Monday, 29 November 2010


The room was suddenly rich and the great bay window was 
Spawning snow and pink roses against it
Soundlessly collateral and incompatible;
World is suddener than we fancy it.

World is crazier and more of it than we think,
Incorrigibly plural. I peel and portion
A tangerine and spit the pips and feel
The drunkenness of things being various.

And the fire flames with a bubbling sound for world
Is more spiteful and gay than one supposes -
On he tongue on the eyes on the ears in the palms of one's hands -
There is more than glass between the snow and the huge roses.

Louis Macneice

Tuesday, 23 November 2010


Somewhere or other there must surely be
The face not seen, the voice not heard,
The heart that not yet - never yet - ah me!
Made answer to my word.

Somewhere or other, may be near or far;
Past land and sea, clean out of sight;
Beyond the wandering moon, beyond the star
That tracks her night by night.

Somewhere or other, may be far or near;
With just a wall, a hedge, between;
With just the last leaves of the dying year
Fallen on turf grown green.

Christina Rossetti

Thursday, 18 November 2010


The sky puts on the darkening blue coat
held for it by a row of ancient trees;
you watch: and the lands grow distant in your sight,
one journeying to heaven, one that falls;

and leave you, not at home in either one,
not quite so still and dark as the darkened houses,
not calling to eternity with the passion
of what becomes a star each night, and rises;

and leave you (inexpressibly to unravel)
your life, with its immensity and fear,
so that, now bounded, now immeasurable,
it is alternatively stone in you and star.

Rainer Maria Rilke

translated by Stephen Mitchell 

Saturday, 13 November 2010


My Sorrow, when she's here with me,
Thinks these dark days of autumn rain
Are beautiful as days can be;
She loves the bare, the withered tree;
She walked the sodden pasture lane.

Her pleasure will not let me stay.
She talks and I am fain to list:
She's glad the birds are gone away,
She's glad her simple worsted gray
Is silver now with clinging mist.

The desolate, deserted trees,
The faded earth, the heavy sky,
The beauties she so truly sees,
She thinks I have no eye for these,
And vexes me for reason why.

Not yesterday I learned to know
The love of bare November days
Before the coming of the snow,
But it were vain to tell her so,
And they are better for her praise.

Robert Frost

Wednesday, 10 November 2010


Aye, but to die, and go we know not where;
To lie in cold obstruction and to rot;
This sensible, warm motion to become
A kneaded clod; and the delighted spirit
To bathe in fiery floods, or to reside
In thrilling region of thick-ribbed ice;
To be imprisoned in the viewless winds,
And blown with restless violence round about
The pendant world; or to be worse than worst
Of those that lawless and incertain thoughts
Imagine howling: 'tis too horrible!
The weariest and most loathed worldly life
That age, ache, penury and imprisonment
Can lay on nature is a paradise
To what we fear of death.


From Measure for Measure, 
Act 3, Scene 1

Sunday, 7 November 2010


Apple Blossom 

The first blossom was the best blossom 
For the child who never had seen an orchard; 
For the youth whom whiskey had led astray 
The morning after was the first day. 

The first apple was the best apple 
For Adam before he heard the sentence; 
When the flaming sword endorsed the Fall 
The trees were his to plant for all. 

The first ocean was the best ocean 
For the child from streets of doubt and litter; 
For the youth for whom the skies unfurled 
His first love was his first world. 

But the first verdict seemed the worst verdict 
When Adam and Eve were expelled from Eden, 
Yet when the bitter gates clanged to 
The sky beyond was just as blue. 

For the next ocean is the first ocean 
And the last ocean is the first ocean 
And, however often the sun may rise, 
A new thing dawns upon our eyes. 

For the last blossom is the first blossom 
And the first blossom is the last blossom 
And when from Eden we take our way 
The morning after is the first day.

Louis MacNeice

Thursday, 4 November 2010


Cocktail Party by Mike Jones

Even if you can't shape your life the way you want,
at least try as much as you can
not to degrade it
by too much contact with the world,
by too much activity and talk.

Do not degrade it by dragging it along,
taking it around and exposing it so often
to the daily silliness
of social relations and parties,
until it comes to seem a boring hanger-on.

C.P. Cavafy

translated by Edmund Keeley and Philip Sherrard

Monday, 1 November 2010


When despair grows in me
and I wake in he middle of the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children's lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting for their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

Wendell Berry
Aug 5th 1934 -