Archive for ‘General’

Thursday, 14 December 2017

Cold by Robert Francis

Cold and the colors of cold: mineral, shell,
And burning blue. The sky is on fire with blue
And wind keeps ringing, ringing the fire bell.

I am caught up into a chill as high
As creaking glaciers and powder-plumed peaks
And the absolutes of interstellar sky.

Abstract, impersonal, metaphysical, pure,
This dazzling art derides me. How should warm breath
Dare to exist—exist, exult, endure?

Hums in my ear the old Ur-father of freeze
And burn, that pre-post Christian Fellow before
And after all myths and demonologies.

Under the glaring and sardonic sun,
Behind the icicles and double glass
I huddle, hoard, hold out, hold on, hold on.

From: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poetrymagazine/browse?contentId=26446

Date: 1954

By: Robert Francis (1901-1987)

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Wednesday, 13 December 2017

The Lights by Miriam Nash

It’s getting dark again,
a closer dark
that’s harder to shake off,
and I think of the lightkeepers
in their granite towers,
oiling bolts, winding weights
in the nineteenth century dark—
scrubbing dishes, writing the log,
testing the bulbs
of the twentieth century light—
the final keeper
climbing down his ladder
in 1998, at the end of the last shift—
the automated switch, the microchip,

monitored in Edinburgh
where two centuries before,
one Thomas Smith
manufacturer of street lamps

sat with an oil flame
and a Scottish map—
I strike a match over dark reefs
where ships would crack,
the year unhooks its old black hat
to have a go at vanishing
the human world.

From: https://www.theguardian.com/childrens-books-site/2015/oct/08/top-10-poems-about-light

Date: 2015

By: Miriam Nash (1985- )

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

The Lost Thing by Stephen Dunn

The truth is
it never belonged to anybody.
It’s not a music box or a locket;
it doesn’t bear our initials.
It has none of the tragic glamour
of a lost child, won’t be found
on any front page. It’s like
the river that confuses
search dogs, like the promise
on the far side of the ellipsis.
Look for it in the margins,
is the conventional wisdom.
Look for it as late afternoon light
drips below the horizon.
But it’s not to be seen.
Nor does it have a heart
or give off any signal.
It’s as if. . . is how some of us
keep trying to reach it.
Once, long ago, I felt sure
I was in its vicinity.

From: http://www.commonlinejournal.com/2009/07/poetry-by-stephen-dunn.html

Date: 2006

By: Stephen Dunn (1939- )

Sunday, 3 December 2017

The Parrot by Sacheverell Reresby Sitwell

The parrot’s voice snaps out–
No good to contradict–
What he says he’ll say again:
Dry facts, like biscuits,–

His voice and vivid colours
Of his breast and wings
Are immemoriably old;
Old dowagers dressed in crimpèd satin
Boxed in their rooms
Like specimens beneath a glass
Inviolate–and never changing,
Their memory of emotions dead;
The ardour of their summers
Sprayed like camphor
On their silken parasols
Entissued in a cupboard.

Reflective, but with never a new thought
The parrot sways upon his ivory perch–
Then gravely turns a somersault
Through rings nailed in the roof–
Much as the sun performs his antics
As he climbs the aerial bridge
We only see
Through crystal prisms in a falling rain.

From: http://www.theotherpages.org/poems/sitwell2.html

Date:  1922

By: Sacheverell Reresby Sitwell (1897-1988)

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Hard of Hearing by Alan Porter

Once in April ways
I heard the cuckoo call.
Among more withering days
Haulms twitched and clicked with heat.
I heard the bumping fall
Of yellow plums. My feet
Drew bickerings from the grass
Like thunder-rain on roofs,
Or clattered arms of brass.
Horses’ battering hoofs
Ring no louder now
Than once a distant stream.
The grasshopper’s old-hussif row
Dies to remembered dream.

In bygone days I heard
The swinging dewberry scratch
To the flurried flight of a bird,
Nor found it hard to catch
The plashy drop when a trout
Came bowbent leaping out.
I heard from pools and bogs
The little, barking frogs.
Clapping water-weeds,
The hiss of sand-wasps’ wings,
Wind-brattled campion seeds,
Were close familiar things.
Now nature’s musics half are fled;
And half my heart is dead.

From: Porter, Alan, “Hard of Hearing”, Wheels, 1920 (Fifth Cycle), 1920, pp. 39-40.
(http://www.modernistmagazines.com/media/pdf/301.pdf)

Date: 1920

By: Alan Porter (1899-1942)

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Term by William Stanley Merwin

At the last minute a word is waiting
not heard that way before and not to be
repeated or ever be remembered
one that always had been a household word
used in speaking of the ordinary
everyday recurrences of living
not newly chosen or long considered
or a matter for comment afterward
who would ever have thought it was the one
saying itself from the beginning through
all its uses and circumstances to
utter at last that meaning of its own
for which it had long been the only word
though it seems now that any word would do.

From: http://www.english.illinois.edu/maps/poets/m_r/merwin/online.htm

Date: 2009

By: William Stanley Merwin (1927- )

Monday, 27 November 2017

Summer Doggerel by Elizabeth Heaton

One day down-sitting in the purple sun
That green with orange cloves stood in my eyes,
Beside the smell of meadow-sweet and weeds,
Platform for zebraed insect and blue fly
And green, and gold; sitting in cotton dress
All pink and billowy and girlish-garden,
I heard a clatter in the yard behind,
The clump of hob-nailed boots, and starting, saw
A staring sweep, with windmill brushes cocked
Like feathery One o’clocks, upon his shoulder.
So black he looked and grim, I’d rather
Daun Pluto, his father.

From: Heaton, Elizabeth, “Summer Doggerel”, New Verse, No. 3, May 1933, p. 15.
(http://www.modernistmagazines.com/media/pdf/262.pdf)

Date: 1933

By: Elizabeth Heaton (?-?)

Sunday, 26 November 2017

Light by Charles Kenneth (C.K.) Williams

Another drought morning after a too brief dawn downpour,
unaccountable silvery glitterings on the leaves of the withering maples—

I think of a troop of the blissful blessed approaching Dante,
“a hundred spheres shining,” he rhapsodizes, “the purest pearls…”

then of the frightening brilliants myriad gleam in my lamp
of the eyes of the vast swarm of bats I found once in a cave,

a chamber whose walls seethed with a spaceless carpet of creatures,
their cacophonous, keen, insistent, incessant squeakings and squealings

churning the warm, rank, cloying air; of how one,
perfectly still among all the fitfully twitching others,

was looking straight at me, gazing solemnly, thoughtfully up
from beneath the intricate furl of its leathery wings

as though it couldn’t believe I was there, or were trying to place me,
to situate me in the gnarl we’d evolved from, and now,

the trees still heartrendingly asparkle, Dante again,
this time the way he’ll refer to a figure he meets as “the life of…”

not the soul, or person, the life, and once more the bat, and I,
our lives in that moment together, our lives, our lives,

his with no vision of celestial splendor, no poem,
mine with no flight, no unblundering dash through the dark,

his without realizing it would, so soon, no longer exist,
mine having to know for us both that everything ends,

world, after-world, even their memory, steamed away
like the film of uncertain vapor of the last of the luscious rain.

From: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/52308/light-56d230aab00c7

Date: 2006

By: Charles Kenneth (C.K.) Williams (1936-2015)

Friday, 24 November 2017

Station 40, Chiriu: the Poet Ariwara no Narihira at Eight Bridges by Debora Greger

What is sky but water, more water,
crossed by eight bridges?
Is the ancient poet in a rush to reach land?

No, he’s already one of the Six Immortals.
How long before the papery iris-petals
he admires wrinkle? They barely grow beards.

In a thousand years, pilgrims will come.
They will stand where he stood. Where, they will ask,
are the flowers that empurpled his poem?

From: https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poem/station-40-chiriu-poet-ariwara-no-narihira-eight-bridges

Date: 2014

By: Debora Greger (1949- )

Thursday, 23 November 2017

Twilight Time by Samuel Palmer

And now the trembling light
Glimmers behind the little lulls, and corn,
Ling’ring as loth to part: yet part thou must
And though than open day far pleasing more
(Ere yet the fields and pearled cups of flowers
twinkle in the parting light),
Thee night shall hide, sweet visionary gleam
That softly lookest through the rising dew;
Till all like silver bright,
The faithful Witness, pure and white
Shall look o’er yonder grassy hill,
At this village, safe and still,
All is safe and all is still,
Save what noise the watch-dog makes
Or the shrill cock the silence breaks
Now and then —
And now and then —
Hark! — once again,
The wether’s bell
To us doth tell
Some little stirring in the fold.
Methinks the ling’ring, dying ray
Of twilight time, doth seem more fair,
And lights the soul up more than day,
When wide-spread, sultry sunshines are.
Yet all is right, and all most fair
For thou, dear God, hast formèd all;
Thou deckest ev’ry little flower,
Thou girdest every planet ball —
And markest when sparrows fall

From: Grigson, Geoffrey, Samuel Palmer: The Visionary Years, 1947, Kegan Paul: London, pp. 26-27.
(https://archive.org/details/in.ernet.dli.2015.501267)

Date: 1824

By: Samuel Palmer (1805-1881)