Sunday, July 31, 2016


at the second tee
the sparrows are fluttering
in the sprinkler's spray

Sunday morning
a howling dog competes
with the church bells

the moon keeps dodging
out of sight
behind the storm clouds

pulling petals off
he loves me he loves me not - 
best out of three?


The new blog begins tomorrow


Saturday, July 30, 2016



"Man, you too, aren't you, one of these rough followers of the criminal?
All hanging hereabout to gather how he's going to bear
Examination in the hall." She flung disdainful glances on
The shabby figure standing at the fire with others there,
Who warmed them by its flare.

"No indeed, my skipping maiden: I know nothing of the trial here,
Or criminal, if so he be. I chanced to come this way,
And the fire shone out into the dawn, and morning airs are cold now;
I, too, was drawn in part by charms I see before me play,
That I see not every day."

"Ha, ha!" then laughed the constables who also stood to warm themselves,
The while another maiden scrutinised his features hard,
As the blaze threw into contrast every line and knot that wrinkled them,
Exclaiming, "Why, last night when he was brought in by the guard,
You were with him in the yard!"

"Nay, nay, you teasing wench, I say! You know you speak mistakenly.
Cannot a tired pedestrian who has footed it afar
Here on his way from northern parts, engrossed in humble marketings,
Come in and rest awhile, although judicial doings are
Afoot by morning star?"

"O, come, come!" laughed the constables. "Why, man, you speak the dialect
He uses in his answers; you can hear him up the stairs.
So own it. We shan't hurt ye. There he's speaking now! His syllables
Are those you sound yourself when you are talking unawares,
As this pretty girl declares."

"And you shudder when his chain clinks!" she rejoined. "O yes, I noticed it.
And you winced, too, when those cuffs they gave him echoed to us here.
They'll soon be coming down, and you may then have to defend yourself
Unless you hold your tongue, or go away and keep you clear
When he's led to judgement near!"

"No! I'll be damned in hell if I know anything about the man!
No single thing about him more than everybody knows!
Must not I even warm my hands but I am charged with blasphemies?" 
. . . 
His face convulses as the morning cock that moment crows,
And he stops, and turns, and goes.

A New Art Blog begins on Monday 1st August  - SCENES OF EVERYDAY LIFE IN ART


Friday, July 29, 2016

A New Art Blog begins on Monday 1st August

Walter de la Mare 1873-1958

"Is there anybody there?" said the Traveller,
Knocking on the moonlit door;
And his horse in the silence champed the grass
Of the forest's ferny floor;
And a bird flew up out of the turret,
Above the Traveller's head:
And he smote upon the door again a second time;
"Is there anybody there?" he said.
But no one descended to the Traveller;
No head from the leaf-fringed sill
Leaned over and looked into his grey eyes,
Where he stood perplexed and still.
But only a host of phantom listeners
That dwelt in the lone house then
Stood listening in the quiet of the moonlight
To that voice from the world of men:
Stood thronging the faint moonbeams on the dark stair,
That goes down to the empty hall,
Hearkening in an air stirred and shaken
By the lonely Traveller's call.
And he felt in his heart their strangeness,
Their stillness answering his cry,
While his horse moved, cropping the dark turf,
'Neath the starred and leafy sky;
For he suddenly smote on the door, even
Louder, and lifted his head -
"Tell them I came, and no one answered,
That I kept my word," he said.
Never the least stir made the listeners,
Though every word he spake
Fell echoing through the shadowiness of the still house
From the one man left awake:
Aye, they heard his foot upon the stirrup,
And the sound of iron on stone,
And how the silence surged softly backward,
When the plunging hoofs were gone. 


Thursday, July 28, 2016

A New Art Blog begins on Monday 1st August


Emily Dickinson 1830-86

I'm nobody! Who are you?
Are you nobody, too?
Then there's a pair of us - don't tell!
They'd banish us, you know.

How dreary to be somebody!
How public, like a frog
To tell your name the livelong day
To an admiring bog!


Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Amanda McBroom b.1947

Some say love, it is a river
That drowns the tender reed.
Some say love, it is a razor
That leaves your soul to bleed.
Some say love, it is a hunger,
An endless aching need.
I say love, it is a flower,
And you it's only seed.

It's the heart afraid of breaking
That never learns to dance.
It's the dream afraid of waking
That never takes the chance.
It's the one who won't be taken,
Who cannot seem to give,
And the soul afraid of dying
That never learns to live.

When the night has been too lonely
And the road has been to long,
And you think that love is only
For the lucky and the strong,
Just remember in the winter
Far beneath the bitter snows
Lies the seed that with the sun's love
In the spring becomes the rose.


Tuesday, July 26, 2016

James Thomson 1834-82

Give a man a horse he can ride, 
         Give a man a boat he can sail; 
And his rank and wealth, his strength and health, 
         On sea nor shore shall fail. 

Give a man a pipe he can smoke, 
         Give a man a book he can read: 
And his home is bright with a calm delight, 
         Though the room be poor indeed. 

Give a man a girl he can love, 
         As I, O my love, love thee; 
And his heart is great with the pulse of Fate, 
         At home, on land, on sea. 


Monday, July 25, 2016

Felicia Dorothea Hemans 1793-1835

The boy stood on the burning deck
  Whence all but he had fled;
The flame that lit the battle's wreck
  Shone round him o'er the dead.
Yet beautiful and bright he stood,
  As born to rule the storm;
A creature of heroic blood,
  A proud, though childlike form.

The flames rolled on - he would not go
  Without his Father's word;
That father, faint in death below,
  His voice no longer heard.

He called aloud "say, Father, say
  If yet my task is done?"
He knew not that the chieftain lay
  Unconscious of his son.

"Speak, father!" once again he cried,
  "If I may yet be gone!"
And but the booming shots replied,
  And fast the flames rolled on.

Upon his brow he felt their breath,
  And in his waving hair,
And looked from that lone post of death
  In still yet brave despair.

And shouted but once more aloud,
  "My father! must I stay?"
While o'er him fast, through sail and shroud,
  The wreathing fires made way.

They wrapped the ship in splendour wild,
  They caught the flag on high,
And streamed above the gallant child,
  Like banners in the sky.

There came a burst of thunder sound - 
   The boy - oh! where was he?
Ask of the winds that far around
  With fragments strewed the sea! -

With mast, and helm, and pennon fair,
  That well had borne their part-
But the noblest thing which perished there
  Was that young faithful heart.

Casabianca, a boy about thirteen years old was the son of the admiral of the Orient. He remained at his post in the Battle of the Nile, after the ship had taken fire and all the guns had been abandoned. He died in the explosion of the ship when the flames reached the powder.


Sunday, July 24, 2016


sunset at the pier
the creaking of timbers
wind in the rigging

at the dolls' party 
we sit on the grass
drinking invisible tea

trailing in the stream
the willow branches gently
sway in the current

Of course this is not a haiku. It has 9 lines and each of them has 4 syllables. Just a bit of fun!

sitting alone
at the party
in a corner
during a lull
this is my chance
I clear my throat
they turn to me
I hesitate
I say nothing


Saturday, July 23, 2016



There is a house in a city street
Some past ones made their own;
Its floors were criss-crossed by their feet,
And their babblings beat
From ceiling to white hearth-stone.

And who are peopling its parlours now?
Who talk across its floor?
Mere freshlings are they, blank of brow,
Who read not how
Its prime had passed before

Their raw equipments, scenes, and says
Afflicted its memoried face,
That had seen every larger phase
Of human ways
Before these filled the place.

To them that house's tale is theirs,
No former voices call
Aloud therein. Its aspect bears
Their joys and cares
Alone, from wall to wall.


Friday, July 22, 2016

Sophia White

She saw a man on television
In a suit and tie
And he wore a fine felt hat
Cocked over his eye.
She saw him sing and whistle
And dance a little step
And she wished the men today
Would not be so unkempt.

She saw a man on television
Woo a pretty lass
With smiles, winks, and daffodils,
And diamonds made of glass.
She saw him tip his hat to her
And offer her his arm
And lead her to the dance floor
With gentlemanly charm.

She saw a man on television
Smile with easy grace
And wished that she could find a man
With such an honest face.
But she knew that man on television
Was a dying breed
And suits and ties and tall felt hats
Had all grown obsolete.


Thursday, July 21, 2016

Thomas Hood 1799-`1845

It was not in the Winter
 Our loving lot was cast;
It was the time of roses - 
 We pluck’d them as we pass’d!

That churlish season never frown’d
 On early lovers yet:
O no - the world was newly crown’d
 With flowers when first we met!

’Twas twilight, and I bade you go,
 But still you held me fast;
It was the time of roses - 
 We pluck’d them as we pass’d!


Wednesday, July 20, 2016

J.R.R. Tolkien 1892-1973

Ho! Ho! Ho! To the bottle I go
To heal my heart and drown my woe.
Rain may fall and wind may blow,
And many miles be still to go
But under a tall tree I will lie,
And let the clouds go sailing by.


Tuesday, July 19, 2016

John Betjeman 1906-2084

In the licorice fields at Pontefract
My love and I did meet
And many a burdened licorice bush
Was blooming round our feet;
Red hair she had and golden skin,
Her sulky lips were shaped for sin,
Her sturdy legs were flannel-slack'd
The strongest legs in Pontefract.

The light and dangling licorice flowers
Gave off the sweetest smells;
From various black Victorian towers
The Sunday evening bells
Came pealing over dales and hills
And tanneries and silent mills
And lowly streets where country stops
And little shuttered corner shops.

She cast her blazing eyes on me
And plucked a licorice leaf;
I was her captive slave and she
My red-haired robber chief.
Oh love! for love I could not speak,
It left me winded, wilting, weak,
And held in brown arms strong and bare
And wound with flaming ropes of hair.


Monday, July 18, 2016

Robert Bridges 1844=1930

When my love was away, 
Full three days were not sped, 
I caught my fancy astray 
Thinking if she were dead, 

And I alone, alone: 
It seem'd in my misery 
In all the world was none 
Ever so lone as I. 

I wept; but it did not shame 
Nor comfort my heart: away 
I rode as I might, and came 
To my love at close of day. 

The sight of her still'd my fears, 
My fairest-hearted love: 
And yet in her eyes were tears: 
Which when I question'd of, 

"O now thou art come," she cried, 
''Tis fled: but I thought to-day 
I never could here abide, 
If thou wert longer away."


Sunday, July 17, 2016


between each wave
crashing on the rocks
a moment's respite

childhood memory
waking to the sounds and smells
of gaslit breakfasts

steam clearing slowly
from the bathroom mirror
an old face looks out

turning a corner
the redness of the poppies
field after field


Saturday, July 16, 2016



Sweet cyder is a great thing,
A great thing to me,
Spinning down to Weymouth town
By Ridgway thirstily,
And maid and mistress summoning
Who tend the hostelry:
O cyder is a great thing,
A great thing to me!

The dance it is a great thing,
A great thing to me,
With candles lit and partners fit
For night-long revelry;
And going home when day-dawning
Peeps pale upon the lea:
O dancing is a great thing,
A great thing to me!

Love is, yea, a great thing,
A great thing to me,
When, having drawn across the lawn
In darkness silently,
A figure flits like one a-wing
Out from the nearest tree:
O love is, yes, a great thing,
A great thing to me!

Will these be always great things,
Great things to me? . . .
Let it befall that One will call,
"Soul, I have need of thee:"
What then? Joy-jaunts, impassioned flings,
Love, and its ecstasy,
Will always have been great things,
Great things to me!


Friday, July 15, 2016

Robert Herrick 1591-1674

Fair pledges of a fruitful tree,
Why do ye fall so fast?
Your date is not so past
But you may stay here yet a while,
To blush and gently smile;
And go at last.

What! Were ye born to be
An hour and half's delight;
And so to bid goodnight?
'Twas pity Nature brought ye forth
Merely to show your worth,
And lose you quite.

But you are lovely leaves, where we
May read how soon things have
Their end, though ne'er so brave:
And after they have shown their pride
Like you a while, they glide
Into the grave.


Thursday, July 14, 2016

Robert Louis Stevenson 1850-94

I will make you brooches and toys for your delight
Of bird-song at morning and star-shine at night.
I will make a palace fit for you and me
Of green days in forests and blue days at sea.

I will make my kitchen, and you shall keep your room,
Where white flows the river and bright blows the broom,
And you shall wash your linen and keep your body white
In rainfall at morning and dewfall at night.

And this shall be for music when no one else is near,
The fine song for singing, the rare song to hear!
That only I remember, that only you admire,
Of the broad road that stretches and the roadside fire.


Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Caroline Elizabeth Sarah Norton 1808-76

I do not love thee!—no! I do not love thee!
And yet when thou art absent I am sad;
   And envy even the bright blue sky above thee,
Whose quiet stars may see thee and be glad.

I do not love thee!—yet, I know not why,
Whate’er thou dost seems still well done, to me:
   And often in my solitude I sigh
That those I do love are not more like thee!

I do not love thee!—yet, when thou art gone,
I hate the sound (though those who speak be dear)
   Which breaks the lingering echo of the tone
Thy voice of music leaves upon my ear.

I do not love thee!—yet thy speaking eyes,
With their deep, bright, and most expressive blue,
   Between me and the midnight heaven arise,
Oftener than any eyes I ever knew.


Tuesday, July 12, 2016



One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice -
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
"Mend my life!"
each voice cried.
But you didn’t stop.

You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations _
though their melancholy
was terrible. It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.

But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice,
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do - determined to save
the only life you could save.

Mary Oliver is an American poet who has won the Pulitzer Prize (1984) and the National Book Award (1992).


Monday, July 11, 2016




A fool there was and he made his prayer
(Even as you or I)
To a rag and a bone and a hank of hair,
(We called her the woman who did not care)
But the fool he called her his lady fair -
(Even as you or I)

Oh, the years we waste and the tears we waste,
And the work of our head and hand
Belong to the woman who did not know
(And now we know that she never could know)
And did not understand!

A fool there was and his goods he spent,
(Even as you or I)
Honour and faith and a sure intent
(And it wasn't the least what the lady meant)
But a fool must follow his natural bent
(Even as you or I)

Oh, the toil we lost and the spoil we lost
And the excellent things we planned
Belong to the woman who didn't know why
(And now we know that she never knew why)
And did not understand!

The fool was stripped to his foolish hide,
(Even as you or I)
Which she might have seen when she threw him aside - 
(But it isn't on record the lady tried)
So some of him lived but the most of him died - 
(Even as you or I)

And it isn't the shame and it isn't the blame
That stings like a white-hot brand -
It's coming to know that she never knew why
(Seeing, at last, she could never know why)
And never could understand!

featuring Yuja  Wang the classical concert pianist


Sunday, July 10, 2016


the old house empty
our tiny footprints still there
on the concrete path

on the common
two old men among the boys
flying their kites

spring sunshine
the kitten and her shadow
lie down together

at our store of nuts
for the birds, a tiny mouse
scurrying away


Saturday, July 9, 2016



I tore your letter into strips
No bigger than the airy feathers
That ducks preen out in changing weathers
Upon the shifting ripple-tips.

In darkness on my bed alone
I seemed to see you in a vision,
And hear you say: "Why this derision
Of one drawn to you, though unknown?"

Yes, eve's quick mood had run its course,
The night had cooled my hasty madness;
I suffered a regretful sadness
Which deepened into real remorse.

I thought what pensive patient days
A soul must know of grain so tender,
How much of good must grace the sender
Of such sweet words in such bright phrase.

Uprising then, as things unpriced
I sought each fragment, patched and mended;
The midnight whitened ere I had ended
And gathered words I had sacrificed.

But some, alas, of those I threw
Were past my search, destroyed for ever:
They were your name and place; and never
Did I regain those clues to you.

I learnt I had missed, by rash unheed,
My track; that, so the Will decided,
In life, death, we should be divided,
And at the sense I ached indeed.

That ache for you, born long ago,
Throbs on; I never could outgrow it.
What a revenge, did you but know it!
But that, thank God, you do not know.


Friday, July 8, 2016

MAYA ANGELOU 1928-2014

Maya Angelou at York College of Pennsylvania, February 2013
Photo by York College ISLGP



You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may tread me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I'll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you? 
Why are you beset with gloom? 
'Cause I walk like I've got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I'll rise.

Did you want to see me broken? 
Bowed head and lowered eyes? 
Shoulders falling down like teardrops.
Weakened by my soulful cries.

Does my haughtiness offend you? 
Don't you take it awful hard
'Cause I laugh like I've got gold mines
Diggin' in my own back yard.

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I'll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you? 
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I've got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs? 

Out of the huts of history's shame
I rise
Up from a past that's rooted in pain
I rise
I'm a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that's wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise


Born Marguerite Annie Johnson, this amazing American woman was an author, poet, dancer, actress and singer. She was also a producer and director of plays, films and TV programmes.


Thursday, July 7, 2016

Amy Lowell  1874-1925

When I have baked white cakes
And grated green almonds to spread upon them;
When I have picked the green crowns from the strawberries
And piled them, cone-pointed, in a blue and yellow platter;
When I have smoothed the seam of the linen I have been working;
What then?
To-morrow it will be the same:
Cakes and strawberries,
And needles in and out of cloth.
If the sun is beautiful on bricks and pewter,
How much more beautiful is the moon,
Slanting down the gauffered branches of a plum-tree;
The moon,
Wavering across a bed of tulips;
The moon,
Upon your face.
You shine, Beloved,
You and the moon.
But which is the reflection?
The clock is striking eleven.
I think, when we have shut and barred the door,
The night will be dark


Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Dorothy Parker 1893-1967

Four be the things I am wiser to know:
Idleness, sorrow, a friend, and a foe.
Four be the things I'd been better without:
Love, curiosity, freckles, and doubt.
Three be the things I shall never attain:
Envy, content, and sufficient champagne.
Three be the things I shall have till I die:
Laughter and hope and a sock in the eye.


Tuesday, July 5, 2016

(A Boy’s Song)
Henry Charles Beeching 1859-1919

With lifted feet, hands still,
I am poised, and down the hill
Dart, with heedful mind;
The air goes by in a wind.

Swifter and yet more swift,
Till the heart with a mighty lift
Makes the lungs laugh, the throat cry:—
“O bird, see; see, bird, I fly.

“Is this, is this your joy?
O bird, then I, though a boy,
For a golden moment share
Your feathery life in air!”

Say, heart, is there aught like this
In a world that is full of bliss?
‘Tis more than skating, bound
Steel-shod to the level ground.

Speed slackens now, I float
Awhile in my airy boat;
Till, when the wheels scarce crawl,
My feet to the treadles fall.

Alas, that the longest hill
Must end in a vale; but still,
Who climbs with toil, wheresoe’er,
Shall find wings waiting there.


Monday, July 4, 2016

Herbert Kretzmer b.1925

She may be the face I can't forget,
A trace of pleasure or regret
May be my treasure or the price
I have to pay.

She may be the song that summer sings,
May be the chill that autumn brings,
May be a hundred different things
Within the measure of a day.

She may be the beauty or the beast,
May be the famine or the feast,
May turn each day into a heaven
Or a hell.

She may be the mirror of my dream,
A smile reflected in a stream,
She may not be what she may seem
Inside her shell.

She who always seems so happy in a crowd
Whose eyes can be so private and so proud,
No-one's allowed to see them
When they cry.

She maybe the love that cannot hope to last,
May come to me from shadows of the past,
That I'll remember 'til
The day I die.

She may be the reason I survive,
The why and wherefore I'm alive,
The one I'll care for through the
Rough and rainy years.

Me, I'll take her laughter and her tears
And make them all my souvenirs,
For where she goes I've got to be,
The meaning of my life is she.


Read more: Charles Aznavour - She Lyrics | MetroLyrics 

Sunday, July 3, 2016


the old house empty
our tiny footprints still there
on the concrete path

in the mirror shop
a dozen images
confirm my ageing

Sunday morning
my reflection follows me 
round the boating pond

three tin openers
lie mangled - defeated 
by a can of soup


Saturday, July 2, 2016



The rain imprinted the step's wet shine
With target-circles that quivered and crossed
As I was leaving this porch of mine;
When from within there swelled and paused
A song's sweet note;
And back I turned, and thought,
"Here I'll abide."

The step shines wet beneath the rain,
Which prints its circles as heretofore;
I watch them from the porch again,
But no song-notes within the door
Now call to me
To shun the dripping lea
And forth I stride.


Friday, July 1, 2016

Tom Hood (The Younger) 1835-1874

I would I had something to do - or to think!
Or something to read, or to write!
I am rapidly verging on Lunacy’s brink,
Or I shall be dead before night.

In my ears has been ringing and droning all day,
Without ever a stop or a change,
That poem of Tennyson’s - heart-cheering lay! -
Of the Moated Monotonous Grange!

The stripes in the carpet and paper alike
I have counted, and counted all through.
And now I’ve a fervid ambition to strike
Out some path of wild pleasure that’s new.

They say if a number you count, and re-count,
That the time imperceptibly goes: -
Ah, I wish - how I wish! - I’d ne’er learnt the amount
Of my aggregate fingers and toes.

“Enjoyment is fleeting,” the proverbs all say,
“Even that, which it feeds upon, fails.”
I’ve arrived at the truth of the saying today,
By devouring the whole of my nails.

I have numbered the minutes, so heavy and slow,
Till of that dissipation I tire.
And as for exciting amusements - you know
One can’t ALWAYS be stirring the fire!