Collected Poems of John Holmes

Holmes, John A., Jr.


To a friend too kind

To a friend too kind


To a friend too kind

Asking the question most unanswerable

And unforgiven, "What is on your mind?"

I said or did not say,

So flamed within me hope of' overhearing truth,

So died. within me love, dying of' too much love,

I said, "I ran away".

Leaving the red of bittersweet forever rising

Against the wall, the carpets flat upon the floor,

The man whose dull appointment came at four,

The black electric clock with swimming hand.

That pours the modern hours away like sand,

And on my desk a list of things to do,

Send home for book-plates, buy some soap,

Call up Mr. H., remind. the others too,

And shall I come on Tuesday, did I lend

Or lose my Shakespeare, letters I must send-

And so I ran away not far nor did I leave myself behind,

But took myself and I was on my mind.

There in the tearoom with the tables gray

The color of that eventful day

I ate the toast alone, and praised the tea,

Considered the death of Edison, and carefully,

Spreading the paper down where I could see

I lit the pipe that I had run away,

I thought, to light, and come what may.

Then oh but the world keeps close to us,

Taps on the shoulder, though we hunch the mind,

The world, dear unbeloved, hugs us tight,

And cannot bear its being left behind.

For here the paper matches in the tray

Bore not the name of taxi, laxative, hotel,

But Christmas, red and green,

A pine-tree, snow-white coaching scene,

October not yet over, nor the first frost here

But we must hasten on the hurrying year

Ache toward the end

With tense and forward will that time shall send

Another twelve months wherein we may do

The things we did last year

But surely this time better, surely this is true.

Outside the women's footsteps in the street

Brought always not the girl to look at twice,

Always the quick hard hurrying feet

Bore disappointment by, perhaps their own,

But always mine who sat concealed alone.

And. now goodbye goodbye return I dare not.

I have been here far too long.

Oh staying past the time I did a wrong

Not easy to erase. I ate my heart for food.

I wanted New Year's and. the cleanly snow.

I watched the walkers going where they go,

And all the world and I

We hid ourselves and pierced the heart for food.

In order not to live and. neither die.

But sure as last December others too

Noticed a something in the air I do not lie

Saying we knew felicity awhile and moved in light

There runs a deep abiding stream, .

Surely there runs a stream,

Then feed on that and not the heart.

Go westward take the Indian passage north and west

And find the stream again and fling YOU down

Drink deep and so again be blest.

I have stayed too long in the south

Tasting meanness in my mouth,

Eating smallness every day and silence

I have lived on dusty hearts beside my own

And I have known

The shaking anger come that leaves me weak

Anger against the men I know

Who clutch their passions close and will not speak.

Dark and true and tender is the north.

And I will turn my face

Travelling in my mind until I find

That stream - go now - start now - alone,

And drink the vital food of dreams and grace.

I asked myself what hour and day what year

My joy and faith departed left me here.

It was the year I knew the hardest task

Was not so difficult, the cost not half so dear

As I had thought. It was the year I knew

That even I could live despair quite through

And, come out on the other side

And suffer all the light that fell

Upon that future stretching wide

Finding it mattered little after hell.

So when I knew the line was crossed,

And none could answer questions but myself',

Then I was confident and did not care,

Safe in the knowledge I had not been lost.

Then all went well as heart could think

As any heart could think except my own

And no one knew when I was quite alone

Or knew how heavily my heart could sink.

This is enough, the strength to keep

The secret while I work and stay awake,

That while I live I will not break

Although with desperate hurt and deep

The subtlety of lire has bent my sleep.

In that same hour I crossed the boundary line

found repeatedly the sign

That pointed toward the northern stream,

And told me I had lived

the direction of my dream.

And all my tasks are simple now and plain

As everything lies equal under rain.

I need not suffer fools

Nor starve on meagerness.

Time goes by to clear the way

For more and more, not less.

And always far away

Like surf beyond the sight

I hear Truth waiting

Terrible and white.

I had a hunger once

And nothing I could do.

Daily now I eat

And have the hunger too.

And still the answer to the question is

It is myself is on my mind

And all I ran away to lose

I could not leave behind.

I shall not now forget thee 0 Jerusalem.

Once known the secret is forgotten never

O dark and true and tender is the North

And I was strong again and I went forth

To lay my lips upon that river.

For now my faith and joy are this:

That both are possible to find.

My trust is in the true and fiery

Spirit of mankind.

So when I left the tearoom and the tables gray,

The scattered crumbs, the napkin crumpled up,

Burnt matches in the tray, and coins for tip,

And melted sugar in the bottom of the cup,

I left the earlier color of a day,

And crumbs of heart I did not eat

And ashes of a thought used up and burned away,

In pitiful self-pity, and the heat

That glazed the dark blue coffee pot

I left there turned to coolness in the air,

Also I left there Mr. Edison now dead

And what the minister from France had said,

And books, births, deaths and clothes to wear

Great weddings made, and murderers caught:

In short, I left my morning there.

And said goodbye. Return I will not,

For I remembered I had drunk the stream

And seen the other world as bright as heaven

Known my senses were not five but seven

And felt my veins with grace and dream

And adoration running hot.

So I came back to where the spray of bittersweet

Stood in the black vase on the mantel piece

Inevitably right as fountains fall, graceful

As water that has found release.

If I should add one spray of bittersweet

I know the upward curve would still be right

I know that rightness is not far, but near

And possible; not darkly in a glass, but light.

So I came back and smelt the apples in the room

And somewhere they were burning leaves.

I smelt the strata that a closed room weaves

To make the fabric of the feeling this is home

Unlocked the door and stood there very still

And listened hearing the clock

And hearing footsteps overhead

And distant voices talk

Heard motors in the street and music

Heard dogs barking and the trumpeter across the way

And I was home and glad to be and home to stay.

I touched the polished table top,

Felt the rough plaster of the wall

Scraped a blue candle with a fingernail

Shook the long curtains up and let them fall To their accustomed folds,

Lifted the yellow pitcher then and felt its weight

Sat down and gripped the chair's flat arm

And leaning touched the carpet's pile

Then holding all my fingers up a while

I gazed upon the lines that line the palm,

The cunning knuckles and the branching veins

The single thumbs, considering my hands,

And I was thankful for my hands.

There was a round delicious orange

I peeled by biting at the skin

And I could taste before I tasted it

The juices swollen sweet therein.

But all this time all during this delight

I had the miracle of sight.

The furniture had stood

In patient silence all the day

I wondered how I could have gone away

From this familiar and domestic wood

That by its shape had something kind to say.

Sit down in me. Lay something on my top.

Light me and let me shine for you.

Look at me hanging on your wall.

Open and read me. Walk upon me, do.

Swing shut and lock me and be in, in, in.

We are your servants, we are here for you.

My eyes were following every line

Slowly and lightly lightly as an aeroplane

Traces a curve in some immense design

And every edge of every shape was plain

Was sharp was right as if it too rejoiced

In knowing it was right had seen original

And unforgotten patterns, or had known my stream.

For every edge was bright

And rushed with light as in a wordless dream.

And every shape speaks out Take notice

Look at me consider how I front the air.

Take notice of me think the lovely thing

I might have been is really standing there.

The way a window knows, or divans understand,

The way a wall is wall - but mark me well-

These have no mind no will no memory like men

But as themselves they have ideals to tell.

All day they wait

And their essential state

Is furniturehood, their own, and. quite unhuman.

Nevertheless at night when I come in alone

And light the lamp and draw the curtains close,

I choose one chair and choose a book to read,

And looking up I think the samovar, the couch,

The coffee table and the empty chairs

Regard me whom they do not need

Or else I light the largest candlesticks

The seven branches lifting each its flame,

The shadows falling sevenfold from everything

And every object all but cries aloud its name.

I am the trestle table. I the rug.

I am the woodcut on the wall. And I the door.

This is most right that we should be

And be the things we are and nothing more.

In pride and silence we deserve this light.

I am the carven mantle piece. I am the floor.

This was the thing to do, this hour was right.

My sight is clear because they are not mine.

I am an eager foreigner in a charming place.

So are we all come lately, gladly, where we are,

Love and surprise alight on every face.

So have we all drunk once upon a time like me

Far in the north the slowly swirling stream.

I say you understand me now. I say you do,

You know all things are more than all they seem.

You have been living west

You have been thinking south

You have been all bewitched.

Silence is in your mouth.

Think north. Speak truth. Touch wood and see

With your eyes, and hear the world's sweet sound.

You stood there once you lie if you've forgotten.

You've murdered kings and let the state go rotten

You've let the heart be bound

You've eaten heart pretending to be fed.

I swear by daylight and by body's white and red,

By touch, taste, sight, and sound and smell

That all would still be well

If you would think Why all's not lost.

Why all I once thought true and possible

Is not denied me though I've crossed

And scratched away erased blanked out

Such memories as gods would love.

Surely as once I tasted deep I may again.

Surely I'm full as tall as other men.

Once while I was not watching I grew old.

But I know best the skeleton of gold

So straight and strong within this individual flesh.

I have remembered what lam.

Lover of living, radiant free and bold.

I needed two things only, one the friend too kind

To ask me what was on my mind,

The other the surging pain that leaves me weak,

The stark necessity to speak.

The world is so full of a number of things

For God's sake come and sit upon the ground

And tell old stories of the death of kings.

And did you once see Shelley plain

Or any things that seared the brain

With pity O the pity of it or with tenderness

Or feel the heart within you press

Its rapture hard upon your ribs?

Then speak. O speak. Unlock the tongue

As once you did when you were young.

Surely the sods are sharp like this,

Sharpened by grief so great

It feels the same as joy

And love that feels the same as hate.

If you go far enough in grief

If you go deep enough in love

There is no longer either good bad

No longer in or out, below, above,

But only awareness like the gods'

Through some earth-spurning power

Then back to our mortality

After the sweet immortal hour.

But I remember and I am not old

The apple trees the singing and the gold.

So in the common light of day

Sometimes I am dizzy, sick and shaken

With ironic salt comparisons.

That men can live and not awaken!

They endure the fools they do

Who say the things they listen to.

That in their eyes I'm one of them,

Citizen of the dust, and loyal, too,

Though in this irony I taste

Again excitement and the sting

Of recognizing absolute perfection

In the absolutely futile thing,

Perfectly useless, empty, dull

And thought important by the fools

Who think I think with them and so

Are crystal-clearly double fools.

For I have heard the chimes at midnight

Eaten the fruit of Eden Tree

And it is a marvelous thing

That fools can be.

The spirits of earth came out

And danced around a record in a phonograph.

The ceiling light was out and in the glow

Of a floor lamp sat four men who heard and so

The spirits disappeared back in the earth.

Bolero whips the blood

I mean after all

Things that have no feet

Will stand up tall.

Sometime I will try to show Ravel

Began the piece at normal heartbeat slow

And just before the end of record one

Faster and faster the heart begins to go.

These four had drunk a brandy of the peach

Uniquely this beguiled the blood of each,

New Englanders should drink, said one

Being a native there himself, but in the end

Thought better of this and would amend

The axiom to include All Southerners,

And south and middle westerners, too.

Drinking is something everyone should do.

It makes us gods if there's a spark

Of clean divinity in the temperamental dark.

Then stepped this diverse f our

Becoming diverse more and more

Through the Victor's double door

Into the austere world of Bach

Where armies drill precisely on a narrow field,

Advance and execute their turns

In satisfaction hard and born of skill

Where companies come on and. will not yield

Until the final foreknown footstep has been done

And all the army back where this

Sheer pitiless and. drillwork was begun.

But string quartettes are understood by hearts

That follow deep into the quarter parts.

Now Caesar Franck at the Academy

Transposed at sight key and. a half below

The music placed before him as a test

Saying he thought it sounded better so.

He wrote one violin sonata and the French

And German critics likewise call him great

And Lee said Franck was hurt and. died

By a horsecar back in 1888,

And Ted says Saginaw in Michigan

Produced its biggest lumber crop that year

And therefore Saginaw is also great.

Nevertheless says Lee not he himself

But French and German critics call

The final movement the greatest canon done

The modern music - nor is that all -

For Clement asks to make the picture whole,

But has he a beautiful soul?

Yes Caesar Franck has a beautiful soul,

If you must look at it that way

But when you face St. Peter and hear him say

How did you like the world? You must begin

By saying I liked the Franck Sonata

And Peter will let you in.

And. so we heard the password into heaven

All four movements over far too soon

And Ted insisted. German motherhood

Was Cesar Franck's, emphatically not Walloon.

Still full of distillation of the peach

And certain our grasp would not exceed our reach

Back to the club we went we three

Clement in search of beautiful souls

Already gone and. left us free,

To drink more brandy and to bay the moon

Proclaiming greatness not Walloon,

But born of the peach and greatness in the heart

And music's lesser and its greater part.

The lesser now, but of its kind. superlative,

Caused. us to make these ballads live

A little while in voices variously lyric

I Love Louisa manfully Teutonic

Little White Lies, St. Louis Blues,

And here it was I called on wisdom of the kind.

That when the song of songs is played

I never want to hear, wisely sings it through

So that in song the ghost of song is laid..

Marvelling at the skill

Swift-handed. on the keys

That played despite the wound.

And could. as ever please

I did not see at first

That the bandage on the hand.

Was moon a strip of moonlight

A narrow silver band.

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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