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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jun 03, 2009 7:47 pm 
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Allyson, I have posted a poem by Alun Lewis, referred to in the programme, in the War Poetry section.

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jun 10, 2009 4:40 pm 
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The more you look, the more you see:

Sylvia Plath

I'm a riddle in nine syllables,
An elephant, a ponderous house,
A melon strolling on two tendrils.
O red fruit, ivory, fine timbers!
This loaf's big with its yeasty rising.
Money's new-minted in this fat purse.
I'm a means, a stage, a cow in calf.
I've eaten a bag of green apples,
Boarded the train there's no getting off.

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jun 19, 2009 3:49 pm 
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The Poet

George MacKay Brown

Therefore he no more troubled the pool of silence
But put on mask and cloak,
Strung a guitar
And moved among the folk.
Dancing they cried,
'Ah, how our sober islands
Are gay again, since this blind lyrical tramp
Invaded the Fair.'

Under the last dead lamp
When all the dancers and masks had gone inside
His cold stare
Returned to its true task, the interrogation of silence

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jun 30, 2009 1:16 pm 
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The Laboratory



Now that I, tying thy glass mask tightly,
May gaze thro' these faint smokes curling whitely,
As thou pliest thy trade in this devil's-smithy---
Which is the poison to poison her, prithee?


He is with her, and they know that I know
Where they are, what they do: they believe my tears flow
While they laugh, laugh at me, at me fled to the drear
Empty church, to pray God in, for them!---I am here.


Grind away, moisten and mash up thy paste,
Pound at thy powder,---I am not in haste!
Better sit thus, and observe thy strange things,
Than go where men wait me and dance at the King's.


That in the mortar---you call it a gum?
Ah, the brave tree whence such gold oozings come!
And yonder soft phial, the exquisite blue,
Sure to taste sweetly,---is that poison too?


Had I but all of them, thee and thy treasures,
What a wild crowd of invisible pleasures!
To carry pure death in an earring, a casket,
A signet, a fan-mount, a filigree basket!


Soon, at the King's, a mere lozenge to give,
And Pauline should have just thirty minutes to live!
But to light a pastile, and Elise, with her head
And her breast and her arms and her hands, should drop dead!


Quick---is it finished? The colour's too grim!
Why not soft like the phial's, enticing and dim?
Let it brighten her drink, let her turn it and stir,
And try it and taste, ere she fix and prefer!


What a drop! She's not little, no minion like me!
That's why she ensnared him: this never will free
The soul from those masculine eyes,---Say, ``no!''
To that pulse's magnificent come-and-go.


For only last night, as they whispered, I brought
My own eyes to bear on her so, that I thought
Could I keep them one half minute fixed, she would fall
Shrivelled; she fell not; yet this does it all!


Not that I bid you spare her the pain;
Let death be felt and the proof remain:
Brand, burn up, bite into its grace---
He is sure to remember her dying face!


Is it done? Take my mask off! Nay, be not morose;
It kills her, and this prevents seeing it close;
The delicate droplet, my whole fortune's fee!
If it hurts her, beside, can it ever hurt me?


Now, take all my jewels, gorge gold to your fill,
You may kiss me, old man, on my mouth if you will!
But brush this dust off me, lest horror it brings
Ere I know it---next moment I dance at the King's!

Robert Browning

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 06, 2009 11:58 am 
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Sonnet 30

Edmund Spenser

My love is like to ice, and I to fire:
How comes it then that this her cold so great
Is not dissolved through my so hot desire,
But harder grows the more I her entreat?
Or how comes it that my exceeding heat
Is not allayed by her heart-frozen cold,
But that I burn much more in boiling sweat,
And feel my flames augmented manifold?
What more miraculous thing may be told,
That fire, which all things melts, should harden ice,
And ice, which is congeal's with senseless cold,
Should kindle fire by wonderful device?
Such is the power of love in gentle mind,
That it can alter all the course of kind.

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jul 06, 2009 6:48 pm 
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:lol: :lol: :lol:

Hamlet's Cat's Soliloquy
by William Shakespeare's Cat

To go outside, and there perchance to stay
Or to remain within: that is the question:
Whether 'tis better for a cat to suffer
The cuffs and buffets of inclement weather
That Nature rains on those who roam abroad,
Or take a nap upon a scrap of carpet,
And so by dozing melt the solid hours
That clog the clock's bright gears with sullen time
And stall the dinner bell.

To sit, to stare
Outdoors, and by a stare to seem to state
A wish to venture forth without delay,
Then when the portal's opened up, to stand
As if transfixed by doubt.

To prowl; to sleep;
To choose not knowing when we may once more
Our readmittance gain: aye, there's the hairball;
For if a paw were shaped to turn a knob,
Or work a lock or slip a window-catch,
And going out and coming in were made
As simple as the breaking of a bowl,
What cat would bear the household's petty plagues,
The cook's well-practiced kicks, the butler's broom,
The infant's careless pokes, the tickled ears,
The trampled tail, and all the daily shocks
That fur is heir to, when, of his own free will,
He might his exodus or entrance make
With a mere mitten?

Who would spaniels fear,
Or strays trespassing from a neighbor's yard,
But that the dread of our unheeded cries
And scratches at a barricaded door
No claw can open up, dispels our nerve
And makes us rather bear our humans' faults
Than run away to unguessed miseries?

Thus caution doth make house cats of us all;
And thus the bristling hair of resolution
Is softened up with the pale brush of thought,
And since our choices hinge on weighty things,
We pause upon the threshold of decision.

Henry Beard

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 08, 2009 10:52 pm 
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Time for a little gothic: Michael Scott , alchemist and astrologer - terrible reputation: ... urch.shtml


by William Sharp

The wild wind moaned: fast waned the light:
Dense cloud-wrack gloorned the front of night:
The moorland cries were cries of pain
Green, red, or broad and glaring white
The lightnings flashed athwart the main.

The sound and fury of the waves,
Upon the rocks, among the caves,
Boomed inland from the thunderous strand:
Mayhap the dead heard in their graves
The tumult fill the hollow land.

With savage pebbly rush and roar
The billows swept the echoing shore
In clouds of spume and swirling spray:
The wild wings of the tempest bore
The salt rheum to the Haunted Brae,

Upon the Haunted Brae (where none
Would linger in the noontide sun)
Michael the Wizard rode apace:
Wildly he rode where all men shun,
With madness gleaming on his face.

Loud, loud he laugh'd whene'er he saw
The lightnings split on Lammer-Law,
"Blood, bride, and bier the auld rune saith
Hell's wind tae me ae nicht sall blaw,
The nicht I ride unto my death!"

Across the Haunted Brae he fled,
And mock'd and jeer'd the shuddering pead;
Wan white the horse that he bestrode,
The fire-flaughts stricken as it sped
Flashed thro' the black mirk of the road.

And even as his race he ran,
A shade pursued the fleeing man,
A white and ghastly shade it was;
"Like saut sea-spray across wet san'
Or wind abune the moonlit grass!---

"Like saut sea-spray it follows me,
Or wind o'er grass---so fast's I flee:
In vain I shout, and laugh, and call
The thing betwixt me and the sea
God kens it is my ain lost saul!"

Down, down the Haunted Brae, and past
The verge of precipices vast
And eyries where the eagles screech
By great pines swaying in the blast,
Through woods of moaning larch and beech

On, on by moorland glen and stream,
Past lonely lochs where ospreys scream,
Past marsh-lands where no sound is heard,
The rider and his white horse gleam,
And, aye behind, that dreadful third.

Wild and more wild the wild wind blew,
But Michael Scott the rein ne'er drew
Loud and more loud his laughter shrill,
His wild and mocking laughter, grew,
In dreadful cries 'twixt hill and hill.

At last the great high road he gained,
And now with whip and voice he strained
To swifter flight the gleaming mare;
Afar ahead the fierce sleet rained
Upon the ruin'd House of Stair.

Then Michael Scott laughed long and loud:
"Whan shone the mune ahint yon cloud
I kent the Towers that saw my birth---
Lang, lang, sall wait my cauld grey shroud,
Lang cauld and weet my bed o' earth!"

But as by Stair he rode full speed
His horse began to pant and bleed:
"Win hame, win hame, my bonnie mare,
Win hame if thou would'st rest and feed,
Win hame, we're nigh the House of Stair!"

But with a shrill heart-bursten yell
The white horse stumbled, plunged, and fell,
And loud a summoning voice arose,,
"Is't White-Horse Death that rides frae Hell,
Or Michael Scott that hereby goes?"

"Ah, Lord of Stair, I ken ye weel!
Avaunt, or I your saul sall steal,
An' send ye howling through the wood
A wild man-wolf-aye, ye maun reel
An' cry upon your Holy Rood!"

Swift swept the sword within the shade,
Swift was the flash the blue steel made,
Swift was the downward stroke and rash---
But, as though leven-struck, the blade
Fell splintered earthward with a crash.

With frantic eyes Lord Stair out-peered
When Michael Scott laughed loud and jeered:---
"Forth fare ye now, ye've gat lang room
Ah, by my saul thou'lt dree thy weird!
Begone, were-wolf, till the day o' doom!"

A shrill scream pierced the lonely place;
A dreadful change came o'er the face;
The head, with bristled hair, swung low;
Michael the Wizard turned and fled
And laughed a mocking laugh of woe.

And through the wood there stole and crept,
And through the wood there raced and leapt,
A thing in semblance of a man;
An awful look its wild eyes kept
As howling through the night it ran.

Part Two tomorrow!

*Your 'weird' is your fate. To 'dree yer ane weird' is to endure your own fate

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 09, 2009 4:39 pm 
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Athwart the wan bleak moonlit waste,
With staring eyes, in frantic haste,
With thin locks back-blown by the wind,
A grey gaunt haggard figure raced
And moaned the thing that sped behind.

It followed him, afar or near:
In wrath he curs'd; he shrieked in fear
But ever more it followed him:
Eftsoons he'd stop, and turn, and peer
To front the following phantom grim.

Naught would he see; in vain would list
For wing-like sound or feet that hissed
Like wind-blown snow upon the ice;
The grey thing vanished like a mist,
Or like the smoke of sacrifice:

"Come forth frae out the mirk," his cry,
"For I maun live or I maun die,
But na, nae mair I'll suffer baith!"
Then, with a shriek, would onward fly
And, swift behind, his following wraith.

Michael the Wizard sped across
The peat and bracken o' the moss:
He heard the muir-wind rise and fall,
And laughed to see the birk-boughs toss
An' the stealthy shadows leap or crawl.

When white St. Monan's Water streamed
For leagues athwart the muir, and gleamed
With phosphorescent marish-fires,
With wild and sudden joy he screamed,
For scarce a mile was Kevan-Byres---

Sweet Kevan-Byres, dear Kevan-Byres,
That oft of old was thronged with squires
And joyous damsels blithe and gay:
Alas, alas for Kevan-Byres
That now is cold and grey.

There in bed on linen sheet
With white soft limbs and love-dreams sweet
Fair Margaret o' the Byres would be:
(Ah, when he'd lain and kissed her feet
Had she not laughed in mockery!)

Aye she had laughed, for what reck'd she
O' a' the powers of Wizardie!
"Win up, win up, guid Michael Scott,
For ye sall ne'er win boon o' me,
By plea, or sword, or spell, God wot!"

Aye, these the words that she had said.
These were the words that as he fled
Michael the Wizard muttered o'er---
"My Margaret, bow your bonnie head,
For ye sall never flout me more!"

Swiftly he raced, with gleaming eyes,
And wild, strange, sobbing, panting cries,
Dire, dire, and fell his frantic mood
Until he gained St. Monan's Rise
Whereon the House of Kevan stood.

There looked he long and fixed his gaze
Upon a room where in past days
His very soul had pled love's boon:
Lit was it now with the wan rays
Flick-flickering from the cloud-girt moon.

"Come forth, May Margaret, come, my heart!
For thou and I nae mair sall part---
Come forth, I bid, though Christ himsel'
My bitter love should strive to thwart,
For I, have a' the powers o' hell!"

What was the white wan thing that came
And lean'd from out the window-frame,
And waved wild arms against the sky?
What was the hollow echoing name,
What was the thin despairing cry?

Adown the long and dusky stair,
And through the courtyard bleak and bare,
And past the gate, and out upon
The whistling, moaning, midnight air---
What is't that Michael Scott has won!

Across the moat it seems to flee,
It speeds across the windy lea,
And through the ruin'd abbey-arch
Now like a mist all waveringly
It stands beneath a lonely larch.

"Come Margaret, my Margaret,
Thou see'st my vows I ne'er forget:
Come win wi'me across the waste---
Lang lang I've wandered cauld and wet,
An' now thy sweet warm lips would taste!"

But as a whirling drift of snow,
Or flying foam the sea-winds blow,
Or smoke swept thin before a gale
It flew across the waste---and oh
'Twas Margaret's voice in that long wail!

Swift as the hound upon the deer,
Swift as the stag when nigh the mere,
Michael the Wizard followed fast---
What though May Margaret fled in fear,
She should be his, be his, at last!---

O'er broom and whin and bracken high,
Where the peat bog lay gloomily,
Where sullenly the bittern boomed
And startled curlews swept the sky,
Until St. Monan's Water loomed!

"The cauld wet water sall na be
The bride-bed for my love and me---
For now upon St. Monan's shore
May Margaret her love sall gie
To him she mocked and jeered of yore!"

Was that a heron in its flight?
Was that a mere-mist wan and white?
What thing from lonely kirkyard grave?
Forlorn it trails athwart the night
With arms that writhe and wring and wave!

Deep down within the mere it sank,
Among the slimy reeds and rank,
And all the leagues-long loch was bare---
One vast, grey, moonlit, lifeless blank
Beneath a silent waste of air.

"O God, O God! her soul it is!
Christ's saved her frae my blasting kiss!
Her soul frae out her body drawn,
The body I maun have for bliss!
O body dead and spirit gaun!"

Hours long o'er Monan's wave he stared;
The fire-flaughts flashed and gleamed and glared,
The death-lights o' the lonely place:
And aye, dead still, he watch'd, till flared
The sunrise on his haggard face.

Full well he knew that with its fires
Loud was the tumult 'mong the squires,
And fierce the bitter pain of all
Where stark and stiff in Kevan-Byres
May Margaret lay beneath her pall.

Then once he laughed, and twice, and thrice,
Though deep within his hollow eyes
Dull-gleamed a light of fell despair.
Around, Earth grew a Paradise
In the sweet golden morning air.

Slowly he rose at last, and swift
One gaunt and frantic arm did lift
And curs'd God in his heav'n o'erhead:
Then, like a lonely cloud adrift,
Far from St. Monan's wave he fled.

Part 3 tomorrow!

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 10, 2009 8:38 am 
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All day the curlew wailed and screamed,
All day the cushat crooned and dreamed,
All day the sweet muir-wind blew free:
Beyond the grassy knowes far gleamed
The splendour of the singing sea.

Above the myriad gorse and broom
And miles of golden kingcup-bloom
The larks and yellowhammers sang:
Where the scaur cast an hour-long gloom
The lintie's liquid notes out-rang.

Oft as he wandered to and fro---
As idly as the foam-bells flow
Hither and thither on the deep---
Michael the Wizard's face would grow
From death to life, and he would weep---

Weep, weep wild tears of bitter pain
For what might never be again:
Yet even as he wept his face
Would gleam with mockery insane
And with fierce laughter on he'd race.

At times he watched the white clouds sail
Across the wastes of azure pale;
Or oft would haunt some moorland pool
Fringed round with thyme and fragrant gale
And canna-tufts of snow-white wool.

Long in it's depths would Michael stare,
As though some secret thing lay there:
Mayhap the moving water made
A gloom where crouched a Kelpie fair
With death-eyes gleaming through the shade.

Then on with weary listless feet
He fared afar, until the sweet
Cool sound of mountain brooks drew nigh,
And loud he heard the strayed lambs bleat
And the white ewes responsive cry.

High up among the hills full clear
He heard the belting of the deer
Amid the corries where they browsed,
And, where the peaks rose gaunt and sheer,
Fierce swirling echoes eagle-roused.

He watched the kestrel wheel and sweep,
He watched the dun fox glide and creep,
He heard the whaup's long-echoing call,
Watched in the stream the brown trout leap
And the grilse spring the waterfall.

Along the slopes the grouse-cock whirred
The grey-blue heron scarcely stirred
Amid the mossed grey tarn-side stones
The burns gurg-gurgled through the yird
Their sweet clear bubbling undertones.

Above the tarn the dragonfly
Shot like a flashing arrow by
And in a moving shifting haze
The gnat-clouds sank or soared on high
And danced their wild aerial maze.

As the day waned he heard afar
The hawking fern-owl's dissonant jar
Disturb the silence of the hill:
The gloaming came: star after star
He watched the skiey spaces fill.

But as the darkness grew and made
Forest and mountain one vast shade,
Michael the Wizard moaned in dread---
A long white moonbeam like a blade
Swept after him where'er he fled.

Swiftly he leapt o'er rock and root,
Swift o'er the fern his flying foot,
But swifter still the white moonbeam:
Wild was the grey-owl's dismal hoot,
But wilder still his maniac scream.

Once in his flight he paused to hear
A hollow shriek that echoed near:---
The louder were his dreadful cries,
The louder rang adown the sheer
Gaunt cliffs the echoing replies.

As though a hunted wolf, he raced
To the lone woods across the waste
Steep granite slopes of Crammond-Low---
The haunted forest where none faced
The terror that no man might know.

Betwixt the mountains and the sea
Dark leagues of pine stood solemnly,
Voiceful with grim and hollow song,
Save when each tempest-stricken tree
A savage tumult would prolong.

Beneath the dark funereal plumes,
Slow waving to and fro-death-blooms
Within the void dim wood of death---
Oft shuddering at the fearful glooms
Sped Michael Scott with failing breath.

Once, as he passed a dreary place,
Between two trees he saw a face---
A white face staring at his own:
A weird strange cry he gave for grace,
And heard an echoing moan.

"Whate'er ye be, O thing that bides
Among the trees---O thing that hides
In yonder moving mass o' shade
Come forth tae me!"---wan Michael glides
Swift, as he speaks, athrough the glade:

"Whate'er ye be, I fear ye nought
Michael the Wizard has na fought
Wi' men and demons year by year
To shirk ae thing he has na sought
Or blanch wi' any mortal fear!"

But not a sound thrilled thro' the air---
Not even a she-fox in her lair
Or brooding bird made any stir---
All was as still and blank and bare
As is a vaulted sepulchre.

Then awe, and fear, and wild dismay
O'ercame mad Michael, ashy grey,
With eyes as of one newly dead:
"If wi' my sword I canna slay,
Ye'll dree my weird when it is said!"

"Whate'er ye be, man, beast, or sprite,
I wind ye round wi' a sheet o' light---
Aye, round and round your burning frame
I cast by spell o' wizard might
A fierce undying sheet of flame!"

Swift as he spoke a thing sprang out,
A man-like thing, all hemmed about
With blazing blasting burning fire!
The wind swoop'd wi' a demon-shout
And whirled the red flame higher and higher!

And as, appalled, wan Michael stood
The flying flaughts swift fired the wood,
And even as he shook and stared
The gaunt pines turned the hue of blood
And all the waving branches flared.

Then with wild leaps the accurséd thing
Drew nigh and nigher: with a spring
Michael escaped its fiery clasp,
Although he felt the fierce flame sting
And all the horror of its grasp.

Swift as an arrow far he fled,
But swifter still the flames o'erhead
Rushed o'er the waving sea of pines,
And hollow noises crashed and sped
Like splitting blasts in ruin'd mines.

A burning league---leagues, leagues of fire
Arose behind, and ever higher
The flying semi-circle came:
And aye beyond this dreadful pyre
There leapt a man-like thing in flame.

With awful scream doom'd Michael saw
The flying furnace reach Black-Law:
"Blood, bride, and bier, the auld rune saith
Hell's wind tae me ae nicht sall blaw,
The nicht I ride unto my death!"

"The blood of Stair is round me now:
My bride can laugh to scorn my vow:
My bier, my bier, ah sall it be
Wi' a crown o' fire around my brow
Or deep within the cauld saut sea!"

Like lightning, over Black-Law's slope
Michael fled swift with sudden hope:
What though the forest roared behind---
He yet might gain the cliff and grope
For where the sheep-paths twist and wind.

The air was like a furnace-blast
And all the dome of heaven one vast
Expanse of flame and fiery wings:
To the cliff's edge, ere all be past,
With shriek on shriek lost Michael springs.

But none can hear his bitter call,
None, none can see him sway and fall---
Yea, one there is that shrills his name!
"O God, it is my ain lost saul
That I hae girt wi' deathless flame!"

With waving arms and dreadful cries
He cowers beneath those glaring eyes---
But all in vain---in vain---in vain!
His own soul clasps him as its prize
And scorches death upon his brain.

Body and soul together swing
Adown the night until they fling
The hissing sea-spray far and wide:
At morn the fresh sea-wind will bring
A black corpse tossing on the tide.

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PostPosted: Sat Jul 11, 2009 3:58 pm 
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On Death

John Keats


Can death be sleep, when life is but a dream,
And scenes of bliss pass as a phantom by?
The transient pleasures as a vision seem,
And yet we think the greatest pain's to die.


How strange it is that man on earth should roam,
And lead a life of woe, but not forsake
His rugged path; nor dare he view alone
His future doom which is but to awake.

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 12, 2009 12:14 pm 
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The Libertine
Aphra Behn

A THOUSAND martyrs I have made,
All sacrificed to my desire,
A thousand beauties have betray'd
That languish in resistless fire:
The untamed heart to hand I brought,
And fix'd the wild and wand'ring thought.

I never vow'd nor sigh'd in vain,
But both, tho' false, were well received;
The fair are pleased to give us pain,
And what they wish is soon believed:
And tho' I talk'd of wounds and smart,
Love's pleasures only touch'd my heart.

Alone the glory and the spoil
I always laughing bore away;
The triumphs without pain or toil,
Without the hell the heaven of joy;
And while I thus at random rove
Despise the fools that whine for love.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 14, 2009 10:06 pm 
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What I Expected

Stephen Spender

What I expected was
Thunder, fighting,
Long struggles with men
And climbing.
After continual straining
I should grow strong:
Then the rocks would shake
And I should rest long.
What I had not foreseen
Was the gradual day
Weakening the will
Leaking the brightness away,
The lack of good to touch
The fading of body and soul
Like smoke before wind
Corrupt, unsubstantial.

The wearing of Time,
And the watching of cripples pass
With limbs shaped like questions
In their odd twist.
The pulverous grief
Melting the bones with pity.
The sick falling from earth
These, I could not foresee.

For I had expected always
Some brightness to hold in trust,
Some final innocence
To save from dust;
That, hanging solid,
Would dangle through all
Like the created poem
Or the dazzling crystal.

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PostPosted: Sat Jul 18, 2009 9:36 pm 
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Sound and Sense

True ease in writing comes from art, not chance,
As those move easiest who have learned to dance.
'Tis not enough no harshness gives offense,
The sound must seem an echo to the sense:
Soft is the strain when Zephyr gently blows,
And the smooth stream in smoother numbers flows;
But when loud surges lash the sounding shore,
The hoarse, rough verse should like the torrent roar;
When Ajax strives some rock's vast weight to throw,
The line too labors, and the words move slow;
Not so, when swift Camilla scours the plain,
Flies o'er the unbending corn, and skims along the main.
Hear how Timotheus' varied lays surprise,
And bid alternate passions fall and rise!

Alexander Pope

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 19, 2009 10:24 pm 
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William Sharp

The moon-white waters wash and leap,
The dark tide floods the Coves of Crail;
Sound, sound he lies in dreamless sleep,
Nor hears the sea-wind wail.

The pale gold of his oozy locks,
Doth hither drift and thither wave;
His thin hands plash against the rocks,
His white lips nothing crave.

Afar away she laughs and sings---
A song he loved, a wild sea-strain
Of how the mermen weave their rings
Upon the reef-set main.

Sound, sound he lies in dreamless sleep,
Nor hears the sea-wind wail,
Tho' with the tide his white hands creep
Amid the Coves of Crail.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 03, 2009 10:38 am 
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Joined: Tue Mar 06, 2007 12:46 am
Posts: 3271 ... zaalvi.htm

Another one from the Tate inspired poems collection' Love the painting.

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