Tuesday, 29 November 2016


Image result for snow flowers
Absences - Donald Justice
It's snowing this afternoon and there are no flowers.
There is only this sound of falling, quiet and remote,
Like the memory of scales descending the white keys
Of a childhood piano—outside the window, palms!
And the heavy head of the cereus, inclining,
Soon to let down its white or yellow-white.

Now, only these poor snow-flowers in a heap,
Like the memory of a white dress cast down . . .
So much has fallen.
                                    And I, who have listened for a step
All afternoon, hear it now, but already falling away,
Already in memory. And the terrible scales descending
On the silent piano; the snow; and the absent flowers

Sunday, 27 November 2016


Related image


Advent - Carol Ann Duffy

One last silvered leaf fails to fall
from its tree.  A hard year’s winter
has frozen your voice.

                           You would still rejoice
if you could sing, in your listening church -
where candles thrill to their endings,
light’s brave lovers - gold carols
this dark Advent;
                     the hurt heart hearkening:

Lo! He comes with clouds descending.

But there is the descant moon
over our scarred world, its cold, pure breve,
and you will sing to your child
                                   on Christmas Eve.

Friday, 25 November 2016

The Warm ad the Cold

Related image

Poem for the coldest day of the year so far. Brrrrr. 

The Warm and the Cold - Ted Hughes

Freezing dusk is closing
    Like a slow trap of steel
On trees and roads and hills and all
    That can no longer feel.
        But the carp is in its depth
          Like a planet in its heaven.
        And the badger in its bedding
          Like a loaf in the oven.
        And the butterfly in its mummy
          Like a viol in its case.
        And the owl in its feathers
          Like a doll in its lace.

Freezing dusk has tightened
    Like a nut screwed tight
On the starry aeroplane
    Of the soaring night.
        But the trout is in its hole
          Like a chuckle in a sleeper.
        The hare strays down the highway
          Like a root going deeper.
        The snail is dry in the outhouse
          Like a seed in a sunflower.
        The owl is pale on the gatepost
          Like a clock on its tower.

Moonlight freezes the shaggy world
    Like a mammoth of ice -
The past and the future
    Are the jaws of a steel vice.
        But the cod is in the tide-rip
          Like a key in a purse.
        The deer are on the bare-blown hill
          Like smiles on a nurse.
        The flies are behind the plaster
          Like the lost score of a jig.
        Sparrows are in the ivy-clump
          Like money in a pig.

Such a frost
    The flimsy moon
        Has lost her wits.

          A star falls.

The sweating farmers
    Turn in their sleep
        Like oxen on spits.

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Great Plains in Winter

Image result for cabin in the great plains in snow

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.

Sunday, 20 November 2016

Rush of the World

Image result for big dipper
'and, like a needle slipped into your vein—
that sudden rush of the world...'

Any Common Desolation - Ellen Bass

can be enough to make you look up
at the yellowed leaves of the apple tree, the few
that survived the rains and frost, shot
with late afternoon sun. They glow a deep
orange-gold against a blue so sheer, a single bird
would rip it like silk. You may have to break
your heart, but it isn’t nothing
to know even one moment alive. The sound
of an oar in an oarlock or a ruminant
animal tearing grass. The smell of grated ginger.
The ruby neon of the liquor store sign.
Warm socks. You remember your mother,
her precision a ceremony, as she gathered
the white cotton, slipped it over your toes,
drew up the heel, turned the cuff. A breath
can uncoil as you walk across your own muddy yard,
the big dipper pouring night down over you, and everything
you dread, all you can’t bear, dissolves
and, like a needle slipped into your vein—
that sudden rush of the world.

Wednesday, 16 November 2016


 Image result for winter tree

Hard not to think about death in this bleak month of winter beginning.  Linda Pastan sums it up sharply.

November - Linda Pastan

It is an old drama
this disappearance of the leaves,
this seeming death
of the landscape.
In a later scene,
or earlier,
the trees like gnarled magicians
produce handkerchiefs
of leaves
out of empty branches.
And we watch.
We are like children
at this spectacle
of leaves,
as if one day we too
will open the wooden doors
of our coffins
and come out smiling
and bowing
all over again.

Monday, 14 November 2016

Fall Leaves

 Image result for emily bronte - leaf poem

Fall Leaves, Fall - Emily Bronte 
Fall, leaves, fall; die, flowers, away;
Lengthen night and shorten day;
Every leaf speaks bliss to me
Fluttering from the autumn tree.
I shall smile when wreaths of snow
Blossom where the rose should grow;
I shall sing when night’s decay
Ushers in a drearier day.

Sunday, 13 November 2016

Eagle Poem

Image result for eagle
To pray you open your whole self
To sky, to earth, to sun, to moon
To one whole voice that is you.
And know there is more
That you can’t see, can’t hear;
Can’t know except in moments
Steadily growing, and in languages
That aren’t always sound but other
Circles of motion.
Like eagle that Sunday morning
Over Salt River. Circled in blue sky
In wind, swept our hearts clean
With sacred wings.
We see you, see ourselves and know
That we must take the utmost care
And kindness in all things.
Breathe in, knowing we are made of
All this, and breathe, knowing
We are truly blessed because we
Were born, and die soon within a
True circle of motion,
Like eagle rounding out the morning
Inside us.
We pray that it will be done
In beauty.
In beauty.

Saturday, 12 November 2016

Harlem Night Song

Image result for harlem night song

Harlem Night Song - Langston Hughes
Let us roam the night together

I love you.

The Harlem roof-tops
Moon is shining.
Night sky is blue.
Stars are great drops
Of golden dew.

Down the street
A band is playing.

I love you.

Let us roam the night together

Friday, 11 November 2016

The Weeping Girl

Image result for weeping girl with flowers

La Figlia Che Piange (The Weeping Girl) - T. S. Eliot

Stand on the highest pavement of the stair —
Lean on a garden urn —
Weave, weave the sunlight in your hair —
Clasp your flowers to you with a pained surprise —
Fling them to the ground and turn
With a fugitive resentment in your eyes:
But weave, weave the sunlight in your hair.

So I would have had him leave,
So I would have had her stand and grieve,
So he would have left
As the soul leaves the body torn and bruised,
As the mind deserts the body it has used.
I should find
Some way incomparably light and deft,
Some way we both should understand,
Simple and faithless as a smile and a shake of the hand.

She turned away, but with the autumn weather
Compelled my imagination many days,
Many days and many hours:
Her hair over her arms and her arms full of flowers.
And I wonder how they should have been together!
I should have lost a gesture and a pose.
Sometimes these cogitations still amaze
The troubled midnight, and the noon's repose.

Thursday, 10 November 2016

Mending Wall

Image result for mending wall
'Something there is that doesn't love a wall..' Yes, there is. Take that Donald Trump.  
Mending Wall - Robert Frost

Something there is that doesn't love a wall,
That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it,
And spills the upper boulders in the sun;
And makes gaps even two can pass abreast.
The work of hunters is another thing:
I have come after them and made repair
Where they have left not one stone on a stone,
But they would have the rabbit out of hiding,
To please the yelping dogs. The gaps I mean,
No one has seen them made or heard them made,
But at spring mending-time we find them there.
I let my neighbour know beyond the hill;
And on a day we meet to walk the line
And set the wall between us once again.
We keep the wall between us as we go.
To each the boulders that have fallen to each.
And some are loaves and some so nearly balls
We have to use a spell to make them balance:
"Stay where you are until our backs are turned!"
We wear our fingers rough with handling them.
Oh, just another kind of out-door game,
One on a side. It comes to little more:
There where it is we do not need the wall:
He is all pine and I am apple orchard.
My apple trees will never get across
And eat the cones under his pines, I tell him.
He only says, "Good fences make good neighbours."
Spring is the mischief in me, and I wonder
If I could put a notion in his head:
"Why do they make good neighbours? Isn't it
Where there are cows? But here there are no cows.
Before I built a wall I'd ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out,
And to whom I was like to give offence.
Something there is that doesn't love a wall,
That wants it down." I could say "Elves" to him,
But it's not elves exactly, and I'd rather
He said it for himself. I see him there
Bringing a stone grasped firmly by the top
In each hand, like an old-stone savage armed.
He moves in darkness as it seems to me,
Not of woods only and the shade of trees.
He will not go behind his father's saying,
And he likes having thought of it so well
He says again, "Good fences make good neighbours."

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

The Second Coming


This is the only poem that can fit the devastation and fearful consequences of today. 

The Second Coming - WB Yeats
Turning and turning in the widening gyre   
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere   
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst   
Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.   
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out   
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert   
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,   
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,   
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it   
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.   
The darkness drops again; but now I know   
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,   
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,   
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

November Rain

 Image result for black umbrellas on a rainy day

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.