Thursday, 26 March 2015

poem for the day: by Mary Oliver

I thought the earth remembered me,
she took me back so tenderly,
arranging her dark skirts, her pockets
full of lichens and seeds.
I slept as never before, a stone on the river bed,
nothing between me and the white fire of the stars
but my thoughts, and they floated light as moths
among the branches of the perfect trees.
All night I heard the small kingdoms
breathing around me, the insects,
and the birds who do their work in the darkness.
All night I rose and fell, as if in water,
grappling with a luminous doom. By morning
I had vanished at least a dozen times
into something better.”

Friday, 13 March 2015

Poem for the day: Ode (We are the Music Makers) by Arthur William Edgar O'Shaughnessy

We are the music-makers,
And we are the dreamers of dreams,
Wandering by lone sea-breakers,
And sitting by desolate streams;
World-losers and world forsakers,
On whom the pale moon gleams;
Yet we are the movers and shakers
Of the world for ever, it seems.
With wonderful deathless ditties
We build up the world's great cities.
And out of a fabulous story
We fashion an empire's glory;
One man with a dream, at pleasure,
Shall go forth and conquer a crown;
And three with a new song's measure
Can trample an empire down.
We, in the ages lying
In the buried past of the earth,
Built Ninevah with our sighing,
And Babel itself with our mirth;
And o'erthrew them with prophesying
To the old of the new world's worth;
For each age is a dream that is dying,
Or one that is coming to birth.
He was born in London, and at the age of 19 started work in the British Museum, ending up in the zoological department, specialising in ichthyology.  This ode and other of his 'Victorian escapist verse' appeared in his book Music and Moonlight published in 1874.  He died of influenze in his 39th year.

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

poem for the day: by Axel Marazzi

i would like

poem for the day: To Daffodils by Robert Herrick

Fair daffodils, we weep to see
You haste away so soon:
As yet the early-rising sun
Has not attained his noon
Stay, stay,
Until the hasting day
Has run
But to the evensong:
And, having prayed together, we
Will go with you along.

We have short time to stay as you;
We have as short a spring;
As quick a growth to meet decay,
As you or anything.
We die,
As your hours do, and dry
Like to the summer's rain;
or as the pearls of morning's dew,
Ne'er to be found again.

Spring Sunshine & Daffodils


Wednesday, 4 March 2015

poem for the day: No, I'm Not Afraid by Irina Ratushinskaya

No, I'm not afraid:  after a year
Of breathing these prison nights
I will survive into the sadness
To name which is escape.
The cockerel will weep freedom for me
And here - knee-deep in more -
My gardens shed their water
And the northern air blows in draughts.
And how am I to carry to an alien planet
What are almost tears, as though towards home ...
It isn't true, I am afraid, my darling!
But make it look as though you haven't noticed.
On March 4th 1983, her 29th birthday, Irina was sentenced to seven years in the Soviet
'strict regime' labour camp at Barashevo where she was frequently beaten, starved, frozen, force-fed and kept in solitary confinement.  Her crime was the 'manufacture and dissemination' of her poetry, coupled with 'anti-Soviet agitation and propaganda'.  She was released from prison on October 9th 1986, and on December 18th 1986 she was allowed to leave the Soviet Union for Britain, accompanied by her husband, the human rights activist Igor Gerashchenko.

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

poem for the day: I would not be a bird by Frank Prewett

I would not be a bird
When wind is in the trees;
I would not be a starling
For all his melodies.

As I went past the orchard
The sun had almost set,
And all aloft the elm tree
A thousand starlings met.

Every tongue was dry,
They whistled kling and gee,
They looked up at the sky
And they looked down at me.

Now strong be starling heart
And ready every wing,
For dark night to shelter
Drives hedger, priest and king.

I would not be a starling,
I would not be a bird,
As they all rose together
And their wings drummed and whirred.

Monday, 2 March 2015

poem for the day: Accidents of Birth by William Meredith

Spared by a car - or airplane-crash or
cured of malignancy, people look
around with new eyes at a newly
praiseworthy world, blinking eyes like these.
For I've been brought back again from the
fine silt, the mud where our atoms lie
down for long naps.  And I've also been
pardoned miraculously for years
by the lava of chance which runs down
the world's gullies, silting us back.
Here I am, brought back, set up, not yet
happened away.
          But it's not this random
life only, throwing its sensual
astonishments upside down on
the bloody membranes behind my eyeballs,
not just me being here again, old
needer, looking for someone to need,
but you, up from the clay yourself,
as luck would have it, and inching
over the same little segment of earth-ball,
in the same little eon, to
meet in a room, alive in our skins,
and the whole galaxy gaping there
and the centuries whining like gnats -
you, to teach me to see it, to see
it with you, and to offer somebody
uncomprehending, impudent thanks.
Connecticut-based poet - two of whose key themes have been loneliness and the threat of death was born January 9th 1919.

Sunday, 1 March 2015

poem for the day: by Edward Lucie Smith

'Your father's gone,' my bald headmaster said.
His shiny dome and brown tobacco jar
Splintered at once in tears.  It wasn't grief.
I cried for knowledge which was bittered
Than any grief.  For there and then I knew
That grief has uses - that a father dead
Could bind the bully's fist a week or two;
And then I cried for shame, then for relief.

I was a month past ten when I learnt this:
I still remember how the noice was stilled
In school-assembly when my grief came in.
Some goldfish in a bowl quietly sculled
Around their shining prison on its shelf.
They were indifferent.  All other eyes
Were turned towards me.  Somewhere in myself
Pride, like a goldfish, flashed a sudden fin.

Edward Lucie-Smith comments:  "This is set in Jamaica, where I was brought up, during World War II.  I was at a boys' prep school, where I was badly bullied.  My father worked for the old colonial government, and died rather rapidly of lung cancer in 1943.  I never saw him during his illness, and was in fact only rather remotely aware that something was wrong.  In any case I had been largely brought up by servants before being sent to boarding school:  I wasn't close to my parents and today have very few memories of my father as a result.  The poem is essentially about the difference between what one is supposed to feel and what one actually does feel,  when faced with some sort of 'shaping' event.  I think I wrote the poem itself sometime in the 1950s, and it reflects my then interest in strict verse forms."