15 October 2017

REVALUATION




















Now I remember nothing of our love
So well as the crushed bracken and the wings
Of doves among dim branches far above -
Strange how the count of time revalues things!

- Patrick MacDonogh

13 October 2017

BOATS OF CANE
















A traveller once told
How to an inland water slanting come
Slim boats of cane from rivers of Cathay,
With trembling mast so slight,
It seemed God made them with a hand of air
To sail upon His light;
And there
Soft they unload a jar of jade and gold
In the cold dawn when birds are dumb,
And then away,
And speak no word and seek no pay,
Away they steal
And leave no ripple at the keel.

So the tale is writ;
And now, remembering you, I think of it.

- Geoffrey Scott

12 October 2017

THE WOOD SPURGE
















The wind flapped loose, the wind was still,
Shaken out dead from tree and hill:
I had walked on at the wind's will,
I sat now, for the wind was still.

Between my knees my forehead was,
My lips drawn in, said not Alas!
My hair was over in the grass,
My naked ears heard the day pass.

My eyes, wide open, had the run
Of some ten weeds to fix upon;
Among those few, out of the sun,
The woodspurge flowered, three cups in one.

From perfect grief there need not be
Wisdom or even memory:
One thing then learnt remains to me,
The woodspurge has a cup of three.

- Dante Gabriel Rossetti

07 October 2017

EVENING POEM
















Old scrap-iron foxgloves
rusty rods of the broken woods

what a faded knocked-out stiffness
as if you’d sprung from the horsehair
of a whole Victorian sofa buried in the mud down there

or at any rate something dropped from a great height
straight through flesh and out the other side
has left your casing pale and loose and finally

just a heap of shoes

they say the gods being so uplifted
can’t really walk on feet but take tottering steps
and lean like this closer and closer to the ground

which gods?

it is the hours on bird-thin legs
the same old choirs of hours
returning their summer clothes to the earth

with the night now
as if dropped from a great height

falling

- Alice Oswald

05 October 2017

A SHORT STORY OF FALLING
















It is the story of the falling rain
to turn into a leaf and fall again

it is the secret of a summer shower
to steal the light and hide it in a flower

and every flower a tiny tributary
that from the ground flows green and momentary

is one of water’s wishes and this tale
hangs in a seed-head smaller than my thumbnail

if only I a passerby could pass
as clear as water through a plume of grass

to find the sunlight hidden at the tip
turning to seed a kind of lifting rain drip

then I might know like water how to balance
the weight of hope against the light of patience

water which is so raw so earthy-strong
and lurks in cast-iron tanks and leaks along

drawn under gravity towards my tongue
to cool and fill the pipe-work of this song

which is the story of the falling rain
that rises to the light and falls again

- Alice Oswald

30 September 2017

CLEARING















After so long to fetch up with silver birch,
bracken inflating with the breeze, the dry
springy mat of needles, the mind's purchase,
where only homely ghosts retrace the by-ways.

That trunk, with all the torsion of a girl
Elbowing her slip above her head, dead wish
or memory. (A life-long stepper-out, you were,
foot over silken splash with a cat's precision.)

No walks by still waters, hoping for seas,
nor where oaks writhe. These silver birch
will do; they always have, beyond all reason.
I shall not wander into you round here.
Winter is mine, the bare boughs emerging.
My ways have narrowed, these dry sticks my clearing.

- Peter Dale