Treasure Island

Henry David Thoreau

(12 July 1817 – 6 May 1862 / Concord, Massachusetts)

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The Summer Rain


My books I'd fain cast off, I cannot read,
'Twixt every page my thoughts go stray at large
Down in the meadow, where is richer feed,
And will not mind to hit their proper targe.

Plutarch was good, and so was Homer too,
Our Shakespeare's life were rich to live again,
What Plutarch read, that was not good nor true,
Nor Shakespeare's books, unless his books were men.

Here while I lie beneath this walnut bough,
What care I for the Greeks or for Troy town,
If juster battles are enacted now
Between the ants upon this hummock's crown?

Bid Homer wait till I the issue learn,
If red or black the gods will favor most,
Or yonder Ajax will the phalanx turn,
Struggling to heave some rock against the host.

Tell Shakespeare to attend some leisure hour,
For now I've business with this drop of dew,
And see you not, the clouds prepare a shower--
I'll meet him shortly when the sky is blue.

This bed of herd's grass and wild oats was spread
Last year with nicer skill than monarchs use.
A clover tuft is pillow for my head,
And violets quite overtop my shoes.

And now the cordial clouds have shut all in,
And gently swells the wind to say all's well;
The scattered drops are falling fast and thin,
Some in the pool, some in the flower-bell.

I am well drenched upon my bed of oats;
But see that globe come rolling down its stem,
Now like a lonely planet there it floats,
And now it sinks into my garment's hem.

Drip drip the trees for all the country round,
And richness rare distills from every bough;
The wind alone it is makes every sound,
Shaking down crystals on the leaves below.

For shame the sun will never show himself,
Who could not with his beams e'er melt me so;
My dripping locks--they would become an elf,
Who in a beaded coat does gayly go.

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003

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  • Frank Avon (8/20/2014 1:04:00 AM)

    Alas, Thoreau was a superb writer of prose, but NOT a poet. The best book of poetry by Thoreau that I have ever read was a book of found poetry, recasting some of his richly rhythmic prose into lines. (Report) Reply

  • Shannae Moon (8/20/2013 10:53:00 PM)

    just as Kevin said I'm dazzled that a person able to get paid $9188 in 1 month on the internet. have you seen this page - - -]- - ] w­w­w.w­o­r­k­2­5.c­o­m Already Reported Reply

  • Kevin Straw (8/20/2012 2:31:00 PM)

    From verse seven this makes a good poem. The rest is so much nonsense. - e.g. how can a battle between ants be juster than Homer's battles? The world of Nature is not greater than the world of literature - it is different and gives different satisfactions - there is no comparison between the two. (Report) Reply

  • Francisca Darko (8/20/2012 10:06:00 AM)

    Each line is very beautiful. I love summer rain and I love this poem. It's so weird I read it the day after I wrote a poem called August Rain... :) (Report) Reply

  • Ramesh T A (8/20/2011 2:54:00 AM)

    Indeed before Nature especially like meadow or rain history and plays are nothing! The happiness and comfort Nature gives cannot be given by any book ever! Nice point and poem by Henry David Thoreau! (Report) Reply

  • Mohammad Akmal Nazir (8/20/2011 1:48:00 AM)

    The world of Nature is certainly greater than the world of Literature. Nature is present before us in the most original form while literature depends on the instinct of the writer how he presents it with the maximum possible talent in his command. So let's enjoy literature under the cover of Nature not vise-versa. (Report) Reply

  • Terence George Craddock (8/20/2010 1:45:00 PM)

    Ants quicken pace, battle in war warrior stubborn siege, like scenes from Homer's Iliad. Thoreau plays nature through showers of change, experience, in the never ending individual mind play of Human observation of nature spun, into life contrasts. 'The Unseen Remains' regardless, indifferent to human observation. 'The Unseen Remains' in ant battles depicted with more modern depictions of biological and human weapon interaction. The world operates within differing scales of perception and reality. (Report) Reply

  • Is It Poetry (8/20/2009 8:29:00 AM)

    and this way, and that way..
    intertwine and this..
    world and that one..
    Be it quill and leaf...
    or guilt atones..iip.. (Report) Reply

  • Ravi A (8/20/2009 6:40:00 AM)

    The basic idea that the world of nature is richer than the the world of literature seems to me a true one. We are directly in contact with nature. Of course, literature has its richer aspects closer to life and nature if the theme is handled by great writers. The essence is this. The writer may be true in his approach but the reader may yet miss the spirit because his basic inclinations. This is also to be noted. I have seen people having a very dry approach to poets like Wordsworth. The reader's basic nature also counts a lot. A literary work is a communication between the writer and the reader. Either can make a miss. Only the particular reader can say about this. (Report) Reply

  • Kevin Straw (8/20/2009 5:29:00 AM)

    The basic conceit that the world of nature is richer than the the world of literature seems to me a false one. That 'juster battles' can be fought between ants than between men is a daft idea. My feeling is that Emerson should have simply said he was tired of reading and found refreshment in nature - it is the nature descriptions which are really at the heart of this poem.. (Report) Reply

    Laura Burns (8/20/2014 4:06:00 PM)

    It is Thoreau, not Emerson.

  • Talib Taala (3/19/2007 11:32:00 AM)

    A wonderfull poem. I love every line of it as I love every curve of my girl friend when she is nude and lusting. So are the joys and pleasure of this poem (Report) Reply

Read all 15 comments »

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