Archive for July, 2020

Friday, 31 July 2020

Nearer, My God, to Thee by Sarah Fuller Flower Adams

Nearer, my God, to Thee,
Nearer to Thee!
E’en though it be a cross
That raiseth me;
Still all my song shall be,
Nearer, my God, to Thee,
Nearer to Thee!

Though like the wanderer,
The sun gone down,
Darkness be over me,
My rest a stone;
Yet in my dreams I’d be
Nearer, my God, to Thee,
Nearer to Thee!

There let the way appear
Steps unto Heaven,
All that Thou send’st me
In mercy given;
Angels to beckon me
Nearer, my God, to Thee,
Nearer to Thee!

Than, with my waking thoughts
Bright with Thy praise,
Out of my stony griefs,
Bethel I’ll raise;
So by my woes to be
Nearer, my God, to Thee,
Nearer to Thee!


Date: 1841

By: Sarah Fuller Flower Adams (1805-1848)

Thursday, 30 July 2020

Crookstone and Langside (from “Clyde”) by John Wilson

By Crookstone Castle waves the still-green yew,
The first that met the royal Mary’s view
When, bright in charms, the youthful princess led
The graceful Darnley to her throne and bed.
Embossed in silver now, its branches green
Transcend the myrtle of the Paphian queen.

But dark Langside, from Crookstone viewed afar,
Still seems to range in pomp the rebel war.
Here, when the moon rides dimly through the sky,
The peasant sees broad, dancing standards fly;
And one bright female form, with sword and crown,
Still grieve’s to view her banners beaten down.

From: Eyre-Todd, George (ed.), Scottish Poetry of the Eighteenth Century, Volume 1, 1896, William Hodge & Co: Glasgow, p. 147.

Date: 1803 (published)

By: John Wilson (1720-1789)

Wednesday, 29 July 2020

The Heart’s Laboratory by Stephen Oliver

You must read words
to be reminded of them.

Left alone they are rabble, argumentative, a calm
or crazy half-remembered message
of some forgotten incident,
or people.

Whatever heart you have visited,
someone passed that way before.

Silk road of remembrance.

How humanizing it is to half-turn and glimpse –
as if to say,
‘Trust me, again’.

The small discoveries one makes of the moment
are soon forgotten – deafened

by the blood’s quiet tumult,
that roar in the ears via the heart’s laboratory.

A plane-shadow snatches a tree; Autumn

From: Oliver, Stephen, “The Heart’s Laboratory” in Snorkel, No.7, 2008.

Date: 2008

By: Stephen Oliver (1950- )

Tuesday, 28 July 2020

Salt by Robert James Berry

for Ahila

A word like salt
needs no adjectives
to taste it.

Haunches of ham cure;
they hang saltily.

Thirst of the flat earth
is apocryphally,
a pillar of grief.

But I recall you
rolling sea salt between your
thumb and little finger

splendidly nude

your sight framing the cabbage trees
and a wall of rain, eating celery.

From: Berry, Robert James, “Salt” in Paperplates, Vol. 6, No. 3, 2005, p. 12.

Date: 2005

By: Robert James Berry (1960- )

Monday, 27 July 2020

Grief House by Eric Beach

for gwen

enter through unreasoned gates
one over-grown night, when uncut stars
on crossed wires catch wool-wisps of light

follow a dull curve of drive, down
past macrocarpa & pine, antiseptic
smelling, but there’s no anodyne

you must open a door which warns
that bones & iron rust, enter here
seek what you’ve lost because you must

slummock tears, you touch wet walls
coming unglued, appearances thin
maps of darker places coming through

strange consolation, to build anew
to leave behind, light arrives & is lost
& a roof staring open, bewildered & kind.

From: Beach, Eric, “Grief House” in Westerly, No., Winter 1994, p. 39.

Date: 1994

By: Eric Beach (1947- )

Sunday, 26 July 2020

Metonymy as an Approach to a Real World by William Bronk

Whether what we sense of this world
is the what of this world only, or the what
of which of several possible worlds
–which what?–something of what we sense
may be true, may be the world, what it is, what we sense.
For the rest, a truce is possible, the tolerance
of travelers, eating foreign foods, trying words
that twist the tongue, to feel that time and place,
not thinking that this is the real world.

Conceded, that all the clocks tell local time;
conceded, that “here” is anywhere we bound
and fill a space; conceded, we make a world:
is something caught there, contained there,
something real, something which we can sense?
Once in a city blocked and filled, I saw
the light lie in the deep chasm of a street,
palpable and blue, as though it had drifted in
from say, the sea, a purity of space.


Date: 1964

By: William Bronk (1918-1999)

Saturday, 25 July 2020

“Ever the Same” by Henry Glassford Bell

“Ever the same!” Ah! no, not now the same;
Years imperceptibly evolve a change;
New incidents surround us; the old range
Of thoughts and feelings alters; the old flame
Unconsciously burns out; the earthly frame
Takes new conditions; and without a fault,
Or choice of ours, old pleasures call a halt,
And later cares put in a closer claim:
Still loving, still sincere, still glad to meet
The friend of other years, yet not as then,—
More quietly, finding him like other men,
The smile less winning, and the voice less sweet;
Ah! days departed! who would harshly blame
The kindly tongue that whispers—“Still the same!”

From: Bell, Henry Glassford, Romances and Minor Poems, 1866, MacMillan and Co: London, p. 181.

Date: 1866

By: Henry Glassford Bell (1803-1874)

Friday, 24 July 2020

Discontentment by David Gray

O if we never knew the genial hour
When Happiness sits by us like a god
Dispensing treasures, we would never know
The barren sadness of the common day,
The weariness, and discontentment sour
At human life—its ordinary load
Of hopes deferred, and presences that flow
Smilingly past us, syrens in the dream
Of young imagination, fancy-fed.
O I have seen such beauties with the gleam
Of fairy sunshine on them, and I long
Upon their bosoms this my life away
To dally, like the lover in a song,
And be a luting swain, Arcadian bred!

From: Gray, David and Bell, Henry Glassford (ed.), The Poetical Works of David Gray, 1874, MacMillan and Co: London, p. 197.

Date: 1862 (published)

By: David Gray (1838-1961)

Thursday, 23 July 2020

A Prayer by Dániel Berzsenyi

O, God, whom no wise man in thought can reach,
Thou whom his yearning hope can barely trace;
Thy being, like the sun, pervades all life.
But human eyes can never see Thy face.

The highest heaven and ether’s Uranus
Around Thee in revolving order course;
The very worms unseen beneath the sod
Proclaim Thy wondrous wisdom and Thy force.

The myriad orbs from nothing Thou hast called,
Thy glance brings worlds to life or sends to death,
And measures the swift-flowing tides of time,
Whose ocean-waves are even as Thy breath.

Zenith and Nadir glorify Thy name,
Strong tempests breeding strife o’er sea and land.
Thunder and lightning, dews and flowering boughs,
Alike proclaim them creatures of Thy hand.

In pious guise I kneel before Thy grace;
When once my soul from its abode doth part,
And near approaches Thee, O, then, I know
I shall attain the yearning of my heart.

Till then I dry my tears and simply tread
The pathway of my life ordained by Thee —
The pathway of all good and noble souls,
Until my soul, like theirs, gains strength to flee.

Though awful, yet I view the grave’s dark night,
Which cannot all be evil, now in trust,
Because, e’en dead, Thy creatures still are Thine,
Whose gracious hands protect even bones and dust.

From: Loew, William N. (ed. and transl.), Magyar Poetry. Selections from Hungarian Poets, 1899, Author-Translator’s Edition, p. 149.

Date: 1807-1810 (original in Hungarian); 1899 (translation in English)

By: Dániel Berzsenyi (1776-1836)

Translated by: William Noah Loew (1847-1922)

Wednesday, 22 July 2020

Love Letter to the World by Rupi Kaur

the necessity to protect you overcame me
i love you too much
to remain quiet as you weep
watch me rise to kiss the poison out of you
i will resist the temptation
of my tired feet
and keep marching
with tomorrow in one hand
and a fist in the other
i will carry you to freedom.

From: Kaur, Rupi, The Sun and Her Flowers, 2017, Anrews McMeel Publishing: Kansas City, Missouri, p. 42.

Date: 2017

By: Rupi Kaur (1992- )