Saturday, January 25, 2014


Poem for Today - January 25, 2014


Thirteen’s no age at all. Thirteen is nothing.
It is not wit, or powder on the face,
Or Wednesday matinees, or misses’ clothing,
Or intellect, or grace.
Twelve has its tribal customs. But thirteen
is neither boys in battered cars nor dolls,
Not Sara Crewe or movie magazine
Or pennants on the walls.

Thirteen keeps diaries and tropical fish
(A month, at most); scorns jumpropes in the spring;
Could not, would fortune grant it, name its wish;
Wants nothing, everything;
Has secrets from itself, friends it despises;
Admits none of the terrors that it feels;
Owns a half a hundred masks but no disguises;
And walks upon its heels.

Thirteen’s anomalous - not that, not this:
Not folded bud, or wave that laps a shore,
Or moth proverbiaI from the chrysaIis.
Is the one age defeats the metaphor.
Is not a town, like childhood, strongly walled
But easiIy surrounded; is no city.
Nor, quitted once, can it be quite recalled -
Not even with pity.

 © Phyllis McGinley
                                                                                                          “Portrait of a Girl With Comic Book” 
by Phyllis McGinley: from Times Three 
by Phyllis McGinley. 
Copyright 1952 by Phyllis McGinley.

Friday, January 24, 2014


On foot beats driving every time ….
Those in cars might miss the sight
of tree roots and what they can do
to sidewalks - causing cracks and
pushing up bricks and cement ….
Walking on foot - one sees the poetry
of frozen footprints in snow and ice
as well as of dead leaves  lingering
in corners and under wooden porches
and dead cigarettes outside churches.
Walking strengthens legs and lungs -
and gives one a feel for variations
of wind - breeze - gusts - gales -
as well as chance meetings with
neighbors - the mail carrier and 
a baby smiling at us - as a mom
in sporty gear glides by us with a baby
carriage in front of her - and sometimes
we spot a perfectly good ballpoint pen
someone dropped on the sidewalk
and we end up using it for a year
and a half - - or we spot both halves
of a photograph of a couple -
ripped in two lying next
to a tough plastic garbage can.
What happened? Did roots
or the push of underneath stuff
erupt and disrupt their dream
of a picture perfect future?
On foot beats driving every time ….
Sidewalk stories  - a novel in
progress - the stuff we can read
as we walk on foot on snow, on ice,
as well as on the boxed cement or
red or yellow brick roads of life.

© Andy Costello, Reflections, 2014

Poem for Today - January 24, 2014


South of the bridge on Seventeenth
I found back of the willows one summer
day a motorcycle with engine running
as it lay on its side, ticking over
slowly in the high grass. I was fifteen.

I admired all that pulsing gleam, the
shiny flanks, the demure headlights
fringed where it lay; I led it gently
to the road and stood with that
companion, ready and friendly. I was fifteen.

We could find the end of a road, meet
the sky on out Seventeenth. I thought about
hills, and patting the handle got back a
confident opinion. On the bridge we indulged
a forward feeling, a tremble. I was fifteen.

Thinking, back farther in the grass I found
the owner, just coming to, where he had flipped
over the raiI. He had bIood on his hand, was paIe --
I helped him walk to his machine. He ran his hand
over it, called me good man, roared away.

I stood there, fifteen.

- William Stafford  ©

“Fifteen” by William Stafford: 
from The Rescued Year 
by William Stafford. 
Copyright 1964 
by William E. Stafford. 

Thursday, January 23, 2014


Poem for Today - January 23, 2014


The cop slumps alertly on his motorcycle,
supported by one leg like a leather stork.
His glance accuses me of loitering.
I can see his eyes moving like a fish
in the green depth of his green goggles.

His ease is fake. I can tell.
My ease is fake. And he can tell.
The fingers armored by his gloves
splay and clench, itching to change something.
As if he were my enemy or my death,
I just standing there watching.

I spit out my gum which has gone stale.
I knock out a new cigarette
which is my bravery.
It is all imperceptible:
the way I shift my weight,
the way he creaks in his saddle.

The traffic is specific though constant.
The sun surrounds me, divides the street between us.
His crash helmet is whiter in the shade.
It is like a bull ring as they say it is just before the fighting.
I cannot back down. I am there.

Everything holds me back.
I am in danger of disappearing into the summer dust.
My Levis bake and my t-shirt sweats.

My cigarette makes my eyes burn
but I don’t dare drop it.

Who made him my enemy?
Prince of coolness. King of fear.
Why do I lean here waiting?
Why does he lounge there waiting?

I am becoming sunlight
My hair is on fire. My boots run like tar.
I am hung-up by the bright air.

Something breaks through all of a sudden,
and he blasts off, quick as a craver,*
smug in his power; watching me watch.

© Ralph Pomeroy
*[Craver = an intense,
quick desire]

Wednesday, January 22, 2014


A morning prayer ….
A toast to our God
at the beginning of each day,
for what is to appear
on the table of life
called, “Today!”

A night prayer ….
A toast to our God
at the end of each day,
for what we tasted
on the table of life,
called, “Today!”

And then 
there will be
another today.
Thank You, God,
for today.


© Andy Costello, Prayers, 2014

Poem for Today - January 22, 2014


I go digging for clams every two or three years
Just to keep my hand in (I usually cut it),
And whenever I do so I tell the same story: how,
At the age of four,
I was trapped by the tide as I clammed a vanishing sandbar.
It's really no story at all, but I keep telling it
(Seldom adding the end, the commonplace rescue).
It serves my small lust to be thought of as someone who's lived.

I've a war, too, to fall back on, and some years of flying,
As well as a staggering quota of drunken parties,
A wife and children; but somehow the clamming thing
Gives me an image of me that soothes my psyche
As none of the louder events — me helpless,
Alone with my sand pail,
As fate in the form of soupy Long Island Sound
Comes stalking me.

My youngest son is that age now.
He's spoiled. He's been sickly.
He's handsome and bright, affectionate and demanding.
I think of the tides when I look at him.
I'd have him alone and seagirt, poor little boy.

The self, what a brute it is. It wants, wants.
It will not let go of its even most fictional grandeur,
But must grope, grope down in the muck of its past
For some little squirting life and bring it up tenderly
To the lo and behold of death, that it may weep
And pass on the weeping, keep it all going.

Son, when you clam,
Watch out for the tides, take care of yourself,
Yet no great care,
Lest you care too much and talk too much of the caring
And bore your best friends and inhibit your children and sicken
At last into opera on somebody's sandbar.
When you clam, Son,

© Reed Whittemore

Tuesday, January 21, 2014



The title and topic of my comments for this 2nd Tuesday  in  Ordinary Time is, “Heroes.”

Last night, when I read the readings for today, that’s the theme and the question that hit me. Ideas and wonderings about heroes popped up. I might have, but I don’t remember speaking on this topic before.

I noticed that David is mentioned in both readings as well as today’s Psalm. [Cf. 1 Samuel 16:1-13; Psalm 89: 20, 21-22, 27-28; Mark 2: 23-28.]  And David was certainly a hero in Israel and down through the centuries in various cultures.  If you’ve been to Florence, Italy, you’ve seen for sure, the famous statue of David - which brings out cameras and tourist dollars to this day.


Heroes are the men and women we put on pedestals and carve into statues. They appear on posters on our walls. We look up to them for inspiration and motivation - courage and stick-to-it-tiveness.

Heroes: they name sandwiches after them - as in Chick and Ruth’s here in Annapolis.

In the Jewish scriptures we have Abraham, Moses and David.

In time - like so many heroes - they become larger than life.

I remember attending a great talk in New York City by a little known rabbi about the power of the pen - how David’s story keeps on getting better and better with the centuries. It made me want to always read at least 2 biographies of someone I wanted to know more about.


Last night, as I was working on this 2 page sermon on “Heroes”, I asked myself, “What are the questions that ought to be asked about heroes?”

I jotted down: “Who are my heroes?” and then the correlative question: “What does the ones I pick  say about me?”

“Have I ever been betrayed by a hero?”  In other words, “Do I have any fallen heroes?”

Like the Wizard of Oz, who’s behind the curtain?  We’ve all heard the quote, “To a valet no man is a hero.” Goethe and a half dozen others have made that remark. How about to one’s spouse and kids? What’s the president or the pope really like? Talk to his brother or sister - or wait for the biographies. Whom can we trust?

At every funeral I ask: who is this person who has just died - and that’s what I try to figure out in the funeral parlor. Of course I don’t want to throw mud - just to find out the good stuff about someone.

A question: is having a hero or heroine - starting with one’s mom and dad -  part of every person’s growing up?

A question: in our life time we’ve seen mobs or crowds - tear down statues - do we tend to do the same silently as we grow older?

In Bertolt Brecht,’s 1938 play, Life of Galileo, Scene 12, page 115, Andrea says: “Unhappy is the land that breeds no hero.” Galileo responds: “No, Andrea: Unhappy is the land that needs a hero.”

I assume we need heroes - because it seems so much a part of everyone’s life.


My goal is two pages - so I suggest we all continue to do our homework on the question of heroes.

When it comes to oneself, we better have a sense of humor, honesty and humility - humor first.

When it comes to others as heroes, we also better be able to laugh.

A closing story….  Remember Willie Nelson’s song, “My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys.”  Well, one night I was watching TV with a priest named John Barry. He was a very proper guy. Willie Nelson comes on the TV screen, scruffy beard, ear rings, pony tail and bandana. John says, “Who’s that?” as in “What’s that?” And I said, “That’s Willie Nelson.” And he says, “Oh no, he’s my favorite singer.”


Poem for Today - January 21, 2014



  ST. AGNES’ Eve—Ah, bitter chill it was!
  The owl, for all his feathers, was a-cold;
  The hare limp’d trembling through the frozen grass,
  And silent was the flock in woolly fold:
  Numb were the Beadsman’s fingers, while he told        5
  His rosary, and while his frosted breath,
  Like pious incense from a censer old,
  Seem’d taking flight for heaven, without a death,
Past the sweet Virgin’s picture, while his prayer he saith.

  His prayer he saith, this patient, holy man;
  Then takes his lamp, and riseth from his knees,
  And back returneth, meagre, barefoot, wan,
  Along the chapel aisle by slow degrees:
  The sculptur’d dead, on each side, seem to freeze,
  Emprison’d in black, purgatorial rails:        15
  Knights, ladies, praying in dumb orat’ries,
  He passeth by; and his weak spirit fails
To think how they may ache in icy hoods and mails.

  Northward he turneth through a little door,
  And scarce three steps, ere Music’s golden tongue        20
  Flatter’d to tears this aged man and poor;
  But no—already had his deathbell rung;
  The joys of all his life were said and sung:
  His was harsh penance on St. Agnes’ Eve:
  Another way he went, and soon among        25
  Rough ashes sat he for his soul’s reprieve,
And all night kept awake, for sinners’ sake to grieve.

  That ancient Beadsman heard the prelude soft;
  And so it chanc’d, for many a door was wide,
  From hurry to and fro. Soon, up aloft,        30
  The silver, snarling trumpets ’gan to chide:
  The level chambers, ready with their pride,
  Were glowing to receive a thousand guests:
  The carved angels, ever eager-eyed,
  Star’d, where upon their heads the cornice rests,        35
With hair blown back, and wings put cross-wise on their breasts.

  At length burst in the argent revelry,
  With plume, tiara, and all rich array,
  Numerous as shadows haunting fairily
  The brain, new stuff d, in youth, with triumphs gay        40
  Of old romance. These let us wish away,
  And turn, sole-thoughted, to one Lady there,
  Whose heart had brooded, all that wintry day,
  On love, and wing’d St. Agnes’ saintly care,
As she had heard old dames full many times declare.        45

  They told her how, upon St. Agnes’ Eve,
  Young virgins might have visions of delight,
  And soft adorings from their loves receive
  Upon the honey’d middle of the night,
  If ceremonies due they did aright;        50
  As, supperless to bed they must retire,
  And couch supine their beauties, lily white;
  Nor look behind, nor sideways, but require
Of Heaven with upward eyes for all that they desire.

  Full of this whim was thoughtful Madeline:
  The music, yearning like a God in pain,
  She scarcely heard: her maiden eyes divine,
  Fix’d on the floor, saw many a sweeping train
  Pass by—she heeded not at all: in vain
  Came many a tiptoe, amorous cavalier,        60
  And back retir’d; not cool’d by high disdain,
  But she saw not: her heart was otherwhere:
She sigh’d for Agnes’ dreams, the sweetest of the year.

  She danc’d along with vague, regardless eyes,
  Anxious her lips, her breathing quick and short:        65
  The hallow’d hour was near at hand: she sighs
  Amid the timbrels, and the throng’d resort
  Of whisperers in anger, or in sport;
  ’Mid looks of love, defiance, hate, and scorn,
  Hoodwink’d with faery fancy; all amort,        70
  Save to St. Agnes and her lambs unshorn,
And all the bliss to be before to-morrow morn.

  So, purposing each moment to retire,
  She linger’d still. Meantime, across the moors,
  Had come young Porphyro, with heart on fire        75
  For Madeline. Beside the portal doors,
  Buttress’d from moonlight, stands he, and implores
  All saints to give him sight of Madeline,
  But for one moment in the tedious hours,
  That he might gaze and worship all unseen;        80
Perchance speak, kneel, touch, kiss—in sooth such things have been.

  He ventures in: let no buzz’d whisper tell:
  All eyes be muffled, or a hundred swords
  Will storm his heart, Love’s fev’rous citadel:
  For him, those chambers held barbarian hordes,        85
  Hyena foemen, and hot-blooded lords,
  Whose very dogs would execrations howl
  Against his lineage: not one breast affords
  Him any mercy, in that mansion foul,
Save one old beldame, weak in body and in soul.        90

  Ah, happy chance! the aged creature came,
  Shuffling along with ivory-headed wand,
  To where he stood, hid from the torch’s flame,
  Behind a broad hail-pillar, far beyond
  The sound of merriment and chorus bland:        95
  He startled her; but soon she knew his face,
  And grasp’d his fingers in her palsied hand,
  Saying, “Mercy, Porphyro! hie thee from this place;
“They are all here to-night, the whole blood-thirsty race!

  “Get hence! get hence! there’s dwarfish Hildebrand;
  “He had a fever late, and in the fit
  “He cursed thee and thine, both house and land:
  “Then there ’s that old Lord Maurice, not a whit
  “More tame for his gray hairs—Alas me! flit!
  “Flit like a ghost away.”—“Ah, Gossip dear,        105
  “We’re safe enough; here in this arm-chair sit,
  “And tell me how”—“Good Saints! not here, not here;
“Follow me, child, or else these stones will be thy bier.”

  He follow’d through a lowly arched way,
  Brushing the cobwebs with his lofty plume;        110
  And as she mutter’d “Well-a—well-a-day!”
  He found him in a little moonlight room,
  Pale, lattic’d, chill, and silent as a tomb.
  “Now tell me where is Madeline,” said he,
  “O tell me, Angela, by the holy loom        115
  “Which none but secret sisterhood may see,
“When they St. Agnes’ wool are weaving piously.”

  “St. Agnes! Ah! it is St. Agnes’ Eve—
  “Yet men will murder upon holy days:
  “Thou must hold water in a witch’s sieve,        120
  “And be liege-lord of all the Elves and Fays,
  “To venture so: it fills me with amaze
  “To see thee, Porphyro!—St. Agnes’ Eve!
  “God’s help! my lady fair the conjuror plays
  “This very night: good angels her deceive!        125
“But let me laugh awhile, I’ve mickle time to grieve.”

  Feebly she laugheth in the languid moon,
  While Porphyro upon her face doth look,
  Like puzzled urchin on an aged crone
  Who keepeth clos’d a wond’rous riddle-book,        130
  As spectacled she sits in chimney nook.
  But soon his eyes grew brilliant, when she told
  His lady’s purpose; and he scarce could brook
  Tears, at the thought of those enchantments cold,
And Madeline asleep in lap of legends old.        135

  Sudden a thought came like a full-blown rose,
  Flushing his brow, and in his pained heart
  Made purple riot: then doth he propose
  A stratagem, that makes the beldame start:
  “A cruel man and impious thou art:        140
  “Sweet lady, let her pray, and sleep, and dream
  “Alone with her good angels, far apart
  “From wicked men like thee. Go, go!—I deem
“Thou canst not surely be the same that thou didst seem.

  “I will not harm her, by all saints I swear,”
  Quoth Porphyro: “O may I ne’er find grace
  “When my weak voice shall whisper its last prayer,
  “If one of her soft ringlets I displace,
  “Or look with ruffian passion in her face:
  “Good Angela, believe me by these tears;        150
  “Or I will, even in a moment’s space,
  “Awake, with horrid shout, my foemen’s ears,
“And beard them, though they be more fang’d than wolves and bears.”

  “Ah! why wilt thou affright a feeble soul?
  “A poor, weak, palsy-stricken, churchyard thing,        155
  “Whose passing-bell may ere the midnight toll;
  “Whose prayers for thee, each morn and evening,
  “Were never miss’d.”—Thus plaining, doth she bring
  A gentler speech from burning Porphyro;
  So woful, and of such deep sorrowing,        160
  That Angela gives promise she will do
Whatever he shall wish, betide her weal or woe.

  Which was, to lead him, in close secrecy,
  Even to Madeline’s chamber, and there hide
  Him in a closet, of such privacy        165
  That he might see her beauty unespied,
  And win perhaps that night a peerless bride,
  While legion’d fairies pac’d the coverlet,
  And pale enchantment held her sleepy-eyed.
  Never on such a night have lovers met,        170
Since Merlin paid his Demon all the monstrous debt.

  “It shall be as thou wishest,” said the Dame:
  “All cates and dainties shall be stored there
  “Quickly on this feast-night: by the tambour frame
  “Her own lute thou wilt see: no time to spare,        175
  “For I am slow and feeble, and scarce dare
  “On such a catering trust my dizzy head.
  “Wait here, my child, with patience; kneel in prayer
  “The while: Ah! thou must needs the lady wed,
“Or may I never leave my grave among the dead.”        180

  So saying, she hobbled off with busy fear.
  The lover’s endless minutes slowly pass’d;
  The dame return’d, and whisper’d in his ear
  To follow her; with aged eyes aghast
  From fright of dim espial. Safe at last,        185
  Through many a dusky gallery, they gain
  The maiden’s chamber, silken, hush’d, and chaste;
  Where Porphyro took covert, pleas’d amain.
His poor guide hurried back with agues in her brain.

  Her falt’ring hand upon the balustrade,
  Old Angela was feeling for the stair,
  When Madeline, St. Agnes’ charmed maid,
  Rose, like a mission’d spirit, unaware:
  With silver taper’s light, and pious care,
  She turn’d, and down the aged gossip led        195
  To a safe level matting. Now prepare,
  Young Porphyro, for gazing on that bed;
She comes, she comes again, like ring-dove fray’d and fled.

  Out went the taper as she hurried in;
  Its little smoke, in pallid moonshine, died:        200
  She clos’d the door, she panted, all akin
  To spirits of the air, and visions wide:
  No uttered syllable, or, woe betide!
  But to her heart, her heart was voluble,
  Paining with eloquence her balmy side;        205
  As though a tongueless nightingale should swell
Her throat in vain, and die, heart-stifled, in her dell.

  A casement high and triple-arch’d there was,
  All garlanded with carven imag’ries
  Of fruits, and flowers, and bunches of knot-grass,        210
  And diamonded with panes of quaint device,
  Innumerable of stains and splendid dyes,
  As are the tiger-moth’s deep-damask’d wings;
  And in the midst, ’mong thousand heraldries,
  And twilight saints, and dim emblazonings,        215
A shielded scutcheon blush’d with blood of queens and kings.

  Full on this casement shone the wintry moon,
  And threw warm gules on Madeline’s fair breast,
  As down she knelt for heaven’s grace and boon;
  Rose-bloom fell on her hands, together prest,        220
  And on her silver cross soft amethyst,
  And on her hair a glory, like a saint:
  She seem’d a splendid angel, newly drest,
  Save wings, for heaven:—Porphyro grew faint:
She knelt, so pure a thing, so free from mortal taint.        225

  Anon his heart revives: her vespers done,
  Of all its wreathed pearls her hair she frees;
  Unclasps her warmed jewels one by one;
  Loosens her fragrant boddice; by degrees
  Her rich attire creeps rustling to her knees:        230
  Half-hidden, like a mermaid in sea-weed,
  Pensive awhile she dreams awake, and sees,
  In fancy, fair St. Agnes in her bed,
But dares not look behind, or all the charm is fled.

  Soon, trembling in her soft and chilly nest,
  In sort of wakeful swoon, perplex’d she lay,
  Until the poppied warmth of sleep oppress’d
  Her soothed limbs, and soul fatigued away;
  Flown, like a thought, until the morrow-day;
  Blissfully haven’d both from joy and pain;        240
  Clasp’d like a missal where swart Paynims pray;
  Blinded alike from sunshine and from rain,
As though a rose should shut, and be a bud again.

  Stol’n to this paradise, and so entranced,
  Porphyro gazed upon her empty dress,        245
  And listen’d to her breathing, if it chanced
  To wake into a slumberous tenderness;
  Which when he heard, that minute did he bless,
  And breath’d himself: then from the closet crept,
  Noiseless as fear in a wide wilderness,        250
  And over the hush’d carpet, silent, stept,
And ’tween the curtains peep’d, where, lo!—how fast she slept.

  Then by the bed-side, where the faded moon
  Made a dim, silver twilight, soft he set
  A table, and, half anguish’d, threw thereon        255
  A cloth of woven crimson, gold, and jet:—
  O for some drowsy Morphean amulet!
  The boisterous, midnight, festive clarion,
  The kettle-drum, and far-heard clarionet,
  Affray his ears, though but in dying tone:—        260
The hall door shuts again, and all the noise is gone.

  And still she slept an azure-lidded sleep,
  In blanched linen, smooth, and lavender’d,
  While he from forth the closet brought a heap
  Of candied apple, quince, and plum, and gourd;        265
  With jellies soother than the creamy curd,
  And lucent syrops, tinct with cinnamon;
  Manna and dates, in argosy transferr’d
  From Fez; and spiced dainties, every one,
From silken Samarcand to cedar’d Lebanon.        270

  These delicates he heap’d with glowing hand
  On golden dishes and in baskets bright
  Of wreathed silver: sumptuous they stand
  In the retired quiet of the night,
  Filling the chilly room with perfume light.—        275
  “And now, my love, my seraph fair, awake!
  “Thou art my heaven, and I thine eremite:
  “Open thine eyes, for meek St. Agnes’ sake,
“Or I shall drowse beside thee, so my soul doth ache.”

  Thus whispering, his warm, unnerved arm
  Sank in her pillow. Shaded was her dream
  By the dusk curtains:—’twas a midnight charm
  Impossible to melt as iced stream:
  The lustrous salvers in the moonlight gleam;
  Broad golden fringe upon the carpet lies:        285
  It seem’d he never, never could redeem
  From such a stedfast spell his lady’s eyes;
So mus’d awhile, entoil’d in woofed phantasies.

  Awakening up, he took her hollow lute,—
  Tumultuous,—and, in chords that tenderest be,        290
  He play’d an ancient ditty, long since mute,
  In Provence call’d, “La belle dame sans mercy:”
  Close to her ear touching the melody;—
  Wherewith disturb’d, she utter’d a soft moan:
  He ceased—she panted quick—and suddenly        295
  Her blue affrayed eyes wide open shone:
Upon his knees he sank, pale as smooth-sculptured stone.

  Her eyes were open, but she still beheld,
  Now wide awake, the vision of her sleep:
  There was a painful change, that nigh expell’d        300
  The blisses of her dream so pure and deep
  At which fair Madeline began to weep,
  And moan forth witless words with many a sigh;
  While still her gaze on Porphyro would keep;
  Who knelt, with joined hands and piteous eye,        305
Fearing to move or speak, she look’d so dreamingly.

  “Ah, Porphyro!” said she, “but even now
  “Thy voice was at sweet tremble in mine ear,
  “Made tuneable with every sweetest vow;
  “And those sad eyes were spiritual and clear:        310
  “How chang’d thou art! how pallid, chill, and drear!
  “Give me that voice again, my Porphyro,
  “Those looks immortal, those complainings dear!
  “Oh leave me not in this eternal woe,
“For if thou diest, my Love, I know not where to go.”        315

  Beyond a mortal man impassion’d far
  At these voluptuous accents, he arose,
  Ethereal, flush’d, and like a throbbing star
  Seen mid the sapphire heaven’s deep repose;
  Into her dream he melted, as the rose        320
  Blendeth its odour with the violet,—
  Solution sweet: meantime the frost-wind blows
  Like Love’s alarum pattering the sharp sleet
Against the window-panes; St. Agnes’ moon hath set.

  ’Tis dark: quick pattereth the flaw-blown sleet:
  “This is no dream, my bride, my Madeline!”
  ’Tis dark: the iced gusts still rave and beat:
  “No dream, alas! alas! and woe is mine!
  “Porphyro will leave me here to fade and pine.—
  “Cruel! what traitor could thee hither bring?        330
  “I curse not, for my heart is lost in thine,
  “Though thou forsakest a deceived thing;—
“A dove forlorn and lost with sick unpruned wing.”

  “My Madeline! sweet dreamer! lovely bride!
  “Say, may I be for aye thy vassal blest?        335
  “Thy beauty’s shield, heart-shap’d and vermeil dyed?
  “Ah, silver shrine, here will I take my rest
  “After so many hours of toil and quest,
  “A famish’d pilgrim,—saved by miracle.
  “Though I have found, I will not rob thy nest        340
  “Saving of thy sweet self; if thou think’st well
“To trust, fair Madeline, to no rude infidel.”

  ’Hark! ’tis an elfin-storm from faery land,
  “Of haggard seeming, but a boon indeed:
  “Arise—arise! the morning is at hand;—        345
  “The bloated wassaillers will never heed:—
  “Let us away, my love, with happy speed;
  “There are no ears to hear, or eyes to see,—
  “Drown’d all in Rhenish and the sleepy mead:
  “Awake! arise! my love, and fearless be,        350
“For o’er the southern moors I have a home for thee.”

  She hurried at his words, beset with fears,
  For there were sleeping dragons all around,
  At glaring watch, perhaps, with ready spears—
  Down the wide stairs a darkling way they found.—        355
  In all the house was heard no human sound.
  A chain-droop’d lamp was flickering by each door;
  The arras, rich with horseman, hawk, and hound,
  Flutter’d in the besieging wind’s uproar;
And the long carpets rose along the gusty floor.        360

  They glide, like phantoms, into the wide hall;
  Like phantoms, to the iron porch, they glide;
  Where lay the Porter, in uneasy sprawl,
  With a huge empty flaggon by his side;
  The wakeful bloodhound rose, and shook his hide,        365
  But his sagacious eye an inmate owns:
  By one, and one, the bolts full easy slide:—
  The chains lie silent on the footworn stones;—
The key turns, and the door upon its hinges groan.

  And they are gone: ay, ages long ago
  These lovers fled away into the storm.
  That night the Baron dreamt of many a woe,
  And all his warrior-guests, with shade and form
  Of witch, and demon, and large coffin-worm,
  Were long be-nightmar’d. Angela the old        375
  Died palsy-twitch’d, with meagre face deform;
  The Beadsman, after thousand aves told,
For aye unsought for slept among his ashes cold.

 John Keats (1795–1821).  The Poetical Works of John Keats.  1884.