Archive for March, 2017

Friday, 31 March 2017

The Qualities of an Angler by John Dennys

But ere I further goe, it shall behove
To shew what gifts and qualities of minde
Belongs to him that doth this pastime love;
And what the vertues are of every kinde
Without the which it were in vaine to prove,
Or to expect the pleasure he should finde,
No more than he that having store of meate
Hath lost all lust and appetite to eate.

For what avails to Brooke or Lake to goe,
With handsome Rods and Hookes of divers sort,
Well twisted Lines, and many trinkets moe,
To finde the Fish within their watry fort,
If that the minde be not contented so,
But wants great gifts that should the rest support.,
And make his pleasure to his thoughts agree,
With these therefore he must endued be.

The first is Faith, not wavering and unstable,
But such as had that holy Patriarch old,
That to the highest was so acceptable
As his increase and of-spring manifolde
Exceeded far the starres innumerable,
So must he still a firme perswasion holde.
That where as waters, brookes, and lakes are found,
There store of Fish without all doubt abound.

For nature that hath made no emptie thing,
But all her workes doth well and wisely frame,
Hath fild each Brooke, each River, Lake and Spring
With creatures, apt to live amidst the same;
Even as the earth, the ayre, and seas doe bring
Forth Beasts, and Birds of sundry sort and name,
And given them shape, ability, and sence,
To live and dwell therein without offence.

The second gift and qualitie is Hope,
The anchor-holde of every hard desire;
That having at the day so large a scope,
He shall in time to wished hap aspire,
And ere the Sunne hath left the heav’nly cope,
Obtaine the sport and game he doth desire,
And that the Fish though sometime slow to bite,
Will recompence delay with more delight.

The third is Love, and liking to the game,
And to his friend and neighbour dwelling by;
For greedy pleasure not to spoile the same,
Nor of his Fish some portion to deny
To any that are sicklie, weake, or lame,
But rather with his Line and Angle try
In Pond or Brooke, to doe what in him lyes.
To take such store for them as may suffice.

Then followeth Patience, that the furious flame
Of Choller cooles, and Passion puts to flight,
As doth a skilfull rider breake and tame,
The Courser wilde, and. teach him tread aright:
So patience doth the minde dispose and frame,
To take mishaps in worth, and count them light,
As losse of Fish, Line, Hooke, or Lead, or all,
Or other chance that often may befall.

The fift good guift is low Humilitie,
As when a lyon coucheth for his pray
So must he stoope or kneele upon his knee,
To save his line or put the weedes away,
Or lye along sometime if neede there be,
For any let or chance that happen may,
And not to scorne to take a little paine,
To serve his turne his pleasure to obtaine.

The sixt is painefull strength and courage good,
The greatest to incounter in the Brooke,
If that he happen in his angry mood,
To snatch your bayte, and beare away your Hooke.
With wary skill to rule him in the Flood
Untill more quiet, tame, and milde he looke,
And all adventures constantly to beare,
That may betide without mistrust or feare.

Next unto this is Liberalitie,
Feeding them oft with full and plenteous hand,
Of all the rest a needfull qualitie,
To draw them neere the place where you will stand,
Like to the ancient hospitalitie,
That sometime dwelt in Albions fertile land,
But now is sent away into exile,
Beyond the bounds of Issabellas Ile.

The eight is knowledge how to finde the way
To make them bite when they are dull and slow,
And what doth let the same and breedes delay,
And every like impediment to. know,
That keepes them from their foode and wanted pray,
Within the streame, or standing waters low,
And with experience skilfully to prove,
All other faults to mend or to remove.

The ninth is placabilitie of minde,
Contented with a reasonable dish,
Yea though sometimes no sport at all he finde,
Or that the weather prove not to his wish.
The tenth is thankes to that God, of each kinde,
To net and bayt doth send both foule and Fish,
And still reserve inough in secret store,
To please the rich, and to relieve the poore.

Th’ eleaventh good guift and hardest to indure,
Is fasting long from all superfluous fare,
Unto the which he must himselfe inure,
By exercise and use of dyet spare,
And with the liquor of the waters pure,
Acquaint himselfe if he cannot forbeare,
And never on his greedy belly thinke,
From rising sunne untill a low he sincke.

The twelth and last of all is memory,
Remembring well before he setteth out,
Each needfull thing that he must occupy,
And not to stand of any want in doubt,
Or leave something behinde forgetfully:
When he hath walkt the fields and brokes about,
It were a griefe backe to retvrne againe,
For things forgot that should his sport maintaine.

Here then you see what kind of qualities,
An Angler should indued be with all,
Besides his skill and other properties,
To serve his turne, as to his lot doth fall:
But now what season for this exercise,
The fittest is and which doth serve but small,
My Muse vouchsafe some little ayd to lend,
To bring this also to the wished end.

From: Dennys, John, The Secrets of Angling, 1613: A Reprint, with Introduction, by Thomas Westwood, 1883, W. Satchell & Co: London, pp. 52-55.

Date: 1613 (published)

By: John Dennys (15??-1609)

Note: This is taken from The Secrets of Angling, the first known English poetical treatise on fishing. It is quoted in Izaak Walton’s more famous The Compleat Angler (1653).

Thursday, 30 March 2017

Trestle Crossing by Ian Haight

Coal tar reek in August heat,
we watch carp and fronds weave
in water.  Dropped rocks move
so slow fish don’t care.  Dreams
of train whistles forcing
a thirty foot jump, or loping
the wooden tracks, tripping:
a train rush over us.  We find
flattened pennies other boys
forget to claim.  Cattails,
mosquito swarms in weeds,
spider webs between rocks,
thunder sounds at sundown.

At home, heat lightening
and jitterbug huzzz.  Cats
eat moths by porch light,
and fire, fire against
the woods.  Walk the moonlit
grass, catch earth smells—
horse dung in collapsed barn stalls.

An Indian is buried here somewhere.


Date: 2009

By: Ian Haight (19??- )

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Crossing Iron Mountain River by Kyun Hŏ

Sunset. I arrive
at an old ferry.
A west wind blows—
alone, I cross.
Dark waves rush south,
the north, plentiful
with new autumn colors.
The year goes—
I’ve already said it all.
How are the gardens at home?
In mid-flow, the sudden grief
of disappointment—
on the river, songs
of fishermen drift.


Date: 1598 (original in Korean); 2009 (translation in English)

By: Kyun Hŏ (1569-1618)

Translated by: Ian Haight (19??- ) and T’ae-Yong Ho (19??- )

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Plantain by Chin’gak Kuksa Hyesim

A plantain is an unlit
green candle of beeswax

the spread leaves, a vernal coat’s sleeves
desiring to dance.

I see this image in my intoxicated eyes
though the plantain itself

is better
than my comparisons.


Date: c1210 (original in Korean); 2012 (translation in English)

By: Chin’gak Kuksa Hyesim (1178-1234)

Translated by: Ian Haight (19??- ) and T’ae-Yong Ho (19??- )

Monday, 27 March 2017

Song of the Otherworld Woman from “The Voyage of Bran” by Unknown

A branch of the apple-tree from Emain
I bring, like those one knows;
Twigs of white silver are on it,
Crystal brows with blossoms.

There is a distant isle,
Around which sea-horses glisten:
A fair course against the white-swelling surge,
Four feet uphold it.

A delight of the eyes, a glorious range,
Is the plain on which the hosts hold games:
Coracle contends against chariot
In southern Mag Findargat.

Feet of white bronze under it
Glittering through beautiful ages.
Lovely land throughout the world’s age,
On which the many blossoms drop.

An ancient tree there is with blossoms,
On which birds call to the Hours.
‘Tis in harmony it is their wont
To call together every Hour.

Splendours of every colour glisten
Throughout the gentle-voiced plains.
Joy is known, ranked around music,
In southern Mag Argatnél.

Unknown is wailing or treachery
In the familiar cultivated land,
There is nothing rough or harsh,
But sweet music striking on the ear.

Without grief, without sorrow, without death,
Without any sickness, without debility,
That is the sign of Emain –
Uncommon is an equal marvel.

A beauty of a wondrous land,
Whose aspects are lovely,
Whose view is a fair country,
Incomparable is its haze.

Then if Aircthech is seen,
On which dragonstones and crystals drop
The sea washes the wave against the land,
Hair of crystal drops from its mane.

Wealth, treasures of every hue,
Are in Ciuin, a beauty of freshness,
Listening to sweet music,
Drinking the best of wine.

Golden chariots in Mag Réin,
Rising with the tide to the sun,
Chariots of silver in Mag Mon,
And of bronze without blemish.

Yellow golden steeds are on the sward there,
Other steeds with crimson hue,
Others with wool upon their backs
Of the hue of heaven all-blue.

At sunrise there will come
A fair man illumining level lands;
He rides upon the fair sea-washed plain,
He stirs the ocean till it is blood.

A host will come across the clear sea,
To the land they show their rowing;
Then they row to the conspicuous stone,
From which arise a hundred strains.

It sings a strain unto the host
Through long ages, it is not sad,
lts music swells with choruses of hundreds–
They look for neither decay nor death.

Many-shaped Emne by the sea,
Whether it be near, whether it be far,
In which are many thousands of motley women,
Which the clear sea encircles.

If he has heard the voice of the music,
The chorus of the little birds from Imchiuin,
A small band of women will come from a height
To the plain of sport in which he is.

There will come happiness with health
To the land against which laughter peals,
Into Imchiuin at every season
Will come everlasting joy.

It is a day of lasting weather
That showers silver on the lands,
A pure-white cliff on the range of the sea,
Which from the sun receives its heat.

The host race along Mag Mon,
A beautiful game, not feeble,
In the variegated land over a mass of beauty
They look for neither decay nor death.

Listening to music at night,
And going into Ildathach,
A variegated land, splendour on a diadem of beauty,
Whence the white cloud glistens.

There are thrice fifty distant isles
In the ocean to the west of us;
Larger than Erin twice
Is each of them, or thrice.

A great birth will come after ages,
That will not be in a lofty place,
The son of a woman whose mate will not be known,
He will seize the rule of the many thousands.

A rule without beginning, without end,
He has created the world so that it is perfect,
Whose are earth and sea,
Woe to him that shall be under His unwill!

‘Tis He that made the heavens,
Happy he that has a white heart,
He will purify hosts under pure water,
‘Tis He that will heal your sicknesses

Not to all of you is my speech,
Though its great marvel has been made known:
Let Bran hear from the crowd of the world
What of wisdom has been told to him.

Do not fall on a bed of sloth,
Let not thy intoxication overcome thee,
Begin a voyage across the clear sea,
If perchance thou mayst reach the land of women.

From: Meyer, Kuno (ed. and transl.), The Voyage of Bran, son of Febal, to the Land of the Living; an old Irish saga now first edited, with translation, notes and glossary, 1895, David Nutt: London, pp. 4-14.

Date: 8th century (original in Irish); 1895 (translation in English)

By: Unknown

Translated by: Kuno Meyer (1858-1919)

Sunday, 26 March 2017

Artifact by Frannie Lindsay

You came to put up with
the buxom peonies
Helga kept bringing.
First you asked them to stop
the prednisone, next the valium,
finally you waved away
even the laxatives
your bowel had so long given over to.
The white nun of morphine
tended you prayerlessly,
while all I could do
was spoon-feed you fewer
ice chips, tuck
the last gorgeous medicines
under your tongue.

After they come and take you,
the day is simple: the shade being raised,
room emptied, conversational
tones of voice in the hallway,
bathroom scrubbed echo-clean,
sky uninhabitably blue, no birds
moving across it, then one, then many,
while even the hospice Monday
grows busy with sheet-changing,
jokes getting told, time in the throes
of being ignored,
therapy dogs and friends
settling in for an hour or two,
hoping they’ll know
when to go.


Date: 2009

By: Frannie Lindsay (19??- )

Saturday, 25 March 2017

Foreseeing by Sharon Bryan

Middle age refers more
to landscape than to time:
it’s as if you’d reached

the top of a hill
and could see all the way
to the end of your life,

so you know without a doubt
that it has an end—
not that it will have,

but that it does have,
if only in outline—
so for the first time

you can see your life whole,
beginning and end not far
from where you stand,

the horizon in the distance—
the view makes you weep,
but it also has the beauty

of symmetry, like the earth
seen from space: you can’t help
but admire it from afar,

especially now, while it’s simple
to re-enter whenever you choose,
lying down in your life,

waking up to it
just as you always have—
except that the details resonate

by virtue of being contained,
as your own words
coming back to you

define the landscape,
remind you that it won’t go on
like this forever.


Date: 1996

By: Sharon Bryan (19??- )

Friday, 24 March 2017

A Sonnet by Amelie Louise Rives Chandler Troubetzkoy

Take all of me,–I am thine own, heart, soul,
Brain, body,–all; all that I am or dream
Is thine forever; yea, though space should teem
With thy conditions, I ‘d fulfil the whole–
Were to fulfil them to be loved of thee.
Oh, love me!–were to love me but a way
To kill me–love me; so to die would be
To live forever. Let me hear thee say
Once only, “Dear, I love thee,”–then all life
Would be one sweet remembrance, thou its king:
Nay, thou art that already, and the strife
Of twenty worlds could not uncrown thee. Bring
O Time! my monarch to possess his throne
Which is my heart and for himself alone.


Date: 1886

By: Amelie Louise Rives Chandler Troubetzkoy (1863-1945)

Thursday, 23 March 2017

Eclogue XI. Eune from “Nereides: or, Sea-Eclogues” by William Diaper

Eune a wanton Nymph, and Triton Swain
Agreed a while to leave the boundless Main;
And near the Shore unseen they chose to kiss,
Where no Sea-Rival might disturb the Bliss.
There, all that Love could yield, the Youth enjoy’d;
‘Till with fierce Joys, and eager Transports cloy’d
She look’d, and sigh’d; his Lips she gently prest;
Then murmuring fell, and slept upon his Breast;
While pleasing Dreams past Scenes of Love repeat,
And cooling Breezes fan the Summer’s Heat.
Thus as she lay entranc’d, the wanton Air
Play’d on her Mouth, and sported with her Hair;
The Boy less kind, thus as she sleeping lay,
Rose unperceiv’d, and stole unheard away.
(For Men once satiate, when the Rage is o’er,
Will curse that Beauty, which they now adore.)
The ebbing Tide had left the sandy Plain,
When Eune wak’d, and look’d, but look’d in vain.
Sad Thoughts, and black Despair pierc’d thro’ her Soul,
With Tears she saw the distant Billows rowl.
She found her self forsaken, and alone,
The Triton absent, and the Water gone.
Grievous she moan’d her Fate, and weeping said,

Is thus my Love, my easy Love betray’d?
Such Scorn we may expect, nay we deserve,
When wanton Souls from steddy Vertue swerve.
But ah! inconstant Melvin, and ingrate,
When Love was ceas’d, you might have shown your Hate;
You might have kill’d me with those faithless Hands,
Rather than leave me thus on parching Sands.
Well may you follow the inconstant Sea,
The Waves are false, and you are false as they.
By both betray’d, with gnawing Hunger pin’d,
I must unpity’d die, and — die for being kind.
Farewell, ye Sister-Nymphs, believe no more,
Nor trust the Youth, nor trust the hated Shore.
Farewell ye distant Waves; you I forgive,
Well might you fickle prove, and Eune leave,
When he, who lov’d so much, yet cou’d deceive.
Farewell ye sportive Fish, and beauteous Shells,
And shining Pearls, that grow in rocky Cells,
Whose polish’d Orbs on Twigs of Coral strung
Around my Neck the perjur’d Melvin hung.
Farewell, ye Songs, that once were thought to please,
My Voice shall calm no more the list’ning Seas.
Unhappy Fate of the soft yeilding Maid!
Whoever loves, is sure to be betray’d.

Thus the despairing Nymph complain’d alone,
‘Till faint with Grief, and tir’d with piteous Moan,
When kinder Sleep again with calm Surprize
Sooth’d all her Pain, and clos’d her willing Eyes,
And now returning Waves by slow degrees
Move on the Beach, and stretch the widen’d Seas.
Melvin approaches with the rising Tide,
And in his Arms enfolds his sleeping Bride.
Eune a wake, with Wonder view’d around;
The Sea was near, and the lost Lover found.
Ah! do I now, or did I dream before,
Cries the fond Nymph, when on the barren Shore
Left by the Sea, and you so long I mourn’d;
How were you gone, or whence are you return’d?
Vain Dreams (reply’d the wily Youth) deceive
Your wand’ring Thoughts, and false Impressions leave.
He said, and kist the Nymph; she kist again:
He prest her close, and she forgot her Pain.


Date: 1712

By: William Diaper (1685-1717)

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Of Dreams by William King

For a Dream cometh through the multitude of Business. – Eccles. v. 4.

Somnia, quæ ludunt mente volitantibus umbris,
Non delubra deûm nec æthere numina mittunt,
Sed fibi quisque facit, etc. – Petronius*.

The flitting Dreams, that play before the wind,
Are not by Heaven for Prophesies design’d;
Nor by æthereal Beings sent us down,
But each man is creator of his own:
For, when their weary limbs are sunk in ease,
The souls essay to wander where they please;
The scatter’d images have space to play,
And Night repeats the labours of the Day.

*Dreams, whose fleeting shadows toy with the mind, are not sent by the shrines of the gods nor by the divinities in heaven. Rather, each person dreams for himself.
– rough translation by Laura Gibbs from

From: Johnson, Samuel (ed.), The Works of the English Poets with Prefaces, Biographical and Critical, Volume the Twentieth: The Poems of Garth and King, 1779, J. Nichols: London, p. 414.

Date: c1690

By: William King (1663-1712)