Wednesday, 27 October 2010


Dyfi Valley, Wales

     Now as I was young and easy under the apple boughs
     About the lilting house and happy as the grass was green,
       The night above the dingle starry,
         Time let me hail and climb
       Golden in the heydays of his eyes,
     And honoured among wagons I was prince of the apple towns
     And once below a time I lordly had the trees and leaves
         Trail with daisies and barley
       Down the rivers of the windfall light.

     And as I was green and carefree, famous among the barns
     About the happy yard and singing as the farm was home,
       In the sun that is young once only,
         Time let me play and be
       Golden in the mercy of his means,
     And green and golden I was huntsman and herdsman, the calves
     Sang to my horn, the foxes on the hills barked clear and cold,
         And the sabbath rang slowly
       In the pebbles of the holy streams.

     All the sun long it was running, it was lovely, the hay
     Fields high as the house, the tunes from the chimneys, it was air
       And playing, lovely and watery
         And fire green as grass.
       And nightly under the simple stars
     As I rode to sleep the owls were bearing the farm away,
     All the moon long I heard, blessed among stables, the nightjars
       Flying with the ricks, and the horses
         Flashing into the dark.

     And then to awake, and the farm, like a wanderer white
     With the dew, come back, the cock on his shoulder: it was all
       Shining, it was Adam and maiden,
         The sky gathered again
       And the sun grew round that very day.
     So it must have been after the birth of the simple light
     In the first, spinning place, the spellbound horses walking warm
       Out of the whinnying green stable
         On to the fields of praise.

     And honoured among foxes and pheasants by the gay house
     Under the new made clouds and happy as the heart was long,
       In the sun born over and over,
         I ran my heedless ways,
       My wishes raced through the house high hay
     And nothing I cared, at my sky blue trades, that time allows
     In all his tuneful turning so few and such morning songs
       Before the children green and golden
         Follow him out of grace.

     Nothing I cared, in the lamb white days, that time would take me
     Up to the swallow thronged loft by the shadow of my hand,
       In the moon that is always rising,
         Nor that riding to sleep
       I should hear him fly with the high fields
     And wake to the farm forever fled from the childless land.
     Oh as I was young and easy in the mercy of his means,
         Time held me green and dying
       Though I sang in my chains like the sea.

Dylan Thomas

Friday, 22 October 2010


Be not afeard: this isle is full of noises,
Sounds and sweet airs, that give delight, and hurt not.
Sometimes a thousand twangling instruments
Will hum about mine ears; and sometimes voices,
That, if I then had waked after long sleep,
Will make me sleep again; and then, in dreaming,
The clouds methought would open and show riches
Ready to drop upon me; that, when I waked
I cried to dream again.


From The Tempest
Act 3 Scene 2

Tuesday, 19 October 2010


Charles Le Brun
French Painter 1619-1690

Anger lay by me all night long,
His breath was hot upon my brow,
He told me of my burning wrong,
All night he talked and would not go.

He stood by me all through the day,
Struck from my hand the book, the pen;
He said; " Hear first, what I've to say,
And sing, if you've the heart to, then.

And can I cast him from my couch?
And can I lock him from my room?
Ah no, his honest words are such
That he's my True-Lord, and my doom.

Elizabeth Daryush

Saturday, 16 October 2010


Carl Spitzweg
19th Century English Tourist in the Roman Campagna

Arriving was their passion,
Into the new place out of the blue
Flying, sailing, driving - 
How well these veteran tourists knew
Each fashion of arriving.

Leaving a place behind them,
There was no sense of loss; they fed
Upon the act of leaving -
So hot their hearts for the land ahead -
As a kind of pre-conceiving.

Arrival has stern laws, though,
Condemning men to lose their eyes
If they have treated travel
As a brief necessary disease,
A pause before arrival.

And merciless the fate is 
Of him who leaves nothing behind,
No hostage, no reversion;
He travels on, not only blind
But a stateless person.

Fleeing from love and hate,
Pursuing change, consumed by motion,
Such arrivistes, unseeing,
Forfeit through endless self-evasion
The estate of simple being.

C. Day Lewis
Poet Laureate

Tuesday, 12 October 2010


Robert Rauschenberg

The indifferent rivers 
Will keep on flowing to the sea
Or ruinously overflowing dikes,
Ancient handiwork of determined men.
The glaciers will continue to grate,
Smoothing what's under them
Or suddenly fall headlong,
Cutting short fir trees' lives.
The sea, captive between
Two continents, will go on struggling,
Always miserly with its riches.
Sun stars planets and comets
Will continue on their course.
Earth too will fear the immutable
Laws of the universe.
Not us. We, rebellious progeny
With great brainpower, little sense,
Will destroy, defile
Always more feverishly.
Very soon we'll extend the desert
Into the Amazonian forests,
Into the living heart of our cities,
Into our very hearts.

Primo Levi

translated from the Italian by Ruth Feldman

Sunday, 10 October 2010


The Fountain of Indolence
J.M.W. Turner
British  Painter 1775-1851

And sometimes it happens that you are friends and then
You are not friends,
And friendship has passed.
And whole days are lost and among them
A fountain empties itself.

And sometimes it happens that you are loved and then
You are not loved,
And love is past.
And whole days are lost and among them
A fountain empties itself into the grass.

And sometimes you want to speak to her and then
You do not want to speak,
Then the opportunity has passed.
Your dreams flare up, they suddenly vanish.

And also it happens that there is nowhere to go and then
There is somewhere to go,
Then you have bypassed.
And the years flare up and are gone,
Quicker than a minute.

So you have nothing.
You wonder if these things matter and then
As soon as you begin to wonder if these things matter
They cease to matter,
And caring is past.
And a fountain empties itself into the grass.

Brian Patten
born February 1946

Tuesday, 5 October 2010


Beyond all this, the wish to be alone;
However the sky grows dark with invitation-cards
However we follow the printed directions of sex
However the family is photographed under the flagstaff - 
Beyond all this, the wish to be alone.

Beneath it all, desire of oblivion runs;
despite the artful tensions of the calendar,
The life insurance, the tabled fertility rites,
The costly aversion of the eyes from death -
Beneath it all, desire of oblivion runs.

Philip Larkin

Friday, 1 October 2010


I had a silver penny
And an apricot tree
And I said to the sailor
On the white quay

'Sailor o sailor
will you bring me
If I give you my penny
And my apricot tree

A fez from Algeria
An Arab drum to beat
A little gilt sword
And a parakeet?'

  And he smiled and he kissed me
  as strong as death
  And I saw his red tongue
  And I felt his sweet breath.

''You may keep your penny
And your apricot tree
And I'll bring your presents
Back from the sea.'

O the ship dipped down
On the rim of the sky
And I waited while three
Long summers went by.

Then one steel morning
On the white quay
I saw a grey ship
come in from the sea.

Slowly she came
Across the bay
For her flashing rigging
Was shot away

All round her wake
The seabirds cried
And flew in and out
Of the hole in her side

Slowly she came
In the path of the sun
And I heard the sound
Of a distant gun

And a stranger came running
up to me
From the deck of the ship
And he said, said he

'O are you the boy
Who would wait on the quay
With the silver penny
And the apricot tree?

I've a plum coloured fez
And a drum for thee
And a sword and a parakeet
From over the sea.'

'O where is the sailor
With bold red hair?
And what is that volley
On the bright air?

O where are the other 
Girls and boys?
And why have you brought me
Children's toys?

Charles Causley