Friday, September 30, 2016

Alice Dunbar Nelson 1875-1935

I had no thought of violets of late,
The wild, shy kind that spring beneath your feet
In wistful April days, when lovers mate
And wander through the fields in raptures sweet.
The thought of violets meant florists' shops,
And bows and pins, and perfumed papers fine;
And garish lights, and mincing little fops
And cabarets and songs, and deadening wine.
So far from sweet real things my thoughts had strayed,
I had forgot wide fields, and clear brown streams;
The perfect loveliness that God has made,
Wild violets shy and Heaven-mounting dreams.
And now - unwittingly, you've made me dream
Of violets, and my soul's forgotten gleam.

The new blog POETRY PATHWAYS begins tomorrow


Thursday, September 29, 2016

William Ernest Henley 1849-1902

Out of the night that covers me,
      Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
      For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
      I have not winced nor cried aloud,
Under the bludgeonings of chance
      My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
      Looms but the horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
      Finds, and shall find me, unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
      How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
      I am the captain of my soul.


Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Emily Jane Bronte 1818-48

Hope was but a timid friend -
She sat without my grated den 
Watching how my fate would tend 
Even as selfish-hearted men. 

She was cruel in her fear. 
Through the bars, one dreary day, 
I looked out to see her there 
And she turned her face away! 

Like a false guard false watch keeping 
Still in strife she whispered peace; 
She would sing while I was weeping, 
If I listened, she would cease. 

False she was, and unrelenting. 
When my last joys strewed the ground 
Even sorrow saw repenting 
Those sad relics scattered round; 

Hope - whose whisper would have given 
Balm to all that frenzied pain - 
Stretched her wings and soared to heaven; 
Went - and ne'er returned again!


Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Hilaire Belloc 1870-1953

Whatever our faults, we can always engage
That no fancy or fable shall sully our page,
So take note of what follows, I beg.
This creature so grand and august in its age,
In its youth is hatched out of an egg.
And oft in some far Coptic town
The Missionary sits him down
To breakfast by the Nile:
The heart beneath his priestly gown
Is innocent of guile;
When suddenly the rigid frown
Of Panic is observed to drown
His customary smile.
Why does he start and leap amain,
And scour the sandy Libyan plain
Like one that wants to catch a train,
Or wrestles with internal pain?
Because he finds his egg contain -
Green, hungry, horrible and plain -
An Infant Crocodile.

The new blog
begins on Saturday and will then be updated every weekend
Poetry - A Personal Choice will continue to be updated daily


Monday, September 26, 2016

James Henry Leigh Hunt 1784-1859

We, the Fairies, blithe and antic,
Of dimensions not gigantic,
Though the moonshine mostly keep us,
Oft in orchards frisk and peep us.

Stolen sweets are always sweeter,
Stolen kisses much completer,
Stolen looks are nice in chapels,
Stolen, stolen, be your apples.

When to bed the world are bobbing,
Then's the time for orchard-robbing;
Yet the fruit were scarce worth peeling,
Were it not for stealing, stealing.


Sunday, September 25, 2016



Little head against my shoulder,
Shy at first, then somewhat bolder,
And up-eyed;
Till she, with a timid quaver,
Yielded to the kiss I gave her;
But, she sighed.

That there mingled with her feeling
Some sad thought she was concealing
It implied.
- Not that she had ceased to love me,
None on earth she set above me;
But she sighed.

She could not disguise a passion,
Dread, or doubt, in weakest fashion
If she tried:
Nothing seemed to hold us sundered,
Hearts were victors; so I wondered
Why she sighed.

Afterwards I knew her throughly,
And she loved me staunchly, truly,
Till she died;
But she never made confession
Why, at that first sweet concession,
She had sighed.

It was in our May, remember;
And though now I near November,
And abide
Till my appointed change, unfretting,
Sometimes I sit half regretting
That she sighed.

A new blog begins on Saturday 1st October
POETRY - A PERSONAL CHOICE will continue to be updated every day

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Thomas Ford 1580-1648

There is a lady sweet and kind,
Was never face so pleas'd my mind;
I did but see her passing by,
And yet I love her till I die.

Her gesture, motion, and her smiles,
Her wit, her voice, my heart beguiles,
Beguiles my heart, I know not why,
And yet I love her till I die.

Cupid is winged and doth range,
Her country so my love doth change:
But change she earth, or change she sky,
Yet will I love her till I die. 


Friday, September 23, 2016


Dust if you must, but wouldn't it be better,
To paint a picture or write a letter,
Bake a cake or plant a seed,
Ponder the difference between want and need?

Dust if you must, but there's not much time,
With rivers to swim and mountains to climb,
Music to hear and books to read,
Friends to cherish and life to lead.

Dust if you must, but the world's out there
With the sun in your eyes, the wind in your hair,
A flutter of snow, a shower of rain.
This day will not come 'round again.

Dust if you must, but bear in mind,
Old age will come and it's not always kind.
And when you go and go you must,
You, yourself, will make more dust.

has been updated today


Thursday, September 22, 2016

Samuel Taylor Coleridge 1772-1834

Do you ask what the birds say? The sparrow, the dove,
The linnet and thrush say, “I love and I love!”
In the winter they’re silent  - the wind is so strong;
What it says, I don’t know, but it sings a loud song.
But green leaves, and blossoms, and sunny warm weather,
And singing, and loving  -  all come back together.
But the lark is so brimful of gladness and love,
The green fields below him, the blue sky above,
That he sings, and he sings; and for ever sings he -
“I love my Love, and my Love loves me!”


Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Charlotte Mew 1869-1928

Three summers since I chose a maid,
 Too young maybe - but more’s to do
   At harvest-time than bide and woo.
   When us was wed she turned afraid
    Of love and me and all things human;
    Like the shut of a winter’s day
     Her smile went out, and ’twadn’t a woman -
     More like a little frightened fay.
      One night, in the Fall, she runned away.

      “Out ’mong the sheep, her be,”  they said,
     ’Should properly have been abed;
      But sure enough she wadn’t there
      Lying awake with her wide brown stare.
   So over seven-acre field and up along across the down
      We chased her, flying like a hare
     Before out lanterns. To Church-Town
         All in a shiver and a scare
      We caught her, fetched her home at last
            And turned the key upon her, fast.

     She does the work about the house
     As well as most, but like a mouse:
       Happy enough to chat and play
         With birds and rabbits and such as they,
          So long as men-folk keep away.
       “Not near, not near!”  her eyes beseech
          When one of us comes within reach.
         The women say that beasts in stall
          Look round like children at her call.
           I’ve hardly heard her speak at all.

            Shy as a leveret, swift as he,
              Straight and slight as a young larch tree,
             Sweet as the first wild violets, she,
             To her wild self. But what to me?

            The short days shorten and the oaks are brown,
            The blue smoke rises to the low grey sky,
            One leaf in the still air falls slowly down,
             A magpie’s spotted feathers lie
           On the black earth spread white with rime,
           The berries redden up to Christmas-time.
           What’s Christmas-time without there be
             Some other in the house than we!

            She sleeps up in the attic there
             Alone, poor maid. ’Tis but a stair
              Betwixt us. Oh! my God! the down,
               The soft young down of her, the brown,
              The brown of her - her eyes, her hair, her hair!


Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Emily Dickinson 1830-86

A bird came down the walk:
He did not know I saw;
He bit an angle-worm in halves
And ate the fellow, raw.

And then he drank a dew
From a convenient grass,
And then hopped sidewise to the wall
To let a beetle pass.

He glanced with rapid eyes
That hurried all abroad, -
They looked like frightened beads, I thought;
He stirred his velvet head

Like one in danger; cautious,
I offered him a crumb,
And he unrolled his feathers
And rowed him softer home

Than oars divide the ocean,
Too silver for a seam,
Or butterflies, off banks of noon,
Leap, plashless, as they swim.


Monday, September 19, 2016

Vernon Scannell 1922-2007

Sleepless I lay last night and watched the slow 
Procession of the men who wear my clothes: 
First, the grey man with bloodshot eyes and sly 
Gestures miming what he loves and loathes. 

Next came the cheery knocker-back of pints, 
The beery joker, never far from tears, 
Whose loud and public vanity acquaints 
The careful watcher with his private fears. 

And then I saw the neat mouthed gentle man 
Defer politely, listen to the lies, 
Smile at the tedious tale and gaze upon 
The little mirrors in the speaker's eyes. 

The men who wear my clothes walked past my bed 
And all of them looked tired and rather old; 
I felt a chip of ice melt in my blood. 
Naked I lay last night, and very cold.


Sunday, September 18, 2016


high on the hillside
a thousand autumn colours
from a thousand trees

evening on the loch
much quieter now that the geese
have taken their leave

clinging to the wall
every ivy leaf shivers
in the angry wind

twisted roots criss-cross
the forest floor - overhead
branches entwining

day in day out
the caged bird and the goldfish
side by side

silence in the lift
the door opens - freeing
us and our tongues


Saturday, September 17, 2016

Thomas Hardy 1840-1928

When up aloft
I fly and fly,
I see in pools
The shining sky,
And a happy bird
Am I, am I!

When I descend
Towards their brink
I stand, and look,
And stoop, and drink,
And bathe my wings,
And chink and prink.

When winter frost
Makes earth as steel
I search and search
But find no meal,
And most unhappy
Then I feel.

But when it lasts,
And snows still fall,
I get to feel
No grief at all,
For I turn to a cold stiff
Feathery ball!


Friday, September 16, 2016

A Short Extract from
Samuel Taylor Coleridge 1772-1834

There are 144 verses in the full poem. The old seaman is telling his story to a very unwilling listener, but the latter finds himself to unable to leave. The tale has described the early part of the ship's journey and how the crew were pleased when an albatross joined them. Things went seriously wrong when the narrator shot the bird.

Down dropt the breeze, the sails dropt down, 
'Twas sad as sad could be; 
And we did speak only to break 
The silence of the sea! 

All in a hot and copper sky, 
The bloody Sun, at noon, 
Right up above the mast did stand, 
No bigger than the Moon. 

Day after day, day after day, 
We stuck, nor breath nor motion; 
As idle as a painted ship 
Upon a painted ocean. 

Water, water, every where, 
And all the boards did shrink; 
Water, water, every where, 
Nor any drop to drink. 

The very deep did rot: O Christ! 
That ever this should be! 
Yea, slimy things did crawl with legs 
Upon the slimy sea. 

About, about, in reel and rout 
The death-fires danced at night; 
The water, like a witch's oils, 
Burnt green, and blue and white. 

And some in dreams assurèd were 
Of the Spirit that plagued us so; 
Nine fathom deep he had followed us 
From the land of mist and snow. 

And every tongue, through utter drought, 
Was withered at the root; 
We could not speak, no more than if 
We had been choked with soot. 

Ah! well a-day! what evil looks 
Had I from old and young! 
Instead of the cross, the Albatross 
About my neck was hung.

has been updated today


Thursday, September 15, 2016

Walt Whitman 1819-92

I sit and look out upon all the sorrows of the world, and upon all
        oppression and shame;
I hear secret convulsive sobs from young men, at anguish with
        themselves, remorseful after deeds done;
I see, in low life, the mother misused by her children, dying,
        neglected, gaunt, desperate;
I see the wife misused by her husband - I see the treacherous seducer
        of young women;
I mark the ranklings of jealousy and unrequited love, attempted to be
        hid - I see these sights on the earth;
I see the workings of battle, pestilence, tyranny - I see martyrs and
I observe a famine at sea - I observe the sailors casting lots who
        shall be kill'd, to preserve the lives of the rest;
I observe the slights and degradations cast by arrogant persons upon
        labourers, the poor, and upon negroes, and the like;
All these - All the meanness and agony without end, I, sitting, look
        out upon,
See, hear, and am silent.


Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Maya Angelou 1928-2014

I've got the children to tend
The clothes to mend
The floor to mop
The food to shop
Then the chicken to fry
The baby to dry
I got company to feed
The garden to weed
I've got shirts to press
The tots to dress
The cane to be cut
I gotta clean up this hut
Then see about the sick
And the cotton to pick.

Shine on me, sunshine
Rain on me, rain
Fall softly, dewdrops
And cool my brow again.

Storm, blow me from here
With your fiercest wind
Let me float across the sky
'Til I can rest again.

Fall gently, snowflakes
Cover me with white
Cold icy kisses and
Let me rest tonight.

Sun, rain, curving sky
Mountain, oceans, leaf and stone
Star shine, moon glow
You're all that I can call my own.


Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Dorothy Parker 1893-1967

Such glorious faith as fills your limpid eyes,
Dear little friend of mine, I never knew.
All-innocent are you, and yet all-wise.
(For Heaven's sake, stop worrying that shoe!)
You look about, and all you see is fair;
This mighty globe was made for you alone.
Of all the thunderous ages, you're the heir.
(Get off the pillow with that dirty bone!)

A sceptic world you face with steady gaze;
High in young pride you hold your noble head,
Gaily you meet the rush of roaring days.
(Must you eat puppy biscuit on the bed?)
Lancelike your courage, gleaming swift and strong,
Yours the white rapture of a winged soul,
Yours is a spirit like a Mayday song.
(God help you, if you break the goldfish bowl!)

"Whatever is, is good" - your gracious creed.
You wear your joy of living like a crown.
Love lights your simplest act, your every deed.
(Drop it, I tell you - put that kitten down!)
You are God's kindliest gift of all - a friend.
Your shining loyalty unflecked by doubt,
You ask but leave to follow to the end.
(Couldn't you wait until I took you out?)


Monday, September 12, 2016

Alexander Pope 1688-1744

Happy the man, whose wish and care
A few paternal acres bound,
Content to breathe his native air,
                               In his own ground.

Whose herds with milk, whose fields with bread,
Whose flocks supply him with attire,
Whose trees in summer yield him shade,
                               In winter fire.

Blest! who can unconcern'dly find
Hours, days, and years slide soft away,
In health of body, peace of mind,
                               Quiet by day,

Sound sleep by night; study and ease
Together mix'd; sweet recreation,
And innocence, which most does please,
                               With meditation.

Thus let me live, unseen, unknown;
Thus unlamented let me die;
Steal from the world, and not a stone
                               Tell where I lie.


Sunday, September 11, 2016


in the hermit's hut
a bed a bowl a table
and peace

summers day outing
between wiper and windscreen
 a parking ticket

lost property desk
the woman loses patience
the clerk his temper

low tide
a chain of seaweed snakes
along the foreshore

technical fault
the automated toilet

was updated on Friday


Saturday, September 10, 2016

Dejan Stojanovic  b.1959

To hear never-heard sounds, 
To see never-seen colours and shapes, 
To try to understand the imperceptible 
Power pervading the world; 
To fly and find pure ethereal substances 
That are not of matter 
But of that invisible soul pervading reality. 
To hear another soul and to whisper to another soul; 
To be a lantern in the darkness 
Or an umbrella in a stormy day; 
To feel much more than know. 
To be the eyes of an eagle, slope of a mountain; 
To be a wave understanding the influence of the moon; 
To be a tree and read the memory of the leaves; 
To be an insignificant pedestrian on the streets 
Of crazy cities watching, watching, and watching. 
To be a smile on the face of a woman 
And shine in her memory 
As a moment saved without planning.


Friday, September 9, 2016


Doon in the wee room underneath the stair
Everybody's happy and everybody's there,
We're a' makin' merry, each in his chair,
Doon in the wee room underneath the stair.

When you're tired and weary and you're feeling blue,
Don't give way tae sorrow, we'll tell you what to do,
Just tak' a trip tae Springburn and find the Quin's Bar there
And go doon tae the wee room underneath the stair.

The King went oot a-hunting, his fortune for tae seek,
He missed his train at Partick and went missing for a week.
And after days of searching, of sorrow and despair,
They found him in the wee room underneath the stair.

If your team has won the day and you want tae cheer,
Take a trip tae Springburn and order up a beer,
Hae yersel' a bevvy, gie yersel' a tear,
Doon in the wee room underneath the stair.

When I'm auld and feeble and my bones are gettin' set,
Ah'll no get cross and grumpy like other people get,
Ah'm savin' up ma bawbees tae buy a hurly chair*
Tae tak' me tae the wee room underneath the stair.

*hurly chair = a wheel/invalid chair (Scot)

JOHN'S SCRAPBLOG was updated today


Thursday, September 8, 2016

Edward Thomas 1878-1917

Yes, I remember Adlestrop -
The name, because one afternoon 
Of heat the express train drew up there 
Unwontedly. It was late June. 

The steam hissed. Someone cleared his throat. 
No one left and no one came 
On the bare platform. What I saw 
Was Adlestrop -  only the name 

And willows, willow-herb, and grass, 
And meadowsweet, and haycocks dry, 
No whit less still and lonely fair 
Than the high cloudlets in the sky. 

And for that minute a blackbird sang 
Close by, and round him, mistier, 
Farther and farther, all the birds 
Of Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire. 

The new blog JOHN'S SCRAPBLOG will be updated tomorrow


Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Jacques Brel 1929-78

If you go away on this summer day
Then you might as well take the sun away,
All the birds that flew in the summer sky
When our love was new and our hearts were high,
When the days were young and the night was long
And the moon stood still for the night birds' song.

But if you stay I'll make you a day
Like no day has been or will be again,
We'll sail the sun, we'll ride on the rain
And talk to the trees and worship the wind,
But if you go, I'll understand,
Leave me just enough love to fill up my hand

If you go away as I know you will,
You must tell the world to stop turning
Till you return again, if you ever do,
For what good is love without loving you?
Can I tell you now as you turn to go,
I'll be dying slowly till the next hello.

But if you stay I'll make you a night
Like no night has been or will be again,
I'll sail on your smile, I'll ride on your touch,
I'll talk to your eyes that I love so much,
But if you go I won't cry,
For the good is gone from the world, goodbye.

If you go away as I know you must,
There'll be nothing left in this world to trust,
Just an empty room full of empty space
Like the empty space I see on your face,
And I'd have been a shadow of your shadow
If you might have kept me by your side.


Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Robert Burns 1759–1796

  My heart’s in the Highlands, my heart is not here;
My heart’s in the Highlands a-chasing the deer;
 Chasing the wild deer, and following the roe.
  My heart’s in the Highlands, wherever I go.
    Farewell to the Highlands, farewell to the North,         
The birthplace of valour, the country of worth;
 Wherever I wander, wherever I rove,
The hills of the Highlands forever I love.

Farewell to the mountains high covered with snow;
      Farewell to the straths and green valleys below;         
  Farewell to the forests and wild-hanging woods;
  Farewell to the torrents and loud-pouring floods.
  My heart’s in the Highlands, my heart is not here:
My heart’s in the Highlands a-chasing the deer;
     Chasing the wild deer, and following the roe.         
 My heart’s in the Highlands wherever I go.

Have you visited JOHN'S SCRAPBLOG yet?


Monday, September 5, 2016

Dante Gabriel Rossetti 1828-82

Know'st thou not at the fall of the leaf 
How the heart feels a languid grief 
Laid on it for a covering, 
And how sleep seems a goodly thing 
In Autumn at the fall of the leaf? 

And how the swift beat of the brain 
Falters because it is in vain, 
In Autumn at the fall of the leaf 
Knowest thou not? and how the chief 
Of joys seems not to suffer pain?

Know'st thou not at the fall of the leaf 
How the soul feels like a dried sheaf 
Bound up at length for harvesting, 
And how death seems a comely thing 
In Autumn at the fall of the leaf? 


Sunday, September 4, 2016


floating on the pond
the leaf with a passenger
a tiny frog

market day
at sunrise long shadows
fill the empty stalls

nose to the ground
the dog explores the garden
an inch at a time

between the rocks
a moon 
in every little pool

each time he tells the story
the angler stretches his arms 
w    i    d    e    r


Saturday, September 3, 2016

Langston Hughes 1902-67

I, too, sing America.

I am the darker brother.
They send me to eat in the kitchen
When company comes,
But I laugh,
And eat well,
And grow strong.

I'll be at the table
When company comes.
Nobody'll dare
Say to me,
"Eat in the kitchen,"

They'll see how beautiful I am
And be ashamed -

I, too, am America. 


Friday, September 2, 2016

James Hogg 1770-1835

Where the pools are bright and deep,
Where the grey trout lies asleep,
Up the river and over the lea,
That's the way for Billy and me.

Where the blackbird sings the latest,
Where the hawthorn blooms the sweetest,
Where the nestlings chirp and flee,
That's the way for Billy and me.

Where the mowers mow the cleanest,
Where the hay lies thick and greenest,
There to track the homeward bee,
That's the way for Billy and me.

Where the hazel bank is steepest,
Where the shadow falls the deepest,
Where the clustering nuts fall free,
That's the way for Billy and me.

Why the boys should drive away
Little sweet maidens from the play,
Or love to banter and fight so well,
That's the thing I never could tell.

But this I know, I love to play
Through the meadow, among the hay;
Up the water and over the lea,
That's the way for Billy and me.

The new Blog is now online


Thursday, September 1, 2016

William Blake 1757-1827

Ah Sunflower, weary of time, 
  Who countest the steps of the sun; 
Seeking after that sweet golden clime 
  Where the traveller's journey is done; 

Where the Youth pined away with desire, 
  And the pale Virgin shrouded in snow, 
Arise from their graves, and aspire 
  Where my Sunflower wishes to go!

The new blog begins tomorrow