Tuesday, 30 April 2013


For I have learned
To look on nature, not as in the hour
Of thoughtless youth, but hearing oftentimes
The still, sad music of humanity,
Nor harsh nor grating, though of ample power
To chasten and subdue. And I have felt
A presence that disturbs me with the joy
Of elevated thoughts; a sense sublime
Of something far more deeply interfused,
Whose dwelling is the light of setting suns,
And the round ocean, and the living air,
And the blue sky, and in the mind of man,
A motion and a spirit, that impels
All thinking things, all objects of all thought,
And rolls through all things. Therefore am I still
A lover of the meadows and the woods,
And mountains; and of all that we behold
From this green earth; of all the mighty world
Of eye and ear, both what they half-create,
And what perceive; well pleased to recognize
In nature and the language of the sense,
The anchor of my purest thoughts, the nurse,
The guide, the guardian of my heart, and soul
Of all my moral being.

William Wordsworth

William Wordsworth was a major English Romantic poet who, with Samuel Taylor Coleridge, helped to launch the Romantic Age in English literature with the 1798 joint publication Lyrical Ballads.

The full text of Lines Composed a Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey can be found here.

My source:
Poetry For The Spirit
Poems of Universal Wisdom And Beauty
Edited by Alan Jacobs

Tuesday, 23 April 2013


Uccello: St George and The Dragon, National Gallery


Not my best side, I'm afraid.
The artist didn't give me a chance to
Pose properly, and as you can see,
Poor chap, he had this obsession with
Triangles, so he left off two of my
Feet. I didn't comment at the time
(What, after all, are two feet
To a monster?) but afterwards
I was sorry for the bad publicity.
Why, I said to myself, should my conqueror
Be so ostentatiously beardless, and ride
A horse with a deformed neck and square hoofs?
Why should my victim be so
Unattractive as to be inedible,
And why should she have me literally
On a string? I don't mind dying
Ritually, since I always rise again,
But I should have liked a little more blood
To show they were taking me seriously.


It's hard for a girl to be sure if
She wants to be rescued. I mean, I quite
Took to the dragon. It's nice to be
Liked, if you know what I mean. He was
So nicely physical, with his claws
And lovely green skin, and that sexy tail,
And the way he looked at me,
He made me feel he was all ready to
Eat me. And any girl enjoys that.
So when this boy turned up, wearing machinery,
On a really dangerous horse, to be honest
I didn't much fancy him. I mean,
What was he like underneath the hardware?
He might have acne, blackheads or even
Bad breath for all I could tell, but the dragon--
Well, you could see all his equipment
At a glance. Still, what could I do?
The dragon got himself beaten by the boy,
And a girl's got to think of her future.


I have diplomas in Dragon
Management and Virgin Reclamation.
My horse is the latest model, with
Automatic transmission and built-in
Obsolescence. My spear is custom-built,
And my prototype armour
Still on the secret list. You can't
Do better than me at the moment.
I'm qualified and equipped to the
Eyebrow. So why be difficult?
Don't you want to be killed and/or rescued
In the most contemporary way? Don't
You want to carry out the roles
That sociology and myth have designed for you?
Don't you realize that, by being choosy,
You are endangering job prospects
In the spear- and horse-building industries?
What, in any case, does it matter what
You want? You're in my way.

U.A. Fanthorpe

Monday, 22 April 2013


I so liked Spring last year
Because you were here; -
The thrushes too -
Because it was these you liked to hear -
I so liked you.

This year’s a different thing, -
I’ll not think of you.
But I’ll like Spring because it is simply Spring
As the thrushes do.

Charlotte Mew

Tuesday, 16 April 2013


Alfonsina Storni

The woods of the horizon 
are on fire;
eluding flames,
the swift blue bucks
of twilight

Little golden goats
migrate toward
the vault
and recline
on the blue moss.

the city 
rises up,
a cement rose,
motionless on its stem
of dark cellars.

Its black pistils -
towers, cupolas -
waiting for lunar 

by the flames of the fire
and lost
among the petals of the rose,
almost invisible,
crossing back and forth
the men . . .

Alfonsina Storni

Men in the City translated from the Spanish by Rachel Benson

Alfonsina Storni was born at sea to Argentine parents who registered her birth in Switzerland. She lived for most of her life in Buenos Aires. Self-supporting from the age of thirteen, she travelled with a theatre company, wrote plays for children, worked as a teacher, a milliner, and a journalist. She had one son. The publication of her first book in 1916 brought immediate recognition, and she was soon accorded the stature of a major poet throughout Latin America. In 1938, incurably ill, she drowned herself in the waters of Mar del Plata.

From the Penguin Book of Women Poets 1978

Friday, 5 April 2013


This water, sad and fearful,
like a child who suffers,
before touching the Earth,
fades away.

Calm the wind, calm the tree -
but in the tremendous silence,
this lean, bitter song
is falling.

The sky is like a heart,
immense, opening up, bitter,
it is not rain; it is a bleeding,
long, and slow.

Men in houses
do not feel this bitterness,
this sad flow of water
out of the heavens.

This long and tiring descent
of conquered water,
towards Earth, recumbent,
and paralysed!

It is raining . . . . and like a tragic jackal
the night watches over the land.
What is going to spring up, in the shadow,
out of Mother Earth?

Will you sleep, while outside
falls suffering, this slow water,
this lethal water, sister
of death?

Gabriela Mistral

translated from the Spanish by Gunda Kaiser and James Tipton

‘Gabriela Mistral’ was the pseudonym of Lucila Godoy Alcayaga who was born in Vicuna, Chile. She received literary acclaim in 1915 with her ‘Sonetos de Muerte’ and was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1945. She is considered one of the great lyrical geniuses of Spanish letter.

(From the Penguin Book of Women Poets, 1979)