Monday, August 31, 2015

DOLLIE RADFORD 1858-1920

WHEN FIRST I SAW YOUR FACE, LOVE

When first I saw your face, love,
I knew my search was done,
You passed my lonely place, love,
The light I sought was won,
When your steadfast eyes looked down on me,
And I arose to follow thee.
And something in your smile, love,
I knew to be a part
Of joy that for a while, love,
Had slumbered in my heart:
To what sweet music it awoke,
When first you turned to me and spoke! 

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Dollie Radford was the nom de plume of Caroline Maitland, the British poet and writer. Her friends included Eleanor Marx, the youngest daughter of Karl Marx.

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POETRY - A PERSONAL CHOICE is updated every weekday

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Friday, August 28, 2015

WALT WHITMAN 1819-92


O CAPTAIN! MY CAPTAIN!

O Captain! My Captain! our fearful trip is done;
The ship has weather'd every rack, the prize we sought is won;
The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,
While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring:

But O heart! heart! heart!
O the bleeding drops of red,
Where on the deck my Captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.
O Captain! My Captain! rise up and hear the bells;
Rise up - for you the flag is flung - for you the bugle trills;
For you bouquets and ribbon'd wreaths - for you the shores a-crowding;
For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning;

Here captain! dear father!
This arm beneath your head;
It is some dream that on the deck,
You've fallen cold and dead.
My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still;
My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor will;
The ship is anchor'd safe and sound, its voyage closed and done;
From fearful trip, the victor ship, comes in with object won;

Exult, O shores, and ring, O bells!
But I, with mournful tread,
Walk the deck my captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.

Walt Whitman was an American poet, essayist and journalist.This entire poem is a metaphor about the death of Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln is the Captain and America is the ship. The line "our fearful trip is done" refers to the Civil War which has ended and everyone is celebrating what Lincoln has done - the end of slavery and the unification of the people.

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A new art blog began today
CONSTABLE'S CLOUDS
will feature outstanding paintings of cloud formations by John Constable and will be updated every Friday

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Thursday, August 27, 2015

WALTER DE LA MARE 1873-1956


-o0o-

SILVER

Slowly, silently, now the moon
Walks the night in her silver shoon;
This way, and that, she peers, and sees
Silver fruit upon silver trees;
One by one the casements catch
Her beams beneath the silvery thatch;
Couched in his kennel, like a log,
With paws of silver sleeps the dog;
From their shadowy cote the white breasts peep
Of doves in silver feathered sleep
A harvest mouse goes scampering by,
With silver claws, and silver eye;
And moveless fish in the water gleam,
By silver reeds in a silver stream. 

Walter John de la Mare OM. CH. was born in what is now an area in Greenwich, Kent.  A poet, short story writer and novelist, he is best remembered for his writing for children

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POETRY - A PERSONAL CHOICE is updated every weekday

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Wednesday, August 26, 2015

WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 1770-1850


-o0o-

LINES WRITTEN IN EARLY SPRING

I heard a thousand blended notes,
While in a grove I sate reclined,
In that sweet mood when pleasant thoughts
Bring sad thoughts to the mind.

To her fair works did Nature link
The human soul that through me ran;
And much it grieved my heart to think
What man has made of man.

Through primrose tufts, in that green bower,
The periwinkle trailed its wreaths;
And ’tis my faith that every flower
Enjoys the air it breathes.

The birds around me hopped and played,
Their thoughts I cannot measure:—
But the least motion which they made
It seemed a thrill of pleasure.

The budding twigs spread out their fan,
To catch the breezy air;
And I must think, do all I can,
That there was pleasure there.

If this belief from heaven be sent,
If such be Nature’s holy plan,
Have I not reason to lament
What man has made of man?

Wordsworth, along with Samuel Taylor Coleridge, was an important figure in the launching of the Romantic Age in English literature. He was made Poet Laureate in 1843.
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POETRY - A PERSONAL CHOICE is updated every weekday

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Tuesday, August 25, 2015

JEAN INGELOW 1820-97


-o0o-

THE LONG WHITE SEAM

As I came round the harbour buoy,
The lights began to gleam,
No wave the land-locked water stirred,
The crags were white as cream;
And I marked my love by candlelight
Sewing her long white seam.
It's aye sewing ashore, my dear,
Watch and steer at sea,
It's reef and furl, and haul the line,
Set sail and think of thee.

I climbed to reach her cottage door;
O sweetly my love sings!
Like a shaft of light her voice breaks forth,
My soul to meet it springs
As the shining water leaped of old,
When stirred by angel wings.
Aye longing to list anew,
Awake and in my dream,
But never a song she sang like this,
Sewing her long white seam.

Fair fall the lights, the harbour lights,
That brought me in to thee,
And peace drop down on that low roof
For the sight that I did see,
And the voice, my dear, that rang so clear
All for the love of me.
For O, for O, with brows bent low
By the candle's flickering gleam,
Her wedding-gown it was she wrought.
Sewing the long white seam. 

The works of this English poet and novelist were praised by Tennyson and they later became good friends.
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POETRY - A PERSONAL CHOICE is updated every weekday

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Monday, August 24, 2015

EDWARD THOMAS 1878-1917


-o0o-

THE UNKNOWN BIRD

Three lovely notes he whistled, too soft to be heard
If others sang; but others never sang
In the great beech-wood all that May and June.
No one saw him: I alone could hear him
Though many listened. Was it but four years
Ago? or five? He never came again.

Oftenest when I heard him I was alone,
Nor could I ever make another hear.
La-la-la! he called, seeming far-off -
As if a cock crowed past the edge of the world,
As if the bird or I were in a dream.
Yet that he travelled through the trees and sometimes
Neared me, was plain, though somehow distant still
He sounded. All the proof is -I told men
What I had heard.

I never knew a voice,
Man, beast, or bird, better than this. I told
The naturalists; but neither had they heard
Anything like the notes that did so haunt me,
I had them clear by heart and have them still.
Four years, or five, have made no difference. Then
As now that La-la-la! was bodiless sweet:
Sad more than joyful it was, if I must say
That it was one or other, but if sad
'Twas sad only with joy too, too far off
For me to taste it. But I cannot tell
If truly never anything but fair
The days were when he sang, as now they seem.
This surely I know, that I who listened then,
Happy sometimes, sometimes suffering
A heavy body and a heavy heart,
Now straightway, if I think of it, become
Light as that bird wandering beyond my shore.

Edward Thomas was an Anglo-Welsh poet, essayist and novelist. He enlisted in the Army during the First World War and was killed in action not long after he arrived in France.

A new art blog featuring paintings by John Constable
CONSTABLE'S CLOUDS
begins on Friday 28th August
http://constablesclouds.blogspot.com

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Friday, August 21, 2015

SAMUEL ROGERS 1763-1855


-o0o-

A WISH

Mine be a cot beside the hill,
A bee-hive's hum shall sooth my ear;
A willowy brook, that turns a mill,
With many a fall shall linger near.

The swallow, oft, beneath my thatch,
Shall twitter from her clay-built nest;
Oft shall the pilgrim lift the latch,
And share my meal, a welcome guest.

Around my ivy'd porch shall spring
Each fragrant flower that drinks the dew;
And Lucy, at her wheel, shall sing
In russet gown and apron blue.

The village-church, among the trees,
Where first our marriage-vows were giv'n,
With merry peals shall swell the breeze,
And point with taper spire to heav'n.

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Samuel Rogers was a well-known poet during his lifetime, but since then his fame has been eclipsed by his friends William Wordsworth, Samuel Coleridge and and Lord Byron.

NEXT POST MONDAY

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Thursday, August 20, 2015

HUMBERT WOLFE 1885-1940


THE GREY SQUIRREL

Like a small grey
coffee-pot,
sits the squirrel.
He is not

all he should be,
kills by dozens
trees, and eats
his red-brown cousins.

The keeper on the
other hand,
who shot him, is
a Christian, and

loves his enemies,
which shows
the squirrel was not
one of those. 

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Humbert Wolfe CB CBE was an Italian-born British poet and civil servant. It is said that he was "of no political creed, except that his general view is that money and its possessors should be abolished." The following which comes from his "The Uncelestial City" is often quoted today:

You cannot hope to bribe or twist,
thank God! the British journalist.
But, seeing what the man will do
unbribed, there's no occasion to.

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POETRY - A PERSONAL CHOICE is updated every weekday


Wednesday, August 19, 2015

ROBERT FROST 1874-1963


-o0o-

STOPPING BY WOODS ON A SNOWY EVENING

Whose woods these are I think I know.   
His house is in the village though;   
He will not see me stopping here   
To watch his woods fill up with snow.   

My little horse must think it queer   
To stop without a farmhouse near   
Between the woods and frozen lake   
The darkest evening of the year.   

He gives his harness bells a shake   
To ask if there is some mistake.   
The only other sound’s the sweep   
Of easy wind and downy flake.   

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,   
But I have promises to keep,   
And miles to go before I sleep,   
And miles to go before I sleep.

Robert Frost was a highly-regarded American poet who received four Pulitzer Prizes for Poetry, was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal in 1960 and the following year was named Poet Laureate of Vermont.

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POETRY - A PERSONAL CHOICE is updated every weekday

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Tuesday, August 18, 2015

ALEXANDER ANDERSON 1845-1909


-o0o-

FROM A CARRIAGE WINDOW

Just a peep from a carriage window,
As we stood for a moment still,
Just one look - and no more - till the engine
Gave a whistle sharp and shrill.

But I saw in that moment the heather,
That lay like a purple sheet
On the hills that watch o’er the hamlet
That sleeps like a child at their feet.

O, sweet are those hills when the winter
Flings round them his mantle of snow,
And sweet when the sunshine of summer
Sets their fair green bosoms aglow.

But sweeter and grander in autumn,
When the winds are soft with desire,
When the buds of the heather take blossom,
And run to their summits like fire.

I saw each and all through the heather
That purple lay spread like a sheet
On the hills that watch over the hamlet,
That sleeps like a child at their feet.

Of humble beginnings Alexander Anderson worked first in a quarry and then as a platelayer on the Glasgow and South-Western Railway. Later he was appointed secretary to the Edinburgh Philosophical Institution and then Chief Librarian at Edinburgh University.
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POETRY - A PERSONAL CHOICE is updated every weekday

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Monday, August 17, 2015

DORA SIGERSON SHORTER 1866-1918


-o0o-

THE MOUNTAIN MAID

Half seated on a mossy crag, 
Half crouching in the heather; 
I found a little Irish maid, 
All in June's golden weather. 
Like some fond hand that loved the child, 
The wind tossed back her tresses; 
The heath-bells touched her unclad feet 
With shy and soft caresses. 

A mountain linnet flung his song 
Into the air around her; 
But all in vain the splendid hour, 
For deep in woe I found her. 
"Ahone! Ahone! Ahone!" she wept, 
The tears fell fast and faster; 
I sat myself beside her there, 
To hear of her disaster. 

Like dew on roses down her cheek 
The diamond drops were stealing; 
She laid her two brown hands in mine, 
Her trouble all revealing. 
Alas! Alas! the tale she told 
In Gaelic low and tender; 
A plague upon my Saxon tongue, 
I could not comprehend her.

-o=0=o-

This Irish poet and sculptor was a major figure in the Literary Revival in Ireland. Her friends included the writers and poets Katherine Tynan, Rose Kavanagh and Alice Furlong.

POETRY - A PERSONAL CHOICE is updated every weekday

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Friday, August 14, 2015

HENRY DUFF TRAILL 1842-1900


-o0o-

A DRAWING-ROOM BALLAD

Can you recall an ode to June
Or lines to any river
In which you do not meet the "moon"
And see the moonbeams "quiver"?
I've heard such songs to many a tune
But never yet - no niver -
Have I escaped that rhyme to "June"
Or missed that rhyme to "river."

At times the bard from his refrain
A moment's respite snatches,
The while his over-cudgelled brain
At some new jingle catches;
Yet long from the unlucky moon
Himself he cannot sever;
But grasps once more that rhyme to "June"
And seeks a rhyme to "river."

Then let not indolence be blamed
On him whose verses show it
By shunning "burdens" (rightly named
For reader and for poet);
For rhymes must fail him late or soon,
Nor can he deal for ever
In words whose sound resembles "June"
And assonents of "river."

When "loon" 's been used, and "shoon" and "spoon"
And "stiver" sounded "stiver," *
Think of a bard reduced to "coon"
And left alone with "liver."
Ah, then, how blessed were the boon!
How doubly blest the giver
Who gave him one more rhyme for "June"
And one more rhyme for "river."!

* "stiver" is a word derived from the Dutch "stuiver." It was a currency denomination used in Ceylon in the early 19th century.

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Henry Duff Traill was a British journalist, editor and author. He was also a leader-writer for The Daily Telegraph, and he edited The Observer from 1889 till 1891.

NEXT POST HERE - MONDAY

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Thursday, August 13, 2015

JOHN CLARE 1793-1864


-o0o-

THE THRUSH'S NEST

Within a thick and spreading hawthorn bush
That overhung a molehill large and round,
I heard from morn to morn a merry thrush
Sing hymns to sunrise, and I drank the sound
With joy; and often, an intruding guest,
I watched her secret toil from day to day - 
How true she warped the moss to form a nest,
And modelled it within with wood and clay;
And by and by, like heath-bells gilt with dew,
There lay her shining eggs, as bright as flowers,
Ink-spotted over shells of greeny blue;
And there I witnessed, in the sunny hours,
A brood of nature's minstrels chirp and fly,
Glad as the sunshine and the laughing sky. 

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According to the poet's biographer Jonathan Bate, Clare was "the greatest labouring-class poet that England has ever produced. No one has ever written more powerfully of nature, of a rural childhood, and of the alienated and unstable self."

POETRY - A PERSONAL CHOICE is updated every weekday

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Wednesday, August 12, 2015

MARY ELIZABETH COLERIDGE 1861-1907


-o0o-

THE OTHER SIDE OF THE MIRROR

I sat before my glass one day, 
And conjured up a vision bare, 
Unlike the aspects glad and gay, 
That erst were found reflected there - 
The vision of a woman, wild 
With more than womanly despair. 

Her hair stood back on either side 
A face bereft of loveliness. 
It had no envy now to hide 
What once no man on earth could guess. 
It formed the thorny aureole 
Of hard, unsanctified distress. 

Her lips were open - not a sound 
Came though the parted lines of red, 
Whate'er it was, the hideous wound 
In silence and secret bled. 
No sigh relieved her speechless woe, 
She had no voice to speak her dread. 

And in her lurid eyes there shone 
The dying flame of life's desire, 
Made mad because its hope was gone, 
And kindled at the leaping fire 
Of jealousy and fierce revenge, 
And strength that could not change nor tire. 

Shade of a shadow in the glass, 
O set the crystal surface free! 
Pass - as the fairer visions pass - 
Nor ever more return, to be 
The ghost of a distracted hour, 
That heard me whisper: - "I am she!'"

-o0o-

This British poet was also a novelist and writer of essays and reviews. She was a greatgrandniece of Samuel Taylor Coleridge and a grandniece of Sara Coleridge.

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POETRY - A PERSONAL CHOICE is updated every weekday.

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Tuesday, August 11, 2015

LANGSTON HUGHES 1902-67


-o0o-

MOTHER TO SUN

Well, son, I'll tell you:
Life for me ain't been no crystal stair.
It's had tacks in it,
And splinters,
And boards torn up,
And places with no carpet on the floor -
Bare.
But all the time 
I'se been a-climbin' on,
And reachin' landin's,
And turnin' corners,
And sometimes goin' in the dark
Where there ain't been no light.
So, boy, don't you turn back.
Don't you set down on the steps.
'Cause you finds it's kinder hard.
Don't you fall now -
For I'se still goin', honey,
I'se still climbin',
And life for me ain't been no crystal stair. 

-o0o-

This American poet, novelist and playwright was also a prominent social activist.

POETRY - A PERSONAL CHOICE is updated every weekday.

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Monday, August 10, 2015

JAMES HOGG 1770-1835


-o0o-

THE SKYLARK

Bird of the wilderness,
Blithesome and cumberless,
Sweet be thy matin o'er moorland and lea!
Emblem of happiness,
Blest is thy dwelling-place -
O to abide in the desert with thee!

Wild is thy lay and loud,
Far in the downy cloud,
Love gives it energy, love gave it birth.
Where, on thy dewy wing,
Where art thou journeying?
Thy lay is in heaven, thy love is on earth.

O'er fell and fountain sheen,
O'er moor and mountain green,
O'er the red streamer that heralds the day,
Over the cloudlet dim,
Over the rainbow's rim,
Musical cherub, soar, singing, away!

Then, when the gloaming comes,
Low in the heather blooms
Sweet will thy welcome and bed of love be!
Emblem of happiness,
Blest is thy dwelling-place -
O to abide in the desert with thee! 

-o0o-

James Hogg was a Scottish poet and novelist who wrote in both Scots and English. As a young man he worked as both a shepherd and farmhand and some of his works were published under the name "The Ettrick Shepherd."

POETRY - A PERSONAL CHOICE is updated every weekday

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Friday, August 7, 2015

B.J. KING (dates not known)

THE PESSIMIST

Nothing to do but work,
Nothing to eat but food,
Nothing to wear but clothes
To keep one from going nude.

Nothing to breathe but air,
Quick as a flash 'tis gone;
Nowhere to fall but off,
Nowhere to stand but on.

Nothing to comb but hair,
Nowhere to sleep but in bed,
Nothing to weep but tears,
Nothing to bury but dead.

Nothing to sing but songs,
Ah, well, alas! alack!
Nowhere to go but out,
Nowhere to come but back.

Nothing to see but sights,
Nothing to quench but thirst,
Nothing to have but what we've got.
Thus through life we are cursed.

Nothing to strike but a gait;
Everything moved that goes.
Nothing at all but common sense
Can ever withstand these woes.

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NEXT POST MONDAY

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Thursday, August 6, 2015

JOHN KEATS 1795-1821


-o0o-

WHERE BE YE GOING, YOU DEVON MAID?

Where be ye going, you Devon maid?
And what have ye there i' the basket?
Ye tight little fairy, just fresh from the dairy,
Will ye give me some cream if I ask it?

I love your meads, and I love your flowers,
And I love your junkets mainly,
But 'hind the door, I love kissing more,
O look not so disdainly!

I love your hills, and I love your dales,
And I love your flocks a-bleating;
But O, on the heather to lie together,
With both our hearts a-beating!

I'll put your basket all safe in a nook,
Your shawl I'll hang up on this willow,
And we will sigh in the daisy's eye,
And kiss on a grass-green pillow.

-o0o-

Along with Byron and Shelley, Keats was one of the main figures of the second generation of English Romantic poets.

POETRY - A PERSONAL CHOICE is updated every weekday

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Wednesday, August 5, 2015

ELIZABETH BARRETT BROWNING 1806-61


-o0o-

DO YOU HEAR THE CHILDREN WEEPING?

Do you hear the children weeping, O my brothers,
Ere the sorrow comes with years?
They are leaning their young heads against their mothers,
And that cannot stop their tears.
The young lambs are bleating in the meadows,
The young birds are chirping in the nest,
The young fawns are playing with the shadows,
The young flowers are blowing toward the west:
But the young, young children, O my brothers,
They are weeping bitterly!
They are weeping in the playtime of the others,
In the country of the free.

“For oh,” say the children, “we are weary,
And we cannot run or leap;
If we cared for any meadows, it were merely
To drop down in them and sleep.
Our knees tremble sorely in the stooping,
We fall upon our faces, trying to go;
And, underneath our heavy eyelids drooping,
The reddest flower would look as pale as snow.
For, all day, we drag our burden tiring
Through the coal-dark, underground,
Or, all day, we drive the wheels of iron
In the factories, round and round."

They look up with their pale and sunken faces,
And their look is dread to see,
For they mind you of their angels in high places,
With eyes turned on Deity.
“How long,” they say, “how long, O cruel nation,
Will you stand, to move the world, on a child’s heart,—
Stifle down with a mailed heel its palpitation,
And tread onward to your throne amid the mart?
Our blood splashes upward, O gold-heaper,
And your purple shows your path!
But the child’s sob in the silence curses deeper
Than the strong man in his wrath.”

[The above is part of “The Cry of the Children” a poem of 13 verses. It was written at the time "when government investigations had exposed the exploitation of children employed in coal mines and factories."]

This poet was one of the most prominent British poets of the Victorian age. When the poet laureate Wordsworth died, she was a rival to Tennyson for the honoured position.

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POETRY - A PERSONAL CHOICE is updated every weekday

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Tuesday, August 4, 2015

E.E. CUMMINGS 1894-1962


-o0o-

IF

If freckles were lovely, and day was night,
And measles were nice and a lie warn’t a lie,
Life would be delight, -
But things couldn’t go right
For in such a sad plight
I wouldn’t be I.

If earth was heaven and now was hence,
And past was present, and false was true,
There might be some sense
But I’d be in suspense
For on such a pretence
You wouldn’t be you.

If fear was plucky, and globes were square,
And dirt was cleanly and tears were glee
Things would seem fair, -
Yet they’d all despair,
For if here was there
We wouldn’t be we.

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The name of this American poet is sometimes written as e e cummings because he often used lower case letters only in his poems. He was also a painter, essayist, author and playright.

POETRY - A PERSONAL CHOICE is updated every weekday

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Monday, August 3, 2015

JOHN MASEFIELD 1878-1967


-o0o-

TEWKESBURY ROAD

It is good to be out on the road, and going one knows not where,
Going through meadow and village, one knows not whither or why; 
Through the grey light drift of the dust, in the keen cool rush of the air,
Under the flying white clouds, and the broad blue lift of the sky.

And to halt at the chattering brook, in a tall green fern at the brink
Where the harebell grows, and the gorse, and the foxgloves purple and white; 
Where the shifty-eyed delicate deer troop down to the brook to drink
When the stars are mellow and large at the coming on of the night.

O, to feel the beat of the rain, and the homely smell of the earth,
Is a tune for the blood to jig to, and joy past power of words; 
And the blessed green comely meadows are all a-ripple with mirth
At the noise of the lambs at play and the dear wild cry of the birds.

-o0o-

John Masefield was a British poet and writer who was Poet Laureate from 1930 until his death in 1967.

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POETRY - A PERSONAL CHOICE is updated every weekday

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