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Heather

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  1. At some lone homestead in the Cumner hills, Where at her open door the housewife darns, Thou hast been seen, or hanging on a gate To watch the threshers in the mossy barns. Children, who early range these slopes and late For cresses from the rills, Have known thee eyeing, all an April-day, The springing pasture and the feeding kine; And mark'd thee, when the stars come out and shine, Through the long dewy grass move slow away. In autumn, on the skirts of Bagley Wood— Where most the gipsies by the turf-edged way Pitch their smoked tents, and every bush you see With scarlet patches tagg'd and shreds of grey, Above the forest-ground called Thessaly— The blackbird, picking food, Sees thee, nor stops his meal, nor fears at all; So often has he known thee past him stray, Rapt, twirling in thy hand a wither'd spray, And waiting for the spark from heaven to fall. And once, in winter, on the causeway chill Where home through flooded fields foot-travellers go, Have I not pass'd thee on the wooden bridge, Wrapt in thy cloak and battling with the snow, Thy face tow'rd Hinksey and its wintry ridge? And thou has climb'd the hill, And gain'd the white brow of the Cumner range; Turn'd once to watch, while thick the snowflakes fall, The line of festal light in Christ-Church hall— Then sought thy straw in some sequester'd grange. But what—I dream! Two hundred years are flown Since first thy story ran through Oxford halls, And the grave Glanvil did the tale inscribe That thou wert wander'd from the studious walls To learn strange arts, and join a gipsy-tribe; And thou from earth art gone Long since, and in some quiet churchyard laid— Some country-nook, where o'er thy unknown grave Tall grasses and white flowering nettles wave, Under a dark, red-fruited yew-tree's shade. Matthew Arnold - from 'The Scholar-Gypsy'
  2. I love that one! We have done with dogma and divinity, Easter and Whitsun past, The long, long Sundays after Trinity, Are with us at last; The passionless Sundays after Trinity, Neither feast-day nor fast. Christmas comes with plenty, Lent spreads out its pall, But these are five and twenty, The longest Sundays of all; The placid Sundays after Trinity, Wheat-harvest, fruit-harvest, Fall. Spring with its burst is over, Summer has had its day, The scented grasses and clover Are cut, and dried into hay; The singing-birds are silent, And the swallows flown away. Post pugnam pausa fiet; Lord, we have made our choice; In the stillness of autumn quiet, We have heard the still, small voice. We have sung Oh where shall Wisdom? Thick paper, folio, Boyce. Let it not all be sadness, Not omnia vanitas, Stir up a little gladness To lighten the Tibi cras; Send us that little summer, That comes with Martinmas. When still the cloudlet dapples The windless cobalt blue, And the scent of gathered apples Fills all the store-rooms through, The gossamer silvers the bramble, The lawns are gemmed with dew. An end of tombstone Latinity, Stir up sober mirth, Twenty-fifth after Trinity, Kneel with the listening earth, Behind the Advent trumpets They are singing Emmanuel's birth. John Meade Falkner - 'After Trinity' Completely the wrong season, but that's not an easy poem to link to.
  3. You might get more of a response if you start a thread about poetry you actually like. Or what about joining us on 'Poetic Wanderings'? The idea is that you quote a poem which contains one of the same words as the previous one.
  4. The jester walked in the garden: The garden had fallen still; He bade his soul rise upward And stand on her window-sill. It rose in a straight blue garment, When owls began to call: It had grown wise-tongued by thinking Of a quiet and light footfall; But the young queen would not listen; She rose in her pale night-gown; She drew in the heavy casement And pushed the latches down. He bade his heart go to her, When the owls called out no more; In a red and quivering garment It sang to her through the door. It had grown sweet-tongued by dreaming Of a flutter of flower-like hair; But she took up her fan from the table And waved it off on the air. 'I have cap and bells,’ he pondered, 'I will send them to her and die’; And when the morning whitened He left them where she went by. She laid them upon her bosom, Under a cloud of her hair, And her red lips sang them a love-song Till stars grew out of the air. She opened her door and her window, And the heart and the soul came through, To her right hand came the red one, To her left hand came the blue. They set up a noise like crickets, A chattering wise and sweet, And her hair was a folded flower And the quiet of love in her feet. W.B. Yeats - 'The Cap and Bells'
  5. Thanks for the warning. If I ever encounter this book I'll know to give it a miss.
  6. When I was one-and-twenty I heard a wise man say, “Give crowns and pounds and guineas But not your heart away; Give pearls away and rubies But keep your fancy free.” But I was one-and-twenty, No use to talk to me. When I was one-and-twenty I heard him say again, “The heart out of the bosom Was never given in vain; ’Tis paid with sighs a plenty And sold for endless rue.” And I am two-and-twenty, And oh, ’tis true, ’tis true. A.E. Housman - 'When I was one-and-twenty'
  7. There is a garden in her face Where roses and white lilies grow; A heav'nly paradise is that place Wherein all pleasant fruits do flow. There cherries grow which none may buy, Till "Cherry ripe" themselves do cry. Those cherries fairly do enclose Of orient pearl a double row, Which when her lovely laughter shows, They look like rose-buds fill'd with snow; Yet them nor peer nor prince can buy, Till "Cherry ripe" themselves do cry. Her eyes like angels watch them still, Her brows like bended bows do stand, Threat'ning with piercing frowns to kill All that attempt with eye or hand Those sacred cherries to come nigh, Till "Cherry ripe" themselves do cry. Thomas Campion - 'There is a garden in her face'
  8. Here we bring new water from the well so clear, For to worship God with this happy New Year. Sing levy-dew, sing levy-dew, the water and the wine, The seven bright gold wires and the bugles that do shine. Sing reign of Fair Maid, with gold upon her toe; Open you the West Door and turn the Old Year go. Sing reign of Fair Maid, with gold upon her chin; Open you the East Door and let the New Year in. ' A New Year Carol' (Traditional Welsh: this version published by Walter de la Mare)
  9. ’Twas Christmas Day on the Somme The men stood on parade, The snow laid six feet on the ground Twas twenty in the shade. Up spoke the Captain ‘gallant man’, "Just hear what I’ve to say, You may not have remembered that Today is Christmas Day. The General has expressed a wish This day may be observed, Today you will only work eight hours, A rest that’s well deserved. I hope you’ll keep yourselves quite clean And smart and spruce and nice, The stream is frozen hard But a pick will break the ice. All men will get two biscuits each, I’m sure you’re tired of bread, I’m sorry there’s no turkey but there’s Bully Beef instead. The puddings plum have not arrived But they are on their way, I’ll guarantee they’ll be in time To eat next Christmas Day. Your parcels would have been in time But I regret to say The vessel which conveyed them was Torpedoed on the way. The Quartermaster’s got your rum But you may get some yet, Each man will be presented with A Woodbine cigarette. The Huns have caught us in the rear And painted France all red, Pray do not let that trouble you, Tomorrow you’ll be dead. Now ere you go I wish you all This season of good cheer, A very happy Christmas and A prosperous New Year." Leslie George Rub - 'Christmas Day On The Somme'
  10. Long, long ago, Oh! so long ago Christ was born in Bethlehem to heal the world's woe. His mother in the stable watched him where he lay and knew for all his frailty he was the world's stay. Long, long ago, Oh! so long ago Christ was born in Bethlehem. While he lay there sleeping in the quiet night she listened to his breathing and oh! her heart was light. Long, long ago, Oh! so long ago Christ was born to heal the world's woe. She tended him and nursed him, giving him her breast, and knew that it was God's son in her crook'd arm at rest. Long, long ago, Oh! so long ago Christ was born in Bethlehem to heal the world's woe. Shepherds at the sheepfolds knew him for their King; and gold and myrrh and frankincense three wise men did bring. Long, long ago, Oh! so long ago Christ was born to heal the world's woe. For he should be the Saviour, making wars to cease, who gives joy to all men, and brings to them peace. Written by John Buxton in 1940 while a prisoner of war at Oflag VII C in Bavaria.
  11. Full fathom five thy father lies; Of his bones are coral made; Those are pearls that were his eyes: Nothing of him that doth fade, But doth suffer a sea-change Into something rich and strange. Sea-nymphs hourly ring his knell: Ding-dong. Hark! now I hear them,—ding-dong, bell. William Shakespeare - from The Tempest
  12. About suffering they were never wrong, The old Masters: how well they understood Its human position: how it takes place While someone else is eating or opening a window or just walking dully along; How, when the aged are reverently, passionately waiting For the miraculous birth, there always must be Children who did not specially want it to happen, skating On a pond at the edge of the wood: They never forgot That even the dreadful martyrdom must run its course Anyhow in a corner, some untidy spot Where the dogs go on with their doggy life and the torturer's horse Scratches its innocent behind on a tree. In Breughel's Icarus, for instance: how everything turns away Quite leisurely from the disaster; the ploughman may Have heard the splash, the forsaken cry, But for him it was not an important failure; the sun shone As it had to on the white legs disappearing into the green Water, and the expensive delicate ship that must have seen Something amazing, a boy falling out of the sky, Had somewhere to get to and sailed calmly on. W.H. Auden - ' Musee des Beaux Arts '
  13. Here is another fairy poem, called 'Mider's Song', by William Sharp, publishing as Fiona MacLeod: How beautiful they are, The lordly ones Who dwell in the hills, In the hollow hills. They have faces like flowers And their breath is wind That blows over grass Filled with dewy clover. Their limbs are more white Than shafts of moonshine: They are more fleet Than the March wind. They laugh and are glad And are terrible: When their lances shake Every green reed quivers. How beautiful they are, How beautiful, The lordly ones In the hollow hills. I would go back To the Country of the Young, And see again The lances of the Shee, As they keep their hosting With laughing cries In pale places Under the moon. There is a beautiful setting of the first five verses by Rutland Boughton.
  14. The ending was terrible! Presumably it was based on the book. The flashbacks to the children's disappearance became more extended and it looked as though the teenagers must have been involved, but in the end we were told they weren't. There was no answer given at all - just hints at two possibilities, one supernatural and one ludicrously unlikely (there are animals living in the forest, but they have only ever interacted with humans once). If three children went into a forest and only one was found, what would the police do? They'd bring in tracker dogs, that's what. I agree about the mixture of two stories - that didn't work at all.
  15. This is a sacred city, built of marvellous earth. Life was lived nobly there to give such Beauty birth. Beauty was in this brain and in this eager hand. Death is so blind and dumb, death does not understand. Death drifts the brain with dust and soils the young limbs' glory. Death makes justice a dream and strength a traveller's story. Death drives the lovely soul to wander under the sky. Death opens unknown doors. It is most grand to die. John Masefield - 'By a Bier-side'
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