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Poetic Wanderings


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Had to follow that with this old favourite:


Yes. I remember Adlestrop
The name, because one afternoon
Of heat, the express-train drew up there
Unwontedly. It was late June.

The steam hissed. Someone cleared his throat.
No one left and no one came
On the bare platform. What I saw
Was Adlestrop—only the name

And willows, willow-herb, and grass,
And meadowsweet, and haycocks dry,
No whit less still and lonely fair
Than the high cloudlets in the sky.

And for that minute a blackbird sang
Close by, and round him, mistier,
Farther and farther, all the birds
Of Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire.


Adlestrop - Edward Thomas

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"Farewell, Romance!" the Cave-men said;

"With bone well carved He went away,

Flint arms the ignoble arrowhead,

And jasper tips the spear to-day.

Changed are the Gods of Hunt and Dance,

And He with these. Farewell, Romance!"


"Farewell, Romance!" the Lake-folk sighed;

"We lift the weight of flatling years;

The caverns of the mountain-side

Hold him who scorns our hutted piers.

Lost hills whereby we dare not dwell,

Guard ye his rest. Romance, farewell!"


"Farewell, Romance!" the Soldier spoke;

"By sleight of sword we may not win,

But scuffle 'mid uncleanly smoke

Of arquebus and culverin.

Honour is lost, and none may tell

Who paid good blows. Romance, farewell!"


"Farewell, Romance!" the Traders cried;

"Our keels have lain with every sea;

The dull-returning wind and tide

Heave up the wharf where we would be;

The known and noted breezes swell

Our trudging sails. Romance, farewell!"


"Good-bye, Romance!" the Skipper said;

"He vanished with the coal we burn.

Our dial marks full-steam ahead,

Our speed is timed to half a turn.

Sure as the ferried barge we ply

'Twixt port and port. Romance, good-bye!"


"Romance!" the season-tickets mourn,

"He never ran to catch His train,

But passed with coach and guard and horn --

And left the local -- late again!"

Confound Romance!... And all unseen

Romance brought up the nine-fifteen.


His hand was on the lever laid,

His oil-can soothed the worrying cranks,

His whistle waked the snowbound grade,

His fog-horn cut the reeking Banks;

By dock and deep and mine and mill

The Boy-god reckless laboured still!


Robed, crowned and throned, He wove His spell,

Where heart-blood beat or hearth-smoke curled,

With unconsidered miracle,

Hedged in a backward-gazing world;

Then taught His chosen bard to say:

"Our King was with us -- yesterday!"


Rudyard Kipling - 'The King'

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Yet more Kipling


“Have you news of my boy Jack? ”

Not this tide.

“When d’you think that he’ll come back?”

Not with this wind blowing, and this tide.

“Has any one else had word of him?”

Not this tide.

For what is sunk will hardly swim,

Not with this wind blowing, and this tide.

“Oh, dear, what comfort can I find?”

None this tide,

Nor any tide,

Except he did not shame his kind—

Not even with that wind blowing, and that tide.

Then hold your head up all the more,

This tide,

And every tide;

Because he was the son you bore,

And gave to that wind blowing and that tide!


My Boy Jack - Rudyard Kipling

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Last night a wind from Lammermoor came roaring up the glen
With the tramp of trooping horses and the laugh of reckless men
And struck a mailed hand on the gate and cried in rebel glee:
“Come forth. Come forth, my Borderer, and ride the March with me!”


I said “Oh! Wind of Lammermoor, the night’s too dark to ride,
And all the men that fill the glen are ghosts of men that died!
The floods are down in the Bowmont Burn, the moss is fetlock-deep;
Go back, wild Wind of Lammermoor, to Lauderdale - and sleep!”


Out spoke the Wind of Lammermoor, “We know the road right well,
The road that runs by Kale and Jed across the Carter Fell.
There is no man of all the men in this grey troop of mine
But blind might ride the Borderside from Teviothead to Tyne!”


The horses fretted on their bits and pawed the flints to fire,
The riders swung them to the South full-faced to their desire;
“Come!” said the Wind from Lammermoor, and spoke full scornfully,
“Have ye no pride to mount and ride your fathers’ road with me?”


A roan horse to the gate they led, foam-flecked and travelled far,
A snorting roan that tossed his head and flashed his forehead star;
There came the sound of clashing steel and hoof-tramp up the glen.
And two by two we cantered through, a troop of ghostly men!


* * * * * * * *


I know not if the farms we fired are burned to ashes yet!
I know not if the stirks grew tired before the stars were set!
I only know that late last night when Northern winds blew free,
A troop of men rode up the glen and brought a horse for me!


Will H. Ogilvie - 'The Raiders'

The asterisked gap is in the original.

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Of my city the worst that men will ever say is this: 
You took little children away from the sun and the dew, 
And the glimmers that played in the grass under the great sky, 
And the reckless rain; you put them between walls 
To work, broken and smothered, for bread and wages, 
To eat dust in their throats and die empty-hearted 
For a little handful of pay on a few Saturday nights.


They Will Say - Carl Sandburg

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The chestnut casts his flambeaux, and the flowers
Stream from the hawthorn on the wind away,
The doors clap to, the pane is blind with showers.
Pass me the can, lad; there's an end of May.

There's one spoilt spring to scant our mortal lot,
One season ruined of our little store.
May will be fine next year as like as not:
Oh ay, but then we shall be twenty-four.

We for a certainty are not the first
Have sat in taverns while the tempest hurled
Their hopeful plans to emptiness, and cursed
Whatever brute and blackguard made the world.

It is in truth iniquity on high
To cheat our sentenced souls of aught they crave,
And mar the merriment as you and I
Fare on our long fool's-errand to the grave.

Iniquity it is; but pass the can.
My lad, no pair of kings our mothers bore;
Our only portion is the estate of man:
We want the moon, but we shall get no more.

If here to-day the cloud of thunder lours
To-morrow it will hie on far behests;
The flesh will grieve on other bones than ours
Soon, and the soul will mourn in other breasts.

The troubles of our proud and angry dust
Are from eternity, and shall not fail.
Bear them we can, and if we can we must.
Shoulder the sky, my lad, and drink your ale.


A.E. Housman - 'The Chestnut Casts His Flambeaux'


I was determined to get this one in: it's so appropriate to the weather.

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A moment the wild swallows like a flight

Of withered gust-caught leaves, serenely high,

Toss in the windrack up the muttering sky.

The leaves hang still. Above the weird twilight,

The hurrying centres of the storm unite

And spreading with huge trunk and rolling fringe,

Each wheeled upon its own tremendous hinge,

Tower darkening on. And now from heaven’s height,

With the long roar of elm-trees swept and swayed,

And pelted waters, on the vanished plain

Plunges the blast. Behind the wild white flash

That splits abroad the pealing thunder-crash,

Over bleared fields and gardens disarrayed,

Column on column comes the drenching rain.


A Thunderstorm by Canadian poet Archibald Lampman (1861 - 1899)



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Come down, O maid, from yonder mountain height: 

What pleasure lives in height (the shepherd sang), 

In height and cold, the splendour of the hills? 

But cease to move so near the Heavens, and cease 

To glide a sunbeam by the blasted Pine,        

To sit a star upon the sparkling spire; 

And come, for Love is of the valley, come, 

For Love is of the valley, come thou down 

And find him; by the happy threshold, he, 

Or hand in hand with Plenty in the maize, 

Or red with spirted purple of the vats, 

Or foxlike in the vine; nor cares to walk 

With Death and Morning on the silver horns, 

Nor wilt thou snare him in the white ravine, 

Nor find him dropt upon the firths of ice, 

That huddling slant in furrow-cloven falls 

To roll the torrent out of dusky doors: 

But follow; let the torrent dance thee down 

To find him in the valley; let the wild 

Lean-headed Eagles yelp alone, and leave 

The monstrous ledges there to slope, and spill 

Their thousand wreaths of dangling water-smoke, 

That like a broken purpose waste in air: 

So waste not thou; but come; for all the vales 

Await thee; azure pillars of the hearth 

Arise to thee; the children call, and I 

Thy shepherd pipe, and sweet is every sound, 

Sweeter thy voice, but every sound is sweet; 

Myriads of rivulets hurrying thro' the lawn, 

The moan of doves in immemorial elms

And murmuring of innumerable bees.


Alfred, Lord Tennyson - from 'The Princess'

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A week ago I had a fire

To warm my feet, my hands and face;

Cold winds, that never make a friend,

Crept in and out of every place.


Today the fields are rich in grass,

And buttercups in thousands grow;

I’ll show the world where I have been–

With gold-dust seen on either shoe.


Till to my garden back I come,

Where bumble-bees for hours and hours

Sit on their soft, fat, velvet bums,

To wriggle out of hollow flowers.


All In June - William Henry Davies

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I love the little pond to mark at spring
When frogs and toads are croaking round its brink
When blackbirds yellow bills gin first to sing
And  green woodpecker rotten trees to clink
I love to see the cattle muse & drink
And water crinkle to the rude March wind
While two ash dotterels flourish on its brink
Bearing key bunches children run to find
And  water buttercups they're forced to leave behind.


John Clare - 'I love the little pond to mark at spring'

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  • 2 weeks later...

Sweet blackbird is silenced with chaffinch and thrush’

Only waistcoated robin still chirps in the bush:

Soft sun-loving swallows have mustered in force.

And winged to the spice-teeming southland their course


Plump housekeeper dormouse has tucked himself neat,
Just a brown ball in moss with a morsel to eat:
Armed hedgehog has huddled him into the hedge,
While frogs scarce miss freezing deep down in the sedge.


Soft swallows have left us alone in the lurch,

But robin sits whistling to us from his perch:

If I were red robin, I'd pipe you a tune,

Would make you despise all the beauties of June.


But, since that cannot be, let us draw round the fire,

Munch chestnuts, tell stories, and stir the blaze higher:

We'll comfort pinched robin with crumbs, little man,

Till he'll sing us the very best song that he can.


Winter - Christina Georgina Rossetti


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On 13/06/2021 at 15:13, megustaleer said:

Lonely here with just the two of us!

It is, isn't it - or even with three. It looks as though jfp has gone again.


These tiny loiterers on the barley's beard,
And happy units of a numerous herd
Of playfellows, the laughing Summer brings,
Mocking the sunshine in their glittering wings,
How merrily they creep, and run, and fly!
No kin they bear to labour's drudgery,
Smoothing the velvet of the pale hedge-rose;
And where they fly for dinner no one knows--
The dew-drops feed them not--they love the shine
Of noon, whose sun may bring them golden wine.
All day they're playing in their Sunday dress--
Till night goes sleep, and they can do no less;
Then, to the heath bell's silken hood they fly,
And like to princes in their slumbers lie,
Secure from night, and dropping dews, and all,
In silken beds and roomy painted hall.
So merrily they spend their summer day,
Now in the cornfields, now the new-mown hay.
One almost fancies that such happy things,
With coloured hoods and richly burnished wings,
Are fairy folk, in splendid masquerade
Disguised, as if of mortal folk afriad,
Keeping their merry pranks a mystery still,
Lest glaring day should do their secrets ill.


John Clare - 'Insects'

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23 hours ago, Heather said:

It is, isn't it - or even with three. It looks as though jfp has gone again.


He hasn't posted since he gave his opinion on the decision to close BGO down. He is still logging on, so must know that we haven't, although I don't know if he is aware of tagesmann's last minute rescue bid. Not posting isn't going to help the rescue.

In his absence: 


"I know a bank whereon the wild thyme blows,

Where oxlips and the nodding violet grows

Quite over-canopied with luscious woodbine,

With sweet musk-roses, and with eglantine:

There sleeps Titania some time of the night,

Lull’d in these flowers with dances and delight"


From A Midsummer Night’s Dream Act 2; Scene1

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In the uncertain hour before the morning
Near the ending of interminable night
At the recurrent end of the unending
After the dark dove with the flickering tongue
Had passed below the horizon of his homing
While the dead leaves still rattled on like tin
Over the asphalt where no other sound was
Between three districts whence the smoke arose
I met one walking, loitering and hurried
As if blown towards me like the metal leaves
Before the urban dawn wind unresisting.
And as I fixed upon the down-turned face
That pointed scrutiny with which we challenge
The first-met stranger in the waning dusk
I caught the sudden look of some dead master
Whom I had known, forgotten, half recalled
Both one and many; in the brown baked features
The eyes of a familiar compound ghost
Both intimate and unidentifiable.
So I assumed a double part, and cried
And heard another's voice cry: "What! are you here?"
Although we were not. I was still the same,
Knowing myself yet being someone other--
And he a face still forming; yet the words sufficed
To compel the recognition they preceded.
And so, compliant to the common wind,
Too strange to each other for misunderstanding,
In concord at this intersection time
Of meeting nowhere, no before and after,
We trod the pavement in a dead patrol.


T.S. Eliot - from 'Little Gidding'

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Loitering with a vacant eye 
Along the Grecian gallery, 
And brooding on my heavy ill, 
I met a statue standing still. 
Still in marble stone stood he, 
And stedfastly he looked at me. 
"Well met," I thought the look would say, 
"We both were fashioned far away; 
We neither knew, when we were young, 
These Londoners we live among." 

Still he stood and eyed me hard, 
An earnest and a grave regard: 
"What, lad, drooping with your lot? 
I too would be where I am not. 
I too survey that endless line 
Of men whose thoughts are not as mine. 
Years, ere you stood up from rest, 
On my neck the collar prest; 
Years, when you lay down your ill, 

I shall stand and bear it still. 
Courage, lad, 'tis not for long: 
Stand, quit you like stone, be strong." 
So I thought his look would say; 
And light on me my trouble lay, 
And I stept out in flesh and bone 
Manful like the man of stone.



Loitering with a vacant eye, Alfred Edward Housman

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Is there for honest Poverty
That hings his head, an’ a’ that;
The coward-slave, we pass him by,
We dare be poor for a’ that!
For a’ that, an’ a’ that.
Our toils obscure an’ a’ that,
The rank is but the guinea’s stamp,
The Man’s the gowd for a’ that.


What though on hamely fare we dine,
Wear hoddin grey, an’ a that;
Gie fools their silks, and knaves their wine;
A Man’s a Man for a’ that:
For a’ that, and a’ that,
Their tinsel show, an’ a’ that;
The honest man, tho’ e’er sae poor,
Is king o’ men for a’ that.


Ye see yon birkie ca’d a lord,
Wha struts, an’ stares, an’ a’ that,
Tho’ hundreds worship at his word,
He’s but a coof for a’ that.
For a’ that, an’ a’ that,
His ribband, star, an’ a’ that,
The man o’ independent mind,
He looks an’ laughs at a’ that.


A Prince can mak a belted knight,
A marquis, duke, an’ a’ that!
But an honest man’s aboon his might –
Guid faith, he mauna fa’ that!
For a’ that, an’ a’ that,
Their dignities, an’ a’ that,
The pith o’ Sense an’ pride o’ Worth
Are higher rank than a’ that.


Then let us pray that come it may,
As come it will for a’ that,
That Sense and Worth, o’er a’ the earth
Shall bear the gree an’ a’ that.
For a’ that, an’ a’ that,
It’s comin yet for a’ that,
That Man to Man the warld o’er

Shall brithers be for a’ that.


Robert Burns - 'A Man's a Man for a' that'

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Literally thin-skinned, I suppose, my face

catches the wind off the snow-line and flushes

with a flush that will never wholly settle. Well:

that was a metropolitan vanity,

wanting to look young for ever, to pass.


I was never a pre-Raphaelite beauty,

nor anything but pretty enough to satisfy

men who need to be seen with passable women.

But now that I am in love with a place

which doesn't care how I look, or if I'm happy,


happy is how I look, and that's all.

My hair will turn grey in any case,

my nails chip and flake, my waist thicken,

and the years work all their usual changes.

If my face is to be weather-beaten as well


that's little enough lost, a fair bargain

for a year among lakes and fells, when simply

to look out of my window at the high pass

makes me indifferent to mirrors and to what

my soul may wear over its new complexion.


Weathering - Fleur Adcock

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From the indigo straits to Ossian's seas, 
on pink and orange sands washed by the vinous sky, 
crystal boulevards have just risen and crossed, 
immediately occupied by poor young families 
who get their food at the greengrocers'. 
Nothing rich.-- The city! From the bituminous desert, 
in headlong flight with the sheets of fog spread 
in frightful bands across the sky, 
that bends, recedes, descends, 
formed by the most sinister black smoke 
that Ocean in mourning can produce, 
flee helmets, wheels, boats, rumps.-- 
The battle! Raise your eyes: that arched wooden bridge; 
those last truck gardens of Samaria; those faces reddened 
by the lantern lashed by the cold night; 
silly Undine in her noisy dress, down by the river; 
those luminous skulls among the rows of peas,-- 
and all the other phantasmagoria-- the country. 
Roads bordered by walls and iron fences 
that with difficulty hold back their groves, 
and frightful flowers probably called loves and doves, 
Damask damning languorously,-- possessions of magic 
aristocracies ultra-Rhinish, Japanese, Guaranian,
still qualified to receive ancestral music-- and there are inns 
that now never open anymore,-- 
there are princesses, and if you are not too overwhelmed, 
the study of the stars-- the sky. 
The morning when with Her you struggled among 
the glittering of snow, those green lips, 
those glaciers, black banners and blue beams, 
and the purple perfumes of the polar sun.-- Your strength. 

Metropolitan by Arthur Rimbaud


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When large dainty
fingers tremblingly divide the wings
     of the fly for mid-July
with a needle and wrap it with peacock-tail,
or tie wool and
      buzzard's wing, their pride,
like the enchanter's
is in care, not madness. Concurring hands divide

flax for damask
      that when bleached by Irish weather
      has the silvered chamois-leather
water-tightness of a


lines from Spenser's Ireland by Marianne Moore

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Who said, "Peacock Pie"?
The old King to the sparrow:
Who said, "Crops are ripe"?
Rust to the harrow:
Who said, "Where sleeps she now?
Where rests she now her head,
Bathed in Eve's loveliness"? —
That's what I said.

Who said, "Ay, mum's the word"?

Sexton to willow:
Who said, "Green dusk for dreams,
Moss for a pillow"?
Who said, "All Time's delight
Hath she for narrow bed;
Life's troubled bubble broken"? —
That's what I said.


Walter de la Mare - 'The Song of the Mad Prince'

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HERE in a quiet and dusty room they lie,

Faded as crumbled stone and shifting sand,

Forlorn as ashes, shrivelled, scentless, dry -

Meadows and gardens running through my hand.


Dead that shall quicken at the voice of spring,

Sleepers to wake beneath June’s tempest kiss;

Though birds pass over, unremembering,

And no bee find here roses that were his.


In this brown husk a dale of hawthorn dreams;

A cedar in this narrow cell is thrust

That shall drink deeply at a century’s streams;

These lilies shall make summer on my dust.


Here in their safe and simple house of death,

Sealed in their shells, a million roses leap;

Here I can stir a garden with my breath,

And in my hand a forest lies asleep.



The Seed-Shop - Muriel Stuart


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On 14/06/2021 at 23:42, megustaleer said:

He hasn't posted since he gave his opinion on the decision to close BGO down. He is still logging on, so must know that we haven't, although I don't know if he is aware of tagesmann's last minute rescue bid. Not posting isn't going to help the rescue.

I'm still here, Meg and Heather! I've been rather busy of late...


They that have power to hurt and will do none,
That do not do the thing they most do show,
Who, moving others, are themselves as stone,
Unmoved, cold, and to temptation slow:
They rightly do inherit heaven's graces
And husband nature's riches from expense;
They are the lords and owners of their faces,
Others but stewards of their excellence.
The summer's flower is to the summer sweet
Though to itself it only live and die,
But if that flower with base infection meet,
The basest weed outbraves his dignity:
For sweetest things turn sourest by their deeds;
Lilies that fester smell far worse than weeds.
Shakespeare - Sonnet 94
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Good to hear from you, jfp.


I heard in Addison’s Walk a bird sing clear:
This year the summer will come true. This year. This year.


Winds will not strip the blossom from the apple trees
This year, nor want of rain destroy the peas.


This year time’s nature will no more defeat you,
Nor all the promised moments in their passing cheat you.


This time they will not lead you round and back
To Autumn, one year older, by the well-worn track.


This year, this year, as all these flowers foretell,
We shall escape the circle and undo the spell.


Often deceived, yet open once again your heart,
Quick, quick, quick, quick!—the gates are drawn apart.

C.S Lewis - 'What the Bird Said Early in the Year'

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