Archive for April, 2012

Monday, 30 April 2012

Woman Alone by Naomi Mitchison

A woman comforts a man, staring
Beyond his pillowed head, thinking
Of other things, of needful cooking and sewing,
Of flowers in a vase, of the idea of God.
She is giving only her body.
But the man is comforted, he does not know,
Blinded by customary eyes, lips, breasts, tender hands,
That woman’s mind is faithless
It is not with him
Nor with any man, for to her all men are children.
She has been sucked by baby men, giving them her body
As she now gives it.
Suckling, she thought of other things,
Staring out gently over small, breast-pillowed heads, thinking
Of necessary things.
Faithless.
The woman alone.

From: Dowson, Jane, Women’s Poetry of the 1930s: A Critical Anthology, 1996, Routledge:London and New York, p. 81.
(http://books.google.com.au/books?id=fVTQPI3ZIHcC&pg=PA140&dq=stevie+smith+via+media&hl=en&sa=X&ei=TReJT7nJBdHqmAWvirGyCQ&ved=0CDkQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=stevie%20smith%20via%20media&f=false)

Date: 1935

By: Naomi Mitchison (1897-1999)

Sunday, 29 April 2012

A Farewell to Arms (To Queen Elizabeth) by George Peele

His golden locks Time hath to silver turn’d;
         O Time too swift, O swiftness never ceasing!
His youth ‘gainst time and age hath ever spurn’d,
         But spurn’d in vain; youth waneth by increasing:
Beauty, strength, youth, are flowers but fading seen;
Duty, faith, love, are roots, and ever green.

His helmet now shall make a hive for bees;
         And, lovers’ sonnets turn’d to holy psalms,
A man-at-arms must now serve on his knees,
         And feed on prayers, which are Age his alms:
But though from court to cottage he depart,
His Saint is sure of his unspotted heart.

And when he saddest sits in homely cell,
         He’ll teach his swains this carol for a song,–
‘Blest be the hearts that wish my sovereign well,
         Curst be the souls that think her any wrong.’
Goddess, allow this aged man his right
To be your beadsman now that was your knight.

From: http://www.daypoems.net/poems/104.html

Date: 1590

By: George Peele (1556-1596)

Saturday, 28 April 2012

Ode to Fear by William Collins

Thou, to whom the world unknown
With all its shadowy shapes is shown;
Who see’st appalled the unreal scene,
While Fancy lifts the veil between:
     Ah Fear! Ah frantic Fear!
     I see, I see thee near.
I know thy hurried step, thy haggard eye!
Like thee I start, like thee disordered fly.
For lo, what monsters in thy train appear!
Danger, whose limbs of giant mould
What mortal eye can fixed behold?
Who stalks his round, an hideous form,
Howling amidst the midnight storm,
Or throws him on the ridgy steep
Of some loose hanging rock to sleep;
And with him thousand phantoms joined,
Who prompt to deeds accursed the mind;
And those, the fiends who, near allied,
O’er nature’s wounds and wrecks preside;
Whilst Vengeance in the lurid air
Lifts her red arm, exposed and bare,
On whom that ravening brood of fate,
Who lap the blood of sorrow, wait;
Who, Fear, this ghastly train can see,
And look not madly wild like thee?

From: http://www.litgothic.com/Texts/ode_to_fear.html

Date: 1746

By: William Collins (1721-1759)

Friday, 27 April 2012

Rain by Edward Thomas

Rain, midnight rain, nothing but the wild rain
On this bleak hut, and solitude, and me
Remembering again that I shall die
And neither hear the rain nor give it thanks
For washing me cleaner than I have been
Since I was born into this solitude.
Blessed are the dead that the rain rains upon:
But here I pray that none whom once I loved
Is dying to-night or lying still awake
Solitary, listening to the rain,
Either in pain or thus in sympathy
Helpless among the living and the dead,
Like a cold water among broken reeds,
Myriads of broken reeds all still and stiff,
Like me who have no love which this wild rain
Has not dissolved except the love of death,
If love it be towards what is perfect and
Cannot, the tempest tells me, disappoint.

From: http://www.gutenberg.org/catalog/world/readfile?fk_files=1528372&pageno=31

Date: 1916

By: Edward Thomas (1878-1917)

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Via Media Via Dolorosa by Stevie Smith

There’s so much to be said on either side,
I’ll be dumb.
There’s so much to be said on either side,
I’ll hold my tongue.
For years and years I never said a word,
Now I have lost the art: my voice is never heard,
For my apprehension
Snaps beneath the tension
Of what is to be said on either side.

From: Dowson, Jane, Women’s Poetry of the 1930s: A Critical Anthology, 1996, Routledge:London and New York, p. 143.
(http://books.google.com.au/books?id=fVTQPI3ZIHcC&pg=PA140&dq=stevie+smith+via+media&hl=en&sa=X&ei=TReJT7nJBdHqmAWvirGyCQ&ved=0CDkQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=stevie%20smith%20via%20media&f=false)

Date: 1937

By: Stevie Smith (1902-1971)

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

For the Fallen by Laurence Binyon

With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children,
England mourns for her dead across the sea.
Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of spirit,
Fallen in the cause of the free.

Solemn the drums thrill: Death august and royal
Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres.
There is music in the midst of desolation
And a glory that shines upon our tears.

They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,
They fell with their faces to the foe.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

They mingle not with laughing comrades again;
They sit no more at familiar tables of home;
They have no lot in our labour of the day-time;
They sleep beyond England’s foam.

But where our desires are and our hopes profound,
Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight,
To the innermost heart of their own land they are known
As the stars are known to the Night;

As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust,
Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain,
As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness,
To the end, to the end, they remain.

From: http://www.anzacday.org.au/anzacservices/poetry/fallen.htm

Date: 1914

By: Laurence Binyon (1869-1943)

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

What the Goose-Girl Said About the Dean by Edith Sitwell

Turn again, turn again,
Goose Clothilda, Goosie Jane.

Bright wooden waves of people creak
From houses built with coloured straws
Of heat; Dean Pasppus’ long nose snores
Harsh as a hautbois, marshy-weak.

The wooden waves of people creak
Through the fields all water-sleek.

And in among the straws of light
Those bumpkin hautbois-sounds take flight.

Whence he lies snoring like the moon
Clownish-white all afternoon.

Beneath the trees’ arsenical
Sharp woodwind tunes; heretical—

Blown like the wind’s mane
(Creaking woodenly again).

His wandering thoughts escape like geese
Till he, their gooseherd, sets up chase,
And clouds of wool join the bright race
For scattered old simplicities.

From: http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/240276

Date: 1919

By: Edith Sitwell (1887-1964)

Monday, 23 April 2012

What Cunning Can Express by Edward de Vere

What cunning can express
The favour of her face
To whom in this distress
I do appeal for grace?
     A thousand Cupids fly
    About her gentle eye.

From whence each throws a dart
That kindleth soft sweet fire
Within my sighing heart,
Possessèd by desire.
    No sweeter life I try
    Than in her love to die.

The lily in the field
That glories in his white,
For pureness now must yield
And render up his right.
    Heaven pictured in her face
    Doth promise joy and grace.

Fair Cynthia’s silver light
That beats on running streams
Compares not with her white,
Whose hairs are all sunbeams.
    Her virtues so do shine
    As day unto mine eyne.

With this there is a red
Exceeds the damask rose,
Which in her cheeks is spread,
Whence every favour grows.
    In sky there is no star
    That she surmounts not far.

When Phoebus from the bed
Of Thetis doth arise,
The morning blushing red
In fair carnation wise,
    He shows it in her face
    As queen of every grace.

This pleasant lily-white,
This taint of roseate red,
This Cynthia’s silver light,
This sweet fair Dea spread,
    These sunbeams in mine eye,
    These beauties make me die!

From: http://theotherpages.org/poems/vere01.html

Date: 1593

By: Edward de Vere (1550-1604)

Sunday, 22 April 2012

How the Lover Perisheth in his Delight as the Fly in the Fire by Thomas Wyatt

Some fowls there be that have so perfect sight,
Against the sun their eyes for to defend ;
And some, because the light doth them offend,
Never appear but in the dark or night :
Other rejoice to see the fire so bright,
And ween to play in it, as they pretend,
But find contrary of it, that they intend.
Alas ! of that sort may I be by right ;
For to withstand her look I am not able ;
Yet can I not hide me in no dark place ;
So followeth me remembrance of that face,
That with my teary eyen, swoln, and unstable,
    My destiny to behold her doth me lead ;
    And yet I know I run into the glead.

From: http://www.luminarium.org/renlit/somefowls.htm

Date: 1557 (published)

By: Thomas Wyatt (1503-1542)

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Little Red Riding Hood and the Wolf by Roald Dahl

As soon as Wolf began to feel
That he would like a decent meal,
He went and knocked on Grandma’s door.
When Grandma opened it, she saw
The sharp white teeth, the horrid grin,
And Wolfie said, “May I come in?”
Poor Grandmamma was terrified,
“He’s going to eat me up!” she cried.

And she was absolutely right.
He ate her up in one big bite.
But Grandmamma was small and tough,
And Wolfie wailed, “That’s not enough!
I haven’t yet begun to feel
That I have had a decent meal!”
He ran around the kitchen yelping,
“I’ve got to have a second helping!”
Then added with a frightful leer,
“I’m therefore going to wait right here
Till Little Miss Red Riding Hood
Comes home from walking in the wood.”
He quickly put on Grandma’s clothes,
(Of course he hadn’t eaten those).
He dressed himself in coat and hat.
He put on shoes, and after that
He even brushed and curled his hair,
Then sat himself in Grandma’s chair.
In came the little girl in red.
She stopped. She stared. And then she said,

“What great big ears you have, Grandma.”
“All the better to hear you with,” the Wolf replied.
“What great big eyes you have, Grandma.”
said Little Red Riding Hood.
“All the better to see you with,” the Wolf replied.

He sat there watching her and smiled.
He thought, I’m going to eat this child.
Compared with her old Grandmamma
She’s going to taste like caviar.

Then Little Red Riding Hood said, “But Grandma,
what a lovely great big furry coat you have on.”

“That’s wrong!” cried Wolf. “Have you forgot
To tell me what BIG TEETH I’ve got?
Ah well, no matter what you say,
I’m going to eat you anyway.”
The small girl smiles. One eyelid flickers.
She whips a pistol from her knickers.
She aims it at the creature’s head
And bang bang bang, she shoots him dead.
A few weeks later, in the wood,
I came across Miss Riding Hood.
But what a change! No cloak of red,
No silly hood upon her head.
She said, “Hello, and do please note
My lovely furry wolfskin coat.”

From: http://ace.home.xs4all.nl/Literaria/Txt-Dahl.html

Date: 1982

By: Roald Dahl (1916-1990)