Gone is the long, long winter night;
Look, my beloved one!
How glorious, through his depths of light,
Rolls the majestic sun!
The willows, waked from winter's death,
Give out a fragrance like thy breath-
The summer is begun!
Ay, 'tis the long bright summer day:
Hark to that mighty crash!
The loosened ice-ridge breaks away-
The smitten waters flash;
Seaward the glittering mountain rides,
While, down its green translucent sides,
The foamy torrents dash.
See, love, my boat is moored for thee
By ocean's weedy floor-
The petrel does pot skim the sea
More swiftly than my oar.
We'll go where, on the rocky isles,
Her eggs the screaming sea-fowl piles
Beside the pebbly shore.
Or, bide thou where the poppy blows,
With wind-flowers frail and fair,
While I, upon his isle of snow,
Seek and defy the bear.
Fierce though he be, and huge of frame,
This arm his savage strength shall tame,
And drag him from his lair.
When crimson sky and flamy cloud
Bespeak the summer o'er,
And the dead valleys wear a shroud
Of snows that melt no more,
I'll build of ice thy winter home,
With glistening walls and glassy dome,
And spread with skins the floor.
The white fox by thy couch shall play;
And, from the frozen skies,
The meteors of a mimic day
Shall flash upon thine eyes.
And I- for such thy vow- meanwhile
Shall hear thy voice and see thy smile,
Till that long midnight flies.
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Author of more than 30 books of poetry and prose, Donald Hall performs dozens of his best-loved poems, together with excerpts from 6 of his works of prose. Bursting with the passion of living, yet reverent of time and place, Hall's evocative style has made him one of America's foremost poets. Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Robert Frost Medal of the Poetry Society of America, and the New England Book Award for nonfiction, and former Poet Laureate of New Hampshire, he gives each listener this gift of words - words painstakingly entwined with energy and love. Donald Hall: Prose and Poetry is a tour de force, an intimate convergence of poet, author, and listener.
"Two roads diverged in a wood, and I - I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference." Drawing upon everyday incidents, common situations, and rural imagery, Robert Frost fashioned poetry of great lyrical beauty and potent symbolism. His language is simple, clear, and colloquial, yet dense with meaning and wider significance. This brilliant collection features some of Frost's greatest works, including "The Road Not Taken," "Into My Own," "Asking for Roses," "Mending Wall," "The Death of the Hired Man," "In the Home Stretch," "Meeting and Passing," and more. The words of this quintessential American poet come to life in the performances of Alfre Woodard, Arte Johnson, Elliott Gould, Joel Grey, Melissa Manchester, and others.
Carl Sandburg wrote poems with such soulfulness, lyric grace, and love and compassion for the common man that he was known as a "poet of the people." Here is a collection of 95 of his best works, including "Chicago," "Fog," "To a Contemporary Bunkshooter," "Masses," and "The Great Hunt," as well as other verses on themes like love, war, death, loneliness, immigrant life, and the beauty of nature. These early poems, which earned him enormous popularity in the 1920s and '30s and a Pulitzer Prize in 1951, are read here by Susan Anspach, Roscoe Lee Browne, Robert Foxworth, Elliott Gould, Joel Grey, Ernie Hudson, Arte Johnson, Melissa Manchester, Kevin McCarthy, Carl Reiner, Burt Reynolds, Jean Smart, Alfre Woodard, and Efrem Zimbalist, Jr.
William Butler Yeats's early poetry is suffused with the radiant lyricism of Irish folklore and myth; the yearning romance and distinctly Irish voice of these first works of the Nobel laureate have inspired scores of poets. This splendid selection offers a distinctive sampling of the Yeatsian voice. Among the many famed works included are "The Stolen Child," "The Everlasting Voices," "Reconciliation," and "The Song of the Wandering Aengus." Each of these poems is filled with the sparkling magic and mysticism Yeats absorbed as a boy in Ireland. This sweetness is juxtaposed against an anguished realism grounded in the master poet's nationalist and political sympathies.
Love and desire are enduring themes in great poetry. Here is a romantic selection from the greatest English-language poets - Yeats, Keats, Donne, and Shakespeare. David Birney, Jane Lapotaire, Lee Remick, Robert Stephens, and Michael York read these timeless attempts by history's most prominent poets to express the inexpressible.
Perhaps the first great and truly "American" poet, Walt Whitman's writing reflected the idealism and turbulence of the mid-19th century. His poetry broke new stylistic ground with its unconventional meter and rhyme schemes, yet celebrated democratic values, the beauty of nature, and the complex variety and vitality of American life. The Poetry of Walt Whitman presents 32 of his most remarkable works, including "In Paths Untrodden," "For You O Democracy," "Tears," and "O Captain! My Captain!" Eloquently performed by Joan Allen, Bill Pullman, Burt Reynolds, and seven other renowned actors.
One of the most colorful figures in the history of English letters was Lord Byron, a brilliant and educated adventurer; it was said that he crammed a dozen lives into his 36 years. This selection of some of Byron's greatest words is fittingly read by Tyrone Power, a screen legend famous for his portrayals of adventurous and romantic characters. The selections are Canto I of Don Juan, "She Walks in Beauty," "On This Day I Complete My 36th Year," and selected lines from Cantos III and IV of Childe Harold's Pilgrimage. By turns idealistic, witty, and sentimental, the poetry of Byron is Romanticism at its supremely intelligent best.
"Thou still unravish'd bride of quietness...." Thus begins Keats's "Ode on a Grecian Urn." No poet since has managed to describe a pot so passionately. John Keats's poetry is adored today, but ironically the work of this 19th-century poet wasn't widely appreciated until after his death. Despite the fact that he died at the young age of 26, Keats managed to create some of the greatest lyrical poems ever written in any language. This sampling of the best of Keats's poetry is relayed through the majestic voice of the legendary actor Sir Ralph Richardson. This collection showcases the tragic genius of a man whose frail body failed him at an early age, but whose remarkable eloquence lives on forever.
"Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!" Percy Bysshe Shelley was, perhaps, the best of a handful of staggeringly bright and talented poets born of the Romantic Era. Like peers Byron and Keats, he died young, yet wrote prolifically and with a skill and understanding of human nature well beyond his years. As read here by the incomparable Vincent Price, this collection represents Shelley at his passionate and imaginative best, and defines the very essence of the Romantic movement in poetry. The selections included are "Music, When Soft Voices Die," "With a Guitar, To Jane," "Ozymandias," "Prometheus Unbound," "My Soul Is an Enchanted Boat," "To a Skylark," "Hymn to Intellectual Beauty," "Ode to the West Wind," and "Adonais."
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