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About Heather

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  1. Poetic Wanderings

    I wandered out one rainy day And heard a bird with merry joys Cry 'wet my foot' for half the way; I stood and wondered at the noise, When from my foot a bird did flee-- The rain flew bouncing from her breast I wondered what the bird could be, And almost trampled on her nest. The nest was full of eggs and round-- I met a shepherd in the vales, And stood to tell him what I found. He knew and said it was a quail's, For he himself the nest had found, Among the wheat and on the green, When going on his daily round, With eggs as many as fifteen. Among the stranger birds they feed, Their summer flight is short and low; There's very few know where they breed, And scarcely any where they go. John Clare - 'Quail's nest'
  2. Poetic Wanderings

    When you are old and grey and full of sleep, And nodding by the fire, take down this book, And slowly read, and dream of the soft look Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep; How many loved your moments of glad grace, And loved your beauty with love false or true, But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you, And loved the sorrows of your changing face; And bending down beside the glowing bars, Murmur, a little sadly, how Love fled And paced upon the mountains overhead And hid his face amid a crowd of stars. W.B. Yeats - 'When you are old'
  3. Poetic Wanderings

    ‘Is there anybody there?’ said the Traveller, Knocking on the moonlit door; And his horse in the silence champed the grasses Of the forest’s ferny floor: And a bird flew up out of the turret, Above the Traveller’s head: And he smote upon the door again a second time; ‘Is there anybody there?’ he said. But no one descended to the Traveller; No head from the leaf-fringed sill Leaned over and looked into his grey eyes, Where he stood perplexed and still. But only a host of phantom listeners That dwelt in the lone house then Stood listening in the quiet of the moonlight To that voice from the world of men: Stood thronging the faint moonbeams on the dark stair, That goes down to the empty hall, Hearkening in an air stirred and shaken By the lonely Traveller’s call. And he felt in his heart their strangeness, Their stillness answering his cry, While his horse moved, cropping the dark turf, ’Neath the starred and leafy sky; For he suddenly smote on the door, even Louder, and lifted his head:— ‘Tell them I came, and no one answered, That I kept my word,’ he said. Never the least stir made the listeners, Though every word he spake Fell echoing through the shadowiness of the still house From the one man left awake: Ay, they heard his foot upon the stirrup, And the sound of iron on stone, And how the silence surged softly backward, When the plunging hoofs were gone. Walter de la Mare - 'The Listeners'
  4. Poetic Wanderings

    In Scarlet town where I was born There was a fair maid dwelling And every youth cried well away For her name was Barbara Allen Twas in the merry month of May The green buds were a swelling Sweet William on his deathbed lay For the love of Barbara Allen He sent a servant unto her To the place she was dwelling Saying you must come to his deathbed now If your name be Barbara Allen Slowly slowly she got up Slowly slowly she came nigh him And the only words to him she said Young man I think you're dying As she was walking oer the fields She heard the death bell knelling And every stroke it seemed to say Hardhearted Barbara Allen Oh mother mother make my bed Make it long and make it narrow Sweet William died for me today I'll die for him tomorrow They buried her in the old churchyard They buried him in the choir And from his grave grew a red red rose From her grave a green briar They grew and grew to the steeple top Till they could grow no higher And there they twined in a true love's knot Red rose around green briar. Anonymous - 'Barbara Allen'
  5. Poetic Wanderings

    My true-love hath my heart and I have his, By just exchange one for the other given: I hold his dear, and mine he cannot miss; There never was a bargain better driven. His heart in me keeps me and him in one; My heart in him his thoughts and senses guides: He loves my heart, for once it was his own; I cherish his because in me it bides. His heart his wound received from my sight; My heart was wounded with his wounded heart; For as from me on him his hurt did light, So still, methought, in me his hurt did smart: Both equal hurt, in this change sought our bliss, My true love hath my heart and I have his. Sir Philip Sidney - Song from 'Arcadia'
  6. Poetic Wanderings

    My Soul, there is a country Afar beyond the stars, Where stands a winged sentry All skillful in the wars; There, above noise and danger Sweet Peace sits, crown’d with smiles, And One born in a manger Commands the beauteous files. He is thy gracious friend And (O my Soul awake!) Did in pure love descend, To die here for thy sake. If thou canst get but thither, There grows the flow’r of peace, The rose that cannot wither, Thy fortress, and thy ease. Leave then thy foolish ranges, For none can thee secure, But One, who never changes, Thy God, thy life, thy cure. Henry Vaughan - 'Peace'
  7. Poetic Wanderings

    Eyes that last I saw in tears Through division Here in death's dream kingdom The golden vision reappears I see the eyes but not the tears This is my affliction This is my affliction Eyes I shall not see again Eyes of decision Eyes I shall not see unless At the door of death's other kingdom Where, as in this, The eyes outlast a little while A little while outlast the tears And hold us in derision. T.S. Eliot - 'Eyes that last I saw in tears'
  8. Poetic Wanderings

    Onward led the road again Through the sad uncoloured plain Under twilight brooding dim, And along the utmost rim Wall and rampart risen to sight Cast a shadow not of night, And beyond them seemed to glow Bonfires lighted long ago. And my dark conductor broke Silence at my side and spoke, Saying, "You conjecture well: Yonder is the gate of hell.“ Ill as yet the eye could see The eternal masonry, But beneath it on the dark To and fro there stirred a spark. And again the sombre guide Knew my question, and replied: "At hell gate the damned in turn Pace for sentinel and burn.“ A.D Housman - from 'Hell's Gate'
  9. Poetic Wanderings

    Here's one for the Winter Olympics When men were all asleep the snow came flying, In large white flakes falling on the city brown, Stealthily and perpetually settling and loosely lying, Hushing the latest traffic of the drowsy town; Deadening, muffling, stifling its murmurs failing; Lazily and incessantly floating down and down: Silently sifting and veiling road, roof and railing; Hiding difference, making unevenness even, Into angles and crevices softly drifting and sailing. All night it fell, and when full inches seven It lay in the depth of its uncompacted lightness, The clouds blew off from a high and frosty heaven; And all woke earlier for the unaccustomed brightness Of the winter dawning, the strange unheavenly glare: The eye marvelled—marvelled at the dazzling whiteness; The ear hearkened to the stillness of the solemn air; No sound of wheel rumbling nor of foot falling, And the busy morning cries came thin and spare. Then boys I heard, as they went to school, calling, They gathered up the crystal manna to freeze Their tongues with tasting, their hands with snowballing; Or rioted in a drift, plunging up to the knees; Or peering up from under the white-mossed wonder, ‘O look at the trees!’ they cried, ‘O look at the trees!’ With lessened load a few carts creak and blunder, Following along the white deserted way, A country company long dispersed asunder: When now already the sun, in pale display Standing by Paul’s high dome, spread forth below His sparkling beams, and awoke the stir of the day. For now doors open, and war is waged with the snow; And trains of sombre men, past tale of number, Tread long brown paths, as toward their toil they go: But even for them awhile no cares encumber Their minds diverted; the daily word is unspoken, The daily thoughts of labour and sorrow slumber At the sight of the beauty that greets them, for the charm they have broken Robert Bridges - 'London Snow'
  10. Poetic Wanderings

    These I have loved: White plates and cups, clean-gleaming, Ringed with blue lines; and feathery, faery dust; Wet roofs, beneath the lamp-light; the strong crust Of friendly bread; and many-tasting food; Rainbows; and the blue bitter smoke of wood; And radiant raindrops couching in cool flowers; And flowers themselves, that sway through sunny hours, Dreaming of moths that drink them under the moon; Then, the cool kindliness of sheets, that soon Smooth away trouble; and the rough male kiss Of blankets; grainy wood; live hair that is Shining and free; blue-massing clouds; the keen Unpassioned beauty of a great machine; The benison of hot water; furs to touch; The good smell of old clothes; and other such-- The comfortable smell of friendly fingers, Hair’s fragrance, and the musty reek that lingers About dead leaves and last year’s ferns. . . . Rupert Brooke - from 'The Great Lover'
  11. Poetic Wanderings

    Fair is the heaven where happy souls have place, In full enjoyment of felicity, Whence they do still behold the glorious face Of the divine eternal Majesty; More fair is that, where those Ideas on high Enranged be, which Plato so admired, And pure Intelligences from God inspired. Yet fairer is that heaven, in which do reign The sovereign Powers and mighty Potentates, Which in their high protections do contain All mortal princes and imperial states; And fairer yet, whereas the royal Seats And heavenly Dominations are set, From whom all earthly governance is fet. Yet far more fair be those bright Cherubins, Which all with golden wings are overdight, And those eternal burning Seraphins, Which from their faces dart out fiery light; Yet fairer than they both, and much more bright, Be th' Angels and Archangels, which attend On God's own person, without rest or end. These thus in fair each other far excelling, As to the highest they approach more near, Yet is that highest far beyond all telling, Fairer than all the rest which there appear, Though all their beauties join'd together were; How then can mortal tongue hope to express The image of such endless perfectness? John Milton - from 'An Hymn of Heavenly Beauty'
  12. Poetic Wanderings

    All in a hot and copper sky, The bloody Sun, at noon, Right up above the mast did stand, No bigger than the Moon. Day after day, day after day, We stuck, nor breath nor motion; As idle as a painted ship Upon a painted ocean. Water, water, every where, And all the boards did shrink; Water, water, every where, Nor any drop to drink. The very deep did rot: O Christ! That ever this should be! Yea, slimy things did crawl with legs Upon the slimy sea. S.T. Coleridge - from 'The Rime of the Ancient Mariner'
  13. Poetic Wanderings

    "Poor wanderer," said the leaden sky, "I fain would lighten thee, But there be laws in force on high Which say it must not be." - "I would not freeze thee, shorn one," cried The North, "knew I but how To warm my breath, to slack my stride; But I am ruled as thou." - "To-morrow I attack thee, wight," Said Sickness. "Yet I swear I bear thy little ark no spite, But am bid enter there." - "Come hither, Son," I heard Death say; "I did not will a grave Should end thy pilgrimage to-day, But I, too, am a slave!" Thomas Hardy - 'The Subalterns'
  14. Poetic Wanderings

    How many thousand of my poorest subjects Are at this hour asleep! O sleep, O gentle sleep, Nature’s soft nurse, how have I frighted thee, That thou no more wilt weigh my eyelids down And steep my senses in forgetfulness? Why rather, sleep, liest thou in smoky cribs, Upon uneasy pallets stretching thee And hushed with buzzing night-flies to thy slumber, Than in the perfumed chambers of the great, Under the canopies of costly state, And lull’d with sound of sweetest melody? O thou dull god, why liest thou with the vile In loathsome beds and leavest the kingly couch A watch-case or a common 'larum bell? Wilt thou upon the high and giddy mast Seal up the shipboy’s eyes, and rock his brains In cradle of the rude imperious surge And in the visitation of the winds, Who take the ruffian billows by the top, Curling their monstrous heads and hanging them With deafening clamor in the slippery clouds That with the hurly death itself awakes? Canst thou, O partial sleep, give thy repose To the wet sea-boy in an hour so rude, And, in the calmest and most stillest night, With all appliances and means to boot, Deny it to a king? Then, happy low, lie down. Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown. Shakespeare - Henry IV Part 2, Act 3, Scene 1
  15. Poetic Wanderings

    Not conscious that you have been seeking suddenly you come upon it the village in the Welsh hills dust free with no road out but the one you came in by. A bird chimes from a green tree the hour that is no hour you know. The river dawdles to hold a mirror for you where you may see yourself as you are, a traveller with the moon's halo above him, whom has arrived after long journeying where he began, catching this one truth by surprise that there is everything to look forward to. R.S. Thomas - 'Arrival'