poem index

sign up to receive a new poem-a-day in your inbox

About this Poem 

“Letters” was published in May-Day and Other Pieces (Ticknor and Fields, 1867). 

Letters

Every day brings a ship,
Every ship brings a word;
Well for those who have no fear,
Looking seaward well assured
That the word the vessel brings
Is the word they wish to hear.

This poem is in the public domain. 

This poem is in the public domain. 

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Ralph Waldo Emerson

American poet, essayist, and philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson was born in 1803 in Boston.

by this poet

poem

Bulkeley, Hunt, Willard, Hosmer, Meriam, Flint,
Possessed the land which rendered to their toil
Hay, corn, roots, hemp, flax, apples, wool and wood.
Each of these landlords walked amidst his farm,
Saying, "'Tis mine, my children's and my name's.
How sweet the west wind sounds in my own

poem
The Sphinx is drowsy,
        The wings are furled;
Her ear is heavy,
        She broods on the world.
"Who'll tell me my secret,
        The ages have kept?--
I awaited the seer,
        While they slumbered and slept;--

"The fate of the man-child;
        The meaning of man;
Known fruit of the unknown
poem
By the rude bridge that arched the flood,
    Their flag to April’s breeze unfurled,
Here once the embattled farmers stood,
    And fired the shot heard round the world.

The foe long since in silence slept;
    Alike the conqueror silent sleeps;
And Time the ruined bridge has swept
    Down the dark stream