Sunday, 31 May 2015

A Clear Midnight

A Clear Midnight - Walt Whitman

This is thy hour O Soul, thy free flight into the wordless,
Away from books, away from art, the day erased, the lesson done,
Thee fully forth emerging, silent, gazing, pondering the themes thou lovest best.
Night, sleep, death and the stars.

Friday, 29 May 2015

Swallows Flight

Have you ever seen swallows in flight? They look so free, frolicking up there in the heights of sky, soaring through the expressive expanse of it. Like anchors unweighted.  I always think of them like the spirit in that way -  delighting in the berth of sky, free, at last. Sara Teasdale's lovely lyrical language captures this perfectly.

Deep In The Night - Sara Teasdale 

Deep in the night the cry of a swallow,
Under the stars he flew,
Keen as pain was his call to follow
Over the world to you.

Love in my heart is a cry forever
Lost as the swallow's flight,
Seeking for you and never, never
Stilled by the stars at night.

Swallows Flight - Sara Teasdale 

I love my hour of wind and light,
I love men's faces and their eyes,
I love my spirit's veering flight
Like swallows under evening skies.

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

When Great Trees Fall

'A great soul never dies. It brings us together again and again.'  
~ Maya Angelou

When Great Trees Fall - Maya Angelou 

When great trees fall,

rocks on distant hills shudder,

lions hunker down

in tall grasses,

and even elephants

lumber after safety.

When great trees fall

in forests,

small things recoil into silence,

their senses

eroded beyond fear.

When great souls die,

the air around us becomes

light, rare, sterile.

We breathe, briefly.
Our eyes, briefly,

see with

a hurtful clarity.

Our memory, suddenly sharpened,


gnaws on kind words


promised walks

never taken.

Great souls die and

our reality, bound to

them, takes leave of us.

Our souls,

dependent upon their


now shrink, wizened.

Our minds, formed

and informed by their

fall away.

We are not so much maddened

as reduced to the unutterable ignorance
dark, cold


And when great souls die,

after a period peace blooms,

slowly and always

irregularly. Spaces fill

with a kind of

soothing electric vibration.

Our senses, restored, never

to be the same, whisper to us:
They existed. They existed.

We can be. Be and be

better. For they existed.

Sunday, 24 May 2015

For Paul x
April 1982 - May 2015.

 Funeral Blues - WH Auden

Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message 'He is Dead'.
Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.

He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last forever: I was wrong.

The stars are not wanted now; put out every one,
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun,
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood;
For nothing now can ever come to any good.


Edges of Emptiness - Marge Piercy

Those who truly inhabit our lives
whose faces, whose gestures
like fine choreography align the air,
whose voices enter that ghostly inner ear
so that we shall hear them ten years
later in an empty room at dusk,
never can their presence be replaced.

Those with whom we are truly intimate
sometimes with hands and organs,
sometimes with the paste of words alone,
the creatures for whom the hollow
places of our solitude are opened wide
to shimmer with the lighted lamps of love,
we shape ourselves to hold them.

We have been configured to a use,
a habitation. We are the chambered
shell of a nautilus, the high steep
coil of a conch, and always those vaults,
those winding galleries of pearl
will futilely await the one whose need
and pleasure they hardened around.

In love we weave ourselves together,
Persian carpets with the colors
of each friendship knotted fine and tight,
the pattern as visible on the reverse.
That dance of hue and light we studied
to perfect will never again join.
Loneliness is general or precise:

broad as a wheatfield under a broad Nebraska
sky or narrow as a footpath between
cliff and canyon. Particular, we starve
at Thanksgiving table. Feed us voices, tales,
faces, ornaments, we suck a shard of glass.
Those hungers lodge in our bones where they
sign to the skilled in X-rays, until death.


Death Is Nothing At All -  Henry Scott Holland

Death is nothing at all.
I have only slipped away
into the next room.

Nothing has happened.
Everything remains exactly as it was.
I am I, and you are you.
And the old life that we lived
so fondly together
is untouched,  unchanged.
Whatever we were to each other,
that we still are.

Call me by my old familiar name,
Speak of me in the easy way you always used.
Put no difference in your tone,
wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow.

Laugh as we always laughed
at the little jokes we shared together.
Let my name be ever
the household word it always was.
Let it be spoken without effort,
without a trace of a shadow on it.
Life means all that it ever meant,
It is the same as it ever was.
There is unbroken continuity.

Why should I be out of mind
because I am out of sight?
I am but waiting for you
for an interval.
Somewhere, very near,
just around a corner.

All is well.
Nothing is hurt; nothing is lost.
One brief moment and all
will be as it was before.
How we shall laugh at the trouble of parting
when we meet again!

Sunday, 17 May 2015

Addendum VII: Ode To A Croissant

Oh, for Sunday morning coffee and glorious croissants!

Petit Dejeuner - Linda Pastan
I sing a song
of the croissant
and of the wily French
who trick themselves daily
back to the world
for its sweet ceremony.

Ah to be reeled 
up into morning 
on that crisp,

Saturday, 9 May 2015

Addemdum VI: Heart Space

No Help For That - Charles Bukowski

there is a place in the heart that
will never be filled

a space

and even during the
best moments
the greatest

we will know it

we will know it
more than

there is a place in the heart that
will never be filled

we will wait

in that space.

Thursday, 7 May 2015

Addendum V: Recipe for Happiness

Today is Poetry Day here in Ireland. One of the initiatives run by Poetry Ireland this year is 'Pocket Poems' - where you can download and distribute little pocket-sized poems as keepsakes.

Since I don't happen to agree much with any of their choices, I'm doing my own series of Pocket Poems and you can find them over on my main blog today: A Blog of One's Own, one of which is this short, simple and straight arrow burst of joy from Lawrence Ferlinghetti. 

Recipe for Happiness - Lawrence Ferlinghetti

One grand boulevard with trees
with one grand cafe in sun
with strong black coffee in very small cups.

One not necessarily very beautiful
man or woman who loves you.

One fine day.