Late Night Poetry: Shelley

It’s time once again for Late Night Poetry here at The Skinny (Our motto: I’ll Go To Bed After I Read This Next Chapter, Really, I Mean it This Time).

Am feeling classical today, probably because – on my own bookshelf, mind you – I found a tome called Treasury of Favorite Poems. It had fallen behind some recipe books and I forgot it was there.

Opening at random to Shelley and reading aloud, I realized how apt so many of these poems still are. These lines from ‘Mutability’ especially struck me: “We rest.– A dream has power to poison sleep; We rise.–One wandering thought pollutes the day”.

Well said, Percy! Too true. I like to wag a finger at Facebook, or reality TV, but let’s face it:  the worst thought pollution is coming from inside my own brain. : )

Voila, the full poem. See what strikes you:


We are as clouds that veil the midnight moon;
How restlessly they speed, and gleam, and quiver,
Streaking the darkness radiantly!–yet soon
Night closes round, and they are lost forever:

Or like forgotten lyres, whose dissonant strings
Give various response to each varying blast,
To whose frail frame no second motion brings
One mood or modulation like the last.

We rest.–A dream has power to poison sleep;
We rise.–One wandering thought pollutes the day;
We feel, conceive or reason, laugh or weep;
Embrace fond woe, or cast our cares away:

It is the same!–For, be it joy or sorrow,
The path of its departure still is free:
Man’s yesterday may ne’er be like his morrow;
Nought may endure but Mutability.

– Percy Bysshe Shelley

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