SUSANNAH.ORG.UK

this is the personal website of Susannah Clark

 

POETRY I LIKE

 

 

Adlestrop - by Edward Thomas

 

Yes. I remember Adlestrop -

The name, because one afternoon

Of heat the express-train drew up there

Unwontedly. It was late June.

 

The steam hissed. Someone cleared his throat.

No-one left and no-one came

On the bare platform. What I saw

Was Adlestrop - only the name

 

And willows, willow-herb, and grass,

And meadowsweet, and haycocks dry,

No whit less still and lonely fair

Than the high cloudlets in the sky.

 

And for that minute a blackbird sang

Close by, and round him, mistier,

Farther and farther, all the birds

Of Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire.

 

 

 

Milkmaid - by Laurie Lee

 

The girl’s far treble, muted to the heat,

calls like a fainting bird across the fields

to where her flock lies panting for her voice,

their black horns buried deep in marigolds.

 

They climb awake, like drowsy butterflies,

and press their red flanks through the tall branched grass,

and as they go their wandering tongues embrace

the vacant summer mirrored in their eyes.

 

Led to the limestone shadows of a barn

they snuff their past embalmčd in the hay,

while her cool hand, cupped to the udder’s fount,

distils the brimming harvest of their day.

 

Look what a cloudy cream the earth gives out,

fat juice of buttercups and meadow-rye;

the girl dreams milk within her body’s field

and hears, far off, her muted children cry.

 

 

 

The Road Not Taken - by Robert Frost

 

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,

And sorry I could not travel both

And be one traveller, long I stood

And looked down one as far as I could

To where it bent in the undergrowth;

 

Then took the other, as just as fair,

And having perhaps the better claim,

Because it was grassy and wanted wear;

Though as for that the passing there

Had worn them really about the same,

 

And both that morning equally lay

In leaves no step had trodden black.

Oh, I kept the first for another day!

Yet knowing how way leads on to way,

I doubted if I should ever come back.

 

I shall be telling this with a sigh

Somewhere ages and ages hence:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I -

I took the one less travelled by,

And that has made all the difference.

 

 

 

The Lake Isle of Innisfree - by W.B.Yeats

 

I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,

And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made :

Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honey-bee,

And live alone in the bee-loud glade.

 

And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,

Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;

There midnight’s all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,

And evening’s full of the linnet’s wings.

 

I will arise and go now, for always night and day

I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;

While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,

I hear it in the deep heart’s core.

 

 

 

She Always Could Never Cry - by Heather Johnstone

 

She always could never cry,

But sometimes alone

She’d open floodingly.

Then, then her pride cast aside... but never before him,

(though he wanted it) and she knew he did, yet couldn’t.

And he said: "I wish sometime I could hurt you" And she did, too,

but knew he wouldn’t;

That in his love he couldn’t, yet she wanted it,

Feared he might,

but secretly wished he would. It would be terrible,

like rape,

but then maybe she could,

maybe then it would come easily - the tears -

oh, to be able to cry for him.

As he left her he said:

"I think once I saw you cry"

She knew he hadn’t and inside she wept.

 

 

 

The Song of Wandering Aengus - by W.B.Yeats

 

I went out to the hazel wood,

Because a fire was in my head,

And cut and peeled a hazel wand,

And hooked a berry to a thread;

And when white moths were on the wing,

And moth-like stars were flickering out,

I dropped the berry in a stream

And caught a little silver trout.

 

When I had laid it on the floor

I went to blow the fire aflame,

But something rustled on the floor,

And someone called me by my name:

It had become a glimmering girl

With apple blossom in her hair

Who called me by my name and ran

And faded through the brightening air.

 

Though I am old with wandering

Through hollow lands and hilly lands,

I will find out where she has gone,

And kiss her lips and take her hands;

And walk among long dappled grass,

And pluck till time and times are done

The silver apples of the moon,

The golden apples of the sun.

 

 

 

Ilium - by Heather Johnstone

 

Be my Hector. Claim your Troy.

Rest your hand there,

Where my hip curves.

Feel the line

Of the bone,

The Ilium fashioned for a hero.

 

Your fingers trace

The line of Ilium -

Shooting silver arrows,

Shafts shivering along the bone. Oh, Ilium is illuminated

With the silvery shimmering; Ilium under gentle Hector’s hand.

 

How can it be,

That night is streaked with light

Beneath the canopy of your hand? How can it be,

That from your fingers rain

Arrows of delight, not Achaian pain?

 

Oh, Ilium fears the passing of heroes the darkening of night, the Achaian anger.

Ilium crumbles when Hector falls,

Far from Andromache,

Outside Ilium’s walls.

 

 

 

The Secret Rose - by W.B.Yeats

 

Far-off, most secret, and inviolate Rose,

Enfold me in my hour of hours; where those

Who sought thee in the Holy Sepulchre,

Or in the wine-vat, dwell beyond the stir

And tumult of defeated dreams; and deep

Among pale eyelids, heavy with the sleep

Men have named beauty. Thy great leaves enfold

The ancient beards, the helms of ruby and gold

Of the crowned Magi; and the king whose eyes

Saw the Pierced Hands and Rood of elder rise

In Druid vapour and make the torches dim;

Till vain frenzy awoke and he died; and him

Who met Fand walking among flaming dew

By a grey shore where the wind never blew,

And lost the world and Emer for a kiss;

And him who drove the gods out of their liss,

And till a hundred morns had flowered red

Feasted, and wept the barrows of the dead;

And the proud dreaming king who flung the crown

And sorrow away, and calling bard and clown

Dwelt among wine-stained wanderers in deep woods;

And him who sold tillage, and house, and goods,

And sought through lands and islands numberless years,

Until he found, with laughter and with tears,

A woman of so shining loveliness

That men threshed corn at midnight by a tress,

A little stolen tress. I, too, await

The hour of thy great wind of love and hate.

When shall the stars be blown about the sky,

Like the sparks blown out of a smithy, and die?

Surely thine hour has come, thy great wind blows,

Far-off, most secret, and inviolate Rose?

 

 

 

Field Horses - by Heather Johnstone

 

"Come with me," he said. Gently he led her,

Over the fence of fear, Into the fields of night;

 

Far from the fires of men to where the horses waited heavily

in the silent shadows.

 

They heard her pass through the hushed grass;

saw her move darkly, following him.

 

’Til he turned, as in a trance,

to draw her to him with his taming touch.

 

"O, taming touch!

that flaming through me sends the horses’ hooves pounding in my breast.

 

Pounding, pounding in my breast, as I’m pressed

to sweet pain

against the strong beauty of my gentle master.

 

Master of the fields of night,

I will hold to you when the horses pound

in their run of fearful delight.

 

I will hold to you

as the hooves are stilled,

and we return from dark fields of night to the fires and the light."

 

 

 

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening - by Robert Frost

 

Whose woods these are I think I know.

His house is in the village though;

He will not see me stopping here

To watch his woods fill up with snow.

 

My little horse must think it queer

To stop without a farmhouse near

Between the woods and frozen lake

The darkest evening of the year.

 

He gives his harness bells a shake

To ask if there is some mistake.

The only other sound’s the sweep

Of easy wind and downy flake.

 

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,

But I have promises to keep,

And miles to go before I sleep,

And miles to go before I sleep.

 

 

 

Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer's Day - by William Shakespeare

 

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?

Thou art more lovely and more temperate.

Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,

And summer’s lease hath all too short a date.

Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,

And often is his gold complexion dimmed;

And every fair from fair sometime declines,

By chance, or nature’s changing course, untrimmed;

But thy eternal summer shall not fade,

Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow’st,

Nor shall death brag thou wand’rest in his shade,

When in eternal lines to Time thou grow’st.

So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,

So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

 

 

 

The Wild Swans At Coole - by W.B.Yeats

 

The trees are in their autumn beauty,

The woodland paths are dry,

Under the October twilight the water

Mirrors a still sky;

Upon the brimming water among the stones

Are nine-and-fifty swans.

 

The nineteenth autumn has come upon me

Since I first made my count;

I saw, before I had well finished,

All suddenly mount

And scatter wheeling in great broken rings

Upon their clamorous wings.

 

I have looked upon those brilliant creatures

And now my heart is sore.

All’s changed since I, hearing at twilight,

The first time on this shore,

The bell-beat of their wings above my head,

Trod with a lighter tread.

 

Unwearied still, lover by lover,

They paddle in the cold

Companionable streams or climb the air;

Their hearts have not grown old;

Passion or conquest, wander where they will,

Attend upon them still.

 

But now they drift on the still water,

Mysterious, beautiful;

Among what rushes will they build,

By what lake’s edge or pool

Delight men’s eyes when I awake some day

To find they have flown away?

 

 

 

Elegy for Jane: My Student, Thrown by a Horse by Theodore Roethke

 

I remember the neckcurls, limp and damp as tendrils;

And her quick look, a sidelong pickerel smile;

And how, once startled into talk, the light syllables leaped for her,

And she balanced in the delight of her thought,

A wren, happy, tail into the wind,

Her song trembling the twigs and small branches.

The shade sang with her;

The leaves, their whispers turned to kissing;

And the mold sang in the bleached valleys under the rose.

 

Oh, when she was sad, she cast herself down into such a pure depth,

Even a father could not find her:

Scraping her cheek against straw;

Stirring the clearest water.

My sparrow, you are not here,

Waiting like a fern, making a spiny shadow.

The sides of wet stones cannot console me,

Nor the moss, wound with the last light.

 

If only I could nudge you from this sleep,

My maimed darling, my skittery pigeon.

Over this damp grave I speak the words of my love:

I, with no rights in this matter,

Neither father nor lover.

 

 

 

The Fisherman - by W.B.Yeats

 

Although I can see him still,

The freckled man who goes

To a grey place on a hill

In grey Connemara clothes

At dawn to cast his flies,

It’s long since I began

To call up to the eyes

This wise and simple man.

All day I’d looked in the face

What I had hoped ‘twould be

To write for my own race

And the reality;

The living men that I hate,

The dead man that I loved,

The craven man in his seat,

The insolent unreproved,

And no knave brought to book

Who has won a drunken cheer,

The witty man and his joke

Aimed at the commonest ear,

The clever man who cries

The catch-cries of the clown,

The beating down of the wise

And great Art beaten down.

 

Maybe a twelvemonth since

Suddenly I began,

In scorn of this audience,

Imagining a man,

And his sun-freckled face,

And grey Connemara cloth,

Climbing up to a place

Where stone is dark under froth,

And the down-turn of his wrist

When the flies drop in the stream;

A man who does not exist,

A man who is but a dream;

And cried, ‘Before I am old

I shall have written him one

Poem maybe as cold

And passionate as the dawn.’

 

 

 

I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud - by William Wordsworth

 

I wandered lonely as a cloud

That floats on high o'er vales and hills,

When all at once I saw a crowd,

A host, of golden daffodils;

Beside the lake, beneath the trees,

Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

 

Continuous as the stars that shine

And twinkle on the milky way,

They stretched in never-ending line

Along the margin of a bay:

Ten thousand saw I at a glance,

Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

 

The waves beside them danced; but they

Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:

A poet could not but be gay,

In such a jocund company:

I gazed--and gazed--but little thought

What wealth the show to me had brought:

 

For oft, when on my couch I lie

In vacant or in pensive mood,

They flash upon that inward eye

Which is the bliss of solitude;

And then my heart with pleasure fills,

And dances with the daffodils.

 

 

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