can only hint, the things that darted through me then. But at last I awoke; and turning, asked a sailor what bird was this. A goney, he replied. Goney! never had heard that name before; is it conceivable that this glorious thing is utterly unknown to men ashore! never! But some time after, I learned that goney was some seaman’s name for albatross. So that by no possibility could Coleridge’s wild Rhyme have had aught to do with those mystical impressions which were mine, when I saw that bird upon our deck. For neither had I then read the Rhyme, nor knew the bird to be an albatross. Yet, in saying this, I do but indirectly burnish a little brighter the noble merit of the poem and the poet.

I assert, then, that in the wondrous bodily whiteness of the bird chiefly lurks the secret of the spell; a truth the more evinced in this, that by a solecism of terms there are birds called grey albatrosses; and these I have frequently seen, but never with such emotions as when I beheld the Antarctic fowl.

But how had the mystic thing been caught? Whisper it not, and I will tell; with a treacherous hook and line, as the fowl floated on the sea. At last the Captain made a postman of it; tying a lettered, leathern tally round its neck, with the ship’s time and place; and then letting it escape. But I doubt not, that leathern tally, meant for man, was taken off in Heaven, when the white fowl flew to join the wing-folding, the invoking, and adoring cherubim!


Cantos from the Hôtel de Rambouillet, by Various


Full solstice Moon, my lunatic soul, holding Sorrows and Delights. Talk what you please, Eve, of the fading light in the western sky, the sweet purple fever of twilight. The moon is a milk stain, dreaming the night. Silent, the dying stars sing. I hear the wind in the reeds of the city.


underneath with swifteptosoon dumbsweet ooofoofofofofofope of hopestars,Earthbleed.wereedsbleepleednopurpledsouleve Eve Eve she drifts, Eve winterloveventurless–stripp’d drift silken All chilly Earthblood, grovedeludwintervavavalvalva valley valva cold in bleed in Spring Steals lie flow’r O Seated flow’rollingpearl blur Blue She blur She, Nymph of liquid gushonotoonotoonotoonotowinter stole hear thy voice no more Leave thee in thy dim silent cell deluded thus.

underneath with thee, her purpled flow’r sleepdancing alone, sessesissessossessinthe frail veils bleed the blood of Earth, Moon stole’nomelodioushall’drous we sang Silent, we weeweep Silent, we we weeweeks Silent wake Silent pluck songriseSilent laugh we too soon Silent western sky sink soft away Silent caves we we weehidden dreaming Silent in wond’rous Blueblurs of desire flutter.


O, languid morn
this day is the ship which sails
and steals the twilight fair—
sweet dazzling Eve
and her silken purpled wind

cold sun-rise
wrecked the dreaming—
thy frail veils stole
the venturous poet’s home
and lie bare-a modest flow’r


Pensive Eve, sweet child of Spring
Steals with swift step to the sunless crypt
To mourn he, shut from heaven
And lie in sorrow’s shade
Where twilight veils this living pearl
Beneath her purpled wings

Fair flow’r, frail tenant
Cast from earth’s enchanted hills
My siren soul, I hear thy voice no more
Leave thee in thy dim silent cell
Free at last of thy dreaming life
And with the western sky sink soft away


Holding the sky in her hands she drifts, dreaming. Still. Dancing, laughing, weaving. Possessing no fear, she drifts. Blue blurs green in the white sunlight of desire. She is no prisoner of the city. Her dreams flutter, drenched in light. Wrought with purple fever. She drifts. Dreaming.


goldenmoon speak to us of truth

closepressed mortals sing no-truth not-truth
in their smooth melodious voices

truth is not numbers is not thundr’ous
strengthen your softwoven lunarvoice

brokenmoon speak to us of sorrows

soft sobs from your frail-headed earthsouls
lift your face bring offerings bring herbs

sing to diana-of-the-pities
and her divine all-healing dryads

philosophicmoon speak to us of mysteries

mysteries are not your histories
not arcadia not whispertales

magical mortals find hiddenfruits
new languages of insanity

fevermoon speak to us of passions

breath-panting mortals lunatic-tranced
double-woven in one another

your wetdelights wondrous ripe-scented
gifts of temporal insomnia

godmoon speak to us of science

science is not wisdom not fiction
not seated on altars in heaven

live in selenocentric regions
commit to drawing lunar orbits

fullmoon speak to us of solstice

standstill of the broken satellite
newborn buds on all reflected slopes

senselessnoise falls still in healing sleep
strengthen resist singsoft and find light


December twilight
White-plumed, cold, and lorn
A single star
Once a man
Lived for thirty years
A single dream spoiled
Halfway to Heaven
Time shall cease


Mourn the wearied day
with honours heaped
on last glories of sunset

Rosy thoughts of distant
red and gold that stain
transparent clouds
to fires of flaring flames

Burning daylight draperies
as twilight, harbinger
of darkness descends

And city labyrinths, bristling
with discordant cries
clamour for calm and harmony
when dwindled light dies


This age of ours rests on all pictures of the living day
In the taking of it breathe, over-busy hand and brain,
Lingering long in dreamy reverie as either hand may
Rightly clutch report or lamentation
And on the threshold of our time alone
Whose life and death a mighty shadow thrown
At thy threshold, on thy hearth where mansions keep
All who lie beneath, while away the evening hour
Or wake the echoes, mournful, lone and deep
It shall ease thy mortal strife in its dreaming bower


The Blind Man
observes with saddened pose
a world brushed by the shadows
of melancholy
and horror:

The Gipsy proffers
with outstretched hand the twilight of the Moon
to the Blind Man he
Twilight bells! As euphony voluminously wells
so delight musically swells
of Brazen bells — of Golden bells — of Silver bells
What a world of happiness
their harmony foretells!

They rhyme!

All the bells in her song all in tune

They ring!

The Enchanters—
Brazen bells! chiming, in the air, in the clamorous clangour
of the Harlequin merriment night,
Leaping higher, higher, higher
What their melody foretells!

The Sorcerers—
Golden bells! chiming, in the air, in the clamorous clangour
of the Harlequin merriment night,
Leaping higher, higher, higher
What their melody foretells!

The Fairies—
Silver bells! chiming, in the air, in the clamorous clangour
of the Harlequin merriment night,
Leaping higher, higher, higher
What their melody foretells!

For every sound that floats

And his merry bosom swells
With the pæan of the bells!
And he dances, and he yells;
Keeping time, time, time,
In a sort of Merry rhyme,
To the pæan of the bells—

Of the bells


Lyrics from the Song-Books of the Elizabethan Age, by Various (1887)

From Thomas Campion’s Two Books of Airs, 1613.

AWAKE, awake! thou heavy sprite
That sleep’st the deadly sleep of sin!
Rise now and walk the ways of light,
’Tis not too late yet to begin.
Seek heaven early, seek it late;
True Faith finds still an open gate.
Get up, get up, thou leaden man!
Thy track, to endless joy or pain,
Yields but the model of a span:
Yet burns out thy life’s lamp in vain!
One minute bounds thy bane or bliss;
Then watch and labour while time is.

From Henry Youll’s Canzonets to three voices, 1608.

AWAKE, sweet Love! ’tis time to rise:
Phœbus is risen in the east,
Spreading his beams on those fair eyes
Which are enclosed with Nature’s rest.
Awake, awake from heavy sleep
Which all thy thoughts in silence keep!

From Thomas Bateson’s First Set of English Madrigals, 1604.

AY me, my mistress scorns my love;
I fear she will most cruel prove.
I weep, I sigh, I grieve, I groan;
Yet she regardeth not my moan.
Then, Love, adieu! it fits not me
To weep for her that laughs at thee.

From John Dowland’s Third and Last Book of Songs or Airs, 1603.

BEHOLD a wonder here!
Love hath receiv’d his sight!
Which many hundred year
Hath not beheld the light.
Such beams infusèd be
By Cynthia in his eyes,
As first have made him see
And then have made him wise.
Love now no more will weep
For them that laugh the while!
Nor wake for them that sleep,
Nor sigh for them that smile!
So powerful is the Beauty
That Love doth now behold,
As Love is turned to Duty
That’s neither blind nor bold.
Thus Beauty shows her might
To be of double kind;
In giving Love his sight
And striking Folly blind.

From John Dowland’s Third and Last Book of Songs or Airs, 1603.

BY a fountain where I lay,
(All blessèd be that blessèd day!)
By the glimm’ring of the sun,
(O never be her shining done!)
When I might see alone
My true Love, fairest one!
Love’s dear light!
Love’s clear sight!
No world’s eyes can clearer see!
A fairer sight, none can be!
Fair with garlands all addrest,
(Was never Nymph more fairly blest!)
Blessèd in the highest degree,
(So may she ever blessèd be!)
Came to this fountain near,
With such a smiling cheer!
Such a face,
Such a grace!
Happy, happy eyes, that see
Such a heavenly sight as She!
Then I forthwith took my pipe,
Which I all fair and clean did wipe,
And upon a heavenly ground,
All in the grace of beauty found,
Play’d this roundelay:
“Welcome, fair Queen of May!
Sing, sweet air!
Welcome, Fair!
Welcome be the Shepherds’ Queen,
The glory of all our green!”

From Thomas Ravenscroft’s Brief Discourse, &c., 1614.

The Urchins’ Dance.

BY the moon we sport and play,
With the night begins our day:
As we frisk the dew doth fall;
Trip it, little urchins all!
Lightly as the little bee,
Two by two, and three by three;
And about, about go we.

The Elves’ Dance.

ROUND about in a fair ring-a,
Thus we dance and thus we sing-a;
Trip and go, to and fro,
Over this green-a;
All about, in and out,
Over this green-a.


The Man Who Dreams of Fairies
Po Chü-i (772-846)

There was once a man who dreamt he went to Heaven:
His dream-body soared aloft through space.
He rode on the back of a white-plumed crane,
And was led on his flight by two crimson banners.
Whirring of wings and flapping of coat tails!
Jade bells suddenly all a-tinkle!
Half way to Heaven, he looked down beneath him,
Down on the dark turmoil of the World.
Gradually he lost the place of his native town;
Mountains and water—nothing else distinct.
The Eastern Ocean—a single strip of white:
The Hills of China,—five specks of green.
Gliding past him a host of fairies swept
In long procession to the Palace of the Jade City.
How should he guess that the children of Tzŭ-mēn[62]
Bow to the throne like courtiers of earthly kings?
They take him to the presence of the Mighty Jade Emperor:
He bows his head and proffers loyal homage.
The Emperor says: “We see you have fairy talents:
Be of good heart and do not slight yourself.
We shall send to fetch you in fifteen years
And give you a place in the Courtyard of Immortality.”
Twice bowing, he acknowledged the gracious words:
Then woke from sleep, full of wonder and joy.
He hid his secret and dared not tell it abroad:
But vowed a vow he would live in a cave of rock.
From love and affection he severed kith and kin:
From his eating and drinking he omitted savoury and spice.
His morning meal was a dish of coral-dust:
At night he sipped an essence of dewy mists.
In the empty mountains he lived for thirty years
Daily watching for the Heavenly Coach to come.
The time of appointment was already long past,
But of wings and coach-bells—still no sound.
His teeth and hair daily withered and decayed:
His ears and eyes gradually lost their keenness.
One morning he suffered the Common Change
And his body was one with the dust and dirt of the hill.
Gods and fairies! If indeed such things there be,
Their ways are beyond the striving of mortal men.
If you have not on your skull the Golden Bump’s protrusion,
If your name is absent from the rolls of the Red Terrace,
In vain you learn the “Method of Avoiding Food”:
For naught you study the “Book of Alchemic Lore.”
Though you sweat and toil, what shall your trouble bring?
You will only shorten the five-score years of your span.
Sad, alas, the man who dreamt of Fairies!
For a single dream spoiled his whole life.

[62] the Immortals

Christina Georgina Rossetti (5 December 1830 – 29 December 1894)

Where sunless rivers weep
Their waves into the deep,
She sleeps a charmèd sleep:
Awake her not.
Led by a single star,
She came from very far
To seek where shadows are
Her pleasant lot.

She left the rosy morn,
She left the fields of corn,
For twilight cold and lorn
And water springs.
Through sleep, as through a veil,
She sees the sky look pale,
And hears the nightingale
That sadly sings.

Rest, rest, a perfect rest
Shed over brow and breast;
Her face is toward the west,
The purple land.
She cannot see the grain
Ripening on hill and plain;
She cannot feel the rain
Upon her hand.

Rest, rest, forevermore
Upon a mossy shore;
Rest, rest at the heart’s core
Till time shall cease:
Sleep that no pain shall wake,
Night that no morn shall break,
Till joy shall overtake
Her perfect peace.


The Tempest Act V. Scene I. [Fragment]
William Shakespeare (26 April 1564 (baptised) – 23 April 1616)

Now does my project gather to a head:
My charms crack not; my spirits obey; and time
Goes upright with his carriage. How’s the day?

On the sixth hour; at which time, my lord,
You said our work should cease.

I did say so,
When first I raised the tempest. Say, my spirit,
How fares the king and’s followers?

Confined together
In the same fashion as you gave in charge,
Just as you left them; all prisoners, sir,
In the line-grove which weather-fends your cell;
They cannot budge till your release. The king,
His brother, and yours, abide all three distracted,
And the remainder mourning over them,
Brimful of sorrow and dismay; but chiefly
Him that you term’d, sir, “The good old lord, Gonzalo;”
His tears run down his beard, like winter’s drops
From eaves of reeds. Your charm so strongly works ’em,
That if you now beheld them, your affections
Would become tender.

Dost thou think so, spirit?

Mine would, sir, were I human.

And mine shall.
Hast thou, which art but air, a touch, a feeling
Of their afflictions, and shall not myself,
One of their kind, that relish all as sharply,
Passion as they, be kindlier moved than thou art?
Though with their high wrongs I am struck to the quick,
Yet with my nobler reason ’gainst my fury
Do I take part: the rarer action is
In virtue than in vengeance: they being penitent,
The sole drift of my purpose doth extend
Not a frown further. Go release them, Ariel:
My charms I’ll break, their senses I’ll restore,
And they shall be themselves.

I’ll fetch them, sir.

Ye elves of hills, brooks, standing lakes, and groves;
And ye that on the sands with printless foot
Do chase the ebbing Neptune, and do fly him
When he comes back; you demi-puppets that
By moonshine do the green sour ringlets make,
Whereof the ewe not bites; and you whose pastime
Is to make midnight mushrooms, that rejoice
To hear the solemn curfew; by whose aid—
Weak masters though ye be—I have bedimm’d
The noontide sun, call’d forth the mutinous winds.
And ’twixt the green sea and the azured vault
Set roaring war: to the dread rattling thunder
Have I given fire, and rifted Jove’s stout oak
With his own bolt; the strong-based promontory
Have I made shake, and by the spurs pluck’d up
The pine and cedar: graves at my command
Have waked their sleepers, oped, and let ’em forth
By my so potent art. But this rough magic
I here abjure; and, when I have required
Some heavenly music,—which even now I do,—
To work mine end upon their senses, that
This airy charm is for, I’ll break my staff,
Bury it certain fathoms in the earth,
And deeper than did ever plummet sound
I’ll drown my book. Solemn music.

A solemn air, and the best comforter
To an unsettled fancy, cure thy brains,
Now useless, boil’d within thy skull! There stand,
For you are spell-stopp’d.
Holy Gonzalo, honourable man,
Mine eyes, even sociable to the show of thine,
Fall fellowly drops. The charm dissolves apace;
And as the morning steals upon the night,
Melting the darkness, so their rising senses
Begin to chase the ignorant fumes that mantle
Their clearer reason. O good Gonzalo,
My true preserver, and a loyal sir
To him thou follow’st! I will pay thy graces
Home both in word and deed. Most cruelly
Didst thou, Alonso, use me and my daughter:
Thy brother was a furtherer in the act.
Thou art pinch’d for’t now, Sebastian. Flesh and blood,
You, brother mine, that entertain’d ambition,
Expell’d remorse and nature; who, with Sebastian,—
Whose inward pinches therefore are most strong,—
Would here have kill’d your king; I do forgive thee,
Unnatural though thou art. Their understanding
Begins to swell; and the approaching tide
Will shortly fill the reasonable shore,
That now lies foul and muddy. Not one of them
That yet looks on me, or would know me: Ariel,
Fetch me the hat and rapier in my cell:
I will discase me, and myself present
As I was sometime Milan: quickly, spirit;
Thou shalt ere long be free.