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Poetic Wanderings

Previously Poetry Chain

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#2561 OFFLINE   jfp



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Posted 25 September 2016 - 07:22 PM

Shakespeare - Sonnet 12


When I do count the clock that tells the time,
And see the brave day sunk in hideous night;
When I behold the violet past prime,
And sable curls all silver'd o'er with white;
When lofty trees I see barren of leaves
Which erst from heat did canopy the herd,
And summer's green all girded up in sheaves
Borne on the bier with white and bristly beard,
Then of thy beauty do I question make,
That thou among the wastes of time must go,
Since sweets and beauties do themselves forsake
And die as fast as they see others grow;
    And nothing 'gainst Time's scythe can make defence
    Save breed, to brave him when he takes thee hence.

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#2562 OFFLINE   Gilly



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Posted 19 October 2016 - 10:24 PM


Some days, although we cannot pray, a prayer
utters itself. So, a woman will lift
her head from the sieve of her hands and stare
at the minims sung by a tree, a sudden gift.

Some nights, although we are faithless, the truth
enters our hearts, that small familiar pain;
then a man will stand stock-still, hearing his youth
in the distant Latin chanting of a train.

Pray for us now. Grade 1 piano scales
console the lodger looking out across
a Midlands town. Then dusk, and someone calls
a child's name as though they named their loss.

Darkness outside. Inside, the radio's prayer -
Rockall. Malin. Dogger. Finisterre.



Carol Ann Duffy

#2563 OFFLINE   jfp



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Posted 19 December 2016 - 04:54 PM

The eye can hardly pick them out
From the cold shade they shelter in,
Till wind distresses tail and mane;
Then one crops grass, and moves about
- The other seeming to look on -
And stands anonymous again

Yet fifteen years ago, perhaps
Two dozen distances sufficed
To fable them: faint afternoons
Of Cups and Stakes and Handicaps,
Whereby their names were artificed
To inlay faded, classic Junes -

Silks at the start: against the sky
Numbers and parasols: outside,
Squadrons of empty cars, and heat,
And littered grass: then the long cry
Hanging unhushed till it subside
To stop-press columns on the street.

Do memories plague their ears like flies?
They shake their heads. Dusk brims the shadows.
Summer by summer all stole away,
The starting-gates, the crowd and cries -
All but the unmolesting meadows.
Almanacked, their names live; they

Have slipped their names, and stand at ease,
Or gallop for what must be joy,
And not a fieldglass sees them home,
Or curious stop-watch prophesies:
Only the grooms, and the groom's boy,
With bridles in the evening come.


Philip Larkin, "At Grass"

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#2564 OFFLINE   Heather


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Posted 10 January 2017 - 10:14 PM

Bonny Beeswing – a new song


Come all ye jolly sportsmen, of high and low degree,
And if you please attention pay a moment unto me ;
While I of bonny Beeswing sing, a galloper renown'd,
For she hath won her weight in gold and is with glory crown'd



So drink a health to Beeswing, for the deeds that she has
From Newcastle to Doncaster, many prizes has she won


Her pedigree I will make known, if you the same require,
And tell you what they call'd her dam, and what her noble
sire ;
With all the cups that she has won, and purses fill'd with gold
Since in the racing calendar Beeswing hath been enroled.


The Champagne Stakes, at Doncaster, she won when two
years old.
Besides a thousand pounds or more in sovereigns made of
And at Newcastle on the Tyne, I solemly declare,
A silver waggon was the prize of this distinguished mare.


And near unto Newcastle town was bonny Beeswing bred'
Where by her master, Squire Ord, she frequently was fed,
And when she won three golden cups, which on his table
When he with lords and ladies fair is known to take his wine.


At Richmond and Northallerton, believe me when I say,
That she at both these races hath born the prize away ;
At Lincoln she walk'd over, for neither friends nor foes,
Would try with bonny Beeswing for fear that they should


The Monarch was a famous horse, as is by all confess'd,
While others say that Sadler exceeded all the rest ;
The Dutchess was a fleet one, but neither horse nor mare,
Nor gelding ever yet was known, with Beeswing to compare.


Her dam was Cleopatra, the Doctor was her sire,
From them she got her mettle and from them she got her fire
Nine golden cups she's won my boys, besides such lots of
As never yet was known before, nor can I here unfold.


Nine cups hath Beeswing won in all, and when I write again,
Perhaps another cup or two will lengthen out my strain ;
May Fortune smile upon her then, and on her steps attend,
So now my jolly sportsmen my song is at an end.



#2565 OFFLINE   jfp



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Posted 19 January 2017 - 07:53 PM

Shakespeare - Sonnet 32


If thou survive my well-contented day,
When that churl death my bones with dust shall cover,
And shalt by fortune once more re-survey
These poor rude lines of thy deceased lover,
Compare them with the bett'ring of the time,
And though they be outstripped by every pen,
Reserve them for my love, not for their rhyme,
Exceeded by the height of happier men.
O then vouchsafe me but this loving thought:
'Had my friend's Muse grown with this growing age,
A dearer birth than this his love had brought,
To march in ranks of better equipage:
   But since he died and poets better prove,
   Theirs for their style I'll read, his for his love.'

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#2566 ONLINE   momac



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Posted 20 January 2017 - 05:11 AM

Off topic, sort of, I read this sonnet, didn't understand what it was about, so looked it up on the Internet.  The only part that I understood from the explanation was that the poet felt he was worthy of his Muse, being poetry I guess.  Sort of self-congratulations although throwing a crumb to others who may also write poetry?  Is that anywhere near the explanation?  Just curious.

#2567 OFFLINE   Heather


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Posted 23 January 2017 - 07:56 PM

The following could be a rough translation: 'If you outlive me, and happen to  re-read my poems, compare them with more modern ones.  Even if those are much better, imagine that I might have written better if I had lived longer, and read my poems because you love me, not because they're the best'.  No self-congratulation here.


Back to the poetry:


O for a Muse of fire, that would ascend
The brightest heaven of invention,
A kingdom for a stage, princes to act
And monarchs to behold the swelling scene!
Then should the warlike Harry, like himself,
Assume the port of Mars; and at his heels,
Leash'd in like hounds, should famine, sword and fire
Crouch for employment. But pardon, and gentles all,
The flat unraised spirits that have dared
On this unworthy scaffold to bring forth
So great an object: can this cockpit hold
The vasty fields of France? or may we cram
Within this wooden O the very casques
That did affright the air at Agincourt?


Henry V, Act I Prologue - William Shakespeare

#2568 OFFLINE   jfp



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Posted 23 January 2017 - 10:29 PM

Oh! pleasant exercise of hope and joy!
For mighty were the auxiliars which then stood
Upon our side, we who were strong in love!
Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive,
But to be young was very heaven!—Oh! times,
In which the meagre, stale, forbidding ways
Of custom, law, and statute, took at once
The attraction of a country in romance!
When Reason seemed the most to assert her rights,
When most intent on making of herself
A prime Enchantress—to assist the work
Which then was going forward in her name!
Not favoured spots alone, but the whole earth,
The beauty wore of promise, that which sets
(As at some moment might not be unfelt
Among the bowers of paradise itself )

The budding rose above the rose full blown. [...]


(From: William Wordsworth, "The French Revolution as It Appeared to Enthusiasts at Its Commencement")

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#2569 OFFLINE   Heather


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Posted 24 January 2017 - 10:45 PM

And may her bridegroom bring her to a house

Where all's accustomed, cermonious;

For arrogance and hatred are the wares

Peddled in the thoroughfares.

How but in custom and in ceremony

Are innocence and beauty born?

Ceremony's a name for the rich horn,

And custom for the spreading laurel tree.


From 'A Prayer for my Daughter' - W.B. Yeats

#2570 OFFLINE   jfp



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Posted 25 January 2017 - 08:39 PM

We were as twinn'd lambs that did frisk i' the sun,
And bleat the one at the other: what we changed
Was innocence for innocence; we knew not
The doctrine of ill-doing, nor dream'd
That any did. Had we pursued that life,
And our weak spirits ne'er been higher rear'd
With stronger blood, we should have answer'd heaven
Boldly 'not guilty;' the imposition clear'd
Hereditary ours.


Shakespeare, The Winter's Tale I/ii

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#2571 OFFLINE   Heather


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Posted 30 January 2017 - 08:20 PM

Make me thy lyre, even as the forest is:
What if my leaves are falling like its own!
The tumult of thy mighty harmonies
Will take from both a deep, autumnal tone,
Sweet though in sadness. Be thou, Spirit fierce,
My spirit! Be thou me, impetuous one!
Drive my dead thoughts over the universe
Like wither'd leaves to quicken a new birth!
And, by the incantation of this verse,
Scatter, as from an unextinguish'd hearth
Ashes and sparks, my words among mankind!
Be through my lips to unawaken'd earth
The trumpet of a prophecy! O Wind,

If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?


Percy Bysshe Shelley  Ode to the West Wind

#2572 OFFLINE   jfp



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Posted 06 February 2017 - 11:02 AM


She dwells with Beauty—Beauty that must die;
       And Joy, whose hand is ever at his lips
Bidding adieu; and aching Pleasure nigh,
       Turning to poison while the bee-mouth sips:
Ay, in the very temple of Delight
       Veil'd Melancholy has her sovran shrine,
               Though seen of none save him whose strenuous tongue
       Can burst Joy's grape against his palate fine;
His soul shalt taste the sadness of her might,
               And be among her cloudy trophies hung.
John Keats, Ode on Melancholy (3rd stanza)

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#2573 OFFLINE   Heather


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Posted 20 February 2017 - 10:37 PM

But hail thou goddess, sage and holy,
Hail divinest Melancholy,
Whose saintly visage is too bright
To hit the sense of human sight;
And therefore to our weaker view,
O'er-laid with black, staid Wisdom's hue;
Black, but such as in esteem,
Prince Memnon's sister might beseem,
Or that starr'd Ethiop queen that strove
To set her beauty's praise above
The sea nymphs, and their powers offended.
Yet thou art higher far descended,
Thee bright-hair'd Vesta long of yore,
To solitary Saturn bore;
His daughter she (in Saturn's reign,
Such mixture was not held a stain)
Oft in glimmering bow'rs and glades
He met her, and in secret shades
Of woody Ida's inmost grove,

While yet there was no fear of Jove.


From Il Pensoroso - John Milton

#2574 OFFLINE   jfp



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Posted Today, 10:27 AM

Nymphs of all names, and woodland Geniuses,

I see you, here and there, among the trees,

Shrouded in noon-day respite of your mirth:

This hum in air, which the still ear perceives,

Is your unquarrelling voice among the leaves;

And now I find, whose are the laughs and stirrings

That make the delicate birds dart so in whisks and whirrings.


From "The Nymphs" - Leigh Hunt

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