Monday, March 30, 2009

Felicity in Paul Durcan

I love this poem the most for the line 'But with whom can you sleep ?' - there are usually few people in the world that you can sit alone with and feel so comfortable that you can quite happily yawn away and then snooze ! It's like reading - there are few people that you can sit in silence with and just read, without feeling some need to make conversation at some stage - I am lucky to have a few of those people in my life !
I don't see this then as a poem of romantic love and disappointment which I guess it is, but a poem to remind us of those people that we can happily yawn with !


We met in the Valentino in Turin
And travelled through Italy by train,
Sleeping together.
I do not mean having sex.
I mean sleeping together.
Of which sexuality is,
And is not, a part.

It is this sleeping together
That is sacred to me.
This yawning together.
You can have sex with anyone
But with whom can you sleep ?

I hate you
Because having slept with me
You left me.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Clearances (Sonnet 3) ..... by Seamus Heaney

A really touching sonnet from his series of eight, written about his mother. This one in particular has always touched me the most, probably because it reminds me of times I have peeled potatoes with my mother.


When all the others were away at Mass
I was all hers as we peeled potatoes.
They broke the silence let fall one by one
Like solder weeping off the soldering iron:
Cold comforts set between us, things to share
Gleaming in a bucket of clean water.
And again let fall. Little pleasant splashes
From each other’s work would bring us to our senses.

So while the parish priest at her bedside
Went hammer and tongs at the prayers for the dying
And some were responding and some crying
I remembered her head bent towards my head,
Her breath in mine, our fluent dipping knives-
Never closer the whole rest of our lives.

Friday, March 27, 2009

The Things You Never David Croft

A sweet and rather lovely poem ...


The marmalade cat , sitting by your patio door,
Watching, as you make breakfast.

A July sunrise, framed in the window behind you
As a vapour trail cuts the sky in half.

A spider labouring on a silken thread above your head
While you read William Trevor.


Yourself, laughing with your head thrown back
Across the room at a boring party.

The way you scamper across the cold, tiled floor
After a winter’s morning shower.

Me, kissing your eyelids goodnight as you sleep.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Ithaca ..... by Constantine Cavafy (translated by Rae Dalven)

An amazing poem which always evokes for me the smell of summer mornings and reminds me that life is certainly a journey rather than a destination.
When you start on your journey to Ithaca,
then pray that the road is long,
full of adventure, full of knowledge.
Do not fear the Lestrygonians
and the Cyclopes and the angry Poseidon.
You will never meet such as these on your path,
if your thoughts remain lofty,
if a fine emotion touches your body and your spirit.
You will never meet the Lestrygonians,
the Cyclopes and the fierce Poseidon,
if you do not carry them within your soul,
if your soul does not raise them up before you.

Then pray that the road is long.
That the summer mornings are many,
that you will enter ports seen for the first time
with such pleasure, with such joy!
Stop at Phoenician markets,
and purchase fine merchandise,
mother-of-pearl and corals, amber and ebony,
and pleasurable perfumes of all kinds,
buy as many pleasurable perfumes as you can;
visit hosts of Egyptian cities,
to learn and learn from those who have knowledge.

Always keep Ithaca fixed in your mind,
to arrive there is your ultimate goal.
But do not hurry the voyage at all.
It is better to let it last for long years;
and even to anchor at the isle when you are old,
rich with all that you have gained on the way,
not expecting that Ithaca will offer you riches.

Ithaca has given you the beautiful voyage.
Without her you would never have taken the road.
But she has nothing more to give you.

And if you find her poor, Ithaca has not defrauded you.
With the great wisdom you have gained, with so much experience,
you must surely have understood by then what Ithaca means.