Saturday, June 18, 2011

Break, Break, Break.....By Alfred, Lord Tennyson

A sad poem, recently read at the funeral of somebody who was very much loved by us and who was taken much too early
*************************


Break, break, break,
On thy cold gray stones, O Sea!
And I would that my tongue could utter
The thoughts that arise in me.

O, well for the fisherman's boy,
That he shouts with his sister at play!
O, well for the sailor lad,
That he sings in his boat on the bay!

And the stately ships go on
To their haven under the hill;
But O for the touch of a vanish'd hand,
And the sound of a voice that is still!

Break, break, break
At the foot of thy crags, O Sea!
But the tender grace of a day that is dead
Will never come back to me.

Monday, August 16, 2010

As I Walked Out One Evening...by W H Auden

I came across this poem years ago and the line about loving until 'China and Africa meet' always stayed with me.  I went hunting recently to find the full poem and read it over a few times.  It appears nonsensical at times but it's another reminder about wasting life 'in headaches and in worry'.  I love parts of this poem, so hence it's here!

***********************************************

As I walked out one evening,
Walking down Bristol Street,
The crowds upon the pavement
Were fields of harvest wheat.

And down by the brimming river
I heard a lover sing
Under an arch of the railway:
'Love has no ending.

'I'll love you, dear, I'll love you
Till China and Africa meet,
And the river jumps over the mountain
And the salmon sing in the street,

'I'll love you till the ocean
Is folded and hung up to dry
And the seven stars go squawking
Like geese about the sky.

'The years shall run like rabbits,
For in my arms I hold
The Flower of the Ages,
And the first love of the world.'

But all the clocks in the city
Began to whirr and chime:
'O let not Time deceive you,
You cannot conquer Time.

'In the burrows of the Nightmare
Where Justice naked is,
Time watches from the shadow
And coughs when you would kiss.

'In headaches and in worry
Vaguely life leaks away,
And Time will have his fancy
To-morrow or to-day.

'Into many a green valley
Drifts the appalling snow;
Time breaks the threaded dances
And the diver's brilliant bow.

'O plunge your hands in water,
Plunge them in up to the wrist;
Stare, stare in the basin
And wonder what you've missed.

'The glacier knocks in the cupboard,
The desert sighs in the bed,
And the crack in the tea-cup opens
A lane to the land of the dead.

'Where the beggars raffle the banknotes
And the Giant is enchanting to Jack,
And the Lily-white Boy is a Roarer,
And Jill goes down on her back.

'O look, look in the mirror,
O look in your distress:
Life remains a blessing
Although you cannot bless.

'O stand, stand at the window
As the tears scald and start;
You shall love your crooked neighbour
With your crooked heart.'

It was late, late in the evening,
The lovers they were gone;
The clocks had ceased their chiming,
And the deep river ran on.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

If I had my life to live over ...by Nadine Stair

I encountered this in an advert in a magazine years ago, in a slightly different version, but found this full version when I googled to find the author who is listed as being aged 85.  I can identify with it - being a person who often travels with wipes and hand sanitiser !!!!
My favourite part is the bit about 'oh I've had my moments' - I would love to know what her moments were ... I bet they were pretty notable!  She has given a useful gift to anyone who reads this - warning us not to wait until we're 85 to realise that life could be more relaxed and sillier, and walked through barefoot.

*****************************************
If I had my life to live over,
I'd dare to make more mistakes next time.
I'd relax, I would limber up.

I would be sillier than I have been this trip.
I would take fewer things seriously.
I would take more chances.
I would climb more mountains and swim more rivers.
I would eat more ice cream and less beans.
I would perhaps have more actual troubles,
but I'd have fewer imaginary ones.

You see, I'm one of those people who live
sensibly and sanely hour after hour,
day after day.

Oh, I've had my moments,
And if I had it to do over again,
I'd have more of them.
In fact, I'd try to have nothing else.
Just moments, one after another,
instead of living so many years ahead of each day.
I've been one of those people who never goes anywhere
without a thermometer, a hot water bottle, a raincoat
and a parachute.
If I had to do it again, I would travel lighter than I have.

If I had my life to live over,
I would start barefoot earlier in the spring
and stay that way later in the fall.
I would go to more dances.
I would ride more merry-go-rounds.
I would pick more daisies.

Monday, January 18, 2010

The Invitation......by Oriah

I found this in a shop in Lonsdale Quay in North Vancouver ten years ago, and it always stayed with me - a reminder of not to get too caught up in the things that don't always matter about the people we love. 

*************************************************

It doesn’t interest me to know what you do for a living.
I want to know what you ache for,
And if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s longing.
It doesn’t interest me how old you are.
I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love,
For the adventure of being alive.
It doesn’t interest me what planets are squaring your moon.
I want to know if you have touched the centre of your own sorrows,
If you have been opened by life’s betrayals or have become
shrivelled and closed from fear of further pain.
I want to know if you can sit with pain, mine or your own,
Without moving to hide it, or fade it or fix it.
I want to know if you can be with joy, mine or your own,
If you can dance with wildness and let ecstasy fill you
to the tips of your fingers and toes
Without cautioning us to be careful, to be realistic,
to remember the limitations of being human.
It doesn’t interest me if the story you are telling me is true.
I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to your self,
If you can bear the accusation of betrayal and not betray your own soul,
If you can be faithless and therefore trustworthy.
I want to know if you can see beauty, even when it is not pretty, every day,
And if you can source your own life from its presence.
I want to know if you can live with failure,
Yours and mine, and still stand on the edge of the lake
and shout to the silver of the full moon, “Yes!”
It doesn’t interest me to know where you live or how much money you have.
I want to know if you can get up, after the night of grief and despair,
Weary and bruised to the bone,
And do what needs to be done for the children.
It doesn’t interest me who you know or how you came to be here.
I want to know if you will stand in the centre of the fire with me
and not shrink back.
It doesn’t interest me where or what or with whom you have studied.
I want to know what sustains you, from the inside, when all else falls away.
I want to know if you can be alone with yourself
And if you truly like the company you keep in empty moments.

Friday, May 22, 2009

May (for Marian)... by Kerry Hardy

I haven't posted a poem for ages, because I decided that some I thought I liked, I had gone off - I'm such a fickle creature at times !! However, this I really do love - especially when I read it at the start of summer - I can smell the balm in the air !

***************************************
The bless├Ęd stretch and ease of it –
heart’s ease. The hills blue. All the flowering weeds
bursting open. Balm in the air. The birdsong
bouncing back out of the sky. The cattle
lain down in the meadow, forgetting to feed.
The horses swishing their tails.
The yellow flare of furze on the near hill.
And the first cream splatters of blossom
high on the thorns where the day rests longest.

All hardship, hunger, treachery of winter forgotten.
This unfounded conviction: forgiveness, hope.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

An Irish Airman Forsees His Death ... by W.B. Yeats

Sad this one..and timeless...you could apply it to any soldiers and any war. (P.S. I seem to like a lot of sad poems, not sure why - I am not sad !!)

***************************************

I KNOW that I shall meet my fate
Somewhere among the clouds above;
Those that I fight I do not hate,
Those that I guard I do not love;
My county is Kiltartan Cross,
My countrymen Kiltartan's poor,
No likely end could bring them loss
Or leave them happier than before.
Nor law, nor duty bade me fight,
Nor public men, nor cheering crowds,
A lonely impulse of delight
Drove to this tumult in the clouds;
I balanced all, brought all to mind,
The years to come seemed waste of breath,
A waste of breath the years behind
In balance with this life, this death.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Stop All the Clocks ... by W.H. Auden

This became really well known when the movie 'Four Weddings & a Funeral' came out, where it was recited at a funeral in a poignant moment in an otherwise average movie (although KST was funny !). I liked it then and I like it now - those last two stanzas are so sad.

**************************************

Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message He Is Dead,
Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.

He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last for ever: I was wrong.

The stars are not wanted now: put out every one;
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun;
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood.
For nothing now can ever come to any good.