Collected Poems of John Holmes

Holmes, John A., Jr.


Living music

Living music



After the apples and the drink we had,

When both were far past sleep and doubtless mad,

Then even the early smoky air seemed clear,

And my poor crowded room looked right and dear,

We matched our wildest words and thoughts to see

Who was the crazier mortal, you or me.

I said, "This half-life we have here is wrong.

We have submitted beast-like overlong

To grinding tyranny from noise and dust,

From heat, from every deadly daily 'must'

Laid by the signers of our monthly checks

Upon our bent and unprotesting necks.

Riveters, taxies, letters, telephones

Have jangled nerves and mind, have jarred our bone

As long as I, my master still, allow.

So here before it's daylight, here and now,

I make a most unholy holy vow

By all that's best in me, and not by God,

Not God in churches, but in sky and sod

By all that's quiet, all that's calm and slow,

By all the lovely healthful things I know

Of level rivers and of arching trees,

Of sleep and hills such simplicities,

I swear I'll jump the harness and go out,

Get free, and bring these better things about.

There is a green land far away, you know,

Waiting for men who will arise and go,

Where life is to be lived each careless day

As if it were the first and last highway

To Heaven, except that morning comes again

To make us younger."

"And you're going? When?"

Now. I'm going now, while I can rightly see

My life and I as they were meant to be.

I'm drunk, but not too drunk to know-

It isn't wholly liquor that has made me

For I'd forgotten what was never true:

Nothing has held me here I can't undo,

Nothing I can't break off like paper bands,

The way the shepherds did, with two strong hands,

In Aria da Capo. I forgot

The walls weren't stone, and now I say they're not.

The man I was, the things I used to say,

The music that I heard, not far away,

But in my heart, and words as great and wild

As once I knew when I was half a child

Are coming back, all beautiful and fierce

As sunlight now, to penetrate and pierce

A kind of ugly armor I've let grow

Of habit and acquiescence - yes, you know -

Sick fear, and stupid patience, wheels and walls,

The tick of the clock and when the armor galls

We grin, and take much bad with little good,

And think we're lucky that our livelihood

Is left us, though our very lives are not.

We're different as two nickels in a slot."

"Merely because we've stayed up, that's no reason

To let yourself go this way, utter treason,

Unload confessional hysteria, Turn anti-social to America - "

"But I've remembered things I used to think,

Helped by this more or less illegal drink:

A world of quiet and of dignity,

Where space and form and time would all agree, k

As if life were a cool room, high and wide,

And fresh, sweet air blew in from fields outside

Within that room, that life, a man would be,

Who, speaking, writing, moving, yet spoke free

And wisely, not too much, and all he did

Was honorable, and there was nothing hid,

Not even the secret that he never told,

Which was, he did not fear the growing old

And growing lonely that so many fear.

He gave his heart away, yet had it here."


"How's that? I've read, and certain poets say

That never should the heart be given away.

You speak of love, but each man lives alone.

Somewhere inside him is a place of stone

Where no one comes, not anyone. We live

And die so. There are some things one can't give.

Better to keep the soul's integrity,

To give a pledge, but hold one deep place free."

"Nothing is lost by love, love's no exchange

Of this for equal this, and each one strange

And apart. But love does not arrive with drums,

March in, and take all in the hour it comes.

Love is a commonwealth. Two kingdoms strike

The border line between them out, and like

Two peoples mingle peacefully in one.

Years pass, and still the union is not done.

What generations must grow up and die,

What histories of hope and grace go by,

With each the conquered and the conqueror,

Till at the last the kingdoms that they were,

The crowns and flags, the highways and the hymns

Are one wide state, and the last difference dims.

But still they're young, these lovers, and they find

The glory and the growth that lies behind

Only a prelude."

"Still, each one is lost

By this. I say surrender's too great cost."

"Man is a Way through which all life may flow.

You'd partly block it up, but I'd say no

To nothing, I'd make no 'howevers' guard

My soul, or say a cautious 'maybe' barred

Consummation from me. Love is the same,

No sheltered ember, but a steady flame."

"This talk of love is queer, coming from you."

'That man would know. I'll tell you something true.

I was the boy who meant to be that man,

And maybe you had dreams that you began

As greatly, and have taken something less

As good enough. Yet, why I should confess

All this to you tonight, or even think

It over, I don't know. It's not the drink."

"It's sitting up all night. It's after four."

It's more than that. I know it's something more."

"We said we'd find out who was craziest.

Whatever mine would be, your story's best."


"Look there, the sun is coming up, it's red,

And if you think the crazy things I've said

Aren't true; quiet, and love - why then - I guess

I am. There's more. Does music - does that bless

Your damned and nearly deafened ears like mine?

Music that's climbing round me as a vine

Creeps and grows green, and when I will not see,

Puts out a blossom? No one knows but me.

I've heard, I've heard, but the I've shut my ears,

And run to silence now too many years.

It's here again. A golden nightingale

Bursts his throat from a breast-high hedge all pale

With new green leaves. At night the stars brim up

And spill across the sky. God tips the cup.

I hear Time beat like the blood in my wrist,

The great deep rhythm in which we exist,

Opposed by the antiphony of birth

And death, recurring night and day on earth,

And all the livelier accents man can make

For love's, for history's, and boredom's sake

Sunlight across that carpet lights the rose

Just in the center, then andante flows,

After an interlude of words from me,

Moment by moment, creeping steadily

Over the pattern, leaf by leaf, and turns

There where the carpet-rose is hid by ferns,

And meets the wall; allegro; interlude

While the sunlight mounts in a different mood.

A cadence takes the very words I speak,

As if I murmured hymns in sliding Greek,

As if I chanted, swaying toward the sun,

Old hymns to sunrise; rhythms I've begun

Go out to meet the choral city sound.

This room this morning throbs with light's profound

Undeviating music, almost heard,

Now almost gathered in a human word

The movement ends. A line of picture frame

Has cut it off.

This music has no name.

I am no Adam to invent a word

For music no one else has ever heard,

But nothing Adam named was more his own

Than this is mine; each theme, each overtone,

Each voice of each of million instruments

I listen to, preoccupied, intense.

It never passes, but moves off somewhere,

From words in here, to feet upon the stair;

A door slams shut, the light across goes out,

The traffic droning by, a bell a shout,

You speak, and when I answer that's the theme

Come back from infinite variation's stream

Of living music; and the sunlight slants

Along the wall; the numbered hours advance

Toward noon, the light looks more like noon, and hums

Slower and slower; intermission comes.

Suspension. The swing of the whole world held,

Blood's pause, dip of the green bough, till impelled

By it's own weight, by the strong beat that moves

The world to motion and to music, grooves

Everything within a swinging arc,

The sun creeps on again, light lifts the dark,

The bough of leaves swings back in the warm wind,

The wrist and temple feel the softly dinned

Throb of the blood, the round world lunges on

Through space, past stars appointed, now, and gone.

Those are the major rhythms, blood and night,

Wind in the forest, and the sun's slow light.

Man has devised strong rhythms, seeing hills

That beat against the sky, green surf that spills.

Man has remembered waves that march to shore,

And making one to lead, and hundreds more

To march behind him swinging, man has found

A beat that shakes the streets, the solid ground.

Stand here with me and see the uniformed

Battalions marching by. The air is stormed

And pierced by rank and rank of men in lines

That make one line. What awful will defines

Their purpose? By what strict and onward urge

Do they march by like one, and will not surge

Or wander incoherent like a crowd,

And will not break, and will not break, but loud

And steady still keep coming on. Look there.

Far off the column comes and comes - from where

And on ahead goes out of sight. How small

They look to be real men, and yet they all

Are bending to the beat that moves them by.

And here before us they are shoulder-high

And multiple, have different faces, can

Stroll aside and stop and speak like any man.

But all their eyes turn straight ahead. They pass.

They are unseparate again, a mass

That marches, stepping stiff and steadily,

A thousand-times-recurring foot and knee.

This measured tread, this hammer-beaten bell

Oh, marching should be high processional,

Not uniformed, except for beauty's sake,

When there is ceremonial to make

For seasons, or for weddings, or to sing

A mightier choral than the murmuring

Of sea-cliff pine-trees, with the surf to call

The long refrain, deeper and under all.

Let men and women march, and hand in hand,

Rich-throated, make a chant-parade for land

Abundant in the autumn, celebrate

With song a dynast's legendary date,

Or like the birds that suddenly sweep and soar

For flying's utter sake, this and no more,

Let women march, and men, for pure excess

Of overwhelming rhythm's lustiness.


Around us like an orchestra begins

The day, with clean air poured like violins;

Clocks tick for tiny drums, and chime and toll

For cymbals and the two-toned kettle's roll.

Work is the brass quartet, the major theme,

And even meals are more than what they seem.

Man's complex daytime world has overtones

Subtly disjoined like uncut building stones

That yet will lie face close to face. We hear

No meaning more than water dropping near,

Dribbling and drop-dripping all night long.

Lying awake, we try to make a song,

A phrase, a something, anything that's sense,

Out of its formless, mad inconsequence.

Forever just about to deviate

Into a pattern, it will indicate

One moment one real plan, one melody,

Enough coincidence to make you see

Men's lives as intersecting rhythmic lines,

Crossed and re-crossed. One's heart almost divines

A cosmic motive hid behind a veil

Of flesh - a hint then intuitions fail,

The water falls drip drop, di-drap, di-drep, .

The rounded melody trails off, breaks step,

Rhythm is unsignificant again.

There's s some prodigious art in lives of men,

Some master-phrase inevitably near,

Listening and watching, we can almost hear

The diapason closing full in God,

But human incoherence like the odd

Drip-dropping of the water in the well.

Blurs the design. Mathematicians tell,

And those who can will understand, that curves

Flatten away from asymptotic swerves,

Come infinitely near to being solved.

Significance almost to be evolved

From water dripping hollow in a well,

Sequence in human lives that would foretell

Magnificent conclusion, we must miss,

And listening, listening, be content with this,

That for one instant we can comprehend

Music complete, beginning to the end.

Then sense has wandered, jumbled all the parts

As different as ten million beating hearts.


Night has a rhythm, but the mind, asleep,

Sinks to unconscious darkness down so deep

That even dreams remembered leave no clue

In reason's record of what's false, what's true.

Dreams are an echo flashed across the dark.

The unintelligible fragments mark

No measure of the mind's white day. But once

As one who on the shore at ebb-tide hunts

For signs to tell him where the full tide came,

I woke remembering that the negro, lame,

Shambling and grinning at me was a dream

I'd had before, horror and smothered scream,

My dragging feet, the nightmare sob, the same,

The dream of childhood that I could forename

But not forestall. And by what moving tide,

Far on the outer beaches of the mind,

This dream was drifted up for me to find

In daylight, who can say. Except I know

Dreams have recurrence with an ebb and flow

Fixed like the sea's, but in a more than dark

Where light's not moon or stars, but one quick spark

Glimmering in the lantern mind by day,

But not enough to light it all the way.

Night has a rhythm in itself, a noon

That is not midpath of the rolling moon,

But time's and dark's dead center. Night is more

Than absence of the sun outside the door.

Go to a hill and stand beneath the stars,

And learn why night's not on the calendars.

It's dark, and color's gone from tree and bush,

But wait, stand very still. You'll feel the push

Of the earth as it lunges slowly on

Through infinite space, turning and gone,

Past stars and a moan's light faithfully timed,

Revolving like great wheels matched and rhymed.


History counts huge accents on its page

If every new-recurring golden age,

Summing brave lives when all a world awoke

Throbbing upon a strong and urgent stroke

Of the life-beat Rhythms deep converge;

Life, with a single forward-breaking surge

Is one. Prophets and poets, lovers, kings,

Speak with a god-like voice and grace of things

Simple and elemental, and their deeds

Are patterns for ten generation's needs.

The great are friends, call casually names

Now beautiful, now such immortal fames

We feel they cannot once have lived, but shine

Impossible symbols in a sought-for shrine.

Marlowe and Shakespeare in a London street

Say what with reverence we now repeat.

The cup of time brims full and all men drink,

All men go mad divinely to the brink

Of absolute last truth unutterable,

And die, and so fail greatly, chronicle

The failure that is more than most success,

Take immortality they could not guess,

And sleep, and let the world go dark and numb

Until once more the golden age shall come.


"Well. it's noon and long past noon, of any kind,

By the clock, or moon or your too sharpened mind.

I've heard, and have not understood, such words

As storm around me like a flight of birds.

History, dreams, and water-music, night

And marching men and love - yes, and the light

Of the sun, and much more madness. What's become

Of last night, and the easy, humorsome

Man you were who said, 'Between us two

Which is the crazier mortal?' What I'll do

To match your wanderings, I cannot see.

You win. You're craziest, or else it's me

For listening, for sitting up all night

And half to-day."

"Yes, and I'm not through, quite.:

"Make sense of all this business, then, get back

To where you started, try a new attack,

And make it shorter. If you can, don't stray

From the road to the green land far away.

"I haven't wandered quite so far aside

As you may think; these searchings coincide

In the green land, though I've shouted on the way

That has obscured what I have tried to say,

As much enthusiasm always does."

"Too much chanting, is what the trouble was."


Have it so, then. First, I started out

To tell myself what yearnings play about

Under my good disguise of citizen.

I've said before, I said 'Escape' again,

Break out, run off, find quiet and some peace,

Illegally break the life-term lease

We've rented out our souls for. I was wrong.

Geography's not peace. Where I belong

Is where I'll stay. I'd take my troubles, too,

As baggage on that journey. That's not new.

Simplicity is not the final cure

For this complexity. It won't endure.

For too much civilization nothing's right

But more of the same."

"You mean that in this plight

You'd sicken a sick man more. What if he dies?"

"He won't. Civilization always tries

To fine and refine further what is good.

It takes at first what any human would

The nearest thing. The time's here, I believe,

When most near things are done, and we perceive

Ills further off, like war, like human waste,

Like noise in our machines, like too much haste.

The man's not sick, but he is taking heed

Of what his needs have made another need."

"You talk nearer to sense. The thing's concrete,

Not cloudy like the rest, but I repeat,

What will you do yourself about the vow

You swore me, and the man you meant to be?"

"I'll keep the vow as strictly as you'll see

If you believe me where the green land lies."

"There is a green land far away, you know-

You said it where strong men will rise and go."

"There is a green land very near at hand,

Within the heart, where I shall understand

Better than I had ever known I would,

What is my own and possible highest good.

Somehow I said, talking the night away,

The things I hoped that someone else would say.

Who ever does, who can? For no one knows

Another' secret center of repose.

The green land where I meant to go and learn

What peace is, I had but to stay and turn

And find within myself an what I thought.

It was that simple answer that I fought

And would not hear, and was unhappy by.

Nothing can hurt me now. I have a Word.

Rhythms that beat around me I have heard,

I've found again where on the utter shore

The tides flood in, and when they ebb, and why;

I've said the steady column marching by,

And said the sunlight, and the beat of hours.

I've said the words that will unlock the powers

Of all that moves behind the sun. The thing

Troubled my mind, I needed less to fling

Myself in escape, than I had need to name

The trouble, try its strength, and make it tame.

I've given a word to night, my kind of night,

I've made a name to call time by, and light,

Light of the day upon my very floor.

I've found a word for feet outside my door,

For the tide of dreams and the music of the world.

No longer shall I be beset and whirled


wise, for I have seen and heard.

Nothing can hurt me now. I have a Word."

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 Title Page
 Editor's Note
 On hearing someone say that every possible subject has been covered in poetry
 Sonnet [To someone I know]
 Low fog
 [Lines about a great space]
 To Joanne
 The soul's loneliness
 You, who understood
 What things I can
 The father
 The gleam
 My tree
 My little world
 The vale impassable
 The forgotten hero
 The garden
 A monument
 A death at evening
 Recipe for a journey
 From a window
 Sight and death
 In the days when the eternal hills go down
 Something from the soft wind
 The moon
 In a time of misunderstanding
 The constant battle
 A prayer [A prayer on failing eyesight]
 On being thankful
 Pleasant solitude
 Somehow, sometime, somewhere
 The pines
 A shield and a strong defence
 The high heart
 Bewilderment in church
 Advice on success in writing poetry
 Three wishes
 Tobacco and a pipe
 Grandmother's parlor
 O little sails, make haste!
 Walking on the beach
 From the Window
 On the contemplation of vastness
 The king passes by
 Beneath a tree
 Beyond the hill
 To a statuette of a little girl
 Wanderer's song
 Joshua Peabody
 Against poms and carelessness
 The way of least resistance
 Voice of the sea
 A letter unopened on my desk
 Fragments: Far horizon
 Fragments: The inquiring mind
 Fragments: The cigarette
 Fragments: History repeats
 Fragments: Yesterday, to-day, to-morrow
 Fragments: After the forest fire
 Fragments: Down to earth
 Fragments: Butter side down
 Fragments: A conversation
 Fragments: Fear
 Fragments: Inconsistency
 Fragments: A secret laughter
 To a small boy learning to read
 Reading sonnets late at night
 Walking home at night
 A ship's figure-head
 This house will never need
 Dusk falls down the roofs
 Words for a minuet
 Make yourself a way
 A childish chant
 Twice born
 Suddenly I knew
 Coming home from the library
 The visitor
 Four Songs
 The willow tree
 Rhymes of a very small boy
 Big enough
 Baggage into the land of Nod
 Song - Come again with me to Plymouth
 Portrait [The Great Man]
 A hopeful lover
 Portrait of a girl
 Writing in the woods
 Memory of A. L.
 The prisoner
 The warehouseman
 A timid lover
 Message to be found a hundred years hence
 What poetry is
 Wind on a hill
 Two o'clock
 Another sleeps
 Portrait [His enemy]
 A fancy
 At the end
 The eyesore
 The candle
 An intruder
 The street car
 On a hillside
 An old man tells a story
 Old groping
 Make believe
 Josita's banjo song
 Let it be said
 A yonge manne; an olde tale
 The cantadours pass by
 I sing
 Thoughts of a man asleep
 To poets: advice
 The reverent lover
 A quotation
 The unseen lady
 My bookshelf
 Thoughts at night
 Fall in Massachusetts
 I remember
 Lines to an old dish
 Window glass
 At a funeral
 The seekers
 Il Penseroso (R.S.)
 Effect of praise
 When hearts are young
 The clean winds
 The lover serenades
 The little street
 To one gone
 The dancers
 A poet burns some poems
 Walking in the rain
 A sacrifice to the sun
 To my cousin, H.R.B.
 The boat
 A song for you
 Window dreaming
 Rain the morning after
 A man's club
 From the tower
 Fairies by night
 The young poet
 Say good night
 The thought of you
 A youth
 The cabin boy climbs the crow's nest
 On going to bed
 Three roads
 To a girl who has black eyes
 The hilly place
 The call
 The poet's prayer
 The priest
 Two songs
 Westward ho!
 A man remembers suddenly
 At the museum
 Morning in the forest
 A charm to keep away evil
 The lover grows older
 An apology
 An old legend retold on the occasion of a certain death
 Old words
 Raw material
 The grace of god
 The skylark's flight
 The old chief
 Sudden pity
 To a young man cleaning a motor-car
 An old friend
 Fragment from an old dance
 A parting of the way
 Song of my elf
 Moon to a vagabond child
 The violinist
 A toast
 Dream places
 The second-hand bookshop
 The fireplace
 The breeze
 The seeker
 The market
 The world, the world...
 You asked
 Ask me not now
 Youth goes forth
 Prayer against blindness
 A memory
 Who has not known
 The pure of heart
 A life
 At camp-fire
 The end of day
 In the arbor
 A fireplace in December
 Poems on pictures
 Laus perennis
 The angel of love
 To a player at the Globe
 A portrait [My sister]
 An old poet
 From a hollow in the woods
 October dusk
 The shining road
 Old music
 Song to be said to my pillow
 If ever
 A door
 Trees in the wind
 The fog
 The puddle
 [Mood] Workman
 Conrad has an evening
 The child on the other shore
 A pale lady looks in a deep well
 A life
 Poetry and music [Poem] [A poem can tell]
 For the grave of unknown citizens
 To himself
 The coward
 [Moment macabre: symphony]
 Girl with a Spanish shawl (a picture)
 Conrad sleeping
 Tell me why
 An inscription
 An old, old man
 Rather than this
 If this were the last
 Portrait [His World]
 A letter in March
 Your head
 The old man and the moon
 The flaming lights
 The long watch
 On quiet hill
 Consideration of a friend
 Price of wisdom
 Jingle verse: The Boston Wanderlust
 A sailor's R.I.P.
 Turn from the fire
 Ballad of an ordinary man
 What might have been
 Ease after pain
 An April afternoon
 Stone and roots
 To Peter, who is not a real person
 Two sonnets on death and immortal man [The cold shadow]
 To a girl I know
 My enemy
 On the new moon
 The shore
 Wind in the night
 On awakening suddenly
 To the easily forgotten
 On seeing the title 'Heart of darkness'
 The marchers in the shadow
 The hour
 Peter has an evening
 Tower of glass
 My attic room
 Tir na n'og
 The philosopher at home
 Counsel from a poet, middle-aged
 The answer afterwards
 Waking [One way of waking]
 The servants of the heart
 The password
 An armchair journey
 In praise of my god
 A tide of dreams
 Good bye to a garden
 The old men
 Prayer to be shouted
 The clock strikes ten [The bell]
 To a careful young man
 This was the way
 For he hath fed
 Cazevieille [Part one: The fire; Part two: Walking and rowing; Part three: Others; Part four: Things there are only one of; Part five: Plum island
 Knowing what I know
 To losers
 Rainy April noon
 Passage to India [What dragons]
 The word [Bird of the morning sea]
 To music first
 The right word
 Who that has heard him
 Einsteinian [Wind like music]
 Ten years old before the mast
 Three woodcuts: Motor at midnight; Ship in the night; Downtown ritual
 The way the eagles die
 Even a prayer
 Adventures in the dark
 March 17, 1939 [Matriarch]
 Native timber
 The launching
 Circumstance unforeseen
 Special performance
 A matter of time
 Whatever I have said before [Sun Worshipper]
 New England names
 Class poem 1929, Tufts College
 Sell it to them, ad man!
 In a college coffee house [College coffee house]
 Prologue for poems
 Dutch dream
 Marginal notes
 Citizen saint
 Civic ceremony
 Clean tall green still
 Coming of age
 Country morning
 Day among many
 Death be not proud
 Death this year
 Sometimes to be alone
 Lying awake
 The eleventh commandment
 Every day in books
 Faculty committee on teaching
 Familiar tale
 The family face
 Family letter [In our times]
 Hard times
 A meditation
 Like spring
 The symbols
 The soul in the possession
 Being so
 The fear of dying
 Fieldbook revised [Fieldbook for summer]
 The flying earth
 Ritual - For a cow to be killed [For a cow before killing] [Cow be killed]
 Four and a half [Boy]
 Go, cries the heart
 Great law
 The green door
 Having New England fathers
 Hearing music
 Heart's almanac
 I can hardly wait
 I live in a world
 Incredible greeting
 Journey's end
 The known world [Map of my country]
 The landmark
 Rock in the ground
 Do you know?
 The laws [Order clearly asking]
 Let them stand: for Robert Nichols, geologist
 The letter
 Letter to my mother
 Lines beginning 'I'
 Address to the living
 Along the row
 Anecdote of Robert Frost
 The architects
 As the heart beats
 Birthday: at Richard Eberhart's fiftieth
 Boy in August
 Boy to anyone
 Bucyrus [Booth, Bucyrus & Brazil]
 Business-like letter
 Carry me back
 The flowers (first version) [Home from Woodlawn]
 The certainty
 Edward Hicks's old picture
 Faithful reader
 The new porch
 Two of a kind
 In the Gardner museum
 The war between the states
 Margaret's choice
 Everyone knows about Boston
 Mailman blues
 The mask the living wear
 Memorandum of agreement
 Memory [Memory's color]
 Metaphor for my son
 The mirror
 Montaigne's pate
 Misery [Essay on misery]
 People in the street [At thirty-five]
 Do not pity the young
 West mountain spring [West mountain water]
 The second wonder
 The place he seeks
 The enduring
 New Proverbs
 The new view [Youth and age]
 Noah his ark
 Northward letter [In this moment]
 Nothing told me
 Old men and young men
 One day's rain
 Ordeal by love
 The overgrown back yard
 Panther in my mind [The panther in the mind]
 The people's peace
 Peter at his mirror
 But choose
 The pity is
 The place of light
 Open letter [Christmas letter] [From tonight]
 Pour down
 Puritan ancestor
 Questions for the candidate
 Reading aloud
 The rebellion
 The saving grace
 Seasonal wisdom
 The secret
 Self portrait
 Send, send
 Since you asked
 The skin of your face
 Sleep and poetry
 Sonnet for solace [O heart be quick]
 To the queen's men [Sonnet to the queen's men]
 Spring is the peace
 Summer morning porch (Chautauqua Lake)
 Summer opera
 September valentine
 Better than all [Better than all these]
 Take home this heart
 Then the sun came out
 The new art
 Then he will sleep
 Till music cries again
 To keep and not to keep [These conditions] [What to keep, what to lose]
 To live in
 The tower stands
 To my sisters and my brother [To my teacher]
 Truth about pictures
 Two and a little house
 The unforgiven
 Unlikely tale
 Unpublished preface to a Ph.D. thesis
 Ten-thirty class
 The valiant
 Very young, very old
 The voice
 Poem for my 27th year [For the poet's birthday]
 All except Mary Ann
 The way the stars went up
 Weather making
 What the books do
 Who are they?
 A willing suspension
 Without honor
 The wreath
 Sally [Warning with love]
 One place
 These ghosts
 Mellow and merry
 Living in cities
 Various loyalties
 Arrows and angry snakes
 Old Adam in us
 After two years
 King time
 The secret epilogue [Epilogue untold]
 That is the way you look [Face to face]
 Legend and truth
 From everlasting unto everlasting
 If I were old [The bitter thought]
 The mind by day
 Poets take heart
 You living look [A hundred years from now]
 Two kinds: bold and shy
 The voice
 Hold it up to the light
 Words of my own
 Dialogue alone [Even now]
 A cure of guilt
 The core [One sound]
 Country senses
 Chair in the field
 The broken one
 Between thousand and thousands
 Few in a million
 The fiery element
 The flower
 The folding key
 For sports section of Jumbo Book
 The fortune teller
 From Brooklyn
 Guard of honor
 Hamlet with a license
 Hearing Margaret, aged four
 Her walking
 Holiday, with gods
 I am singing. We are singing.
 I never get any work done
 If not silence, then restraint
 Living music
 Maybe for love [The carver and the wood]
 A lot going on
 The modern poet
 Moment of truth
 Mr. Holmes's brother
 My father's silence
 On a magazine picture of a mass burial
 Out of the room
 The oyster [The oyster as art]
 The pains of poetry
 Photograph of Robert Frost
 Plain girl: Sunday noon
 Portrait [Biography]
 A prayer on the night before Easter [Prayer on the night before Easter]
 Remembering you, long after
 The room
 The secret
 The Somerset Dam for supper
 To my mother
 Dog in the house
 The sickle
 It says in the book
 Poem number three ninety three
 Instead of albums
 The library: capitol of the world
 The Murdock saga
 Incoming mail [I can manage multiplicity]
 The good guys and the bad guys
 The ballad of Albert Woolson
 Poor Johnny roll
 The pipe which I was gave by Santa Claus
 Man as bear
 My old schools
 The thrifty elephant
 Do I not rage?
 For Sam Moses, printer
 Alight on the hill
 Time and my father's cousin
 The poet
 Billingham street [Our street]
 Love poems
 Bird pavilion
 On the twenty second anniversary
 The crisis at Valley Forge, 1931
 Contradictions in an ultimate spring
 Any next year
 To be forty
 Something out there
 Letter to S.V.B. [Stephen Vincent Benet] [Dear Steve]
 Thoughts on beginning another shaving stick
 Group photograph
 Program note [Three P's presents...]
 Goodbye to the campus
 Let the joyful speak [Your kind of joy]
 The fence
 Spring on the Hill
 Letter about weather
 The source
 The praise of poetry
 For Charles Gott [Lament for the dead] [The inconsolable]
 Boy reading
 The old professor
 The rewards of teaching
 Faculty counselor [In the dean's office]
 Teaching program
 In a classroom
 The name
 Somebody's bad luck
 The spiral
 The sword &
 A taste for revenge
 Teacher retired to Maine
 The thought
 Time no time
 To the girls formerly of Sigma Kappa at Tufts University and Cornell University
 To the gurnet
 True murder's course
 King Richard seventh
 The valley
 The wind in the elm trees
 A wish
 The word heart
 World the way it is
 Figure of speech
 For D.H.
 I can never be alone
 In cities
 Young man's poem
 Tireless testament [Testament]
 The chest of time
 Brother to brother, 1859
 The phoenix promise
 At a country fair
 In danger safely
 Aware of legends
 Death in the back yard
 The expectation [Expectations]
 O Lord of stars and sunlight
 Lady is a lady
 The long walk alone [Renewal]
 Odd moment
 The good, the great, the wise
 The secret tide
 The mountain farm
 An old song with a new refrain
 Penny for your thoughts
 Portrait two
 Street scene
 The summer after
 Remembered nights
 Nine o'clock
 Once in August
 The time is good
 The winter
 The apple
 Voices in a new world
 The woman who would not close her eyes
 Green things growing
 Death of a leaf
 Come and play
 He knows it is safe
 Is calm the thing?
 Maybe tomorrow
 Not you like music
 O Time!
 On finding certain lines marked in Santayana's sonnets
 Plainly said
 Prayer for to-morrow
 Sonnet to a friend twice my age
 Things I love
 Wars that rage: sonnet
 The watcher in the street
 Weave a circle round him
 Young promise
 Page in a diary: For Doris to remember the day by
 Pain I gave you
 A penny poem
 Perfectly deathless poem to Betty Rosenthal from John Holmes on receiving a necktie
 Photographer's Sunday
 Plato's table
 Poem for my 32nd birthday
 Poetry [Living for poetry]
 Whatever winds
 Reflection of a shadow
 The responsibilities
 Rhyme of going to the store [Going to the store]
 Shake well, throw away
 Should I?
 Sky once more
 Some in dreams
 Sonnet to a dancing-partner
 Sort of spring song, with ah!
 So you will know
 Spring: a sermon [The double root]
 Spring morning
 Subject for a poem
 Suddenly birds
 Sword on the wall
 Take a lot of people
 The tall men
 The Passing king
 To one I dislike
 A thing to say
 Time's noise
 ...To a desert island
 Against growing old
 Average reader
 Big girl now
 Bumps in the night
 Children try
 Clouds on a summer night
 Country quiet remembered
 Deep shore
 The druids
 At night
 Epitaph for Peter if he should die
 Essay of saints
 An exercise in humility
 Ezra Pound
 The face
 Four friends
 Gathering poem [Your move]
 Golden egg
 Holy Ballou
 Hello Ballou
 Hail Ballou
 The hamlet
 Hearing them speak
 His dazzled look [The look]
 How do I love thee?
 To a friend too kind
 To be tacked on the bulletin board at any writers' conference
 To Isabel with some poems
 Twenty eight Billingham Street
 Two men talking
 Understandable poem
 The visiting poets
 Cal Lowell [The visiting poets]
 We are waiting
 Wherever you lie
 Word from the west
 Words are so exciting
 The young men speaking
 I do it myself [I always did]
 In a dark wood
 A kind of silence
 Ladies and gentlemen ...
 Last night
 Letter to a young poet
 Letters: a metaphor
 A long poem entitled 'I love the Hillside Hardware & Paint Co.'
 First love recalled
 A man who came home late at night
 Music to me
 My pasenger [My passenger]
 My wife's grandfather's ring
 New name
 New woman in the house
 Next year's music
 No more music
 One act play
 One beautiful moment
 The cottage of broken dreams
 Woodrow-Wilson was-a-hero
 Open letter [Maybe you]
 Winter solstice
 Look east, look west
 The weight
 Past understanding
 A station in the journey
 1918: Armistice
 The change
 Historical event
 All the dead and some poets
 The world in my time [The world in my own time]
 Whose name was writ in water
 Slow child
 This time surely
 Portrait: My wife
 The island
 You have an interesting mind
 The world is one
 A man's world
 Child: Spring
 Cook's tour
 A room with books [Room with books]
 Far enough
 Hat weather
 The late Mr. Thorpe
 Looking at books
 A natural law
 First day
 Being young
 Fable with no moral
 Mornings at eleven
 The bookworm turns
 A sweet hope once
 Sweetly solemn thought
 Those were the days
 Table for one
 Work in progress
 The critic on the pan
 Dinner for eight
 The miserable gardener
 Good-night! Good-night!
 Letter to three men
 Political strategy
 To my teachers
 Notes for a history of sleep
 Thinker in bed
 Design for a skyscraper
 Problem father
 Wallpaper poem
 The double life
 Fair warning
 This one is father
 A year after
 Ode for the hundredth birthday of William Upham
 Peter sleeping
 Epitaph for any New Yorker
 Peter reads far into the night
 Letter from an exile
 The blessing
 Nineteen fifty one
 Old cheese and cold beer
 What the book salesman said
 Words enough
 Do you remember
 The hunted
 Tomorrow you
 Ballad of some of the boys
 The talking mirror
 The day's news
 What we hate most
 The snow-child
 For Karl Magnus Armens
 Boy at four
 Hummingbird and seagull
 The extent of his acres
 To remember one another
 All's well that ends
 John Holmes, his book
 The chance
 Lesson in the monkey-house
 The title-page
 Faculty and administration section
 The senior class section
 The activities section
 The organizations section
 The fraternities section
 Ode for scene 1, 'Hullaballou'
 Poetry defined
 On a cage of mice brought home for the week of school vacation
 Nothing odd
 Free will and fire-truck
 Verses in a very old tradition
 The stone
 The spring sun
 The fifty-first
 A prayer
 Evening meal in the twentieth century
 A little night-wording