Thursday, 31 December 2015

New Year

New Year - Carol Ann Duffy

I drop the dying year behind me like a shawl
and let it fall. The urgent fireworks fling themselves
against the night, flowers of desire, love’s fervency.
Out of the space around me, standing here, I shape
your absent body against mine. You touch me as the giving air.

Most far, most near, your arms are darkness, holding me,
so I lean back, lip-read the heavens talking on in light,
syllabic stars. I see, at last, they pray at us.

I drop the dying year behind me like a shawl
and let it fall. The urgent fireworks fling themselves
against the night, flowers of desire, love’s fervency.
Out of the space around me, standing here, I shape
your absent body against mine. You touch me as the giving air.
Most far, most near, your arms are darkness, holding me,
so I lean back, lip-read the heavens talking on in light,
syllabic stars. I see, at last, they pray at us.
- See more at:
I drop the dying year behind me like a shawl
and let it fall. The urgent fireworks fling themselves
against the night, flowers of desire, love’s fervency.
Out of the space around me, standing here, I shape
your absent body against mine. You touch me as the giving air.
Most far, most near, your arms are darkness, holding me,
so I lean back, lip-read the heavens talking on in light,
syllabic stars. I see, at last, they pray at us.
- See more at:
I drop the dying year behind me like a shawl
and let it fall. The urgent fireworks fling themselves
against the night, flowers of desire, love’s fervency.
Out of the space around me, standing here, I shape
your absent body against mine. You touch me as the giving air.
Most far, most near, your arms are darkness, holding me,
so I lean back, lip-read the heavens talking on in light,
syllabic stars. I see, at last, they pray at us.
- See more at:

Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Noel Vista

Noel - Linda Pastan

Like a single

the red cardinal
on a pine

the window

is our only

the snow.

Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Minstrel's Song

 Traveling Under the Stars by Felt-heart on DeviantArt

Minstrel's Song - Ted Hughes

I've just had an astonishing dream as I lay in the straw.
I dreamed a star fell on to the straw beside me
And lay blazing. Then when I looked up
I saw a bull come flying through a sky of fire
And on its shoulders a huge silver woman
Holding the moon. And afterward there came
A donkey flying through that same burning heaven
And on its shoulders a colossal man
Holding the sun. Suddenly I awoke
And saw a bull and a donkey kneeling in the straw,
and the great moving shadows of a man and a woman—
I say they were a man and a woman but
I dare not say what I think they were. I did not dare to look.
I ran out here into the freezing world
Because I dared not look. Inside that shed.

A star is coming this way along the road.
If I were not standing upright, this would be a dream.
A star the shape of a sword of fire, point-downward,
Is floating along the road. And now it rises.
It is shaking fire on to the roofs and the gardens.
And now it rises above the animal shed
Where I slept 'til the dream woke me. And now
The star is standing over the animal shed.

Monday, 28 December 2015

Christmas Rhymer

Ever the clever comedian, Wendy Cope is the mistress of short sassy rhymes.  At Christmas, she excels herself. (I highly recommend clicking on her name in the labels below and reading her other Christmas offerings  - you're guaranteed a chuckle. I firmly believe they should put her poems in crackers!)

Christmas Triolet - Wendy Cope

It's Christmas, season of wild bells
And merry carols. On the floor
Are gifts in pretty paper shells....
It's Christmas, season of wild Belle's
Big party. George's stomach swells
With ale: his wife's had even more.
It's Christmas, season of wild belles,
And merry Carol's on the floor.

Sunday, 27 December 2015

At Twilight, An Angel


For today, a lovely prose poem from Mary Oliver.

At Twilight, An Angel - Mary Oliver

At twilight an angel was standing in the garden. It is true, the wings are very beautiful. Even more spectacular, in a quieter way, is the light that shines out of the angel’s body. Not the cold light of the glow worm, but the softer light of a candle, or more exactly the light of a candle as it is seen through a window and, therefore, is not only itself but the light and a kind of veil together, which in fact does not double the mystery but multiplies it. The angel was looking into the trees, but mostly it was just standing there. In a strange and inexplicable way, it seemed as familiar to me as the trees themselves. I was glad it was there, but didn’t expect more – I mean I didn’t expect the angel to stir from its place anymore than I expected the trees to start walking around. The trees and the angel, they were each just what they were.

And yet, I am not quite telling the truth when I talk of such contentment. Once I woke in the night and was exasperated entirely, for an angel in those days, and nights too, had come into our house – had come that far – and hovered there. Why doesn’t the angel help me, I thought, as I exhausted myself doing what had to be done. But the angel did not. It was, as I said, like a light behind a veil, as though Heaven’s purpose could not trade itself for the business, even the grief, of the Earth. Which is just one more mystery and, finally, the one I think about most. What, then, is their earnest business? What do the flames mean that spark from under their feet? Was I wrong, did the angel in the dark offer tenderness, and did I miss it? And what was that other angel doing in the garden, standing there straight-limbed and substantial, as though the trees were singing to him, or he was singing to the leaves, or all of them were stitching a music together for something or someone, and no time no precious time to think of anything else.

Saturday, 26 December 2015

Mistletoe Magic

Mistletoe - Walter De La Mare
Sitting under the mistletoe
(Pale-green, fairy mistletoe),
One last candle burning low,
All the sleepy dancers gone,
Just one candle burning on,
Shadows lurking everywhere:
Some one came, and kissed me there.

Tired I was; my head would go
Nodding under the mistletoe
(Pale-green, fairy mistletoe),
No footsteps came, no voice, but only,
Just as I sat there, sleepy, lonely,
Stooped in the still and shadowy air
Lips unseen—and kissed me there.

Friday, 25 December 2015

A Christmas Scene

Happy Christmas to all my readers.

A Christmas Card - G.K. Chesterson

1. The Christ-child lay on Mary's lap,
His hair was like a light.
(O weary, weary were the world,
But here is all aright.)

2. The Christ-child lay on Mary's breast,
His hair was like a star.
(O stern and cunning are the kings,
But here the true hearts are.)

3. The Christ-child lay on Mary's heart,
His hair was like a fire.
(O weary, weary is the world,
But here the world's desire.)

4. The Christ-child stood at Mary's knee,
His hair was like a crown.
And all the flowers looked up at Him,
And all the stars looked down.

Thursday, 24 December 2015

Special Starlight

 'The Creator of night and of birth was also the Maker of the stars...'

Of all the aspects of the Christmas story it's the star that fascinates me the most, and many poets too it seems. Carl Sandburg poses some pressing questions here. 

Special Starlight - Carl Sandburg

All:             The Creator of night and of birth
                   Was the Maker of the stars.
Solo 1:       Shall we look up now at stars in Winter
                   And call them always sweeter friends
                   Because this story of a Mother and a Child
                   Never is told with the stars left out?
Solo 2:       Is it a Holy Night now when a child issues
                   Out of the dark and the unknown
                   Into the starlight?
Solo 3:       Shall all wanderers over the earth, all homeless ones,
                   All against whom doors are shut and words spoken—
                   Shall these find the earth less strange tonight?
Solo 2:       Shall they hear news, a whisper on the night wind?
All:             “A Child is born.”  “The meek shall inhert the earth.”
Solo 4:       Shall a quiet dome of stars high over
                   Make signs and a friendly language
                   Among all nations?
Solo 1:       Shall they yet gather with no clenched fists at all,
                   And look into each other’s faces and see eye to eye,
Solo 3:       And find ever new testaments of man as a sojourner
                   And a toiler and a brother of fresh understandings?
All:             Shall there be now always
                   believers and more believers
                   of sunset and moonrise,
                   of moonset and moonrise,
                   of wheeling numbers of stars,
                   and wheels within wheels?
Solo 4:       Shall plain habitations off the well-known roads
                   Count now for a little more than they used to?
Solo 1:       Shall plain ways and people held close to earth
                   Be reckoned among things to be written about?

Solo 2:      Shall tumult, grandeur, fanfare, panoply, prepared
                  loud noises
                  Stand equal to a quiet heart, thoughts, vast dreams
                  Of men conquering the earth by conquering themselves?
Solo 3:       Is there a time for ancient genius of man
                  To be set for comparison with the latest generations?
Solo 1:       Is there a time for stripping to simple childish questions
Solo 4:       On a Holy Night we may say:
All:             The Creator of night and of birth
                   Was the Maker of the stars.

Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Christmas Traffic

Well it wouldn't be Christmas without a poem from UA Fanthorpe, Christmas chronicler extraordinaire. 

I just love how she can turn an ordinary moment or event - in this case travelling home for Christmas - into a magical musing.  Or how many wondrous angles she can get on the Christmas story. (This poem, by the way, reminds me so much of 'A Spaceman Came Travelling' by Chris deBurgh - if you don't know it, have a listen)

Christmas Traffic - UA Fanthorpe

Three, two, one, liftoff
Signals Mission Control. And off they go
To the dark parts of the planets
In their pressurised spacesuits,
Cocooned in technology, the astronauts.
Mission control whispers in someone’s ear.
Yes, she says, I will. And in due time
A different traveller makes a quieter journey,
Arriving hungry, naked, but true to instructions,
Docking on Earth, taking the one small step.

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Real Life Christmas Card


As a fan of robins and winter as a meditative season of the mind, I have to say I love this poem. 

Real Life Christmas Card - Norman MacCaig

Robin, I watch you. You are a perfect robin -
except, shouldn't you be perched on a spade handle?

Robin, you watch me. Am I a perfect man - except,
shouldn't I have a trap in my pocket, a gun in my hand?

I, too, am in my winter plumage, not unlike yours,
except, the red is in my breast, not on it.

You sing your robin song. I my man song. They're different,
but they mean the same: winter, territory, greed.

Will we survive, bold eyes, to pick
the seeds in the ground, the seeds in my mind?

The snow man thinks so. Look at his silly smile
slushily spilling down the scarf I gave him.

Monday, 21 December 2015

Winter Solstice

Today is the Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year, the point when the light begins to come back.  And on this day of light, here is an ode to the lovely light of December, the many chinks of brightness it has offered.  

Winter Afternoon, Early December - Tom Montag

The grey lid has been
lifted off the day.

Sun spills everywhere—
on snow, on house, on

me at the window.
No wind in the willow,

no birds in bare branches,
no sadness in the absence.

Only the shine, instead,
the spin and dalliance

of every amazing
particular thing

in the long, the lovely
the almost perfect light.

Sunday, 20 December 2015

Animal Nativity


Animal Nativity - Les Murray

The Iliad of peace began
when this girl agreed.
Now goats in trees, fish in the valley
suddenly feel vivid.

Swallows flit in the stable as if
a hatchling of their kind,
turned human, cried in the manger
showing the hunger-diamond.

Cattle are content that this calf
must come in human form.
Spiders discern a water-walker.
Even humans will sense the lamb,

He who frees from the old poem
turtle-dove and snake,
who gets death forgiven,
who puts the apple back.

Dogs, less enslaved but as starving
as the poorest humans there,
crouch, agog at a crux of presence
remembered as a star.

Saturday, 19 December 2015

Winter Moon


There's been a lovely moon hanging in the sky the past few nights, like a luminous charm. 

Winter Moon - Langston Hughes

How thin and sharp is the moon tonight!
How thin and sharp and ghostly white
Is the slim curved crook of the moon tonight!

Friday, 18 December 2015

Neither Snow

Ah, the powers of imagination!

Neither Snow - Billy Collins

When all of a sudden the city air filled with snow,
the distinguishable flakes
blowing sideways,
looked like krill
fleeing the maw of an advancing whale.

At least they looked that way to me
from the taxi window,
and since I happened to be sitting
that fading Sunday afternoon
in the very center of the universe,
who was in a better position
to say what looked like what,
which thing resembled some other?

Yes, it was a run of white plankton
borne down the Avenue of the Americas
in the stream of the wind,
phosphorescent against the weighty buildings.

Which made the taxi itself,
yellow and slow-moving,
a kind of undersea creature,
I thought as I wiped the fog from the glass,

and me one of its protruding eyes,
an eye on a stem
swiveling this way and that
monitoring one side of its world,
observing tons of water
tons of people
colored signs and lights
and now a wildly blowing race of snow.

Thursday, 17 December 2015


 Sums it up doesn't it? 

Sleet - Norman MacCaig

The first snow was sleet. It swished heavily
Out of a cloud black enough to hold snow.
It was fine in the wind, but couldn't bear to touch
Anything solid. It died a pauper's death.

Now snow - it grins like a maniac in the moon.
It puts a glove on your face. It stops gaps.
It catches your eye and your breath. It settles down
Ponderously crushing trees with its airy ounces.

But today it was sleet, dissolving spiders on cheekbones,
Being melting spit on the glass, smudging the mind
That humped itself by the fire, turning away
From the ill wind, the fire filthily weeping.

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Weather Man

Short and endearingly sweet as always, from Ted Kooser.

Weather Man - Ted Kooser

When it snows, he stands
at the back door or wanders
around the house to each
window in turn and
watches the weather
like a lover. O farm boy,
I waited years
for you to look at me
that way. Now we're old
enough to stop waiting
for random looks or touches
or words, so I find myself
watching you watching the weather, and we wait
together to discover
whatever the sky might bring.

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

December Notes


December Notes - Nancy McCleery

The backyard is one white sheet
Where we read in the bird tracks

The songs we hear. Delicate
Sparrow, heavier cardinal,

Filigree threads of chickadee.
And wing patterns where one flew

Low, then up and away, gone
To the woods but calling out

Clearly its bright epigrams.
More snow promised for tonight.

The postal van is stalled
In the road again, the mail

Will be late and any good news
Will reach us by hand.

Monday, 14 December 2015

Season of Waiting

 '...then the earth becomes an emblem
for whatever we believe.'

This season of waiting, of expectation, of belief.

In This Season of Waiting - Linda Pastan

Under certain conditions,
when the moon in the western sky
seems frozen there, for instance

even as the sun is rising in the east,
so that soon two sides of the coin
will be facing each other;

or when the snow
which is a stranger here
fills our trees with its cold flowers;

when the single
bluejay at the feeder
is so still

it could be enameled there,
then the earth becomes an emblem
for whatever we believe.

Friday, 11 December 2015

Winter Stars

Winter Stars - Sara Teasdale 
I went out at night alone;
 The young blood flowing beyond the sea
Seemed to have drenched my spirit’s wings—
 I bore my sorrow heavily.

But when I lifted up my head
 From shadows shaken on the snow,
I saw Orion in the east
 Burn steadily as long ago.

From windows in my father’s house,
 Dreaming my dreams on winter nights,
I watched Orion as a girl
 Above another city’s lights.

Years go, dreams go, and youth goes too,
 The world’s heart breaks beneath its wars,
All things are changed, save in the east
 The faithful beauty of the stars.

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

In Winter


Great Plains in Winter - Ted Kooser

Blue snow in the moonlight,
Set back from the road, a house
with a single lamplit window.
The whole world holds its breath.

Monday, 7 December 2015

Waiting For Snow

Waiting For Snow - Linda Pastan

We are waiting for snow
the way we might wait for a train
to arrive with its cold cargo-
it is late already, but surely
it will come.

We are waiting for snow
the way we might wait
for permission
to breathe again.

For only the snow
will release us, only the snow
will be a letting go, a blind falling
towards the body of earth
and towards each other.

And while we wait at this window
whose sheer transparency
is clouded already
with our mutual breath,

it is as if our whole lives depended
on the freezing color
of the sky, on the white
soon to be fractured
gaze of winter.

Friday, 4 December 2015

Looking For A Sunset Bird in Winter

Looking For a Sunset Bird in Winter - Robert Frost

The west was getting out of gold,
The breath of air had died of cold,
When shoeing home across the white,
I thought I saw a bird alight.

In summer when I passed the place
I had to stop and lift my face;
A bird with an angelic gift
Was singing in it sweet and swift.

No bird was singing in it now.
A single leaf was on a bough,
And that was all there was to see
In going twice around the tree.

From my advantage on a hill
I judged that such a crystal chill
Was only adding frost to snow
As gilt to gold that wouldn't show.

A brush had left a crooked stroke
Of what was either cloud or smoke
From north to south across the blue;
A piercing little star was through.

Tuesday, 1 December 2015


Hello December.

December - Carol Ann Duffy 

The year dwindles and glows
to December's red jewel,
my birth month.

The sky blushes,
and lays its cheek
on the sparkling fields.

Then dusk swaddles the cattle,
their silhouettes
simple as faith.

These nights are gifts,
our hands unwrapping the darkness
to see what we have.

The train rushes, ecstatic,
to where you are,
my bright star.

Monday, 30 November 2015

November Rain

Goodbye November with all your rain...

November Rain - Linda Pastan

How separate we are
under our black umbrellas—dark
planets in our own small orbits,

hiding from this wet assault
of weather as if water
would violate the skin,

as if these raised silk canopies
could protect us
from whatever is coming next—

December with its white
enamel surfaces; the numbing
silences of winter.

From above we must look
like a family of bats—
ribbed wings spread

against the rain,
swooping towards any
makeshift shelter.

Sunday, 29 November 2015

The Action of the Beautiful

'There is no future, past, only pure presence.
The moment of a glance is brimmed so full
It fuses consciousness to a new balance -
This is the action of the beautiful...'

The Action of the Beautiful - May Sarton

I move through my world like a stranger
Where multiple images collide and fall,
Fragments of lakes, eyes.......or a mirror.
How to include, make peace with them all?
Only your face (is this too illusion?)
So poised between silence and speech
Suggests that at the center of confusion
An inward music is just within reach.
Can so much be spoken by an eyelid,
or the bent forehead so much light distill?
Here all is secret and yet nothing hid,
That tenderness, those deep reserves of will.
There is no future, past, only pure presence.
The moment of a glance is brimmed so full
It fuses consciousness to a new balance -
This is the action of the beautiful.
Lakes, mirrors, every broken radiance
Shine whole again in your reflective face,
And I, the stranger, centered in your presence,
Come home and walk into the heart of peace.

Saturday, 28 November 2015

The Magic of Frost

There's something very beautiful about frost, just as there is about winter in its entirety. Alice Oswald captures this feeling in a stilled language particularly intricate and beautiful itself.

Pruning in Frost - Alice Oswald

Last night, without a sound,
a ghost of a world lay down on a world,

trees like dream-wrecks
coralled with increments of frost.

Found crevices
and wound and wound
the clock-spring cobwebs.

All life’s ribbon frozen mid-fling.

Oh I am
stone thumbs,
feet of glass.

Work knocks in me the winter’s nail.

I can imagine
Pain, turned heron,
could fly off slowly in a creak of wings.

And I’d be staring, like one of those
cold-holy and granite kings,
getting carved into this effigy of orchard. 

Friday, 27 November 2015


One of my favourite seaside sights in winter is watching oystercatchers take flight, a black and white synchronised spectacle over water. Quite mesmerising.

Oystercatchers in Flight - Eamon Grennan 

Sea’s stony greenblue shatters to white
          in a running swell under noonsky of cloudlight
where on a foamed-over cropping of rock
          a band of oystercatchers faces all one way
into a nor’wester so shafts of windlight
          ignite each orange beak in this abiding
tribe of black till you clap and their risen black
          turns white as they veronica on wind and
then away with them (shrill-pitched as frighted
          plovers only harsher more excited)
and riding the stiff wind like eager lovers straining
          into its every last whim: its pulsing steady
heart-push in every flesh-startling open-eyed
          long-extended deepening sea-breath.

Thursday, 26 November 2015


'Too bad you couldn't be there
 but you were flying through space on your own asteroid...'
I love the characteristic blend of humour and sentiment in this simultaneously funny and touching Thanksgiving poem from Billy Collins.

Today I give thanks for those we have loved who have left this earth and left an indelible print in our hearts. 

Happy Thanksgiving.

The Gathering, a Thanksgiving Poem - Billy Collins

Outside, the scene was right for the season,
heavy gray clouds and just enough wind
to blow down the last of the yellow leaves.

But the house was different that day,
so distant from the other houses,
like a planet inhabited by only a dozen people

with the same last name and the same nose
rotating slowly on its invisible axis.
Too bad you couldn't be there

but you were flying through space on your own asteroid
with your arm around an uncle.
You would have unwrapped your scarf

and thrown your coat on top of the pile
then lifted a glass of wine
as a tiny man ran across a screen with a ball.

You would have heard me
saying grace with my elbows on the tablecloth
as one of the twins threw a dinner roll across the room at the other.

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Frosty Moon

Tonight is November's full moon, the frosty moon. You can't really miss it; it's as bright as a searchlight, a promise. And there's something so lovely about the moon this time of year for these reasons.

Moonrise - DH Lawrence

And who has seen the moon, who has not seen
Her rise from out the chamber of the deep,
Flushed and grand and naked, as from the chamber
Of finished bridegroom, seen her rise and throw
Confession of delight upon the wave,
Littering the waves with her own superscription
Of bliss, till all her lambent beauty shakes towards us
Spread out and known at last, and we are sure
That beauty is a thing beyond the grave,
That perfect, bright experience never falls
To nothingness, and time will dim the moon
Sooner than our full consummation here
In this odd life will tarnish or pass away.

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Winter Morning

A Winter Morning - Ted Kooser

A farmhouse window far back from the highway
speaks to the darkness in a small, sure voice.
Against this stillness, only a kettle's whisper,
and against the starry cold, one small blue ring of flame.

Monday, 23 November 2015

Winter Poem


'muddled and cuddled by dreams' - oh yes :)

Saturday, 21 November 2015

The Coming of the Cold

November is now making its presence felt...

The Coming of The Cold - Theodore Roethke 

The ribs of leaves lie in the dust,
The beak of frost has pecked the bough,
The briar bears its thorn, and drought
Has left its ravage on the field.
The season's wreckage lies about,
Late autumn fruit is rotted now.
All shade is lean, the antic branch
Jerks skyward at the touch of wind,
Dense trees no longer hold the light,
The hedge and orchard grove are thinned.
The dank bark dries beneath the sun,
The last of harvesting is done.

All things are brought to barn and fold.
The oak leaves strain to be unbound,
The sky turns dark, the year grows old,
The bud draw in before the cold.

The small brook dies within its bed;
The stem that holds the bee is prone;
Old hedgerows keep the leaves; the phlox,
That late autumnal bloom, is dead.

All summer green is now undone:
The hills are grey, the trees are bare,
The mould upon the branch is dry,
The fields are harsh and bare, the rocks
Gleam sharply on the narrow sight.
The land is desolate, the sun
No longer gilds the scene at noon;
Winds gather in the north and blow
Bleak clouds across the heavy sky,
And frost is marrow-cold, and soon
Winds bring a fine and bitter snow.

Sunday, 15 November 2015

To Paris, and The World

Paris 13/11/15.

My heart goes out to Paris, my absolute favourite place in the whole world, city of love, city of light. What happened there on Friday was unimaginable, callously cruel, shockingly tragic, an attack on all our liberty.

In saying that, my thoughts also go out to all the other places in the world that daily suffer this awful violence - Beirut recently, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria, whose very name has become a by-word for unspeakable suffering.

The world is, sadly, as this poem so tenderly puts it, hurting everywhere.

What They Did Yesterday Afternoon - Warsan Shire

they set my aunts house on fire
i cried the way women on tv do
folding at the middle
like a five pound note.
i called the boy who use to love me
tried to ‘okay’ my voice
i said hello
he said warsan, what’s wrong, what’s happened?

i’ve been praying,
and these are what my prayers look like;
dear god
i come from two countries
one is thirsty
the other is on fire
both need water.

later that night
i held an atlas in my lap
ran my fingers across the whole world
and whispered
where does it hurt?

it answered

Thursday, 12 November 2015

Letter in November

Letter in November - Sylvia Plath 

Love, the world
Suddenly turns, turns color. The streetlight
Splits through the rat’s tail
Pods of the laburnum at nine in the morning.
It is the Arctic, 

This little black
Circle, with its tawn silk grasses — babies hair.
There is a green in the air,
Soft, delectable.
It cushions me lovingly. 

I am flushed and warm.
I think I may be enormous,
I am so stupidly happy,
My Wellingtons
Squelching and squelching through the beautiful red. 

This is my property.
Two times a day
I pace it, sniffing
The barbarous holly with its viridian
Scallops, pure iron, 

And the wall of the old corpses.
I love them.
I love them like history.
The apples are golden,
Imagine it — 

My seventy trees
Holding their gold-ruddy balls
In a thick gray death-soup,
Their million
Gold leaves metal and breathless. 

O love, O celibate.
Nobody but me
Walks the waist high wet.
The irreplaceable
Golds bleed and deepen, the mouths of Thermopylae

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Autumn Refrain

nightingale bird flying. But the name of a ird and the

Autumn Refrain - Wallace Stevens

The skreak and skritter of evening gone
And grackles gone and sorrows of the sun,
The sorrows of sun, too, gone . . . the moon and moon,
The yellow moon of words about the nightingale
In measureless measures, not a bird for me
But the name of a bird and the name of a nameless air
I have never–shall never hear. And yet beneath

The stillness of everything gone, and being still,
Being and sitting still, something resides,
Some skreaking and skrittering residuum,
And grates these evasions of the nightingale
Though I have never–shall never hear that bird.
And the stillness is in the key, all of it is,
The stillness is all in the key of that desolate sound.

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

On The Shortest Days

On The Shortest Days - Joyce Sutphen 

At almost four in the afternoon, the
wind picks up and sifts through the golden woods.

The tree trunks bronze and redden, branches
on fire in the heavy sky that flickers

with the disappearing sun. I wonder
what I owe the fading day, why I keep

my place at this dark desk by the window
measuring the force of the wind, gauging

how long a certain cloud will hold that pink
edge that even now has slipped into gray?

Quickly the lights are appearing, a lamp
in every window and nests of stars

on the rooftops. Ladders lean against the hills
and people climb, rung by rung, into the night.

Monday, 9 November 2015

The Falling


Autumn - Rilke 

The leaves are falling, falling as if from far up,
as if orchards were dying high in space.
Each leaf falls as if it were motioning "no."
And tonight the heavy earth is falling
away from all other stars in the loneliness.
We're all falling. This hand here is falling.
And look at the other one. It's in them all.
And yet there is Someone, whose hands
infinitely calm, holding up all this falling.

Sunday, 8 November 2015


'A lifetime isn't long enough for the beauty of this world
and the responsibilities of your life...'


Flare - Mary Oliver
When loneliness comes stalking, go into the fields, consider
the orderliness of the world. Notice

something you have never noticed before,

like the tambourine sound of the snow-cricket
whose pale green body is no longer than your thumb.

Stare hard at the hummingbird, in the summer rain,
shaking the water-sparks from its wings.

Let grief be your sister, she will whether or no.
Rise up from the stump of sorrow, and be green also,
like the diligent leaves.

A lifetime isn't long enough for the beauty of this world
and the responsibilities of your life.

Scatter your flowers over the graves, and walk away.
Be good-natured and untidy in your exuberance.

In the glare of your mind, be modest.
And beholden to what is tactile, and thrilling.

Live with the beetle, and the wind.

This is the dark bread of the poem.
This is the dark and nourishing bread of the poem.