SONNET  18 -- William Shakespeare
 

Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate.
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer's lease hath all too short a date.
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimm'd;
And every fair from fair sometimes declines,
By chance, or nature's changing course, untrimm'd;
But thy eternal summer shall not fade
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow'st;
Nor shall Death brag thou wander'st in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou grow'st.
  So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,
  So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.
 

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SONNET  130 -- William Shakespeare
 

My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun,
Coral is far more red than her lips' red.
If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun,
If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head.
I have seen roses damasked, red and white,
But no such roses see I in her cheeks.
And in some perfumes is there more delight
Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks.
I love to hear her speak, yet well I know
That music hath a far more pleasing sound.
I grant I never saw a goddess go,
My mistress, when she walks, treads on the ground.
  And yet, by Heaven, I think my love as rare
  As any she belied with false compare.
 

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When  Sue Wears Red -- Langston Hughes

When  Susanna Jones wears red
Her face is like an ancient cameo
Turned brown by the ages.

Come with a blast of  trumpets,
Jesus!

When Susanna Jones wears red
A queen from some time-dead Egyptian night
Walks once again.

Blow trumpets, Jesus!

And the beauty of Susanna Jones in red
Burns in my heart a love-fire sharp like pain

Sweet silver! trumpets,
Jesus

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Arrival--William Carlos Williams

And yet one arrives somehow,
finds himself loosening the hooks of
her dress
in a strange bedroom--
feels the autumn
dropping its silk and linen leaves
about her ankles.
That tawdry veined body emerges
twisted upon itself
like a winter wind . . . !
 

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Complaint --William Carlos Williams

They call me and I go.
It is a frozen road
past midnight, a dust
of snow caught
in the rigid wheeltracks.
The door opens.
I smile, enter and
shake off the cold.
Here is a great woman
on her side in the bed.
She is sick,
perhaps vomiting,
perhaps laboring
to give birth to
a tenth child. Joy! Joy!
Night is a room
darkened for lovers,
through the jalousies the sun
has sent one gold needle!
I pick the hair from her eyes
and watch her misery
with compassion.

 
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THE FALL OF ICARUS

The legend of Icarus is found in Greek mythology some 3000 years ago. It seems that Daedalus was a master of innovation as well as an artist, a sculptor, an architect and an engineer.  But his son was not so talented, not so clever, just young and foolish.  Daedalus and his son, Icarus, had to escape from the Labyrinth of the cruel King Minos on the isle of Crete to the mainland of Greece, a distance over water of 110 kilometers (68 miles).

Daedalus made wings of feathers and wax for his son, Icarus, and himself. He warned Icarus not to fly too high or too low.  The sun would melt the wax  and the waves would wet and weaken the feathers.  Icarus ignored his father's warnings and filled with the power of flight, flew too close to the sun.  The sun melted the wax and he fell into the sea.  No one seemed to notice him as he fell.

But Daedalus flew to safety and found Icarus dead on the peaceful shore.  Then Daedalus buried him and put a monument to his son.

 
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MUSEE DES BEAUX ARTS --  W. H. Auden

About suffering they were never wrong,
The Old Masters: how well they understood
Its human position; how it takes place
While someone else is eating or opening a window or
    just walking dully along;
How, when the aged are reverently, passionately
    waiting
For the miraculous birth, there always must be
Children who did not specially want it to happen,
    skating
On a pond at the edge of the wood:
They never forgot
That even the dreadful martyrdom must run its course
Anyhow in a corner, some untidy spot
Where the dogs go on with their doggy life and the
    torturer's horse
Scratches its innocent behind on a tree.

In Brueghel's Icarus, for instance: how everything
   turns away
Quite leisurely from the disaster; the plowman may
Have heard the splash, the forsaken cry,
But for him it was not an important failure; the sun
   shone
As it had to on the white legs disappearing into the
   green
Water; and the expensive delicate ship that must have
   seen
Something amazing, a boy falling out of the sky,
Had somewhere to get to and sailed calmly on.

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