Friday, 27 May 2011


Apple Blossom
Sir George Clausen RA ( 1852 – 1944) English Artist

I went out to the hazel wood,
Because a fire was in my head,
And cut and peeled a hazel wand, 
And hooked a berry to a thread;
And when white moths were on the wing,
And moth-like stars were flickering out, 
I dropped the berry in a stream
And caught a little silver trout.

When I had laid it on the floor
I went to blow the fire aflame,
But something rustled on the floor,
And some one called me by my name:
It had become a glimmering girl
With apple blossom in her hair
Who called me by my name and ran
And faded through the brightening air.

Though I am old with wandering
Through hollow lands and hilly lands,
I will find out where she has gone,
And kiss her lips and take her hands;
And walk among long dappled grass,
And pluck till time and times are done
The silver apples of the moon,
The golden apples of the sun.

William Butler Yeats

In his notes for the poem, Yeats wrote,  'An old man who was cutting a quickset hedge near Gort, in Galway, said only the other day: " One time I was cutting timber over in Inchy; at about eight o'clock one morning, when I got there, I saw a girl picking nuts, with her hair hanging down over her shoulders; brown hair;  and she had a good clean face, and she was tall, and nothing on her head, and her dress was simple. And when she felt me coming up, she gathered herself up, and she was gone, as if the earth had swallowed her up. And I followed her and looked for her, but I never could see her again, from that day to this, never again."

Monday, 23 May 2011


The Coughers of Cologne
have joined forces with the Cologne Clappers
and established the Cough and Clap Society
a non-profit-making organisation
whose aim it is
to guarantee each concert-goer's right
 to cough and applaud.
Attempts by unfeeling artists or impresarios
to question such privileges
have led to a Coughers and Clappers initiative.
Members are required to applaud
immediately after sublime codas
and cough distinctly
during expressive silences.
Distinct coughing is of paramount importance
to stifle or muffle it
forbidden on pain of expulsion.
Coughs of outstanding tenacity
are awarded the Coughing Rhinemaiden
a handsome if slightly baroque appendage
to be worn dangling from the neck.
The C&C's recent merger
with the New York Sneezers
and the London Whistlers
raises high hopes
for Cologne's musical future.

by Alfred Brendel
with Richard Stokes

From Collected Poems by Alfred Brendel, 'Playing the Human Game'.

On 18th December 2008, the mighty Alfred Brendel gave his last concert at the Vienna Musikverein.

From Alfred Brendel - Life and Career

Writing is a constant source of inspiration and expression for Alfred Brendel. He has published two collections of articles and lectures: Musical Thoughts and Afterthoughts Robson Books, (1976) and Music Sounded Out Robson Books, (1990) full of the same intellectual rigour and sly wit that he brings to his keyboard playing. Recently, all his essays have been gathered in “Alfred Brendel on Music” (new edition, JR Books 2007). A book of conversations with Martin Mayer, “The Veil of Order” (in the US: “Me of all people”) was published by Faber in 2002.

“One Finger Too Many”, has seen him depart from his usual role as a music essayist in a volume of absurd poetry. A second poetry selection in English is called “Cursing Bagels”. The literary press has praised his work on its own merit, setting aside his musical renown. The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung lauded his writings as "a collection of texts which can be numbered among the sparse ranks of genuinely comic literature and which make their author possibly 'immortal"'.

"I am not exclusively a musician, as the past few years have clearly shown," says Brendel. "I now lead a kind of double life. There has been an upsurge of my literary life with frequent poetry readings and Collected Poems in German and French. I am looking forward to my retirement from the stage to do more writing and lecturing”.

Friday, 20 May 2011


Marc Chagall
Russian Painter

Don't let that horse
                                                 eat that violin
                                  cried Chagall's mother
but he kept right on 
And became famous

And kept on painting
The Horse With Violin In Mouth

                                 And when he finally finished it
                                 he jumped up upon the horse
and rode away
waving the violin

And then with a low bow gave it 
to the first naked nude he ran across

                                 And there were no strings

Lawrence Ferlinghetti

Ferlinghetti was born in Yonkers, New York, and educated at Columbia University and the Sorbonne.
He is identified with the Beat movement. He has said that much of his work was written by talking into a tape recorder and was designed to be read aloud.

Saturday, 14 May 2011


The force that through the green fuse drives the flower
Drives my geen age; that blasts the roots of trees
Is my destroyer.
And I am dumb to tell the crooked rose
My youth is bent by the same wintry fever.

The force that drives the water through the rocks
Drives my red blood; that dries the mouthing streams
Turns mine to wax.
And I am dumb to mouth unto my veins
How at the mountain spring the same mouth sucks.

The hand that whirls the water in the pool
Stirs the quicksand; that ropes the blowing wind
Hauls my shroud sail.
And I am dumb to tell the hanging man
How of my clay is made the hangman's lime.

The lips of time leech to the fountain head;
Love drips and gathers, but the fallen blood
Shall calm her sores.
And I am dumb to tell a weather's wind
How time has ticked a heaven round the stars.

And I am dumb to tell my lover's tomb
How at my sheet goes the same crooked worm.

Dylan Thomas

Dylan Thomas wrote this poem when he was 19, wishing to demonstrate "that the blood in my lungs is the blood that goes up and down in a tree".

Monday, 9 May 2011


Like Rain it sounded till it curved
And then I knew 'twas Wind -
It walked as wet as any Wave
But swept as dry as sand -
When it had pushed itself away
To some remotest Plain
A coming as of Hosts was heard
That was indeed the Rain -
It filled the Wells, it pleased the Pools
It warbled in the Road -
It pulled the spigot from the Hills
And let the Floods abroad -
It loosened acres, lifted seas
The sites of Centres stirred
Then like Elijah rode away
Upon a Wheel of Cloud.

 Emily Dickinson

Saturday, 7 May 2011


The riddle silently sees its image. It spins evening
among the motionless reeds.
There is a frailty no one notices
there, in the web of grass.

Silent cattle stare with green eyes.
They mosey in evening calm down to the water.
And the lake holds its immense spoon
up to all the mouths.

Harry Edmund Martinson
translated from the Swedish by Robert Bly

Monday, 2 May 2011


As May was opening the rosebuds,
elder and lilac beginning to bloom,
it was time for the mare to foal.
She'd rest herself, or hobble lazily

after the boy who sang as he led her
to pasture, wading through the meadow flowers.
They wandered back at dusk, bone-tired,
the moon perched on a blue shoulder of sky.

Then the mare lay down, 
sweating and trembling, on her straw in the stable.
The drowsy, heavy-bellied cows
surrounded her, waiting, watching, snuffing.

Later, when even the hay slept
and the shaft of the Plough pointed south,
the foal was born. Hours the mare
spent licking the foal with its glue-blind eyes.

And the foal slept at her side,
a heap of feathers ripped from a bed.
Straw never spread as soft as this.
Milk or snow never slept like a foal.

Dawn bounced up in a bright red hat,
waved at the world and skipped away.
Up staggered the foal,
its hooves were jelly-knots of foam.

Then day sniffed with its blue nose
through the open stable window, and found them -
the foal nuzzling its mother,
velvet fumbling for her milk.

Then all the trees were talking at once,
chickens scrabbled in the yard,
like golden flowers
envy withered the last stars.

Ferenc Juhasz
translated from the Hungarian by David Wevill