Ina Coolbrith

Ina Coolbrith
Nauvoo, Illinois
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Biography
Ina Donna Coolbrith (March 10, 1841 – February 29, 1928) was an American poet, writer, librarian, and a prominent figure in the San Francisco Bay Area literary community. Called the "Sweet Singer of California", she was the first California Poet Laureate and the first poet laureate of any American state.
Coolbrith, born the niece of Latter Day Sai ...
Popular Poems
1.
Longing
O foolish wisdom sought in books!
O aimless fret of household tasks!
O chains that bind the hand and mind—
A fuller life my spirit asks!
...
2.
Lines
On Hearing Kelley's Music to ‘Macbeth'
O melody, what children strange are these
From thy most vast, illimitable realm?
These sounds that seize upon and overwhelm
The soul with shuddering ecstasy! Lo! here
The night is, and the deeds that make night fear;
Wild winds and waters, and the sough of trees
Tossed in the tempest; wail of spirits banned,
Wandering, unhoused of clay, in the dim land;
The incantation of the Sisters Three,
Nameless of deed and name - the mystic chords
Weird repetitions of the mystic words;
The mad, remorseful terrors of the Thane,
And bloody hands - which bloody must remain.
Last, the wild march; the battle hand to hand
Of clashing arms, in awful harmony,
Sublimely grand, and terrible as grand!
The clan-cries; the barbaric trumpetry;
And the one fateful note, that, throughout all,
Leads, follows, calls, compels, and holds in thrall.
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3.
Not Yet
NOT yet from the yellow west,
Fade, light of the autumn day
Far lies my haven of rest,
And rough the way.
She has waited long, my own!
And the night is dark and drear
To meet alone.

Not yet, with the leaves that fall,
Fall, rose of the wayside thorn,
Fair and most sweet of all
The summer-born.
But O, for my rose that stands,
And waits, through the lessening year,
My gathering hands!

Fail not, O my life, so fast —
Fail not till we shall have met:
Soon, soon will thy pulse be past,
But oh, not yet! —
Till her fond eyes on me shine,
And the heart so dear, so dear,
Beats close to mine.
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4.
Bohemia
No lurking shadows here appear;
The weaving spider comes not here;
Here, if the solemn Owl doth sit,
‘Tis but above the tapers lit,
To blink at wisdom's shinning wit.
The skies are blue, the winds are fair,
Nor place nor space for tyrant care
Within the bounds, Bohemia.

Lo! gold is much, but ‘tis not all-
Too oft a lure the soul to thrall;
The subtle brain, the skilled hand,
Of melody the magic wand,
The silent songs the poets sing,
Which through the world take voice and wing,
The sparkling jest, the laughing lip,
The royal, genial fellowship-
Of these thy wealth, Bohemia.

O children of the Cloudless Clime!
Where'er the changing sands of time
Have borne ye, lo! from one and all
The voices answer, voices call!
From Seen, and from the Unseen Land,
Where, unforgot, dear comrades stand,
Lift loyal heart and loyal hand,
With love of thee, Bohemia.
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5.
How Looked The Earth?
HOW looked the earth unto His eyes,
So lately closed OH Paradise?
Clad all in purity
Of snowy raiment, as a bride
That waiteth for her lord to see —
That waiteth in her love and pride?

Was the snow white on fields and rocks,
Whereon the shepherds watched their flocks
In the mid-winter night?
And saw the angel, clothed in white,
The heavenly gates that opened wide,
In midst whereof was One

They dared not gaze upon!
Snow hither, thither, and afar,
Beneath the new, mysterious star?
Snow upon Lebanon,
Whose cedars stood, a crystal net
Of frost-work, beautiful to see?
Snow upon Olivet —
Snow upon awful Calvary?

Found He it fair to look upon,
Beneath the wooing of the sun?
The turf whereon He trod,
Did he not bend His glance to greet?
The daisy glancing from the sod,
The lily slim and tall;
The ferny banks of sheltered nooks,
The singing voice within the brooks,

Each slender blade of grass that sprang,
The tender shade of- leafy ways,
Each little bird that sang
Its wee heart out in praise —
I think He found them sweet,
He knew and loved them all.
...

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