Posts tagged ‘1937’

Wednesday, 11 August 2021

Alembic by Leila Jones

Light, let fall from the improvident sun,
Is given back in color, born of light,
In the gold of hawkweed and dandelion,
In purple aconite.

Earth cannot rest, she turns from sun to shadow
Weaving her magical stains until the debt
Is paid full measure; summer greens the meadow,
The sea drifts to violet.

And the song that is you, the wild heart singing
Charged with laughter or grief, is but a spark
Transmuted from light falling, to light winging,
Turned home through the dark.

From: Jones, Leila, “Alembic” in Poetry: A Magazine of Verse, Vol. L, No. I, April 1937, p. 20.

Date: 1937

By: Leila Jones (fl. 1937-1939)

Tuesday, 30 March 2021

Mood by Grace Fallow Norton

Though words are littered to my hand
nothing they build can house my need.
Though words, a masked bedizened band,
surround me, mock—assail—evade—

though words come flowing from afar
having from ancient hills their red
and from this sky their cloud, their star,
still thirsty, mute, I bow my head.

For I am caught here needing speech,
sick with a lovely song unsung.
Waves broken on a desolate beach,
O not your strange confusing tongue

but rather the enchanted beat,
the deep eternal surge and sway—
silence, then running rapturous feet—
comes nearer what my heart would say.

From: Norton, Grace Follow, “Mood” in Poetry, Volume 50, Issue 3, June 1937, p. 133.

Date: 1937

By: Grace Fallow Norton (1876-1962)

Sunday, 20 October 2019

History by Robert Friend

What was the shadow on the sun?   and looking up
we saw the sudden headlines heavy under the sky;
they moved, broke ranks, swirled, and now a wave
washed over us, engulfing the Brooklyn restaurant:
The Italians have entered the last Ethiopian city.

Ebbed; and the quiet sunshine on the cutlery
resumed the historic pathway of its life,
the trolley car clanged its bell, the waitress
came with the order, the radio wept again.

When we looked at the cold clock on the wall,
we saw it was the twentieth century.


Date: 1937

By: Robert Friend (1913-1998)

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

In Conjunction by Charles Henry Madge

Now in the circulating torrent of the stars
Certain events are drawn correct and clear
Faces that wear expressions of anguish and delight

Signs unmistakable of the heavenly progress
The flying planet leaves the night house
The two twined figures fill the highest hemisphere

From which we conclude peace, and grateful offerings
While the bird of war, thunderless on leaden roof
No shadow shows on the galactic brilliance of the streaming breast

And beyond the fated, tragic, foursquare, immovable house
Evenings under trees of calm, descending evening of rest
Relenting over battlefields, evenings upholding us
Among alarms, rust and the dead, waiting to be blest.


Date: 1937

By: Charles Henry Madge (1912-1996)

Thursday, 28 May 2015

Sonnet: Pit-Boy by Vernon Watkins

When sleep’s propped scenery falls about the house
And dancing women quickly take off their masks,
The brick world wakes up, willing to espouse
The child whose parents left the empty flasks.

When sleep’s propped scenery falls, alarums rouse
Children of light to their appointed tasks.
Around Laocoon and his children’s brows
Strangling their violence with venom, a serpent basks.

Harnessed to mines, who shall inherit wealth?
To whom, here praying, shall pasteurized milk bring health?
What horror of dawn shall hide our born disgrace?

Torn, with torn satchel, reared in grit and filth,
His misery shows a town taken by stealth,
And all the accusing heavens in that Welsh face.


Date: 1937

By: Vernon Watkins (1906-1967)

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Falling Petals by Li Shangyin

The guests are gone from the pavilion high,
In the small garden flowers are whirling around.
Along the winding path the petals lie;
To greet the setting sun, they drift up from the ground.

Heartbroken, I cannot bear to sweep them away;
From my eyes, spring soon disappears.
I pine with passing, heart’s desire lost for aye;
Nothing is left but a robe stained with tears


Date: 9th century (original); 1937 (translation)

By: Li Shangyin (c813-858)

Translated by: Arthur David Schloss Waley (1889-1966)

Sunday, 9 March 2014

On the Term of Exile by Bertolt Brecht

No need to drive a nail into the wall
To hang your hat on;
When you come in, just drop it on the chair
No guest has sat on.

Don’t worry about watering the flowers—
In fact, don’t plant them.
You will have gone back home before they bloom,
And who will want them?

If mastering the language is too hard,
Only be patient;
The telegram imploring your return
Won’t need translation.

Remember, when the ceiling sheds itself
In flakes of plaster,
The wall that keeps you out is crumbling too,
As fast or faster.


Date: 1937 (original in German); 2011 (translated into English)

By: Bertolt Brecht (1898-1956)

Translated by: Adam Kirsch (1976- )

Saturday, 2 June 2012

Mountain Bushfire by Kenneth Ivo Mackenzie

Full moon. The brazen eye of midnight scans
the black and swollen mountains oozing fire
high over the indifference of the sleeping plains
hazed with the perfumed smoke of death and fear
under the radiant zenith. It is not far
from here to the wild flags of havoc flying
out of the doomed and bannered trees before
the west wind, hilarious hunter plying
nets and whips of flame, the trumpet playing
a ghastly fanfare.


Date: ?1937

By: Kenneth Ivo Mackenzie (1913-1955)

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Slough by John Betjeman

Come friendly bombs and fall on Slough!
It isn’t fit for humans now,
There isn’t grass to graze a cow.
Swarm over, Death!

Come, bombs and blow to smithereens
Those air -conditioned, bright canteens,
Tinned fruit, tinned meat, tinned milk, tinned beans,
Tinned minds, tinned breath.

Mess up the mess they call a town-
A house for ninety-seven down
And once a week a half a crown
For twenty years.

And get that man with double chin
Who’ll always cheat and always win,
Who washes his repulsive skin
In women’s tears:

And smash his desk of polished oak
And smash his hands so used to stroke
And stop his boring dirty joke
And make him yell.

But spare the bald young clerks who add
The profits of the stinking cad;
It’s not their fault that they are mad,
They’ve tasted Hell.

It’s not their fault they do not know
The birdsong from the radio,
It’s not their fault they often go
To Maidenhead

And talk of sport and makes of cars
In various bogus-Tudor bars
And daren’t look up and see the stars
But belch instead.

In labour-saving homes, with care
Their wives frizz out peroxide hair
And dry it in synthetic air
And paint their nails.

Come, friendly bombs and fall on Slough
To get it ready for the plough.
The cabbages are coming now;
The earth exhales.


Date: 1937

By: John Betjeman (1906-1984)

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Via Media Via Dolorosa by Stevie Smith

There’s so much to be said on either side,
I’ll be dumb.
There’s so much to be said on either side,
I’ll hold my tongue.
For years and years I never said a word,
Now I have lost the art: my voice is never heard,
For my apprehension
Snaps beneath the tension
Of what is to be said on either side.

From: Dowson, Jane, Women’s Poetry of the 1930s: A Critical Anthology, 1996, Routledge:London and New York, p. 143.

Date: 1937

By: Stevie Smith (1902-1971)