Saturday, 31 December 2011

The Poetry of Margery Clute (17)

If you missed the first installment, which provided some background information regarding Margery Clute's poetry, you can read it here.


Upon the Moor

How perilously upon the Moor
The cotton-grasses cling!
While yonder stone stands all alone
Surveying everything;

See overhead the cloudy sky
Brood dark upon the hill
While Autumn winds sigh through the heather
And make it feel chill.

How many moods the Moor subsumes
Can scarcely be expressed!
Now bright, the sun breaks o’er my head
And kindly warms my breast
(A boon indeed! 'Twas getting cold
Beneath my cotton vest).


Margery Clute (1824-76)




Lines Written in 1848

I dreamed of travelling o’er the sea
  To foreign lands unknown,
Aboard a ship, without a chart,
  To where’er it might be blown,

That I might leave this place behind,
  So silent, full of gloom,
A house so full of sadness,
  So redolent of Doom.

Love and sweet companionship
  Have borne me through the years –
Now, they are gone, I am alone
  To face my darkest fears

And sadly, in my watery dreams,
  I’ve found no place to rest,
No land of joy and plenty,
  By Nature’s bounty blessed –

Merely a storm that rages on
  And tears the sails to shreds,
Beneath the low’ring storm-cloud
  Which hovers o’er our heads.

Margery Clute (1824-76)

Friday, 23 December 2011

Merry Christmas!


Merry Christmas! This is a photograph of our Christmas tree. When, in the 1840s,  following the example set by the Royal Family, people in England started to set up their own Christmas trees there is some evidence that they were not quite sure what to do with them...

If you missed the first installment, which provided some background information regarding Margery Clute's poetry, you can read it here.



Christmas, 1842

Build up the fire! ‘Tis cold without -
The coldest I’ve known without a doubt!
But Christmas time demands that we
Cheerful, bright and merry be.
E’en pagans chose this frosty time
To celebrate, despite the clime,
And, whate’er the hardships of the season
There can be no better reason
To pour ourselves a cup of tea
And contemplate the Christmas Tree.

O holy night! O holy night!
Come forth, perform the sacred rite!
Let us celebrate with glee
And dance around the Christmas Tree!

Without, the Christmas bells are ringing
And the carol singers singing;
In the church the busy vicar
Blesses his flock by candle-flicker,
While through the woods men gaily go,
Gathering the mistletoe
To deck their halls and rafters bare
That they might then make merry there,
Sat beneath the wild berry
Eating mince pies and watching telly drinking sherry.


O holy night! O holy night!
Come forth, perform the sacred rite!
Let us celebrate with glee
And dance around the Christmas Tree!


Margery Clute (1824-76)

Saturday, 17 December 2011

The Poetry of Margery Clute (15)

If you missed the first installment, which provided some background information regarding Margery Clute's poetry, you can read it here.


The Poet Speaks

Mama and Papa have confused me,
Though 'twas not their intention, I deem.
They filled up my head with the oddest ideas
- I wander through life in a dream!

But they in their turn had their heads filled up
By old men in frockcoat and wig,
Whose coffee-house chatter resulted in notions
For which I would not give a fig!

Things can only get worse, I fear -
Good sense is destined to fade
Unless every young lady avoids young men
And resolves to die an old maid!

Margery Clute (1824-76)





On the Opening of St George's Hall, Bradford, 1853


That so grand an edifice
Should house so great a Hall
Is but a Law of Nature:
'Tis but the outside wall.


Margery Clute (1824-76)




The Storm

Thunder and lightning fill my brain
With tumultuous thoughts, all the day long.
Sometimes I think it will surely explode,
Leaving me headless: I hope I'm wrong.

Come lightening, flash! Come, thunder, crash!
Do your worst, that you might inspire
A river of words to flow from my pen
As sweet music flows from the lyre.

Margery Clute (1824-76) 




Thursday, 15 December 2011

IPYPIASM(2)

Went to Darlington today. Decided to combine a bit of Christmas shopping with International Put Your Poem In A Shop Month. I placed four in all : three I've written (and posted) before, plus one I wrote specially for the occasion. Below the poems you'll find a flickr slideshow with the documentary evidence! Which poem went in which shop is self explanatory.










Banana Poem

Yellow
Mellow
Bendy
Fellow


Love in the Café

Just across the way from me
sat a woman, drinking herbal tea.
Her other hand played on the screen
of a shiny new hand-held machine.
I drank up, left, felt very green:
it was the coolest phone I'd seen.



In A Bookshop

All you can see through the tall windows are
the rooftops of the city, and the sky
(both crinkled slightly by the imperfect glass).
This partial view serves to convey a sense
of stillness in which people linger, drawn
to contemplate the stacks, searching the spines
for words they hadn't thought of, books that might provide
some sort of landmark on a mental map.























Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

RIP Christopher Logue

I ought to read the paper more. I've only just caught up with the fact that Christopher Logue died a couple of weeks ago on 2nd December, aged 85. He's been at the front of my mind this month, too. It was all sparked off by Dick Jones, who posted recordings of Logue's excellent Red Bird EP on his Patteran Pages blog (from which I have borrowed the photo - I feel sure Dick won't mind). If you haven't been there to listen to Logue's jazz-accompanied loose translations of Neruda, do go: they make a great epitaph for the man.

Dick's recordings got me going back to Logue's poems - I've had a copy of his Ode to the Dodo sitting on the shelves for years. I won't write about it at length, only to say that he speaks with a bold, musical, refreshing authority. I'll just quote this, from New Numbers (1969):

Come to the edge.
We might fall.
Come to the edge.
It's too high!
COME TO THE EDGE!
And they came,
And he pushed,
And they flew.

Monday, 12 December 2011

IPYPIASM

I though I should get into the spirit of International Put Your Poem In A Shop Month. Yesterday I paid a visit to the local garden centre. They have some very nice plants with big red leaves on. They were also giving out free coffee and mince pies. Brief, spontaneous and heavily reliant on an ancient TV series but there we go. It's a start...









The Flowerpot Man's Love Song

Obadob flobadob
Little Weed!

You've taken root
but you ain't gone to seed.


Obadob flobadob
Little Weed!

You look bloomin' wonderful,
Petal, indeed.


Obadob flobadob
Little Weed!

Saturday, 10 December 2011

The Poetry of Margery Clute (14)

If you missed the first installment, which provided some background information regarding Margery Clute's poetry, you can read it here.

Spring

To see the yellow daffodils
Drives away all sundry ills,
And upon the lawn the crocus
Peeps out from the grass to poke us.

Harken to the cows that moo
And to the rooks that make ado
Among the treetops (such a flock!
Were they men, they'd run amok!)

And see the stripèd bee that flies
Along the hedge before my eyes!
Nature has woken to a joyful morn!
Who could, for long, remain forlorn?

Margery Clute (1824-76) 


Saturday, 3 December 2011

The Poetry of Margery Clute (13)


Autumn Gales

What thoughts absorb the lofty trees
As in the wind they sway,
As gales roar around them
Like the tide around a quay?

Do they despair of the turbulent air
That wafts them to and fro?
Or do they dance in ecstasy?
How can we ever know?


 Margery Clute (1824-76)



Ode to an Ancient Stone

O Ancient Stone
If thou couldst speak
How thou wouldst groan!
I can no more
My thoughts postpone,
O Ancient Stone.

O Ancient Stone
The birds are flown
That once adorned
That rocky zone
About thy crest.
No more art thou
So fairly blessed!

The wingèd birds
Possess the air
As thou the mossy ground.
They sing a song
Both loud and long;
Thou makest not a sound.

O voiceless Stone!
This song I'll drone
For thee, that all might hear:
As thou wouldst,
Had Nature's art
Fashioned thee an ear!

 Margery Clute (1824-76)

Thursday, 1 December 2011