Thu 20 Apr, 2006 09:23 pm
Edna St Vincent Millay (1892 - 1950) - never heard of her and she's a local!
What should I be but a prophet and a liar,
Whose mother was a leprechaun, whose father was a friar?
Teethed on a crucifix and cradled under water,
What should I be but the fiend's god-daughter?
And who should be my playmates but the adder and the frog,
That was got beneath a furze-bush and born in a bog?
And what should be my singing, that was christened at an altar,
But Aves and Credos and Psalms out of the Psalter?
You will see such webs on the wet grass, maybe,
As a pixie-mother weaves for her baby,
You will find such flame at the wave's weedy ebb
As flashes in the meshes of a mer-mother's web,
But there comes to birth no common spawn
From the love a a priest for a leprechaun,
And you never have seen and you never will see
Such things as the things that swaddled me!
After all's said and after all's done,
What should I be but a harlot and a nun?
In through the bushes, on any foggy day,
My Da would come a-swishing of the drops away,
With a prayer for my death and a groan for my birth,
A-mumbling of his beads for all that he was worth.
And there'd sit my Ma, with her knees beneath her chin,
A-looking in his face and a-drinking of it in,
And a-marking in the moss some funny little saying
That would mean just the opposite of all that he was praying!
He taught me the holy-talk of Vesper and of Matin,
He heard me my Greek and he heard me my Latin,
He blessed me and crossed me to keep my soul from evil,
And we watched him out of sight, and we conjured up the devil!
Oh, the things I haven't seen and the things I haven't known,
What with hedges and ditches till after I was grown,
And yanked both way by my mother and my father,
With a "Which would you better?" and a " Which would you
With him for a sire and her for a dam,
What should I be but just what I am?
Certain miracles that I beheld there have haunted my memory
ever since: a gray April morning of sirocco, when the almond
blossoms, the flaming tulips, the young green of the vines, hung
as if painted on the motionless air; a summer night when the
roses had an unearthly pallor under a half-eaten moon, whose
ghostliness was somehow one with their perfume and with the
phosphorescence of dew tipping their petals; a day when the
trees stood part submerged in fog, into which leaves dropped
slowly, slowly, one after another, and sank out of sight.
- H. G. Dwight, Gardens and Gardening, Atlantic Monthly, 1912
The sun was warm but the wind was chill.
You know how it is with an April day.
When the sun is out and the wind is still,
You're one month on in the middle of May.
But if you so much as dare to speak,
a cloud come over the sunlit arch,
And wind comes off a frozen peak,
And you're two months back in the middle of March.
- Robert Frost
Heard an interview with David Tucker on npr. He's a journalist and poet.
The stories are forgotten before the paper starts to yellow.
Nobody remembers the name of the county executive
who swapped his city for a few thousand dollars and a three-piece suit.
Nobody cares whether the body in a trunk at the airport ever had a name,
and the dead in a Kansas train wreck are remembered
by a few relatives in a town near a bridge that isn't there anymore.
But once it was news and drove some slouchy reporter
to deadline as she hammered the keyboard without thinking,
throwing in every fact she could scrounge --
the weather, the smell of the air around the event,
the color of the smoke, the names of the victims, their ages, calling
on loud overheated words: unprecedented, shocking, blazing,
devastated and that old standby, stunned; bearing down
with minutes left until the presses rolled, holding nothing back.
Maurice Sendak - Chicken Soup With Rice
In January it's so nice
While slipping on the sliding ice
To sip hot chicken soup with rice
Sipping once, sipping twice
Sipping chicken soup with rice
In February it will be
My snowman's anniversary
With cake for him and soup for me!
Happy once, happy twice
Happy chicken soup with rice
In March the wind blows down the door
And spills my soup upon the floor
It laps it up and roars for more
Blowing once, blowing twice
Blowing chicken soup with rice
In April I will go away
To far off Spain or old Bombay
And dream about hot soup all day
Oh, my, oh, once, oh, my, oh, twice
Oh, my, oh, chicken soup with rice
In May I truly think it best
To be a robin lightly dressed
Concocting soup inside my nest
Mix it once, mix it twice
Mix that chicken soup with rice
In June I saw a charming group
Of roses all begin to droop
I pepped them up with chicken soup!
Sprinkle once, sprinkle twice
Sprinkle chicken soup with rice
In July I'll take a peep
Into the cool and fishy deep
Where chicken soup is selling cheap
Selling once, selling twice
Selling chicken soup with rice
In August it will be so hot
I will become a cooking pot
Cooking soup of course-why not?
Cooking once, cooking twice
Cooking chicken soup with rice
In September, for a while
I will ride a crocodile
Down the chicken soup-y Nile
Paddle once, paddle twice
Paddle chicken soup with rice
In October I'll be host
To witches, goblins and a ghost
I'll serve them chicken soup on toast
Whoopy once, whoopy twice
Whoopy chicken soup with rice
In November's gusty gale I will flop my flippy tail
And spout hot soup-I'll be a whale!
Spouting once, spouting twice
Spouting chicken soup with rice
In December I will be
A baubled, bangled Christmas tree
With soup bowls draped all over me
Merry once, merry twice
Merry chicken soup with rice
I told you once, I told you twice
All seasons of the year are nice
For eating chicken soup with rice
I read John Clare at University and picked up a biography of him from the library about that time that was really interesting.
He was a working-class version of Keats if you like, and because he was closer to the elements than a middle class boy like Keats his descriptions of Nature tend to be much more accurate [some people reckon that Keats' Nightingale wasn't a nightingale at all, but Keats didn't know his bird species very well :wink: ].
Some great poems there littlek.
Thanks for stopping by Tino!
Now I'll have "Chicken Soup with Rice" running through my head all day. I read those Sendak books so often I could read them upside-down across the room while I was ironing and I wanted the kids out from underfoot.
And I can recite the Sox on Fox from memory.
It's good poetry. Thanks.