16 August 2017

A WESTERN VOYAGE

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My friend the Sun - like all my friends
    Inconstant, lovely, far away -
Is out, and bright, and condescends
    To glory in our holiday.

A furious march with him I'll go
    And race him in the Western train,
And wake the hills of long ago
    And swim the Devon sea again.

I have done foolishly to head
    The footway of the false moonbeams,
To light my lamp and call the dead
    And read their long black printed dreams.

I have done foolishly to dwell
    With Fear upon her desert isle,
To take my shadowgraph to Hell,
    And then to hope the shades would smile.

And since the light must fail me soon
    (But faster, faster, Western train!)
Proud meadows of the afternoon,
    I have remembered you again.

And I'll go seek through moor and dale
    A flower that wastrel winds caress;
The bud is red and the leaves pale,
    The name of it Forgetfulness.

Then like the old and happy hills
    With frozen veins and fires outrun,
I'll wait the day when darkness kills
    My brother and good friend, the Sun.

- James Elroy Flecker

14 August 2017

ST URSANNE

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 








Leaving the viaduct on the left, and coming over the hill,
We came to a small town, four towers at the corners,
The streets narrow and not dark,
The children playing in green gardens by the waterside.

Was it at the Swan or the White Horse that we stopped?
We walked up to the church and the stone cloister,
Grass growing among the tangle of votive ribbons,
The wax flowers and the twisted wire.

We heard the town-crier ringing a bell under the town clock -
Something about a wandering cow and a job for a waggoner,
Then we looked at the watermill by the stone bridge,
And went back for a Rossi or a Cinzano.

That was at Eastertide, and the fields and meadows
Mellow with cowslips:  there were boys on bicycles
With bandoliers of jonquils, and there was an old lady
With a basket of primroses and violets.

It was a quiet town, and not yet broken,
The people kindly, and the priest "a good one as priests go,"
There was a football team, and a lad who enters from the country in the
          morning,
Singing:  Ohé Oh, Ohé Oh!

- Michael Roberts 

12 August 2017

DE SOLE after Ficino


If once a year
the house of the dead
stood open
and those dwelling
under its roof
were shown the world's
great wonders, all
would marvel beyond every other thing at
the sun

- Charles Tomlinson

09 August 2017

RUMMAGE SALE
















Here are the dregs of bookshelves cast aside:
Book of the Month Club choices now refused.
The memoirs of some general swelled with pride,
Labour-intensive cookbooks still unused -

The castoffs of a season of demeaning,
Cleared from the house relentlessly as sweepers
Rout dust clouds in a merciless spring cleaning.
Book buyers these folks were, but not book keepers.

I wonder at this thick tome’s long regress,
Hacked out by one whose fame and sales were stellar,
Now cast down from the tower of success
To molder in a spiderwebbed best cellar.

X J Kennedy

07 August 2017

SMUGGLER















Watch him when he opens
his bulging words -
justice,
fraternity, freedom, internationalism, peace,
peace, peace.  Make it your custom
to pay no heed
to his frank look, his visas, his stamps
and signatures.  Make it
your duty to spread out their contents
in a clear light.

Nobody with such luggage
has nothing to declare.

- Norman MacCaig

04 August 2017

UNTITLED
















Were I a king, I could command content.
     Were I obscure, unknown should be my cares.
And were I dead, no thoughts should me torment,
     Nor words, nor wrongs, nor loves, nor hopes, nor fears.
A doubtful choice, of three things one to crave,
A kingdom, or a cottage, or a grave.

- Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford (1550-1604)

03 August 2017

A COOL RETREAT

















Boughs with apples laden around me whisper;
Cool the waters trickle among the branches;
And I listen dreamily, till a languor
                                          Stealeth upon me.

- Sappho (translated by Percy Osborn)