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Stephen Spender (1909 – 1995)

English poet and essayist who focused on themes of social injustice and the class struggle in his work.
Stephen Spender
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.
Spender quotes
Then, in a flush of rose, she woke and her eyes that opened
Swam in blue through her rose flesh that dawned.
From her dew of lips, the drop of one word
Fell like the first of fountains: murmured
'Darling', upon my ears the song of the first bird.
'My dream becomes my dream,' she said, 'come true.
I waken from you to my dream of you.'
Oh, my own wakened dream then dared assume
The audacity of her sleep. Our dreams
Poured into each other's arms, like streams.
No one
Shall hunger: Man shall spend equally.
Our goal which we compel: Man shall be man.

Spender Stephen quotes
You drive the landscape like a herd of clouds
Moving against your horizontal tower
Of steadfast speed.
All England lies beneath you like a woman
With limbs ravished
By one glance carrying all these eyes.
Spender Stephen
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.
Stephen Spender quotes
In the last sweep of love, they pass over fields
Behind the aerodrome, where boys play all day
Hacking dead grass: whose cries, like wild birds
Settle upon the nearest roofs
But soon are hid under the loud city.
Stephen Spender
Involved in my own entrails and a crust
Turning a pitted surface towards a space,
I am a world that watches through a sky
And is persuaded by mirrors
To regard its being as an external shell,
One of a universe of stars and faces.
Spender Stephen quotes
There was a wood,
Habitation of foxes and fleshy burrows,
Where I learnt to uncast my childhood, and not alone,
I learnt, not alone. There were four hands, four eyes,
A third mouth of the dark to kiss. Two people
And a third not either: and both double, yet different.
I entered with myself. I left with a woman.
They think how one life hums, revolves and toils,
One cog in a golden singing hive...
Spender Stephen
Unless, governor, teacher, inspector, visitor,
This map becomes their window and these windows
That shut upon their lives like catacombs,
Break O break open 'till they break the town
And show the children green fields and make their world
Run azure on gold sands and let their tongues
Run naked into books, the white and green leaves open
History is theirs whose language is the sun.
Stephen Spender
The iron arc of the avoiding journey
Curves back upon my weakness at the end;
Whether the faint light spark against my face
Or in the dark my sight hide from my sight,
Centre and circumference are both my weakness.

Stephen Spender quotes
I'm struggling at the end to get out of the valley of hectoring youth, journalistic middle age, imposture, moneymaking, public relations, bad writing, mental confusion.
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.
Spender quotes
Far far from gusty waves these children's faces.
Like rootless weeds the torn hair round their paleness.
Spender Stephen
Whatever happens, I shall never be alone,
I shall always have a fare, an affair, or a revolution.
Spender Stephen quotes
In railway halls, on pavements near the traffic,
They beg, their eyes made big by empty staring
And only measuring Time, like the blank clock.
Stephen Spender
I simply had to get there.
Stephen Spender quotes
All have become so nervous and so cold
That each man hates the cause and distant words
Which brought him here, more terribly than bullets.
Stephen Spender
The seen and seeing softly mutually strike
Their glass barrier that arrests the sight.
But the world's being hides in the volcanoes
And the foul history pressed into its core;
And to myself my being is my childhood
And passion and entrails and the roots of senses;
I'm pressed into the inside of a mask
At the back of love, the back of air, the back of light.
Spender Stephen
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.'

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