Diary of the Plague Year: Day 95 18 June 2020: Quotidian Poetry: Emily Dickinson (1830 – 1886)

GHOSTS
 
One need not be a chamber to be haunted,
One need not be a house;
The brain has corridors surpassing
Material place.
 
Far safer, of a midnight meeting
External ghost,
Than an interior confronting
That whiter host.
 
Far safer through an Abbey gallop,
The stones achase,
Than, moonless, one’s own self encounter
In lonesome place.
 
Ourself, behind ourself concealed,
Should startle most;
Assassin, hid in our apartment,
Be horror’s least.
 
The prudent carries a revolver,
He bolts the door,
O’erlooking a superior spectre
More near.

FROM:

Emily Dickinson
SELECTED POEMS 
Unabridged

Dover Thrift Editions

Diary of the Plague Year: Day 94 17 June 2020: Quotidian Poetry: W. B. Yeats (1865 – 1939)

SAILING TO BYZANTIUM

That is no country for old men. The young
In one another's arms, birds in the trees,
—Those dying generations—at their song,
The salmon-falls, the mackerel-crowded seas,
Fish, flesh, or fowl, commend all summer long
Whatever is begotten, born, and dies.
Caught in that sensual music all neglect
Monuments of unageing intellect.
 
 
II
 
An aged man is but a paltry thing,
A tattered coat upon a stick, unless
Soul clap its hands and sing, and louder sing
For every tatter in its mortal dress,
Nor is there singing school but studying
Monuments of its own magnificence;
And therefore I have sailed the seas and come
To the holy city of Byzantium.
 
 
III
 
O sages standing in God's holy fire
As in the gold mosaic of a wall,
Come from the holy fire, perne in a gyre,
And be the singing-masters of my soul.
Consume my heart away; sick with desire
And fastened to a dying animal
It knows not what it is; and gather me
Into the artifice of eternity.
 
 
IV
 
Once out of nature I shall never take
My bodily form from any natural thing,
But such a form as Grecian goldsmiths make
Of hammered gold and gold enamelling
To keep a drowsy Emperor awake;
Or set upon a golden bough to sing
To lords and ladies of Byzantium
Of what is past, or passing, or to come.

FROM:

LONGMAN ENGLISH SERIES
POETRY 1900 TO 1975

Editor George MacBeth
 
 

Diary of the Plague Year: Day 92 15 June 2020: Quotidian Poetry: William Shakespeare (1564 – 1616)

FROM King Richard II
Act II Scene i
 
Gaunt. This royal throne of kings, this sceptered isle,
This earth of majesty this seat of Mars,
This other Eden, demi-Paradise;
This fortress built by Nature for herself
Against infection and the hand of war;
This happy breed of men, this little world;
This precious stone set in a silver sea,
Which serves it in the office of a wall,
Or as a moat defensive to a house,
Against the envy of less happier lands;
This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England.,
This nurse, this teeming womb of royal kings,
Feared by their breed, and famous by their birth,
Renowned for their deeds as far from home,
For Christian service and true chivalry,
As in the sepulchre, in stubborn Jewry,
Of the world’s ransom, blessed Mary’s Son;
This land of such dear souls, this dear dear land,
Dear for her reputation through this world,
Is now leased out – I die pronouncing it –
Like to a tenement or pelting farm;
England, bound in with the triumphant sea,
Whose rocky shore beats back the previous siege
Of watery Neptune, is now bound with shame,
With ink blots, and rotten parchment bonds:
That England, that was wont to conquer others,
Hath made a shameful conquest of itself.
 
William Shakespeare
 
FROM:
 
POEM FOR THE DAY
366 poems, old and new, worth
learning by heart
 
Edited by Nicholas Albery
 
Sinclair-Stevenson

Diary of the Plague Year: Day 88 11 June 2020: Quotidian Poetry: William Barnes (1801 – 1886)

THE WIFE A-LOST

Since I noo mwore do zee your fe{‘a}ce,
    Up ste{‘a}rs or down below,
I’ll zit me in the lwonesome ple{‘a}ce,
    Where flat-bough’d beech do grow;
Below the beeches’ bough, my love,
   Where you did never come,
An’ I don’t look to meet ye now,
     As I do look at hwome.

Since you noo mwore be at my zide,
  In walks in zummer het,
I’ll goo alwone where mist do ride,
  Drough trees a-drippèn wet;
Below the ra{‘i}n-wet bough, my love,
  Where you did never come,
An’ I don’t grieve to miss ye now,
  As I do grieve at hwome.

Since now bezide my dinner-bwoard
  Your va{‘i}ce do never sound,
I’ll eat the bit I can avword,
  A-vield upon the ground;
Below the darksome bough, my love,
  Where you did never dine,
An’ I don’t grieve to miss ye now,
  As I at hwome do pine.

Since I do miss your va{‘i}ce an’ fe{‘a}ce
  In pra{‘y}er at eventide,
I’ll pray wi’ woone sad va{‘i}ce vor gre{‘a}ce
  To goo where you do bide;
Above the tree an’ bough, my love,
  Where you be gone avore,
An’ be a-w{‘a}itèn vor me now,
  To come vor evermwore.

FROM:

The Oxford Library of English Poetry
Volume II
Darley to Heaney

Chosen & edited by John Wain

Diary of the Plague Year: Day 87 10 June 2020: Quotidian Poetry: John Wilmot (1647 – 1680)

AGAINST CONSTANCY
 
Tell me no more of constancy,
   The frivolous pretense
Of cold age, narrow jealousy,
  Disease, and want of sense.
 
Let duller fools, on whom kind chance
  Some easy heart has thrown,
Despairing higher to advance,
  Be kind to one alone.
 
Old men and weak, whose idle flame
  Their own defects discovers,
Since changing can but spread their shame,
  Ought to be constant lovers.
 
But we, whose hearts do justly swell
  With not vainglorious pride,
Who know how we in love excel,
  Long to be often tried.
 
Then bring my bath, and strew my bed,
  As each kind night returns,
I’ll change a mistress till I’m dead –
  And fate change me to worms.
 
FROM: 
 
The Oxford Library of English Poetry
Volume II
Sackville to Keats
 
Chosen & edited by John Wain
 

Diary of the Plague Year: Day 86 9 June 2020: Quotidian Poetry: Edmund Spenser (1552/3 – 1599)

From: THE RUINES OF TIME
 
A length, they all to mery London came,
To mery London, my most kyndly Nurse,
That to me gaue this Lifes first natiue sourse:
Though from another place I take my name,
A house of auncient fame.
There when they came, whereas those bricky towres,
The which on Temmes brode aged backe doe ryde,
Where now the studious Lawyers haue their bowers,
Where whylome wont the Templer Knights to byde,
Till they decayd through pride:
Next whereunto there standes a stately place,
Where oft I gained giftes and goodly grace
Of that great Lord, which therein wont to dwell,
Whose want too well now feeles my freendles case:
But Ah here fits not well
Old woes but ioyes to tell
Against the Brydale daye, which is not long:
    Sweete Themmes runne softly, till I end my Song.
 
FROM: 
 
The Oxford Library of English Poetry
Volume I
Spenser to Dryden
 
Chosen & edited by John Wain

Diary of the Plague Year: Day 83 6 June 2020: Quotidian Poetry – The Creative Writing Group at The Felix Post Unit – SURVIVORS’ POETRY

THE FELIX POST UNIT WAS A DAY CENTRE FOR OLDER ADULTS AT THE MAUDSLEY HOSPITAL. IT WAS CLOSED DOWN IN 2008 FOR NO APPARENT OR GOOD REASON. MANY OF ITS SERVICE USERS WERE FROM THE BAME COMMUNITIES OF SOUTH LONDON.

Their anthology POSTSCRIPT – POEMS BY THE CREATIVE WRITING GROUP was published by Roy Birch of Survivors’ Poetry.

sdhfhttps://disabilityarts.online/directory/survivors-poetry/

Diary of the Plague Year: Day 82 5 June 2020: Quotidian Poetry – The Creative Writing Group at The Felix Post Unit – History

THE FELIX POST UNIT WAS A DAY CENTRE FOR OLDER ADULTS AT THE MAUDSLEY HOSPITAL. IT WAS CLOSED DOWN IN 2008 FOR NO APPARENT OR GOOD REASON. MANY OF ITS SERVICE USERS WERE FROM THE BAME COMMUNITIES OF SOUTH LONDON.

HISTORY
from POSTSCRIPT – Poems by The Creative Writing Group at The Felix Post Unit

The Poetry Group a the Felix Post Unit began as a means of trying to address a more holistic approach to mental health. We, as nurses, instinctively knew the value of creativity, and the value of writing creatively, but were uncertain how to put this into practice.

The group evolved from reading poems to writing poems. Our members had very strong idea of what a poet was, and felt that whatever it was, it wasn’t them. However, this changed as confidence within the group and members began to see their poetry written and read out.

One thing that we were totally unprepared for was the effect of writing and reading their poems. Members of the group did have problems with speech and language and memory. Our members didn’t have a voice, or seem to have the language to convey meaning to their everyday interactions. Poetry, with its emphasis on conveying emotion in an encapsulated format, and use of imagery to convey emotion, appeared to unlock some of the mind’s processes. Something about the act of writing poetry gave our members an eloquent and powerful means of expressing themselves, and also a sense of release and peace. We felt, and continue to feel, both joy and humbleness at the poems written by our elders, and the process continues to bone of ever greater acheivements.

We hope you will enjoy this anthology, written by the elders at the Felix Post Unit.

MONIQUE MARONEY
CLARE JONES
PETER BENNETT

Diary of the Plague Year: Day 82 5 June 2020: Quotidian Poetry – Poems by the The Creative Writing Group a The Felix Post Unit

THE FELIX POST UNIT WAS A DAY CENTRE FOR OLDER ADULTS AT THE MAUDSLEY HOSPITAL. IT WAS CLOSED DOWN IN 2008 FOR NO APPARENT GOOD REASON. MANY OF ITS SERVICE USERS WERE FROM THE BAME COMMUNITIES OF SOUTH LONDON.

THE FELIX POST BOX
 
I will put in my box
A confirmation certificate
And words of praise for my bishop
My husband’s compassion
And the heart beat of the sea.
 
I will put in my box
Chinese firecrackers that
Spit and spark at the devil.
Silhouettes of palm trees
And lighting during the monsoon.
 
I will put in my box
A teenage tomboy
Forever-happy climbing mango trees,
A far away memory of a mother’s laugh
And a fisherman’s hook.
 
I will put in my box
Only good stuff
A glowing friendship and
A sweet cup of tea.
 
I will put in my box
My youth and
All the fun of the fair
With donkeys and candlyflosss.
 
I will put in my box
The smell of my first baby
A lot of understanding
And a day in the New Forest in a church
Waiting to hear Dancing Queen playing the organ.
 
I will put in my box
A guinea pig from long ago
So sensitive and soft,
squeezing into a ball like a cat
An orange tree I climbed,
Scared of nothing and such rewards!
 
I will put it in my box
The circus at Blackpool and dancing girls in swimsuits,
The smell of a mango
And juice of a young coconut.
 
My box is made of
Garden scents and music
With ribbons and buttons and all sorts
On the lid.
You can unlock it by wishing quietly.
 
I shall keep my box
High on a roll of thunder
And watch the dice
As they tumble down
An evening on the beach.
 
ALICE HAYCOCK
CLARICE PORTER
SHIRLEY RICHARDS
LUCILLE POWELL
LIX JELINEK
HUBERT CLARKE
IRENE PRATT

Diary of the Plague Year: Day 79 2 June 2020: Quotidian Poetry: George Mackay Brown (1921 – 1966)

DREAM OF WINTER
 
These were the sounds that dinned upon his ear –
The spider’s fatal purring, and the grey
Trumpeting of old mammoths locked in ice.
No human sound there was: only the evil
Shriek of the violin sang of human woe
And conquest and defeat, and the round drums
  Sobbed as they beat.
 
He saw the victim nailed against the night
With ritual stars. The skull, a ruin of dreams,
Leaned in the wind, merry with curl and thorn.
The long robes circled. A penitential wail
For the blue lobster and the yellow cornstalk
And the hooded victim, broken to let men live,
  Flashed from their throats.
 
Then all the faces turned from the Winter Man.
From the loch’s April lip a swan slid out
In a cold rhyme. The year stretched like a child
And rubbed its eyes on light. Spring on the hill
With lamb and tractor, lovers and burning heather.
Byres stood open. The wind’s blue fingers laid
  A migrant on the rock.
 
FROM:

The Faber Book of 20th Century Verse

Edited by John Heath-Stubbs & David Wright