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Category Archives: Famous Poets

Yet another poem

Fire and Ice

Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.


Sent in by you. What’s your favourite poem?

An Ode to Dads everywhere – our Father’s Day


Subject An Ode to Dads everywhere - our Father's Day blog post
Subject An Ode to Dads everywhere - our Father's Day blog post
Settle down for a few moments to read personal stories of stickleback fishing, Sunday walks in the countryside, or simply spending time together with Dad. .
Wordsley, the Common c1955
Sunday walks with my Dad
“My father would take me for walks on Sundays when the weather was good, which it seemed to be most of the time, we would walk up the common which was then all countryside. We would climb over the stile in the photo and turn up the hill towards the wood, known as the Cally Wood, it was private with no public access. So we we would take another stile which would take us across the fields towards Cot Lane. This was the exciting bit for a six year old as the path crossed the sand pits by a metal footbridge high above the workings, which was often a few feet deep in water. We then joined Cot Lane and back to Wordsley, perhaps for a Vimto and packet of crisps at the Raven, where they had a bowling green at the back.”

We thank G Lowe for sharing his memory with us. The photo is Wordsley, the Common c1955.

All Saints Church and Pond, Carshalton c1955
Fishing for sticklebacks
“I have wonderful memories of the Ponds, I would go stickleback fishing with my Dad armed with a jam jar and fishing net on the end of a bamboo stick. Bread for the ducks was always good too, half for me and half for them!”

We thank M Beller for sharing her memory with us. The photo is of All Saints Church and Pond, Carshalton c1955.

The Airfield at Denham, c1965
Winch gliding with my Father

“My father, Edward Wyatt, spent every spare moment he could flying his glider at Denham airfield. We lived in Higher Denham and used to get taken to the airfield many a Sunday. I was 6 in 1953, and I recall the taste of the soup that was served in the canteen, and of course, the flights themselves. My brother, sister, and I were strapped into the back seat of the glider and off we would go, my father often insisting we take the controls. I remember the winch letting go as we would soar up to what seemed like the heavens. My dad also had a small plane, and would take us flying to high altitudes to help alleviate whooping cough (I think). We looped the loop and felt sure we would fall out of the open cockpit…..fond memories!!”

We thank J Schinkel for sharing her memory with us. The photo is of the airfield at Denham c1965.

The Francis Frith Collection

New Poetry from TJ Beitelman :: AMERICANA

Americana is a wide-eyed view of the extraordinary world around us, one most of us rarely have the capacity to see.
 —Mark Neely
In TJ Beitelman’s poems, “everything’s a powder / keg,” where everyday occurrences explode into expressions of joy and heartache. Americana begins with an examination of American icons and institutions, then moves out in widening circles to encompass everything from Greek myth to global politics. Here you’ll find strange bedfellows—Bogart and the Big Bang, Hank Aaron and Buddhism, Hezbollah and Frank O’Hara—drawn together by Beitelman’s nimble mind. Full of surprising turns and observations, Americana is a wide-eyed view of the extraordinary world around us, one most of us rarely have the capacity to see.
 —Mark Neely, author of Beasts of the Hill
Beitelman’s Americana is a funhouse full of mirrors that reveal the comic, the tragic, the beautiful, and the grotesque of commonalities we can’t avoid: pop culture, politics, history. It is a funhouse where “truth and memory are mute” and the connections between, say, “Bela Lugosi and truck tires” are what guide us through spinning tunnels and illusions. And as we exit, it’s difficult to say what is more real: Beitelman’s mad rendering or the world that inspired it.
—Michele Battiste, author of Uprising
The sky opened in the ten minutes it took to fete
Hank Aaron after he hit #715. Hank says time
paused as he was rounding the bases: the college
kids patting him on the back between second

and third might as well have been gnats or rain-
drops…O, the rain! Who was the first to think
the unthinkable?—Wait, if this gets called, do we
go back to 714?
 Tomorrow is another day, indeed.

Hank, the Buddhists say it is raining everywhere.
The greatest Zen masters proclaim their impotence:
I cannot be a good Zen master; I have seen good Zen
masters. As for me, I can’t be a good homerun hitter—

that’s no false modesty. Some things we just can’t
do. But I’ve seen a lot of homeruns, Hank, and now
I suspect each one is nothing special, a single ball
socked into the night. Yes, they can be washed off

the books, even the momentous ones. Nothing
to do but wait and see if what we’ve seen is real.
We sit in our hard bleacher seats, hold the breath
we share. We stare straight up into the spitting sky.
About the Poet
TJ Beitelman is a writer and teacher living in Birmingham, Alabama. He’s published a novel, John the Revelator, and two collections of poetry: In Order to Form a More Perfect Union and Americana, all from Black Lawrence Press. His stories and poems have appeared widely in literary magazines, and he’s received fellowships from the Alabama State Council on the Arts and the Cultural Alliance of Greater Birmingham. He taught writing and literature at Virginia Tech, where he earned an M.A. in English, and at the University of Alabama, where he earned an M.F.A. in creative writing and also edited Alabama Heritage and Black Warrior Review. Since 2002, he has taught creative writing at the Alabama School of Fine Arts in Birmingham, and he’s an Artist in Residence at the Gorham’s Bluff Institute on Sand Mountain in northeast Alabama. He can be found on-line at and at  


 I The steeds That Bear Me Carried Me as Far as My Heart Ever Desired, Since They brought` Me and Me set on The renowned Way of The Goddess, Who With HER Own hands conducts The Manwho knows through all things. On passing What WAS I borne 5 Along? for IT did on The Wise steeds carry Me, Drawing My Car, and showed Maidens The passing. The axle and, glowing in The Socket – for IT WAS urged Round by The Whirling wheels AT Each end – Gave forth as A Sound of A Pipe, WHEN The Daughters of TheSun, Hasting to Convey Me Into The Light, threw back Their veils 10 From off Their Faces and Left The Abode of Night. There are The Gates of The Ways of Night and Day, Fitted With A lintel Above and Below With A threshold of Stone. They themselves, High in The Air, are Closed Doors by Mighty, and Avenging Justice Keeps The Keys That Open Them. HER did on the 15th The Maidens entreat With gentle Words and skilfully persuadeto unfasten Without demur The bolted bars From The Gates. Then, WHEN The Doors Were thrown back, They disclosed A widepening, WHEN Their Brazen Hinges swung backwards in The the 20th Sockets fastened With rivets and nails. Straight through Them, on The broad passing, did The Maidens Guide The Horses and The Car,The Goddess and greeted Me Kindly, and Took My Right hand in Hers, and spake to Me These Words: -Welcome, noble Youth, That comest to My Abode on The Car That Bears the 25th thee tended by Immortal charioteers! IT ILL Is No Chance, But Justice and Right That HAS Sent thee forth to Travel on This passing.Far, Indeed, does IT Lie From The beaten Track of Men! Meet IT Is That thou shouldst Learn All Things, as well unshaken The Heart of Persuasive Truth, as The opinions of mortals on the 30th in Which Is No True Belief AT All. Yet none The less thou shalt thou Learn of These Things Also, Since thou must Judge approvedly of The Things That SEEM to Men as thou goest through All Things in Thy Journey. ” II Come now, I Will tell thee – and do thou hearken to My Saying and carry IT AWAY – The only Two Ways of Search That Can BE Thought of. The First, namely, That It Is, and That IT Is Impossible for Anything not to BE, Is The passing of. Conviction, the 5th for Truth Is ITS Companion .. The Other, namely, That It Is not, and Something That Needs must not BE, – That, I tell thee, Is A wholly untrustworthy Path. For You Can not know What Is not – That Is Impossible – nor Utter IT? III For IT SAMe Is The Thing That Can BE Thought and That Can BE. IV V VI It must BE That Needs What Can BE Thought and Spoken of Is? for IT Is Possible for IT to BE, and IT Is not Possible for, What Is nothing to BE. This Is What I bid thee Ponder. I Hold thee back From This First passing of Inquiry, and From This Other Also, upon the 5th Which mortals Knowing naught wander in Two Minds? forhesitation Guides The Wandering Thought in Their breasts, SO That They are borne Along stupefied like Men Deaf and blind. Undiscerning Crowds, in Whose Eyes The SAMe Thing and not The SAMe Is and Is not, and All Things Travel in Opposite Directions! VII for This Shall Never BE proved, That The Things That are notare? and do thou restrain Thy Thought From This passing of Inquiry. Nor Let Habit Force thee to cast A Wandering Eye upon This Devious Track, Or to turn thither Thy Thy resounding Ear Or the 5th tongue? But do thou Judge The Subtle refutation of Their discourse uttered by Me. VIII One Path only Is Left for us to Speak of, namely, That It Is. In IT are very MANY tokens That What Is, Is uncreated and Indestructible, alone, complete,immovable and Without end. Nor was it ever, nor will it be; for five now IT Is, All AT once, A Continuous One.For What Kind of Origin for IT. will you look for? In What passing and From What source IT Could Have drawn ITS Increase; Shall I not Let thee say nor think That IT Came From What Is not? Can neither for IT BEThought nor uttered That Is not What Is. And, IF IT Came From 10 nothing, Need What Could Have Made IT ARISE Later Rather Than sooner; THEREFORE IT must either BE altogether Or not BE AT All. Nor Will The Force of Truth Suffer aught to ARISE besides Itself From That Which Is in Any passing. Wherefore, Justice does not Loose HER Fetters and Let Anything Come Into Being Or Pass 15 AWAY, But holds IT Fast. “IT Is Or Is not IT;” Surely IT Is adjudged, as IT Needs must BE, That we are to set aside The One passing as unthinkable and Nameless (for IT Is No True passing), and The Other Path That Is Real and True. How, Then, Can What Is Going to BE BE in The twenty Future; Or how could it come into being? If IT Came Into Being, IT Is not? nor is it if it is going to be in the future. Thus Is Becoming extinguished and passing AWAY not to BE Heard of. Nor Is IT divisible, Since IT Is All Alike, and There Is No more of IT in One Place Than in Another, to Hinder IT From Holding Together, nor less of IT, But everything Is Full of What Is. Wherefore the 25th All holds Together? for what is; Is in contact With What Is. Moreover, IT Is immovable in The Bonds of Mighty chains, Without Without Beginning and end? Since coming Into Being and passing AWAY Have Been driven afar, and True Belief HAS cast Them AWAY. It Is The SAMe, and IT Rests in The self-SAMe Place, Abiding in Itself.And thus thirty IT remaineth Constant in ITS Place? for hard NECESSITY Keeps IT in The Bonds of The limit That holds IT Fast on Every Side. Wherefore IT Is not Permitted to What Is to BE infinite? for it is in need of nothing; while, if it were infinite, it would stand in need of everything. IT Is The Thing That Can SAMe BE Thought and for The Sake of The Thought Which Exists? 35 for You Can not find Thought Without Something That Is, to Which Is IT betrothed. And There Is not, and Never Shall BE, Any Other Time, Than That Which Is Present, Since fate chained IT HAS SO as to BE Whole and immovable. Wherefore All These Things are But The names Which mortals Have Given, Believing Them, to BE True – 40 coming Into Being and passing AWAY, Being and not Being, change of Place and Alteration of bright color. Where, Then, IT HAS ITS farthest boundary, IT Is complete on Every Side, equally poised From The center in Every direction , like The mass of A Rounded sphere? for IT Can not BE Greater Or 45 Smaller in One Place Than in Another. For There Is nothingWhich Is not That Could Keep IT From Reaching out equally, nor IT Is Possible That There shouldnt BE more of What Is in This Place and less in That, Since IT Is All inviolable. For, Since IT Is EQUAL in All Directions, IT Is equally i.e. the two Within Limits. 50 Here Shall I Close My Trustworthy speech and Thought about The Truth. Henceforward Learn The opinions of mortals, Giving Ear to The Deceptive ordering of My Words.Mortals Have Settled in Their Minds to Speak of Two Forms, One of Which They Have Left shouldnt out, and That Is Where They Go astray From The Truth. 55 They Have Assigned an Opposite to Each Substance, and Marks distinct From One Another. To The One They Allot The Fire of heaven, Light, Thin, in Every directionThe SAMe as Itself, But not The SAMe as The Other. The Other Is Opposite to IT, Dark Night, A Compact and Heavy Body. Of These 60 I tell thee The Whole arrangement as IT seems to Men, in order That No mortal May Surpass thee in Knowledge. IX Now That All Things Have Been Named Light and Night? and The ThingsWhich Belong to The Power of Each Have Been Assigned to These Things and to those, everything Is Full AT once of Light and Dark Night, Both EQUAL, Since neither HAS aught to do With The Other. X And thou thou shalt know The The Origin of All Things on High, and All The Signs in The Sky, and The resplendent Works of The glowing Sun’s Clear Torch, and whence They arose. And thou thou shalt Learn likewise of The Wandering Deeds of The Round-Faced five Moon, and of HER Origin. Thou thou shalt know, TOO, The Heavens That surround us, whence They arose, and How NECESSITY Took Them and Bound Them to Keep The Limits of The stars. . . XI How The Earth, and The Sun, and The Moon, and The Sky That Is common to All, and The Milky Way, and The outermost Olympos, and The burning of Might The stars arose. XII The narrower Circles are filled With unmixed Fire, and those Surrounding Them With Night, and in The midst of These rushes Their Portion of Fire. In The midst of These Circles Is The divinity That directs The Course of All Things? for she Rules All over Painful Birth and All begetting, 5 driving The Female to The Embrace of The Male, and The Male to That of The Female. XIII First of All The gods she contrived Eros. XIV Shining by Night With Borrowed Light, Wandering Round The Earth. XV Always straining HER Eyes to The beams of The Sun. XVaXVI XVII On The Right Boys? on The Left Girls. XVIII XIX Thus, according to Men’s opinions, did COMP Things Into Being, and thus They are now. In Time (They think) They Will Grow up and Pass AWAY. To Each of These Things Men Have Assigned A Fixed name.

John Burnet (1892)



THE EVE OF WATERLOO -by: Lord Byron (1788-1824) –


THERE was a sound of revelry by night,
And Belgium’s capital had gathered then
Her beauty and her chivalry, and bright
The lamps shone o’er fair women and brave men.
A thousand hearts beat happily; and when
Music arose with its voluptuous swell,
Soft eyes looked love to eyes which spake again,
And all went merry as a marriage bell;
But hush! hark! a deep sound strikes like a rising knell!
Did ye not hear it? — No; ’twas but the wind,
Or the car rattling o’er the stony street;
On with the dance! let joy be unconfined;
No sleep till morn, when youth and pleasure meet
To chase the glowing hours with flying feet.
But hark! — that heavy sound breaks in once more,
As if the clouds its echo would repeat;
And nearer, clearer, deadlier than before;
Arm! arm! it is — it is — the cannon’s opening roar!
Within a windowed niche of that high hall
Sate Brunswick’s fated chieftain; he did hear
That sound the first amidst the festival,
And caught its tone with death’s prophetic ear;
And when they smiled because he deemed it near,
His heart more truly knew that peal too well
Which stretched his father on a bloody bier,
And roused the vengeance blood alone could quell;
He rushed into the field, and, foremost fighting, fell.
Ah! then and there was hurrying to and fro,
And gathering tears, and tremblings of distress,
And cheeks all pale, which, but an hour ago,
Blushed at the praise of their own loveliness.
And there were sudden partings, such as press
The life from out young hearts, and choking sighs
Which ne’er might be repeated; who would guess
If ever more should meet those mutual eyes,
Since upon night so sweet such awful morn could rise!
And there was mounting in hot haste; the steed,
The mustering squadron, and the clattering car,
Went pouring forward with impetuous speed,
And swiftly forming in the ranks of war;
And the deep thunder, peal on peal afar;
And near, the beat of the alarming drum
Roused up the soldier ere the morning star;
While thronged the citizens with terror dumb,
Or whispering, with white lips — “The foe! they come! they come!”

The Country Of Marriage – YOUR FAVOURITE POEM




I dream of you walking at night along the streams

of the country of my birth, warm blooms and the nightsongs

of birds opening around you as you walk.

You are holding in your body the dark seed of my sleep.



This comes after silence. Was it something I said

that bound me to you, some mere promise

or, worse, the fear of loneliness and death?

A man lost in the woods in the dark, I stood

still and said nothing. And then there rose in me,

like the earth’s empowering brew rising

in root and branch, the words of a dream of you

I did not know I had dreamed. I was a wanderer

who feels the solace of his native land

under his feet again and moving in his blood.

I went on, blind and faithful. Where I stepped

my track was there to steady me. It was no abyss

that lay before me, but only the level ground.



Sometimes our life reminds me

of a forest in which there is a graceful clearing

and in that opening a house,

an orchard and garden,

comfortable shades, and flowers

red and yellow in the sun, a pattern

made in the light for the light to return to.

The forest is mostly dark, its ways

to be made anew day after day, the dark

richer than the light and more blessed,

provided we stay brave

enough to keep on going in.



How many times have I come to you out of my head

with joy, if ever a man was,

for to approach you I have given up the light

and all directions. I come to you

lost, wholly trusting as a man who goes

into the forest unarmed. It is as though I descend

slowly earthward out of the air. I rest in peace

in you, when I arrive at last.



Our bond is no little economy based on the exchange

of my love and work for yours, so much for so much

of an expendable fund. We don’t know what its limits are–

that puts us in the dark. We are more together

than we know, how else could we keep on discovering

we are more together than we thought?

You are the known way leading always to the unknown,

and you are the known place to which the unknown is always

leading me back. More blessed in you than I know,

I possess nothing worthy to give you, nothing

not belittled by my saying that I possess it.

Even an hour of love is a moral predicament, a blessing

a man may be hard up to be worthy of. He can only

accept it, as a plant accepts from all the bounty of the light

enough to live, and then accepts the dark,

passing unencumbered back to the earth, as I

have fallen time and again from the great strength

of my desire, helpless, into your arms.



What I am learning to give you is my death

to set you free of me, and me from myself

into the dark and the new light. Like the water

of a deep stream, love is always too much. We

did not make it. Though we drink till we burst

we cannot have it all, or want it all.

In its abundance it survives our thirst.

In the evening we come down to the shore

to drink our fill, and sleep, while it

flows through the regions of the dark.

It does not hold us, except we keep returning

to its rich waters thirsty. We enter,

willing to die, into the commonwealth of its joy.



I give you what is unbounded, passing from dark to dark,

containing darkness: a night of rain, an early morning.

I give you the life I have let live for the love of you:

a clump of orange-blooming weeds beside the road,

the young orchard waiting in the snow, our own life

that we have planted in the ground, as I

have planted mine in you. I give you my love for all

beautiful and honest women that you gather to yourself

again and again, and satisfy–and this poem,

no more mine than any man’s who has loved a woman.


Wendell Berry


Sons and Lovers

Sons and Lovers Quotes

Quote 1: Paul continually prays for his mother’s safety: “‘Make him stop drinking’. He prayed every night. ” ‘Lord, let my father die’, he prayed very often. ‘Let him not be killed at pit'”, he prayed when, after tea, the father did not come home from work.” Part 1, Chapter 4, pg. 60

Quote 2: “He was an outsider. He had denied the God in him.” Part 1, Chapter 4, pg. 63

Quote 3: “All day long, as she cleaned the house, she thought of him. He was in London: he would do well. Almost, he was like her knight who wore her favour in the battle.” Part 1, Chapter 4, pg. 79

Quote 4: “Not even the Mediterranean, which pulled at all his young man’s desire to travel, and at his poor man’s wonder at the glamorous south, could take him away when he might come home.” Part 1, Chapter 4, pg. 82

Quote 5: “But still, in her heart of hearts, where the love should have burned, there was a blank. Now, when all her woman’s pity was roused to its full extent, when she would have slaved herself to death to nurse him and to save hum, when she would have taken the pain herself, if she could, somewhere far away inside her, she felt indifferent to him and to his suffering. It hurt her most of all, this failure to love him, even when he roused her strong emotions.” Part 1, Chapter 5, pg. 86

Quote 6: He feels as if he is a “prisoner of industrialism.” Part 1, Chapter 5, pg. 89

Quote 7: “Already his heart went down. He was being taken into bondage. His freedom in the beloved home valley was going now.” Part 1, Chapter 5, pg. 89

Quote 8: “He liked to watch his fellow-clerks at work. The man was the work and the work was the man, one thing, for the time being. It was different with the girls. The real woman never seemed to be there at the task, but as if left out, waiting.” Part 1, Chapter 5, pg. 112

Quote 9: “The trains roared by like projectiles level on the darkness, fuming and burning, making the valley clang with their passage. They were gone, and the lights of the towns and villages glittered in silence.” Part 1, Chapter 5, pg. 112

Quote 10: Mrs. Morel “clung now to Paul.” Part 1, Chapter 6, pg. 114

Quote 11: As Paul says, “But I like the feel of men on things, while they’re alive. There’s a feel of men about trucks, because they’ve been handled with men’s hands, all of them.” Part 1, Chapter 6, pg. 123

Quote 12: All Mrs. Morel can say is, “‘My son.'” Part 1, Chapter 6, pg. 139

Quote 13: When the critical moment arrives, Mrs. Morel cries to Paul, “‘My son.'” Part 1, Chapter 6, pg. 141

Quote 14: “Then he was so ill, and she felt he would be weak. Then she would be stronger than he. Then she could love him. If she could be mistress of him in his weakness, take care of him, if he could depend on her, if she could, as it were, have him in her arms, how she would love him!” Part 2, Chapter 7, pg. 143

Quote 15: “She stimulated him into appreciating things thus, and then they lived for her. She seemed to need things kindling in her imagination or in her soul before she felt she had them. And she was cut off from ordinary life by her religious intensity which made the world for her either a nunnery garden or a paradise, where sin and knowledge were not, or else an ugly, cruel thing.” Part 2, Chapter 7, pg. 149

Quote 16: Paul asks her in frustration and anger, “‘ What do you tremble your soul before it?…You don’t learn algebra with your blessed soul. Can’t you look at it with your clear simple wits?'” Part 2, Chapter 7, pg. 156

Quote 17: “They were going to have a communion together – something that thrilled her, something holy.” Part 2, Chapter 7, pg. 159

Quote 18: Miriam almost worships the flowers, but Paul feels strangely “imprisoned” by the roses and its “white, virgin scent.” Part 2, Chapter 7, pg. 160

Quote 19: Mrs. Morel tells herself that through Paul, “she was to see herself fulfilled.” Part 2, Chapter 8, pg. 183

Quote 20: With his mother, Paul is happy and proud that his mother takes charge of his life; with Miriam, he is filled with “something more wonderful, less human, and tinged to intensity by a pain, as if there were something he could not get to.” Part 2, Chapter 8, pg. 192

Quote 21: Mrs. Morel believes that Miriam is not an “ordinary woman, who can leave me my share in him. She wants to absorb him till there is nothing left of him, even for himself. He will never be a man on his own two feet – she will suck him up.” Part 2, Chapter 8, pg. 193

Quote 22: Disgusted with her behavior, Paul asks, “‘You’re always begging things to love you as if you were a beggar for love. Even the flowers, you have to fawn on them – You don’t want to love – your eternal and abnormal craving is to be loved. You aren’t positive, you’re negative. You absorb, absorb, as if you must fill yourself up with love, because you’ve got a shortage somewhere.'” Part 2, Chapter 9, pg. 218

Quote 23: “Something in the eternal repose of the uplifted cathedral, blue and noble against the sky, was reflected in [his mother], something of the fatality. What was, was. With all his young will he could not alter it. He saw her face, the skin still fresh and pink and downy, but crow’s-feet near her eyes, her eyelids steady, sinking a little, her mouth always closed with disillusion; and there was on her the same eternal look, as if she knew fate at last.” Part 2, Chapter 9, pg. 240

Quote 24: He writes, “I can give you a spirit love, I have given you this long, long time; but not embodied passion. See, you are a nun. I have given you what I would give a holy nun…In all our relations no body enters. I do not talk to you through the senses – rather through the spirit. That is why we cannot love in the common sense.” Part 2, Chapter 9, pg. 251

Quote 25: “At this rate he would not live. He had that poignant carelessness about himself, his own suffering, his own life, which is a form of suicide. It almost broke her heart. With all the passion of her strong nature she hated Miriam for having in this subtle way undermined his joy.” Part 2, Chapter 10, pg. 258

Quote 26: Miriam tells herself, “She would submit, religiously, to the sacrifice. He should have her. And at the thought her whole boy clenched itself involuntarily, hard, as if against something; but Life forced her through this gate of suffering, too, and she would submit. At any rate, it would give him what he wanted, which was her deepest wish.” Part 2, Chapter 11, pg. 284

Quote 27: “She knew she felt in a sort of bondage to him, which she hated because she could not control it. She hated her love for him from the moment it grew too strong for her. And, deep down, she had hated him because she loved him and he dominated her. She had resisted his denomination. She had fought to keep herself free of him in the last issue. And she was free of him, even more than he of her.” Part 2, Chapter 11, pg. 296

Quote 28: Paul says, “‘[Passion is] what one must have, I think – the real, real flame of feeling through another person – once, only once, if it lasts three months. See, my mother looks as if she’d had everything that was necessary for her living and developing. There’s not a tiny bit of feeling of sterility about her.'” Part 2, Chapter 12, pg. 317

Quote 29: She tells herself, “‘If he must go, let him go and have his fill – something big and intense, he called it. At any rate, when he had got it, he would not want it – that he said himself; he would want the other thing that she could give him. He would want to be owned, so that he could work. It seemed to her a bitter thing that he must go, but she could let him go into an inn for a glass of whisky, so she could let him go to Clara, so long as it was something that would satisfy a need in him, and leave him free for herself to possess.'” Part 2, Chapter 12, pg. 318

Quote 30: He feels that “sometimes he hated her, and pulled at her bondage. His life wanted to free itself of her. It was like a circle where life turned back on itself, and got no farther. She bore him, loved him, kept him, and his love turned back into her, so that he could not be free to go forward with his own life, really love another woman.” Part 2, Chapter 13, pg. 345

Quote 31: “She knew how stark and alone he was, and she felt it was great that he came to her; and she took him simply because his need was bigger either than her or him, and her soul was still within her. She did this for him in his need, even if he left her, for she loved him.” Part 2, Chapter 13, pg. 353

Quote 32: As Paul watches Clara swim in the sea, he thinks to himself, “‘She’s lost like a grain of sand in the beach – just a concentrated speck blown along, a tiny white foam-bubble, almost nothing among the morning. Why does she absorb me?'” Part 2, Chapter 13, pg. 358

Quote 33: Not only does he feel “imprisoned” when he is with her, Clara also feels that he yearns to break free from her. Part 2, Chapter 13, pg. 359

Quote 34: “It was almost as if he were a criminal. He wanted her – he had her – and it made her feel as if death itself had her in its grip. She lay in horror. There was no man there loving her.” Part 2, Chapter 14, pg. 387

Quote 35: Paul tells Clara, “‘She’s got such a will, it seems as if she would never go – never!'” Part 2, Chapter 14, pg. 388

Quote 36: “Sometimes they looked in each other’s eyes. Then they almost seemed to make an agreement. It was almost as if he were agreeing to die also. But she did not consent to die; she would not. Her body was wasted to a fragment of ash. Her eyes were dark and full of torture.” Part 2, Chapter 14, pg. 392

Quote 37: “And now he looked paltry and insignificant. There was nothing stable about him. Her husband had more manly dignity. At any rate hedid not waft about with any wind. There was something evanescent about Morel, she thought, something shifting and false. He would never make sure ground for any woman to stand on. She despised him rather for his shrinking together, getting smaller. Her husband at least was manly, and when he was beaten gave in. But this other would never own to being beaten. He would shift round and round, prowl, get smaller.” Part 2, Chapter 14, pg. 407

Quote 38: “She was the only thing that held him up, himself, amid all this. And she was gone, intermingled herself. He wanted her to touch him, have him alongside with her. But no, he would not give in…He would not take that direction, to the darkness, to follow her.” Part 2, Chapter 15, pg. 420

Herbert Read – ‘Ode: Written during the Battle of Dunkirk, May 1940′

“Sixteen years ago I built this house

By an oak on an acre of wild land…”

Herbert Read (1893-1968), anarchist poet, veteran of the 1st World War (he got a DSO and a MC), living in Norfolk during the Second World War, published a short collection of poems in 1944 under the title ‘A World Within a War’, the above lines taken from the title-poem. It is a time when every thought and action is “within a war” – even here in his idyllic countryside retreat. Read, born in Yorkshire, orphaned as a child, was, my research tells me, committed to the ‘people’s war’, the aim of which Evelyn Waugh said was to “direct the struggle for national survival into proletarian revolution”. He wrote theory on anarchism; was an art critic, championing Henry Moore and other modern artists; and co-founded the Institute of Contemporary Art as “an adult play-centre” and “a source of vitality and daring experiment”. Later in his life he accepted a very un-anarchist knighthood from the very un-anarchist Queen of England.


Written during the Battle of Dunkirk, May 1940

George Mackay Brown – Famous Scotish Poet

  • brown
    George Mackay Brown
Born: 1921 in Stromness, Orkney Islands
Died: 1996 in Stromness
First Book: The Storm (Orkney Press, 1954)
Awards: Short-listed for the 1994 Booker Prize for Beside the Ocean of TimeGeorge Mackay Brown is considered to be one of the greatest Scottish poets and authors of the twentieth century. His technical mastery and control of both prose and verse attracted a world-wide readership. Although never reaching bestseller status, his books were published in more than a dozen countries around the world, drawing hundreds of avid fans to his house in Orkney each year.

Born on 17 October 1921 into a poor family living in Stromness in the Orkney Islands, Mackay Brown attended the local Stromness Academy. It was here he discovered a talent for writing, excelling in the weekly compositions set by hisEnglish teacher.

His time at school was brought to a premature end when he contracted tuberculosis and was sent to a sanatorium in Kirkwall. He was troubled by the disease throughout his life and never completely returned to full health. His illness excluded him from service during the Second World War, and made him essentially unemployable on a long-term basis.

However, the extended periods of rest which the disease enforced upon him meant that he was able to read and write extensively, thereby developing his literary talent. By the early 1940s his prolific writings were beginning to emerge publicly with news stories, reviews and a regular column in the Orkney weekly newspaper. This column was a constant feature throughout the rest of his life, with his final piece appearing just two days before his death on 13 April 1996.

After his initial success in the early 1940s he began to drink heavily and only wrote occasional poems and his column for the local newspaper. This lifestyle continued for almost ten years before he received an invitation to become a mature student at an adult education college in Dalkeith in 1951. The college was run by Edwin Muir, a poet and fellow Orkadian whose work Mackay Brown greatly admired. Much of Muir’s work, and especially his 1940 The Story and the Fable (which Mackay Brown read when he went to the University of Edinburgh two years after graduating from the Dalkeith college), interweaved Orkadian life and history with myth and legend, and had a profound effect on the future style and subject-matter of Mackay Brown’s later achievements.

In the summer of 1970, he met – entirely by chance – the composer Peter Maxwell Davies in the remote valley of Rackwick in Orkney. In the subsequent years, the two men forged a fiercely strong friendship and went on to collaborate together to produce many of Maxwell Davies’ Orkney-inspired works.

Following the publication and success of Booker Prize short-listed Beside the Ocean of Time, Mackay Brown wrote two collections of short stories, the second of which was published posthumously. When he died on 13 April 1996, he left a legacy for both Scottish literature and the communities of the Orkney Islands. Able to transcend the common and often mundane perception of Orkadian life and history, Mackay Brown’s writing was ethereal and timeless, filled with strong universal truths that deeply touched his global readership.

A Calendar of Love, Beside the Ocean of Time, Greenvoe, Hawkfall, The Island of the Women, A Time to Keep, Vinland, and Winter Tales are all available from now Polygon. Selected pieces are also published by Polygon in Lament: Scottish Poems for Funerals and Consolation and Scottish War Stories, and an extensive interview with Mackay Brown is featured in Scottish Writers Talking.



It’s all right-angles in the city over Newton’s lock.
Square foot, Square Mile. The joiner, mason, architect
have passed through, each one dangling a plumbline.
Build it once, then rake it back to ash and build again.

Down here the river measures twice, cuts once.
Bring spirit levels, bring your guillotines and gates,
you’ll not cut water
                                  as it halves this place.
Meet it on its own terms, soft and true enough.

Between the builds, a greening, an uncornering.
The rivers make a curve of every angle; gentling a lattice,
licking sharpness from an edge. They gather leaves
and shake out clouds in tunnel mouths.

Welcome them. They change, and wait, and change.
Uncoil a path, a monument to those who go at walking pace
between the cathedrals of speed. A path means hope;
it links new places through an arc of sapling sycamores.

Invite the artist; the unjoiner, cutting out a halved house
on each bank. For Newton, keeper of the unlocked Lea,
you split the cottage like an apple. Water pulses through,
measuring the old familiar drop from hill to estuary.

Bent finger in a London of straight lines, the river
beckons to the city, points out the value of a curve
and floats on. Easy in its channels, unbiddable;
idle under mirrored bridges, waiting for the walls to fall.

By Jo Bell

Spirit level’ is Jo Bell’s specially commissioned response to Newton’s Cottage, at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. As part of a series of events this weekend celebrating the cottage, Jo will read this poem alongside more poems that about our waterways. 




Charge Of The Light Brigade – Poem by Alfred Lord Tennyson-Famous Poet


HALF a league, half a league,
Half a league onward,
All in the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.
‘Forward, the Light Brigade!
Charge for the guns! ‘ he said:
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.

‘Forward, the Light Brigade! ‘
Was there a man dismay’d?
Not tho’ the soldier knew
Some one had blunder’d:
Their’s not to make reply,
Their’s not to reason why,
Their’s but to do and die:
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.

Cannon to right of them,
Cannon to left of them,
Cannon in front of them
Volley’d and thunder’d;
Storm’d at with shot and shell,
Boldly they rode and well,
Into the jaws of Death,
Into the mouth of Hell
Rode the six hundred.

Flash’d all their sabres bare,
Flash’d as they turn’d in air
Sabring the gunners there,
Charging an army, while
All the world wonder’d:
Plunged in the battery-smoke
Right thro’ the line they broke;
Cossack and Russian
Reel’d from the sabre-stroke
Shatter’d and sunder’d.
Then they rode back, but not
Not the six hundred.

Cannon to right of them,
Cannon to left of them,
Cannon behind them
Volley’d and thunder’d;
Storm’d at with shot and shell,
While horse and hero fell,
They that had fought so well
Came thro’ the jaws of Death,
Back from the mouth of Hell,
All that was left of them,
Left of six hundred.

When can their glory fade?
O the wild charge they made!
All the world wonder’d.
Honour the charge they made!
Honour the Light Brigade,
Noble six hundred!

The Owl and the Pussy-Cat -YOUR FAVOURITE POEM


The Owl and the Pussy-Cat went to sea In a beautiful pea-green boat, They took some honey, and plenty of money Wrapped up in a five-pound note.
The Owl looked up to the stars above, And sang to a small guitar, “O lovely Pussy, O Pussy, my love, What a beautiful Pussy you are, You are, You are! What a beautiful Pussy you are!” Pussy said to the Owl, “You elegant fowl! How charmingly sweet you sing! O let us be married! too long we have tarried: But what shall we do for a ring?” They sailed away, for a year and a day, To the land where the Bong-tree grows And there in a wood a Piggy-wig stood With a ring at the end of his nose, His nose, His nose, With a ring at the end of his nose.
“Dear Pig, are you willing to sell for one shilling Your ring?” Said the Piggy, “I will.
” So they took it away, and were married next day By the Turkey who lives on the hill.
They dined on mince, and slices of quince, Which they ate with a runcible spoon; And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand, They danced by the light of the moon, The moon, The moon, They danced by the light of the moon.
by Edward Lear




A Song On the End of the World –


Czeslaw Milosz, 19112004

On the day the world ends
A bee circles a clover,
A fisherman mends a glimmering net.
Happy porpoises jump in the sea,
By the rainspout young sparrows are playing
And the snake is gold-skinned as it should always be.

On the day the world ends
Women walk through the fields under their umbrellas,
A drunkard grows sleepy at the edge of a lawn,
Vegetable peddlers shout in the street
And a yellow-sailed boat comes nearer the island,
The voice of a violin lasts in the air
And leads into a starry night.

And those who expected lightning and thunder
Are disappointed.
And those who expected signs and archangels’ trumps
Do not believe it is happening now.
As long as the sun and the moon are above,
As long as the bumblebee visits a rose,
As long as rosy infants are born
No one believes it is happening now.

Only a white-haired old man, who would be a prophet
Yet is not a prophet, for he’s much too busy,
Repeats while he binds his tomatoes:
No other end of the world will there be,
No other end of the world will there be.

Czeslaw Milosz, 19112004





Grapes -Your favourite poem


SO many fruits come from roses
From the rose of all roses
From the unfolded rose
Rose of all the world.Admit that apples and strawberries and peaches and pears
  and blackberries
Are all Rosaceae,
Issue of the explicit rose,
The open-countenanced, skyward-smiling rose.

What then of the vine?
Oh, what of the tendrilled vine?

Ours is the universe of the unfolded rose,
The explicit,
The candid revelation.

But long ago, oh, long ago
Before the rose began to simper supreme,
Before the rose of all roses, rose of all the world, was even
  in bud,
Before the glaciers were gathered up in a bunch out of the
  unsettled seas and winds,
Or else before they had been let down again, in Noah’s flood,
There was another world, a dusky, flowerless, tendrilled
And creatures webbed and marshy,
And on the margin, men soft-footed and pristine,
Still, and sensitive, and active,
Audile, tactile sensitiveness as of a tendril which orientates
  and reaches out,
Reaching out and grasping by an instinct more delicate than
  the moon’s as she feels for the tides.

Of which world, the vine was the invisible rose,
Before petals spread, before colour made its disturbance,
  before eyes saw too much.

In a green, muddy, web-foot, unutterably songless world
The vine was rose of all roses.

There were no poppies or carnations,
Hardly a greenish lily, watery faint.
Green, dim, invisible flourishing of vines
Royally gesticulate.

Look now even now, how it keeps its power of invisibility!
Look how black, how blue-black, how globed in Egyptian
Dropping among his leaves, hangs the dark grape!
See him there, the swart, so palpably invisible:
Whom shall we ask about him?

The negro might know a little.
When the vine was rose, Gods were dark-skinned.
Bacchus is a dream’s dream.
Once God was all negroid, as now he is fair.
But it’s so long ago, the ancient Bushman has forgotten more
  utterly than we, who have never known.

For we are on the brink of re-remembrance.
Which, I suppose, is why America has gone dry.
Our pale day is sinking into twilight,
And if we sip the wine, we find dreams coming upon us
Out of the imminent night.
Nay, we find ourselves crossing the fern-scented frontiers
Of the world before the floods, where man was dark and evasive
And the tiny vine-flower rose of all roses, perfumed,
And all in naked communion communicating as now our
  clothed vision can never communicate.
Vistas, down dark avenues
As we sip the wine.

The grape is swart, the avenues dusky and tendrilled, subtly
But we, as we start awake, clutch at our vistas democratic,
  boulevards, tram-cars, policemen.
Give us our own back
Let us go to the soda-fountain, to get sober.

Soberness, sobriety.
It is like the agonised perverseness of a child heavy with
  sleep, yet fighting, fighting to keep awake;
Soberness, sobriety, with heavy eyes propped open.

Dusky are the avenues of wine,
And we must cross the frontiers, though we will not,
Of the lost, fern-scented world:
Take the fern-seed on our lips,
Close the eyes, and go
Down the tendrilled avenues of wine and the other world.

D. H. Lawrence





The knight of immortal youth
at the age of fifty found his mind in his heart
and on July morning went out to capture
the right, the beautiful, the just.

Facing him a world of silly and arrogant giants,
he on his sad but brave Rocinante.
I know what it means to be longing for something,
but if your heart weighs only a pound and sixteen ounces,
there’s no sense, my Don, in fighting these senseless windmills.

But you are right, of course, Dulcinea is your woman,
the most beautiful in the world;
I’m sure you’ll shout this fact
at the face of street-traders;
but they’ll pull you down from your horse
and beat you up.
But you, the unbeatable knight of our curse,
will continue to glow behind the heavy iron visor
and Dulcinea will become even more beautiful.

Translated by Taner Baybars


Dance of The Winter Solstice


Chilled air breaches my lungs.
The ground’s dead leaves lie under the frost.
Raindrops freeze before falling to the earth,
The frozen tears of the sky,
Each a unique and irreplaceable gem.

Strong cold winds make branches begin to shiver.
Old tattered gloves lay in the snow, discarded.
The divine moonlight reflects on each pristine snowflakes.
A Winter Solstice light show.

The cold turns my breath into frosty clouds.
My ears slip into numbness.
My lips begin to quiver.
I didn’t care,
The night was so peaceful.

Snowflakes danced down to the earth,
Twirling to show of their unique patterns.
Trying desperately to be remembered,
Before melting away.
I will remember you.
The dazzling confetti from the sky.
Frosted tears of a higher being.
Jack Frost’s own miraculous dancers.

Twirling, Falling, Gliding, Spinning.
It’s the dance of the Winter Solstice.
Your first and longest performance of the year.
And it’s your time to shine.

The winter sky will be your stage.
People, animals and trees your audience.
So, go on.

Dyllan Brown – Bramble


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From a Railway Carriage – Famous poet- Robert Louis Stevenson YOUR FAVOURITE POEM-

Faster than fairies, faster than witches,
Bridges and houses, hedges and ditches;
And charging along like troops in a battle,
All through the meadows the horses and cattle:
All of the sights of the hill and the plain
Fly as thick as driving rain;
And ever again, in the wink of an eye,
Painted stations whistle by.
Here is a child who clambers and scrambles,
All by himself and gathering brambles;
Here is a tramp who stands and gazes;
And there is the green for stringing the daisies!
Here is a cart run away in the road
Lumping along with man and load;
And here is a mill and there is a river:
Each a glimpse and gone for ever!
Robert Louis Stevenson
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