By Walter Savage Landor
I loved him not; and yet, now he is gone,
I feel I am alone.
I check’d him while he spoke; yet, could he speak,
Alas! I would not check.
For reasons not to love him once I sought,
And wearied all my thought
To vex myself and him: I now would give
My love could he but live
Who lately lived for me, and, when he found
’Twas vain, in holy ground
He hid his face amid the shades of death.
I waste for him my breath
Who wasted his for me! but mine returns,
And this lorn bosom burns
With stifling heat, heaving it up in sleep,
And waking me to weep
Tears that had melted his soft heart: for years
Wept he as bitter tears.
Merciful God! such was his latest prayer,
These may she never share.
Quieter is his breath, his breast more cold,
Than daisies in the mould,
Where children spell, athwart the churchyard gate,
His name and life’s brief date.
Pray for him, gentle souls, whoe’er you be,
And oh! pray too for me!
Known for his devotion to classicism, Walter Savage Landor wrote poetry in both English and Latin. His poetry was never widely read, though his critical prose—on subjects ranging from life in ancient Greece to Italian literature—was very successful. Considered by most of his contemporaries to be a “poet’s poet,” Landor had a series of influential relationships with poets such as William Wordsworth, Robert Browning, and Algernon Charles Swinburne. His politically engaged verse, his understanding of the artist as an isolated genius, and the rigorous clarity of his Latinate poetry are thought to have also influenced Ezra Pound.
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Back Up Quick They’re Hippies
That was the year we drove
into the commune in Cornwall.
“Jesus Jim,” mam said,
“back up quick they’re hippies.”
Through the car window,
tents, row after row, flaps open,
long-haired men and women
curled around each other like babies
and the babies themselves
wandered naked across the grass.
In the warmth of night I put feet to my plan: waited
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filling gourds with fresh water. They’d bundled
taro wrapped in leaves sitting below the cross seats.