Archive for ‘General’

Thursday, 14 May 2020

Easter Island by Frederick George Scott

There lies a lone isle in the tropic seas, —
A mountain isle, with beaches shining white,
Where soft stars smile upon its sleep by night,
And every noon-day fans it with a breeze.
Here on a cliff, carved upward from the knees,
Three uncouth statues of gigantic height.
Upon whose brows the circling sea-birds light.
Stare out to ocean, over the tall trees.

Forever gaze they at the sea and sky.
Forever hear the thunder of the main,
Forever watch the ages die away ;
And ever round them rings the phantom cry
Of some lost race that died in human pain,
Looking towards heaven, yet seeing no more than they.

From: Scott, Frederick George, The Unnamed Lake and Other Poems, 1897, William Briggs: Toronto, p. 48.

Date: 1897

By: Frederick George Scott (1861-1944)

Monday, 11 May 2020

The Summer Shower by Lennox Amott

The eve is still and silent and above the tinted plain
The passing clouds are driving gentle showers of summer rain,
And the scent of hay-strewn meadows and the fresh-besprinkled ground
Is mingling with the perfume of the flowers that bloom around.
Off I wander and I stroke the gleeful spaniel at my side,
And, delighted with each other, do we ramble far and wide,
While a ditty is the tribute to the joy that gives it birth,
And the leaves, refreshed, are pouring their cool nectar to the earth.
Oh let me gaze again upon the moisture-laden sky,
Let me see the rolling masses, let me hear the plover’s cry,
While enveloping the distant mountain-summits like a shroud,
Like a head bent down and hoary, hangs a heavy wreath of cloud.
Let me gaze upon the sunshine as it breaks upon the mist,
As it bathes the stony mountains that the clouds have lately kissed,
As it tips the dripping leaflet with a scintillating gem,
Like the far-resplendent treasure in a monarch’s diadem.
Let me tread the shining pasture-lands, the greenest of the green,
Let me quaff the luscious perfume of the smiling, glistering scene,
While beautified and golden stands the ripe and waving grain,
And all Nature sings for gladness now that sunshine follows rain.

From: Amott, Lennox, The Minstrel:  A Collection of Poems, 1883, Farncombe & Co: Lewes, p. 110.

Date: 1830

By: Lennox Amott (fl. 1830)

Wednesday, 15 April 2020

Prayer for Voice by Ari Berk

First Word
Sublunary Sound
Voices of delight
Tongue of telling
Feather song
Talon’s mark
Breath of bones
Murmur of loam
Heart of Earth and Sky
Sing in me
reside in me
shape my words
and make them
bright as suns.


Date: 2007

By: Ari Berk (1967- )

Wednesday, 1 April 2020

Calmly We Walk through This April’s Day by Delmore Schwartz

Calmly we walk through this April’s day,
Metropolitan poetry here and there,
In the park sit pauper and rentier,
The screaming children, the motor-car
Fugitive about us, running away,
Between the worker and the millionaire
Number provides all distances,
It is Nineteen Thirty-Seven now,
Many great dears are taken away,
What will become of you and me
(This is the school in which we learn …)
Besides the photo and the memory?
(… that time is the fire in which we burn.)

(This is the school in which we learn …)
What is the self amid this blaze?
What am I now that I was then
Which I shall suffer and act again,
The theodicy I wrote in my high school days
Restored all life from infancy,
The children shouting are bright as they run
(This is the school in which they learn …)
Ravished entirely in their passing play!
(… that time is the fire in which they burn.)

Avid its rush, that reeling blaze!
Where is my father and Eleanor?
Not where are they now, dead seven years,
But what they were then?
No more? No more?
From Nineteen-Fourteen to the present day,
Bert Spira and Rhoda consume, consume
Not where they are now (where are they now?)
But what they were then, both beautiful;

Each minute bursts in the burning room,
The great globe reels in the solar fire,
Spinning the trivial and unique away.
(How all things flash! How all things flare!)
What am I now that I was then?
May memory restore again and again
The smallest color of the smallest day:
Time is the school in which we learn,
Time is the fire in which we burn.


Date: 1938

By: Delmore Schwartz (1913-1966)

Alternative Title: For Rhoda

Monday, 30 March 2020

Majestic Valley by Chu Yi-tsun

Birds become frightened when the mountain moon sets;
Trees stand still when the valley wind dies.
When the monastery drum rolls through the deep forest,
The hermit monks have already prepared their meal.

From: Liu, Wu-chi and Lo, Irving Yucheng (eds.), Sunflower Splendor: Three Thousand Years of Chinese Poetry, 1990, Indiana University Press: Bloomington and Indianopolis, p. 476.

Date: 17th century (original in Chinese); ?1958 (translation in English)

By: Chu Yi-tsun (1629-1709)

Translated by: Yangulaoren (1867-1941) and Lewis Calvin Walmsley (1897-1998)

Tuesday, 3 March 2020

Forgetfulness by Karinna Alves Gulias

What a concern

To merge with death from the ear-shape
truth –
Death is like a tree growing inside us slowly
The roots pulsing nearer to our ears

When the ground swallows us from the stomach
all this data will become sand
Sand to the camels and to the horses
Sand to the turtles and to the seas
as if the water was time

The riches will survive the fables
Time to change moods
truce –
Wet all the turtles will follow the sun
and cannot change it

Wet all the turtles will follow the sun
and cannot change it
Feel the stomach
turning a déjà vu.

Sure of a carapace
System of leaves to cover your heart
Mirror of a tree crown swimming as well

The beauty of a sparkle
and the ugliness of choices – one

Time could carry our weight
if only we could paint dice
to wait on the windowsill
Wait for a guest
Wait for a moment of your pride
or patience
And let it be
Dusty or kept

Choice of an arm
reaching as far as your hands can touch your face

Do you cry or rest.


Date: 2013

By: Karinna Alves Gulias (1983- )

Sunday, 23 February 2020

Lines 275-298 [Eros Shoots Medea] from “Book 3: The Tale of the Argonauts” by Apollonius of Rhodes

But Eros the while through the mist-grey air passed all unseen
Troubling them, even as heifers that hear the piping keen
Of the gadfly — ‘the breese’ do the herders of oxen name the thing.
In the forecourt beneath the lintel swiftly his bow did he string :
From his quiver took he a shaft sigh-laden, unshot before :
With swift feet all unmarked hath he passed the threshold o’er,
Keen-glancing around : he hath glided close by Aison’s son:
He hath grasped the string in the midst, and the arrow-notch laid thereon.
Straightway he strained it with both hands sundered wide apart,
And he shot at Medea ; and speechless amazement filled her heart.
And the God himself from the high-roofed hall forth-flashing returned
Laughing aloud. Deep down in the maiden’s bosom burned
His arrow like unto flame; and at Aison’s son she cast
Side-glances of love evermore ; and panted hard and fast
‘Neath its burden the heart in her breast, nor did any remembrance remain
Of aught beside, but her soul was melted with rapturous pain.
And as some poor daughter of toil, who hath distaff ever in hand,
Heapeth the slivers of wood about a blazing brand
To lighten her darkness with splendour her rafters beneath, when her eyes
Have prevented the dawn; and the flame, upleaping in wondrous wise
From the one little torch, ever waxing consumeth all that heap;
So, burning in secret, about her heart did he coil and creep,
Love the destroyer: her soft cheeks’ colour went and came,
Pale now, and anon, through her soul’s confusion, with crimson aflame.

From: Apollonius and Way, Arthur Sanders (transl.), The Tale of the Argonauts, 1901, J. M. Dent and Co: London, pp. 101-102.

Date: 3rd century BCE (original in Greek); 1901 (translation in English)

By: Apollonius of Rhodes (3rd century BCE)

Translated by: Arthur Sanders Way (1847-1930)

Thursday, 6 February 2020

The Properties of a Good Greyhound attributed to Juliana Berners

A greyhound should be headed like a Snake,
And necked like a Drake,
Footed like a Cat,
Tailed liked a Rat,
Sided like a Team,
Chined like a Beam.

The first year he must learn to feed,
The second year to field him lead,
The third year he is fellow-like,
The fourth year there is none sike,
The fifth year he is good enough,
The sixth year he shall hold the plough,
The seventh year he will avail
Great bitches for to assail,
The eighth year lick ladle,
The ninth year cart saddle,
And when he is comen to that year
Have him to the tanner,
For the best hound that ever bitch had
At nine year he is full bad.


Date: 1486 (published)

By: Juliana Berners (1388-14??)

Wednesday, 5 February 2020

Mountain Twilight by William Renton

The hills slipped over each on each
Till all their changing shadows died.
Now in the open skyward reach
The lights grow solemn side by side.
While of these hills the westermost
Rears high his majesty of coast
In shifting waste of dim-blue brine
And fading olive hyaline;
Till all the distance overflows,
The green in watchet and the blue
In purple. Now they fuse and close –
A darkling violet, fringed anew
With light that on the mountains soar,
A dusky flame on tranquil shores;
Kindling the summits as they grow
In audience to the skies that call,
Ineffable in rest and all
The pathos of the afterglow.


Date: 1893

By: William Renton (fl. 1852-1905)

Tuesday, 4 February 2020

Darwin and the Wasp – A Sceptic’s Sestina by Camille Ralphs

Ichneumonidae, hymenoptera: leaded-glass
wings, inkblot thorax bruised with words
of doubt. A tract that no religious man –
when Paley’s prose dictates there is a God –
would ever read aloud, or dare to whisper.
It looks out, alive, through warm amoral eyes.

Darwin, beard of moths and fossil eyes,
sips chai tea from a crystal glass.
Pushing along his pen’s soft whisper
he sows his page with words.
The summer air’s abuzz with breath of God.
The garden is a world to such a man.

And so it is that such a man
should see among the shrubs, with pious eyes,
the ichneumon wasp – the scythe-tailed God
and Reaper to the worms. He drains his glass,
and kneels before the plants. He finds no words
he comprehends within its sinner’s whisper;

his heartbeat trills a devil’s whisper.
He reaches out a hand, like a beaten man.
The ichneumon alights; he’s lost for words.
Its legs are bars around his wedding ring. “I…”
He stops, confused. He overturns his glass
to trap the wasp, observing like a god.

“…I know not what good-hearted God
would work to this design,” he whispers.
A straining larva lies outside the glass
and with cruellest curiosity of Man
he pushes it beneath, with narrowed eyes.
He scribbles something – incoherent words –

and the wasp translates these words
to wings, swaps death for life – a swindler god –
sets upon its life-warm host with hard maternal eye –
abdomen throbbing, legs a warning whisper –
packs the flesh with eager eggs, paralysing man
and worm. Its body’s a syringe of black glass.

A cynic’s eye outside the crystal glass
blinks out, fatal, “there is no God but Man” –
irrevocable words – a new wasp’s foetal whisper.


Date: 2012

By: Camille Ralphs (19??- )