Poem for the Day

Posted: 19 September 2014

Regardless of the result of the referendum, choosing today's poem was always going to be tricky. Burns could be seen as too nationalistic, Kipling too imperialistic. In the end there was only one choice. 

On the Ning Nang Nong 
Where the Cows go Bong! 
and the monkeys all say BOO! 
There's a Nong Nang Ning 
Where the trees go Ping! 
And the tea pots jibber jabber joo. 
On the Nong Ning Nang 
All the mice go Clang 
And you just can't catch 'em when they do! 
So its Ning Nang Nong 
Cows go Bong! 
Nong Nang Ning 
Trees go ping 
Nong Ning Nang 
The mice go Clang 
What a noisy place to belong 
is the Ning Nang Ning Nang Nong!!

The Ning Nang Nong 
Spike Milligan

Poem for the Day

Posted: 18 September 2014

On this most momentous of days today's poem is about something very close to home. On the morning of the 18th September 1959, bogies taking miners to the coalface at Auchengeich Colliery in the small Lanarkshire village of Bridgend where l grew up ran into smoke from a fire caused by a faulty electrical fan.  Of the squad of 48 men only one survived.  Later that day a decision was made to flood the mine in order to extinguish the fire, thereby closing the mine for good. 

Hear the miners' heavy tramping,
See the loading of the coal.
Feel the coal dust as it settles
In your lungs, and in your soul.
I can see their hands are bloody,
I can see how hard they tried.
But one day all the lights went out,
And forty-seven died.

The pit wheels stopped their turning,
Like they knew they'd been condemned.
And all that day the news came down,
From Chryston to Bridgend.
I travelled in my memory,
To where the women cried.
The day that all the lights went out,
And forty-seven died.

They all heard the confusion,
They ran to the pithead.
The Salvation Army handed out
Tea and soup and bread.
Mothers, wives and sweethearts,
Asking questions, none replied.
The day that all the lights went out,
And forty-seven died.

There's a woman by the railway
With a baby in her arms.
She is dressed in black and mourning
She is weeping for her man.
There's a line of coffins waiting
To be buried, crucified.
The day that all the lights went out,
And forty-seven died.

The mine never did re-open,
It died as well that day.
Death took their breath, then took his leave,
And the people moved away.
Now I'm looking from my window,
And I remember those who cried.
The day that all the lights went out,
And forty-seven died.

The Day That All The Lights Went Out
Bill Adair

Poem for the Day

Posted: 17 September 2014

We cannot go to the country
for the country will bring us no peace
What can the small violets tell us
that grow on furry stems in
the long grass among lance shaped leaves?

Though you praise us
and call to mind the poets
who sung of our loveliness
it was long ago!
long ago! when country people
would plow and sow with
flowering minds and pockets at ease -
if ever this were true.

Not now. Love itself a flower
with roots in a parched ground.
Empty pockets make empty heads.
Cure it if you can but
do not believe that we can live
today in the country
for the country will bring us no peace. 

Raleigh Was Right 
William Carlos Williams

Poem for the Day

Posted: 16 September 2014

The guitar
makes dreams cry.
The crying of lost
escapes from its round
And like the tarantula
it weaves a huge star 
to catch sighs
that float on its black
wooden tank.

The Six Strings 
Frederico Garcia Lorca
(trans. Donald Hall)

Poem for the Day

Posted: 15 September 2014

Break, break, break,
         On thy cold gray stones, O Sea!
And I would that my tongue could utter
         The thoughts that arise in me.

O, well for the fisherman's boy,
         That he shouts with his sister at play!
O, well for the sailor lad,
         That he sings in his boat on the bay!

And the stately ships go on
         To their haven under the hill;
But O for the touch of a vanish'd hand,
         And the sound of a voice that is still!

Break, break, break
         At the foot of thy crags, O Sea!
But the tender grace of a day that is dead
         Will never come back to me. 

Break, Break, Break 
Alfred, Lord Tennyson

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