Archive for March, 2019

Sunday, 31 March 2019

The Poet’s Petition by Julian Henry Charles Fane

Kind Public! read me twice or thrice,
And gently treat a timid Muse:
Stern Critics! read me once or twice,
Nor let me miss my wretched dues!
Fair Phoebe, read me fifty times!
Peruse and reperuse my rhymes:
Thy blame or praise I will repay
With interest,—such as kisses may!
But Lizzy! lest thy frown should fall
Upon me, read me not at all!
All else beside may hiss and jeer,
But blame from thee I dare not hear!

From: Fane, Julian, Poems, 1852, William Pickering: London, p. 107.

Date: 1852

By: Julian Henry Charles Fane (1827-1870)

Saturday, 30 March 2019

A Recusant by James Thomson (Bysshe Vanolis)

The church stands there beyond the orchard-blooms:
How yearningly I gaze upon its spire!
Lifted mysterious through the twilight glooms,
Dissolving in the sunset’s golden fire,
Or dim as slender incense morn by morn
Ascending to the blue and open sky.
For ever when my heart feels most forlorn
It murmurs to me with a weary sigh,
How sweet to enter in, to kneel and pray
With all the others whom we love so well!
All disbelief and, doubt might pass away,
All peace float to us with its Sabbath bell.
Conscience replies, There is but one good rest,
Whose head is pillowed upon Truth’s pure breast.


Date: 1858

By: James Thomson (Bysshe Vanolis) (1834-1882)

Friday, 29 March 2019

Air III – Ismene by Richard Bentley

The heart which love has wounded,
By fear and death surrounded,
One only thought alarms;
It mocks the raging ocean,
The stormy winds commotion,
Or din of hostile arms:

Its wonted cares are banish’d,
Its early terrors vanish’d,
It pants with fears unknown,
Throbs with too fierce pulsation,
To mark the dull vibration,
That trembles with its own.

From: Bentley, R., The airs, duetts, trios and chorusses, &c. in The prophet: a comic opera, in three acts; performed at the Theatre-Royal, Covent-Garden, 1788, T. Cadell: London, p. 9.

Date: 1788

By: Richard Bentley (1708-1782)

Thursday, 28 March 2019

On an Acquaintance by Jane Cavendish

When looke on you then each should truely name
A woman faire and then speake you the same
For you appeare as if you could well tell
The way of love, and yet keep vertue well
Your Eye lookes innocence, this is trueth
An you your selfe is full of gentle youth
And every looke of you doth mildely say
I have heard of sinn, but yet not knowes the way
I longe to name thee, what then shall it bee?
Witts waggerie, and that I sweare is thee.

From: Cavendish, Jane and Bennet, Alexandra G. (ed.), The Collected Works of Jane Cavendish, 2018, Routledge: Abingdon, Oxon and New York, p. 6.

Date: c1650

By: Jane Cavendish (1621-1669)

Wednesday, 27 March 2019

Lines 1-17 of “The Chatelaine of Vergi” by Anonymous

There are people who pretend
Loyalty, say they intend
To keep your confidence so well
That you may without danger tell
Your secrets; and when they discover
Proof that someone has a lover
Make it their pleasure and their pride
To send the news out far and wide,
And afterward make fun of those
Who lose their joy because they chose
To have it known. The greater the love
The more will be the sorrow of
The true lover who must start
Doubting the one who rules his heart.
And oftentimes such harm is done
By this that love will quickly run
Its course, to end in grief and shame.

From: Terry, Patricia (ed. and transl.), The Honeysuckle and the Hazel Tree: Medieval Stories of Men and Women, 1995, University of California Press: Berkeley, Los Angeles, London, Section 8.

Date: 13th century (original in French); 1995 (translation in English)

By: Anonymous

Translated by: Patricia Terry (1929- )

Tuesday, 26 March 2019

Final Verse of “Mahābhārata” by Nannaya Bhattaraka

Autumn nights under the glowing canopy of stars,
dense with the wind-borne fragrance
of unfolding water lilies,
flooded with light white as camphor
flowing down from the moon,
and filled with sky.

From: Velcheru, Narayana Rao and Shulman, David (eds. and transls.), Classical Telugu Poetry: An Anthology, 2002, University of California Press: Berkeley, Los Angeles, London, p. 55.

Date: 11th century (original in Telugu); 2002 (translation in English)

By: Nannaya Bhattaraka (11th century)

Translated by: Narayana Rao Velcheru (1932- ) and David Dean Shulman (1949- )

Monday, 25 March 2019

Sue Speaks to Me in the Swan Room by Malika Booker

Now we’re old parrots, who have lost their flair,
we’ve no stories to tell. Back then we were red
breasted robins; bright Dolly, chirpy Chrissie,
flighty Stella and me. No boys on our horizons then.
We were children thinking ourselves grown up, in love
with Shakespeare, this stage, the actors, the dust.
Back then we were blue tits, bright turtle-necks,
A-line mini skirts and knee length boots.
Back then we stood by roadsides, fists mid-air,
thumbs cocked up hitching rides. Back then
we hoarded pocket money for tickets, too poor
to take the bus.We’d ride from Coventry
in Ford Austins, Mini Minors or Cortinas.
Back then it was safe. At the Theatre we queued
for hours, flasks of tea warming our palms,
bare knees cold, for one & sixpence tickets,
then stood at the back for a three hour play.
If our money stretched to two seats we sat
on each other’s knees the entire time.
After we’d camp in a tent by the river,
cold little nesting birds, squeezed. Back then
I loved Olivier. His voice, slicked back hair.
Oh he was tall, could charm the pants off me
any day. No man ever measured up to that one,
not even my husband. All these years
we’ve migrated to return each new season,
until Dolly flew away. It was sudden flight.
That cup of tea and empty chair is Dolly’s.
We’re old parrots now with no stories to tell.


Date: 2011

By: Malika Booker (1970- )

Sunday, 24 March 2019

You Have the Tools, Use Them by Carol Moldaw

Meanwhile, while we were off
practicing mindfulness, a deer
staggered half-way up our drive
and collapsed on the front lawn,
most likely struck by a car.
Robin left it on voicemail,
asking if she could remove the deer
for us, in exchange for the meat
which she would butcher up then
and there. The meat, she said,
was pristine, so far untouched
by flies. She was impatient
to reach me, to get going
before a mountain lion found it.
At first I heard only “deer”
and called back thinking
she just wanted to let me know
she was there with the dogs
and had seen some deer
rubbing against aspen bark,
chewing the orchard grass.
That was almost that, until
she went through it all again,
this time making sure I heard.


Date: 2018

By: Carol Moldaw (1956- )

Saturday, 23 March 2019

Spiderweb by Kay Ryan

From other
angles the
fibers look
fragile, but
not from the
spider’s, always
hauling coarse
ropes, hitching
lines to the
best posts
possible. It’s
heavy work
fighting sag,
winching up
give. It
isn’t ever
to live.


Date: 2010

By: Kay Ryan (1945- )

Friday, 22 March 2019

Outside by Karen McCarthy Woolf

under the arcade
and the floor-length glass shop front:
a green pop-up dome

flanked by a Burberry
suitcase and a sleeping-bag

a makeshift shelter
for Sai from Stratford
with time to invest

in a four-day queue – he’s first
in line for an iPhone 6s

no-one moves him on
or threatens arrest
as it’s not about where

but why you pitch your tent.


Date: 2017

By: Karen McCarthy Woolf (19??- )