Archive for ‘20th Century’

Tuesday, 24 January 2023

Still Life with Approaching Death by Anthony Lawrence

Harnessed by the fretwork of her temper,
by the stress-distorted muscles in her face,
she needleworks her grief with skill and grace
in framed, miasmic light from seamless water.
The millwheel of her heart has lost momentum.
A bell-shaped sun has stalled above the sea.
She sees her faith in life myopically.
She breathes my body has known delirium,
now shock cells are my rapturous embrace.
Ten bottle brush heads and four silver pears
number the days she has waiting. She stares
into herself, through cerements of lace.

From: Lawrence, Anthony, “Still Life with Approaching Death” in Westerly, Volume 42, Number 4, Summer 1997, p. 41.

Date: 1997

By: Anthony Lawrence (1957- )

Monday, 23 January 2023

Dust by Barbara Brandt (Barbara Temperton)

for Minga

Dust, residue of ancient bones
red as rusty old blood and pulsing
with life, paints my skin.
The heart of my home country
pumps Banjima dust around the feet
of Kurruma and Innawonga dancers,
tints the old people’s hair
and dyes my white shirt red.
Dust pulses to the beat of the dancing sticks,
enriches my mouth, the songs I sing.

From: Brandt, Barbara, “Dust” in Westerly, Volume 41, No. 1, Autumn 1996, p. 81.

Date: 1996

By: Barbara Brandt (Barbara Temperton) (1955- )

Sunday, 22 January 2023

Barbara Brandt Said by Elaine DeLott Baker

Barbara Brandt said:
I want to write
the truth
that’s why I can’t
write every day.


Date: 1965

By: Elaine DeLott Baker (1942- )

Saturday, 21 January 2023

Tidal Gossip by Robert Alden Sanborn

With a kick of white lace
The ruffled waves
Flirt to the winking sun;
Minding not
the stodgy sleeper
Whose eye        is turned inward
Upon intestinal ructions.

(Despite the fact,
He is their consort.)

But then,
One must do something
To turn the flying edge
of the sickle,
While waiting
the cold sweet lover,
Whose head
on a silver platter
Makes terrible the night.

From: Sanborn, Robert Alden, “Tidal Gossip” in Kreymborg, Alfred, Others: An Anthology of the New Verse, 1916, Alfred A. Knopf: New York, pp. 116-117.

Date: 1915

By: Robert Alden Sanborn (1877-1962)

Friday, 20 January 2023

Childhood Memories by William Saphier

Those years are foliage of trees,
their trunks hidden by bushes’
behind them a grey haze topped with silver
hides the swinging steps of my first love
the Danube.

On its face
grave steel palaces with smoking torches,
parading monasteries moved slowly to the Black Sea
till the bared branches scratched the north wind.

On its bed
a great Leviathan waited
for the ceremonies on the arrival of Messiah
and bobbing small fishes snapped sun splinters

for the pleasure of the monster.
Along its shores
red capped little hours danced
with rainbow colored kites,
messengers to heaven.

My memory is a sigh
of swallows swinging
through a slow dormant summer
to a timid line on the horizon.


Date: 1920

By: William Saphier (1886-1942)

Monday, 16 January 2023

Pylons by Stanley Snaith

Over the tree’d upland evenly striding,
One after one they lift their serious shapes
That ring with light. The statement of their steel
Contradicts Nature’s softer architecture.
Earth will not accept them as it accepts
A wall, a plough, a church so coloured of earth
It might be some experiment of the soil’s.
Yet are they outposts of the trekking future.
Into the thatch-hung consciousness of hamlets
They blaze new thoughts, new habits. Traditions
Are being trod down like flowers dropped by children.
Already that farm-boy striding and throwing seed
In the shoulder-hinged half-circle Millet knew,
Looks grey with antiquity as his dead forbears,
A half familiar figure out of the Georgics,
Unheeded by these new-world, rational towers.


Date: 1933

By: Stanley Snaith (1903-1976)

Sunday, 15 January 2023

The New Beginning by Herbert Edward Palmer

They had fought the last desperate battle.
They had deluged the earth with their rage
And the crimson flood mounted to Heaven,
And drew up each soul from its grave.

And sent them foeman with foeman
To shatter the quiet of the skies.
And lo! they commingled together
With the hope of God in their eyes.

And in faith they went peacefully singing,
And waking dead stars to new birth,
Till Earth knew Heaven as her lover,
And Heaven leaned down gracious to Earth,

And tendered her blossoms of healing,
And rained on her kindness of tears,
And gave back in trust to her lover
The bloom of the sacrificed years.

From: Palmer, Herbert E., Two Fishers and Other Poems, 1918, Elkin Mathews: London, pp. 18-19.

Date: 1918

By: Herbert Edward Palmer (1880-1961)

Monday, 9 January 2023

Across the Way by Rogan Wolf

Welcome, wanderer,

I have seen you
across the way
and salute you.

to place myself
in someone else’s hands

to place myself
in hands trained
to relieve me

hands to retrieve me
myself at sea.
I am sending

an SOS signal
from the eye
of my tempest

pausing here
across the way.

Welcome, wanderer,

From across the way
I salute you.


Date: 1997

By: Rogan Wolf (19??- )

Sunday, 8 January 2023

“Fear is The Gateway to Love” (Martin Buber) by Lazarus Aaronson

To be afraid is to begin
To say I know and be aware.
To be aware lets man’s death in.
To let death in is to know the meaning of sin.

To know sin’s meaning is to be
Aware of good; to be aware
Of good is to begin to be
Somewhere aware of God’s own will to be free.

To be aware of freedom is
To wish that all mankind may share,
Each in himself in perfect bliss
And all in love, for love means all of this.

From: Aaronson, Lazarus, “Two Unpublished Poems” in Jewish Quarterly, Volume 15, 1967, Issue 1-2, p. 13.

Date: 1967 (published)

By: Lazarus Aaronson (1894-1966)

Sunday, 1 January 2023

New Year’s Litany by Ronald McCuaig

Dear Reader, may the New Year be
A better one for You and Me,
For none deserves it more than We.

And let us not by name condemn
Tom, Dick or Harry, Jim or Clem,
But hope it won’t be good for Them.

For They drove cars, and They lived high,
And filled themselves with pork and pie.
While We were standing hungry by.

They toiled not, neither did They spin.
But gathered the same income in
As We, work-worn to bone and skin.

Their jig is up. Their ship’s a wreck,
And in the New Year, We expeck
That They will get it in the neck.

But let us pray to Fortune, thus:
“Please, this time, be fastidious —
Distinguish between Them and Us!”

And, Reader, may the New Year be
A better one for You and Me,
For none deserves it more than We.

From: Swilliam, “New Year’s Litany” in The Bulletin, Volume 72, Number 3750 (26 December 1951), p. 12.

Date: 1951

By: Ronald McCuaig (1908-1993)