Archive for March, 2013

Sunday, 31 March 2013

Easter Sunday, 1985 by Charles Martin

To take steps toward the reappearance alive of the disappeared is a subversive act, and measures will be adopted to deal with it.
— General Oscar Mejia Victores,
President of Guatemala

In the Palace of the President this morning,
The General is gripped by the suspicion
That those who were disappeared will be returning
In a subversive act of resurrection.

Why do you worry? The disappeared can never
Be brought back from wherever they were taken;
The age of miracles is gone forever;
These are not sleeping, nor will they awaken.

And if some tell you Christ once reappeared
Alive, one Easter morning, that he was seen—
Give them the lie, for who today can find him?

He is perhaps with those who were disappeared,
Broken and killed, flung into some ravine
With his arms safely wired up behind him.

From: http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/19255

Date: 1987

By: Charles Martin (1942- )

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Saturday, 30 March 2013

Tymes Goe By Turnes by Robert Southwell

The loppèd tree in tyme may growe agayne;
Most naked plants renewe both, frute and fioure;
The soriest wight may finde release of payne,
The dryest soyle sucke in some moystning shoure;
Tymes go by turnes and chaunces chang by course,
From foule to fayre, from better happ to worse.

The sea of Fortune doth not ever floe,
She drawes her favours to the lowest ebb;
Her tide hath equall tymes to come and goe,
Her loome doth weave the fine and coarsest webb;
No joy so great but runneth to an ende,
No happ so harde but may in fine amende.

Not allwayes fall of leafe nor ever springe,
No endlesse night yet not eternall daye;
The saddest birdes a season finde to singe.
The roughest storme a calme may soone alaye;
Thus with succeding turnes God tempereth all,
That man may hope to rise yet feare to fall.

A chaunce may wynne that by mischance was lost;
The nett that houldes no greate, takes little fishe;
In some thinges all, in all thinges none are croste,
Fewe all they neede, hut none have all they wishe;
Unmedled joyes here to no man befall,
Who least hath some, who most hath never all.

From: Grosart, Alexander B (ed), The Complete Poems of Robert Southwell SJ, for the first time fully collected and collated with the original and early additions and mss, 1872, The Fuller Worthies Library: London, pp. 64-65.
(http://archive.org/stream/completepoemsofr00sout#page/64/mode/2up)

Date: 1595

By: Robert Southwell (c1561-1595)

Friday, 29 March 2013

The Morning’s News by Wendell Berry

To moralize the state, they drag out a man,
and bind his hands, and darken his eyes
with a black rag to be free of the light in them,
and tie him to a post, and kill him.
And I am sickened by the complicity in my race.
To kill in hot savagery like a beast
is understandable.  It is forgivable and curable.
But to kill by design, deliberately, without wrath,
that is the sullen labor that perfects Hell.
The serpent is gentle, compared to man.
It is man, the inventor of cold violence,
death as waste, who has made himself lonely
among the creatures, and set himself aside,
so that he cannot work in the sun with hope,
or sit at peace in the shade of any tree.
The morning’s news drives sleep out of the head
at night.  Uselessness and horror hold the eyes
open to the dark.  Weary, we lie awake
in the agony of the old giving birth to the new
without assurance that the new will be better.
I look at my son, whose eyes are like a young god’s,
they are so open to the world.
I look at my sloping fields now turning
green with the young grass of April. What must I do
to go free?  I think I must put on
a deathlier knowledge, and prepare to die
rather than enter into the design of man’s hate.
I will purge my mind of the airy claims
of church and state.  I will serve the earth
and not pretend my life could better serve.
Another morning comes with its strange cure.
The earth is news.  Though the river floods
And the spring is cold, my heart goes on,
faithful to a mystery in a cloud,
and the summer’s garden continues its descent
through me, toward the ground.

From: Impastato, David (ed), Upholding Mystery. An Anthology of Contemporary Christian Poetry, 1997, Oxford University Press: New York, pp. 87-88.
(http://books.google.com.au/books?id=JTLjTZPoQHEC&printsec=frontcover&dq=upholding+mystery&hl=en&sa=X&ei=w8dTUY51iYmVBf27gJgD&ved=0CDIQ6AEwAA)

Date: 1968

By: Wendell Berry (1934- )

Thursday, 28 March 2013

Ode XIV. The Complaint by Mark Akenside

Away! Away!
Tempt me no more, insidious love:
Thy soothing sway
Long did my youthful bosom prove:
At length thy treason is discern’d,
At length some dear-bought caution earn’d:
Away! nor hope my riper age to move.

I know, I see
Her merit . Needs it now be shewn,
Alas, to me?
How often, to myself unknown,
The graceful, gentle, virtuous maid
Have I admir’d!  How often said,
What joy to call a heart like her’s one’s own!

But, flattering god,
O squanderer of content and ease,
In thy abode
Will care’s rude lesson learn to please?
O say, deceiver, hast thou won,
Proud fortune to attend thy throne,
Or plac’d thy friends above her stern decrees?

From: Akenside, Mark, The Poems of Mark Akenside, 1772, W Bowyer and J Nicholl: London, pp. 339-340.

(http://ia600404.us.archive.org/13/items/poemsofmarkakens00aken/poemsofmarkakens00aken.pdf)

Date: 1740

By: Mark Akenside (1721-1770)

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Here, Bullet by Brian Turner

If a body is what you want,
then here is bone and gristle and flesh.
Here is the clavicle-snapped wish,
the aorta’s opened valves, the leap
thought makes at the synaptic gap.
Here is the adrenaline rush you crave,
that inexorable flight, that insane puncture
into heat and blood. And I dare you to finish
what you’ve started. Because here, Bullet,
here is where I complete the word you bring
hissing through the air, here is where I moan
the barrel’s cold esophagus, triggering
my tongue’s explosives for the rifling I have
inside of me, each twist of the round
spun deeper, because here, Bullet,
here is where the world ends, every time.

From: http://www.blueflowerarts.com/brian-turner

Date: 2005

By: Brian Turner (1967- )

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

On Revisiting the Place of My Nativity by Robert Bloomfield

Though Winter’s frowns had damp’d the beaming eye,
Through Twelve successive Summers heav’d the sigh,
The unaccomplish’d wish was still the same;
Till May in new and sudden glories came!
My heart was rous’d; and Fancy on the wing,
Thus heard the language of enchanting Spring:—

‘Come to thy native groves and fruitful fields!
Thou know’st the fragrance that the wild-flow’r yields;
Inhale the Breeze that bends the purple bud,
And plays along the margin of the Wood.
I’ve cloth’d them all; the very Woods where thou
In infancy learn’d’st praise from every bough.
Would’st thou behold again the vernal day?
My reign is short;—this instant come away:
Ere Philomel shall silent meet the morn;
She hails the green, but not the rip’ning corn.
Come, ere the pastures lose their yellow flow’rs:
Come now; with heart as jocund as the hours.’

Who could resist the call?—that, Giles had done,
Nor heard the Birds, nor seen the rising Sun;
Had not Benevolence, with cheering ray,
And Greatness stoop’d, indulgent to display
Praise which does surely not to Giles belong,
But to the objects that inspir’d his song.
Immediate pleasure from those praises flow’d:
Remoter bliss within his bosom glow’d!
Now tasted all:—for I have heard and seen
The long-remember’d voice, the church, the green;—
And oft by Friendship’s gentle hand been led
Where many an hospitable board was spread.
These would I name,… but each, and all can feel
What the full heart would willingly reveal:
Nor needs be told; that at each season’s birth,
Still the enamell’d, or the scorching Earth
Gave, as each morn or weary night would come,
Ideal sweetness to my distant home:—
Ideal now no more;—for, to my view
Spring’s promise rose, how admirably true!!
The early chorus of the cheerful Grove,
Gave point to Gratitude; and fire to Love.
O Memory! shield me from the World’s poor strife;
And give those scenes thine everlasting life!

London, May 30, 1800

From: http://www.gutenberg.org/cache/epub/9092/pg9092.html

Date: 1800

By: Robert Bloomfield (1766-1823)

Monday, 25 March 2013

Lyric Address to Dr Jenner by Nathaniel Bloomfield

[Vaccine Inoculation.–Distress and Terrors of the Small Pox.–Dangers of Delay.]

Rejoice, rejoice, Humanity!
The fell, destructive, sore Disease,
The pest of ages, now can be,
Repell’d with safety and with ease.

He well deserves his Country’s Meed,
By whom the peerless blessing came;
And thousands from destruction freed,
Shall raptur’d speak of JENNER’S name.

Yes, JENNER’S vigilance is crown’d;
A sovereign antidote is given:
The Blessing flows the Nations round;
Free he diffus’d the gift of Heaven.

So well approv’d it’s sure effect,
To turn aside the’ impending harm;
And shall parental Love neglect
To minister the precious balm?

Oh! no; beware of dire Delay,
Ye, who caress your Infants dear:
Defer it not from day to day,
From month to month, from year to year:

Lest you, like me, too late lament,
Your Life bereft of all it’s joy;
Clasp now the Gift so kindly sent,
Lest you behold your dying Boy!

Lest you see with trembling Fear,
With inexpressible Distress;
The purple spots of Death appear,
To blast your Hopes and Happiness:

Lest your keenest grief to wake,
Like mine your suffering prattler say,
‘Go, bid my Father come and take
‘These frightful Spots and Sores away.’

Quickly from such fears be free:
Oh! there is Danger in Delay!
Say not to-morrow it shall be: …
To-morrow! no; to-day, to-day.

Embrace the Blessing Heaven hath sent;
So shall you ne’er such pangs endure:
Oh! give a Trifle to prevent,
What you would give a World to cure.

From: http://www.gutenberg.org/files/11564/11564.txt

Date: 1803

By: Nathaniel Bloomfield (1759-1831)

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Absence by Capel Lofft

I love: and day by day, as absent, pine
Barr’d from her sight and converse whom I love:
And yet the fair by plighted vows is mine;
Mine by affection far those vows above
Mine by possession;–O the bliss divine;–
Nor can my heart her constancy reprove.
Why does she then society decline
With me, me whose desires never from her remove?

O night, return and give her to my arms!
Full of constraint and tedious is the day.
Though the same roof enshrine her wedded charms
Though on my board beam her benignant ray.–
O, haste the hour when private and alone
Joys only she can give shall be my own!

From: http://www.sonnets.org/lofft.htm

Date: ?

By: Capel Lofft (1751-1824)

Saturday, 23 March 2013

Lines by Henry Kirke White

Written impromptu, on reading the following passage in Mr. Capel Lofft’s beautiful and interesting Preface to Nathaniel Bloomfield’s Poems, just published:—”It has a mixture of the sportive, which deepens the impression of its melancholy close. I could have wished, as I have said in a short note, the conclusion had been otherwise. The sours of life less offend my taste than its sweets delight it.”

Go to the raging sea, and say, “Be still!”
Bid the wild lawless winds obey thy will;
Preach to the storm, and reason with Despair,
But tell not Misery’s son that life is fair.

Thou, who in Plenty’s lavish lap hast roll’d,
And every year with new delight hast told,
Thou, who, recumbent on the lacquer’d barge,
Hast dropt down joy’s gay stream of pleasant marge,
Thou mayst extol life’s calm untroubled sea,
The storms of misery never burst on thee.

Go to the mat, where squalid Want reclines,
Go to the shade obscure, where merit pines;
Abide with him whom Penury’s charms control,
And bind the rising yearnings of his soul,
Survey his sleepless couch, and, standing there,
Tell the poor pallid wretch that life is fair!

Press thou the lonely pillow of his head,
And ask why sleep his languid eyes has fled;
Mark his dew’d temples, and his half shut eye,
His trembling nostrils, and his deep drawn sigh,
His muttering mouth contorted with despair,
And ask if Genius could inhabit there.

Oh, yes! that sunken eye with fire once gleam’d,
And rays of light from its full circlet stream’d:
But now Neglect has stung him to—the core,
And Hope’s wild raptures thrill his breast no more;
Domestic Anguish winds his vitals round,
And added Grief compels him to the ground.
Lo! o’er his manly form, decay’d and wan,
The shades of death with gradual steps steal on;
And the pale mother, pining to decay,
Weeps for her boy her wretched life away.

Go, child of Fortune! to his early grave,
Where o’er his head obscure the rank weeds wave;
Behold the heart-wrung parent lay her head
On the cold turf, and ask to share his bed.
Go, child of Fortune, take thy lesson there,
And tell us then that life is wondrous fair!

Yet, Lofft, in thee, whose hand is still stretch’d forth,
To encourage genius, and to foster worth;
On thee, the unhappy’s firm, unfailing friend,
‘T is just that every blessing should descend;
‘T is just that life to thee should only show
Her fairer side but little mix’d with woe.

From: http://www.gutenberg.org/files/7149/7149-h/7149-h.htm

Date: 1803

By: Henry Kirke White(1785-1806)

Friday, 22 March 2013

Menace of History by Edgar Foxall

Life is a spark between extremes,
Earth and the heavens together clash,
Pale Kingdoms vegetate in dreams
Else softly and as softly crash.

We think in pools between the sharks
Of history looming through the void;
Beneath the whiskers of Karl Marx
Libido generated Freud.

From: http://www.unz.org/Pub/BookmanUK-1932dec-00185a03

Date: 1932

By: Edgar Foxall (1906-1990)