Thursday, March 31, 2016

The new blog begins on Friday


Langston Hughes 1902-67

Because my mouth
Is wide with laughter
And my throat
Is deep with song,
You do not think
I suffer after
I have held my pain
So long?

Because my mouth
Is wide with laughter,
You do not hear
My inner cry?
Because my feet
Are gay with dancing,
You do not know
I die?

This American poet, social activist, novelist, playwright and columnist was one of the earliest poets to experiment with jazz poetry.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

A new blog begins on Friday 1st April

POETRY - A PERSONAL CHOICE will continue to be updated every day


Robert Frost 1874-1963

Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I've tasted of desire
I hold with those who favour fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.

 One of the most popular American poets of the twentieth century, Robert Frost was honoured frequently during his lifetime, receiving four Pulitzer Prizes for Poetry. He was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal in 1960 for his poetical works. and the following year was named Poet Laureate of Vermont.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016




O bonnie Toshie Norrie
   To Inverard is gane,
An' wi' her a' the sunshine
   That made us unco fain.
The win' is cauld an' gurly,
   An' winter's in the air,
But where dwells Toshie Norrie,
   O, it's aye simmer there!

O, bonnie Toshie Norrie,
   What made you leave us a'?
Your hame is no' the Hielands,
   Though there the hills are braw.
Come back wi' a' your daffin',
   An' walth o' gowden hair,
For where dwells Toshie Norrie,
   O, it's aye simmer there!

O, bonnie Toshie Norrie,
   The winter nichts are lang,
An' aft we sit an' weary
   To hear an auld Scots sang;
Come back, an’ let your music,
  Like sunshine, fill the air,
For where dwells Toshie Norrie,
   O, it's aye simmer there!

Railwayman, poet and librarian, Alexander Anderson was the author of the famous poem about the children who didn't want to go to sleep "Cuddle Doon"


Monday, March 28, 2016




Go, lovely rose!
Tell her that wastes her time and me
That now she knows,
When I resemble her to thee,
How sweet and fair she seems to be.

Tell her that's young,
And shuns to have her graces spied,
That hadst thou sprung
In deserts, where no men abide,
Thou must have uncommended died.

Small is the worth
Of beauty from the light retired;
Bid her come forth,
Suffer herself to be desired,
And not blush so to be admired.

Then die! that she
The common fate of all things rare
May read in thee;
How small a part of time they share
That are so wondrous sweet and fair! 

This English poet and politician was at various times a member of Parliament. He was at first an active member of the opposition but later became a Royalist. In 1643 he was leader in a plot to seize London for Charles I. For this he was imprisoned, fined, and banished. He made his peace with Cromwell in 1651, returned to England and was restored to favour at the Restoration.


Sunday, March 27, 2016




'Ithin the woodlands, flow'ry gleaded, 
By the woak tree's mossy moot, 
The sheenen grass bleades, timber-sheaded, 
Now do quiver under voot; 
An' birds do whissle auver head, 
An' water's bubblen in its bed, 
An' ther vor me the apple tree
Do lean down low in Linden Lea.

When leaves that leately wer a-springen
Now do feade 'ithin the copse, 
An' painted birds do hush ther zingen
Up upon the timber's tops; 
An' brown-leav'd fruit's a-turnen red, 
In cloudless zunsheen, auver head, 
Wi' fruit vor me the apple tree
Do lean down low in Linden Lea.

Let other vo'k meake money vaster
In the air o' dark-room'd towns, 
I don't dread a peevish measter; 
Though noo man do heed my frowns, 
I be free to goo abrode, 
Or teake agean my hwomeward road
To where vor me the apple tree
Do lean down low in Linden Lea. 

Barnes was an English poet, writer and Anglican priest who wrote over 800 poems of which some, like the one above, are in the Dorset dialect.


Saturday, March 26, 2016

THOMAS HOOD 1799-1845



Gold! Gold! Gold! Gold!
Bright and yellow, hard and cold
Molten, graven, hammered and rolled,
Heavy to get and light to hold,
Hoarded, bartered, bought and sold,
Stolen, borrowed, squandered, doled,
Spurned by young, but hung by old
To the verge of a church yard mold;
Price of many a crime untold.
Gold! Gold! Gold! Gold!
Good or bad a thousand fold!
How widely it agencies vary,
To save - to ruin - to curse - to bless -
As even its minted coins express :
Now stamped with the image of Queen Bess,
And now of a bloody Mary. 


Friday, March 25, 2016




Shy in their herding dwell the fallow deer.
They are spirits of wild sense. Nobody near
Comes upon their pastures. There a life they live,
Of sufficient beauty, phantom, fugitive,
Treading as in jungles free leopards do,
Printless as evelight, instant as dew.
The great kine are patient, and home-coming sheep
Know our bidding. The fallow deer keep
Delicate and far their counsels wild,
Never to be folded reconciled
To the spoiling hand as the poor flocks are;
Lightfoot, and swift, and unfamiliar,
These you may not hinder, unconfined
Beautiful flocks of the mind. 

This English poet and dramatist, along with Rupert Brooke, was associated with a group of poets in Dymock, Gloucestershire.

Thursday, March 24, 2016




The tide rises, the tide falls,
The twilight darkens, the curlew calls;
Along the sea-sands damp and brown
The traveller hastens toward the town,
      And the tide rises, the tide falls.

Darkness settles on roofs and walls,
But the sea, the sea in the darkness calls;
The little waves, with their soft, white hands,
Efface the footprints in the sands,
      And the tide rises, the tide falls.

The morning breaks; the steeds in their stalls
Stamp and neigh, as the hostler calls;
The day returns, but nevermore
Returns the traveller to the shore,
      And the tide rises, the tide falls.

Longfellow wrote many lyric poems known for their musicality and often presenting stories of mythology and legend. He became the most popular American poet of his day.


Wednesday, March 23, 2016




Was this the face that launch'd a thousand ships,
And burnt the topless towers of Ilium?
Sweet Helen, make me immortal with a kiss.
Her lips suck forth my soul: see where it flies!
Come, Helen, come, give me my soul again.
Here will I dwell, for heaven is in these lips,
And all is dross that is not Helena.
I will be Paris, and for love of thee,
Instead of Troy, shall Wittenberg be sack'd;
And I will combat with weak Menelaus,
And wear thy colours on my plumed crest;
Yea, I will wound Achilles in the heel,
And then return to Helen for a kiss.
O, thou art fairer than the evening air
Clad in the beauty of a thousand stars;
Brighter art thou than flaming Jupiter
When he appear'd to hapless Semele;
More lovely than the monarch of the sky
In wanton Arethusa's azur'd arms;
And none but thou shalt be my paramour! 

This English playwright, poet and translator was the foremost tragedian of his day. He greatly influenced William Shakespeare who was born in the same year as Marlowe.


Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Eric Maschwitz 1901-69

A cigarette that bears a lipstick's traces,
An airline ticket to romantic places,
And still my heart has wings,
These foolish things remind me of you.

A tinkling piano in the next apartment,
Those stumbling words that told you what my heart meant,
A fairground's painted swings,
These foolish things remind me of you.

You came, you saw, you conquered me,
When you did that to me
I knew somehow this had to be.

The winds of march that make my heart a dancer,
A telephone that rings but who's to answer? 
Oh, how the ghost of you clings,
These foolish things remind me of you.

Eric Maschwitz was an English entertainer, writer, broadcaster and broadcasting executive. He was romantically linked to the Chinese-American actress Anna May Wong while working in Hollywood, and the lyrics of "These Foolish Things" are about his longing for her after they parted and he returned to Britain.

Monday, March 21, 2016




Away, ye gay landscapes, ye gardens of roses, 
In you let the minions of luxury rove, 
Restore me the rocks where the snow-flake reposes, 
Though still they are sacred to freedom and love. 
Yet Caledonia, belov'd are thy mountains, 
Round their white summits tho' elements war, 
Though cataracts foam 'stead of smooth-flowing fountains, 
I sigh for the valley of dark Lochnagar.

Ah! there my young footsteps in infancy wander'd, 
My cap was the bonnet, my cloak was the plaid. 
On chieftains long perish'd my memory ponder'd 
As daily I strode thro' the pine-cover'd glade. 
I sought not my home till the day's dying glory 
Gave place to the rays of the bright Polar star, 
For fancy was cheer'd by traditional story, 
Disclos'd by the natives of dark Lochnagar!

Years have roll'd on, Lochnagar, since I left you! 
Years must elapse ere I tread you again. 
Though nature of verdure and flow'rs has bereft you, 
Yet still are you dearer than Albion's plain. 
England, thy beauties are tame and domestic 
To one who has roamed over mountains afar 
Oh! for the crags that are wild and majestic, 
The steep frowning glories of dark Lochnagar.

The poet was brought up in Aberdeenshire and, although he left Aberdeen Grammar School for Harrow at the age of ten, he never forgot his Scottish roots. Lochnagar is a steep, mountain ridge with four distinct peaks above a loch with the same name situated in the Cairngorms in Aberdeenshire.

Sunday, March 20, 2016




Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate.
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer's lease hath all too short a date.
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimmed;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance, or nature's changing course, untrimmed;
But thy eternal summer shall not fade,
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow'st,
Nor shall death brag thou wand'rest in his shade,
When in eternal lines to Time thou grow'st.
     So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,
     So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.


Saturday, March 19, 2016




Sweet Garden-orchard! of all spots that are
The loveliest surely man hath ever found.
Farewell! we leave thee to heaven's peaceful care.
Thee and the cottage which thou dost surround -

Dear Spot! whom we have watched with tender heed,
Bringing thee chosen plants and blossoms blown
Among the distant mountains, flower and weed
Which thou hast taken to thee as thy own -

O happy Garden! loved for hours of sleep,
O quiet Garden! loved for waking hours.
For soft half-slumbers that did gently steep
Our spirits, carrying with them dreams of flowers.



Friday, March 18, 2016


An old man going a lone highway,
Came, at the evening cold and grey,
To a chasm vast and deep and wide,
The old man crossed in the twilight dim,
The sullen stream had no fear for him;
But he turned when safe on the other side
And built a bridge to span the tide.
"Old man," said a fellow pilgrim near,
"You are wasting your strength with building here;
Your journey will end with the ending day,
Yon never again will pass this way;
You've crossed the chasm, deep and wide,
Why build this bridge at evening tide?"
The builder lifted his old grey head;
"Good friend, in the path I have come," he said,
"There followed after me to-day
A youth whose feet must pass this way.
This chasm that has been as naught to me
To that fair-haired youth may a pitfall be;
He, too, must cross in the twilight dim;
Good friend, I am building this bridge for him!"


Thursday, March 17, 2016



Come, walk with me, 
There's only thee 
To bless my spirit now - 
We used to love on winter nights
To wander through the snow; 
Can we not woo back old delights?
The clouds rush dark and wild 
They fleck with shade our mountain heights
The same as long ago 
And on the horizon rest at last
In looming masses piled; 
While moonbeams flash and fly so fast
We scarce can say they smiled - 

Come walk with me, come walk with me;
We were not once so few
But Death has stolen our company
As sunshine steals the dew -
He took them one by one and we 
Are left the only two; 
So closer would my feelings twine
Because they have no stay but thine - 

"Nay call me not - it may not be
Is human love so true? 
Can Friendship's flower droop on for years
And then revive anew? 
No, though the soil be wet with tears, 
How fair soe'er it grew
The vital sap once perished
Will never flow again 
And surer than that dwelling dread,
The narrow dungeon of the dead 
Time parts the hearts of men -"


Wednesday, March 16, 2016




Rose kissed me to-day.
Will she kiss me tomorrow?
Let it be as it may,
Rose kissed me today.
But the pleasure gives way
To a savour of sorrow;
Rose kissed me to-day,
Will she kiss me tomorrow? 

Henry Austin Dobson was an English poet and essayist.


Tuesday, March 15, 2016



How many roads must a man walk down
 Before you call him a man?
 Yes, ’n’ how many seas must a white dove sail
 Before she sleeps in the sand?
 Yes, ’n’ how many times must the cannonballs fly
 Before they’re forever banned?
 The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind,
 The answer is blowin’ in the wind.

 How many years can a mountain exist
 Before it’s washed to the sea?
 Yes, ’n’ how many years can some people exist
 Before they’re allowed to be free?
 Yes, ’n’ how many times can a man turn his head
 Pretending he just doesn’t see?
 The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind,
 The answer is blowin’ in the wind.

 How many times must a man look up
 Before he can see the sky?
 Yes, ’n’ how many ears must one man have
 Before he can hear people cry?
 Yes, ’n’ how many deaths will it take till he knows
 That too many people have died?
 The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind,
 The answer is blowin’ in the wind.


Monday, March 14, 2016




If you sit down at set of sun
And count the acts that you have done,
And, counting, find
One self-denying deed, one word
That eased the heart of him who heard, 
One glance most kind
That fell like sunshine where it went -
Then you may count that day well spent.

But if, through all the livelong day,
You've cheered no heart, by yea or nay -
If, through it all
You've nothing done that you can trace
That brought the sunshine to one face -
No act most small
That helped some soul and nothing cost -
Then count that day as worse than lost. 


Sunday, March 13, 2016




The ash grove how graceful, how plainly 'tis speaking
The harp through its playing has language for me.
Whenever the light through its branches is breaking,
A host of kind faces is gazing on me.
The friends from my childhood again are before me
Each step wakes a memory as freely I roam.
With soft whispers laden the leaves rustle o’er me
The ash grove, the ash grove alone is my home.

Down yonder green meadow where streamlets meander
When twilight is fading I pensively roam
Or in the bright noon tide in solitude wander
Amid the dark spaces of that lonely ash grove.
‘Twas there while the black bird was cheerfully singing
I first met my dear one the joy of my heart
Around us for gladness the blue bells were springing
The ash grove, the ash grove that sheltered my home.

My lips smile no more, my heart loses its lightness;
No dream of the future my spirit can cheer.
I only can brood on the past and its brightness
The dear ones I long for again gather here.
From ev'ry dark nook they press forward to meet me;
I lift up my eyes to the broad leafy dome,
And others are there, looking downward to greet me
The ash grove, the ash grove, again is my home.

John Oxenford was an English dramatist and translator.


Saturday, March 12, 2016

ALFRED NOYES 1880-1958



Everyone grumbled. The sky was grey.
We had nothing to do and nothing to say.
We were nearing the end of a dismal day,
And then there seemed to be nothing beyond,
Daddy fell into the pond!

And everyone's face grew merry and bright,
And Timothy danced for sheer delight.
"Give me the camera, quick, oh quick!
He's crawling out of the duckweed!" Click!

Then the gardener suddenly slapped his knee,
And doubled up, shaking silently,
And the ducks all quacked as if they were daft,
And it sounded as if the old drake laughed.
Oh, there wasn't a thing that didn't respond
Daddy fell into the pond!

Alfred Noyes CBE was an English poet, short-story writer and playwright, best known for his ballads,"The Highwayman" and "The Barrel-Organ".


Friday, March 11, 2016

JAMES HOGG 1770-1835



Caledonia! thou land of the mountain and rock,
Of the ocean, the mist, and the wind-
Thou land of the torrent, the pine, and the oak,
Of the roebuck, the hart, and the hind;
Though bare are thy cliffs, and though barren thy glens,
Though bleak thy dun islands appear,
Yet kind are the hearts, and undaunted the clans,
That roam on these mountains so drear!

A foe from abroad, or a tyrant at home,
Could never thy ardour restrain;
The marshal'd array of imperial Rome
Essay'd thy proud spirit in vain!
Firm seat of religion, of valour, of truth,
Of genius unshackled and free,
The muses have left all the vales of the south,
My loved Caledonia, for thee!

Sweet land of the bay and wild-winding deeps
Where loveliness slumbers at even,
While far in the depth of the blue water sleeps
A calm little motionless heaven!
Thou land of the valley, the moor, and the hill,
Of the storm and the proud rolling wave-
Yes, thou art the land of fair liberty still,
And the land of my forefathers' grave! 

Known as "The Ettrick Shepherd" this Scottish poet, novelist and essayist wrote in both Scots and English. He was a friend of many of the great writers of his day including Sir Walter Scott.


Thursday, March 10, 2016




What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

No time to stand beneath the boughs
And stare as long as sheep or cows.

No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.

No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night.

No time to turn at Beauty's glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance.

No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began.

A poor life this is if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare. 

Davies was a Welsh poet and writer who spent a significant part of his life as a tramp in the UK and the USA. He became one of the most popular poets of his time.


Wednesday, March 9, 2016

THOMAS HARDY 1840-1928



Clack, clack, clack, went the mill-wheel as I came,
And she was on the bridge with the thin hand-rail,
And the miller at the door, and the ducks at mill-tail;
I come again years after, and all there seems the same.

And so indeed it is: the apple-tree'd old house,
And the deep mill-pond, and the wet wheel clacking,
And a woman on the bridge, and white ducks quacking,
And the miller at the door, powdered pale from boots to brows.

But it's not the same miller whom long ago I knew,
Nor are they the same apples, nor the same drops that dash
Over the wet wheel, nor the ducks below that splash,
Nor the woman who to fond plaints replied, "You know I do!"

In his long life Thomas Hardy wrote 14 novels, more than 40 short stories, over 900 poems and two dramas. Apart from his prose works and poetry, Hardy left a great number of letters, notebooks, pocket-books and diaries, most of which were destroyed in accordance with his will. 


Tuesday, March 8, 2016

JOHN CLARE 1793-1864



All nature has a feeling: woods, fields, brooks
Are life eternal: and in silence they
Speak happiness beyond the reach of books;
There's nothing mortal in them; their decay
Is the green life of change; to pass away
And come again in blooms revivified.
Its birth was heaven, eternal is its stay,
And with the sun and moon shall still abide
Beneath their day and night and heaven wide. 

 Now often considered to be among the most important 19th century poets, John Clare is especially remembered for his depictions of the English countryside.


Monday, March 7, 2016




Downhill I came, hungry, and yet not starved, 
Cold, yet had heat within me that was proof 
Against the north wind; tired, yet so that rest 
Had seemed the sweetest thing under a roof.

Then at the inn I had food, fire, and rest, 
Knowing how hungry, cold, and tired was I. 
All of the night was quite barred out except 
An owl's cry, a most melancholy cry.

Shaken out long and clear upon the hill 
No merry note, nor cause of merriment, 
But one telling me plain what I escaped 
And others could not, that night, as in I went.

And salted was my food, and my repose, 
Salted and sobered too, by the bird's voice 
Speaking for all who lay under the stars, 
Soldiers and poor, unable to rejoice. 

British poet, essayist and novelist, Edward Thomas enlisted in the British Army to fight in the First World War and was killed in action in 1917 soon after he arrived in France.


Sunday, March 6, 2016




Hold fast to dreams
For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird
That cannot fly.
Hold fast to dreams 
For when dreams go 
Life is a barren field 
Frozen with snow.  

This American poet, social activist, novelist, playwright and columnist was one of the earliest poets to experiment with jazz poetry.

Saturday, March 5, 2016




Time and again I've longed for adventure,
Something to make my heart beat the faster.
What did I long for? I never really knew.
Finding your love I've found my adventure,
Touching your hand, my heart beats the faster,
All that I want in all of this world is you.

You are the promised kiss of springtime
That makes the lonely winter seem long.
You are the breathless hush of evening
That trembles on the brink of a lovely song.

You are the angel glow that lights a star,
The dearest things I know are what you are.
Some day my happy arms will hold you,
And some day I'll know that moment divine,
When all the things you are, are mine!

Oscar Hammerstein was an American librettist, theatrical producer and theatre director of musicals. He collaborated with many well-known composers including Richard Rodgers. Together they wrote perhaps the most  famous of all musicals, The Sound of Music.


Friday, March 4, 2016




Down by the salley gardens my love and I did meet;
She passed the salley gardens with little snow-white feet.
She bid me take love easy, as the leaves grow on the tree;
But I, being young and foolish, with her would not agree.

In a field by the river my love and I did stand,
And on my leaning shoulder she laid her snow-white hand.
She bid me take life easy, as the grass grows on the weirs;
But I was young and foolish, and now am full of tears.  

The Irish poet W. B. Yeats was one of the leading figures of 20th century literature. In his later years he served as an Irish Senator for two terms. 


Thursday, March 3, 2016




There are two kinds of people on earth to-day;
Just two kinds of people, no more, I say.
Not the sinner and saint, for it's well understood,
The good are half bad, and the bad are half good.

Not the rich and the poor, for to rate a man's wealth,
You must first know the state of his conscience and health.
Not the humble and proud, for in life's little span,
Who puts on vain airs, is not counted a man.

Not the happy and sad, for the swift flying years
Bring each man his laughter and each man his tears.
No - the two kinds of people on earth I mean,
Are the people who lift, and the people who lean.

Wherever you go, you will find the earth's masses,
Are always divided in just these two classes.
And oddly enough, you will find too, I ween,
There's only one lifter to twenty who lean.

In which class are you? Are you easing the load,
Of overtaxed lifters, who toil down the road?
Or are you a leaner, who lets others share
Your portion of labour, and worry and care?

The best-known work by this America poet is "Poems of Passion". She is remembered for the famous lines "Laugh, and the world laughs with you; weep, and you weep alone" which are found in "Solitude."


Wednesday, March 2, 2016

THOMAS HOOD 1789-1845


I will not have the mad Clytie*,
Whose head is turned by the sun;
The tulip is a courtly queen,
Whom, therefore, I will shun;
The cowslip is a country wench,
The violet is a nun; -
But I will woo the dainty rose,
The queen of everyone.

The pea is but a wanton witch,
In too much haste to wed,
And clasps her rings on every hand
The wolfsbane I should dread; -
Nor will I dreary rosemary
That always mourns the dead; -
But I will woo the dainty rose,
With her cheeks of tender red.

The lily is all in white, like a saint,
And so is no mate for me -
And the daisy's cheek is tipped with blush,
She is of such low degree;
Jasmine is sweet, and has many loves,
And the broom's betrothed to the bee; -
But I will plight with the dainty rose,
For fairest of all is she.

*In Greek mythology Clytie was a nymph who was turned into a sunflower.


Tuesday, March 1, 2016

LEWIS CARROLL (Charles Lutwidge Dodgson) 1832-98



I painted her a gushing thing, 
With years about a score; 
I little thought to find they were 
At least a dozen more; 
My fancy gave her eyes of blue, 
A curly auburn head: 
I came to find the blue a green, 
The auburn turned to red. 

She boxed my ears this morning, 
They tingled very much; 
I own that I could wish her 
A somewhat lighter touch; 
And if you ask me how 
Her charms might be improved, 
I would not have them added to, 
But just a few removed! 

She has the bear's ethereal grace, 
The bland hyena's laugh, 
The footstep of the elephant, 
The neck of a giraffe; 
I love her still, believe me, 
Though my heart its passion hides; 
"She's all my fancy painted her,
But oh! how much besides!

 This English writer, mathematician, logician, Anglican deacon, and photographer is famous as the writer of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass.