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About Heather

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  1. Poetic Wanderings

    That summer bird its oft repeated note Chirps from the dotterel ash and in the hole The green woodpecker made in years remote It makes its nest--where peeping idlers strole In anxious plundering moods--and bye and bye The wrynecks curious eggs as white as snow While squinting in the hollow tree they spy The sitting bird looks up with jetty eye And waves her head in terror too and fro Speckled and veined in various shades of brown And then a hissing noise assails the clown And quick with hasty terror in his breast From the trees knotty trunk he sluthers down And thinks the strange bird guards a serpents nest John Clare - 'The Wrynecks Nest'
  2. Poetic Wanderings

    This darksome burn, horseback brown, His rollrock highroad roaring down, In coop and in comb the fleece of his foam Flutes and low to the lake falls home. A windpuff-bonnet of fáwn-fróth Turns and twindles over the broth Of a pool so pitchblack, féll-frówning, It rounds and rounds Despair to drowning. Degged with dew, dappled with dew Are the groins of the braes that the brook treads through, Wiry heathpacks, flitches of fern, And the beadbonny ash that sits over the burn. What would the world be, once bereft Of wet and of wildness? Let them be left, O let them be left, wildness and wet; Long live the weeds and the wilderness yet. Gerard Manley Hopkins - 'Inversnaid'
  3. Poetic Wanderings

    As I walked out one evening, Walking down Bristol Street, The crowds upon the pavement Were fields of harvest wheat. And down by the brimming river I heard a lover sing Under an arch of the railway: ‘Love has no ending. ‘I’ll love you, dear, I’ll love you Till China and Africa meet, And the river jumps over the mountain And the salmon sing in the street, ‘I’ll love you till the ocean Is folded and hung up to dry And the seven stars go squawking Like geese about the sky. ‘The years shall run like rabbits, For in my arms I hold The Flower of the Ages, And the first love of the world.' But all the clocks in the city Began to whirr and chime: ‘O let not Time deceive you, You cannot conquer Time. ‘In the burrows of the Nightmare Where Justice naked is, Time watches from the shadow And coughs when you would kiss. ‘In headaches and in worry Vaguely life leaks away, And Time will have his fancy To-morrow or to-day. ‘Into many a green valley Drifts the appalling snow; Time breaks the threaded dances And the diver’s brilliant bow. ‘O plunge your hands in water, Plunge them in up to the wrist; Stare, stare in the basin And wonder what you’ve missed. ‘The glacier knocks in the cupboard, The desert sighs in the bed, And the crack in the tea-cup opens A lane to the land of the dead. ‘Where the beggars raffle the banknotes And the Giant is enchanting to Jack, And the Lily-white Boy is a Roarer, And Jill goes down on her back. ‘O look, look in the mirror, O look in your distress: Life remains a blessing Although you cannot bless. ‘O stand, stand at the window As the tears scald and start; You shall love your crooked neighbour With your crooked heart.' It was late, late in the evening, The lovers they were gone; The clocks had ceased their chiming, And the deep river ran on. W.H. Auden - 'As I walked out one evening'
  4. Poetic Wanderings

    Yet when she was mounted, the Gipsy behind her, And I ventured to remind her I suppose with a voice of less steadiness Than usual, for my feeling exceeded me, --Something to the effect that I was in readiness Whenever God should please she needed me-- Then, do you know, her face looked down on me With a look that placed a crown on me, And she felt in her bosom--mark, her bosom-- 770 And, as a flower-tree drops its blossom, Dropped me . . . ah, had it been a purse Of silver, my friend, or gold that's worse, Why, you see, as soon as I found myself So understood,--that a true heart so may gain Such a reward,--I should have gone home again, Kissed Jacynth, and soberly drowned myself! It was a little plait of hair Such as friends in a convent make To wear, each for the other's sake-- 780 This, see, which at my breast I wear, Ever did (rather to Jacynth's grudgment), And ever shall, till the Day of Judgment. And then-and then--to cut short--this is idle, These are feelings it is not good to foster-- I pushed the gate wide, she shook the bridle, And the palfrey bounded--and so we lost her. Robert Browning - from 'The Flight of the Duchess'
  5. Poetic Wanderings

    I said to my soul, be still, and wait without hope For hope would be hope for the wrong thing; wait without love, For love would be love of the wrong thing; there is yet faith But the faith and the love and the hope are all in the waiting. Wait without thought, for you are not ready for thought: So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing. Whisper of running streams, and winter lightning. The wild thyme unseen and the wild strawberry, The laughter in the garden, echoed ecstasy Not lost, but requiring, pointing to the agony Of death and birth. T.S. Eliot - from ' East Coker'
  6. Poetic Wanderings

    It was like a church to me. I entered it on soft foot, Breath held like a cap in the hand. It was quiet. What God was there made himself felt, Not listened to, in clean colours That brought a moistening of the eye, In movement of the wind over grass. There were no prayers said. But stillness Of the heart’s passions — that was praise Enough; and the mind’s cession Of its kingdom. I walked on, Simple and poor, while the air crumbled And broke on me generously as bread. R.S. Thomas - 'The Moor'
  7. Poetic Wanderings

    O what has made that sudden noise? What on the threshold stands? It never crossed the sea because John Bull and the sea are friends; But this is not the old sea Nor this the old seashore. What gave that roar of mockery, That roar in the sea's roar? The ghost of Roger Casement Is beating on the door. John Bull has stood for Parliament, A dog must have his day, The country thinks no end of him, For he knows how to say, At a beanfeast or a banquet, That all must hang their trust Upon the British Empire, Upon the Church of Christ. The ghost of Roger Casement Is beating on the door. John Bull has gone to India And all must pay him heed, For histories are there to prove That none of another breed Has had a like inheritance, Or sucked such milk as he, And there's no luck about a house If it lack honesty. The ghost of Roger Casement Is beating on the door. I poked about a village church And found his family tomb And copied out what I could read In that religious gloom; Found many a famous man there; But fame and virtue rot. Draw round, beloved and bitter men, Draw round and raise a shout; The ghost of Roger Casement Is beating on the door. W.B. Yeats - 'The Ghost of Roger Casement'
  8. Poetic Wanderings

    O but we talked at large before The sixteen men were shot, But who can talk of give and take, What should be and what not While those dead men are loitering there To stir the boiling pot? You say that we should still the land Till Germany’s overcome; But who is there to argue that Now Pearse is deaf and dumb? And is their logic to outweigh MacDonagh’s bony thumb? How could you dream they’d listen That have an ear alone For those new comrades they have found, Lord Edward and Wolfe Tone, Or meddle with our give and take That converse bone to bone? W.B. Yeats - 'Sixteen Dead Men'
  9. Poetic Wanderings

    It's farewell to the drawing-room's civilized cry, The professor's sensible whereto and why, The frock-coated diplomat's social aplomb, Now matters are settled with gas and with bomb. The works for two pianos, the brilliant stories Of reasonable giants and remarkable fairies, The pictures, the ointments, the frangible wares And the branches of olive are stored upstairs. For the Devil has broken parole and arisen, He has dynamited his way out of prison, Out of the well where his Papa throws The rebel angel, the outcast rose. Like influenza he walks abroad, He stands by the bridge, he waits by the ford, As a goose or a gull he flies overhead, He hides in the cupboard and under the bed. O were he to triumph, dear heart, you know To what depths of shame he would drag you low; He would steal you away from me, yes, my dear, He would steal you and cut off your beautiful hair. Millions already have come to their harm, Succumbing like doves to his adder's charm; Hundreds of trees in the wood are unsound: I'm the axe that must cut them down to the ground. For I, after all, am the Fortunate One, The Happy-Go-Lucky, the spoilt Third Son; For me it is written the Devil to chase And to rid the earth of the human race. W.H. Auden - 'Danse Macabre'
  10. My children loved Pet Shop of Horrors by Matsuri Akino. You might like to check a copy beforehand, some of it is a little horrifying - nothing a 16-year-old shouldn't be able to handle, but parents may be another matter. Bear in mind that most manga is read backwards from a Western point of view.
  11. Poetic Wanderings

    Call for the robin-redbreast and the wren, Since o’er shady groves they hover And with leaves and flowers do cover The friendless bodies of unburied men. Call unto his funeral dole The ant, the field-mouse, and the mole To rear him hillocks that shall keep him warm And (when gay tombs are robb’d) sustain no harm; But keep the wolf far thence, that’s foe to men, For with his nails he’ll dig them up again. John Webster - from The White Devil V/iv
  12. Poetic Wanderings

    Do not despair For Johnny-head-in-air; He sleeps as sound As Johnny underground. Fetch out no shroud For Johnny-in-the-cloud; And keep your tears For him in after years. Better by far For Johnny-the-bright-star, To keep your head, And see his children fed. John Pudney - 'For Johnny'
  13. Poetic Wanderings

    Too long a sacrifice Can make a stone of the heart. O when may it suffice? That is Heaven's part, our part To murmur name upon name, As a mother names her child When sleep at last has come On limbs that had run wild. What is it but nightfall? No, no, not night but death; Was it needless death after all? For England may keep faith For all that is done and said. We know their dream; enough To know they dreamed and are dead; And what if excess of love Bewildered them till they died? I write it out in a verse— MacDonagh and MacBride And Connolly and Pearse Now and in time to be, Wherever green is worn, Are changed, changed utterly: A terrible beauty is born. W.B. Yeats - from 'Easter 1916'
  14. Poetic Wanderings

    Riches I hold in light esteem, And Love I laugh to scorn; And lust of fame was but a dream, That vanished with the morn: And if I pray, the only prayer That moves my lips for me Is, “Leave the heart that now I bear, And give me liberty!” Yes, as my swift days near their goal: ’Tis all that I implore; In life and death a chainless soul, With courage to endure. Emily Bronte - 'The Old Stoic'
  15. 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'