Tag Archives: Amy Lowell


Strawberries. Bella and Ida at the Table. Marc Chagall. 1916.
Strawberries. Bella and Ida at the Table. Marc Chagall. 1916.


Amy Lowell, 1919


When I have baked white cakes
And grated green almonds to spread upon them;
When I have picked the green crowns from the strawberries
And piled them, cone-pointed, in a blue and yellow platter;
When I have smoothed the seam of the linen I have been working;
What then?
To-morrow it will be the same:
Cakes and strawberries,
And needles in and out of cloth.
If the sun is beautiful on bricks and pewter,
How much more beautiful is the moon,
Slanting down the gauffered branches of a plum-tree;
The moon,
Wavering across a bed of tulips;
The moon,
Upon your face.
You shine, Beloved,
You and the moon.
But which is the reflection?
The clock is striking eleven.
I think, when we have shut and barred the door,
The night will be dark


Venus Transiens

The Birth of Venus. Sandro Botticelli. 1485.


Venus Transiens

Amy Lowell


Tell me,

Was Venus more beautiful

Than you are,

When she topped

The crinkled waves,

Drifting shoreward

On her plaited shell?

Was Botticelli’s vision

Fairer than mine;

And were the painted rosebuds

He tossed his lady

Of better worth

Than the words I blow about you

To cover your too great loveliness

As with a gauze

Of misted silver?


For me,

You stand poised

On the blue and buoyant air,

Cinctured by bright winds,

Treading the sunlight.

And the waves which precede you

Ripple and stir

The sands at my feet.


The Woodcutter. Jules Bastien-Lepage.



Amy Lowell, 1919


You are like the stem

Of a young beech-tree,

Straight and swaying,

Breaking out in golden leaves.

Your walk is like the blowing of a beech-tree

On a hill.

Your voice is like leaves

Softly struck upon by a South wind.

Your shadow is no shadow, but a scattered sunshine;

And at night you pull the sky down to you

And hood yourself in stars.


But I am like a great oak under a cloudy sky,

Watching a stripling beech grow up at my feet.


Woman Awakening. Eva Gonzales. 1876.



Amy Lowell


Jolt of market-carts;

Steady drip of horses’ hoofs on the hard pavement;

A black sky lacquered over with blueness,

And the lights of the Battersea Bridge

Pricking pale in the dawn.

The beautiful hours are passing

And still you sleep!

Tired heart of my joy,

Incurved upon your dreams,

Will the day come before you have opened to me?

Impressionist Picture of a Garden

Sunshine. Thomas Edwin Mostyn.


Impressionist Picture of a Garden

Amy Lowell, 1919


Give me sunlight, cupped in a paint brush,

And smear the red of peonies

Over my garden.

Splash blue upon it,

The hard blue of Canterbury bells,

Paling through larkspur

Into heliotrope,

To wash away among forget-me-nots.

Dip red again to mix a purple,

And lay on pointed flares of lilacs against bright green.

Streak yellow for nasturtiums and marsh marigolds

And flame it up to orange for my lilies.

Now dot it so and so along an edge

Of Iceland poppies.

Swirl it a bit, and faintly,

That is honeysuckle.

Now put a band of brutal, bleeding crimson

And tail it off to pink, to give the roses.

And while you re loaded up with pink,

Just blotch about that bed of phlox.

Fill up with cobalt and dash in a sky

As hot and heavy as you can make it ;

Then tree-green pulled up into that

Gives a fine jolt of colour.

Strain it out,

And melt your twigs into the cobalt sky.

Toss on some Chinese white to flash the clouds,

And trust the sunlight you ve got in your paint.

There is the picture.

The Letter

Girl Reading a Letter at an Open Window. Johannes Vermeer. 1657.


The Letter

Amy Lowell


Little cramped words scrawling all over the paper

Like draggled fly’s legs,

What can you tell of the flaring moon

Through the oak leaves?

Or of my uncertain window and the bare floor


Spattered with moonlight?

Your silly quirks and twists have nothing in them

Of blossoming hawthorns,

And this paper is dull, crisp, smooth, virgin of loveliness

Beneath my hand.


I am tired, Beloved, of chafing my heart against

The want of you;

Of squeezing it into little inkdrops,

And posting it.

And I scald alone, here, under the fire

Of the great moon.

Sea Shell

The Shell. William Adolphe Bouguereau. 1871.


Sea Shell

Amy Lowell, 1912


Sea Shell, Sea Shell,

Sing me a song, O Please!

A song of ships and sailor men,

And parrots and tropical trees,

Of islands lost in the Spanish Main

Which no man ever may find again,

Of fishes and corals under the waves,

And seahorses stabled in great green caves.

Sea Shell, Sea Shell,

Sings of the things you know so well.