Tuesday, 26 September 2017

“Portent” was published in The Tempers (Elkin Mathews, 1913).

Red cradle of the night,
     In you
           The dusky child
Sleeps fast till his might
   Shall be piled
Sinew on sinew.
 
Red cradle of the night,
    The dusky child
Sleeping sits upright.
    Lo how
                    The winds blow now!
    He pillows back;
The winds are again mild.
 
When he stretches his arms out,
Red cradle of the night,
    The alarms shout
From bare tree to tree,
    Wild
              In afright!
Mighty shall he be,
Red cradle of the night,
    The dusky child!!
 

Sunday, 17 September 2017

The Expiration, by John Donne

So, so, break off this last lamenting kiss,
    Which sucks two souls, and vapours both away;
Turn, thou ghost, that way, and let me turn this,
    And let ourselves benight our happiest day.
We ask none leave to love; nor will we owe
    Any so cheap a death as saying, “Go.”
Go; and if that word have not quite killed thee,
    Ease me with death, by bidding me go too.
Or, if it have, let my word work on me,
    And a just office on a murderer do.
Except it be too late, to kill me so,
    Being double dead, going, and bidding, “Go.”

Sunday, 3 September 2017

Epilogue, by Robert Browning

At the midnight in the silence of the sleep-time,
   When you set your fancies free,
Will they pass to where—by death, fools think, imprisoned—
Low he lies who once so loved you, whom you loved so,
—Pity me?

Oh to love so, be so loved, yet so mistaken!
   What had I on earth to do
With the slothful, with the mawkish, the unmanly?
Like the aimless, helpless, hopeless, did I drivel
—Being—who?

One who never turned his back but marched breast forward,
   Never doubted clouds would break,
Never dreamed, though right were worsted, wrong would triumph,
Held we fall to rise, are baffled to fight better,
Sleep to wake.

No, at noonday in the bustle of man’s work-time
   Greet the unseen with a cheer!
Bid him forward, breast and back as either should be,
“Strive and thrive!” cry “Speed,—fight on, fare ever
There as here!”

Sunday, 23 July 2017

The Voice of Things, by Thomas Hardy

Forty years—aye, and several more—ago,
      When I paced the headlands loosed from dull employ,
The waves huzza’d like a multitude below, 
      In the sway of an all-including joy
              Without cloy.

Blankly I walked there a double decade after,
      When thwarts had flung their toils in front of me,
And I heard the waters wagging in a long ironic laughter
      At the lot of men, and all the vapoury
              Things that be.

Wheeling change has set me again standing where
      Once I heard the waves huzza at Lammas-tide;
But they supplicate now—like a congregation there
      Who murmur the Confession—I outside,
              Prayer denied.

Friday, 21 July 2017

Study, by D. H. Lawrence

Somewhere the long mellow note of the blackbird
Quickens the unclasping hands of hazel,
Somewhere the wind-flowers fling their heads back,
Stirred by an impetuous wind. Some ways’ll
All be sweet with white and blue violet.
    (Hush now, hush. Where am I?—Biuret—)

On the green wood’s edge a shy girl hovers
From out of the hazel-screen on to the grass,
Where wheeling and screaming the petulant plovers
Wave frighted. Who comes? A labourer, alas!
Oh the sunset swims in her eyes’ swift pool.
    (Work, work, you fool—!)

Somewhere the lamp hanging low from the ceiling
Lights the soft hair of a girl as she reads,
And the red firelight steadily wheeling
Weaves the hard hands of my friend in sleep.
And the white dog snuffs the warmth, appealing
For the man to heed lest the girl shall weep.

(Tears and dreams for them; for me
Bitter science—the exams. are near.
I wish I bore it more patiently.
I wish you did not wait, my dear,
For me to come: since work I must:
Though it
s all the same when we are dead.—
I wish I was only a bust,
      All head.)

In the Desert, by Stephen Crane

In the desert
I saw a creature, naked, bestial,
Who, squatting upon the ground,
Held his heart in his hands,
And ate of it.
I said, “Is it good, friend?”
“It is bitter—bitter,” he answered;

“But I like it
“Because it is bitter,
“And because it is my heart.”

Sonnet V, by Elizabeth Barrett Browning

I lift my heavy heart up solemnly,
As once Electra her sepulchral urn,
And, looking in thine eyes, I overturn
The ashes at thy feet. Behold and see
What a great heap of grief lay hid in me,
And how the red wild sparkles dimly burn
Through the ashen greyness. If thy foot in scorn
Could tread them out to darkness utterly,
It might be well perhaps. But if instead
Thou wait beside me for the wind to blow
The grey dust up….—those laurels on thine head
O my belovèd, will not shield thee so.
That none of all the fires shall scorch and shred
The hair beneath. Stand further off then! go.

Sunday, 25 June 2017

Song, by TS Eliot

If space and time, as sages say,
    Are things which cannot be,
The fly that lives a single day
    Has lived as long as we.
But let us live while yet we may,
    While love and life are free,
For time is time, and runs away,
    Though sages disagree.

The flowers I sent thee when the dew
    Was trembling on the vine,
Were withered ere the wild bee flew
    To suck the eglantine.
But let us haste to pluck anew
    Nor mourn to see them pine,
And though the flowers of love be few
    Yet let them be divine.

Sunday, 28 May 2017

SUMMER SILENCE by e. e. cummings

Eruptive lightnings flutter to and fro
Above the heights of immemorial hills;
Thirst-stricken air, dumb-throated, in its woe
Limply down-sagging, its limp body spills
Upon the earth. A panting silence fills
The empty vault of Night with shimmering bars
Of sullen silver, where the lake distils
Its misered bounty.—Hark! No whisper mars
The utter silence of the untranslated stars.

Sunday, 23 April 2017

Sonnet VI, by Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Go from me. Yet I feel that I shall stand
Henceforward in thy shadow. Nevermore
Alone upon the threshold of my door
Of individual life, I shall command
The uses of my soul, nor lift my hand
Serenely in the sunshine as before,
Without the sense of that which I forbore—
Thy touch upon the palm. The widest land
Doom takes to part us, leaves thy heart in mine
With pulses that beat double. What I do
And what I dream include thee, as the wine
Must taste of its own grapes. And when I sue
God for myself, He hears that name of thine,
And sees within my eyes the tears of two.