‘My Vocation’ by Toru Dutt

A waif on this earth,
Sick, ugly and small,
Contemned from my birth
And rejected by all,
From my lips broke
Where – oh where shall I fly?
Who comfort will bring?
Sing, – said God in reply,
Chant poor little thing.

Life struck me with fright –
Full of chances and pain,
So I hugged with delight
The drudge’s hard chain;
One must eat, – yet I die,
Like a bird with clipped wing,
Sing – said God in reply,
Chant poor little thing.

Love cheered for a while
My morn with his ray,
But like a ripple or smile
My youth passed away.
Now near Beauty I sigh,
But fled is the spring!
Sing – said God in reply,
Chant poor little thing.

All men have a task,
And to sing is my lot –
No meed from men I ask
But one kindly thought.
My vocation is high –
‘Mid the glasses that ring,
Still – still comes that reply,
Chant poor little thing.

1819 New Year’s Carrier’s Address, By: Major Henry Livingston, Jr.

Believe me, dear patrons, I have wand’red too far,
Without any compass, or planet or star;
My dear native village I scarcely can see
So I’ll hie to my hive like the tempest-tost bee.
Hail home! sacred home! to my soul ever dear;
Abroad may be wonders but rapture is here.
My future ambition will never soar higher
Than the clean brushed hearth and convivial fire;
Here I lounge at my pleasure, and bask at my ease,
Full readily sooth’d, and desirous to please,
As happy myself as I happy can be,
I wish all the circle as happy as me.
But hark what a clatter! the Jolly bells ringing,
The lads and the lasses so jovially singing,
Tis New-Years they shout and then haul me along
In the mdist of their merry-make Juvenile throng;
But I burst from their grasp: unforgetful of duty
To first pay obeisence to wisdom and Beauty,
My conscience and int’rest unite to command it,
And you, my kind PATRONS, deserve & demand it.
On your patience to trespass no longer I dare,
So bowing, I wish you a Happy New Year.

Blow, Blow, Thou Winter Wind- By: William Shakespeare

Blow, blow, thou winter wind
Thou art not so unkind
As man’s ingratitude;
Thy tooth is not so keen,
Because thou art not seen,
Although thy breath be rude.

Heigh-ho! sing, heigh-ho! unto the green holly:
Most freindship if feigning, most loving mere folly:
Then heigh-ho, the holly!
This life is most jolly.

Freeze, freeze thou bitter sky,
That does not bite so nigh
As benefits forgot:
Though thou the waters warp,
Thy sting is not so sharp
As a friend remembered not.
Heigh-ho! sing, heigh-ho! unto the green holly:
Most friendship is feigning, most loving mere folly:
Then heigh-ho, the holly!
This life is most jolly.

Outside History, By: Eavan Boland

These are outsiders, always. These stars—
these iron inklings of an Irish January,
whose light happened
thousands of years before
our pain did; they are, they have always been
outside history.
They keep their distance. Under them remains
a place where you found
you were human, and
a landscape in which you know you are mortal.
And a time to choose between them.
I have chosen:
out of myth in history I move to be
part of that ordeal
who darkness is
only now reaching me from those fields,
those rivers, those roads clotted as
firmaments with the dead.
How slowly they die
as we kneel beside them, whisper in their ear.
And we are too late. We are always too late.
(c) Eavan Boland

Otherwise, By: Jane Kenyon (1947 – 1995)

Otherwise
I got out of bed
on two strong legs.
It might have been
otherwise. I ate
cereal, sweet
milk, ripe, flawless
peach. It might
have been otherwise.
I took the dog uphill
to the birch wood.
All morning I did
the work I love.

At noon I lay down
with my mate. It might
have been otherwise.
We ate dinner together
at a table with silver
candlesticks. It might
have been otherwise.
I slept in a bed
in a room with paintings
on the walls, and
planned another day
just like this day.
But one day, I know,
it will be otherwise.
(c) Jane Kenyon

The Retreat, By: Henry Vaughan (1622?-1695)

               Happy those early days, when I

               Shin’d in my angel-infancy!

               Before I understood this place

               Appointed for my second race,

               Or taught my soul to fancy ought

               But a white, celestial thought;

               When yet I had not walk’d above

               A mile or two from my first love,

               And looking back (at that short space)

             Could see a glimpse of his bright face;

             When on some gilded cloud or flow’r

             My gazing soul would dwell an hour,

             And in those weaker glories spy

             Some shadows of eternity;

             Before I taught my tongue to wound

             My conscience with a sinful sound,

             Or had the black art to dispense,

             A sev’ral sin to ev’ry sense,

             But felt through all this fleshly dress

             Bright shoots of everlastingness.

                  O how I long to travel back,

             And tread again that ancient track!

             That I might once more reach that plain,

             Where first I left my glorious train,

             From whence th’ enlighten’d spirit sees

             That shady city of palm trees.

             But ah! my soul with too much stay

             Is drunk, and staggers in the way.

             Some men a forward motion love,

             But I by backward steps would move;

             And when this dust falls to the urn,

             In that state I came, return.

Now At Liberty, By: Dorothy Parker

Now At Liberty
Little white love, your way you’ve taken;
Now I am left alone, alone.
Little white love, my heart’s forsaken.
(Whom shall I get by telephone?)
Well do I know there’s no returning;
Once you go out, it’s done, it’s done.
All of my days are gray with yearning.
(Nevertheless, a girl needs fun.)

Little white love, perplexed and weary,
Sadly your banner fluttered down.
Sullen the days, and dreary, dreary.
(Which of the boys is still in town?)
Radiant and sure, you came a-flying;
Puzzled, you left on lagging feet.
Slow in my breast, my heart is dying.
(Nevertheless, a girl must eat.)

Little white love, I hailed you gladly;
Now I must wave you out of sight.
Ah, but you used me badly, badly.
(Who’d like to take me out tonight?)
All of the blundering words I’ve spoken,
Little white love, forgive, forgive.
Once you went out, my heart fell, broken.
(Nevertheless, a girl must live.)

“I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud” By: William Wordsworth

I wandered lonely as a cloud

That floats on high o’er vales and hills,

When all at once I saw a crowd,

A host, of golden daffodils;

Beside the lake, beneath the trees,

Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine

And twinkle on the milky way,

They stretched in never-ending line

Along the margin of a bay:

Ten thousand saw I at a glance,

Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they

Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:

A poet could not but be gay,

In such a jocund company:

I gazed—and gazed—but little thought

What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie

In vacant or in pensive mood,

They flash upon that inward eye

Which is the bliss of solitude;

And then my heart with pleasure fills,

And dances with the daffodils.

Two Hindi Poems

I don’t generally post Hindi poems here, and I have stopped accepting reader’s submission too. However, when these poems came, I couldn’t say no as being an aspiring writer myself, I fully know what a mere Yes and No can feel like.

So here are two poems sent by one of my readers. Both are in Hindi. If you can understand Hindi, do read and let the poet have your views.

The following two poems have been written by Nibedita Nath. 

“Yeh Meri Kavitaa…”

YEH  JIBAN MERA  APRICHIT SA LAGE….
ISMAIN  SARE  CHHEHERE AJNABI SE LAGE
IK AASHA JEEVAN KA DHUNDLA DHUNDLA SA LAGE
PHIR BHI MAN MAIN KOI BISWAS JAGE
ADHURA HAR SAPNA…BIKHRE SARE JIBAN KE PANNE..
KOI AAYE …KOI JAAYE…BAS YADON KE GHNUGURU REH GAYE
SAMETI RAHI NANHI KALIYON KO …JO KABHI BAHAR BAN KAR KHILE THE..
AAJ  WOH PATJADH KE AAGOSH MAIN..
RUKNA CHHATI  DO PAL KAHIN..PHIR BHI NA RUK PAUUN MAIN..
BHAGNA ABHI..DAUDNA HAI…
KUCH PAANA HAI..KUCH APNANA HAI..
DUR BAHUT JANA HAI MUJHE..
SAPNON KO SAMETNA HAI..
BAS YEHI..YEHI TU MERA PARICHAYA HAI…
MERA AUR SIRF MERA…

__________________________________________

“Yeh Meri Kavitaa hai…”

O RAHI CHALTA CHAL TU CHALTA CHAL…
JIBAN HAI TERA PATH…JISPE TU CHALTA CHAL..
KABHI NA RUK…KABHI NA JHUK..
AAGE HI BADHTA CHAL..
JO TERA RAH BANE..
USIKO APNATA CHAL..
PEHCHAN CHAMAK APNE KA..
HAI JO TUJH MAIN SAMAYA…
BAS..YEHI BANE TERA SHRINGAAR…
TU YODHA HAI…TU VEER HAI..
MAAN ISE  TU….PEHCHAAN  APNEKO..
JEET  TUJHE  HAASHIL  KARNI  HAI…
FELA  APNE  CHAMAK  KO..
JAANE  JIS SE  DUNIYA TUJH KO… TERE  NAM KO..
PEHCHAAN  BAN  JAAYE….PICHHE  TERE..
SIRF  AUR  SIRF ..
JO TERE  KAM  SE…

My Kingdom – By: Louisa May Alcott

A little kingdom I possess
where thoughts and feelings dwell,
And very hard I find the task
of governing it well;
For passion tempts and troubles me,
A wayward will misleads,
And selfishness its shadow casts
On all my words and deeds.

How can I learn to rule myself,
to be the child I should,
Honest and brave, nor ever tire
Of trying to be good?
How can I keep a sunny soul
To shine along life’s way?
How can I tune my little heart
To sweetly sing all day?

Dear Father, help me with the love
that casteth out my fear;
Teach me to lean on thee, and feel
That thou art very near,
That no temptation is unseen
No childish grief too small,
Since thou, with patience infinite,
Doth soothe and comfort all.

I do not ask for any crown
But that which all may win
Nor seek to conquer any world
Except the one within.
Be thou my guide until I find,
Led by a tender hand,
Thy happy kingdom in myself
And dare to take command.