Sunday, March 04, 2012

Happy Birthday, Thomas

Today in 1840, Thomas Sturge Moore was born in England. Sturge Moore was a poet, critic, and writer. Most of his poems are too long to post here, but here's the beginning of one of his best known.

The Gazelles

When the sheen on tall summer grass is pale,
Across blue skies white clouds float on
In shoals, or disperse and singly sail,
Till, the sun being set, they all are gone:

Yet, as long as they may shine bright in the sun,
They flock or stray in the daylight bland,
While their stealthy shadows like foxes run
Beneath where the grass is dry and tanned:

And the waste, in hills that swell and fall,
Goes heaving into yet dreamier haze
And a wonder of silence is over all
Where the eye feeds long like a lover's gaze:

Then, cleaving the grass, gazelles appear
(The gentler dolphins of kindlier waves)
With sensitive heads alert of ear;
Frail crowds that a delicate hearing saves

That rely on the nostrils keenest power
And are governed from trance-like distances
By hopes and fears, and, hour by hour,
Sagacious of safety, snuff the breeze.

They keep together, the timid hearts,
And each one's fear with a panic thrill
Is passed to a hundred; and if one starts
In three seconds all are over the hill.

(This poem, and more Moore, here)

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