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Claire

Poetic Wanderings

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And even more...

 

I went out to the hazel wood,

Because a fire was in my head,

And cut and peeled a hazel wand,

And hooked a berry to a thread;

And when white moths were on the wing,

And moth-like stars were flickering out,

I dropped the berry in a stream

And caught a little silver trout.

 

When I had laid it on the floor

I went to blow the fire aflame,

But something rustled on the floor,

And some one called me by my name:

It had become a glimmering girl

With apple blossom in her hair

Who called me by my name and ran

And faded through the brightening air.

 

Though I am old with wandering

Through hollow lands and hilly lands,

I will find out where she has gone,

And kiss her lips and take her hands;

And walk among long dappled grass,

And pluck till time and times are done

The silver apples of the moon,

The golden apples of the sun.

 

W.B.Yeats - The Song of Wandering Aengus

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Oh, just another kind of out-door game,

One on a side. It comes to little more:

There where it is we do not need the wall:

He is all pine and I am apple orchard.

My apple trees will never get across

And eat the cones under his pines, I tell him.

He only says, 'Good fences make good neighbors'.

Spring is the mischief in me, and I wonder

If I could put a notion in his head:

'Why do they make good neighbors? Isn't it

Where there are cows?

But here there are no cows.

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Morning and evening

Maids heard the goblins cry:

"Come buy our orchard fruits,

Come buy, come buy:

Apples and quinces,

Lemons and oranges,

Plump unpecked cherries,

Melons and raspberries,

Bloom-down-cheeked peaches,

Swart-headed mulberries,

Wild free-born cranberries,

Crab-apples, dewberries,

Pine-apples, blackberries,

Apricots, strawberries; -

All ripe together

In summer weather, -

Morns that pass by,

Fair eves that fly;

Come buy, come buy:

Our grapes fresh from the vine,

Pomegranates full and fine,

Dates and sharp bullaces,

Rare pears and greengages,

Damsons and bilberries,

Taste them and try:

Currants and gooseberries,

Bright-fire-like barberries,

Figs to fill your mouth,

Citrons from the South,

Sweet to tongue and sound to eye;

Come buy, come buy."

 

From Goblin Market by Christina Rossetti

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(Had never come across that Rossetti poem before, Meg: it warmed a v. cold morning)

 

SEASON of mists and mellow fruitfulness,

Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;

Conspiring with him how to load and bless

With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eaves run;

To bend with apples the moss'd cottage-trees,

And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;

To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells

With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,

And still more, later flowers for the bees,

Until they think warm days will never cease;

For Summer has o'erbrimm'd their clammy cells.

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Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house

Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,

In hopes that St Nicholas soon would be there.

 

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,

While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads.

And mamma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,

Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap.

 

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,

I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.

Away to the window I flew like a flash,

Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

 

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow

Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below.

When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,

But a miniature sleigh, and eight tinny reindeer.

 

With a little old driver, so lively and quick,

I knew in a moment it must be St Nick.

More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,

And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name!

 

"Now Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!

On, Comet! On, Cupid! on, on Donner and Blitzen!

To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!

Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!"

 

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,

When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky.

So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,

With the sleigh full of Toys, and St Nicholas too.

 

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof

The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.

As I drew in my head, and was turning around,

Down the chimney St Nicholas came with a bound.

 

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,

And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot.

A bundle of Toys he had flung on his back,

And he looked like a peddler, just opening his pack.

 

His eyes-how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!

His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!

His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,

And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow.

 

The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,

And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath.

He had a broad face and a little round belly,

That shook when he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly!

 

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,

And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself!

A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,

Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.

 

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,

And filled all the stockings, then turned with a jerk.

And laying his finger aside of his nose,

And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose!

 

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,

And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.

But I heard him exclaim, ‘ere he drove out of sight,

"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!"

Merry Crimbo Everyone :banana::flowers::festive:

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(Had never come across that Rossetti poem before,
Here's a link to he full text. There's rather a lot of it!

 

*******************************

 

Everywhere, everywhere Christmas tonight

 

“Everywhere, everywhere, Christmas tonight.

Christmas in lands of fir trees and pine,

Christmas in lands of palm tree and vine,

Christmas where snow peaks stand solemn and white,

Christmas where cornfields lie sunny and bright,

Everywhere, everywhere, Christmas tonight.

Christmas where children are happy at play,

Christmas where old men are patient and gray,

Christmas where peace like a dove in its flight,

Broods over brave men in the midst of a fight,

Everywhere, everywhere Christmas tonight.

For the Christ child who comes is master of all,

No palace too great, no cottage too small,

Everywhere, everywhere Christmas tonight."

 

by Phillips Brooks (who also wrote "O Little Town Of Bethlehem")

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No rays from the holy heaven come down

On the long night-time of that town;

But light from out the lurid sea

Streams up the turrets silently—

Gleams up the pinnacles far and free—

Up domes—up spires—up kingly halls—

Up fanes—up Babylon-like walls—

Up shadowy long-forgotten bowers

Of sculptured ivy and stone flowers—

Up many and many a marvellous shrine

Whose wreathed friezes intertwine

The viol, the violet, and the vine.

 

Resignedly beneath the sky

The melancholy waters lie.

So blend the turrets and shadows there

That all seem pendulous in air,

While from a proud tower in the town

Death looks gigantically down.

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For grazing innocence a salad

Of lilies in the bud,

For those who dine on words a ballad,

For you and me a name of mud,

A rash of stars upon the sky,

A pox of flowers on the earth-

To such diseases of the eye

Habituated from our birth,

 

We had no time for make-believe

So early each began

To wear his liver on his sleeve,

To snarl, and be an angry man:

Far in the desert we have been

Where Nature, still to poets kind,

Admits no vegetable green

To soften the determined mind,

 

But with snarled gold and rumbled blue

Must disinfect the sight

Where once the tender maggots grew

Of faith and beauty and delight.

Each with a blister on his tongue,

Each with a crater in his tooth,

Our nerves are fire: we have been stung

By the tarantulas of truth.

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Turning and turning in the widening gyre

The falcon cannot hear the falconer;

Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;

Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,

The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere

The ceremony of innocence is drowned;

The best lack all conviction, while the worst

Are full of passionate intensity.

 

Surely some revelation is at hand;

Surely the Second Coming is at hand.

The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out

When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi

Troubles my sight: somewhere in the sands of the desert

A shape with lion body and the head of a man,

A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,

Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it

Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.

The darkness drops again; but now I know

That twenty centuries of stony sleep

Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,

And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,

Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

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You must not wonder though you think it strange

To see me hold my lowring head so low,

And that mine eyes take no delight to range

About the gleams which on your face do grow.

The mouse which once hath broken out of trap

Is seldom teased with the trustless bait,

But lies aloof for fear of more mishap,

And feedeth still in doubt of deep deceit.

The scorched fly which once hath 'scap'd the flame

Will hardly come to play again with fire.

Whereby I learn that grievous is the game

Which follows fancy dazzled by desire.

So that I wink or else hold down my head

Because your blazing eyes my bale have bred.

 

George Gascoigne [1525-77]

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Excellent Poem JFP

 

 

WHOEVER guesses, thinks, or dreams, he knows

Who is my mistress, wither by this curse ;

Him, only for his purse

May some dull whore to love dispose,

And then yield unto all that are his foes ;

May he be scorn'd by one, whom all else scorn,

Forswear to others, what to her he hath sworn,

With fear of missing, shame of getting, torn.

 

Madness his sorrow, gout his cramps, may he

Make, by but thinking who hath made him such ;

And may he feel no touch

Of conscience, but of fame, and be

Anguish'd, not that 'twas sin, but that 'twas she ;

Or may he for her virtue reverence

One that hates him only for impotence,

And equal traitors be she and his sense.

 

May he dream treason, and believe that he

Meant to perform it, and confesses, and die,

And no record tell why ;

His sons, which none of his may be,

Inherit nothing but his infamy ;

Or may he so long parasites have fed,

That he would fain be theirs whom he hath bred,

And at the last be circumcised for bread.

 

The venom of all stepdames, gamesters' gall,

What tyrants and their subjects interwish,

What plants, mine, beasts, fowl, fish,

Can contribute, all ill, which all

Prophets or poets spake, and all which shall

Be annex'd in schedules unto this by me,

Fall on that man ; For if it be a she

Nature beforehand hath out-cursèd me.

 

 

The Curse - John Donne

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Talking in bed ought to be easiest,

Lying together there goes back so far,

An emblem of two people being honest.

 

Yet more and more time passes silently.

Outside, the wind's incomplete unrest

Builds and disperses clouds about the sky,

 

And dark towns heap up on the horizon.

None of this cares for us. Nothing shows why

At this unique distance from isolation

 

It becomes still more difficult to find

Words at once true and kind,

Or not untrue and not unkind.

 

Philip Larkin - "Talking In Bed"

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Does it matter?-losing your legs?

For people will always be kind,

And you need not show that you mind

When others come in after hunting

To gobble their muffins and eggs.

Does it matter?-losing you sight?

There’s such splendid work for the blind;

And people will always be kind,

As you sit on the terrace remembering

And turning your face to the light.

Do they matter-those dreams in the pit?

You can drink and forget and be glad,

And people won't say that you’re mad;

For they know that you've fought for your country,

And no one will worry a bit.

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There are only two things now,

The great black night scooped out

And this fire-glow.

 

This fire-glow, the core,

And we the two ripe pips

That are held in store.

 

Listen, the darkness rings

As it circulates round our fire.

Take off your things.

 

Your shoulders, your bruised throat!

Your breasts, your nakedness!

This fiery coat!

 

As the darkness flickers and dips,

As the firelight falls and leaps

From your feet to your lips!

 

D.H.Lawrence - "New Year's Eve"

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The Passing of the Year

by Robert W. Service

 

My glass is filled, my pipe is lit,

My den is all a cosy glow;

And snug before the fire I sit,

And wait to feel the old year go.

I dedicate to solemn thought

Amid my too-unthinking days,

This sober moment, sadly fraught

With much of blame, with little praise.

 

Old Year! upon the Stage of Time

You stand to bow your last adieu;

A moment, and the prompter's chime

Will ring the curtain down on you.

Your mien is sad, your step is slow;

You falter as a Sage in pain;

Yet turn, Old Year, before you go,

And face your audience again.

 

That sphinx-like face, remote, austere,

Let us all read, whate'er the cost:

O Maiden! why that bitter tear?

Is it for dear one you have lost?

Is it for fond illusion gone?

For trusted lover proved untrue?

O sweet girl-face, so sad, so wan

What hath the Old Year meant to you?

 

And you, O neighbour on my right

So sleek, so prosperously clad!

What see you in that aged wight

That makes your smile so gay and glad?

What opportunity unmissed?

What golden gain, what pride of place?

What splendid hope? O Optimist!

What read you in that withered face?

 

And You, deep shrinking in the gloom,

What find you in that filmy gaze?

What menace of a tragic doom?

What dark, condemning yesterdays?

What urge to crime, what evil done?

What cold, confronting shape of fear?

O haggard, haunted, hidden One

What see you in the dying year?

 

And so from face to face I flit,

The countless eyes that stare and stare;

Some are with approbation lit,

And some are shadowed with despair.

Some show a smile and some a frown;

Some joy and hope, some pain and woe:

Enough! Oh, ring the curtain down!

Old weary year! it's time to go.

 

My pipe is out, my glass is dry;

My fire is almost ashes too;

But once again, before you go,

And I prepare to meet the New:

Old Year! a parting word that's true,

For we've been comrades, you and I --

I thank God for each day of you;

There! bless you now! Old Year, good-bye!

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Another full-orbed year hath waned to-day,

And set in the irrevocable past,

And headlong whirled long Time's winged blast

My fluttering rose of youth is borne away:

Ah rose once crimson with the blood of May,

A honeyed haunt where bees would break their fast,

I watch thy scattering petals flee aghast,

And all the flickering rose-lights turning grey.

 

Poor fool of life! plagued ever with thy vain

Regrets and futile longings! were the years

Not cups o'erbrimming still with gall and tears?

Let go thy puny personal joy and pain!

If youth with all its brief hope disappears,

To deathless hope we must be born again.

 

Mathilde Blind - "New Year's Eve"

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One night I dreamed I was locked in my father's watch

With Ptolemy and twenty-one ruby stars

Mounted on spheres and the Primum Mobile

Coiled and gleaming to the end of space

And the notched spheres eating each other's rinds

To the last tooth of time, and the case closed.

 

John Ciardi - My Father's Watch

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A Song for New Year's Eve

by William Cullen Bryant

 

Stay yet, my friends, a moment stay—

Stay till the good old year,

So long companion of our way,

Shakes hands, and leaves us here.

Oh stay, oh stay,

One little hour, and then away.

 

The year, whose hopes were high and strong,

Has now no hopes to wake;

Yet one hour more of jest and song

For his familiar sake.

Oh stay, oh stay,

One mirthful hour, and then away.

 

The kindly year, his liberal hands

Have lavished all his store.

And shall we turn from where he stands,

Because he gives no more?

Oh stay, oh stay,

One grateful hour, and then away.

 

Days brightly came and calmly went,

While yet he was our guest;

How cheerfully the week was spent!

How sweet the seventh day's rest!

Oh stay, oh stay,

One golden hour, and then away.

 

Dear friends were with us, some who sleep

Beneath the coffin-lid:

What pleasant memories we keep

Of all they said and did!

Oh stay, oh stay,

One tender hour, and then away.

 

Even while we sing, he smiles his last,

And leaves our sphere behind.

The good old year is with the past;

Oh be the new as kind!

Oh stay, oh stay,

One parting strain, and then away.

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I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year

'Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.'

 

And he replied,

'Go into the darkness and put your hand into the hand of God

That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way!'

 

So I went forth and finding the Hand of God

Trod gladly into the night

He led me towards the hills

And the breaking of day in the lone east.

 

So heart be still!

What need our human life to know

If God hath comprehension?

 

In all the dizzy strife of things

Both high and low,

God hideth his intention."

 

 

by Minnie Louise Harkins 1875-1957

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O, we loved long and happily, God knows!

The ocean danced, the green leaves tossed, the air

Was filled with petals, and pale Venus rose

When we began to kiss. Kisses brought care,

And closeness caused the taking off of clothes

O, we loved long and happily, God knows!

 

'The watchdogs are asleep, the doormen doze...'

We huddled in the corners of the stair,

And then we climbed it. What had we to lose?

What would we gain? the best way to compare

And quickest, was by taking off our clothes.

O, we loved long and happily, God knows!

 

Between us two a silent treason grows,

Our pleasures have been changed into despair.

Wild is the wind, from a cold country blows,

In which these tender blossoms disappear.

And did this come of taking off our clothes?

O, we loved long and happily, God knows!

 

Mistress, my song is drawing to a close.

Put on your rumpled skirt and comb your hair,

And when we meet again let us suppose

We never loved or ever naked were.

For though this nakedness was good, God knows,

The custom of the world is wearing clothes.

 

Louis Simpson - "The Custom of the World"

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O world invisible, we view thee,

O world intangible, we touch thee,

O world unknowable, we know thee,

Inapprehensible, we clutch thee!

 

Does the fish soar to find the ocean,

The eagle plunge to find the air—

That we ask of the stars in motion

If they have rumour of thee there?

 

Not where the wheeling systems darken,

And our benumbed conceiving soars!—

The drift of pinions, would we hearken,

Beats at our own clay-shuttered doors.

 

The angels keep their ancient places;—

Turn but a stone, and start a wing!

‘Tis ye, ‘tis your estrangèd faces,

That miss the many-splendoured thing.

 

But (when so sad thou canst not sadder)

Cry;—and upon thy so sore loss

Shall shine the traffic of Jacob’s ladder

Pitched betwixt Heaven and Charing Cross.

 

Yea, in the night, my Soul, my daughter,

Cry,—clinging Heaven by the hems;

And lo, Christ walking on the water

Not of Gennesareth, but Thames!

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If there were water we should stop and drink

Amongst the rock one cannot stop or think

Sweat is dry and feet are in the sand

If there were only water amongst the rock

Dead mountain mouth of carious teeth that cannot spit

Here one can neither stand nor lie nor sit

There is not even silence in the mountains

But dry sterile thunder without rain

There is not even solitude in the mountains

But red sullen faces sneer and snarl

From doors of mudcracked houses

 

From: T.S.Eliot - The Waste Land / V "What The Thunder Said"

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I met a traveller from an antique land

Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone

Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand,

Half sunk, a shatter'd visage lies, whose frown

And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command

Tell that its sculptor well those passions read

Which yet survive, stamp'd on these lifeless things,

The hand that mock'd them and the heart that fed.

And on the pedestal these words appear:

"My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:

Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!"

Nothing beside remains: round the decay

Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,

The lone and level sands stretch far away.

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She's all states, and all princes, I;

Nothing else is.

Princes do but play us; compared to this,

All honour's mimic, all wealth alchemy.

Thou, Sun, art half as happy as we,

In that the world's contracted thus;

Thine age asks ease, and since thy duties be

To warm the world, that's done in warming us.

Shine here, to us, and thou art everywhere;

This bed thy centre is, these walls, thy sphere.

 

From: John Donne - "The Sun Rising"

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Turning and turning in the widening gyre

The falcon cannot hear the falconer;

Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;

Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,

The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere

The ceremony of innocence is drowned;

The best lack all conviction, while the worst

Are full of passionate intensity.

 

Surely some revelation is at hand;

Surely the Second Coming is at hand.

The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out

When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi

Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert

A shape with lion body and the head of a man,

A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,

Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it

Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.

The darkness drops again; but now I know

That twenty centuries of stony sleep

Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,

And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,

Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

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