American Bald Eagle, charcoal sketch by Randol Eagles Poetry for the ear in the tradition of blind Homer.


by Walter Rufus Eagles 

Archive initiated May 2, 2003 & updated as needed.  Click HERE for our editorial policy or to record your comments.  Click on the red logo to return to home page.

Inclusion Criteria for Poets and Poems:
1.  Weekly Poems are chosen to comprise a short program that is both entertaining and historically important,       2.  Please visit also Morning Poems, a byproduct of the weekly page.   Featured daily are a principal poem and an alternate.
      3.  The third major page of this website, Index of Poets, is an anthology of audio poetry in Modern English (1460 to 1973) with alphabetical listing of all of the poet pages represented on (in use now by teachers and students alike as a resource), and is updated each morning by 0600 GMT.  Most poets represented on this website are deceased, and their collection amounts to a much-needed audio poetry history, which is being accessed daily in 77 countries worldwide.  As for living poets, your editor refers you to a fine and representative audio anthology, featuring living poets reading their own works as well as poets who have died since 1973.
     4.  The fourth major page of this website, British War Poets and Beyond, is an ongoing tribute to the poets (including their poems), principally British, who lost their lives in World War I, leaving war poems that are astonishing both in enduring literary merit and in sheer volume, and which seldom wax political.  Please visit Morning Poem in Time of War, a byproduct of that page.  The Morning Poem in Time of War page is also updated each morning by 0600 GMT.  
     Finally, the purpose of this multi-year project is to present, not an academic anthology claiming to be a 'balanced presentation' - rather, to make available a total of 2,002 lyrical audio poems in Modern English (from the period 1460-1973): twice as many as the Arabian Nights stories, and also a signal of the year in which the project began, for the enjoyment and perhaps the edification of the people of the planet Earth linked by the World Wide Web. The project will encompass about 30 eighty-minute CDs, available to libraries, by its completion on May 1, 2006 or earlier, if God grant your editor and reader that time.  [MISC NOTE: Recording & Post-Edit Procedures.]
                     - Walter Rufus Eagles  [updated March 20, 2009]

Richard P. ("R. P.") Blackburn [1904-1965] is more remembered these days, at the outset of the 21st century, as a literary critic, although "He preferred to think of himself as a poet." [-Denis Donoghue] Be that as it may, his poetic works (he wrote three books and a collection) are out of print as of the date of this writing. It is still possible, on the other hand, to find three of his in-print titles of literary criticism at Amazon Books. We at Eaglesweb have set out to redress a wrong: the current neglect (in print) and omission (from the Web - text and audio) of a major American poet and critic. His admiration of, and homage to, the Elizabethan sonnet form in his own work assures his place as a practitioner of discipline and vitality, who had an ear for history and a voice for the future of his craft. My own favorite poem by Blackmur is Mirage, a miniature work with astonishing imagery.

Walt Whitman [1819-1892] wrote O Captain! My Captain! after the 1865 assassination of President Abraham Lincoln, in one of his very few efforts in traditional (i.e., rhyming) poetic form.

John Clare [1793-1864] suffered from bipolar syndrome (once called 'manic-depressive' disorder) and spent his last 14 years in asylum. However, he wrote his best poetry during this period. Yours truly, a member of National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI), proudly recorded this poem in memory of John Clare and in commemoration of Mental Health Month 2003 [May].

British War Poets --  A growing archive of poems: some with, and some without, war themes; but most were written by poets who lived through and (with a few exceptions) died in war, who lost their lives in a conflict that would have to be repeated a generation later, as President Woodrow Wilson predicted, partly because of the failure of the United States to support the League of Nations, the forerunner of the United Nations.  
    Questions:  Where have the all flowers gone?  Why did these poets and their comrades die?  What have we learned?  I have no answers -- only questions, particularly now that, tonight, the battle is joined, and my old outfit in Korea, the First Marine Division, have again entered harm's way, along with many other American and United Kingdom service men and women, because their Commander in Chief and Prime Minister have respectively so ordered it.  
    These ones now risk all, and will endure perhaps 'more than all' (ask a veteran what that phrase means, or use your imagination) before the guns are finally silent.  If you can, pray for these ones and their loved ones, and also for the Iraqi men, women and children as well:  Each one of us is a child of God, and the loss of a single  human being at the hand of another is cause enough for keening, and for a wake in the house of our God of many names but of one heart.
        -- Walter Rufus Eagles,  March 20, 2003 0400 GMT
Post note:  With the fall of Baghdad at 1350 GMT on April 9, 2002 (i.e., the toppling of Saddam Hussein's statue in the central city square), this page enters archival status, and will no longer be a daily concern.  The page will remain on this web site, and reference will be made from time to time to its primary purpose, to keep alive the war poetry of the English-speaking world, so that the sacrifices made by these poets will continue to educate young people growing up in what will possibly forever be an unstable world.   Now, God willing that the worst of the battles is over, let us all work towards international peace.
      -- Walter Rufus Eagles,  April 9, 2003 1636 GMT
It appears that I was in error thinking through and writing the above post note.  More men and women have been killed since April 9th than during the "battle" itself, and it is undeniable that we are now involved in a guerilla war.  Only when the latter war is over (and not merely declared so) will this daily feature again "enter archival status."
     -- Walter Rufus Eagles,  November 4, 2003 2027 GMT

Edna St. Vincent Millay [1882-1950] RECOMMENDATIONS: Recuerdo and Euclid Alone Has Looked on Beauty Bare.  Millay was a Vassar student of literature well known for her independence.  Upon graduation, she moved to Greenwich Village and lived a bohemian life.  She had several intense relationships with both men and women at Vassar and afterwards in the Village, but married a man who became her manager, the feminist Eugen Boissevain, with whom she lived in an open marriage until his death in 1949.  Her own death followed the next year.  In 1934 she became involved in the infamous case of Sacco & Vanzetti, upon the occasion of the execution of whom she wrote a pair of sonnets in their memory and in condemnation of the "system" she believed had perpetrated a miscarriage of justice. 

Prior to his discovery by President Theodore Roosevelt, Edwin Arlington Robinson [1869-1935] was a New York subway inspector. Previous to this job experience, the poet had attended classes at Harvard and was published in the Harvard Advocate.  His subsequent attempt at self-publication failed to support him, whereupon he took the job with the subway.  Teddy Roosevelt had read his poetry and liked it, and appointed him to a government job with the U.S. Customs Service for a five year sinecure, after the end of which Robinson dedicated his next volume of verse to the President. The poet was a friend and confidante of the American poet Amy Lowell [1874-1925], also heard on this website.

Conrad Aiken [1889-1973] had surely as horrific an introduction to pre-adolescence as any poet presented on this website.  His physician father killed the boy's mother and then took his own life, leaving Conrad to discover the bodies of his dead parents and thus leaving the boy doubly orphaned.  The child, who was eleven years old at the time, was subsequently raised by his great-aunt.  Psychiatry was in its infancy during his years of need, and its availability to, and use by, the poet are probably responsible for the flowering of his mind and heart into the frequently life-affirming body of work that he has left us in spite of the problems of his youth.  Sigmund Freud thought highly of him, and praised Aiken's poetry for its analytical introspection.  The poet was a classmate of T.S. Eliot [1888-1965] and co-editor with him of the Harvard Advocate.  He lived many years abroad, but returned to America in his later years.

John Henry, Cardinal Newman [1801-1890], a poet himself, encouraged literati of his day (the Victorian era), especially Gerard Manley Hopkins [1844-1889]. One of the Cardinal's most famous books, Apologia pro Vita Sua, was a public retort to an attack on Catholic clergy of his time by Charles Kingsley [1819-1875] an Anglican minister and poet also represented on this website.

Gerard Manley Hopkins [1844-1889] was not publicly recognized as a poet until years after his death at age 44, when some friends compiled and published his poems. A member of the Jesuit Order, he was physically unable because of poor health to live the ascetic life to the full. He suffered from depression, signs of which one can hear in his poetry. He influenced many poets after him, including W. H. Auden, Dylan Thomas and yours truly, and he has left a legacy for poetics that has yet to be mined fully.  His most famous poems (and also his most accessible ones) are Felix Randal and Spring and Fall (To a Young Child).  The more complex poems (i.e., That Nature is a Heraclitean Fire, and of the Comfort of the Resurrection, The Leaden Echo and the Golden Echo and The Windhover deserve hearing multiple times, with lapses between hearings.  Very soon, will publish the ambitious long poem, The Wreck of the Deutschland, which is currently in the recording and post-edit phases.

Alfred, Lord Tennyson's [1809-1883] poem, 'St. Agnes' Eve', is not to be confused with John Keats' [1795-1821] much longer poem 'The Eve of St. Agnes' soon to be heard on this website. The mythology and history of the name is of interest -- select the title and do a web search.  My own favorite poem is Ulysses.  Concerning his poem, Tithonus, Tennyson borrowed from the Greek myth of Eos, Goddess of the Dawn, and Tithonus, a mortal.  The goddess stole him away and "asked [Jupiter] for Tithonus to be immortal, but forgot to ask for eternal youth. Tithonus indeed lived forever but grew more and more ancient, eventually turning into a cricket."  [source: the free Internet encyclopedia, Wikipedia.]

Dante Gabriel Rossetti [1828-1882] (not forgetting his sister Christina Rossetti, arguably il miglior fabbro) represents the Pre-Raphaelite school of art and poetry on While they lived and flourished during the Victorian era, the Rossettis had their own aesthetics, which were broader than the "Rossetti Woman" image commonly associated with the paintings. Thus Dante Gabriel's poems usually have mysticism and not 'carnal' or particularized beauty as their aim. On the other hand, Christina's poetry has the power and emotional force of the "Rossetti Woman" as a particularized, though internal reality.

T. S. Eliot [1888-1965] (born in America, he became an English citizen) was the single most important Modern English poet of the 20th Century. Eliot's poetry set the bar nearly impossibly high, just as Wm. Faulkner's prose did in America. He was strongly influenced by the school of Metaphysical Poets of the 17th century in England.  Listen to The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock with the term metaphysical in mind.  My own favorite short poem by Eliot is Journey of the Magi.  His friend Ezra Pound gave him the nickname Old Possum, which Eliot then used as a nom de plume in the publication of his lighter verse, The Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats, which became the text for the musical Cats.  My own favorites in that book are The Naming of Cats and Old Deuteronomy.

William Drummond of Hawthornden [1585-1649] was born and died at the estate of Hawthornden in Scotland, of which he was Laird.  He first gave the new term "metaphysical" to certain contemporary poets whom he knew and had read.  He was not, however, entirely subsumed within that school, being a classicist and a thoroughgoing Renaissance man of letters.

Edward, Lord Herbert of Cherbury [1583-1648], a Welshman, served as Ambassador to France (Paris), was the elder brother to the poet George Herbert.   Both were of the metaphysical school of poetry.

Wm. Butler Yeats [1865-1939] received the Nobel Prize for Literature for 1923, and is Ireland's greatest playwright and poet.  His poetry influenced the next generation of British poets: Listen to the memorial poem by W. H. Auden, In Memory of W. B. Yeats"Mad Ireland hurt you into poetry." and ". . . for poetry makes nothing happen . . ."  Three of my own personal favorites are The Swans at Coole, The Lake Isle of Innesfree and Sailing to Byzantium

Andrew Marvell [1621-1678] is one of the many English metaphysical poets of the 17th Century currently to be heard on Marvell's poetry influenced the work of T.S. Eliot [1888-1965] three centuries later. . . Listen especially to Marvell's 'On a Drop of Dew' keeping the term 'metaphysical' in mind.  His most famous poem is To His Coy Mistress.

William Shakespeare [1564-1616] was the greatest playwright the world has ever known.  His plays were largely written in unrhymed but metrical (iambic pentameter) verse.  His sonnets, in rhymed iambic pentameter, were private in nature, as is nearly all lyrical poetry, and although he drew from the past (Sir Thomas WyattSir Philip Sidney, Michael DraytonHenry Constable, Samuel Daniel and Fulke Greville, Lord Brooke were among his progenitors and contemporaries in the practice [sometimes public, more often private] of the sonnet form following Petrarch), he set a standard for English-speaking sonneteers to follow, including Edward, Lord Herbert of Cherbury, John Donne, John Milton, William Wordsworth, Christina & Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Matthew Arnold, John Keats, Gerard Manley Hopkins and many others including the twentieth century poets Rupert Brooke, Wilfred Owen, R. P. Blackmur and Edna St. Vincent Millay.

Isaac Rosenberg [1890-1918] was killed at the front on April 3, 1918.  He was the son of a working-class Russian-Jewish family who had emigrated to London.  Rosenberg was trained at the Art School of Birbeck College, London University, and hoped to earn his living as a portrait artist.  Both T.S. Eliot and Ezra Pound knew Rosenberg's poetry and admired it.  Some critics suggest that, had he survived the war, he might have been an outstanding poet, equaling Pound and Eliot in reputation.

Mortally wounded in action at Belloy-en-Santerre, France on the morning of July 4, 1916 whilst serving in the French Foreign Legion (a necessity if he was to serve at all, since America had not yet entered the war), Alan Seeger was reluctantly abandoned in the heat of battle by his own men (he waved away the assistance they offered him, encouraging them instead to continue fighting) until the following morning, when he was removed from the battlefield, having bled to death during the night.  He was 28 years old.

John Keats was in historical error in this poem: ". . . Cortez" should have been ". . . Balboa"  

AntigoneIn Greek mythology, the daughter of Oedipus and Jocasta. In the Sophocles tragedy, she performed the forbidden funeral rites of pouring soil over her brother's body in defiance of her uncle Creon.  Hear also my own sonnet, Antigone.

For my secretary Jan (in the early Eighties) who, upon reading the draft of Poem for Marilu, coyly complained, "Nobody ever wrote a poem for me."

Nobuyuki Shirota, not Japan's recent winner of the national sushi-eating contest (85 plates!) but my roommate in the Honolulu Young Men's Buddhist Association Center in 1960.  As for the sushi eater, "Gluttony is considered one of the seven deadly sins, punishable by being force-fed rats, toads and snakes in hell. But in Japan, gluttony has made stars out of salesmen, altered programming for TV's prime slots and changed the nation's dining scene.  The surge in overeating has also led to another deadly sin: envy."  --  CHIE MATSUMOTO, Asahi Shimbun News Service  
I do not believe my roommate was ever guilty of either of these sins, or any of the five others, for that matter.  On the contrary, he was particularly concerned, on a day, that the pigeon outside our window had to walk around in the hot Honolulu summer sun with its bare feet on the blistering asphalt: a poet; indeed a haiku poet, at heart, and a good roommate who once, after lights out, whilst we were talking in the dark as we often did from our respective bunks, spoke to me in familiar Japanese.  We were both touched by this linguistic incident/accident.

Thomas Nashe [1567-1601] was a brilliant, if erratic and substance-abusive English poet of the time of the Plague in London.  He died in his early thirties leaving a small body of original poems.  He was jailed at least once, as can be seen on his page from the note on the engraving: "Nashe in leg-irons."  The setting I have chosen for his "final" and most famous poem, Adieu, Farewell Earth's Bliss, is liturgical in nature because he chose to close each stanza with the English translation of the Kyrie eleison from the Mass.  I do not claim historical accuracy for my setting, anymore than Carl Orff did for his "neo-Medieval" opera, Carmina Burana, or his "neo-Classical" opera, Antigonae.  But my setting seems appropriate to me and, hopefully, carries some of the gravitas of the poem.

Adelaide Crapsey died from complications of tuberculosis at age thirty seven.  Carl Sandburg's poem, Adelaide Crapsey [0:55], published in 1918, coming as it did from a great and influential fellow poet, helped rescue Crapsey's small "output" of miniatures from oblivion.  

A reflection on a scene from the movie, The Horse's Mouth, adapted from the novel by Joyce Cary, movie directed by Alec Guiness and starring himself.  Sir Alec also wrote the screenplay adaptation.  Hear also a falsetto reading by "The Duchess of Blackpool" -- a character created in the movie by Guiness, a sort-of outtake that never was: a recitation, by the Duchess, of Edmund Waller's Go, Lovely Rose [by your reader, Walter Rufus Eagles.]

M  Information and acknowledgements concerning music heard on this web site:
     The music now playing is fully described in the following note O.  
     Most keyboard Midi sequences heard on other pages of this site are by permission John Sankey, at  Other instrumental Midi sequences are by permission Curtis Clark (Internet Renaissance Band) at CSU Pomona.  A small number of Midi sequences are heard without attribution, but by file name alone.  Special thanks for Mr. Sankey and to Mr. Clark for helping our students and lovers of poetry to place in cultural, especially musical, context the audio poetry heard on this site. 

0 Thomas Tallis [1505-1585]: Third Mode Melody (Phrygian Mode) ("Why fum'th in fight. . .") [0:53] from Archbishop Parker's Psaltery of 1567.  The melody was the basis for Ralph Vaughan Williams' [1872-1958] orchestral work for string quartet, string nonette and full string orchestra, Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis, four centuries later (1910).  Click HERE to listen to the recorded performance by the Cambridge Singers, used for non-commercial purposes without permission but with full attribution.  Tallis was a great organist, and the front page of this website features the organ version. For more music by the Cambridge Singers, go to
Here are the words:
"Why fum'th in fight the Gentiles spite, in fury raging stout?
     Why tak'th in hand the people fond, vain things to bring about?
     The Kings arise, the Lords devise, in counsels met thereto,
     against the Lord with false accord, against His Christ they go."  

Teachers, please feel free to review the poetry on this site for appropriateness to your student age group [the range is K16, with Mother Goose Rhymes at K and most of Hopkins' poetry at 13-16], then assign to your students any recordings as corollary teaching material.  Recent class referrals have included (1) Rudyard Kipling's poem If (215 hits in one day, 206 hits the next) and (2) the tongue-twisting Mother Goose Rhyme, Peter Piper Picked a Peck of Pickled Peppers (1,220 hits per day for two days). Others have been the Brownings - Robert and Elizabeth Barrett - and the British War Poets.  

2 Your suggestions for the Featured Poet of the Week (starting Thursday of each week) are welcome.  Simply go to the Poet Index and send me an email with your choice of poet's name to be considered:  

3 "Grant eternal rest to them, Lord" from the Mass for the Dead (Missa pro defunctis).   

M  Information and acknowledgements concerning music heard on this web site:  See following note O.  
     Most keyboard Midi sequences heard on other pages of this site are by permission John Sankey, at  Other instrumental Midi sequences are by permission Curtis Clark (Internet Renaissance Band) at UC Pomona.  A small number of Midi sequences are heard without attribution, but by file name alone.  Special thanks for Mr. Sankey and to Mr. Clark for helping place the beginnings of English and European culture of the late Mediaeval and Renaissance periods in context.  

0 Thomas Tallis [1505-1585]: Third Mode Melody (Phrygian Mode) ("Why fum'th in fight. . .") [0:53] from Archbishop Parker's Psaltery of 1567.  The melody was the basis for Ralph Vaughan Williams' [1872-1958] orchestral work for string quartet, string nonette and full string orchestra, Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis, four centuries later (1910).  Click HERE to hear the recorded performance by the Cambridge Singers, used for non-commercial purposes without permission but with full attribution.  For more music by the Cambridge Singers, go to
Here are the words:
"Why fum'th in fight the Gentiles spite, in fury raging stout?
   Why tak'th in hand the people fond, vain things to bring about?
   The Kings arise, the Lords devise, in counsels met thereto,
   against the Lord with false accord, against His Christ they go." is a world-wide (91 countries) non-commercial educational multimedia literature and arts website, updated daily with newly-recorded poems throughout the school year.  All poems on the site are fully archived and accessible by use of the Googletm search engine on the front page, which is always handy from any other page by clicking on the red logo.  The quota of 2,002 poems (twice the number of the Arabian Nights stories) is expected to be achieved by May 1, 2010, on the anniversary of the launching of the Eaglesweb poetry project.    NOTE: There is an annual two month summer vacation from Independence Day (July 4th) through Labor Day (USA) (first Monday in September), after which date the features MORNING POEM and WEEKLY POEMS resume with new recordings.  All other updates and maintenance continue. 

EDITORIAL POLICY  Your comments will be considered in future site construction or content of this literary resource website.   All suggestions are welcome (see below), and English teachers especially are encouraged to let me know how they would like see/hear the form/content of in the future.  This free personal, voluntary educational site exists for the general public of course, but specifically for yourself and for your students -- and for students, teachers and poetry lovers worldwide.  
  Click HERE to review past comments.  Policy changes were necessary in order to screen prank emails.  Alternatively, QUERIES will be answered when you SEND E-MAIL to me.  Please include the name of your school or library and your state (or country if not USA).
      I take great care in the selection, research, study, rehearsal, recording and post-edit of the poems in this anthology, and your advice is solicited if you believe, for instance, that I have misspelled or mispronounced names or words generally.  After I have decided to include a particular poem, no censorship is performed by me as editor, and no suggestions in that regard will be countenanced.  As for inclusion criteria, there is only one: The timeless literary worth of the individual poem considered without regard to the varied, changing and sometimes conflicted/conflicting cultures in which we find ourselves at the beginning of this particular century in our long journey home.

At my back I always hear
The Sheltons, Miltons and Shakespeares;
And my grave responsibility 
Is to each of them and their compeers. 

My working philosophy for the present, at age 69, and for the future:
"I am a part of all that I have met;
Yet all experience is an arch wherethrough
Gleams that untraveled world whose margin fades
Forever and forever when I move.
   . . . my purpose holds
To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths
Of all the western stars, until I die."

         -- Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1833) (From Ulysses) [hear]
"And after that, the dark": [hear]
    Fragment of My Own Epitaph:
"I needed more from myth than wine:
I wanted stars to guide a wounded dragon home,
Several miles of space within my mind,
And skies as open as tomorrow."

Walter Rufus Eagles (1968) (From My Epitaph]

        poet, reader, editor, webmaster and English teacher (the latter now more than ever) 

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All audio recordings copyright 2001, 2002, 2003 Walter Rufus Eagles voice recording only.  All audio reproduction rights reserved.

Click on image to see a series of action photos of Mahra in a paper-ball game.

AUDIO PUBLISHING DEADLINES, both daily and weekly, will be no later than 0700 Mountain Daylight Time [USA], or 1400 Greenwich Meantime. has now arrived at its midway point in the four-year project first enunciated on May 1, 2002. The resulting 1,001-poem anthology (starting May 10, 2004) is to be called "A Thousand and One Mornings of Modern English Lyrical Audio Poetry" -- each poem to be heard once during the cycle that starts May 1, 2004 and ends two years and nine months from then, on February 28, 2007 with a total of 2,992 poems having been recorded by May 1, 2006. Repeating this long cycle will be a lifetime learning process if continued in the future. Each daily listener will have heard each poem on the site at least once during the two years and nine months of each cycle. Consequently he / she will have a unique foundation in Lyrical Audio Poetry in Modern English, accomplished during a lapsed period less than the standard four years of college. Newly-recorded poems (code blue) will appear, but they will accompany the replayed poem (code red) in the total of 2,002 by the end of Part Two (Cycle 28). The "replaced" poem can thus still be heard secondarily with its replacement. All archives, especially the Anthology, will remain available, and will contain all of the poems ever recorded and published on this site. The Google Search specific to is another good aid in locating a specific poem or poet. Remember that this program involves a lifetime of learning: I am still learning (I am seventy years old this year) and I find excitement in poetry each day. So can you. The poet James Dickey, teaching at Cal State Northridge, asked his creative writing students to do one thing after the course was over: Read "The Bear" by fellow Southerner William Faulkner once each year for the rest of their lives. So it should be in this case. Poets especially will find the resulting lifetime benefits in every way enriching beyond what he or she could have imagined at the outset. Stay with me, poets and other people of the planet: "The best is yet to be."  If I should live past the recording of the first 28 cycles, then the project scope will be doubled: Cycles 29 through 56 would thus be complete by May 1, 2010, for a total of 4,004 lyrical audio poems in Modern English to be played in the long cycle form thereafter, with no further additions to the anthology planned.