What I had not foreseen Was the gradual day Weakening the will Leaking the brightness away
"What I Expected Was" (l. 9–12)
For I had expected always Some brightness to hold in trust , Some final innocence To save from dustStephen Spender
Since we are what we are, what shall we be But what we are? We are, we have Six feet and seventy years, to see The light , and then resign it for the grave .Stephen Spender
Great poetry is always written by somebody straining to go beyond what he can do.Stephen Spender
I simply had to get there.Stephen Spender
There is a certain justice in criticism . The critic is like a midwife a tyrannical midwife.Stephen Spender
When a child , my dreams rode on your wishes , I was your son, high on your horse , My mind a top whipped by the lashes Of your rhetoric, windy of course.Stephen Spender
After the first powerful plain manifesto The black statement of pistons, without more fuss But gliding like a queen, she leaves the station.Stephen Spender
Ah, like a comet through flame she moves entranced Wrapt in her music no bird song, no, nor bough Breaking with honey buds, shall ever equal.Stephen Spender
They think how one life hums, revolves and toils, One cog in a golden singing hive...Stephen Spender
I think continually of those who were truly great . Who, from the womb, remembered the soul 's history Through corridors of light where the hours are suns , Endless and singing. Whose lovely ambition Was that their lips, still touched with fire , Should tell of the spirit clothed from head to foot in song .Stephen Spender
Near the snow, near the sun, in the highest fields,
See how these names are fêted in the waving grass
And by the streamers of the white cloud
And whispers of the wind in the listening sky.
The names of those who in their lives fought for life,
Who wore at their hearts the fire's centre.
Born of the sun, they travelled a short while toward the sun
And left the vivid air signed with their honour.
More beautiful and soft than any moth
With burring furred antennae feeling its huge path
Through dusk, the air-liner with shut-off engines
Glides over suburbs and the sleeves set trailing tall
To point the wind. Gently, broadly, she falls,
Scarcely disturbing charted currents of air.
Our single purpose was to walk through snow With faces swung to their prodigious North Like compass iron.Stephen Spender
Whatever happens, I shall never be alone, I shall always have a fare, an affair, or a revolution.Stephen Spender
Of course, the entire effort is to put myself Outside the ordinary range Of what are called statistics. A hundred are killed In the outer suburbs. Well, well, I carry on.Stephen Spender
My single pair of eyes Contain the universe they see; Their mirrored multiplicity Is packed into a hollow body Where I reflect the many, in my one.'Stephen Spender
Here where I lie is the hot pit
Crowding on the mind with coal
And the will turned against it
Only drills new seams of darkness
Through the dark-surrounding whole.
Our vivid suns of happiness
Withered from summer, drop their flowers;
Hands of the longed, withheld tomorrow
Fold on the hands of yesterday
In double sorrow.
All the lessons learned, unlearned; The young, who learned to read, now blind Their eyes with an archaic film; The peasant relapses to a stumbling tune Following the donkey`s bray; These only remember to forget. But somewhere some word presses On the high door of a skull and in some corner Of an irrefrangible eye Some old man memory jumps to a child Spark from the days of energy. And the child hoards it like a bitter toy.Stephen Spender
Far far from gusty waves these children's faces. Like rootless weeds the torn hair round their paleness.Stephen Spender