The Welsh poet WILLIAM HENRY DAVIES (1871-1940) is be best known as W.H. Davies and the first two lines of probably his most famous poem are widely known, loved and quoted, so here it is in its entirety- a timely message for us all. Kathy Denton.
What is life, if full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.
No time to stand beneath the boughs
And stare as long as sheep or cows.
No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.
No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night.
No time to turn at Beauty’s glance
And watch her feet, how they can dance.
No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began.
A poor life this is if, full of care
We have no time to stand and stare.
January 2018 - NEW YEAR, traditionally an opportunity for making resolutions
This poem, by the famous Irish Poet, SEAMUS HEANEY, declares his resolve to become a writer, not a farmer. Throughout his writing career he was the recipient of very many prestigious literary awards, including the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1995.
Between my ﬁnger and my thumb
The squat pen rests; snug as a gun.
Under my window, a clean rasping sound
When the spade sinks into gravelly ground:
My father, digging. I look down
Till his straining rump among the ﬂowerbeds
Bends low, comes up twenty years away
Stooping in rhythm through potato drills
Where he was digging
The coarse boot nestled on the lug, the shaft
Against the inside knee was levered ﬁrmly,
He rooted out tall tops, buried the bright edge deep
To scatter new potatoes that we picked
Loving their cool hardness in our hands.
By God, the old man could handle a spade,
Just like his old man.
My grandfather cut more turf in a day
Than any other man on Toner’s bog.
Once I carried him milk in a bottle
Corked sloppily with paper. He straightened up
To drink it, then fell to right away
Nicking and slicing neatly, heaving sods
Over his shoulder, going down and down
For the good turf. Digging.
The cold smell of potato mould, the squelch and slap
Of soggy peat, the curt cuts of an edge
Through living roots awaken in my head,
But I’ve no spade to follow men like them.
Between my ﬁnger and my thumb
The squat pen rests.
I’ll dig with it.
SEAMUS HEANEY (1939)
A most Beautiful Seasonal piece by the 19th Century poet John Keats:
Ode to Autumn
Seasons of mists and mellow fruitfulness!
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eaves run;
To bend with apples the mossed cottage trees, and fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding once more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease, for summer has o’er brimmed their clammy cells.
Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?
Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find
Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,
Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind
Or on a half-reaped furrow of poppies, while thy hook
Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers;
And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep
Steady thy laden head across a brook;
Or by a cider-press, with patient look,
Thou watchest the last oozings, hours by hours.
Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they?
Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,
While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day
And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue;
Then in a wailful choir, the small gnats mourn
Among the river sallows, born aloft
Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;
And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;
Hedge-crickets sing; and now from a garden-croft,
And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.
Kindly donated by Kathy Denton
A particularly favourite Rudyard Kipling piece from his "Marklake Witches” — Rewards and Fairies and could almost be seen as a follow—up to my first "Poetry Corner” choice "The Road not taken” by Robert Frost. In fact, it appears as No.48 to Frost’s No. 47 a "The Nation’s Favourite Poem”.
They shut the road through the woods
Seventy years ago.
Weather and rain have undone it again,
And now you would never know
There was once a road through the woods
Before they planted the trees.
It is underneath the coppice and heath
And the thin anemones.
Only the keeper sees
That, where the ring-dove broods,
And the badgers roll at ease,
There was once a road through the woods.
Yet, it you enter the woods
Of a summer evening late.
When the night—air cools on the trout-ringed pools
Where the otter whistles his mate,
(They fear not men in the woods,
Because they see so few.}
You will hear the beat of a horse’s feet,
And the swish of a skirt in the dew,
Steadily cantering through
The misty solitudes,
As though they perfectly knew
The old lost road through the woods
But there is no road through the woods.
I hope you enjoy reading the piece, Kathy Denton
An extract from John Keats' epic 19th century poem "Endymion."
A Thing Of Beauty
A thing of beauty is a joy for ever:
its loveliness increases; it will never
Pass into nothingness; but still will keep
A bower quiet for us, and a sleep.
Full of sweet dreams, and health, and quiet breathing.
Therefore, on every morrow, are we wreathing
A flowery band to bind us to the earth,
Spite of despondence, of the inhuman dearth
Of noble natures, of the gloomy days,
Of all the unhealthy and o’er-darkened ways
Made for our searching: yes, in spite of all,
Some shape of beauty moves away the pall
From our dark spirits. Such the sun, the, the moon,
Trees old and young, sprouting a shady boon
For simple sheep; and such are daffodils
With the green world they live in; and clear rills
That for themselves a cooling covert make
’Gainst the hot season; the mid-forest brake
Rich with a sprinkling of fair musk-rose blooms:
And such too is the grandeur of the dooms
We have imagined for the mighty dead;
All lovely tales that we have heard or read:
An endless fountain of immortal drink,
Pouring unto us from the heaven’s brink.
Possibly the most famous of the poems of Robert Frost, an early 20th. century American poet, whose work was initially published in England before publication in America and was in receipt of four Pulitzer Prizes.
The Road Not Taken
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveller, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, i kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if i should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and l
i took the one less travelled by,
And that has made all the difference.
Kindly provided by Kathy Denton