Monday, 31 December 2012

Day 192: New Year's Eve

Out with the old - in with the New! Happy New Year's Eve!

Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.

Ring Out, Wild Bells - Alfred Lord Tennyson

Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
   The flying cloud, the frosty light;
   The year is dying in the night;
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.

Ring out the old, ring in the new,
   Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
   The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.

Ring out the grief that saps the mind,
   For those that here we see no more,
   Ring out the feud of rich and poor,
Ring in redress to all mankind.

Ring out a slowly dying cause,
   And ancient forms of party strife;
   Ring in the nobler modes of life,
With sweeter manners, purer laws.

Ring out the want, the care, the sin,
   The faithless coldness of the times;
   Ring out, ring out my mournful rhymes,
But ring the fuller minstrel in.

Ring out false pride in place and blood,
   The civic slander and the spite;
   Ring in the love of truth and right,
Ring in the common love of good.

Ring out old shapes of foul disease,
   Ring out the narrowing lust of gold;
   Ring out the thousand wars of old,
Ring in the thousand years of peace.

Ring in the valiant man and free,
   The larger heart, the kindlier hand;
   Ring out the darkness off the land,
Ring in the Christ that is to be.

Sunday, 30 December 2012

Day 191: From Spiralling Ecstatically This

Only EE Cummings can configure words in such a way as to perfectly conjure the magic (and real meaning) of the season.

from spiralling ecstatically this
proud nowhere of earth’s most prodigious night
blossoms a newborn babe: around him, eyes
–gifted with every keener appetite
than mere unmiracle can quite appease–
humbly in their imagined bodies kneel
(over time space doom dream while floats the whole

perhapsless mystery of paradise)
mind without soul may blast some universe
to might have been, and stop ten thousand stars
but not one heartbeat of this child; nor shall
even prevail a million questionings against the silence of his mother’s 
smile- whose only secret all creation sings.

Saturday, 29 December 2012

Day 190: Magic Making

Does truth lie in magic? Maybe. And can stories be true? Of course.

Carol - Kit Wright

When Man Anthropomorphic
Gave all the creatures speech,
And Music-makers Orphic
Enchantment lent to each,
They made a game of magic
Within their children's reach.

It seemed the human thing to do:

They never thought that it was true.

And when the catastrophic
Obtruded on their days,
They shaped a philosophic
Account for their malaise:
They harmonised the tragic
In lots of different ways.

It seemed the human thing to do:

They never thought that it was true.

And when they sought exemption
From Death's unswerving law,
As agent of redemption
They laid a child in straw,
The son of their Oppressor,
To cherish and adore.

It seemed the human thing to do:

They never thought that it was true.

But when the world about them
Filled with such whopping lies
They could not fail to doubt them,
They found, to their surprise,
The tale of their Redresser,
They viewed with different eyes.

Compared to all the other stuff,

The tale was more than true enough.

Friday, 28 December 2012

Day 189: Grace

'But also for the good, true cold,
shocking us back to all our senses:'

Can grace be a 'broken-off star of ice in the hand' - beautiful, but freezing? And can grace come out of cold? Can December cold, the coldest of all, be a wild gift?

I hope so. 

Grace at Christmas - Jean Sprackland

Not only for the way the whisky
flames in the glass and thaws the blood;
not only for the rattle of hailstones
down the chimney and doused by fire;
not just for the way the brand-new ring,
slipped cool on a finger, flushes with life;
or the warmth of the bed, and the warmth of another,
when streetlamps are spinning snow outside.

But also for the good, true cold,
shocking us back to all our senses:
the broken-off star of ice in the hand,
the sting of the wind and the quickening heart.
For the splintering light, and the frost in our voices,
striking, and making the strung air ring;
December cold with its wilder gifts –
for when are we more alive than now?

Thursday, 27 December 2012

Day 188: Hark!

Now the other side of Christmas, the one we're all so familiar with - gluttony and greed and slovenly ways!

(This is maybe a little how I feel today...!)

But not to forget the ultimate buzzwords of the season: Peace and Goodwill, but here also - Share. There. Not just share your things, food, material items I'm sure, but your time, blessings, good cheer, feelings and of course, love.

Hark - John Agard

Drink up the mull till you're full
Don't mince on the pies
It's the season to gourmandize
Stock up on the stockings
Crack up with the crackers
The chimney looks the same
But Santa's gotten fatter
Time to be reckless
With the turkey in your trolley
Feel free to be legless
In front of the telly

Now with the innards fully filled
Spare a thought for tender words –
Peace. Share. Goodwill.

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Day 187: Journey of the Magi

This is one of my favourite Christmas poems, and one of the classic ones - The Journey of The Magi by TS Eliot.

The poem is from the point of  view of the three magi or kings who trekked to Bethlehem to see the new king of the world be born. And here we see their journey - all the perils and pitfalls of it - 'a hard time we had of it' - which we all can identify with, rough terrain and unpleasant soujouring and especially the critics, 'With the voices singing in our ears, saying/That this was all folly.'

But it's the last verse which catches the whole thought of the poem, the realisation that this 'Birth' was more like a 'Death' - a death to the old ways of the kings who were 'no longer at ease here, in the old dispensation,/With an alien people clutching their gods.' Something had changed. Something to be glad of. Something amazing.   

Journey of the Magi - TS Eliot

'A cold coming we had of it,
Just the worst time of the year
For a journey, and such a long journey:
The ways deep and the weather sharp,
The very dead of winter.'
And the camels galled, sore-footed, refractory,
Lying down in the melting snow.
There were times we regretted
The summer palaces on slopes, the terraces,
And the silken girls bringing sherbet.
Then the camel men cursing and grumbling
And running away, and wanting their liquor and women,
And the night-fires going out, and the lack of shelters,
And the cities hostile and the towns unfriendly
And the villages dirty and charging high prices:
A hard time we had of it.
At the end we preferred to travel all night,
Sleeping in snatches,
With the voices singing in our ears, saying
That this was all folly.

Than at dawn we came down to a temperate valley,
Wet, below the snow line, smelling of vegetation;
With a running stream and a water-mill beating the darkness,
And three trees on the low sky,
And an old white horse galloped away in the meadow.
Then we came to a tavern with vine-leaves over the lintel,
Six hands at an open door dicing for pieces of silver,
And feet kicking the empty wine-skins.
But there was no information, and so we continued
And arrived at evening, not a moment too soon
Finding the place; it was (you may say) satisfactory.

All this was a long time ago, I remember,
And I would do it again, but set down
This set down
This: were we led all that way for
Birth or Death? There was a Birth, certainly,
We had evidence and no doubt. I had seen birth and death,
But had thought they were different: this Birth was
Hard and bitter agony for us, like Death, our death.
We returned to our places, these Kingdoms,
But no longer at ease here, in the old dispensation,
With an alien people clutching their gods.
I should be glad of another death.

Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Day 186: BC:AD

Happy Christmas, and peace to all!

BC:AD - UA Fanthorpe

This was the moment when Before
Turned into After, and the future's
Uninvented timekeepers presented arms.

This was the moment when nothing
Happened. Only dull peace
Sprawled boringly over the earth.

This was the moment when even energetic Romans
Could find nothing better to do
Than counting heads in remote provinces.

And this was the moment
When a few farm workers and three
Members of an obscure Persian sect
Walked haphazard by starlight straight
Into the kingdom of heaven.

Monday, 24 December 2012

Day 185: 'Twas the Night Before Christmas

'For the best gift of all is to truly believe
in the wonderful nght that we call Christmas Eve...' 

Here's Carol Ann Duffy's take on 'Twas the Night Before Christmas' to revel in on this most magical night of the year.

Another Night Before Christmas - Carol Ann Duffy

On the night before Christmas, a child in a house,
as the whole family slept, behaved just like a mouse...
and crept on soft toes down red-carpeted stairs.
Her hand held the paw of her favourite bear.

The Christmas tree posed with its lights in its arms,
newly tinselled and baubled with glittering charms;
flirting in flickers of crimson and green
against the dull glass of the mute TV screen.

The hushed street was in darkness. Snow duveted the cars -
a stray cat had embroidered each roof with its paws.
An owl on an aerial had planets for eyes.
The child at the window stared up at the sky,

where two aeroplanes sped to the east and the west,
like a pulled Christmas cracker. The child held her breath
and looked for a sign up above, as the moon
shone down like a gold chocolate coin on the town.

Far beyond the quiet suburbs, the motorway droned
as it cradled the drivers who murmured at phones
and drove through the small hours, this late Christmas Eve,
the ones who were faithless, the ones who believed.

But the child who was up and long out of her bed
saw no visions of sugar plums dance in her head;
she planned to discover, for once and for all,
if Santa Claus (or Father Christmas) was real.

There were some who said no, he was really just Mum,
with big cushions or pillows to plump out her tum,
or Dad, with a red cloak and cotton-wool beard,
a whisky or three down his neck for Good Cheer.

So she took up position behind a big chair
that was close to the fireplace. Four stockings hung there.
Quite soon there'd be one tangerine in each toe
and she'd be the child who would see and would know.

And outside, a lone taxi crunched back into town,
where the shops had their shutters, like giant eyelids, down,
and people in blankets, with nowhere to go,
were hunched in shop doorways to keep from the snow;

Where a giant plastic Santa climbed up the Town Hall
and security guards dozed or smoked in the Mall.
The cashpoints glowed softly, like icons of light,
from corner to corner, on Christmas Eve night.

Then a shooting star whizzed down the sky from the North.
It was fizzing and sparkling as it fell to earth,
and growing in size. A young hare in a field
gazed up at the sky where it brightened and swelled.

It turned into a sleigh, made of silver and gold,
pulled by reindeer, whose breath chiffoned out in the cold,
with bells on their antlers and bells round each hoof.
Then - clatter! - they landed on you-know-who's roof.

Now, herself  near the fireplace had fallen asleep,
So she missed every word that a voice, warm and deep,
was saying above her, as each reindeer's name
was spoken, and flared in the night like a flame.

Dasher, whoa! Dancer, whoa! Prancer! Vixen! Well done!
Comet, whoa! Cupid, whoa! Donner! Blitzen! What fun!
The shadows of reindeer were patterns on snow
which gift-wrapped the garden, three storeys below.

It's a fact that a faraway satellite dish,
which observes us from space, cannot know what we wish.
Its eye's empty socket films famine and greed,
but cannot see Santa Claus on Christmas Eve.

He was dressed all in red, from his head to his toes,
also red was the Christmassy glow of his nose.
His beard was as white as the flakes that fell down
on rich and on poor in this ordinary town.

His eyes twinkled like tinsel and starlight and frost,
and they knew how to give without counting the cost.
He'd slung on his back a huge sackful of toys
to lug down the chimneys of good girls and boys.

Dasher snorted, and Blixen pawed hard at the roof -
they'd a long night before them, and that was the truth!
But Santa had vanished! A puff of black soot
burped out of the chimney, dislodged by his foot.

All this noise woke the child, who had fallen asleep,
so she popped up her head and made sure she could peep
(without being seen) at whoever it was
who stood in the fireplace. Big wow! Santa Claus!

Though she lived in an age where celebrity ruled
and when most of the people were easily fooled
by TV and fashion, by money and cars,
the little girl knew that here was a real STAR!

Then she watched as the room filled with magic and light
as the spirit of Christmas made everything bright
and suddenly presents were heaped by the tree -
but she didn't wonder, which ones are for me?

For the best gift of all is to truly believe
in the wonderful nght that we call Christmas Eve,
when adults remember, of all childhood's laws,
this time in December will bring Santa Claus.

Santa turned and winked at her, then disappeared,
with a laugh, up the chimney, with soot in his beard.
She ran to the window and watched as his sleigh
took off from her roof and he sped on his way.

And as long as she lived she would never forget
how he flew, as the moon showed him in silhouette,
from rooftop to rooftop and called from his flight

© Carol Ann Duffy Picador 2010

Sunday, 23 December 2012

Day 184: Is it True?

A classic offering today from John Betjeman, and a good poem to keep in mind while in the midst of embattled last-minute Christmas shopping and stressing, crowds and clutter and chaos!

For in the midst of all this trivial fretting - 'Those tissued fripperies/The sweet and silly Christmas things,' - lies the real message of Christmas says Betjeman - 'This most tremendous tale of all...The Maker of the stars and sea/Become a Child on earth for me?'  

The poem is marked by the repeated awed question of 'And is it true?' and the astounded realisation of 'For if it is...' none of these seasonal things - from shopping to carolling to even family love -  can possibly compare.

Christmas - John Betjeman

The bells of waiting Advent ring,
The Tortoise stove is lit again
And lamp-oil light across the night
Has caught the streaks of winter rain
In many a stained-glass window sheen
From Crimson Lake to Hookers Green.

The holly in the windy hedge
And round the Manor House the yew
Will soon be stripped to deck the ledge,
The altar, font and arch and pew,
So that the villagers can say
'The church looks nice' on Christmas Day.

Provincial Public Houses blaze,
Corporation tramcars clang,
On lighted tenements I gaze,
Where paper decorations hang,
And bunting in the red Town Hall
Says 'Merry Christmas to you all'.

And London shops on Christmas Eve
Are strung with silver bells and flowers
As hurrying clerks the City leave
To pigeon-haunted classic towers,
And marbled clouds go scudding by
The many-steepled London sky.

And girls in slacks remember Dad,
And oafish louts remember Mum,
And sleepless children's hearts are glad.
And Christmas-morning bells say 'Come!'
Even to shining ones who dwell
Safe in the Dorchester Hotel.

And is it true,
This most tremendous tale of all,
Seen in a stained-glass window's hue,
A Baby in an ox's stall?
The Maker of the stars and sea
Become a Child on earth for me?

And is it true? For if it is,
No loving fingers tying strings
Around those tissued fripperies,
The sweet and silly Christmas things,
Bath salts and inexpensive scent
And hideous tie so kindly meant,

No love that in a family dwells,
No carolling in frosty air,
Nor all the steeple-shaking bells
Can with this single Truth compare -
That God was man in Palestine
And lives today in Bread and Wine.

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Day 183: The Christmas Life

'Bring in the birth, of hope and love and light.'

Yes, that's what the Christmas tree and decorations are all about, exactly.

The Christmas Life - Wendy Cope 

"If you don't have a real tree you don't bring the Christmas life into the house." Josephine Mackinnon, aged 8

Bring in a tree, a young Norwegian spruce,
Bring hyacinths that rooted in the cold.
Bring winter jasmine as its buds unfold -
Bring the Christmas life into this house.

Bring red and green and gold, bring things that shine,
Bring candlesticks and music, food and wine.
Bring in your memories of Christmas past.
Bring in your tears for all that you have lost.

Bring in the shepherd boy, the ox and ass,
Bring in the stillness of an icy night,
Bring in the birth, of hope and love and light.
Bring the Christmas life into this house. 

Friday, 21 December 2012

Day 182: Winter Solstice

'In winter's house there's a child
asleep in a dream of light that grows out
of the dark,'

Today is the Winter Solstice, when the sun stands still before reversing direction, heralding a new season. The day when we welcome the returning of the light. 

The day 'where the darkness gives way to light', when we acknowledge that light can overcome any darkness. And the resulting feeling - hope - is the season's trademark characteristic. A pretty powerful talisman -   'a flame you can hold in your hand/like a flower or a torch on the street.'

In Winter's House - Jane Draycott

In winter's house there's a room
that's pale and still as mist in a field
while outside in the street every gate's shut firm,
every face as cold as steel.

In winter's house there's a bed
that is spread with frost and feathers, that gleams
in the half-light like rain in a disused yard
or a pearl in a choked-up stream.

In winter's house there's a child
asleep in a dream of light that grows out
of the dark, a flame you can hold in your hand
like a flower or a torch on the street.

In winter's house there's a tale
that's told of a great chandelier in a garden,
of fire that catches and travels for miles,
of all gates and windows wide open.

In winter's house there's a flame
being dreamt by a child in the night,
in the small quiet house at the turn in the lane
where the darkness gives way to light.

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Day 181: Mingle & Single!

Bah, humbug. But a grain of truth maybe...! Wendy Cope, at her most sardonic.

A Christmas Poem - Wendy Cope

At Christmas little children sing and merry bells jingle.
The cold winter air makes our hearts and faces tingle
And happy families go to church and cheerily they mingle
And the whole business is terribly dreadful, if you're single.

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Day 180: Mistletoe Bride

I came across this poem - a new Christmas offering from Carol Ann Duffy - the other day in The Times. The Mistletoe Bride is a sort of urban myth which tells the tragic story of a young bride who went missing while playing a traditional wedding game of hide and seek at her December wedding and was found years later, dead, trapped in an old trunk she had hid in, with a sprig of mistletoe in her hand.


Even though the story (and the poem) is haunting, I love the connotations of the last lines referring to the mistletoe: 'like love, patiently green'. Is love something which lasts forever, evergreen, never withering?  So patient, it will wait beyond death? (And I just can't help taking the moral of 'don't hide from love' from the story! Not to mention playing games...)

The Mistletoe Bride - Carol Ann Duffy

The December bride who, bored with dancing, skipped from the castle hall to play hide-and-seek, a white bird flickering into the dark...

The groom, who searched each room, calling her name; then the bridal guests, flame-lit, checking the grounds...

The fifty Christmases till a carpenter jemmied an old oak chest; the skeleton with its unstrung pearls, loose emeralds, its rings of diamond, sapphire, gold...

The running feet, the shouting for others to see what he’d seen; mistletoe in the loose bones of a hand...

like love, patiently green.

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Day 179: Christmas Cards

How silly to get caught up in all the fuss and stress of buying Christmas gifts and to buy into all the panic and hurry. How can we separate ourselves from all this trivial hustle and bustle? 

By remembering that what it all comes down to of course, is love (shown here in this poem by the meticulous attention to sending Christmas cards). And as long as that's in the equation, it'll all work out fine.

Christmas Envelopes - UA Fanthorpe

Monks are at it again, quaffing, carousing;
And stage-coaches, cantering straight out of Merrie England,
In a flurry of whips and fetlocks, sacks and Santas.

Raphael has been roped in, and Botticelli;
Experts predict a vintage year for Virgins.

From the theologically challenged, Richmond Bridge,
Giverny, a lugger by moonlight, doves.  Ours

Costs less than these in money, more in time;
Like them, is hopelessly irrelevant
But brings, like them, the essential message


Monday, 17 December 2012

Day 178: O Christmas Tree

Ok, it's Christmas poems from here on in everyone!  

To start with, EE Cumming's take on the Christmas tree.  Time to take the 'spangles' out, that 'sleep all the year in a dark box dreaming of being taken out and allowed to shine '- who doesn't dream of this?? (This poem is not just about a Christmas tree you know!)
I especially love the line: 'and there won't be a single place dark or unhappy.'  Yes.

little tree - ee cummings

little tree

little silent Christmas tree

you are so little

you are more like a flower

who found you in the green forest

and were you very sorry to come away?

see          i will comfort you

because you smell so sweetly

i will kiss your cool bark

and hug you safe and tight

just as your mother would,

only don't be afraid

look          the spangles

that sleep all the year in a dark box

dreaming of being taken out and allowed to shine,

the balls the chains red and gold the fluffy threads,

put up your little arms

and i'll give them all to you to hold

every finger shall have its ring

and there won't be a single place dark or unhappy

then when you're quite dressed

you'll stand in the window for everyone to see

and how they'll stare!

oh but you'll be very proud

and my little sister and i will take hands

and looking up at our beautiful tree

we'll dance and sing

"Noel Noel" 

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Day 177: Christmas Spirit

Don't you just hate Christmas grumps? Bah-humbugers? I understand that Christmas may not be a happy time for many for whatever reason, but that's no reason to shut yourself off from it, for 'if you lose Christmas when troubles befall,/You never have really had Christmas at all.'  

How true. Because what is Christmas if not love, an open heart, and the welcoming back of the light, into every situation, no matter how dark?

We Won't Have Christmas This Year - Verna S. Teeuwissen

We won't have a Christmas this year, you say
For now the children have all gone away;
And the house is so lonely, so quiet and so bare
We couldn't have a Christmas that they didn't share.

We won't have a Christmas this year, you sigh,
For Christmas means things that money must buy.
Misfortunes and illness have robbed us we fear
Of the things that we'd need to make Christmas this year.

We won't have a Christmas this year you weep,
For a loved one is gone, and our grief is too deep;
It will be a long time before our hearts heal,
And the spirit of Christmas again we can feel.

But if you lose Christmas when troubles befall,
You never have really had Christmas at all.
For once you have had it, it cannot depart
When you learn that true Christmas is Christ in your heart.

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Day 176: Leaps

Here's a most marvellous meditation on taking chances. Leaps of faith. Belief. How wonderful it feels to do so. And how the whole world (as well as the heart) can open up in response to one chance taken, one risk, one wildcard dream.

The Proposals (excerpt) - Billy Merrell

(NOTE ON THE LEAP: How rough and worn the weight
of flight - the soul, when gathered, forms its own
twinned claw and wing, each severed arc, the nape -
all grown inside the body, left. Alone with loss, life
rises: emblazoned air, trembling star of made
faith. The fall that forms in the gut blooms in the
arms before the mind, remembering how dangerous
and hard the world is when shut, opens its doors
so air can cool what light arrives. The chest
unhinges, strong from panic, and the loch that
is the heart begins to fit. The wind grows
sturdier, its skin gigantic. The room that was
the source becomes the field, opening out,
the stage a hoard revealed.)

Taken from the novel, The Lover's Dictionary by David Levithan

Friday, 14 December 2012

Day 175: Rainy Day Reaction


Ah, a furiously rainy day outside today. The kind that makes indoors the only option. The kind that makes you want to stay in bed all day with a book. And forget the world. And contemplate life exactly like Raymond Carver here. 

Rain - Raymond Carver

Woke up this morning with
a terrific urge to lie in bed all day
and read. Fought against it for a minute.

Then looked out the window at the rain.
And gave over. Put myself entirely
in the keep of this rainy morning.

Would I live my life over again?
Make the same unforgiveable mistakes?
Yes, given half a chance. Yes.

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Day 174: Joy

I imagine if you read a Mary Oliver poem a day, you would be infinitely happy and contented in this world.

For she knows what matters. And how to say it. There is a shining truth in her poems that once realised, transforms your view of the world.

Don't Hesitate - Mary Oliver

If you suddenly and unexpectedly feel joy,
don’t hesitate. Give in to it. There are plenty
of lives and whole towns destroyed or about
to be. We are not wise, and not very often
kind. And much can never be redeemed.
Still, life has some possibility left. Perhaps this
is its way of fighting back, that sometimes
something happens better than all the riches
or power in the world. It could be anything,
but very likely you notice it in the instant
when love begins. Anyway, that's often the
case. Anyway, whatever it is, don't be afraid
of its plenty. Joy is not made to be a crumb.

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Day 173: Various Portents

It's the time of year when anticipation and expectation reign high: from people returning home for Christmas to declarations and confirmations of love, giving of gifts, spontaneous surprises, to snow and the season's most potent characteristic - magic - in whatever guise or form it may come.

Various people, various things, various magic. I love how this poem captures all of this. 

Various Portents  - Alice Oswald

Various stars. Various kings.
Various sunsets, signs, cursory insights.

Many minute attentions, many knowledgeable watchers,
Much cold, much overbearing darkness.

Various long midwinter Glooms.
Various Solitary and Terrible stars.
Many Frosty Nights, many previously Unseen Sky-flowers.
Many people setting out (some of them kings) all clutching at stars.

More than one North star, more than one South star.
Several billion elliptical galaxies, bubble nebulae, binary systems.
Various dust lanes, various routes through varying thickness of Dark,
Many tunnels into deep space, minds going back and forth.

Many visions, many digitally enhanced heavens,
All kinds of glistenings being gathered into telescopes:
Fireworks, gasworks, white-streaked works of Dusk,
Works of wonder and or water, snowflakes, stars of frost …

Various dazed astronomers dilating their eyes,
Various astronauts setting out into laughterless earthlessness,
Various 5,000-year-old moon maps,
Various blindmen feeling across the heavens in Braille.

Various gods making beautiful works in bronze,
Brooches, crowns, triangles, cups and chains,
Various crucifixes, all sorts of nightsky necklaces.
Many Wise Men remarking the irregular weather.

Many exile energies, many low-voiced followers,
Watchers of whisps of various glowing spindles,
Soothsayers, hunters in the High Country of the Zodiac,
Seafarers tossing, tied to a star…

Various people coming home (some of them kings). Various headlights.

Two or three children standing or sitting on the low wall.
Various winds, the Sea Wind, the sound-laden Winds of Evening
Blowing the stars towards them, bringing snow.

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Day 172: A Slash of Blue

Winter skies are very colourful, with a 'slash' of every colour really, sunrise and sunset (and in-between). 

Maybe this is the best poem describing both sunrises and sunsets, their contrast and colours.

A slash of Blue - Emily Dickinson

A slash of Blue -
A sweep of Gray -
Some scarlet patches on the way,
Compose an Evening Sky -
A little purple - slipped between -
Some Ruby Trousers hurried on -
A Wave of Gold -
A Bank of Day -
This just makes out the Morning Sky.

Monday, 10 December 2012

Day 171: Being

And this is what poetry does best: explains somewhat to us the great (starry) mystery of being.

Being - Don Paterson

Silent comrade of the distances,
Know that space dilates with your own breath;
ring out, as a bell into the Earth
from the dark rafters of its own high place-

then watch what feeds on you grow strong again.
learn the transformations through and through:
what in your life has most tormented you?
If the water's sour, turn it into wine.

Our senses cannot fathom this night, so
Be the meaning of their strange encounter;
at their crossing, be the radiant centre.

And should the world itself forget your name
Say this to the still earth: I flow.
Say this to the quick stream: I am.