Friday, 28 February 2014

Day 588: Love & Poetry Habits


Habits - Nikki Giovanni 

i haven’t written a poem in so long
i may have forgotten how
unless writing a poem
is like riding a bike
or swimming upstream
or loving you
it may be a habit that once acquired
is never lost
but you say i’m foolish
of course you love me
but being loved of course
is not the same as being loved because
or being loved despite
or being loved

if you love me why
do i feel so lonely
and why do i always wake up alone
and why am i practicing
not having you to love
i never loved you that way

Thursday, 27 February 2014

Day 587: One Flower in the Wind

One Flower - Jack Kerouac

One flower
   on the cliffside
nodding at the canyon

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Day 585: What's It All About?

Why are we here? What is the purpose of the universe? What's it all about?

This poem doesn't answer these questions, but poses them in an unique way.  The structure compliments the subject-matter brilliantly -  a haphazard spacing where questions float leading to a spotlight of unanswered uncertainty. 

The UniverseMay Swenson

                            is it about,
            the universe,
            the universe about us stretching out?
    We, within our brains,
             within it,
  we must unspin
the laws that spin it.
                            We think why
                because we think
                Because we think,
                              we think
                              the universe about us.
                But does it think,
                            the universe?
                                Then what about?
                                                About us?
                                           If not,
must there be cause
                            in the universe?
Must it have laws?
                                        And what
                                    if the universe
                                                    is not about us?
                                        Then what?
                                                           is it about?
                                        And what
                                                                about us?

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Day 584: May My Heart Always Be Open

Never overlook the little things.  Keep your heart open. Smile.

may my heart always be open to little birds - ee cummings

may my heart always be open to little
birds who are the secrets of living
whatever they sing is better than to know
and if men should not hear them men are old

may my mind stroll about hungry
and fearless and thirsty and supple
and even if it’s sunday may i be wrong
for whenever men are right they are not young

and may myself do nothing usefully
and love yourself so more than truly
there’s never been quite such a fool who could fail
pulling all the sky over him with one smile

Monday, 24 February 2014

Day 583: Lighthouse

Introducing this year's winner of the prestigious TS Eliot prize for poetry - from Belfast - Sinéad Morrissey:


Lighthouse - Sinéad Morrissey


My son’s awake at ten, stretched out along
his bunk beneath the ceiling, wired and watchful.
The end of August. Already the high-flung
daylight sky of our Northern solstice dulls
earlier and earlier to a clouded bowl;
his Star of David lamp and plastic moon
have turned the dusk to dark outside his room.

Across the Lough, where ferries venture blithely
and once a cruise ship, massive as a palace,
inched its brilliant decks to open sea—
a lighthouse starts its own nightlong address
in fractured signalling; it blinks and bats
the swingball of its beam, then stands to catch,
Then hurls it out again beyond its parallax.

He counts each creamy loop inside his head,
each well-black interval, and thinks it just for him—
this gesture from a world that can’t be entered:
the two of them partly curtained, partly seen,
upheld in a sort of boy-talk conversation
no one else can hear. That private place, it answers,
with birds and slatted windows—I’ve been there.

Sunday, 23 February 2014

Day 582: Wind of Change

The Wind Blows Through The Doors Of My Heart - Deborah Digges

The wind blows
through the doors of my heart.
It scatters my sheet music
that climbs like waves from the piano, free of the keys.
Now the notes stripped, black butterflies,
flattened against the screens.
The wind through my heart
blows all my candles out.
In my heart and its rooms is dark and windy.
From the mantle smashes birds' nests, teacups
full of stars as the wind winds round,
a mist of sorts that rises and bends and blows
or is blown through the rooms of my heart
that shatters the windows,
rakes the bedsheets as though someone
had just made love. And my dresses
they are lifted like brides come to rest
on the bedstead, crucifixes,
dresses tangled in trees in the rooms
of my heart. To save them
I've thrown flowers to fields,
so that someone would pick them up
and know where they came from.
Come the bees now clinging to flowered curtains.
Off with the clothesline pinning anything, my mother's trousseau.
It is not for me to say what is this wind
or how it came to blow through the rooms of my heart.
Wing after wing, through the rooms of the dead
the wind does not blow. Nor the basement, no wheezing,
no wind choking the cobwebs in our hair.
It is cool here, quiet, a quilt spread on soil.
But we will never lie down again.

Saturday, 22 February 2014

Day 581: At Night


A lovely sentiment, said in a lovely way: Sara Teasdale -

At Night - Sara Teasdale 

Love said, "Wake still and think of me,"
Sleep, "Close your eyes till break of day,"
But Dreams came by and smilingly
Gave both to Love and Sleep their way. 

Friday, 21 February 2014

Day 580: The More Loving One


Since today is WH Auden's birthday, I feel duty-bound to post a poem of his, occupying as he does, such a high ranking in the canon of contemporary poetry. 

In this poem,  'The More Loving One', there is Auden's characteristic wise and authoritative voice and his high moral reckoning: to do what is right, to love, even if you're not loved in return, and to love this universe, even though it may not seem so loving.

The More Loving One - WH Auden

Looking up at the stars, I know quite well
That, for all they care, I can go to hell,
But on earth indifference is the least
We have to dread from man or beast.

How should we like it were stars to burn
With a passion for us we could not return?
If equal affection cannot be,
Let the more loving one be me.

Admirer as I think I am
Of stars that do not give a damn,
I cannot, now I see them, say
I missed one terribly all day.

Were all stars to disappear or die,
I should learn to look at an empty sky
And feel its total dark sublime,
Though this might take me a little time.

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Day 579: White Egrets


Here's Mary Oliver to lighten your heart. 

Egrets- Mary Oliver

Where the path closed
down and over,
through the scumbled leaves,
fallen branches,
through the knotted catbrier,
I kept going. Finally
I could not
save my arms
from thorns; soon
the mosquitoes
smelled me, hot
and wounded, and came
wheeling and whining.
And that’s how I came
to the edge of the pond:
black and empty
except for a spindle
of bleached reeds
at the far shore
which, as I looked,
wrinkled suddenly
into three egrets –
a shower
of white fire!
Even half-asleep they had
such faith in the world
that had made them –
tilting through the water,
unruffled, sure,
by the laws
of their faith not logic,
they opened their wings
softly and stepped
over every dark thing.

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Day 578: Birdsong


Although we haven't been having any spring weather recently, it is the mating season for birds. And their singing and chirping season. Have you heard them? The uplifting soundtrack of spring.

Birdsong for Two Voices - Alice Oswald

A spiral ascending the morning,
climbing by means of a song into the sun,
to be sung reciprocally by two birds at intervals
in the same tree but not quite in time.

A song that assembles the earth
out of nine notes and silence.
out of the unformed gloom before dawn
where every tree is a problem to be solved by birdsong.

Crex Crex Corcorovado,
letting their pieces fall where they may,
every dawn divides into the distinct
misgiving between alternate voices

sung repeatedly by two birds at intervals
out of nine notes and silence.
while the sun, with its fingers to the earth,
as the sun proceeds so it gathers instruments:

it gathers the yard with its echoes and scaffolding sounds,
it gathers the swerving away sound of the road,
it gathers the river shivering in a wet field,
it gathers the three small bones in the dark of the eardrum;

it gathers the big bass silence of clouds
and the mind whispering in its shell
and all trees, with their ears to the air,
seeking a steady state and singing it over till it settles.

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Day 577: After Years


Ted Kooser, America's Poet Laureate from a few years ago, is fast becoming one of my favourite poets. His poems are unexpected dramas, his language easy and endearing, his themes ordinary, but expressed in an extraordinary way.

I love this one especially.

After Years- Ted Kooser

Today, from a distance, I saw you
walking away, and without a sound
the glittering face of a glacier
slid into the sea. An ancient oak
fell in the Cumberlands, holding only
a handful of leaves, and an old woman
scattering corn to her chickens looked up
for an instant. At the other side
of the galaxy, a star thirty-five times
the size of our own sun exploded
and vanished, leaving a small green spot
on the astronomer’s retina
as he stood on the great open dome
of my heart with no one to tell.

Monday, 17 February 2014

Day 576: Against Battening Down


Ha, brilliant as always, Billy Collins.  A suitable anti-dote to the weather conditions, but oh so much more as well.   


For Bartleby The Scrivener - Billy Collins

"Every time we get a big gale around here 
some people just refuse to batten down." 

 we estimate that 

ice skating into a sixty mile 
an hour wind, fully exerting 
the legs and swinging arms 

you will be pushed backward 
an inch every twenty minutes. 

in a few days, depending on 
the size of the lake, the backs 
of your skates 
will touch land. 

you will then fall on your ass 
and be blown into the forest. 

if you gather enough speed 
by flapping your arms 
and keeping your skates pointed 

you will catch up to other 
flying people who refused to batten down. 
you will exchange knowing waves 
as you ride the great wind north.


Sunday, 16 February 2014

Day 575: Evening

Evening - Rilke

The sky puts on the darkening blue coat
held for it by a row of ancient trees;
you watch: and the lands grow distant in your sight,
one journeying to heaven, one that falls;

and leave you, not at home in either one,
not quite so still and dark as the darkened houses,
not calling to eternity with the passion of what becomes
a star each night, and rises;

and leave you (inexpressibly to unravel)
your life, with its immensity and fear,
so that, now bounded, now immeasurable,
it is alternately stone in you and star.

Saturday, 15 February 2014

Day 574: Insomniac

There's a full moon tonight, have you seen it? Well actually, it was at its apex last night, February's snow moon. 

On the surface this poem is about the moon, and such beautiful descriptions, but really, it's a subtle love poem. Look how the mention of it comes in at the very last line, the last few words - like this is what has been on her mind the whole time, ebbing away underneath the conscious, always what everything comes down to.

Insomnia - Elizabeth Bishop

The moon in the bureau mirror
looks out a million miles
(and perhaps with pride, at herself,
but she never, never smiles)
far and away beyond sleep, or
perhaps she's a daytime sleeper.

By the Universe deserted,
she'd tell it to go to hell,
and she'd find a body of water,
or a mirror, on which to dwell.
So wrap up care in a cobweb
and drop it down the well

into that world inverted
where left is always right,
where the shadows are really the body,
where we stay awake all night,
where the heavens are shallow as the sea
is now deep, and you love me. 

Friday, 14 February 2014

Day 573: The Love Poem

When I started posting love themed poems this week, I kept thinking what I would post today on Valentine's. What would be the ultimate love poem? 

Last year the day's post was Carol Ann Duffy's witty 'Valentine', a poem in which she talks about giving her lover an onion as a gift. (Intriguing yes, you can read it here )

This year, it has to be Carol Ann Duffy again, this time with a poem from her collection 'Rapture'. 'The Love Poem' I think, is the ultimate in love poems. Its content is composed of references from all the popular love poems throughout the centuries, lines from the likes of Shakespeare, Donne, and Wordsworth mixed in to the poet's own text. See if you can spot them all!

Happy Valentine's!

The Love Poem - Carol Ann Duffy

Till love exhausts itself, longs
for the sleep of words - 
                                          my mistress' eyes - 
to lie on a white sheet, at rest
in the language - 
                             let me count the ways - 
or shrink to a phrase like an epitaph - 
                                                                come live
with me - 
or fall from its own high cloud as syllables
in a pool of verse - 
                                    one hour with thee. 

Till love gives in and speaks
in the whisper of art - 
                                        dear heart,
how like you this? - 
love's lips pursed to quotation marks
kissing a line - 
                             look in thy heart
and write - 
love's light fading, darkening, 
black as ink on a page - 
                                           there is a garden
in her face.

Till love is all in the mind - 
                                                 O my America!
my new-found land - 
or all in the pen
in the writer's hand - 
                                      behold, thou art fair - 
not there, except in a poem,
known by heart like a prayer,
both near and far,
near and far - 
                           the desire of the moth
for the star.

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Day 572: Lost Love

I posted this poem before, but it's so good, I'll do it again now for those of you who haven't read it.

We all have that One Who Got Away, don't we? Here's a beautiful ode/lament to what could have been, by Simon Armitage. 

To His Lost Lover - Simon Armitage

Now they are no longer
any trouble to each other

he can turn things over, get down to that list
of things that never happened, all of the lost

unfinishable business.
For instance… for instance,

how he never clipped and kept her hair, or drew a hairbrush
through that style of hers, and never knew how not to blush

at the fall of her name in close company.
How they never slept like buried cutlery –

two spoons or forks cupped perfectly together,
or made the most of some heavy weather –

walked out into hard rain under sheet lightning,
or did the gears while the other was driving.

How he never raised his fingertips
to stop the segments of her lips

from breaking the news,
or tasted the fruit

or picked for himself the pear of her heart,
or lifted her hand to where his own heart

was a small, dark, terrified bird
in her grip. Where it hurt.

Or said the right thing,
or put it in writing.

And never fled the black mile back to his house
before midnight, or coaxed another button of her blouse,

then another,
or knew her

favourite colour,
her taste, her flavour,

and never ran a bath or held a towel for her,
or soft-soaped her, or whipped her hair

into an ice-cream cornet or a beehive
of lather, or acted out of turn, or misbehaved

when he might have, or worked a comb
where no comb had been, or walked back home

through a black mile hugging a punctured heart,
where it hurt, where it hurt, or helped her hand

to his butterfly heart
in its two blue halves.

And never almost cried,
and never once described

an attack of the heart,
or under a silk shirt

nursed in his hand her breast,
her left, like a tear of flesh

wept by the heart,
where it hurts,

or brushed with his thumb the nut of her nipple,
or drank intoxicating liquors from her navel.

Or christened the Pole Star in her name,
or shielded the mask of her face like a flame,

a pilot light,
or stayed the night,

or steered her back to that house of his,
or said “Don’t ask me how it is

I like you.
I just might do.”

How he never figured out a fireproof plan,
or unravelled her hand, as if her hand

were a solid ball
of silver foil

and discovered a lifeline hiding inside it,
and measured the trace of his own alongside it.

But said some things and never meant them –
sweet nothings anybody could have mentioned.

And left unsaid some things he should have spoken,
about the heart, where it hurt exactly, and how often.

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Day 571: New Vision

I love the imagery in this poem illustrating the best thing about being in love: everything ordinary becomes extraordinary. You look on commonplace things with new eyes. The world shimmers in vivid Technicolour.

Vision - May Thielgaard Watts

Today there have been lovely things
I never saw before;
sunlight through a jar of marmalade;
a blue gate;
a rainbow
in soapsuds on dishwater;
candlelight on butter;
the crinkled smile of a little girl
who had new shoes with tassels;
a chickadee on a thorn-apple;
empurpled mud under a willow,
where white geese slept;
white ruffled curtains sifting moonlight
on the scrubbed kitchen floow;
the under-side  of a white-oak leaf;
ruts in the road at sunset;
an egg yolk in a blue bowl.

My love kissed my eyes last night. 

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Day 570: Tea with Passion Please


Still on the theme of love, today we have a poem about passion, the real deal. A poem that says so much in so little the result is quite intense.

Passionate love is so rare - that kind made of fire - and so random, that when it strikes, it's usually between people with extenuating circumstances - i.e. married people or otherwise unavailable (Ted Hughes was certainly no stranger to extra-marital encounters). In this poem, the love in question however is restrained, unacknowledged, for some reason; and to highlight its intensity, is juxtaposed with the conservative convention of tea -  'pale cool tea in tea-cups' - against the 'fire' and 'flood' of what rages between the two people present. The passion and the pain that they try to ignore. Even the title hints at the pretence they live under. 

What this poem ultimately asks, I think, is  - is it better to follow your passions, wherever they may  lead, a life of fire and flood, feel it all - good and bad, or to stifle them into 'stillness' and 'silence' and live a dullness of parlour pieces/peaces, sipping pale cool tea? I'd have to go with the former.

Parlour Piece - Ted Hughes

With love so like fire they dared not
Let it out into strawy small talk;
With love so like a flood they dared not
Let out a trickle lest the whole crack,

These two sat speechlessly:
Pale cool tea in tea-cups chaperoned
Stillness, silence, the eyes
Where fire and flood strained.

Monday, 10 February 2014

Day 569: Two Cures for Love

Seeing as it's Valentine's this Friday, I'm going to post poems on the theme of love all week. (I dare not say 'love poems' as that has a regrettable cheesy ring to it.) But not to worry, the poems I have in mind will all have at least one of these things: wit, originality and genuine sentiment. 

Wendy Cope starts us off today, in her typical sarcastic and humorous style, with an abrupt couplet laying out the bare facts in regards to being 'cured' of love - the simple suggestion being that once you get to know the guy, you'll be cured. So much so you'll wonder what you ever saw in him in the first place! How often is this true ladies? Brilliant.

Two Cures for Love - Wendy Cope

1. Don't see him. Don't phone or write a letter.
2. The easy way: get to know him better.

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Day 568: Lovers in Blue


Today I'm posting a beautiful poem by an up-and-coming Irish poet on the theme of unending love.  In it, the poet speaks in the voice of the artist Marc Chagall, regarding the loss over his true love, his wife and soulmate Bella, who died many years before he did. 

Chagall's paintings have earned the terms 'dreamy' and 'romantic' maybe most of all because of his lovers series, where he paints  Bella and himself in various degrees of happiness - mostly flying, over towns, cities, fields - flying and floating, lifted up by love. Admirers of his work have remarked how his paintings show exactly what love is meant to feel like. (You can see a selection of these paintings here and decide for yourself).

This poem not only succeeds in referencing Chagall's work fittingly, but also in something rare - capturing the feeling of true love simply, and sincerely.


Bella - Noel Duffy

'Her silences are my silences, her eyes, my eyes. 
It is as if Bella had known me forever, as if she knew
all my childhood, all my present, all my future.' 
                                                                                           - Ma Vie, Marc Chagall

Now that I'm too old to hold a brush,
I paint you again each morning with words:
Double Portrait With Wine Glass,
Bella With Carnation, The Lover's Bouquet...

My mind is filled with colour still;
with each stroke you are there again, my bride
lying on our crimson bed, our wedding night.
Things have changed. You wouldn't like it much.

The green violinist now grumbles
into his prayer book, has retired to an old
people's home in the suburb, refuses
to play me a tune on his purple fiddle.

Lovers no longer fly over fields or church spires,
milk cows in their Sunday best, go to the circus -
but still I keep them alive, the images.
I have been cursed, my love, with long life,

you dead now more than forty summers.
The old grandfather clock has finally stopped,
your absence no longer measured
by its metronome, the slow arm of loss.

I count the silent hours till I give up
the ghost. You stand before me,
again My Fiancée With Black Gloves.
My soul is vivid blue. It will know you.

© Noel Duffy, from In The Library of Lost Objects (2011, Ward Wood Publishing)

Saturday, 8 February 2014

Day 567: The Beautiful & The Damned


After the news of the death of Philip Seymour Hoffman this week, I thought this particular poem by Bukowski fitting. So many talented lives ended prematurely, accidental or otherwise. 

What's The Use of a Title? - Charles Bukowski

They don't make it
the beautiful die in flame -
suicide pills, rat poison, rope what -
they rip their arms off,
throw themselves out of windows,
they pull their eyes out of the sockets,
reject love
reject hate
reject, reject.

they don't make it
the beautiful can't endure,
they are butterflies
they are doves
they are sparrows,
they don't make it.

one tall shot of flame
while the old men play checkers in the park
one flame, one good flame
while the old men play checkers in the park
in the sun.

the beautiful are found in the edge of a room
crumpled into spiders and needles and silence
and we can never understand why they
left, they were so

they don't make it,
the beautiful die young
and leave the ugly to their ugly lives.

lovely and brilliant: life and suicide and death
as the old men play checkers in the sun
in the park.

Friday, 7 February 2014

Day 566: Reasons for Not Writing

Writer's block - hate it, hate having to explain it - but love this poem. Perfect, poignant, like an arrow straight to the heart. The sharp bones of an answer. A slingshot of truth right between the eyes.

Upon Being Asked Why I Am Not Writing - Barry Tebb

Too Much gone wrong -

no muse, no song.

Thursday, 6 February 2014

Day 565: Amaryllis Lessons

Have you ever seen an amaryllis grow?  It's rapid, like on fast-forward play! No patience required.  And truly spectacular.


The Métier of Blossoming - Denise Levertov

Fully occupied with growing - that's
the amaryllis. Growing especially
at night: it would take
only a bit more patience than I've got
to sit keeping watch with it till daylight;
the naked eye could register every hour's
increase in height. Like a child against a barn door,
proudly topping each year's achievement,
steadily up
goes each green stem, smooth, matte,
traces of reddish purple at the base, and almost
imperceptible vertical ridges
running the length of them:
Two robust stems from each bulb,
sometimes with sturdy leaves for company,
elegant sweeps of blade with rounded points.
Aloft, the gravid buds, shiny with fullness.

One morning - and so soon! - the first flower
has opened when you wake. Or you catch it poised
in a single, brief
moment of hesitation.
Next day, another,
shy at first like a foal,
even a third, a fourth,
carried triumphantly at the summit
of those strong columns, and each
a Juno, calm in brilliance,
a maiden giantess in modest splendor.
If humans could be
that intensely whole, undistracted, unhurried,
swift from sheer
unswerving impetus! If we could blossom
out of ourselves, giving
nothing imperfect, withholding nothing!

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Day 564: Evening Hours

Beggars And Kings - WS Mervin

In the evening
all the hours that weren't used
are emptied out
and the beggars are waiting to gather them up
to open them
to find the sun in each one
and teach it its beggar's name
and sing to it It is well
through the night

but each of us
has his own kingdom of pains
and has not yet found them all
and is sailing in search of them day and night
infallible undisputed unresting
filled with a dumb use
and its time
like a finger in a world without hands

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Day 563: Swallows

I love swallows, don't you?  The way they fly, flicker and flutter across the sky, their distinctive v-shaped tails gone before you can say 'wow what was that!' And I like how this poem entwines its subject matter with its emotional theme.

Swallows - Kathleen Jamie

I wish my whole battened
heart were a property
like this, with swallows
in every room - so at ease

they twitter and preen
from the picture frames
like an audience in the gods
before an opera

and in the mornings
wheel above my bed
in a mockery of pity
before winging it

up the stairwell
to stream out into light

Monday, 3 February 2014

Day 562: Snowdrops

The snowdrops are out! The first flowering sign of Spring. 

This poem by Alice Oswald personifies the snowdrop as a girl, capturing all its fine fragility and beauty, 'her wild-flower sense of woundedness' and strength as harbinger of Spring, 'patience kept intact is now in flower.' 

Snowdrop - Alice Oswald

A pale and pining girl, head bowed, heart gnawed,  
whose figure nods and shivers in a shawl  
of fine white wool, has suddenly appeared
in the damp woods, as mild and mute as snowfall.  
She may not last, She has no strength at all,  
but stoops and shakes as if she’d stood all night  
on one bare foot, confiding with the moonlight.

One morning among several hundred clear-eyed ghosts  
who get up in the cold and blink and turn  
into those trembling emblems of night frosts,
she brings her burnt heart with her in an urn  
of ashes, which she opens to re-mourn,  
having no other outlet to express  
her wild-flower sense of wounded gentleness.

Yes, she’s no more now than a drop of snow  
on a green stem – her name is now her calling. Her mind is 
just a frozen melting of glow  
of water swollen to the point of falling  
which maybe has no meaning. There’s no telling.  
But what’s a beauty, what a mighty power  
of patience kept intact is now in flower.

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Day 561: Let The Beauty We Love Be What We Do

'Let the beauty we love be what we do' ~ Rumi

A famous maxim this, and here is the poem from where it comes:

Spring Giddiness - Rumi

Today, like every other day, we wake up empty
and frightened. Don’t open the door to the study
and begin reading. Take down a musical instrument.
Let the beauty we love be what we do.
There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.
The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you.
Don’t go back to sleep.
You must ask for what you really want.
Don’t go back to sleep.
People are going back and forth across the doorsill
where the two worlds touch.
The door is round and open.
Don’t go back to sleep.
I would love to kiss you. 
The price of kissing is your life.
Now my loving is running toward my life shouting, 
What a bargain, let’s buy it.
Daylight, full of small dancing particles
and the one great turning, our souls
are dancing with you, without feet, they dance.
Can you see them when I whisper in your ear?
All day and night, music,
a quiet, bright
reedsong. If it
fades, we fade.

Saturday, 1 February 2014

Day 560: First of February


Today is the first of February, the harbinger month of Spring. Coleridge here captures that euphoric feeling of seeing the first signs of flowers appearing in what he calls this 'frieze-coated, hoarse, teeth-chattering' month.


Lines On Observing A Blossom On The First Of February, 1796 - Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Sweet flower! that peeping from thy russet stem
Unfoldest timidly, (for in strange sort
This dark, frieze-coated, hoarse, teeth-chattering month
Hath borrowed Zephyr's voice, and gazed upon thee
With blue voluptuous eye) alas poor flower!
These are but flatteries of the faithless year.
Perchance, escaped its unknown polar cave,
E'en now the keen north-east is on its way.
Flower that must perish! shall I liken thee
To some sweet girl of too, too rapid growth,
Nipped by consumption mid untimely charms?
Or to Bristowa's bard, the wond'rous boy!
As amaranth, which earth scarce seemed to own,
Till disappointment come, and pelting wrong
Beat it to earth? or with indignant grief
Shall I compare thee to poor Poland's hope,
Bright flower of hope killed in the opening bud?
Farewell, sweet blossom! better fate be thine
And mock my boding! Dim similitudes
Weaving in moral strains, I've stolen one hour
From anxious self, life's cruel taskmaster!
And the warm wooings of this sunny day
Tremble along my frame, and harmonize
The attempered organ, that even saddest thoughts
Mix with some sweet sensations, like harsh tunes
Played deftly on a soft-toned instrument.