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  April is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.
Winter kept us warm, covering
Earth in forgetful snow, feeding
A little life with dried tubers.
Summer surprised us, coming over the Starnbergersee
With a shower of rain; we stopped in the colonnade,
And went on in sunlight, into the Hofgarten,
And drank coffee, and talked for an hour.
Bin gar keine Russin, stamm’ aus Litauen, echt deutsch.
And when we were children, staying at the arch-duke’s,
My cousin’s, he took me out on a sled,
And I was frightened. He said, Marie,
Marie, hold on tight. And down we went.
In the mountains, there you feel free.
I read, much of the night, and go south in the winter.
  What are the roots that clutch, what branches grow
Out of this stony rubbish? Son of man,
You cannot say, or guess, for you know only
A heap of broken images, where the sun beats,
And the dead tree gives no shelter, the cricket no relief,
And the dry stone no sound of water. Only
There is shadow under this red rock,
(Come in under the shadow of this red rock),
And I will show you something different from either
Your shadow at morning striding behind you
Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you;
I will show you fear in a handful of dust.
T.S.Eliot, The Waste Land/1. The Burial of the Dead
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I have met them at close of day   
Coming with vivid faces
From counter or desk among grey   
Eighteenth-century houses.
I have passed with a nod of the head   
Or polite meaningless words,   
Or have lingered awhile and said   
Polite meaningless words,
And thought before I had done   
Of a mocking tale or a gibe   
To please a companion
Around the fire at the club,   
Being certain that they and I   
But lived where motley is worn:   
All changed, changed utterly:   
A terrible beauty is born.
That woman's days were spent   
In ignorant good-will,
Her nights in argument
Until her voice grew shrill.
What voice more sweet than hers   
When, young and beautiful,   
She rode to harriers?
This man had kept a school   
And rode our wingèd horse;   
This other his helper and friend   
Was coming into his force;
He might have won fame in the end,   
So sensitive his nature seemed,   
So daring and sweet his thought.
This other man I had dreamed
A drunken, vainglorious lout.
He had done most bitter wrong
To some who are near my heart,   
Yet I number him in the song;
He, too, has resigned his part
In the casual comedy;
He, too, has been changed in his turn,   
Transformed utterly:
A terrible beauty is born.
Hearts with one purpose alone   
Through summer and winter seem   
Enchanted to a stone
To trouble the living stream.
The horse that comes from the road,   
The rider, the birds that range   
From cloud to tumbling cloud,   
Minute by minute they change;   
A shadow of cloud on the stream   
Changes minute by minute;   
A horse-hoof slides on the brim,   
And a horse plashes within it;   
The long-legged moor-hens dive,   
And hens to moor-cocks call;   
Minute by minute they live:   
The stone's in the midst of all.
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 - 'Easter, 1916'
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Harriers ran the roads 
To the shadow-herded peaks 
Of Connemara, by the hillocks lit 
With handfuls of sharp water and they cried 
At every farm: 
" Drive in the herds 
Of Maeve and count them into rows." 
They called 
At every holding: 
" Peel the wattle now 
On the cattle of the king." 
Men came to the stile 
And the busy women, hanging out the clothes 
On the currant bushes, cried 
" Who are they 
That are running?" 
But those heels 
Had gone. 
Landowners at the door 
Whittling the hours, whistled for the men 
That mowed in the river field. 
Down the beaten road 
A band of horsemen galloped in a cloud 
With following mares. 
" Whoa!" 
" Steady!" 
" Whoa!" 
" Where do you go?" 
" To the Fair" 
" To the Fair 
Of Ballinasloe." 
" Then call in all 
The ready neighbours, for the thoroughbreds 
And two-year-olds are counting and the drink 
Runs as we run." 
Along the heatherland, 
The dark red bog, they hurried over fence 
And steeping pool. 
" Dry the turf no more 
But hurry to the spancel." 
Down the glen 
Of kelping where the silver share o' the sea 
Lies idle, barelegged women in young waters, 
Wrenching the sun out of the flannel, chased 
The naughty ganders, hurried in for milk 
Or griddle-bread into the house and called 
The snoozing men. 
In the turn 
Of the glen, where by himself the black ram crops 
A greener ring, mountainy folk came down 
With sharpened pikes. 
" Where is the fighting?" 
" At 
What ford?" 
" O hurry to the cattle." 
A gap of cloud, men, larruping a herd 
Through stumbling silver, came. 
" What hoofs 
Are these?" 
" Milk from the little grass 
Of hunger." 
" Bring them down." 
" Bring them down 
To the green troughs of Inagh." 
They were climbing 
The watery green flights of every glen 
And sheep-men drove the barking lanes 
Of rams into the pen and counted them 
When light began to drizzle from the springs 
Of air. 
And so the word ran west and came 
Footsore upon the third day to the tides 
Of light; men rowed the curraghs for a mile 
And lifting the droppy sails to the islands 
Gathered the sheep and ponies. Womenfolk 
Quitting the patchwork quilts upon the shore 
Had topped the family cauldron on the hook 
With handy meal, gossiping of the far 
Blue country when a king and red-haired queen 
Fell out. 
Storm crowded in the far sea-mountains 
Of Achill, broken into unploughed purple 
Against the thundering herds of cloud driven 
From the waterish hurdles of the west; by darkfall 
Strange voices moved among the desolate peaks 
Of war and the dim running islands gathered 
Their brood of sails for men had seen the Bull 
Of Connaught rage upon the shaken ridge 
Of the world. . . .



Harriers ran the roads by Austin Clarke



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The winter comes I walk alone
I want no bird to sing
To those who keep their hearts their own
The winter is the spring
No flowers to please - no bees to hum
The coming spring's already come

I never want the Christmas rose
To come before its time
The seasons each as God bestows
Are simple and sublime
I love to see the snowstorm hing
'Tis but the winter garb of spring

I never want the grass to bloom
The snowstorm's best in white
I love to see the tempest come
And love its piercing light
The dazzled eyes that love to cling
O'er snow-white meadows sees the spring

I love the snow, the crumpling snow
That hangs on everything
It covers everything below
Like white dove's brooding wing
A landscape to the aching sight
A vast expanse of dazzling light

It is the foliage of the woods
That winters bring - the dress
White Easter of the year in bud
That makes the winter Spring
The frost and snow his posies bring
Nature's white spurts of the spring


John Clare - 'The Winter's Spring'

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Announced by all the trumpets of the sky, 

Arrives the snow, and, driving o'er the fields, 

Seems nowhere to alight: the whited air 

Hides hills and woods, the river, and the heaven, 

And veils the farm-house at the garden's end. 

The sled and traveller stopped, the courier's feet 

Delayed, all friends shut out, the housemates sit 

Around the radiant fireplace, enclosed 

In a tumultuous privacy of storm. 


Come see the north wind's masonry. 

Out of an unseen quarry evermore 

Furnished with tile, the fierce artificer 

Curves his white bastions with projected roof 

Round every windward stake, or tree, or door. 

Speeding, the myriad-handed, his wild work 

So fanciful, so savage, nought cares he 

For number or proportion. Mockingly, 

On coop or kennel he hangs Parian wreaths; 

A swan-like form invests the hidden thorn; 

Fills up the farmer's lane from wall to wall, 

Maugre the farmer's sighs; and, at the gate, 

A tapering turret overtops the work. 

And when his hours are numbered, and the world 

Is all his own, retiring, as he were not, 

Leaves, when the sun appears, astonished Art 

To mimic in slow structures, stone by stone, 

Built in an age, the mad wind's night-work, 

The frolic architecture of the snow

The Snow-Storm Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Shine out, fair Sun, with all your heat,
Show all your thousand-coloured light!
Black Winter freezes to his seat;
The grey wolf howls, he does so bite;
Crookt Age on three knees creeps the street;
The boneless fish close quaking lies
And eats for cold his aching feet;
The stars in icicles arise:
Shine out, and make this winter night
Our beauty's Spring, our Prince of Light!


George Chapman - 'Shine out, fair Sun'

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  • 2 weeks later...

To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day
To the last syllable of recorded time,
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more: it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.


Shakespeare, Macbeth, Act V scene v

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Fury said to a
    mouse, That
             he met in
                 the house,
                       'Let us
                            both go
                                to law: I
                                    will prosecute
                                you. Come,
                            I'll take no
                        denial; we
                    must have a
                trial: for
              really this
        I've noth-
    ing to do.'
 Said the
    mouse to
          the cur,
             'Such a
                trial, dear 
                     sir, with
                          no jury
                       or judge,
                   would be
    'I'll be
judge, I'll
    be jury,'
Lewis Carroll - 'The Mouse's Tail'
Edited by Heather
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