Posts tagged ‘poetry’

Sunday, 19 January 2020

Old Ballad-Maker by William Freeland

They triumph in their giddy spheres,
The fashionable fools of time;
They lend no sweetness to the years,
Yet live in many a brazen rhyme —
For thee, dear Rhymer, not one chime.

Yea, one — I give thee one, old friend;
Not loud that all the world may hear,
But true — truth never hath an end,
Like fawning words that please the ear
One silly hour, then disappear.

Thy name and fame! If known to three
True-hearted comrades of the clan,
What need’st thou more for time to be —
The ring-like history of man.
That ever ends where it began?

Had any man a kindly heart?
It was not kindlier than thine ;
Or nobler — though, by tricks of art,
Base pebbles from a shallow mine,
Being set in gauds, like jewels shine.

Had any Sage the art of truth?
That art was thine, with all its pains;
In age, as in thy fervent youth,
Thou scorned’st the fruitful lie, whose gains
Are curses worse than galling chains.

So came it that the slaves of writ
Scourged thee, but could not break thy mind;
For wickedness, thou gav’st them wit,
And sent them limping to their kind.
The mean of heart, the halt and blind.

So came it that when death drew near,
He did not dare to strike thee dead,
But paused, as one in doubt and fear;
And when he turned, thy soul had sped,
Snatched by the Spirit of Life instead.

Wherefore I mourn thee not at all,
For still thou livest, sweet and whole,
No spoil of any fiend, or thrall:
The holy heavens alone control
The poet’s song, the poet’s soul!

Thou shinest ‘mong the good and great.
Old ballad-maker, true and good.
Exalted above fame and state,
And flattering friend and foeman rude:
Poet by poets understood.

From: Freeland, William and Johnston, Henry (ed.), Ballads & Other Poems, 1904, James MacLehose and Sons: Glasgow, pp. 79-80.

Date: 1904 (published)

William Freeland (1828-1903)

Saturday, 18 January 2020

The Home of the Heart by Muktabai

Where never darkness comes my home I’ve made;
There my delightsome lodging ever find.
That perfect shelter cannot fail our need;
Going and coming trouble us no more.
Beyond all vision and above all spheres,
He, our delight, our inmost sould indwells.
He, Mukta says, is our heart’s only home.

From: Macnicol, Margaret (ed.), Poems by Indian Women, Selected and Rendered by Various Translators, 1923, Association Press: Calcutta and Oxford University Press: London, p. 47.

Date: 13th century (original in Marathi); 1923 (translation in English)

By: Muktabai (1279-1297)

Translated by: Margaret Grant Campbell Macnicol (18??-19??) and D. K. Laddu (?-?)

Friday, 17 January 2020

A Satyr by Elizabeth Tipper

As Dungeons are for Criminals prepar’d,
Tyburn and Gyves too is their just Reward;
So Satyr’s Lash dipt, poison’d in Disgrace,
Is fit to Scourge the Vice of Human Race.
Did not the Lamb of God, with Sacred Terror,
Reprove all Pharisaic Sins and Error?
Where’s then my Muse? Does my Poetick Vein!
Want Skill or Courage for this useful Strain?
Baptismal Vows engage Heroick Minds,
Women are valiant, tho’ of different Kinds,
And tho’ my Sex is weak, my Heart’s not so:
Lead on my Chief, I fear not where I go.
Instruct me LORD, I wait for thye Command,
Without it I dare stir nor Foot or Hand.
I begg’d again, and then my LORD reply’d,
My Precepts and Example be your Guide;
Go follow them. Strait then I call’d to mind
His Golden Rule, propitious left behind:
First cast away the Beam that hides the Light
Of thine own Eye, deluded Hypocrite;
Which, once remov’d, thou better may’st discern
The little Mote thy Brother does concern,
And with more reason ask to pull it out,
When thy clear Light dispels his darker Doubt:
But if black Vice thy Life it self betray,
And thou pretend’st to Guide the perfect Way,
‘Tis like a blind Man raving in a Heat,
Inspir’d by some ridiculous Conceit,
He’s able to lead all that go astray;
His Tongue crys out, his Feet quite miss the way;
Sometimes his Steps are right, but rarely so;
Still with invective Bawls, You falsely go.
Should this his Conduct be by Prudence try’d,
Would he be thought a Madman or a Guide?
Our Saviour, e’re such Work he did begin,
Ask’d, Which of you convinces me of Sin?
And must his spotless Life a Pattern be
Imitable for such a Worm as me?
The great Example I can never reach,
Alas! I want time more to Watch than Preach.
My Self is Task sufficient to look o’re,
I find no Moment where I need explore
The Faults of others, but my own deplore.
And now I beg, since my Design has mist,
Make me true Christian, tho’ no Satyrist.

From: Tipper, Elizabeth, The Pilgrim’s Viaticum: Or, The Destitute, but not Forlorn. Being a Divine Poem, digested from Meditations Upon the Holy Scripture, 1698, J. Wilkins: London, pp. 71-72.

Date: 1698

By: Elizabeth Tipper (fl. 1693-1698)

Thursday, 16 January 2020

Decaf Immigrant by Madiha Arsalan

My name is not Beneatha,
or at least I don’t think it was until
when my coffee cup informed with the imperial authority
of permanent black ink over smooth white cardboard
that my name was,
in fact,

Come to think of it,
I’ve never had the pleasure of seeing my own name on a coffee cup,
mocking me with its ironic green and white,
the familiar colors of a Pakistani flag.
There’s been Anita, Rita, Mida, Deepa,
and my personal favorite,
but never

I am the decaffeinated coffee in my careless cup:
boiling, brown and bitter without the kick,
or an invisible celery stick
sitting next to a mountain
of tantalizing buffalo wings.


Date: 2012

By: Madiha Arsalan (19??- )

Wednesday, 15 January 2020

My Father as a Redwood Tree by Kayla Pearce

At eighty feet tall, you are the runt
of your family. Resistant to pest or prey,

your only enemy is a cleansing fire,
a tantrum wind. I visited you at seven,

carved my name into your spine,
and expected myself to bleed. I wanted to amputate

myself from you, to peel you from my veins.
My mother says if we leave you alone, you can live

for six hundred years. Once, I dreamt she found the chainsaw
beneath my bed, the teeth rusted together

like your tangle of roots, a stitch in our fabric
I cannot unweave. Years later, I returned

to find you’d been harvested, plucked
from the earth like a feather. Some days

I pull pickled bark from my throat. Some days
I cut myself in half just to count the rings.


Date: 2017

By: Kayla Pearce (19??- )

Tuesday, 14 January 2020

Blue Tongue by Fran Graham

Day brings shadow leaf to life
Sky filters in from the road
Water splash swells on the wind
Love slides belly low, warm love
Wind brushes scale-sheen like water
Road noise echoes to the sky
Life and lizard crawl, slow day.


Date: 2016

By: Fran Graham (19??- )

Monday, 13 January 2020

In the Garden by Julian O’Dea

Searching for a herb named solace;
they say it grows in hard ground;
I am sure it used to grow here,
It goes with nearly everything.
Perhaps it is nowhere to be found.
Better than heart’s ease, growing
among honesty and patience.


Date: 2019

By: Julian O’Dea (19??- )

Sunday, 12 January 2020

Even the Broken Things Entreat by James Walton

Each day the border
becomes a line of retreat
a swinging vane

declining lids
over the almond iris

reduces to standing space
the things that were once apart

even the broken things entreat

out of their tenacious memory

a daughter’s hand at four
in an acrylic blue kindergarten print
last school bag of a boy’s years

a ragged clay dragon coiled by fire
the chipped koala salt and pepper shakers
texta lines of height on the kitchen door

this house has swallowed a library

now the overdues are called

each box of go or stay
has a notice of acquittal
fares for the van to release

a recusal of all vanities.


Date: 2019

By: James Walton (19??- )

Saturday, 11 January 2020

His Winter by Christine Brandel

He was an obscure poet, I know that,
one not particularly of note as other
poets would say. He hadn’t even written
his own book, for god’s sake.
Yet I stumbled upon his winter
poem, the title meaningless. He was
not the first to write that winter was a kind
of death, a grey, heavy, slow dying
of all who lived. Yet he convinced me
so absolutely that I set the poem on my desk,
got my affairs in order, and went to bed
prepared for the last and longest sleep.


Date: 2014

By: Christine Brandel (19??- )

Friday, 10 January 2020

A New Normal by Mark Roberts

for the community in the Blue Mountains

Smoke seeps through walls
we wake to gardens covered in ash
burnt bush carried high
on wind gusts   a sacrifice
you don’t understand
and so will be repeated.

Sun dimmed in afternoon haze
a black circle around party pink
fading to a defeated grey.

Over the ridge new weather patterns are
being invented. Sheets of flames swirl
into cones, billowing clouds dark with fire
throw lightening bolts at fire trucks.

Wait for the wind to change
decide whether to head east or west.


Date: 2019

By: Mark Roberts (19??- )