Learn More

William Empson

(1906-1984 / England)

Missing Dates


Slowly the poison the whole blood stream fills.
It is not the effort nor the failure tires.
The waste remains, the waste remains and kills.

It is not your system or clear sight that mills
Down small to the consequence a life requires;
Slowly the poison the whole blood stream fills.

They bled an old dog dry yet the exchange rills
Of young dog blood gave but a month's desires.
The waste remains, the waste remains and kills.

It is the Chinese tombs and the slag hills
Usurp the soil, and not the soil retires.
Slowly the poison the whole blood stream fills.

Not to have fire is to be a skin that shrills.
The complete fire is death. From partial fires
The waste remains, the waste remains and kills.

It is the poems you have lost, the ills
From missing dates, at which the heart expires.
Slowly the poison the whole blood stream fills.
The waste remains, the waste remains and kills.

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003
Edited: Monday, April 08, 2013

Do you like this poem?
1 person liked.
0 person did not like.

Read poems about / on: dog, fire, lost, death, poem

Read this poem in other languages

This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.

I would like to translate this poem »

word flags

What do you think this poem is about?

Comments about this poem (Missing Dates by William Empson )

Enter the verification code :

  • Rookie Laurence Beck (4/16/2009 11:13:00 PM)

    http: //www.cs.rice.edu/~ssiyer/minstrels/poems/202.html
    The final quatrain of this villanelle:

    It is the poems you have lost, the ills
    From missing dates, at which the heart expires.
    Slowly the poison the whole blood stream fills.
    The waste remains, the waste remains and kills.

    Rage, Rage against the dying on this line! (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Mike Farman (8/23/2007 8:35:00 AM)

    Fascinated by this villanelle, but unable to penetrate its true meaning (if it has one) Most poems begin from the specific and may progress to a generalisation....this starts out with a generalisation and stays with it, unless I'm missing something. Would be glad to hear somebody tell me that I'm wrong and give their interpretation of this poem. (Report) Reply

Read all 3 comments »

Trending Poets

Trending Poems

  1. Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night, Dylan Thomas
  2. The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost
  3. Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening, Robert Frost
  4. Annabel Lee, Edgar Allan Poe
  5. Invictus, William Ernest Henley
  6. Fire and Ice, Robert Frost
  7. 'My Christmas Prayer' (For all who have .., Linda Winchell
  8. Dreams, Langston Hughes
  9. A Life-Lesson, James Whitcomb Riley
  10. Alone, Edgar Allan Poe

Poem of the Day

poet James Whitcomb Riley

There! little girl; don't cry!
They have broken your doll, I know;
And your tea-set blue,
And your play-house, too,
Are things of the long ago;
...... Read complete »

   

New Poems

  1. Not A Fairytale, Apolynn Lagaras
  2. let's worship nothing, forever, Mandolyn ...
  3. Keep Patience and Stand, Kumarmani Mahakul
  4. Nothing Seems Right, Andrew Butler
  5. Seventeen Thoughts, A Lifetime, Kewayne Wadley
  6. Strangers Welcome, Kewayne Wadley
  7. What is truth?, Edward Clapham
  8. A Most Happy Holiday, Dorothy (Alves) Holmes
  9. Christmas - Christmas, Dorothy (Alves) Holmes
  10. Cage, Sarvesh wahie
[Hata Bildir]