Jump to content


  • Content count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

About Heather

  • Rank
    Senior Member
  1. Poetic Wanderings

    Kind o’er the kinderbank leans my Myfanwy, White o’er the playpen the sheen of her dress, Fresh from the bathroom and soft in the nursery Soap scented fingers I long to caress. Were you a prefect and head of your dormit'ry? Were you a hockey girl, tennis or gym? Who was your favourite? Who had a crush on you? Which were the baths where they taught you to swim? Smooth down the Avenue glitters the bicycle, Black-stockinged legs under navy blue serge, Home and Colonial, Star, International, Balancing bicycle leant on the verge. Trace me your wheel-tracks, you fortunate bicycle, Out of the shopping and into the dark, Back down the avenue, back to the pottingshed, Back to the house on the fringe of the park. Golden the light on the locks of Myfanwy, Golden the light on the book on her knee, Finger marked pages of Rackham's Hans Anderson, Time for the children to come down to tea. Oh! Fullers angel-cake, Robertson’s marmalade, Liberty lampshade, come shine on us all, My! what a spread for the friends of Myfanwy, Some in the alcove and some in the hall. Then what sardines in half-lighted passages! Locking of fingers in long hide-and-seek. You will protect me, my silken Myfanwy, Ring leader, tom-boy, and chum to the weak. John Betjeman - 'Myfanwy'
  2. Poetic Wanderings

    There's a lovely quote from 'The Way of All Flesh' about 'Casabianca': "The moral of the poem was that young people cannot begin too soon to exercise discretion in the obedience they pay to their papa and mamma." Stars, I have seen them fall, But when they drop and die No star is lost at all From all the star-sown sky. The toil of all that be Helps not the primal fault; It rains into the sea, And still the sea is salt. A.E. Housman - 'Stars, I have seen them fall'
  3. Poetic Wanderings

    O Captain! my Captain! our fearful trip is done, The ship has weather’d every rack, the prize we sought is won, The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting, While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring; But O heart! heart! heart! O the bleeding drops of red, Where on the deck my Captain lies, Fallen cold and dead. O Captain! my Captain! rise up and hear the bells; Rise up—for you the flag is flung—for you the bugle trills, For you bouquets and ribbon’d wreaths—for you the shores a-crowding, For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning; Here Captain! dear father! This arm beneath your head! It is some dream that on the deck, You’ve fallen cold and dead. My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still, My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor will, The ship is anchor’d safe and sound, its voyage closed and done, From fearful trip the victor ship comes in with object won; Exult O shores, and ring O bells! But I with mournful tread, Walk the deck my Captain lies, Fallen cold and dead. Walt Whitman - 'O Captain! My Captain!'
  4. what is everyone doing?

    I know what you mean. I bought a CD of Burns poems so that I could get 'Tam O'Shanter' right, but nobody's done a CD of the Border ballads. I can't imagine why not.
  5. what is everyone doing?

    'A Drunk Man Looks at a Thistle' is probably the greatest poem written in Scots since Burns, but it's very long & it's not an easy read, with difficult Scots words being used to write about philosophy and politics. If you find it hard going, what about the Border ballads? Have you read 'Tam Lin', 'Thomas the Rhymer', Sir Patrick Spens', or 'Edward, Edward'?
  6. what is everyone doing?

    Thanks, Luna. I don't know why I hadn't discovered that site before. It's great. However, it doesn't include any way of discussing the poems, or commenting on them, that I can see. I live in the south of England now, so the events the Scottish Poetry Library puts on are no use to me. I know so few people who like poetry, and none of them read Scots. They're English, why should they? I'm only half Scots, but I was brought up in Edinburgh. I love, love, love Scots literature, especially poetry. McDiarmid, Soutar, Henryson, Dunbar, Fergusson, Burns, the Border ballads - they're wonderful, and nobody I know has ever read them. Have you read 'A Drunk Man Looks at a Thistle'? If so, what are your favourite lines?
  7. Poetic Wanderings

    That is no country for old men. The young In one another's arms, birds in the trees, —Those dying generations—at their song, The salmon-falls, the mackerel-crowded seas, Fish, flesh, or fowl, commend all summer long Whatever is begotten, born, and dies. Caught in that sensual music all neglect Monuments of unageing intellect. An aged man is but a paltry thing, A tattered coat upon a stick, unless Soul clap its hands and sing, and louder sing For every tatter in its mortal dress, Nor is there singing school but studying Monuments of its own magnificence; And therefore I have sailed the seas and come To the holy city of Byzantium. O sages standing in God's holy fire As in the gold mosaic of a wall, Come from the holy fire, perne in a gyre, And be the singing-masters of my soul. Consume my heart away; sick with desire And fastened to a dying animal It knows not what it is; and gather me Into the artifice of eternity. Once out of nature I shall never take My bodily form from any natural thing, But such a form as Grecian goldsmiths make Of hammered gold and gold enamelling To keep a drowsy Emperor awake; Or set upon a golden bough to sing To lords and ladies of Byzantium Of what is past, or passing, or to come. W.B. Yeats - 'Sailing to Byzantium'
  8. what is everyone doing?

    The great thing about poetry is how easy it is to remember at least part of a poem, and the great thing about the internet is that it is now possible to find the rest of a poem when the part you can remember isn't the title or first line. It can then be copied & pasted, as Meg says, rather than typing it all out. The downside of all this is that mistakes are copied from site to site on the internet. Sometimes I look up a poem, find a misprint, then search all over the net and find the same error (which I know is an error because I've got the poem in a printed book). Among my favourite poets are T.S. Eliot, W.B. Yeats and A.E. Housman. I would suggest trying a few poems by different poets and seeing what you like, then looking up more. I would normally suggest starting with short poems, except that Eliot's longer poems are better (and they break up naturally into chunks). Is there anyone else out there who reads poetry in Scots? Of does anyone know a Scots version of this site?
  9. Poetic Wanderings

    O dark dark dark. They all go into the dark, The vacant interstellar spaces, the vacant into the vacant, The captains, merchant bankers, eminent men of letters, The generous patrons of art, the statesmen and the rulers, Distinguished civil servants, chairmen of many committees, Industrial lords and petty contractors, all go into the dark, And dark the Sun and Moon, and the Almanach de Gotha And the Stock Exchange Gazette, the Directory of Directors, And cold the sense and lost the motive of action. And we all go with them, into the silent funeral, Nobody's funeral, for there is no one to bury. I said to my soul, be still, and let the dark come upon you Which shall be the darkness of God. T.S. Eliot - from 'East Coker'
  10. Poetic Wanderings

    Eyes I dare not meet in dreams In death's dream kingdom These do not appear: There, the eyes are Sunlight on a broken column There, is a tree swinging And voices are In the wind's singing More distant and more solemn Than a fading star. Let me be no nearer In death's dream kingdom Let me also wear Such deliberate disguises Rat's coat, crowskin, crossed staves In a field Behaving as the wind behaves No nearer— Not that final meeting In the twilight kingdom T.S. Eliot - from 'The Hollow Men'
  11. Poetic Wanderings

    Weep you no more, sad fountains; What need you flow so fast? Look how the snowy mountains Heaven’s sun doth gently waste. But my sun’s heavenly eyes View not your weeping, That now lie sleeping Softly, now softly lies Sleeping. Sleep is a reconciling, A rest that peace begets. Doth not the sun rise smiling When fair at even he sets? Rest you then, rest, sad eyes, Melt not in weeping While she lies sleeping Softly, now softly lies Sleeping. Anonymous - 'Weep you no more, sad fountains'
  12. Poetic Wanderings

    The passer bye oft stops his horse to look To see strange birds sit building like the rook And every stranger ere he passes bye Will stop and hollow shoo to see them flye They swee about the trees a flopping herd He goes and thinks them some outlandish bird They bring their sticks nor fear the noisey clown And load the trees till nearly broken down They little think the crane will leave the floods And make their nests like crows amoung the woods They lay their sticks so thick each awkard guest That boys might stand and walk from nest to nest Their eggs are long and green and spotted brown And winds will come and often throw them down John Clare - 'The Crane's Nest' Clearly, 200 years ago cranes bred in England - unlike now.
  13. Poetic Wanderings

    Sauntering at ease I often love to lean O'er old bridge-walls and mark the flood below Whose ripples through the weeds of oily green Like happy travellers mutter as they go And mark the sunshine dancing on the arch Time keeping to the merry waves beneath And on the banks see drooping blossoms parch Thirsting for water in the day's hot breath Right glad of mud-drops plashed upon their leaves By cattle plunging from the steepy brink While water-flowers more than their share receive And revel to their very cups in drink. Just like the world some strive and fare but ill While others riot and have plenty still. John Clare - 'An Idle Hour'
  14. Poetic Wanderings

    Rise heart: thy Lord is risen. Sing his praise Without delayes, Who takes thee by the hand, that thou likewise With him mayst rise: That, as his death calcined thee to dust, His life may make thee gold, and much more just. Awake, my lute, and struggle for thy part With all thy art. The crosse taught all wood to resound his name, Who bore the same. His stretched sinews taught all strings, what key Is best to celebrate this most high day. Consort both heart and lute, and twist a song Pleasant and long: Or since all music is but three parts vied And multiplied; O let thy blessed Spirit bear a part, And make up our defects with his sweet art. George Herbert - 'Easter'
  15. Poetic Wanderings

    I will go with my father a-ploughing To the green field by the sea, And the rooks and the crows and the seagulls Will come flocking after me. I will sing to the patient horses With the lark in the white of the air, And my father will sing the plough-song That blesses the cleaving share. I will go with my father a-sowing To the red field by the sea, And the rooks and the gulls and the starlings Will come flocking after me. I will sing to the striding sowers With the finch on the greening sloe, And my father will sing the seed-song That only the wise men know. I will go with my father a-reaping To the brown field by the sea, And the geese and the crows and the children Will come flocking after me. I will sing to the tan-faced reapers With the wren in the heat of the sun, And my father will sing the scythe song That joys for the harvest done. Joseph Campbell - 'I will go with my father a-ploughing'