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Title: poems of yes and no
Author: Bartlett, John, Elizabeth W. Allston (Elizabeth Pringle)
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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[Illustration: Cover art]


Elizabeth Bartlett

_Poems of Yes and No_, was originally published in 1952 by Editorial
Jus in Mexico City, and is now out-of-print.  The author's literary
executor, Steven James Bartlett, has decided to make the book
available as an open access publication, freely available to
Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-NoDerivs license, which allows
anyone to distribute this work without changes to its content,
provided that both the author and the original URL from which
this work was obtained are mentioned, that the contents of this
work are not used for commercial purposes or profit, and that
this work will not be used without the copyright holder's written
permission in derivative works (i.e., you may not alter, transform,
or build upon this work without such permission).  The full legal
statement of this license may be found at:


[Illustration: Creative Commons logo]



  yes and no

  elizabeth bartlett

  editorial jus

  some of these poems have appeared in poetry chapbook,
  arizona quarterly, southwest review, prairie schooner,
  university of kansas city review, new york times and
  mexican life magazine

  yes, paul -- with all my heart

  first edition



  search the wild wind
  lesson on five fingers
  journey to jerusalem
  prayer for four seasons
  while I live
  life I love
  mood on a string
  time is a palette
  dusk I love
  the lovers
  whatever else may be
  tropic time
  the wind and the rain
  the now and here
  swallows return
  reply to critics


  step softly
  I would remember
  now and forever
  beyond cost
  summer and winter
  item: body found
  on trial
  washday in the tropics
  only this
  alter ego
  this much I know about time
  in the wake of sleep
  cold wakening
  weather forecast
  measured interval
  black sun
  log for a voyage
  notes for the future

yes yes yes yes yes

yes yes yes yes yes

yes yes yes yes yes

yes yes yes yes yes

yes yes yes yes yes

yes yes yes yes yes

yes yes yes yes yes

yes yes yes yes yes

  search the wild wind

  search the wild wind
  when the foals of spring leap by
  leave the summer colts behind
  nose up, head high

  stretch the hill's ribs
  when the stable gates are wide
  lead the mares from manger cribs
  stallion with pride

  reach the storm's heart
  when the world is lost to sight
  buck the sky and cliffs apart
  clouds black, snow white

  pitch a new tent
  when the greengrass disappears
  paw beneath the crystal scent
  sweet leaves, fresh spears

  march with the dawn
  when the nights grow long and cold
  seek for pastures not yet born
  rider, be bold

  lesson on five fingers

  now that I have learned
  how seasons are returned
  brook my laughter here
  to the running years
  waterfall the fears

  now that I realize
  how much the world denies
  green my sense leaves bright
  to chlorophyl of light
  photocell the nights

  now that I have found
  how each must choose his ground
  terrace my piece of time
  to a hill of sweet limes
  stairway the climb

  now that I have seen
  how cunning walks between
  mountain my trust high
  to the pigmy wise
  landslide the lies

  now that I understand
  how heart unites with hand
  radar the future free
  to the dove singing me
  laurel the peace

  journey to jerusalem

  sky our thoughts to midnight
  that hold no noon's repose
  silence speaks in clearer voice
  than day's tumultuous crows

  unpave the streets to earthscape
  grass pillow to our heads
  as virgin stars attend once more
  moon music forested

  mountain our hearts to the lion
  tender our hands to the dove
  olive the branch over zion
  to israelite our love

  flower this hope to the springtime
  summer our dream with its fruit
  festive the fields in the autumn
  winter the future's root

  prayer for four seasons

  rain, rain on me
  make me green
  as lettuce leaf
  at spring's fresh core

  sun, shine on me
  burn me bright
  as coral reef
  on island shore

  wind, blow on me
  sweep me clean
  as grain fields tall
  for autumn's mill

  stars, sing for me
  lark the night
  as snowflakes fall
  on woods and hill


  all the hills of the world lie here
    aeolus ride your winds
  the skybound clouds leap out like deer
    daedalus fly your wings

  the fields are green with sun and shade
    pegasus strike your hoof
  the silence sings, the people fade
    hesperus light my roof

  the ocean's wide and far away
    tantalus drink your fill
  no distant lands draw me astray
    orpheus bring your skill

  olympus is within my heart
    poetry lift me high
  with pagan joy I sing my art
    melody till I die


  tell me, in this high land of mountained length
  where time is green and space big-bellied
  with fruitful plains rockribbed by corn and bean
  for simple courage, do you know strength
  as something earned through bitterness of need
  in narrow streets and tortured rooms, oh hungry lean

  listen, above the winding road come sounds
  descending on bells, sky voices and wind
  mixing with the shy four footed ones' cries,
  what do they tell, can you hear from the grounds
  of city skyscrapers through the tunnelthinned
  walls that rail the nervetracked brain with wooden ties

  look you, whose eyes are wise with too much seen
  through doors and windows, in whom the sunlight
  is confined by steel canyons and arctic
  nights, here is heart space, here clouds rise between
  warm currents to open roofs, see how the height
  of climb and width of free brightens to tropic

  taste this, you tongue lovers, you gourmets, you
  who know the ends for which the palette buds
  bloom to burst on a thousand sauces, wines,
  rare meats and molded cheeses, what brew
  is this, what essence extracted from muds
  and rooted origins of leaf that taste defines

  breathe, ah breathe again, purge out the unclear
  lungs, the downbent head, smell has other use
  than multiplies in shop and factory
  to substitute the sense, no need to fear
  the pure air here, to hide subtle and obtuse
  behind the mob's excuse, here the wind blows free

  reach out, know touch as up and down, the span
  of head to heel, thigh to shoulder, each side
  with rough of bark to blossom, stone to dust,
  how else but by the feel, the real, can man
  press nature to his will and impel his pride
  in shaping to his needs an earth which he can trust

  go up, your feet will take you high above
  streets and buildings to a new position
  forget the old appointments, you have a more
  important one with God to measure love
  not by the scrupled ways of acquisition
  but freely as the stars that follow and explore

  while I live

  my love is a hart seeking the waterfall
  where he may press two lips against its crystal
  depths--see how he leaps to kiss the imaged mist
  that bubbles up beneath him--he staggers, kissed

  my love is an alpine trail that mountains climb
  above clouds and timber to heights out of time
  and measure--no distance there or memory
  for weak foot and tired brain--but death only

  my love is a trumpet sustaining its call
  to the last clear breath--listen, the interval,
  out of canyon silences, on the dry wind,
  the throat of night catches, its echoes are thinned

  my love is a dream where childhood fell asleep
  beckoned by shadows that lengthen as they creep;
  now she sighs, weeps, losing her way--morning wakes
  the sleeper and she smiles, her eyes are lakes


  ah never say the dreams were false
  that boy and girl were madly bold
  not time but timeless changes all
  man and woman we should know

  what we dreamed was what we were
  and could not timeless be
  two strange wild things in universe
  too tame for altering

  then let them keep without reserve
  the wings they had prepared
  and while we walk a humbled earth
  see them with spirit dare

  life I love

  life I love who know the heart's unease
  the mind's disease, the search unending
  to a blind conclusion

  I have gone so many ways
  towards praise, away from blame
  to find seclusion

  known coldest doubt and passionate release
  the after peace of countless wars grown tired
  by their own diffusion

  how many changes seen: chance days
  nights, the grays of violent and tame
  mixed in the time's confusion

  dreamed plans, wished hopes without cease
  no single piece of life sought
  without delusion

  and yet have loved each coming, going blaze
  each phase, willed and thrilled to every flame
  that brightened the illusion

  then let me know death as one who foresees
  breath's end to seize a new beginning
  through the soul's transfusion

  mood on a string

  again the after rain and shine of night
  when mellow yellow patternings of light
  make rivers run through streets of mirrors bright
  to where the air brings thought from its seclude
  as though a silver magnet drew a rood
  about the mind's internal solitude

  then is the darkness gentle to my sight
  with glossy lamps to toss me into flight
  and give to sleep the freeness of a kite
  that after storm can rise in amplitude
  above the clinging wet still unsubdued
  to sail in lonely splendor wind pursued

  time is a palette

  each day has its color
  each day its own color
  on the wheel

  and they are wrong who say
  all colors are gray
  they are blind
  or else

  well I remember the primary days
  the reds and yellows and blues
  those brilliant saturated hues
  each its own bright self

  a day red as a ripe warm plum
  on the mouth
  staining chin and blouse with summer
  while leaves on a red tree flamed
  in crimson joy

  and there were other reds
  for feathers dipped in blood
  to sign youth's honor on a windless sky
  running over rooftops
  most solemneyed

  or red for something velvet deep
  over quivering flesh and trembling hair
  stabbing the breath
  with a wild commotion
  like coroncitas on a christmas tree

  a vivid red each time
  coloring morning to evening canvas
  of that particular day
  connecting sleep with sleep
  in the intimate dye

  yellow was first word for gold
  then sun
  and it was always rich
  like the promise of a wedding ring
  or shining birthday coin

  yellow was wish
  more often than anything seen or heard
  except for the canary my father kept
  as his own yellow sign
  pure and unalloyed

  mostly it was feeling
  the evidence and substance in one
  symbol of perfection and as rare
  when harsh-cold-rough were there
  it wasn't yellow

  precious as treasure
  awarded by the gods to saint and hero
  like the holy grail
  the lost chord
  those unrecoverable legends

  blue was definite
  less temperamental than red
  more tangible than yellow
  like summer sigh or puff of winter air
  the outlines of dawn to dusk

  blue was practical and necessary
  like the blueing used in my mother's wash
  like smoke
  water air and sky blue
  for everything clear and understandable

  but blue had magic too
  meaning giant ships and giant fish
  rockets to the moon and planet shores
  too big and far away
  too terribly true

  a glamorous color blue
  suiting cinderella's glass slipper
  forget me nots and chinese porcelain
  and once I found a blue shell
  so fragile I let it crumble on the sand

  but even the primary colors
  are not all the colors
  and each day has its color
  each day radiates its own color
  on the wheel

  and they are wrong who say
  all colors are gray
  unable to remember
  unwilling to separate
  with desperate impatience

  dusk I love

  dusk I love who know the morning's light
  the night's darkness, the black and white
  of yes and no and all false and true

  I have lived with definite so long
  with wrong and right, with weak and strong
  with how much undefined dusk by you

  for I have seen the between hours
  when towers grew soft as flowers
  and cold stones were stemmed in warmest hue

  and I have watched a kind gentle grace
  take place behind the coarser face
  unloose the many masks old and new

  I too felt the purple air's dissent
  from meant purpose and clear intent
  nothing certain but a changing view

  then let me have time's dusk perspective
  to give the life men think they live
  an outer shape and an inner clue

  the lovers

  after the sunlight over barren fields
  after the dry wind through stony creeks
  we found our little green where lilies were
  and knee deep oxen stood watching us
  triumphant under trees... for this was peace
  as nature meant nature's peace to be
  with fertile soil made ready by its need
  with instincts tamed in gentler ways than fear
  with freedom measured freely as the sky
  measures breath... we lay there side by side
  breathing kisses, feeling the wet and cool
  of bodies grassed in loving, each a groove
  within a groove seeking counterpart
  with close-open-close, with light in dark
  and waves lapping... we heard the overflow
  of lake on buttressed dam down sluiced walls
  making music in ditches, singing birth
  to stalks in the earth, with giant surge
  of up and out bringing humanity
  a greater day for love... then happily
  we rose and barefoot walked the golden green
  to where horses and men waded beneath
  multifoliate rays of setting sun
  their work done before the darkness come
  to cheat them... together all of us swam
  glad for the fresh clean water which ran
  on hands and hoofs, on flesh and hide, like beams
  bathing between, feeling our oneness sweet
  reward, for the sun was a broken sword
  pointing the peace towards our tomorrow

  whatever else may be

  as long as you're happy
    there were flowers on the street
    and sweetmeats at noon
    and a high wind in the towers

  as long as you're happy
    there were mornings in the sun
    and nights in the moon
    and a magic in the warnings

  as long as it was long
    heart was head and hands were feet
    heat was heavy, still
    and words were trees with roots of red

  as long as--happy song
    wish was flight and new worlds won
    space was empty, chill
    and lips were birds with feathers light

    for long is as long as
    life is as strong as
    ah to be happy and free

  tropic time

  here before old leaves go
    new leaves come in
  here before old loves know
    new loves begin

  now when the year's one spring
    no season chills
  now when the fear's one thing
    no reason kills

  this is time after then
    there was regret
  this time is laughter when
    where we forget


  the winds have abated and the rain
  now the lonely dark comes again
  with blue lines running in the mind
  with hands explorative and blind

  (was it the bitter taste of smoke
  or pepper berries? lips parted spoke
  words out of kisses bringing fears
  no nearer to relief than tears)

  now memory is of lightning, flares
  in the night, with darkeyed cares
  encircling universes strange
  as the skies through which they range

  thunder removes to distant space--
  from quiet woods where ancient grace
  roots tree in soil and lake is mild
  only the stormbird's flight is wild

  the wind and the rain

  thoughts in my head
  like wind through pines

    lift to north
    veer to south
    shift to east
    rear to west

  the wind not the pines
  till my thoughts are dead

  love in my heart
  like rain on dust

    stirs to dawn
    dries to noon
    whirs to dusk
    cries to night

  the rain not the dust
  till my love depart


  worthier than words the meaning kiss
  which makes true poetry of lips
  which sets a wisdom into rhyme
  no pen can simulate by line

  music has cadence but heartbeats sound
  what no ear ever tuned beyond
  a harmony so fully sensed
  that voice is mute with instrument

  imperative to move the dancer's arms
  would free the body from those bonds
  wherein an inner rhythm leaps
  secret with wonder, flow and cease

  the eye's canvas such beauty lights
  of shade and color and design
  that brush must hesitate to set
  a lesser skill on palimpsest

  yet kiss is brief and heartbeat slows
  while freedom captivates us most
  and beauty turns to counterfeit
  the images lost in memory's mist


  returning miles of space
  can you find the precise hour
  travel through that day
  locate the very moment
  ago there

  the train goes back and forth
  stops at what time stations
  monday morning january tenth
  autumn ten years
  ago then

  the boat arrives departs
  ticket pier cabin port
  pre-war london paris rome
  before the depression
  remember where

  the plane roars lifts the earth
  speeds me a century
  past sound past light
  we know the way back
  remember when

  and buses taxis subways trams
  for how long how far conversations
  so much so many who and what
  and love and life and yes again
  name place date pen

  grass flesh

  the deep of night is crept upon our talk
  and what we had to say the wind will keep
  until our tongues can thrust up through the stalk
  and stay the light; meanwhile let silence sleep
  between us remembering what we were
  before our eyes were covered by the dark
  lovers who saw beauty in each other
  and from the clay drew forth an hour's spark

  that hour can not die, though we must lie
  with stiffened arms about an earth which turned
  about us once to prove how much of sky
  there is in love's embrace; our kisses burned
  the millioned lightyeared stars that now must roam
  the space of all eternity till dust
  can rise on flaming wings to plume the dome
  with fires kindled by our mortal lust

  what triumphs we have known within the mesh
  of failure, time can not scrape from our bones;
  out of the pregnant dreams of our grass flesh
  a fertile spring will issue from the stones
  and flower like our songs in crimson mirth;
  each hidden sense that death but borrows here
  to bring about its own more perfect birth
  with quickened breath will help new life appear

  the now and here

  the sunlit trees along the quiet street
  enclose the afternoon on either side
  their shadows dark and still the dozing heat
  and there is no morning or night to hide

  it might be anywhere the now and here
  when the heart is simple and forgets the brain
  in france on a river or a hill in spain
  when life was peaceful and there was no fear

  the reminiscent chord the piano strikes
  returns us again to the slow learned ease
  of oars on a boat and the long road hikes
  the faces and voices like melodies

  then old folks gladdened the spry basque danses
  as student groups mingled to learn quaint ways
  and families gathered for shore holidays
  with poppies in the sun and vins des provences

  in the city of the mind thoughts like these
  graze quietly in distant valleys
  as though time's gaps lay between a range
  of sunlit afternoons that never change

  swallows return

  o spring thaw out my winter's chill
  so cold I might be buried still
  beneath the snow

  long years I lay as one whose night
  strong arms had banished from the light
  to mute my song

  now wake me from oblivion
  bow down and lift me to the sun
  like earth to plow

  prepare for me some green retreat
  enough for summer to complete
  its ecstasy

  let autumn shake its leaves at me
  set laughter whirling from each tree
  and I forget

  then should my winter come at last
  when darkened shadows overcast
  the fields of men

  I'll gladly say goodbye and go
  while memories warm me with their glow
  across the stile

  for every year my dust shall rise
  o'er mud and rust to welcome skies
  where swallows soar

  reply to critics

  tell them who scorn my ways
  I lived without their praise
  and will until I die

  let them be cynical
  I have my own faith still
  to question and deny

  the proud and stiff of neck
  the small who grub and peck
  both look too low or high

  while I but seek to know
  the feel of things that grow
  and by my living why

  no no no no no no no no

  no no no no no no no no

  no no no no no no no no

  no no no no no no no no

  no no no no no no no no

  step softly

  step softly
  your feet are on my heart
  the sawdust underneath
  hurts less than I
  even sawdust, dry
  and dirtied by our not particular feet

  it's something deep inside
  that aches
  I know not why
  unless the pride

  for the heart that only guesses
  still will bear
  the feet that walk upon it
  but not the heart that knows
  too often it confesses
  and breaks

  I would remember

  I have walked from river's end to end
  a slow companion to the light seagulls
  that circle overhead

  and I have stood still above the bend
  that separates the foot from distant hulls
  to fill my eye with flying sails wings spread

  I have watched them many times from where
  the far shore curves around the sun
  and holds it there ensnared

  while they advanced then dropped midair
  instinct with seaward gravitation
  and hungry claws prepared

  their wings some shimmering things
  the wind has caught and suddenly flings
  in a rain of gold

  I am not old
  and yet when night brings me to town
  I forget their wings and drown

  now and forever

  now might I keep you forever thus unchanged
  against the eventual day for both of us arranged
  when the rude winds shall bring
  no promise of another spring
  but cold and comfortless satisfaction
  the grave's discreet and quiet action
  I would not mind the days precisioned
  to the clock's unwinding
  flesh to flesh binding
  would find some way as yet unvisioned
  some way to forget
  the fever and the sweat
  here where lovers have known
  the soft of hair and hard of bone
  hearing each other moan
  a way more conscionably kind
  for a night's repose
  but time defined
  forbids us to dispose
  of even one brief moment that has passed
  or keep the moment thus forever fast


  we knew the words before we knew their meaning
  who asked so many whys while still in weaning

  how many pitfalls marked with skull and crossbones
  to outwit those who lay beneath the moss stones

  then set about to verify the answers
  seeking in us the cause of others' cancers

  so found ourselves new victims of time's catchtraps
  and now must moan and curse until the latch snaps

  beyond cost

  darling don't be lost to me
    the fear was there
    under the sleeve
    lifting the hair

  darling don't be lost to me
    it was a prayer
    caught like a leaf
    burning in air

  darling you are tossed from me
    the year is bare
    wonder and grief
    drifting to where

  darling you are tossed from me
    what here more rare
    thought like a thief
    turning to stare

  summer and winter

  so many years of many seasons
  we saw and found together
  snapped grassroots trembling to the spring
  plucked berries out of harvesting
  caught swirling autumn down from trees
  about us drew a sunbright frieze
  oh summer was our weather
  but winter was in our hearts

  how many years of many reasons
  convinced us not to part
  remembering the search for first green bud
  the rain paths rainbowed in the mud
  the cheep behind the window ledge
  the shutter like a moonshined wedge
  oh summer was our weather
  but winter was in our hearts

  too many years, too many years
  we lived and loved together
  for oh my dear the winter fears
  destroyed the summer weather
  for doubts can frost and worries blight
  the careful seed, the ripened stacks
  and questions when they come by night
  leave barren fields behind their tracks


  there was sun and moon and stars
  and night and day
  all taken for granted

  then no sun no moon no stars
  no night no day
  forsaken transplanted

  there was sight and sound and touch
  and someone there
  as always forever

  then an empty silence such
  as none aware
  of hallways to never

  item: body found

  it was a silent evening I remember
  through the river's mist it comes to me
  a star pierced the air, white with speed
  it leaped across the sky, slipped and fell
  I heard its cry, it echoed in the sea
  the swift wild cry of the scornful ember

  alone I stood there, never had I need
  of fellow rebel more, I a rebel
  down the dark beach I ran, I stripped, time
  was an eyeless reach across immensity
  and I plunged deeply, they blamed it on the tide
  the night, they had not seen infinity
  like a vast unchanging vista wide
  before me. if you go too far you'll drown
  they said, ah no, they know the sublime
  who reach for the falling star and go down

  on trial

  the day to day commitment to failure
  that judgment daily argues against me
  condemns me to despair... I am guilty
  of more than silence... at times words fail your
  wisest men and then intentionally...
  but my silence like all my secrecies
  has no defense, none conventionally,
  my personal idiosyncrasies
  no social crimes... when pride is pain and shame
  an agony too keen for reason I
  had no other weapon, who is to blame?
  there was no intent to deceive or lie...
  my absence is sufficient evidence,
  voluntary exile, not providence


  water running over stone
    overrun my heart
  water running over stone
    overcome my start

  now wear down my sorrow
    wash away my fears
  I have mourned tomorrow
    widowed by the years

  (water running over stone
  hard it is to be alone)

  water running over stone
    canyon deep inside
  water running over stone
    canyon steep and wide

  now let a river flow
    strong and continuous
  out of the desert grow
    green bouldered oasis

  (flat and dry of emery
  plateaus on my memory)

  water running over stone
    be the blood within my bone
  water running over stone
    take me and make me your own


  now that the flame has died which burned in us
  burned too intense for living with, beside
  and we have cooled to the quieter dust
  so comfortably and separately you and I

  let us lift to the wind and drift from our pyre
  as passionlessly and still as those destined
  candles of the mind whose pilgrimage through night
  ends with a dawn cold white and all their flames relit

  washday in the tropics

  the sun tropics down my days
  with heat of roof and balcony
  drying me out like morning's wash
  on mudbaked brick and shrubbery

  the clouds are bleached by lye and ash
  to make a stiff and faultless sky
  and spotless leaves hang limp on trees
  without the energy to die

  flies buzz... cock calls... the hammock swings
  with eye asquint to palmribbed light
  while smoke coughs up the desert air
  between straw sips of cool and white

  where cactus pricks the sunscorched haze
  against the rainless afternoon
  three zopilotes sit and wait
  to pick apart the carcass moon

  and still more scrub of soap on stone
  with slap and shake and fling of wrist
  though I unsmooth each ironed piece
  before night creeps along the mist

  only this

  I return to old complaints
  like the earth to its seasons
  the church has its saints
  and I my reasons

  one needs to know trees
  their leaves, bark and roots
  to perceive what one sees--
  the mind has no shoots

  only this: the older I grow
  the more I feel, not know
  the need of believing--
  my youth is leaving


  for years I watched it grow
  in thought and shape a man
  though it was smaller then and mild
  I was in fact a gentle child

  the words it spoke were songs
  the air it breathed seemed sweet
  its eyes saw more than was to see
  the world I loved was meant for me

  each day it woke the sun
  and played till time had tired
  then put the night to sleep in bed
  I dreamed the sky was underhead

  when it was glad I joyed
  when it was sad I grieved
  joy and grief were never lonely
  I had myself for company

  the seasons came and went
  and with them went we two
  the fallen leaves now memories
  of years grown thick as forest trees

  till knowledge found us there
  and taught us false from true
  how much the simple lesson cost
  I gained a world not worth the lost

  alter ego

  always He was there
  facing me
  where the others could not see
  they never believed me

  He stood in the shadows
  like a tree
  posed in sunlight
  when the woods are darkly bright
  but they saw only
  black and white
  as I impatiently
  cried fools are you blind
  they looked at me
  their eyes were not unkind

  when He spoke
  I heard each word
  distinctly spoken
  the silence broken
  was what He said
  but they only shook their heads
  as I repeatedly
  cried fools can't you hear
  gently they answered me
  your voice is clear

  when He wept
  they wiped my tears
  kept me consoled
  for the pain He felt
  fools are you so old
  you have no fears,
  have you no heart
  that grief can melt
  I insisted through the years
  but they would not depart

  when He slipped
  they caught me in their arms
  ripped the garments from my wound
  and staunched the flow
  fools let me go let me go
  I shouted in alarm
  as He swooned
  and still they did not see
  the shadows by the tree
  they never believed me

  then He was dying
  and I knew
  dying too
  that they would bury me there
  beside the tree
  where no one else could see
  but the fools were crying
  because I was lying so quietly
  watching the shadows
  and waiting

  this much I know about time

  there is safety
  only in the heart
  guard it well
  my love

  where is beauty
  lonely in the mart
  hard to sell
  my dove

  fame is rider
  pawing wind and cloud
  fool to reach
  so far

  blame is spider
  drawing in the crowd
  cruel of speech
  they are

  joys are token
  mainly for regret
  high the score
  I played

  toys are broken
  plainly to forget
  buy no more
  I said

  breath is fearless
  bolder than the mind
  few will sight
  my spire

  death is cheerless
  colder than the wind
  who will light
  my fire

  in the wake of sleep

  storm in the brain whips the dull season high
  while dunes of repetition pile against the night
  sandscarred to flight... hurriedly the shore
  frightened by tide sliding out from cat's paw
  scurries behind land's door, turns key in lock
  and dims the light... now wind and rain can rock
  the mind to a wild ship's bow, ride down a mile
  climb up a wall to mountain height of sky...

  dreams crash each side, tear anchor loose from sleep
  and madly race the lightning out to sea...
  everything changes: hands feet eyes the face
  of storm, all composition of the gray
  sameness, walls razed, roofs blown, the no of drought
  flooded out... the revenging dog barks loud
  across the fog and we wake to the nightmare
  violence of day, salt in mouth, sand in hair

  cold wakening

  for thirty years I lived a dream
  until I woke up with a scream
  and saw that all the things I'd dreamt
  had vanished in the dawn's contempt

  it was not I within the glass
  it was my mother's face alas
  a face so changed from mine I'd known
  I thought the years had turned to stone

  and where were all my innocence
  my glad beliefs and magic pence
  that I had saved to travel through
  a timeless world where dreams come true?

  not anything inside my hand
  no moment's evidence of sand
  just grayish pulp to make me damn
  the heartless proof I think, I am?

  the dream is gone and still as ice
  that glaciers down some mountain splice
  and I am carried underneath
  with stones to cling to by my teeth

  weather forecast

  always before the final terror
  a luscious peace
  not yet the signal bell
  not yet the swift alarm
  the sleeper has another hour
  the worker has a holiday
  still eases the dawn forward
  still comes the morning toward
  open the cities' piers
  open frontiers
  an early spring
  being everything
  the last kiss like the first
  the best without the worst

  always after the initial fear
  a new release
  not yet the sharp compel
  not yet the threatened harm
  the body has a lazy power
  the brain has an agile way
  so warm the fireside within
  so rich the harvest every bin
  secure the outer walls
  secure the stalls
  a deep serenity
  without enmity
  the first signs like the last
  the future in the past

  measured interval

  the morning speeds to a full stop
  lands in the park
  and lights a cigarette--
  still fifteen minutes to burn
  and then noon

  the train comes along, drops
  through the darkness
  and forgets--
  till five o'clock returns
  and the news

  night wakes with a gong
  rings bells in the brain
  and runs off shouting--
  sleep dresses itself
  and wakes, shaking

  skies ricochet downward, prong
  ciliate streaks of rain
  with gun shells routing--
  a mad head on a shelf
  laughs, breaking

  now the moon blankets over the dead
  the warmth their lover bodies were denied

  they lie on alien bed
  who failed to live
  who tried, whose eyes are wide
  to heaven knows what stars
  what glories fugitive

  o tell me mars
  to every action
  is there an equal
  and opposite reaction

  black sun

  the night is white, ah strange
  the world I knew grown changed
  for sun is black with days
  I can not see amazed

  all has reversed, gone void
  each thought a masked deploy
  confusing sense: heat cold
  more less, body and soul

  only the light of dreams
  in which I stand blasphemed
  lost blind, a sack of straw
  facing windy mouths abhorred
  land is accursed, sea slimed
  with foulest human crimes
  at what expense to hide
  the fratricidal eye

  the ghosts of years file past
  like candles in a glass
  and I a sound unheard
  to stop the murderer

  dawn chanticleers no peace
  there is no west no east
  space closes round the speck
  man claims as architect

  log for a voyage

  we have taken to words on page
    without speech
  we have taken to birds in cage
    within reach

  forsaken the meaning of lips
  forsaken the free wing that dips

  we have shaken the fruitful tree
    of belief
  we have shaken the brutal sea
    for relief

  mistaken the evils of sin
  mistaken the wheels that spin

  then who of us shall slake the salt wound
    on the tongue
  who shall wake the nightingales marooned
    here among

  o wander the world for the garden that lies
  on the floor of atlantis or roof of the skies

  from its seed breed a new race of life loving men
  from its reed and papyrus make music again

  notes for the future

  light destroyed by minds
  only the stars

  might destroyed by hands
  only the stones

  no other language but signs
  no other knowledge but clans

  time reduced by fear
  only the sun

  space reduced by force
  only the hunt

  each one yoked from head to knee
  each one racked by tooth and claw

  ears condemned to hope
  only the drum

  eyes condemned to ape
  only the dream

  this book is
  a signed limited edition
  designed by the author
  set in cheltonian type
  printed on biblios paper
  published and distributed by
  editorial jus mejia number 19
  mexico city


Elizabeth Bartlett (1911-1994) was an American poet and writer noted
for her lyrical and symbolic poetry, creation of the new twelve-tone
form of poetry, founder of the international non-profit organization
Literary Olympics, Inc., and known as an author of fiction, essays,
reviews, translations, and as an editor.  She is not to be confused
with the British poet (1924-2008) of the same name.  For more detailed
information about her life, work, and critical commendations, see
the Wikipedia article

Bartlett's most notable achievements include:

* Creation of a new form of poetry, "the twelve-tone poem," adapting
Arnold Schonberg's musical system to the verbal, accented sounds
of language.  Called "the Emily Dickinson of the 20th Century," her
concise lyrics have been praised by poets, musicians, and composers

* Publication of 16 books of poetry, a group of edited anthologies,
and more than 1,000 poems, short stories, and essays published, for
example, in _Harper's_, _Virginia Quarterly_, _New York Times_, _North
American Review_, _Saturday Review_, _Prairie Schooner_, and in
numerous international collections.

* Recipient of many fellowships, grants and awards, including NEA,
PEN Syndicate, fellowships at the Huntington Hartford Foundation,
Montalvo, Yaddo, MacDowell, Dorland Mt. Colony and Ragdale, travel
grants, and honors for introducing literature as part of the Olympics.

* Founder of the Literary Olympics, to restore literature,
specifically poetry, as a vital part of the Olympics as it once
had been in ancient Greece.

Bartlett's poetry came to the attention of leading poets,
writers, and critics as diverse as Marianne Moore, Wallace Stevens,
Mark Van Doren, Conrad Aiken, Allen Tate, Alfred Kreymborg, Robert
Hillyer, Louis Untermeyer, Rolfe Humphries, John Ciardi, Richard
Eberhart, Richard Wilbur, Maxine Kumin, Robert M. Hutchins, Kenneth
Rexroth, William Stafford, and others.  Over the years, Bartlett
maintained an active and extensive correspondence with eminent poets,
writers, and literary critics; evident throughout this collected
literary correspondence are strong statements attesting to the
importance of her work.

About her first book of poetry, _Poems of Yes and No_, Marianne Moore
wrote: "I surely find good in the _Poems of Yes and No_....  The
clearness of the book is certainly beautiful."  Wallace Stevens
was impressed by _Poems of Yes and No_ and wrote: "Your poems
give one a sense of intelligence and sensibility."  Alfred Kreymborg
was enthusiastic about the book: "You have found a style of your own
and developed it.  I say yes to your _Poems of Yes and No_.  This is a
distinguished volume as a whole.  I wish you well with this warm book.
Any poet might envy the courage and artistry of what you say, or
rather sing, there."  Further commendation came from Robert Hillyer,
who wrote: "Your poems are moving and unusual....  A distinguished

Her husband, Paul Alexander Bartlett (1909-1990) was an American
writer, artist, and poet.  He made a large-scale study of more than
350 Mexican haciendas, published novels, short stories, and poetry,
and worked as a fine artist in a variety of media.  For more detailed
information about his life and work, see the Wikipedia article

Elizabeth Bartlett's son, Steven James Bartlett (1945- ), is a
psychologist and philosopher who has published many books and
articles in the fields of philosophy and psychology.  For more
detailed information about his life and work, see the Wikipedia
article https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steven_James_Bartlett.

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