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Poem for the Day

Posted: 15 March 2014

Why were you born when the snow was falling?
You should have come to the cuckoo's calling
Or when grapes are green in the cluster,
Or, at least, when lithe swallows muster
For their far off flying
From summer dying.

Why did you die when the lambs were cropping?
You should have died at the apples' dropping,
When the grasshopper comes to trouble,
And the wheat-fields are sodden stubble,
And all winds go sighing
For sweet things dying.

A Dirge
Christina Georgina Rossetti

Poem for the Day

Posted: 14 March 2014

The birds are gone to bed the cows are still
And sheep lie panting on each old molehill
And underneath the willow's grey-green bough
Like toil a-resting lies the fallow plough
The timid hares throw daylight fears away
On the lane road to dust and dance and play
Then dabble in the grain by nought deterred
To lick the dew-fall from the barley's beard
Then out they sturt again and round the hill
Like happy thoughts - dance - squat - and loiter still
Till milking maidens in the early morn
Gingle their yokes and sturt them in the corn
Through well-known beaten pates each nimbling hare
Sturts quick as fear - and seeks its hidden lair

Hares at Play
John Clare

Poem for the Day

Posted: 13 March 2014

Ha! whaur ye gaun, ye crowlin ferlie?
Your impudence protects you sairly;
I canna say but ye strunt rarely,
Owre gauze and lace;
Tho', faith! I fear ye dine but sparely
On sic a place.

Ye ugly, creepin, blastit wonner,
Detested, shunn'd by saunt an' sinner,
How daur ye set your fit upon her-
Sae fine a lady?
Gae somewhere else and seek your dinner
On some poor body.

Swith! in some beggar's haffet squattle;
There ye may creep, and sprawl, and sprattle,
Wi' ither kindred, jumping cattle,
In shoals and nations;
Whaur horn nor bane ne'er daur unsettle
Your thick plantations.

Now haud you there, ye're out o' sight,
Below the fatt'rels, snug and tight;
Na, faith ye yet! ye'll no be right,
Till ye've got on it-
The verra tapmost, tow'rin height
O' Miss' bonnet.

My sooth! right bauld ye set your nose out,
As plump an' grey as ony groset:
O for some rank, mercurial rozet,
Or fell, red smeddum,
I'd gie you sic a hearty dose o't,
Wad dress your droddum.

I wad na been surpris'd to spy
You on an auld wife's flainen toy;
Or aiblins some bit dubbie boy,
On's wyliecoat;
But Miss' fine Lunardi! fye!
How daur ye do't?

O Jeany, dinna toss your head,
An' set your beauties a' abread!
Ye little ken what cursed speed
The blastie's makin:
Thae winks an' finger-ends, I dread,
Are notice takin.

O wad some Power the giftie gie us
To see oursels as ithers see us!
It wad frae mony a blunder free us,
An' foolish notion:
What airs in dress an' gait wad lea'e us,
An' ev'n devotion!

To a Louse, On Seeing One on a Lady's Bonnet at Church
Robert Burns

Glossary:
ferlie= a wonder or marvel
strunt=swagger
wonner=a wonder (contemptuous)
haffet=lock of hair at the temple
sprattle=scramble
fatt'rels=ribbon-ends
groset=gooseberry
rozet=resin
smeddum=spirit
dress=chastise
droddum=backside
breech, aiblins=perhaps
toy=woman's old-fashioned cap with ear-flaps
dubbie=muddy
wyliecoat=flannel vest.

Poem for the Day

Posted: 12 March 2014

Every old man I see
Reminds me of my father
When he had fallen in love with death
One time when sheaves were gathered.

That man I saw in Gardner Street
Stumbled on the kerb was one,
He stared at me half-eyed,
I might have been his son.

And I remember the musician
Faltering over his fiddle
In Bayswater, London,
He too set me the riddle.

Every old man I see
In October-coloured weather
Seems to say to me:
"I was once your father."

Memory of My Father
Patrick Kavanagh

Poem for the Day

Posted: 11 March 2014

"O 'Melia, my dear, this does everything crown!
Who could have supposed I should meet you in Town?
And whence such fair garments, such prosperi-ty?"-
"O didn't you know I'd been ruined?" said she.

-"You left us in tatters, without shoes or socks,
Tired of digging potatoes, and spudding up docks;
And now you've gay bracelets and bright feathers three!"-
"Yes: that's how we dress when we're ruined," said she.

-"At home in the barton you said 'thee' and 'thou,'
And 'thik oon' and 'theäs oon' and 't'other'; but now
Your talking quite fits 'ee for high compan-ny!"-
"Some polish is gained with one's ruin," said she.

-"Your hands were like paws then, you face blue and bleak
But now I'm bewitched by your delicate cheek,
And your little gloves fit as on any la-dy!"-
"We never do work when we're ruined," said she.

-"You used to call home-life a hag-ridden dream,
And you'd sigh, and you'd sock; but at present you seem
To know not of megrims or melancho-ly!"-
"True. One's pretty lively when ruined," said she.

-"I wish I had feathers, a fine sweeping gown,
And a delicate face, and could strut about Town"-
"My dear - raw country girl, such as you be,
Cannot quite expect that. You ain't ruined," said she.

The Ruined Maid
Thomas Hardy

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