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PostPosted: Fri Mar 26, 2010 11:56 pm 
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A Last Word

LET us go hence: the night is now at hand;
The day is overworn, the birds all flown;
And we have reaped the crops the gods have sown;
Despair and death; deep darkness o'er the land,
Broods like an owl; we cannot understand
Laughter or tears, for we have only known
Surpassing vanity: vain things alone
Have driven our perverse and aimless band.
Let us go hence, somewhither strange and cold,
To Hollow Lands where just men and unjust
Find end of labour, where's rest for the old,
Freedom to all from love and fear and lust.
Twine our torn hands! O pray the earth enfold
Our life-sick hearts and turn them into dust.

Ernest Dowson


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PostPosted: Fri May 28, 2010 4:18 pm 
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Location: Clacton-on-Sea
I HOPE that wasn't your last word, Marion.
Where are you?

_________________
MY WEBSITE: www.nemonymous.com


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 08, 2010 10:12 pm 
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I see the board has been very busy in my absence! Tsk! Tsk!

here we go:

Learning to Swim

John Burnside


All of a sudden and mostly by surprise
was how my cousin thought it should be done,
the body unlearning its weight as it plunged to the black
of the deep end and came, at a stroke,
to the friendship of water.

Older than me, and stronger, the playground tough,
he was quick with his hands and quicker still with his tongue,
but even he took a scare, that afternoon
in the public baths, when I didn't come up for so long,
lost in the blur of the pool as he stood at the rim,

trying to seem unconcerned, but numb with the fear
that he'd killed me, the glare of his laughter
dying away in the hollows and nooks of the roof
and everything silent: the lifeguard, the swoop of a diver,
the sky in the picture-windows, naked and cold.

Now, when I swim, I remember what failed to happen:
the body I never found in the glimmer of chlorine,
the casual ascent and the gleam of my cousin's approval;
I dream of the absence I missed and the shiver of longing
that played on my skin for as long as it took me to surface;

but what I remember best is the water's answer,
the shadow it left in my blood when it let me go
and the tug in my bones that remained, like a scar, or an echo,
concealing the death I had lost, but would cherish for years
as we cherish the faces of school-friends who never grow old.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 09, 2010 9:40 am 
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Location: Portsmouth
I like that a lot. I'll rumage through some stuff to find another one worth sharing...


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 09, 2010 10:21 pm 
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Hi, Ray - Burnside is wonderful.
Pick me something powerful!


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 10, 2010 2:29 pm 
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Location: Portsmouth
Too Heavy by Julia Darling

Dear Doctor
I am writing to complain about these words
you have given me, that I carry in my bag
lymphatic, nodal, progressive, metastatic
They must be made of lead. I haul them everywhere.
I've cricked my neck, I'm bent
with the weight of them
palliative, metabolic, recurrent
and when I get them out and put them on the table
they tick like bombs and overpower my own
sweet tasting words
orange, bus, coffee, June
I've been leaving them
crumpled up in pedal bins
where they fester and complain.
diamorphine, biopsy, inflammatory
and then you say
Where are your words Mrs Patient?
What have you done with your words?

Or worse, you give me that dewy look
Poor Mrs Patient has lost all her words, but shush,
don't upset her. I've got spares in the files.
Thank god for files!

So I was wondering,
Dear Doctor, if I could have
a locker
my own locker
with a key.
I could collect them
one at a time,
and lay them on a plate

morphine-based, diagnostically,

with a garnish of
lollypop, monkey, lip


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 10, 2010 10:30 pm 
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I enjoyed that one, Ray. Thank you. Heavy words indeed - an interesting concept.


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 20, 2010 10:24 pm 
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YOU

Uninvited, the thought of you stayed too late in my head.
so I went to bed, dreaming you hard, hard, woke with your name,
like tears, soft, salt, on my lips, the sound of its bright syllables
like a charm, like a spell.

Falling in love
is glamorous hell: the crouched, parched heart
like a tiger, ready to kill; a flame’s fierce licks under the skin.
into my life, larger than life, you strolled in.

I hid in my ordinary days, in the long grass of routine,
in my camouflage rooms. You sprawled in my gaze,
staring back from anyone’s face, from the shape of a cloud,
from the pining, earth-struck moon which gapes at me

as I open the bedroom door. The curtains stir. There you are
on the bed, like gift, like a touchable dream.

Carol Ann Duffy


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 21, 2010 8:29 am 
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Location: Portsmouth
I do love Duffy - looking forward to teaching my class The World's Wife next year. "We wade through blood for our sleeping girls" - great line from Queen Herod.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 21, 2010 8:31 am 
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Another favourite:

i carry your heart with me (i carry it in
my heart) i am never without it (anywhere
i go you go, my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing, my darling)
i fear
no fate (for you are my fate, my sweet) i want
no world (for beautiful you are my world, my true)
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows
higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)

e.e. cummings


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 23, 2010 11:31 pm 
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Ray - a Herrick ditty in exchange for the cummings:

I dare not ask a kiss;
I dare not beg a smile;
Lest having that or this,
I might grow proud the while.

No, no, the utmost share
Of my desire shall be
Only to kiss that air,
That lately kissed thee.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 24, 2010 10:30 am 
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Location: Portsmouth
That's lovely.
This is the poem I use to introduce my students to poetry and analysis:

Peaches

A mouthful of language to swallow:
stretches of beach, sweet clinches,
breaches in walls, pleached branches;
britches hauled over haunches;
hunched leeches, wrenched teachers.
What English can do: ransack
the warmth that chuckles beneath
fuzzed surfaces, smooth velvet
richness, plashy juices.
I beseech you, peach,
clench me into the sweetness
of your reaches.

(Donald Hall)


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 24, 2010 4:23 pm 
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What a tongue twister, Ray - you're a brave man!


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 25, 2010 11:55 am 
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I don't know if he intended it to be read the way I do, but I use it to show the beauty of looking beneath the surface of poetry (though 'ransack' seems to support the, 'they murder to dissect' idea regarding English as a subject!)

PS Anyone remember who said that? I want to say Wordsworth but can't remember. (Clearly I'm a rubbish teacher.)


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 25, 2010 6:00 pm 
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Wordsworth it is.
'We murder to dissect.'


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