Fanfare for the Makers – 366


To all the things we are not remembered by,

Which we remember and bless. To all the things

That will not notice when we die,

Yet lend the passing moment words and wings.

Louis Macneice

366 complete. My heartfelt thanks to my “cloud of witnesses”.

Fanfare for the Makers.

O Where Are You Going?


O do you imagine, said fearer to farer,

That dusk will delay on your path to the pass,

Your diligent looking discover the lacking,

Your footsteps feel from granite to grass?

– W.H. Auden

O Where Are You Going.

No Idle Gold


No idle gold – since this fine sun, my friend,

Is no mean miser, but doth freely spend.


No precious stones – since these green mornings show,

Without a charge, their pearls where’er I go.

William Henry Davies

A Plain Life.



Beauty is but a flower

Which wrinkles will devour;

Brightness falls from the air;

Queens have died young and fair.

Thomas Nashe

A Litany in Time of Plague.

The Listeners


Tell them I came, and no one answered,

That I kept my word, he said.

Never the least stir made the listeners,

Though every word he spake

Fell echoing through the shadowiness of the still house

From the one man left awake:

Ay, they heard his foot upon the stirrup,

And the sound of iron on stone,

And how the silence surged softly backward,

When the plunging hoofs were gone.

Walter De La Mare

The Listeners.

Sunlight on the Garden


The sunlight on the garden

Hardens and grows cold,

We cannot cage the minute

Within its nets of gold;

When all is told

We cannot beg for pardon.

Louis Macneice

The Sunlight on the Garden.

Tread Softly


Had I the heavens’ embroidered cloths,

Enwrought with golden and silver light,

The blue and the dim and the dark cloths

Of night and light and the half-light,

I would spread the cloths under your feet:

But I, being poor, have only my dreams;

I have spread my dreams under your feet;

Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

W.B. Yeats



When you notice a cat in profound meditation,

The reason, I tell you, is always the same:

His mind is engaged in a rapt contemplation

Of the thought, of the thought, of the thought of his name:

His ineffable effable


Deep and inscrutable singular Name.

T.S. Eliot

Start off the year on a bit of nonsense: The Naming of Cats is a difficult matter…

Happy New Year


What’s in a name? that which we call a rose

By any other name would smell as sweet.

– Shakespeare

I wish everyone a happy and prosperous New Year. And of course what this particular rose is named for: Peace.

Forget Not Yet

DSCN2237 2

Forget not yet, forget not this,

How long ago hath been and is

The mind that never meant amiss

Forget not yet.

– Sir Thomas Wyatt

Golden Scales


How doth the little crocodile

Improve his shining tail,

And pour the waters of the Nile

On every golden scale!


How cheerfully he seems to grin

How neatly spreads his claws,

And welcomes little fishes in,

With gently smiling jaws!

– Lewis Carroll

Traveler’s Night Song

Über allen Gipfeln

Ist Ruh,

In allen Wipfeln

Spürest du

Kaum einen Hauch;

Die Vögelein schweigen im Walde.

Warte nur, balde

Ruhest du auch.

– Goethe


Over mountain peaks

Silence tarries;

In the tree-tops

No breath carries

To you.

Birds in the forest are still.

Wait, for you will

Soon sleep too.

Perhaps Goethe’s most famous poem. First reading it in school, I wasn’t impressed. A year or so later, I was gripped by it’s icy imagery.

Star Light


Star light, star bright,

The first star I see tonight;

I wish I may, I wish I might,

Have the wish I wish tonight.

From the Depths


A ragged urchin, aimless and alone,

Loitered about that vacancy; a bird

Flew up to safety from his well-aimed stone:

That girls are raped, that two boys knife a third,

Were axioms to him, who’d never heard

Of any world where promises were kept,

Or one could weep because another wept.


The thin-lipped armourer,

Hephaestos, hobbled away,

Thetis of the shining breasts

Cried out in dismay

At what the god had wrought

To please her son, the strong

Iron-hearted man-slaying Achilles

Who would not live long.

– W.H. Auden

From The Shield of Achilles.

I’m on holiday, and away from the net. I’ve scheduled some posts, mostly poetry. I hope you recognise some old favourites, or discover new ones.

Where Waters Smoothest Run


Where waters smoothest run,

there deepest are the fords,

The dial stirs, yet none perceives it move;

The firmest faith is found in fewest words,

The turtles do not sing, and yet they love.

Edward Dyer

A Silent Love.

The Last Rose of Summer

‘Tis the last rose of summer, left blooming alone.

All her lovely companions are faded and gone.

No flower of her kindred, no rosebud is nigh,

To reflect back her blushes and give sigh for sigh.

Thomas Moore

More snow. Seems like winter is getting a foot in the door…
Listen to an ethereal recording of the poem set to music here.

In the Wind’s Soft Song

XXXI. Tender Memory

She’s somewhere in the sunlight strong,

Her tears are in the falling rain,

She calls me in the wind’s soft song,

And with the flowers she comes again.


Yon bird is but her messenger,

The moon is but her silver car;

Yea! sun and moon are sent by her,

And every wistful waiting star.

– Richard Le Gallienne

The Travel Theme: Soft

All Things Bright and Beautiful

i thank You God for most this amazing

day: for the leaping greenly spirits of trees

and a blue dream of sky; and for everything

which is natural which is infinite which is yes

– e.e. cummings

The Travel Theme: Bright, and the Jake’s Sunday Post Challenge: Wonderful.

Evil under the Sun

For every evil under the sun

There is a remedy or there is none.

If there be one, seek till you find it;

If there be none, never mind it.

– from Mother Goose

Golden Pleasures

How sweet I roam’d from field to field,
And tasted all the summer’s pride,
‘Till I the prince of love beheld,
Who in the sunny beams did glide!

He shew’d me lilies for my hair,
And blushing roses for my brow;
He led me through his gardens fair,
Where all his golden pleasures grow.

William Blake
(Song: How sweet…)

But I’m Innocent!

The innocent
and the beautiful
Have no enemy
but time.

William Butler Yeats

Lorelei’s Song

I do not know what is the reason
Why I am feeling so sad;
There is a fairy tale ancient
That haunts me since I was a lad.
The air is cool, darkness is falling,
Peacefully flows the Rhine,
The top of the mountain is glittering
In the evening sunshine.

The loveliest maiden is sitting
In singular beauty up there;
Her jewels of gold are shining,
She is combing her golden hair.
She sings a song while she is holding
A comb of glittering gold:
Her song it is so entrancing,
Its melody wondrous and bold.

The boatman below on the river
Is gripped by a feeling of woe
He looks to the cliff top to see her
And not at the rocks below.
I believe the waves will crash over
Boatman and boat leaving none.
And this is what with her singing
Fair Lore-Ley has done.

Ich weiß nicht was soll es bedeuten,
Dass ich so traurig bin;
Ein Märchen aus alten Zeiten,
Das kommt mir nicht aus dem Sinn.
Die Luft ist kühl und es dunkelt,
Und ruhig fließt der Rhein;
Der Gipfel des Berges funkelt
Im Abendsonnenschein.

Die schönste Jungfrau sitzet
Dort oben wunderbar;
Ihr goldnes Geschmeide blitzet,
Sie kämmt ihr goldenes Haar.
Sie kämmt es mit goldenem Kamme
Und singt ein Lied dabei;
Das hat eine wundersame,
Gewaltige Melodei.

Den Schiffer im kleinen Schiffe
Ergreift es mit wildem Weh;
Er schaut nicht die Felsenriffe,
Er schaut nur hinauf in die Höh.
Ich glaube, die Wellen verschlingen
Am Ende Schiffer und Kahn;
Und das hat mit ihrem Singen
Die Lore-Ley getan.

– Heinrich Heine

Glimpsed from the train  (Mainz-Koblenz): the Lorelei cliff at km 555 of the Rhine from upstream(top) and downstream.

Good Fences?

Before I built a wall I’d ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out,
And to whom I was like to give offense.

– Robert Frost
  Mending Wall 

Nature and Poetry

Wave upon wave like a sea’s green shallows
Breathing below.

Or perhaps his own high hopes had made
The wizened look tall.

Walking in the fields taking photos for the “Today” challenge, I suddenly saw the “waves” and the “sea’s green shallows”, and realised I’d never seen it like that before. Is it perhaps the value of poetry, that it lets you see things differently?

“A Failure” by C. Day-Lewis (p.9-10) (p.370-1).


O, that strange English habit of naming the eras for sovereigns
– Who knows when they reigned, with reigns of irregular lengths –
Like furlongs and Fahrenheit, barrels and sea-miles and guineas,
In a trunk full of memorabilia gathering dust.

So this is the age of Elizabeth, too, not-the-virgin,
With her handbag, her hat, and her signature pair of white gloves,
Her eyes straight ahead, turned away from her family’s follies,
Remote from the world of today, maybe sovereign, but lost.

A Chesterton figure, dignified, ancient, and quaint,
Who says “Lost? …but I’m here!”
Or maybe: “Where else would I be?”

This week’s 100wcgu was to write a poem prompted by the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.