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Across the gateway of my heart

I wrote 'no thoroughfare.'

But love came laughing by and cried

I enter everywhere.


Edited by hux
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In the middle of our porridge plates

There was a blue butterfly painted

And each morning we tried who should reach the

butterfly first.

Then the Grandmother said: "Do not eat the poor


That made us laugh.

Always she said it and always it started us laughing.

It seemed such a sweet little joke.

I was certain that one fine morning

The butterfly would fly out of our plates,

Laughing the teeniest laugh in the world,

And perch on the Grandmother's lap.


Butterfly Laughter - Katherine  Mansfield

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I have seen old ships sail like swans asleep 

Beyond the village which men still call Tyre, 

With leaden age o'ercargoed, dipping deep 

For Famagusta and the hidden sun 

That rings black Cyprus with a lake of fire;        

And all those ships were certainly so old— 

Who knows how oft with squat and noisy gun, 

Questing brown slaves or Syrian oranges, 

The pirate Genoese 

Hell-raked them till they rolled 

Blood, water, fruit and corpses up the hold. 

But now through friendly seas they softly run, 

Painted the mid-sea blue or shore-sea green, 

Still patterned with the vine and grapes in gold. 


But I have seen, 

Pointing her shapely shadows from the dawn 

And image tumbled on a rose-swept bay, 

A drowsy ship of some yet older day; 

And, wonder's breath indrawn, 

Thought I—who knows—who knows—but in that same 

(Fished up beyond Aeaea, patched up new 

—Stern painted brighter blue—) 

That talkative, bald-headed seaman came 

(Twelve patient comrades sweating at the oar) 

From Troy's doom-crimson shore, 

And with great lies about his wooden horse 

Set the crew laughing, and forgot his course. 


It was so old a ship—who knows, who knows? 

—And yet so beautiful, I watched in vain 

To see the mast burst open with a rose, 

And the whole deck put on its leaves again. 


James Elroy Flecker - 'The Old Ships'


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So let the Turk of Cyprus us beguile;
We lose it not, so long as we can smile.
He bears the sentence well that nothing bears
But the free comfort which from thence he hears,
But he bears both the sentence and the sorrow
That, to pay grief, must of poor patience borrow.
These sentences, to sugar, or to gall,
Being strong on both sides, are equivocal:
But words are words; I never yet did hear
That the bruised heart was pierced through the ear.
I humbly beseech you, proceed to the affairs of state.


Shakespeare - Othello I/iii

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A blank, my lord. She never told her love,
But let concealment, like a worm i' the bud,
Feed on her damask cheek. She pined in thought,
And with a green and yellow melancholy
She sat like patience on a monument,
Smiling at grief. Was not this love indeed?
We men may say more, swear more, but indeed
Our shows are more than will, for still we prove
Much in our vows, but little in our love.
Shakespeare - Twelfth Night II/iv
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No, no, go not to Lethe, neither twist
       Wolf's-bane, tight-rooted, for its poisonous wine;
Nor suffer thy pale forehead to be kiss'd
       By nightshade, ruby grape of Proserpine;
               Make not your rosary of yew-berries,
       Nor let the beetle, nor the death-moth be
               Your mournful Psyche, nor the downy owl
A partner in your sorrow's mysteries;
       For shade to shade will come too drowsily,
               And drown the wakeful anguish of the soul.
But when the melancholy fit shall fall
       Sudden from heaven like a weeping cloud,
That fosters the droop-headed flowers all,
       And hides the green hill in an April shroud;
Then glut thy sorrow on a morning rose,
       Or on the rainbow of the salt sand-wave,
               Or on the wealth of globed peonies;
Or if thy mistress some rich anger shows,
       Emprison her soft hand, and let her rave,
               And feed deep, deep upon her peerless eyes.
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"
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O, to be in England 

Now that April 's there, 

And whoever wakes in England 

Sees, some morning, unaware, 

That the lowest boughs and the brushwood sheaf        

Round the elm-tree bole are in tiny leaf, 

While the chaffinch sings on the orchard bough 

In England—now! 


And after April, when May follows, 

And the whitethroat builds, and all the swallows! 

Hark, where my blossom'd pear-tree in the hedge 

Leans to the field and scatters on the clover 

Blossoms and dewdrops—at the bent spray's edge— 

That's the wise thrush; he sings each song twice over, 

Lest you should think he never could recapture 

The first fine careless rapture! 

And though the fields look rough with hoary dew, 

All will be gay when noontide wakes anew 

The buttercups, the little children's dower 

—Far brighter than this gaudy melon-flower!


Robert Browning - 'Home-thoughts, from Abroad'

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Where are the songs of spring? Ay, Where are they?
   Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,—
While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day,
   And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue;
Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn
   Among the river sallows, borne aloft
      Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;
And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;
   Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft
   The red-breast whistles from a garden-croft;
      And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.
John KEATS - "To Autumn" (last stanza)
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On a Lane in Spring by JOHN CLARE


A little lane - the brook runs close beside,

And spangles in the sunshine, while the fish glide swiftly by;

And hedges leafing with the green springtide;

From out their greenery the old birds fly,

And chirp and whistle in the morning sun;

The pilewort glitters 'neath the pale blue sky,

The little robin has its nest begun

The grass-green linnets round the bushes fly.

How mild the spring comes in! the daisy buds

Lift up their golden blossoms to the sky.

How lovely are the pingles in the woods!

Here a beetle runs - and there a fly

Rests on the arum leaf in bottle-green,

And all the spring in this sweet lane is seen.


On a Lane in Spring  - JOHN CLARE

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Early in the morning
Of a lovely summer day,
As they lowered the bright awning
At the outdoor café,
I was breakfasting on croissants
And café au lait,
Under greenery like scenery,
Rue François Premier;
They were hosing the hot pavement
With a dash of flashing spray,
And a smell of summer showers
When the dust is drenched away;
Under greenery like scenery,
Rue François Premier -
I was twenty and a lover,
And in Paradise to stay,
Very early in the morning
Of a lovely summer day.


Robert HILLYER - "Early in the Morning" (set to music in 1954 by Ned ROREM, now aged 97)

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Rise heart; thy Lord is risen. Sing his praise
Without delays,
Who takes thee by the hand, that thou likewise
With him mayst rise:
That, as his death calcined thee to dust,
His life may make thee gold, and much more just.

Awake, my lute, and struggle for thy part
With all thy art.
The cross taught all wood to resound his name,
Who bore the same.
His stretched sinews taught all strings, what key
Is best to celebrate this most high day.

Consort both heart and lute, and twist a song
Pleasant and long:
Or since all music is but three parts vied
And multiplied;
O let thy blessed Spirit bear a part,
And make up our defects with his sweet art.
I got me flowers to straw thy way:
I got me boughs off many a tree:
But thou wast up by break of day,
And brought’st thy sweets along with thee.

The Sun arising in the East,
Though he give light, and th’East perfume;
If they should offer to contest
With thy arising, they presume.

Can there be any day but this,
Though many suns to shine endeavour?
We count three hundred, but we miss:
There is but one, and that one ever.
George Herbert - 'Easter'
Edited by Heather
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22 minutes ago, Heather said:

Sorry - I didn't scroll down far enough, and thought Meg's poem was the last. Can we make 'day' the link word instead of 'sun'?

You can click on the three dots at the top right hand side of your post and you'll find the edit button, then you can make the change yourself.

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O all you host of heaven! O earth! What else?
And shall I couple hell? Hold, hold, my heart!
And you, my sinews, grow not instant old,
But bear me stiffly up. Remember thee?
Ay, thou poor ghost, while memory holds a seat
In this distracted globe. Remember thee?
Yea, from the table of my memory
I'll wipe away all trivial fond records,
All saws of books, all forms, all pressures past
That youth and observation copied there,
And thy commandment all alone shall live
Within the book and volume of my brain,
Unmix'd with baser matter. Yes, by heaven!
O most pernicious woman!
O villain, villain, smiling, damned villain!
My tables! Meet it is I set it down
That one may smile, and smile, and be a villain;
At least I am sure it may be so in Denmark.
So, uncle, there you are. Now to my word:
It is 'Adieu, adieu! Remember me.'
I have sworn't.


Shakespeare - Hamlet I/v

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Am I a stone, and not a sheep,

That I can stand, O Christ, beneath Thy cross,

To number drop by drop Thy blood’s slow loss,

And yet not weep?

Not so those women loved

Who with exceeding grief lamented Thee;

Not so fallen Peter, weeping bitterly;

Not so the thief was moved;

Not so the Sun and Moon

Which hid their faces in a starless sky,

A horror of great darkness at broad noon –

I, only I.

Yet give not o’er,

But seek Thy sheep, true Shepherd of the flock;

Greater than Moses, turn and look once more

And smite a rock.


Good Friday - Christina Rosetti

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Hi meg: interesting that you should link woman to women, whereas I think of them as different words. Two different analyses, both defensible...
Anecdote: my students, after seven years' English, can only rarely pronounce one or the other. "Singular?" "Euh... womb EARN...?" "Plural?" "Euh... womb IN...?"
(Looking forward to retiring. Every day.)

Happy Easter, meg and all other posters on this time-honoured thread.


Peace, ho, for shame! confusion's cure lives not
In these confusions. Heaven and yourself
Had part in this fair maid; now heaven hath all,
And all the better is it for the maid:
Your part in her you could not keep from death,
But heaven keeps his part in eternal life.
The most you sought was her promotion;
For 'twas your heaven she should be advanced:
And weep ye now, seeing she is advanced
Above the clouds, as high as heaven itself?
O, in this love, you love your child so ill,
That you run mad, seeing that she is well:
She's not well married that lives married long;
But she's best married that dies married young.
Dry up your tears, and stick your rosemary
On this fair corse; and, as the custom is,
In all her best array bear her to church:
For though fond nature bids us an lament,
Yet nature's tears are reason's merriment.


Shakespeare - Romeo and Juliet IV/v

Edited by jfp
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10 hours ago, jfp said:

Hi meg: interesting that you should link woman to women, whereas I think of them as different words.

Yeah, it was a bit sneaky, but I put my moderating hat on and allowed it. ;)

We are a bit lenient in some circumstances, such as plurals made with an added 's' - i just stretched it a bit after hunting unsuccessfully for another word to use. 

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A curiously empty day,

As if this world’s life

Had gone underground.

The April sun

Warming dry grass

Makes pale spring promises

But nothing comes to pass.


Relaxes into despair

As we remember our helplessness,

Remember him hanging there.

We have purchased the spices

But they must wait for tomorrow.

We shall keep today

For Emptiness

And sorrow.


Easter Saturday - Elizabeth Rooney

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         Why did I dream of you last night?

      Now morning is pushing back hair with grey light

   Memories strike home, like slaps in the face:

Raised on elbow, I stare at the pale fog

                         beyond the window.


      So many things I had thought forgotten

   Return to the mind with stranger pain:

-  Like letters that arrive addressed to someone

Who left the house so many years ago.


Philip LARKIN - "Why did I dream of you last night?" (1939)

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Meg: I had never heard of Elizabeth Rooney. The poem you chose yesterday, for all its lexical simplicity, is a moving evocation of the awkward hiatus of Easter Saturday. Of course on the morrow of the crucifixion no one could know what was in store the following day... Despite having (rather naughtily) referred to the Bible as the most overrated book in a recent post of mine, I will now return to the gospels... A very Happy Easter to you and yours.

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She is new to me. 

Out of curiosity I did a search for Easter Saturday poems, expecting the usual dross that any search for poems on the internet turns up, and found that little gem. I immediately added it to my collection of poems for my U3A "Poetry for Pleasure" group - if  I start it up again post-pandemic.

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While it is still Easter Sunday (just), here is another poem by Elizabeth Rooney that is suitable for the occasion



Now is the shining fabric of our day

Torn open, flung apart,

Rent wide by Love.

Never again

The tight, enclosing sky,

The blue bowl,

Or the star-illumined tent.

We are laid open to infinity,

For Easter Love

Has burst His tomb and ours.

Now nothing shelters us

From God's desire -

Not flesh, not sky,

Not stars, not even sin.

Now Glory waits

So He can enter in.

Now does the dance begin.


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She is as in a field a silken tent
At midday when the sunny summer breeze
Has dried the dew and all its ropes relent,
So that in guys it gently sways at ease,
And its supporting central cedar pole,
That is its pinnacle to heavenward
And signifies the sureness of the soul,
Seems to owe naught to any single cord,
But strictly held by none, is loosely bound
By countless silken ties of love and thought
To everything on earth the compass round,
And only by one's going slightly taut
In the capriciousness of summer air
Is of the slightlest bondage made aware.


Robert FROST - "The Silken Tent" (this sonnet is an extraordinary extended metaphor...)

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At the round earth's imagin'd corners, blow
Your trumpets, angels, and arise, arise
From death, you numberless infinities
Of souls, and to your scatter'd bodies go;
All whom the flood did, and fire shall o'erthrow,
All whom war, dearth, age, agues, tyrannies,
Despair, law, chance hath slain, and you whose eyes
Shall behold God and never taste death's woe.
But let them sleep, Lord, and me mourn a space,
For if above all these my sins abound,
'Tis late to ask abundance of thy grace
When we are there; here on this lowly ground
Teach me how to repent; for that's as good
As if thou had'st seal'd my pardon with thy blood.
John Donne - 'At the round earth's imagin'd corners, blow'
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No longer mourn for me when I am dead
Than you shall hear the surly sullen bell
Give warning to the world that I am fled
From this vile world, with vilest worms to dwell; 
Nay, if you read this line, remember not
The hand that writ it, for I love you so, 
That I in your sweet thoughts would be forgot, 
If thinking on me then should make you woe.
O if (I say) you look upon this verse, 
When I (perhaps) compounded am with clay,
Do not so much as my poor name rehearse,
But let your love even with my life decay;
     Lest the wise world should look into your moan, 
     And mock you with me after I am gone.
Shakespeare - Sonnet 71
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