Wednesday, 4 March 2015

The Spectator by Amy Evans

Every night I would wait,
with my elbows embedded in Earth’s carpet,
resting my hot mango cheekbones in my charcoaled palms.
The carpet tingles with breath.
a lone macaw narrates the night
with his rainbow talons
he is the orchestra conductor…
Crickets Dance
Bullfrogs Groan
Leaves Sighhh
The air Humsssssss.
Sunrise baptises the new day,
a bush baby yawns with eyelids of lead.
A caterpillar cocoon clings to a vacant leaf –
to come back as something beautiful.
The air tastes of Steam and Strangles…
like a snake around a thick branch.
The run of water carries the scent of orchids,
and the ribbon of colour ripples through the breeze.
Beetles scuttle between my toes.
A dragonfly shimmers a spectrum of emerald,
he notes his reflection in the white of my eye.
Whispers hover around my spine.
I am in front of a two sided mirror
And it’s looking back.


Date: 2012

By: Amy Evans (19??- )

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

To the Muse by Jean Adam(s)

Come hither to the Hedge, and see
The Walks that are assign’d to thee:
All the Bounds of Virtue shine,
All the plain of Wisdom’s thine,
All the Flowers of harmless Wit
Thou mayest pull, if thou think’st fit,
In the fair Field of History.
All the Plants of Piety
Thou mayest freely thence transplant:
But have a Care of whining Cant.

From: Keith, Jennifer, Poetry and the Feminine from Behn to Cowper, 2005, University of Delaware Press: Newark, Delaware, p. 89.

Date: 1734

By: Jean Adam(s) (1704-1765)

Monday, 2 March 2015

Barcarolle by Juliana Mary Louisa (May) Probyn

Last night we sailed, my love and I,
Last night and years ago —
Was it moon or sea, we drifted through?
I think I shall never know!
We had no oar —
We neared no shore —
We floated with the tide;
The moon was white,
And the sea alight.
And none in the world beside.

I and my love, we said farewell —
It is years and years away.
We kissed our last in a life gone by —
I think it was yesterday!
Oh! for heaven, give me
A moon and a sea
To sail, when we both have died,
With never an oar —
With never a shore —
Drifting on with the tide!

From: Probyn, May, A Ballad of the Road and Other Poems, 1883, W. Satchell and Co: London, p. 85.

Date: 1883

By: Juliana Mary Louisa (May) Probyn (1856-1909)

Sunday, 1 March 2015

The City Clocks by Padraic Colum

The City clocks point out the hours–
They look like moons on their darkened towers–

And I who was shown my destination
Thrice, but have no sense of location,

Am back again at one or the other
Looming clocks that have changed the figure.

Moments a thousand have hurried over,
And the sought place is as far as ever.

The City clocks point out the hours–
They look like moons on their darkened towers;

That Time and Place are a tangled skein
Their mingled strokes say over again.

From: Colum, Padraic, The Collected Poems of Padraic Colum, 1953, Devin-Adair: New York, p. 141.

Date: 1907

By: Padraic Colum (1881-1972)

Saturday, 28 February 2015

The Parchment Skin by Ágnes Lehóczky

(for a friendship)

I mean, to remember is like carving coffins out of cedars and
graffitiing a simple word all over the façade. Learning
reiterations by heart. Against traps of falling towards
forgetfulness. Coffin texts engraved about the detours of the
forgotten. The loss of the sun. Eyelids. Tattooed with
instructions. Written vertically, towards an idle present. They
spiral. Spiralling nowhere like odd church towers which, you
say, look unfinished like the past. Beheaded here-and-nows.
Colossal owls. White-washed lighthouses. Minding town and
sea. Spotting caravans of cargo ships inching along the
midsummer horizon. Is this journey ever going to end?
Between now and then, to and fro in this notebook? Back and
forth between these visitations. We are lost between the
length and height, width and breadth of remembering.
Enveloped. Between layers of shadows. Have you noticed
the adjournment of the years ahead? Savouring the milky
hour from bottomless mugs. Will we remember how we
drank time? Have you ever been in this underground garden
before? Assembling for an early morning labyrinthine
breakfast? A life-long preparation. Iterations. Don’t forget
the teaspoon. The porcelain. Slurping from dead wells.
Counting the clock. Counting cocooned bugs. Matter-of-fact
bugs, as long as empty cases count. They count. We spot a
dozen of them. We spot the impromptuness with which we
spot them. The impromptuness with which we forget them.
You say, the absence of memories is a little bit like dying. Or
dying for the second time. That’s why. Let’s try and graffiti
coffins carved out of cedars. You do mine. Here, on my dry
skin. Where is the dragonfly? Its disposed skin stuck to the
reed. How can nothing hold on; after all? With antennae,
with empty gloves. Abandoned gravitation. The skin of
twenty odd years. The cocoon of the sepia city in waiting. A
light yellow home. Cities don’t leave, they stay. They don’t.
They travel in sunburnt parchments. In sand grains. In the
vertigo of the sea. In the shell of the crab crawling to and fro.
In your hand crawling to and fro. Rotating. The way you
drag its empty body around carving circles in the sand. The
resemblance dizzies me. The likeness between the cocoon
and the body that is gone. The similarity between the live and
the dead. Importunate sea gulls in the North wind. Fishing in
the air. Circulating above us. They come almost too close to
my face, as if they were, in fact, fishing for faces, fishing for
hair, fishing for skin. Fishing for shadows and for ghosts. For
holes in pebbles. Impromptu absences washed out by the
tide, sucked back into no-time. Where will we have come
from, not now, but by then? Before the twenty odd years. Do
you remember the swimming pools at home? Will they
always be there? Which one shall we go to? I warned you not
to drown. The simultaneous shivering and sweating. The old
spectres of pubs, wingless, hunched. What do we do with
these non-events of life? The ‘all is well’, the way you shrug
your shoulders. The way I shrug mine. The way grandfather
used to. At home. But not a matter-of-fact home. Unless the
earth counts. It counts. The trains. The maladroit crawling of
a daddy-long-legs on a train window. The resistance of the
wind. Its cohesive hold. Then how softly and gently off it
goes, back to the time of departure. The water spiders, like
split seconds in the garden of memorilessness. The milky
coffee and the huge mugs. We are drinking time. The frogs
in the pond as if they were hours crawling between us and
the unknown on a liquefied never-will-be-day. The varied
skin patterns. We count them. The poisonous bluebells. The
bees drowning in their lilac embrace. Let go. Of the twenty
odd years. The summer is nearly over. The sweltering early
autumns, the yellow chestnut trees. The autumn crows. The
home crows. How defencelessly bizarre they are.
Defencelessly ugly. The crow families at home. The crow
nests at home, the have-you-seen-one questions. The crisp
North wind here. Goosebumps of memories: I told you,
you’ll be freezing. Here is my woolly jumper. Put it on. My


Date: 2013

By: Ágnes Lehóczky (1976- )

Friday, 27 February 2015

The White Rose by John Boyle O’Reilly

The red rose whispers of passion,
And the white rose breathes of love;
Oh, the red rose is a falcon.
And the white rose is a dove.

But I send you a cream-white rosebud
With a flush on its petal tips;
For the love that is purest and sweetest
Has a kiss of desire on the lips.

From: O’Reilly, John Boyle, In Bohemia, 1890, The Pilot Publishing Co: Boston, p. 24.

Date: 1886

By: John Boyle O’Reilly (1844-1890)

Thursday, 26 February 2015

A Bird by Anyte of Tegea

You will never rise up again with a flutter of thick wings and rouse me from my bed in the morning;
For a thief came silently upon you in your sleep and killed you, pressing his finger into your throat.


Date: 3rd century BCE (original); 1919 (translation)

By: Anyte of Tegea (3rd century BCE)

Translated by: Richard (Edward Godfree) Aldington (1892-1962)

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Four Variations on the Same Midwinter by James Wilkes

The gold cover and
the world breathing birth to zero.
The weather bleached of haunt.
It’s now love, to decline.

Breath witness
of hare’s haunt, and sheep’s.
Fire now. Light me.
Don’t dim beside day.

Light’s lower rip to curtain
so I stood breathing the weather of hare and sheep.
If ever it’s still, inquisitive and bright.

Through eve, so
birth the barrow the fields.
Un-flowered on blether
need roused fingers and rise


Date: 2009

By: James Wilkes (1980- )

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

I Too Have Loved by Florence van Leer Earle Nicholson Coates

I, too, have loved the Greeks, the Hero-sprung,
The glad, spoiled children of Posterity :
Have closed my eyes, more near their shrines to be,
Have hushed my heart, to hear their epics sung.
Upon their golden accents I have hung,
With Thyrsis wooed to vales of Sicily,
And Homer, blind, has given me to see
Olympus, where the deathless Gods were young.

But still, that one remembering with awe
Whose vision deeper than all others saw,
I feel the dearer debt my spirit owes
To him, who towers, peerless and sublime,
The noblest, largest intellect of Time,
Born where the English Avon softly flows.


Date: 1919

By: Florence van Leer Earle Nicholson Coates (1850-1927)

Monday, 23 February 2015

A Legend of Camelot – Part 1 by George Louis Palmella Busson du Maurier

Tall Braunighrindas left her bed
At cock-crow with an aching head.
O miserie!
“I yearn to suffer and to do,”
She cried, “ere sunset, something new!
O miserie!
“To do and suffer, ere I die,
I care not what. I know not why.
O miserie!
“Some quest I crave to undertake,
Or burden bear, or trouble make.”
O miserie!
She shook her hair about her form
In waves of colour bright and warm.
O miserie!
It rolled and writhed, and reached the floor
A silver wedding-ring she wore.
O miserie!
She left her tower, and wandered down
Into the High Street of the town.
O miserie!
Her pale feet glimmered, in and out,
Like tombstones as she went about.
O miserie!
From right to left, and left to right;
And blue veins streakt her insteps white;
O miserie!
And folks did ask her in the street
“How fared it with her long pale feet?”
O miserie!
And blinkt, as though ’twere hard to bear
The red-heat of her blazing hair!
O miserie!
Sir Galahad and Sir Launcelot
Came hand-in-hand down Camelot;
O miserie!
Sir Gauwaine followed close behind;
A weight hung heavy on his mind.
O miserie!
“Who knows this damsel, burning bright,”
Quoth Launcelot, “like a northern light”?
O miserie!
Quoth Sir Gauwaine “I know her not!”
“Who quoth you did?” quoth Launcelot.
O miserie!
“’Tis Braunighrindas!” quoth Sir Bors.
(Just then returning from the wars.)
O miserie!
Then quoth the pure Sir Galahad
“She seems, methinks, but lightly clad!
O miserie!
“The winds blow somewhat chill to-day.
Moreover, what would Arthur say!”
O miserie!
She thrust her chin towards Galahad
Full many an inch beyond her head. . . .
O miserie!
But when she noted Sir Gauwaine
She wept, and drew it in again!
O miserie!
She wept “How beautiful am I!”
He shook the poplars with a sigh.
O miserie!
Sir Launcelot was standing near;
Him kist he thrice behind the ear.
O miserie!
“Ah me!” sighed Launcelot where he stood,
“I cannot fathom it!” . . . (who could?)
O miserie!
Hard by his wares a weaver wove,
And weaving with a will, he throve;
O miserie!
Him beckoned Galahad, and said,—
“Gaunt Braunighrindas wants your aid . . .
O miserie!
“Behold the wild growth from her nape!
Good weaver, weave it into shape!”
O miserie!
The weaver straightway to his loom
Did lead her, whilst the knights made room;
O miserie!
And wove her locks, both web and woof,
And made them wind and waterproof;
O miserie!
Then with his shears he opened wide
An arm-hole neat on either side,
O miserie!
And bound her with his handkerchief
Right round the middle like a sheaf.
O miserie!
“Are you content, knight?” quoth Sir Bors
To Galahad; quoth he, “Of course!”
O miserie!
“Ah, me! those locks,” quoth Sir Gauwaine,
“Will never know the comb again!”
O miserie!
The bold Sir Launcelot quoth he nought;
So (haply) all the more he thought.
O miserie!


Date: 1866

By: George Louis Palmella Busson du Maurier (1834-1896)


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