Category: Blog: RattleBag and Rhubarb

Russian – American Romance

Russian – American Romance In my land and yours they do hit the hay and sleep the whole night in a similar way. There’s the golden Moon with a double shine. It lightens your land and it lightens mine. At […] 

A Catalpa Tree On West Twelfth Street

Here again – for the summer solstice – are those Wittenham Clumps. By the early 1940s Nash’s was in declining health. Suffering from chronic asthma – triggered his wife Margaret believed by inhaling gas at Passchendaele in 1917 –  he had endured […] 

Home

Home no one leaves home unless home is the mouth of a shark you only run for the border when you see the whole city running as well your neighbors running faster than you breath bloody in their throats the […] 

Under One Small Star

Forget the mother of all bombs and the father of all mankind – here is the ultimate parent of all apologies. Just look at this great list as the poet slyly moves from the serious to the playful, from the […] 

To look at any thing

“My boy you should go in for nature.” Sir William Richmond’s advice to Paul Nash on reviewing some of his early drawings. One of Paul Nash’s friends at the Slade School of Art was Claughton Pellew-Harvey who “had a deep […] 

The Poltroon

Poltroon – the very word is like a … what? a.) A North American mammal of the raccoon family known for its habit of rooting for grubs in the undergrowth of deciduous forests b.) A metal or earthenware pot typically having […] 

The Lake Isle of Innisfree

Did you have a special place as a child? Perhaps somewhere secret and magical? A corner of a city park, a place in the garden, somewhere under the trees or behind the shed?  Do you have one now? For the […] 

The Dancers

The Dancers All day beneath the hurtling shells Before my burning eyes Hover the dainty demoiselles — The peacock dragon-flies. Unceasingly they dart and glance Above the stagnant stream — And I am fighting here in France As in a […] 

An Answer to Frances Cornford

Do you have any favorite poems about trains and train journeys? I was compiling such a list – the way one does on a rainy Tuesday in June – when I discovered this gem from C. K Chesterton. What a […] 

How to Read a Poem: Beginner’s Manual

How to Read a Poem: Beginner’s Manual First, forget everything you have learned, that poetry is difficult, that it cannot be appreciated by the likes of you, with your high school equivalency diploma and steel-tipped boots, or your white collar […] 

Poem [Lana Turner has collapsed!]

There’s a story behind every poem. There’s always a story. And the story behind this one is that the poet – Frank O’Hara –  was on his way  to Staten Island where he was to give a reading with Robert Lowell […] 

The End and the Beginning

    The End and the Beginning After every war someone has to clean up. Things won’t straighten themselves up, after all. Someone has to push the rubble to the side of the road, so the corpse-filled wagons can pass. […] 

Minor Miracle

A  bike ride in the country. A conversation interrupted by a near accident and the shock of a racist chance encounter. The ride resumes only to be interrupted again by a moment of menace.  And then something quite unexpected happens.. I […] 

Blackbird

Blackbirds are notorious for being able to mimic the sounds they hear as they hop about the celestial chimney pots of suburbia. Ice cream van jingles, phone ring tones, car alarms and ambulance sirens – they can do the lot. […] 

Two Lorries

Two Lorries  It’s raining on black coal and warm wet ashes. There are tyre-marks in the yard, Agnew’s old lorry Has all its cribs down and Agnew the coalman With his Belfast accent’s sweet-talking my mother. Would she ever go […] 

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