Archive for January, 2016

Sunday, 31 January 2016

To Aurelia by John Dyer

See, the flowery Spring is blown,
Let us leave the smoky Town:
From the Mall, and from the Ring,
Every one has taken wing;
Cloe, Strephon, Corydon,
To the meadows all are gone;
What is left you worth your stay?
Come, Aurelia, come away.

Come, Aurelia, come and see
What a lodge I’ve dress’d for thee;
But the seat you cannot see,
‘Tis so hid with jessamy,
With the vine that o’er the walls,
And in every window, crawls;
Let us there be blithe and gay!
Come, Aurelia, come away.

Come with all thy sweetest wiles,
With thy graces and thy smiles;
Come, and we will merry be,
Who shall be so blest as we?
We will frolic all the day,
Haste, Aurelia, while we may:
Ay! and should not life be gay?
Yes, Aurelia come away.

From: Dyer, John and Thomas, Edward (ed.), The Poems of John Dyer, 1903, T. Fisher Unwin: London, p. 29.

Date: c1725

By: John Dyer (1699-1757)

Saturday, 30 January 2016

The Induction from “Elizabetha Quasi Vivens, Eliza’s Funerall. A fewe Aprill Drops, showred on the Hearse of a dead Eliza. Or, The Funerall Tears of a true hearted Subject” by Henry Petowe

I that obscure have wept till eyes be drye,
Wilt each my pen another while to weep.
Obdurant hartes that they may mollifye,
For losse of her that now in peace doth sfleep.
Peace rest with her, but sorowe with my pen,
Till dead Eliza doth revive agen.

I that obscure have wept till eyes be drye,
Wilt each my pen another while to weep.
Obdurant hartes that they may mollifye,
For losse of her that now in peace doth sfleep.
Peace rest with her, but sorowe with my pen,
Till dead Eliza doth revive agen.

Amongst high sp’rited paragons of wit,
That mount beyond our earthlie pitch to fame,
Creepes forth my Muse; ye great ones favour it,
Take her not up, alas she is too tame.
Sheel come to hand, if you but lure her to you,
Then use her kindly, for shele kindly woe you.

And if this infant of mine art-lesse braine,
Passe with your sweet applause as some have done,
And meane good favour of the learned gaine
For showring teares upon Eliza’s tombe;
My Muse shall hatch such breed when she’s of yeres
Shall bring you comfort, and dry up your teares.

The last of many, yet not the least of all,
Sing I a heavie dirdge for our late Queene:
And singing, mourne Eliza’s Funerall,
The E per se of all that e’re have beene.
She was, she is, and evermore shall bee,
The blessed Queene of sweet eternitie.

With her in Heaven remaines her fame: on earth
Each moderne Poet that can make a verse
Writes of Eliza, even at their Muses birth.
Then why not I weepe on Eliza’s herse?
Som-where in England shall my lines go sleep
Till England read; and (England reading) weepe.

From: Nichols, John, The Progresses, and Public Processions, of Queen Elizabeth. Among which are interspersed , other Solemnities, Public Expenditures, and Remarkable Events, during the Reign of that illustrious Princess. Now first printed from Original MSS. of the Times; or collected from Scarce Pamphlets, etc., illustrated with historical notes. Volume II, 1788, John Nichols: London, p. 4 [p. 117].

Date: 1603

By: Henry Petowe (1575/6-?1636)

Friday, 29 January 2016

The Refuge of a Sinner by Robert Burdet(t)

Soyled in sinnes, O Lord! a wretched sinfull ghoste,
To thee I call, to thee I sue, that showest of mercie most:
Who can me helpe but thou, in whom all healp doth rest?
My sinne is more than man can mend, and that thou knowest best.
On whom then shall I call, to whom shall I make mone?
Sith man is mightlesse sinne to cure, I seeke to thee alone:
In thee I knowe all might and power doth remayne,
And at thy handes I am well sure mercie I shall obtain.
Thy promise cannot fayle, wherein I me repose;
To thee alone (els to no man) my hart wyll sinne disclose:
The sinner thou doest save, no Saviour els I finde;
Thou onely satisfied hast for the sinne of all mankynde,
The sacrifice whereof thou offeredst once for aye,
Whereby his wrath for Adam’s gylt thy Father put awaye;
And by thy death alone mankinde restored is:
There was no meanes mercye for man to get of him but this.
Now thou hast mercye bought, if man by thee will crave,
And who that seeketh by other meanes small mercie might he have.
Wherefore, O Lorde! on thee for mercie do I call;
Let not my sinnes consume me cleane, and I dampned to fall.
The merites of my workes, were they never so just,
I here forsake, and them resigne to such as in them trust.


Date: 1565 (published)

By: Robert Burdet(t) (1510-1549)

Thursday, 28 January 2016

The Country Where Nobody Sings by Martin Langford

The songbirds began here.

The first people sang.

The new people too —
they were still singing down to the war.

Then, bit by bit, we shut up.

Because all our songs were sung for us;
because songs were spotlights — and not invitations;
because we could not afford suffering;
because singers lived in a high-life of low-life elsewhere —

because we’d grown careful round meanings —

tongue-music dried into syntax.

For the kids, for results, for immunities:
we sifted conclusions — and tightened our throats.

Prose settled over our lives like a cloud of unbeing.

We would make ourselves still for the fine print,
and stare out at love…

Once there’d been tyrants in mills who’d admonished all singing.

We do not need them: we govern ourselves.

Now we always think before we speak.

Now that we care for our stories like courtroom exhibits.

Now we can find every reason — but reason to sing.


Date: 2014

By: Martin Langford (1952- )

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

For the Birds: The Life of Paolo Uccello by Martin Johnston

Uccello once fancied he was turning into cheese,
still, lived “to a disgruntled eighty-three”,
according to the censorious Vasari.
He was the fanatical type, like Spinoza.
He loved pictures of animals and birds,
being unable to afford the creatures themselves
or, like Leonardo, to buy and free them.
When his friend Donatello made fun of him
he stopped painting, saw no one, spent his last years
“solitary, eccentric, melancholy and poor”,
working on intricate technical problems.
His wife said he’d refuse to come to bed,
saying “Oh, what a lovely thing is this perspective!”
He seems to me to have been a happy man.


Date: 1990

By: Martin Johnston (1947-1990)

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Australia by Philip Joseph Holdsworth

O Muse divine! within whose strange soft lyre
Melodious lays of subtle strength and splendour
Sleep, till the Bard’s quick touch and tongue of fire
Lure them to life: — Even Thou, sweet Muse, engender
Within my brain, songs passionate and tender —
Songs sung or harped ‘mid thy most secret spheres,
But snatched by amorous couriers to mine ears,
And hoarded in my soul’s most hallowed cells
(Where the mute seraph. Contemplation, dwells)
Till the renascent hour,
When, summoned by thy power,
Dainty and swift once more their melody outwells.

Australia! he that anthems thee aright
Must psalm his loud delight
With lips of gold, and supple tongue as pure,
And sounding harp, than mine less immature!
Yet, should my happy verse, though faint, refuse
To trumpet forth thy dues,
Methinks dumb trees (each leaf a tongue of flame!)
Would clarion out thy grandeur, and my shame;
Thy timorous vales responsively would hymn
Like sweet-lipped cherubim—
Each peak would lift its sky-saluting crest
Still loftier from earth’s breast,
And blend, with melting murmurs, into strong
Ambrosial breaths of song:
Yea, vehemently plead to listening earth
The perfect marvel of thy matchless worth!

Thrice hail the bright day when the refluent sea
Witnessed the birth of thee!
When, from dark, solemn, depths of foam-fringed surge,
Mysterious and divine, thou didst emerge;
Framed, by God’s grace, that after-years might see
A sacred shrine, thrice dear to Liberty!
On that glad day (O best-born day of Time!)
God gathered rare delights from each fair clime,
And scattering them with bountiful High Hand,
Most lavishly they rained on thee O Land!
Such was the ripe wealth of the prodigal dower
That decked thy natal hour!

Yet, like some magic scroll,
Which no man dare unroll,
Enchantment veiled thy beauties, while sublime
And shadowy epochs scaled the steeps of Time;
Till the brave mariner, with bounding ships,
Clove, through green Sea’s foam-lips,
To where thy tranquil splendors slept, impearled,
And, from obscure recesses, called a Second World.

Thine was the trumpet-tongue, illustrious Cook,
That roused Mankind, and shook
Blind, brooding, Ignorance from Austral waves,
And drove her, darkling, to far dungeon-caves!
Thine was the hand that found,
And valiantly unbound,
The long-closed Volume of our land’s delight,
And bared the priceless wealth thereof, in all men’s sight.

For this, O chief of Ocean’s pioneer’s,
Thy dauntless deeds make music in our ears —
(Outsinging all thy peers!)
For this, just Memory, heedful of great acts,
Imperially enacts
That, in her clearest chronicle, loud Fame
Shall glorify thy name!
(A shining tribute which few kings can claim!)

Dear land! above whose hills, and vales, and streams,
Joy swoons, delirious, rapt with honeyed dreams! —
Thou hast no storied plains,
Thick-strewn with shattered palaces and fanes —
No old-world wrecks, which prate to distant times
Of perished pomps, and records red with crimes.
And thy clear springing waters,
Unbeaconed with the blood of human slaughters,
Haste, garrulous with glee,
To mix full treasures in one placid sea!
Nor hast thou viewed the baleful day
When phalanxes, in mailed array,
Spurred by the hate that Vengeance hoards,
Shook the sharp clamors from their clashing swords
And bade the foe, with blow and thrust,
Bite the blind, suffocating dust —
Till Virtue trembled from her god-like seat,
And, wailing, fled with faint, reluctant feet.

For round thy broad, delectable expanse,
Soft Peace broods, sweetly, in celestial trance;
While, quiet and benign,
Unnumbered synods of winged joys combine
To guard, with gracious care, thy prospering State
From rough, rude brawls, and travelling tongues of hate!

O Austral hills, and dim delightful dells!
O boundless plains, made glad with fruitful things!
O storm-worn cliffs, whose stern, stark, front repels
The surge that spins aloft on soft white wings!
O sleepless clamors of sea-thunderings!
Straight through your realms let one triumphal chant
Ring, — swift and jubilant!
Even from the sea, to where lone, swirling, plains
(Remote from grovelling cits, and stolid swains!)
Stretch, for fantastic leagues, their drear domains —
Lift your high anthems — till dull Man confess
(Right volubly) my land’s rare loveliness;
And trump, in tones that none dare controvert
A World’s loud homage to her rich desert!

From: Holdsworth, Philip J., Station Hunting on the Warrego: Australia: At the Valley of the Popran: and Other Poems, 1885, William Maddock: Sydney, pp. 2-6.

Date: 1885

By: Philip Joseph Holdsworth (1851-1902)

Monday, 25 January 2016

Our Survival Day by Raylene Campion

Another Australia Day has arrived
Celebrations across our land
Guess they don’t think what we’ve been through
Our ancestors tried to hold our land
Keep us together to protect our clans
Barbecues burning and sweet tasting wine
The white man’s celebrating what belongs to us
But we’re here in the background
Being proud of who we are
Our red, black and yellow unites us all
Saying we have survived another century
Of white man’s invasion.


Date: 2010

By: Raylene Campion (1946- )

Sunday, 24 January 2016

Throw Salt by Samuel Wagan Watson

Our Elders are well-acquainted with the Unlucky,
And they acknowledge Death by his sign,
Don’t cross a knife and fork on the kitchen table
’Cause you’re just inviting the Devil to dine,
Throw salt.

An owl is the foul feather of premonition,
Black cat can only reads black times,
As red-eyed dogs prowl the Mission crossroads and hills
When bat-wings speak easy moonshine,
Throw salt.

For what ails us is cod-liver oil,
Speak of the dead and it’ll curve your spine,
Leave a protective glass of water on night’s window-sill,
Gambling on the Sabbath will send you blind,
Throw salt.

Touch-wood and throw salt over your shoulder
Throw it once a day and make it divine,
To be superstitious is to be one; with God and dark nature,
To be superstitious is to be sublime,

Throw salt,
Throw salt,
Throw salt . . .


Date: 2011

By: Samuel Wagan Watson (1972- )

Saturday, 23 January 2016

Highway by Antigone Kefala

Mean days
everyone trading in speed.
Around us
the sun ripens the flesh of
the rocks to strange scents,
the columns of light sail unheard
between the flanks of the hills.
The garment
no longer sits on our shoulders
we have shrivelled our gestures
bartered our time
to feed the steel toys.


Date: 1977

By: Antigone Kefala (1935- )

Friday, 22 January 2016

My Love’s an Arbutus by Alfred Perceval Graves

My love’s an arbutus
By the borders of Lene,
So slender and shapely
In her girdle of green
And I measure the pleasure
Of her eye’s sapphire sheen
By the blue skies that sparkle
Through the soft branching screen.

But though ruddy the berry
And snowy the flower,
That brighten together
The arbutus bower,
Perfuming and blooming
Through sunshine and shower,
Give me her bright lips
And her laugh’s pearly dower.

Alas! fruit and blossom
Shall scatter the lea,
And Time’s jealous fingers
Dim your young charms, Machree.
But unranging, unchanging,
You’ll still cling to me,
Like the evergreen leaf
To the arbutus tree.

From: Graves, Alfred Perceval, Father O’Flynn, and Other Irish Lyrics, 1889, Swan Sonnenschein & Co: London, pp. 64-65.

Date: 1889

By: Alfred Perceval Graves (1846-1931)