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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
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