There are only two things in the world – The storm in the air and the stretch of green leaves; The flesh of the forest that quivers and heaves As the blast on its bosom is hurled. Above is the whip of the wind That scourges the cowering forest beneath: The Storm spits the hiss of the hail from his teeth, And leaves the world writhing behind! Like a beast that is bound in a cage When the keeper’s lash lights and the keeper’s goad stings, Each tree his great limbs to his torturer flings In a groaning and impotent rage. As the leaves to a fiercer gust lean The wind throws their undersides upward to sight, And the foam of the forest-sea flashes to white Out over full fathoms of green.
Sauntering home from church we lingered looking away northwards over the white gates. I see our visitors in go-to-meeting dress. I do not see my parents. Perhaps that day they chose to ‘stay behind’ – mysterious phrase of those times, meaning reserved from children, I must think.
Above that gate the downs. I see them now, I see them gentle brown and amethyst. Our grown-up guests the landscape viewed and commented – Lovely! perhaps a sketch? My eager praises added met with prompt rebuff. Too young, too young to notice lovely views.
Wrong, Madam, wrong – dear Wordsworth was more reasonable. Too late! the great African bishop rhetorician cried out upon himself, too late have I sought thee, Beauty! – His vision abides. Let us begin here upon the downs… A few years gone I passed them by in autumn and their fields a basket of ripe fruit, of purple plums and yellow apricots, ruddy pears – but to my memory of earlier day, soft pasture.
The guardian Mt Grey still casts a spell of greatness, majesty that does not go with measurement, a mien of kinship with all renowned heights, a look of having kept inviolable for a thousand years a secret of great comfort. Who has not traced, looking from southward hills, its noble outline? Who has not watched the pencilled shadows deepen upon its flanks? I do not see you there, Mt Grey, looking down at the end of our village streets, but I was conscious. I have found you, since, something familiar, and I salute you now, for your significance.
We present this work in honor of International Museum Day.
Two clergymen, one long, one short, Stand before Greco’s Trinity: The tall one twirls a single thought Round some point in divinity; The short one mops his heated brows With a red handkerchief, dimly aspires To levitate among the clouds Upborn by incorporeal fires.
The desiccated blond inspects The pages of her Baedeker, Hoping that somehow culture and sex At last will coalesce for her. She who through Europe has pursued Delight still missed en troisi me noce, Beneath some vast exuberant nude Of Rubens, knows the pain of loss.
Fading with cup and mandolin, Goya’s country feast turns dark, But soon the firing-squads begin By lanternlight their bloody work. Before that last anger and despair At human folly, someone stands. It is oneself that cannot bear Those anguished eyes and famished hands.
Velazquez turns with easy stance To the princess and the maids of honour, Caught in a movement like a dance, And calms the dwarf’s indignant humour. Royalty in the looking glass Fears its heavy image less: The gift of water in a glass Forgives the human ugliness.
Equal and intellectual, Transcending flesh, transcending flame, This passionless light that hallows all Shall build us an eternal home.
they bequeath two thirds of their life to the critics to graze and grow fat in visionary grass.
If poets die in old age they live their own lives they write their own poems they are their own might-have-been.
Young dead poets are prized comets. The critics queue with their empty wagons ready for hitching.
Old living poets stay faithfully camouflaged in their own sky. It may even be forgotten they have been shining for so long. The reminder comes upon their falling extinguished into the earth. The sky is empty, the sun and moon have gone away, there are not enough street bulbs, glow-worms, fireflies to give light
and for a time it seems there will be no more stars.
Be kind to the hooker, or else in the scrum Thy poor tender shins he will hack; Or take the first chance that is offered to him Of planting his foot in your back. Be kind to the hooker, he’s hidden from view, And can work his revenge in the dark, So if you insult him, as sure as you’re born, He’ll deprive you of some of your bark.
Be kind to the half-back, he’s nippy and sly, And will grab you when rounding the scrum, Or will collar you low, your heels up he’ll throw, And bang on the ground you will come. Be kind to the half-back, that watchful young man, If you hurt him he’ll likely feel wild; And if he should meet you again in the field, You’d probably know why he smiled.
Be kind to the winger, or you he may prod In the home of your afternoon tea; He’s fond of a scrap, and won’t mind a rap If your eye comes to grief on his knee. Be kind to the winger, he’s out for a go, And promptly pays all that he owes; So be careful to give him no more than his due, Or he’ll give you the change on your nose.
Be kind to three-quarters, they’re heady and strong, And can run like their master, Old Nick; So if you tread hard on their corns beg their pardon, Or limp off the field with a rick. Be kind to three-quarters again let me say, For their hatred of roughness is such That, if you should fend them, or neatly upend them, You’ll travel henceforth on a crutch.
Be kind to the full-back or, when in his grip, He’ll handle you roughly for sure. He’s a virtuous fellow, and hates fast young men, So take care that your language is pure. Be kind to the full-back, ’tis kindness well spent, Don’t approach this stern player with vim; If to score you must try, put your collar-bone by – A collarbone’s nothing to him.