Archive for June, 2013

Sunday, 30 June 2013

Sonnet 11. Scotch Quadrilles by John Moultrie

Perish the coxcomb who united first
To these vain whimsies, hatch’d beyond the seas,
Old Caledonia’s touching melodies;
Wedding the follies of that land accurst,
To strains whose high and soothing music nursed
Heroic hearts, or gave crush’d spirits ease,
Awakening the bright Past’s remembrances
While grief’s fierce tempest o’er the Present burst.
Oh! ye sweet notes, ye were not meant to lead
The measured steps of fashion: ye should tell
Of Highland glen, wild rock, and pastoral dell,
And scenes like those of which the world doth read
In that bright page, which many a wondrous deed
Of Scottish story hath embalm’d so well.


Date: 1824

By: John Moultrie (1799-1874)

Saturday, 29 June 2013

The Winter Wind by Louisa Lawson (Dora Falconer)

The winter wind! e wh-e-e, e wh-e-e!
It bites and smites and chases me,
And pelts with boughs and shrieks with glee,
This winter wind so fierce and free;
Till wide-eyed stars so white and wee
Peer through the scud all fearsomely.

The love-warm rose no longer now
Clings fondly round fair nature’s brow;
But in its place the chill winds roam
Through locks as white as frozen foam.
The winter wind so fierce and free
Has wrought this change. Ah me! Ah me!

Her dress that once was green and bright
Is stiffened sheer and bleached to white.
And where did rose and lily be
Are flecks of frosty filagree.
His breath is death, his voice is dree,
This winter wind so fierce and free.

From: Lawson, Louisa (Dora Falconer), The Lonely Crossing and Other Poems, 1998, University of Sydney Library; Sydney, p. 27.

Date: 1905

By: Louisa Lawson (Dora Falconer) (1848-1920)

Friday, 28 June 2013

Reproach Reproved by Henry Taylor

Reproach me not; for if my love run high,
Unjust complainings may well drain it dry:
Reproach me not; if love run low, reproach
Did never yet set dried-up love abroach.

From: Taylor, Henry, The Poetical Works of Henry Taylor, Volume III, 1864, Chapman and Hall, Piccadilly: London, p. 248.

Date: 1864

By: Henry Taylor (1800-1886)

Thursday, 27 June 2013

Who Loves the Rain by Frances Wells Shaw

Who loves the rain
And loves his home,
And looks on life with quiet eyes,
Him will I follow through the storm;
And at his hearth-fire keep me warm;
Nor hell nor heaven shall that soul surprise,
Who loves the rain,
And loves his home,
And looks on life with quiet eyes.


Date: 1914

By: Frances Wells Shaw (1872-1937)

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Sonnet XIII by William Lisle Bowles

O Time! who know’st a lenient hand to lay
Softest on sorrow’s wound, and slowly thence,
(Lulling to sad repose the weary sense)
Stealest the long-forgotten pang away;
On Thee I rest my only hope at last,
And think, when thou hast dried the bitter tear
That flows in vain o’er all my soul held dear,
I may look back on many a sorrow past,
And meet life’s peaceful evening with a smile—
As some poor bird, at day’s departing hour,
Sings in the sunbeam, of the transient shower
Forgetful, tho’ its wings are wet the while:—
Yet ah! how much must that poor heart endure,
Which hopes from thee, and thee alone, a cure!


Date: 1789

By: William Lisle Bowles (1762-1850)

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Cultivation by Dorothea Tanning

Cultivating people can be arduous,
With results as uncertain as weather.
Try oysters, meerkats, turnips, mice.
My mouse field was a triumph of
Cultivation—pink noses poking
Through quilts of loam, scampering
In the furrows—until the falling
Dwarves (it was that time of year)
Began landing on my field. Fear for
Its harvest had me down on hands
And knees muttering, “Not here,”
My nails clawed at tangles of fat
Dwarves crushing mouse families.
Then, unbelievably, it was over.

By morning every dwarf, maddened
By nibbling mice, had fled the field.
Now, as before, each day, dozens
Of perfect mice leave for the city.
There, they have made many friends
Among computers, and with them
Are developing skills inconceivable
To their forebears. Already, these
Cultivated mice and their computers
Penetrate guilty secrets. Soon they will
Prevail over the turmoil that defines
This darkest of ages. And they will
Find me, asleep in my cave.


Date: 2009

By: Dorothea Tanning (1910-2012)

Monday, 24 June 2013

The Aboriginal Mother by Eliza Hamilton Dunlop

“Only one female and her child got away from us.” – Evidence before the Supreme Court.

Oh, hush thee – hush, my baby, I may not tend thee yet,
Our forest land is distant far, and midnight’s star is set,
Now hush thee, or the pale-faced men will hear thy piercing wail,
And what would then thy mother’s tear or feeble strength avail.

Ah, could thy little bosom that mother’s anguish feel,
Or couldst thou know thy father lies struck down by English steel,
Thy tender form would wither, like the kniven on the sand,
And the spirit of my perished tribe would vanish from our land.

For thy young life, my precious, I fly the fields of blood,
Else I had, for my chieftain’s sake, defied them where they stood.
But basely bound my woman arm, no weapon might it wield,
I could but cling round him I loved, to make my heart his shield.

I saw my first-born treasure lie headless at my feet,
The gooroo on his mother’s breast with his life’s stream is wet;
And thou, I snatched thee from their sword, it harmless passed by thee,
But clave the binding cords, and gave the craved boon – to flee.

To flee, my babe! but whither, without our friend, our guide?
Thy blood that was our strength is shed – he is not by my side.
Thy sire! oh! never, never, shall Toon Bakra hear our cry.
My bold, my stately mountain bird! I thought not he could die.

Now, who will teach thee, dearest, to poise the shield and spear,
To wield the koopin or to throw the boommerring void of fear,
To breast the river in its might, the mountain tracks to tread?
The echoes of my homeless heart reply, “the dead! the dead!”

For ever must their murmurs, like the ocean torrent flow –
The parted voice comes never back to cheer our lonely woe;
E’en. in the region of our tribe, beside our summer streams,
‘Tis as a hollow symphony from the shadow land of dreams.

Nay, hush thee dear; for weary and faint I bear thee on.
His name is on thy gentle lips; my child, my child he’s gone!
Gone o’er the golden fields that lie beyond the rolling cloud,
To bring thy people’s murder cry before the Christian’s God.

Yes, o’er the stars that guide us, he leads my slaughtered boy,
To show their God how treacherously these stranger men destroy;
To tell of hands – the cruel hands – that piled the fatal pyre;
To show our blood on Myall’s ridge; our bones on the stockman’s fire.


Date: 1838

By: Eliza Hamilton Dunlop (1796-1880)

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Praise of Women by Robert Mannyng of Brunne

No thyng is to man so dere
As wommanys love in gode manere.
A gode womman is mannys blys,
There here love right and stedfast is.
There is no solas under hevene,
Of alle that a man may nevene,
That shuld a man do so moche glew
As a gode womman that loveth trew.
Ne derer is none in Goddys hurde
Than a chaste womman with lovely worde.


Date: c1380

By: Robert Mannyng of Brunne (1288-1338)

Saturday, 22 June 2013

Poem by Muriel Rukeyser

I lived in the first century of world wars.
Most mornings I would be more or less insane,
The newspapers would arrive with their careless stories,
The news would pour out of various devices
Interrupted by attempts to sell products to the unseen.
I would call my friends on other devices;
They would be more or less mad for similar reasons.
Slowly I would get to pen and paper,
Make my poems for others unseen and unborn.
In the day I would be reminded of those men and women,
Brave, setting up signals across vast distances,
Considering a nameless way of living, of almost unimagined values.
As the lights darkened, as the lights of night brightened,
We would try to imagine them, try to find each other,
To construct peace, to make love, to reconcile
Waking with sleeping, ourselves with each other,
Ourselves with ourselves. We would try by any means
To reach the limits of ourselves, to reach beyond ourselves,
To let go the means, to wake.

I lived in the first century of these wars.


Date: 1968

By: Muriel Rukeyser (1913-1980)

Friday, 21 June 2013

Winter Solstice Chant by Annie Finch

Vines, leaves, roots of darkness, growing,
now you are uncurled and cover our eyes
with the edge of winter sky
leaning over us in icy stars.
Vines, leaves, roots of darkness, growing,
come with your seasons, your fullness, your end.


Date: 2003

By: Annie Finch (1956- )