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Heather

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About Heather

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  1. Poetic Wanderings

    Here in the Uplands The soil is ungrateful; The fields, red with sorrel, Are stony and bare. A few trees, wind-twisted – Or are they but bushes? – Stand stubbornly guarding A home here and there. Scooped out like a saucer, The land lies before me; The waters, once scattered, Flow orderly now Through fields where the ghosts Of the marsh and the moorland Still ride the old marches, Despising the plough. The marsh and the moorland Are not to be banished; The bracken and heather, The glory of broom, Usurp all the balks And the fields’ broken fringes, And claim from the sower Their portion of room. This is my country, The land that begat me. These windy spaces Are surely my own. And those who here toil In the sweat of their faces Are flesh of my flesh, And bone of my bone. Hard is the day’s task – Scotland, stern Mother – Wherewith at all times Thy sons have been faced: Labour by day, And scant rest in the gloaming, With Want an attendant, Not lightly outpaced. Yet do thy children Honour and love thee. Harsh is thy schooling, Yet great is the gain: True hearts and strong limbs, The beauty of faces, Kissed by the wind And caressed by the rain. Sir Alexander Gray - 'Scotland'
  2. Poetic Wanderings

    "A loaf of bread," the Walrus said, "Is what we chiefly need: Pepper and vinegar besides Are very good indeed-- Now if you're ready, Oysters dear, We can begin to feed." "But not on us!" the Oysters cried, Turning a little blue. "After such kindness, that would be A dismal thing to do!" "The night is fine," the Walrus said. "Do you admire the view? "It was so kind of you to come! And you are very nice!" The Carpenter said nothing but "Cut us another slice: I wish you were not quite so deaf-- I've had to ask you twice!" "It seems a shame," the Walrus said, "To play them such a trick, After we've brought them out so far, And made them trot so quick!" The Carpenter said nothing but "The butter's spread too thick!" Lewis Carroll - from 'The Walrus and the Carpenter'
  3. Poetic Wanderings

    There's a breathless hush in the Close to-night -- Ten to make and the match to win -- A bumping pitch and a blinding light, An hour to play and the last man in. And it's not for the sake of a ribboned coat, Or the selfish hope of a season's fame, But his Captain's hand on his shoulder smote -- 'Play up! play up! and play the game!' The sand of the desert is sodden red, -- Red with the wreck of a square that broke; -- The Gatling's jammed and the Colonel dead, And the regiment blind with dust and smoke. The river of death has brimmed his banks, And England's far, and Honour a name, But the voice of a schoolboy rallies the ranks: 'Play up! play up! and play the game!' This is the word that year by year, While in her place the School is set, Every one of her sons must hear, And none that hears it dare forget. This they all with a joyful mind Bear through life like a torch in flame, And falling fling to the host behind -- 'Play up! play up! and play the game!' Sir Henry Newbolt - 'Vitae Lampada'
  4. Poetic Wanderings

    'I am of Ireland, And the Holy Land of Ireland, And time runs on,' cried she. 'Come out of charity, Come dance with me in Ireland.' One man, one man alone In that outlandish gear, One solitary man Of all that rambled there Had turned his stately head. That is a long way off, And time runs on,' he said, 'And the night grows rough.' 'I am of Ireland, And the Holy Land of Ireland, And time runs on,' cried she. 'Come out of charity And dance with me in Ireland.' 'The fiddlers are all thumbs, Or the fiddle-string accursed, The drums and the kettledrums And the trumpets all are burst, And the trombone,' cried he, 'The trumpet and trombone,' And cocked a malicious eye, 'But time runs on, runs on.' 'I am of Ireland, And the Holy Land of Ireland, And time runs on,' cried she. 'Come out of charity And dance with me in Ireland.' W.B. Yeats - 'I am of Ireland'
  5. Poetic Wanderings

    We live in our own world, A world that is too small For you to stoop and enter Even on hands and knees, The adult subterfuge. And though you probe and pry With analytic eye, And eavesdrop all our talk With an amused look, You cannot find the centre Where we dance, where we play, Where life is still asleep Under the closed flower, Under the smooth shell Of eggs in the cupped nest That mock the faded blue Of your remoter heaven. R.S. Thomas - 'Children's song'
  6. Poetic Wanderings

    My soul, there is a country Far beyond the stars, Where stands a wingèd sentry All skilful 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 flower 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

    I saw Eternity the other night, Like a great ring of pure and endless light, All calm, as it was bright; And round beneath it, Time in hours, days, years, Driv’n by the spheres Like a vast shadow mov’d; in which the world And all her train were hurl’d. The doting lover in his quaintest strain Did there complain; Near him, his lute, his fancy, and his flights, Wit’s sour delights, With gloves, and knots, the silly snares of pleasure, Yet his dear treasure All scatter’d lay, while he his eyes did pour Upon a flow’r. Henry Vaughan - from 'The World'
  8. Poetic Wanderings

    Before the Roman came to Rye or out to Severn strode, The rolling English drunkard made the rolling English road. A reeling road, a rolling road, that rambles round the shire, And after him the parson ran, the sexton and the squire; A merry road, a mazy road, and such as we did tread The night we went to Birmingham by way of Beachy Head. I knew no harm of Bonaparte and plenty of the Squire, And for to fight the Frenchman I did not much desire; But I did bash their baggonets because they came arrayed To straighten out the crooked road an English drunkard made, Where you and I went down the lane with ale-mugs in our hands, The night we went to Glastonbury by way of Goodwin Sands. His sins they were forgiven him; or why do flowers run Behind him; and the hedges all strengthening in the sun? The wild thing went from left to right and knew not which was which, But the wild rose was above him when they found him in the ditch. God pardon us, nor harden us; we did not see so clear The night we went to Bannockburn by way of Brighton Pier. My friends, we will not go again or ape an ancient rage, Or stretch the folly of our youth to be the shame of age, But walk with clearer eyes and ears this path that wandereth, And see undrugged in evening light the decent inn of death; For there is good news yet to hear and fine things to be seen, Before we go to Paradise by way of Kensal Green. G.K. Chesterton - 'The Rolling English Road'
  9. Poetic Wanderings

    Well I remember how you smiled To see me write your name upon The soft sea-sand . . . "O! what a child! You think you're writing upon stone!" I have since written what no tide Shall ever wash away, what men Unborn shall read o'er ocean wide And find Ianthe's name again. Waltor Savage Landor - 'Well I remember how you smiled'
  10. Poetic Wanderings

    Thou wast not born for death, immortal Bird! No hungry generations tread thee down; The voice I hear this passing night was heard In ancient days by emperor and clown: Perhaps the self-same song that found a path Through the sad heart of Ruth, when, sick for home, She stood in tears amid the alien corn; The same that ofttimes hath Charm'd magic casements, opening on the foam Of perilous seas, in faery lands forlorn. Forlorn! the very word is like a bell To toll me back from thee to my sole self! Adieu! the fancy cannot cheat so well As she is famed to do, deceiving elf. Adieu! adieu! thy plaintive anthem fades Past the near meadows, over the still stream, Up the hill-side; and now 'tis buried deep In the next valley-glades: Was it a vision, or a waking dream? Fled is that music:—do I wake or sleep? John Keats - from 'Ode to a Nightingale'
  11. Poetic Wanderings

    They roused him with muffins--they roused him with ice-- They roused him with mustard and cress-- They roused him with jam and judicious advice-- They set him conundrums to guess. When at length he sat up and was able to speak, His sad story he offered to tell; And the Bellman cried "Silence! Not even a shriek!" And excitedly tingled his bell. There was silence supreme! Not a shriek, not a scream, Scarcely even a howl or a groan, As the man they called "Ho!" told his story of woe In an antediluvian tone. "My father and mother were honest, though poor--" "Skip all that!" cried the Bellman in haste. "If it once becomes dark, there's no chance of a Snark-- We have hardly a minute to waste!" "I skip forty years," said the Baker, in tears, "And proceed without further remark To the day when you took me aboard of your ship To help you in hunting the Snark. "A dear uncle of mine (after whom I was named) Remarked, when I bade him farewell--" "Oh, skip your dear uncle!" the Bellman exclaimed, As he angrily tingled his bell. "He remarked to me then," said that mildest of men, " 'If your Snark be a Snark, that is right: Fetch it home by all means--you may serve it with greens, And it's handy for striking a light. " 'You may seek it with thimbles--and seek it with care; You may hunt it with forks and hope; You may threaten its life with a railway-share; You may charm it with smiles and soap--' " ("That's exactly the method," the Bellman bold In a hasty parenthesis cried, "That's exactly the way I have always been told That the capture of Snarks should be tried!") " 'But oh, beamish nephew, beware of the day, If your Snark be a Boojum! For then You will softly and suddenly vanish away, And never be met with again!' Lewis Carroll - from 'The Hunting of the Snark'
  12. Poetic Wanderings

    Nor dread nor hope attend A dying animal; A man awaits his end Dreading and hoping all; Many times he died, Many times rose again. A great man in his pride Confronting murderous men Casts derision upon Supersession of breath; He knows death to the bone -- Man has created death. W.B. Yeats - 'Death'
  13. Poetic Wanderings

    ‘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 all your crooked heart.' W.H. Auden - from 'As I Walked out one Evening'
  14. Poetic Wanderings

    'Never shall a young man, Thrown into despair By those great honey-coloured Ramparts at your ear, Love you for yourself alone And not your yellow hair.' 'But I can get a hair-dye And set such colour there, Brown, or black, or carrot, That young men in despair May love me for myself alone And not my yellow hair.' 'I heard an old religious man But yesternight declare That he had found a text to prove That only God, my dear, Could love you for yourself alone And not your yellow hair.' W.B. Yeats - 'For Anne Gregory'
  15. Poetic Wanderings

    When I play on my fiddle in Dooney, Folk dance like a wave of the sea; My cousin is priest in Kilvarnet, My brother in Moharabuiee. I passed my brother and cousin: They read in their books of prayer; I read in my book of songs I bought at the Sligo fair. When we come at the end of time, To Peter sitting in state, He will smile on the three old spirits, But call me first through the gate; For the good are always the merry, Save by an evil chance, And the merry love the fiddle And the merry love to dance: And when the folk there spy me, They will all come up to me, With ‘Here is the fiddler of Dooney!’ And dance like a wave of the sea. W.B. Yeats - 'The Fiddler of Dooney'
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