FAVOURITE POEMS
(A MOOD ANTHOLOGY)

 


Keats: added Winter 1998

 


Powys Mather: added Spring 1999

 


added January 2000

 

Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening


(added, 25th Wedding Anniversary)

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village, though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it's queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there's some mistake.
The only other sound's the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

Robert Frost

 

Thou Art Indeed Just Lord


(added Autumn 2001)

Thou art indeed just, Lord, if I contend
With thee; but, sir, so what I plead is just.
Why do sinners' ways prosper? and why must
Disappointment all I endeavour end?

Wert thou my enemy, O thou my friend,
How wouldst thou worse, I wonder, than thou dost
Defeat, thwart me? Oh, the sots and thralls of lust
Do in spare hours more thrive than I that spend,

Sir, life upon thy cause. See, banks and brakes
Now, leavèd how thick! lacèd they are again
With fretty chervil, look, and fresh wind shakes

Them; birds build--but not I build; no, but strain,
Time's eunuch, and not breed one work that wakes.
Mine, O thou lord of life, send my roots rain.

Gerard Manley Hopkins

 


White Poppy: added March 2003

I saw a man this morning
Who did not wish to die
I ask, and cannot answer,
If otherwise wish I.

Fair broke the day this morning
Against the Dardanelles ;
The breeze blew soft, the morn's cheeks
Were cold as cold sea-shells

But other shells are waiting
Across the Aegean sea,
Shrapnel and high explosive,
Shells and hells for me.

O hell of ships and cities,
Hell of men like me,
Fatal second Helen,
Why must I follow thee ?

Achilles came to Troyland
And I to Chersonese :
He turned from wrath to battle,
And I from three days' peace.

Was it so hard, Achilles,
So very hard to die ?
Thou knewest and I know not-
So much the happier I.

I will go back this morning
From Imbros over the sea ;
Stand in the trench, Achilles,
Flame-capped, and shout for me.

          Patrick Shaw Stewart

On Writing. . .


added November 2003 : Paris in the the Spring

J'écris pour que le jour où je ne serai plus
On sache comme l'air et le plaisir m'ont plu,
Et que mon livre porte à la foule future
Comme j'aimais la vie et l'heureuse nature

Attentive aux travaux des champs et des maisons
J'ai marqué chaque jour la forme des saisons
Parce que l'eau, la terre et la montante flamme
En nul endroit ne sont si belles qu'en mon âme

J'ai dit ce que j'ai vu et ce que j'ai senti
D'un coeur pour qui le vrai ne fut point trop hardi
Et j'ai eu cette ardeur, par l'amour intimé
Pour etre, apres la mort, parfois encore aimée

Et qu'un jeune homme, alors, lisant ce que j'écris
Sentant par moi son coeur ému, troublé, surpris
Ayant toutes oublié des épouses réelles,
M'accueille dans son âme et me préfère a elles

Anna de Noailles (from L'Ombre Des Jours)

A Lesson


2004

THERE is a flower, the lesser celandine,
That shrinks like many more from cold and rain,
And the first moment that the sun may shine,
Bright as the sun himself, 'tis out again!

When hailstones have been falling, swarm on swarm,
Or blasts the green field and the trees distrest,
Oft have I seen it muffled up from harm
In close self-shelter, like a thing at rest.

But lately, one rough day, this flower I pass'd,
And recognized it, though an alter'd form,
Now standing forth an offering to the blast,
And buffeted at will by rain and storm.

I stopp'd and said, with inly-mutter'd voice,
"It doth not love the shower, nor seek the cold;
This neither is its courage nor its choice,
But its necessity in being old.

"The sunshine may not cheer it, nor the dew;
It cannot help itself in its decay;
Stiff in its members, wither'd, changed of hue,"—
And, in my spleen, I smiled that it was gray.

To be a prodigal's favourite—then, worse truth,
A miser's pensioner—behold our lot!
O man! that from thy fair and shining youth
Age might but take the things youth needed not!

William Wordsworth

 

The White Cat Of Trenarren


(added Kastraki August 2005)

He was a mighty hunter in his youth
At Polmear all day on the mound, on the pounce
For anything moving, rabbit or bird or mouse-
           My cat and I grow old together

After a day's hunting he'd come into the house
Delicate ears all stuck with fleas
At Trenareen I've heard him sigh with pleasure
After a summer's day in the long grown leas-
          My cat and I grow old together

When I was a child I played all day
With only a little cat for companion
At solitary games of my own invention
Under the table or up in the green bay-
          My cat and I grow old together

When I was a boy I wandered the roads
Up to the downs by gaunt Carn Grey,
Wrapt in a dream at the end of day,
All round me the moor, below me the bay-
        My cat and I grow old togetherNow we are too often apart, yet
Turning out of Central Park into the Plaza,
Or walking Michigan Avenue against the lake-wind,
I see a little white shade in the shrubbery
Of far off Trenarren, never far from my mind
         My cat and I grow old together

When I come home from too much travelling,
Cautiously he comes out of his lair at my call,
Receives me at first with a shy reproach
At long absence to him incomprehensible-
        My cat and I grow old together

Incapable of much or long resentment
He scratches at my door to be let out
In early morning in the ash moonlight
Or red dawn breaking through Mother Bond's spinney
        My cat and I grow old together

No more frisking as of old,
Or chasing his shadow over the lawn,
But a dignified old person, tickling
His nose against twig or flower in the border
Until evening falls and bedtime's in order
Unable to keep his eyes open any longer
He waits for me to carry him upstairs
To nestle all night snug at the foot of the bed-
        My cat and I grow old together

Careful of his licked and polished appearance
Ears like shell whorls, pink and transparent,
White plume waving proudly over the paths
Against a background of blue sea and hydrangeas
         My cat and I grow old together

A.L.Rowse


(Added 2007)

Lone Dog
(September 2007, Hawkshead)

I'M a lean dog, a keen dog, a wild dog, and lone;
I'm a rough dog, a tough dog, hunting on my own;
I'm a bad dog, a mad dog, teasing silly sheep;
I love to sit and bay the moon, to keep fat souls from sleep.

I'll never be a lap dog, licking dirty feet,
A sleek dog, a meek dog, cringing for my meat,
Not for me the fireside, the well-filled plate,
But shut door, and sharp stone, and cuff and kick, and hate.

Not for me the other dogs, running by my side,
Some have run a short while, but none of them would bide.
O mine is still the lone trail, the hard trail, the best,
Wide wind, and wild stars, and hunger of the quest!

Irene Rutherford Mcleod