Category: Poetry

Song of the Dark Ages

Song of the Dark Ages We digged our trenches on the down    Beside old barrows, and the wet White chalk we shovelled from below; It lay like drifts of thawing snow    On parados and parapet: Until a pick […] 

On the Steps of the Jefferson Memorial

The simplest poems can be amongst the most profound. On the Steps of the Jefferson Memorial We invent our gods the way the Greeks did, in our own image—but magnified. Athena, the very mother of wisdom, squabbled with Poseidon like […] 

Among the Narcissi

Spring comes earlier in the UK than it does here and the growing season is longer and cooler. Plath’s poem is set in March. The narcissus are already out in full bloom. But there’s a March wind blowing and a […] 

A Performance of Henry V at Stratford-upon-Avon

When Lawrence Olivier produced Henry V toward the end of World War II it was partly funded by the government and intended as a morale booster. It was an heroic spectacle, a celebration of monarchy and a reminder of Britain’s […] 

Bent to the Earth

Here is a scene of violence and inhumanity that feels torn from the front page of the newspaper or a report on the latest immigration raid outrage. But this is the kind of news that stays news because it keeps […] 

In Parenthesis: Part 1

This writing has to do with some things I saw, felt and was part of. The period covered begins in early December 1915 and ends in July 1916. – David Jones, in the preface to In Parenthesis 1937 In Parenthesis […] 

Appeal to the Grammarians

The temperature’s rising. Time to think about eating outside and settling in at a sidewalk cafe to watch the world go by. But beware! Dangers lurk everywhere and we need new punctuation to express our outraged reaction to a whole […] 

At The Bomb Testing Site

Jerry Harp’s commentary in the Kenyon Review brought this poem back to mind. Always good to be reminded of William Stafford. At The Bomb Testing Site by William Stafford At noon in the desert a panting lizard waited for history, […] 

About Those Daffodils

So there I was, wandering about, Strolling the gardens, minding my own business The way one does on an April afternoon Unencumbered by seder or service, Thinking random simple thoughts  *** About the world and its ways. A frog at […] 

A Ballad on the Taxes

We pay though the nose for subjecting of foes. Abroad we’re defeated, at home we ‘re cheated. The ideas of April are upon us and that means taxes. Just read this astoundingly relevant piece of tax outrage. It provides some […] 

In Memoriam (Easter, 1915)

In Memoriam (Easter, 1915) The flowers left thick at nightfall in the wood This Eastertide call into mind the men, Now far from home, who, with their sweethearts, should Have gathered them and will do never again.     by […] 

Lines Written in Early Spring

Lines Written in Early Spring by William Wordsworth I heard a thousand blended notes, While in a grove I sate reclined, In that sweet mood when pleasant thoughts Bring sad thoughts to the mind. To her fair works did Nature […] 

Epitaph on a Tyrant

Epitaph on a Tyrant by W. H. Auden Perfection, of a kind, was what he was after, And the poetry he invented was easy to understand; He knew human folly like the back of his hand, And was greatly interested […] 

What Kinds of Times are These

What Kinds of Times are These by Adrienne Rich There’s a place between two stands of trees where the grass grows uphill and the old revolutionary road breaks off into shadows near a meeting-house abandoned by the persecuted who disappeared […] 

Lard

A Facebook friend wanted some crowd-sourcing help for a piece she was editing. Her query asked readers to end the sentence  “When you think of lard …?” My answer was: “When I think of lard I think of Wiltshire lardy […] 

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