Archive for May, 2015

Sunday, 31 May 2015

The Lover Describeth his Trustie Love by Thomas Howell

Though horse so wylde in thousand partes
Should teare my corps most dolorous:
Though Fryde I were with piersing smarts
And boylde in lead most piteous.
Though sworde shouide pierse my hart so colde,
ln bloudy woundes my death to frame,
Though paine of hell to me were solde,
Most retchlesse wretch and yll by name.
Though thousand miles on foote I fare,
With naked legge in frozen stormes;
Though bloud of hart I spend in care,
Through countries farre in thousand harmes.
Though dread in feares doth worke dispaire,
And hope alone doth cherishe mee:
Yet rack that rendes eche lim so faire,
Shall not by smart take heart from thee.

From: Howell, Thomas and Grosart, Alexander (ed.), The Poems of Thomas Howell, (1568-1581). Edited, with Introduction and Notes, 1879, Charles E. Simms: Manchester, p. 34.

Date: 1568

By: Thomas Howell (fl. 1568-1581)

Saturday, 30 May 2015

Four Degrees of Comparison. An Epigram by Lemuel Abbott

Happy the Man by fortune bless’d,
To wed a Bride of Wealth posses’d!
Still happier who within his Arms
Enjoys fair Beauty’s lovelier Charms!
Happiest whom Heav’n directs to find
A Maid of virtuous, gentle Mind!

But happier than the happiest he
Who in one Nymph enjoys all three!

From: Abbott, Lemuel, Poems on various subjects. Whereto is prefixed a short essay on the structure of English verse. By the Rev. Lemuel Abbott, 1765, Samuel Cresswell: Nottingham, p. 69.

Date: 1765

By: Lemuel Abbott (c1730-1776)

Friday, 29 May 2015

A Poem Written Between County Hall and Parliament by Ben Borek

Oh you can’t imagine anything more beautiful
In the whole world than this, and you’d be
Dead of spirit if you didn’t feel touched by
The loveliness of it all. Like a big coat
London is wrapped in the morning,
Which is quiet and empty. Boats, office blocks,
Churches and other buildings are exposed to
The countryside and the sky. Everything
Is shiny in the clean, clear air. The sun
Has never risen as prettily on any hill, stone
Or ditch, I’ve never felt so calm!
The Thames is moving gently by itself,
Jesus! It’s like the buildings themselves are
Not awake yet, and the pulse of it all lies flat.

From: Hamilton, Nathan (ed.), Dear World & Everyone In It: New Poetry in the UK, 2013, Bloodaxe Books: Hexham, Northumberland, p. 174.

Date: 2013

By: Ben Borek (1980- )

Thursday, 28 May 2015

Sonnet: Pit-Boy by Vernon Watkins

When sleep’s propped scenery falls about the house
And dancing women quickly take off their masks,
The brick world wakes up, willing to espouse
The child whose parents left the empty flasks.

When sleep’s propped scenery falls, alarums rouse
Children of light to their appointed tasks.
Around Laocoon and his children’s brows
Strangling their violence with venom, a serpent basks.

Harnessed to mines, who shall inherit wealth?
To whom, here praying, shall pasteurized milk bring health?
What horror of dawn shall hide our born disgrace?

Torn, with torn satchel, reared in grit and filth,
His misery shows a town taken by stealth,
And all the accusing heavens in that Welsh face.


Date: 1937

By: Vernon Watkins (1906-1967)

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

To a Patient Lady by Percy Addleshaw (Percy Hemingway)

Thou art not jealous, sweetheart Death, I think,
Because awhile I shun thy trysting place,
For when upon our marriage couch we sink
There’s no one shall disturb our long embrace.

From: Hemingway, Percy, The Happy Wanderer and Other Verse, 1896, Elkin Matthews: London, p. 61.

Date: 1896

By: Percy Addleshaw (Percy Hemingway) (1866-1916)

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

A Religious Use of Taking Tobacco by Robert Wisdome

The Indian weed witherèd quite,
Green at morn, cut down at night,
Shows thy decay;
All flesh is hay:
Thus think, then drink tobacco.

And when the smoke ascends on high,
Think thou behold’st the vanity
Of worldly stuff,
Gone with a puff:
Thus think, then drink tobacco.

But when the pipe grows foul within,
Think of thy soul defiled with sin.
And that the fire
Doth it require:
Thus think, then drink tobacco.

The ashes that are left behind,
May serve to put thee still in mind
That into dust
Return thou must:
Thus think, then drink tobacco.


Date: c1568

By: Robert Wisdome (15??-1568)

Monday, 25 May 2015

Swifts* by Glyn Jones

Shut-winged fish, brown as mushroom,
The sweet, hedge-hurdling swifts, zoom
Over waterfalls of wind.
I salute all those lick-finned,
Dusky-bladed air-cutters.
Could you weave words as taut, sirs,
As those swifts’, great cywydd kings,
Swart basketry of swoopings?

*This poem is written in a metre called the traethodl, which means something like ‘delivery in rhyme’, I suppose. Each line has seven syllables and an accented final syllable rhymes with an unaccented. The ‘great cywydd-kings’ are the Welsh poets who wrote in the cywydd metre, following Dafydd ap Gwilym and his contemporaries, poets like Gruffydd Grug, Iolo Goch, Dafydd Nanmor, and so on. My poem has only eight lines, and my explanation takes longer than the poem! – Glyn Jones


Date: 1969

By: Glyn Jones (1905-1995)

Sunday, 24 May 2015

Apple Tree by Thomas Rowland Hughes

In bloom my garden apple tree
A marvel of blossom is to me;
A tree of snow near the window panes,
Where light on peace of nightfall rains;
As sheep’s wool white,
Or sunset alight,
Was ever a tree so shapely and bright?

That’s what all people love to see-
The beauty of my apple tree;
But as they praise it to the skies
The salt tears gather in my eyes,
For the boughs bend
Over my friend,
Buried, but faithful to me to the end.

Beauty explodes through boughs of grace
Above my old dog’s burial place,
Flame-coloured whiteness, white as snow,
With redness of dawn and fire’s glow-
I would rejoice
To give from choice
These, but to hear once more my old dog’s voice.


Date: 1948 (original in Welsh); 198? (translated into English)

By: Thomas Rowland Hughes (1903-1949)

Translated by: Glyn Jones (1905-1995)

Saturday, 23 May 2015

Sweet Violet by Steve Willey

Behind one violet there is another
See, what is sweet about that –
Or yellow,

Every star emits
Yellow lilac light

Thick violet walls
Raspberry love –

Sweet sandhills draw upwards,

Tooth white stars

Brown silhouetted stole,
Soundhills needle

That I am not
Writing about you at all.

Currents raging.
Violet: sweet as a ghost.


Date: 2011

By: Steve Willey (19??- )

Friday, 22 May 2015

The Werewolf by Mary Anne Grueber Watson Sealy Bushby

‘Twas at the middle hour of night;
And though the moon gave her pale light,
O’er the haunted wood a thick mist hung
And the wind was howling its leaves among.
In a cart along that way so wild
A peasant was driving his wife and child.

“For the fairy folks thou need’st fear not,
They dance ‘neath the moon on yon green spot.
Should the screech-owl cry from yonder marsh
Say a prayer, nor heed its voice so harsh.
Whate’er thou seest, be not afraid,
But clasp the child,” the father said.

“Forward, old horse! Behind yon tree
Our church’s steeple I can see.
Get on! But hold, a moment stop–
The linch-pin is about to drop;
‘Tis crack’d–I’ll cut a stick, my dear;
Hold fast the child, and have no fear!”

An hour alone she might have sat,
When a noise she heard–“Oh, what is that?”
Lo! a coal-black hound! She sees and knows
The werewolf! while his teeth he shows,
And glares upon her child, she flings
Her apron o’er it as he springs.

His sharp teeth bite it; but she cries
To God for help, away he flies.
Her arms the helpless babe enfold,
She sits like a statue, pale and cold.
But soon her husband’s by her side,
And onwards now they safely ride.

Arrived at home, a light is brought;
She starts, as with some horrid thought:
“What? Husband! husband! can these be
Threads hanging from thy teeth I see?
Thou art thyself a werewolf then!”
“Thy words,” he said, “have set me free again!”


Date: 1876

By: Mary Anne Grueber Watson Sealy Bushby (1802-1876)