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huddersfield daily chronicle, 30/08/1899
On the Beach at Night Alone by Walt Whitman
On the beach at night alone,
As the old mother sways her to and fro singing her husky song,
As I watch the bright stars shining, I think a thought of the clef of the universes and of the future.
A vast similitude interlocks all,
All spheres, grown, ungrown, small, large, suns, moons, planets,
All distances of place however wide,
All distances of time, all inanimate forms,
All souls, all living bodies though they be ever so different, or in different worlds,
All gaseous, watery, vegetable, mineral processes, the fishes, the brutes,
All nations, colors, barbarisms, civilizations, languages,
All identities that have existed or may exist on this globe, or any globe,
All lives and deaths, all of the past, present, future,
This vast similitude spans them, and always has spann’d,
And shall forever span them and compactly hold and enclose them.
On Dover Beach by Matthew Arnold
The sea is calm to-night,
The tide is full, the moon lies fair
Upon the straits; on the French coast the light
Gleams and is gone; the cliffs of England stand,
Glimmering and vast, out in the tranquil bay.
Come to the window, sweet is the night-air!
Only, from the long line of spray
Where the sea meets the moon-blanched land,
Listen! you hear the grating roar
Of pebbles which the waves draw back, and fling,
At their return, up the high strand,
Begin, and cease, and then again begin,
With tremulous cadence slow, and bring
The eternal note of sadness in.
Sophocles long ago
Heard it on the Aegean, and it brought
Into his mind the turbid ebb and flow
Of human misery; we
Find also in the sound a thought,
Hearing it by this distant northern sea.
The sea of faith
Was once, too, at the full, and round earth's shore
Lay like the folds of a bright girdle furled.
But now I only hear
Its melancholy, long, withdrawing roar,
Retreating, to the breath
Of the night-wind, down the vast edges drear
And naked shingles of the world.
Ah, love, let us be true
To one another! for the world which seems
To lie before us like a land of dreams,
So various, so beautiful, so new,
Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light,
Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain;
And we are here as on a darkling plain
Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight,
Where ignorant armies clash by night.
In Warsaw by Czeslaw Milosz
What are you doing here, poet, on the ruins
Of St. John's Cathedral this sunny
Day in spring?
What are you thinking here, where the wind
Blowing from the Vistula scatters
The red dust of the rubble?
You swore never to be
A ritual mourner.
You swore never to touch
The deep wounds of your nation
So you would not make them holy
With the accursed holiness that pursues
Descendants for many centuries.
But the lament of Antigone
Searching for her brother
Is indeed beyond the power
Of endurance. And the heart
Is a stone in which is enclosed,
Like an insect, the dark love
Of a most unhappy land.
I did not want to love so.
That was not my design.
I did not want to pity so.
That was not my design.
My pen is lighter
Than a hummingbird's feather. This burden
Is too much for it to bear.
How can I live in this country
Where the foot knocks against
The unburied bones of kin?
I hear voices, see smiles. I cannot
Write anything; five hands
Seize my pen and order me to write
The story of their lives and deaths.
Was I born to become
a ritual mourner?
I want to sing of festivities,
The greenwood into which Shakespeare
Often took me. Leave
To poets a moment of happiness,
Otherwise your world will perish.
It's madness to live without joy
And to repeat to the dead
Whose part was to be gladness
Of action in thought and in the
Only two salvaged words:
Truth and justice.
before you read this book by Peter Dale Scott
take a morning walk outside
and imagine over your head
the white stars
you are quite confident are there
because you have seen them
though only at night
and then when your mind has expanded
think of the earth’s surface you tread on
curving away to maybe Paris
the next takes a little doing
but when you have the stars and curve in mind
imagine how the space over your head
is mirrored darkly
with all last evening’s stars
deep down under your feet
until you feel our planet
smaller even than a bit of dust
Bless the Huge Unknown
that can do this
and ask compassion
for those on this crowded soil
who are suffering
Now you can read
but begin with something great
perhaps a Song of Innocence by Blake.
It was the first wound of Jesus that spoke out loud and bold
‘Oh I who nestle by his heart know it is nearly cold’.
It was the second wound of Jesus that spoke from his right
‘Oh I who gauge his failing breath know it has nearly ceased.’
It was the third wound of Jesus that spoke from his left palm
‘Oh I who feel his racing pulse know it will soon be calm’.
It was the fourth wound of Jesus that was so pale and wan
‘Oh I who am in his right hand know how death draws on’.
It was the fifth wound of Jesus that cried from his left foot
‘Oh I who mark his falling blood know it is nearly out’.
It was the sixth wound of Jesus that answered in great pain
‘Oh I can vouch that I have seen almost the last drop drain’.
It was the seventh wound of Jesus that spoke out ‘Seven, seven
‘Seven are the deadly wounds that call out against heaven’.
The Poor Poet by Czselaw Milosz
The first movement is singing,
A free voice, filling mountains and valleys.
The first movement is joy,
But it is taken away.
And now that the years have transformed my blood
And thousands of planetary systems have been born and died in my flesh.
I sit, a sly and angry poet
With malevolently squinted eyes,
And, weighing a pen in my hand,
I plot revenge.
I poise the pen and it puts forth twigs and leaves, it is covered with blossoms
And the scent of that tree is impudent, for there, on the real earth,
Such trees do not grow, and like an insult
To suffering humanity is the scent of that tree.
Some take refuge in despair, which is sweet
Like strong tobacco, like a glass of vodka drunk in the hour of annihilation.
Others have the hope of fools, rosy as erotic dreams.
Still others find peace in the idolatry of country,
Which can last for a long time,
Although little longer than the nineteenth century lasts.
But to me a cynical hope is given,
For since I opened my eyes I have seen only the glow of fires, massacres,
Only injustice, humiliation, and the laughable shame of braggarts.
To me is given the hope of revenge on others and on myself,
For I was he who knew
And took from it no profit for myself.
Peter Trower (1930-2017)
That night, Slim Abernathy
pushed the wrong button and wrapped his friend
three times around a drive-shaft
in directions the bones won’t bend.
They shut her down and eased him out
broken most ways a man can break
yet he clung to his ruin for twenty-four hours
like a man to a life-raft for his death’s sake.
But they’d hardly hurried him away from there
as we stood around shockdrunk, incapable of help
when they cranked those expensive wheels up again
and started rolling more goddamn pulp.
“Hamburger for lunch tonight, boys!”
joked a foreman to the crew.
I wished he’d smelled our hate but he never even flinched
as the red-flecked sheets came through.
Airport Poem: Ethics of Survival by JH Prynne
The century roar is a desert carrying
too much away, the plane skids off
with an easy hopeless departure.
The music, that it should
leave, is far down
in the mind
just as if the years were part of the
same sound, prolonged into the latent
action of the heart.
That is more: there
affection will shoot it up
like a crazed pilot. The desert
is a social and undedicated expanse, since
what else there is counts as merest propaganda.
The heart is a changed
pressure a social
intelligence: essential news
or present fact
over the whole distance back
and further, away.
Or could be thus, as water
is the first social fluency
in any desert: the cistern
comes later and is an inducement of false power.
Which makes the thinning sorrow of flight
the last disjunction, of the heart: that
news is the person, and love
the shape of his compulsion
in the musical phrase,
nearly but not
yet back, into
Of which the heart is capable and will journey
over any desert and through the air, making
the turn and stop undreamed of:
love is, always, the
Moon by JH Prynne
The night is already quiet and I am
bound in the rise and fall: learning
to wish always for more. This is the
means, the extension to keep very steady
so that the culmination
will be silent too and flow
with no trace of devoutness.
Since I must hold to the gradual in
this, as no revolution but a slow change
like the image of snow. The challenge is
not a moral excitement, but the expanse,
the continuing patience
dilating into forms so
much more than compact.
I would probably not even choose to inhabit the
wish as delay: it really is dark and the knowledge
of the unseen is a warmth which spreads into
the level ceremony of diffusion. The quiet
suggests that the act taken
extends so much further, there
is this insurgence of form:
we are more pliant than the mercantile notion
of choice will determine-we go in this way
on and on and the unceasing image of hope
is our place in the world. We live there and now
at night I recognise the signs
of this, the calm is a
modesty about conduct in
the most ethical sense. We disperse into the ether
as waves, we slant down into a precluded notion
of choice which becomes the unlearned habit of
wish: where we live, as we more often are than
we know. If we expand
into this wide personal vacancy
we could become the extent
of all the wishes that are now too far beyond
us. A community of wish, as the steppe
on which the extension would sprinkle out
the ethic density, the compact modern home.
The consequence of this
pastoral desire is prolonged
as our condition, but
I know there is more than the mere wish to
wander at large, since the wish itself diffuses
beyond this and will never end: these are songs
to the night under no affliction, knowing that
the wish is gift to the
spirit, is where we may
dwell as we would
go over and over within the life of the heart
and the grace which is open to both east and west.
These are psalms for the harp and the shining
stone: the negligence and still passion of night.
In Memoriam A. H. H. OBIIT MDCCCXXXIII: 106
Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
The flying cloud, the frosty light:
The year is dying in the night;
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.
Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.
Ring out the grief that saps the mind
For those that here we see no more;
Ring out the feud of rich and poor,
Ring in redress to all mankind.
Ring out a slowly dying cause,
And ancient forms of party strife;
Ring in the nobler modes of life,
With sweeter manners, purer laws.
Ring out the want, the care, the sin,
The faithless coldness of the times;
Ring out, ring out my mournful rhymes
But ring the fuller minstrel in.
Ring out false pride in place and blood,
The civic slander and the spite;
Ring in the love of truth and right,
Ring in the common love of good.
Ring out old shapes of foul disease;
Ring out the narrowing lust of gold;
Ring out the thousand wars of old,
Ring in the thousand years of peace.
Ring in the valiant man and free,
The larger heart, the kindlier hand;
Ring out the darkness of the land,
Ring in the Christ that is to be.
The Magi by W. B. Yeats
Now as at all times I can see in the mind’s eye,
In their stiff, painted clothes, the pale unsatisfied ones
Appear and disappear in the blue depth of the sky
With all their ancient faces like rain-beaten stones,
And all their helms of silver hovering side by side,
And all their eyes still fixed, hoping to find once more,
Being by Calvary’s turbulence unsatisfied,
The uncontrollable mystery on the bestial floor.
Calm by Charles Baudelaire
Have patience, O my sorrow, and be still.
You asked for night: it falls: it is here.
A shadowy atmosphere enshrouds the hill,
to some men bringing peace, to others care.
While the vile human multitude
goes to earn remorse, in servile pleasure’s play,
under the lash of joy, the torturer, who
is pitiless, Sadness, come, far away:
Give me your hand. See, where the lost years
lean from the balcony in their outdated gear,
where regret, smiling, surges from the watery deeps.
Underneath some archway, the dying light
sleeps, and, like a long shroud trailing from the East,
listen, dear one, listen to the soft onset of night.
“We are the birds of the coming storm.” — August Spies
The tide is out, the wind blows off the shore;
Bare burn the white sands in the scorching sun;
The sea complains, but its great voice is low.
Bitter thy woes, O People,
And the burden
Hardly to be borne!
Wearily grows, O People,
All the aching
Of thy pierced heart, bruised and torn!
But yet thy time is not,
And low thy moaning.
Desert thy sands!
Not yeat is thy breath hot, Vengefully blowing;
It wafts o’er lifted hands.
The tide has turned; the vane veers slowly round;
Slow clouds are sweeping o’er the blinding light;
White crests curl on the sea — its voice grows deep.
Angry thy heart, O People!
And its bleeding
Fire-tipped with rising hate!
Thy clasped hands part, O People,
For thy praying Warmed not the desolate!
God did not hear thy moan:
Now it is swelling
To a great drowning cry;
A dark wind-cloud, a groan, Now backward veering
From that deaf sky!
The tide flows in, the wind roars from the depths,
The whirled-White sand heaps with the foam-white waves;
Thundering the sea rolls o’er its shell-crunched wall!
Strong is thy rage, O People,
In its fury
Hurling thy tyrants down!
Thow metest wage, O People.
Now that thy hate is grown:
Thy time at last is come;
Thou heapest anguish,
Where thou thyself wert bare!
No longer to thy dumb.
God clasped and kneeling.
Thou answerest thine own prayer.
The Heavy Bear Who Goes With Me
by Delmore Schwarz
"the withness of the body”
The heavy bear who goes with me,
A manifold honey to smear his face,
Clumsy and lumbering here and there,
The central ton of every place,
The hungry beating brutish one
In love with candy, anger, and sleep,
Crazy factotum, dishevelling all,
Climbs the building, kicks the football,
Boxes his brother in the hate-ridden city.
Breathing at my side, that heavy animal,
That heavy bear who sleeps with me,
Howls in his sleep for a world of sugar,
A sweetness intimate as the water’s clasp,
Howls in his sleep because the tight-rope
Trembles and shows the darkness beneath.
—The strutting show-off is terrified,
Dressed in his dress-suit, bulging his pants,
Trembles to think that his quivering meat
Must finally wince to nothing at all.
That inescapable animal walks with me,
Has followed me since the black womb held,
Moves where I move, distorting my gesture,
A caricature, a swollen shadow,
A stupid clown of the spirit’s motive,
Perplexes and affronts with his own darkness,
The secret life of belly and bone,
Opaque, too near, my private, yet unknown,
Stretches to embrace the very dear
With whom I would walk without him near,
Touches her grossly, although a word
Would bare my heart and make me clear,
Stumbles, flounders, and strives to be fed
Dragging me with him in his mouthing care,
Amid the hundred million of his kind,
The scrimmage of appetite everywhere.
From East Coker by TS Eliot
Home is where one starts from. As we grow older
The world becomes stranger, the pattern more complicated
Of dead and living. Not the intense moment
Isolated, with no before and after,
But a lifetime burning in every moment
And not the lifetime of one man only
But of old stones that cannot be deciphered.
There is a time for the evening under starlight,
A time for the evening under lamplight
(The evening with the photograph album).
Love is most nearly itself
When here and now cease to matter.
Old men ought to be explorers
Here or there does not matter
We must be still and still moving
Into another intensity
For a further union, a deeper communion
Through the dark cold and the empty desolation,
The wave cry, the wind cry, the vast waters
Of the petrel and the porpoise. In my end is my beginning.
aberdeen times 12/1/1939
They fle from me that sometyme did me seke
with naked fote stalking in my chambre
I have sene theim gentill tame and meke
that nowe are wyld and do not remembre
that sometyme they put theimself in daunger
to take bred at my hand and now raunge
besely seking with a continuell chaunge
Thancked be fortune it hath ben othrewise
twenty tymes better but ons in speciall
in thyn arraye after a pleasaunt gyse
When her lose gowne from her shoulders did fall
and she me caught in her armes long and small
therewithall swetely did me kysse
and softely said dere hert howe like you this
It was no dreme I brode waking
but all is torned thorough my gentilnes
into a straunge fasshion of forsaking
and I have leve to go of her goodenes
and she also to use new fangilness
but syns that I so kyndely ame served
I would fain knowe what she hath deserved
Spring Snow by WILLIAM MATTHEWS
Here comes the powdered milk I drank
as a child, and the money it saved.
Here come the papers I delivered,
the spotted dog in heat that followed me home
and the dogs that followed her.
Here comes a load of white laundry
from basketball practice, and sheets
with their watermarks of semen.
And here comes snow, a language
in which no word is ever repeated,
love is impossible, and remorse. . . .
Yet childhood doesn’t end,
but accumulates, each memory
knit to the next, and the fields
become one field. If to die is to lose
all detail, then death is not
so distinguished, but a profusion
of detail, a last gossip, character
passed wholly into fate and fate
in flecks, like dust, like flour, like snow.
Spring Snow by Arthur Sze
A spring snow coincides with plum blossoms.
In a month, you will forget, then remember
when nine ravens perched in the elm sway in wind.
I will remember when I brake to a stop,
and a hubcap rolls through the intersection.
An angry man grinds pepper onto his salad;
it is how you nail a tin amulet ear
into the lintel. If, in deep emotion, we are
possessed by the idea of possession,
we can never lose to recover what is ours.
Sounds of an abacus are amplified and condensed
to resemble sounds of hail on a tin roof,
but mind opens to the smell of lightening.
Bodies were vaporized to shadows by intense heat;
in memory people outline bodies on walls.
In life like a flood, in deeds like a storm
I surge to and fro,
Up and down I flow!
Birth and the grave
An eternal wave,
A life ever burning:
At Time's whirring loom I work and I play,
God's living garment I weave and display.
Snow Drifts by Horace
Look how the snow drifts
flare on the Soracte’s slopes
—there, straining branches
barely sustain their white
load. Locked in ice, streams
buckle, send cracks
stuttering over the winter’s sharp still.
Unclasp this cold, stir
flame in the embers, pile
the hearth with fat logs.
Bring out a bottle warm
with a summer four years
gone, wine that grapes
pressed from the sunlight on Sabine hillsides.
Adams Curse by WB Yeats
We sat together at one summer's end,
That beautiful mild woman, your close friend,
And you and I, and talked of poetry.
I said, "A line will take us hours maybe;
Yet if it does not seem a moment's thought,
Our stitching and unstitching has been naught.
Better go down upon your marrow-bones
And scrub a kitchen pavement, or break stones
Like an old pauper, in all kinds of weather;
For to articulate sweet sounds together
Is to work harder than all these, and yet
Be thought an idler by the noisy set
Of bankers, schoolmasters, and clergymen
The martyrs call the world."
That beautiful mild woman for whose sake
There's many a one shall find out all heartache
On finding that her voice is sweet and low
Replied, "To be born woman is to know—
Although they do not talk of it at school—
That we must labour to be beautiful."
I said, "It's certain there is no fine thing
Since Adam's fall but needs much labouring.
There have been lovers who thought love should be
So much compounded of high courtesy
That they would sigh and quote with learned looks
precedents out of beautiful old books;
Yet now it seems an idle trade enough."
We sat grown quiet at the name of love;
We saw the last embers of daylight die,
And in the trembling blue-green of the sky
A moon, worn as if it had been a shell
Washed by time's waters as they rose and fell
About the stars and broke in days and years.
I had a thought for no one's but your ears:
That you were beautiful, and that I strove
To love you in the old high way of love;
That it had all seemed happy, and yet we'd grown
As weary-hearted as that hollow moon.
I love that poem..... x
We know who the killers are,
We have watched them strut before us
As proud as sick Mussolinis’,
We have watched them strut before us
Compassionless and arrogant,
They paraded before us,
Like angels of death
Protected by the law.
It is now an open secret
Black people do not have
Chips on their shoulders,
They just have injustice on their backs
And justice on their minds,
And now we know that the road to liberty
Is as long as the road from slavery.
The death of Stephen Lawrence
Has taught us to love each other
And never to take the tedious task
Of waiting for a bus for granted.
Watching his parents watching the cover-up
Begs the question
What are the trading standards here?
Why are we paying for a police force
That will not work for us?
The death of Stephen Lawrence
Has taught us
That we cannot let the illusion of freedom
Endow us with a false sense of security as we walk the streets,
The whole world can now watch
The academics and the super cops
Struggling to define institutionalised racism
As we continue to die in custody
As we continue emptying our pockets on the pavements,
And we continue to ask ourselves
Why is it so official
That black people are so often killed
We are not talking about war or revenge
We are not talking about hypothetics or possibilities,
We are talking about where we are now
We are talking about how we live now
In dis state
Under dis flag, (God Save the Queen),
And God save all those black children who want to grow up
And God save all the brothers and sisters
Who like raving,
Because the death of Stephen Lawrence
Has taught us that racism is easy when
You have friends in high places.
And friends in high places
Have no use whatsoever
When they are not your friends.
Dear Mr Condon,
Pop out of Teletubby land,
And visit reality,
Come to an honest place
And get some advice from your neighbours,
Be enlightened by our community,
Neglect your well-paid ignorance
We know who the killers are.
This is on display at the moment in the British Library. Powerful. Moving.
Period by RS Thomas
It was a time when wise men
Were not silent, but stifled
By vast noise. They took refuge
In books that were not read.
Two counsellors had the ear
Of the public. One cried ‘Buy’
Day and night, and the other,
More plausibly, ‘Sell your repose.’
Your gift of life was idleness,
As you would set day’s task aside
To marvel at an opening bud,
Quivering leaf, or spider’s veil
On dewy grass in morning spread.
These were your wandering thoughts, that strayed
Across the ever-changing mind
Of airy sky and travelling cloud,
The harebell and the heather hill,
World without end, where you could lose
Memory, identity and name
And all that you beheld, became,
Insect wing and net of stars
Or silver-glistering wind-borne seed
For ever drifting free from time.
What has unbounded life to do
With body’s grave and body’s womb,
Span of life and little room?
I do not grudge them: Lord, I do not grudge
My two strong sons that I have seen go out
To break their strength and die, they and a few,
In bloody protest for a glorious thing,
They shall be spoken of among their people,
The generations shall remember them,
And call them blessed;
But I will speak their names to my own heart
In the long nights;
The little names that were familiar once
Round my dead hearth.
Lord, thou art hard on mothers:
We suffer in their coming and their going;
And tho' I grudge them not, I weary, weary
Of the long sorrow - And yet I have my joy:
My sons were faithful, and they fought.
BY EDNA ST. VINCENT MILLAY
To what purpose, April, do you return again?
Beauty is not enough.
You can no longer quiet me with the redness
Of little leaves opening stickily.
I know what I know.
The sun is hot on my neck as I observe
The spikes of the crocus.
The smell of the earth is good.
It is apparent that there is no death.
But what does that signify?
Not only under ground are the brains of men
Eaten by maggots.
Life in itself
An empty cup, a flight of uncarpeted stairs.
It is not enough that yearly, down this hill,
Comes like an idiot, babbling and strewing flowers.
Separate names with a comma.