Tag Archives: English poet

Friday Poem – The Dead Beat

poppiesIn honour of the centenary of the Battle of the Somme, here is a poem by Wilfred Owen, based on a real-life incident he saw in France, and the first he wrote after meeting his mentor Siegfried Sassoon.

In this poem he relies heavily on speech and straight-forward description to show us both the pity and horror of war.

The Dead Beat

He dropped, – more sullenly than wearily,
Lay stupid like a cod, heavy like meat,
And none of us could kick him to his feet;
-just blinked at my revolver, blearily;
– Didn’t appear to know a war was on,
Or see the blasted trench at which he stared.
‘I’ll do ’em in,’ he whined. ‘If this hand’s spared,
I’ll murder them, I will.’

A low voice said,
‘It’s Blighty, p’raps, he sees; his pluck’s all gone,
Dreaming of all the valiant, that aren’t dead:
Bold uncles, smiling ministerially;
Maybe his brave young wife, getting her fun
In some new home, improved materially.
It’s not these stiffs have crazed him; nor the Hun.’

We sent him down at last, out of the way.
Unwounded; – stout lad, too, before that strafe.
Malingering? Stretcher-bearers winked, ‘Not half!’

Next day I heard the Doc’s well-whiskied laugh:
‘That scum you sent last night soon died. Hooray!’

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Friday Poem – A Poison Tree

poison treeThis is quite a poignant poem by the English poet William Blake (1757-1827), and to me seems to reflect the world we live in today.

The poem is like football, a poem of two halves – albeit the first half is only the first 2 lines.

In the first half the writer says that when he is angry with his friend he tells him and the anger is forgotten –  oh, how the power of communication works so well!!!

The rest of the poem deals with what happens when we are angry with someone we actually don’t like so well. We don’t say anything, we suppress the feeling and what happens? The feeling doesn’t go away, instead it grows and grows inside of us, fed by all that negative energy and hatred until it explodes as a mighty and destructive force.

I think the underlying theme behind the poem is that communication is always a good thing. Always keep the lines open!

A Poison Tree

I was angry with my friend:
I told my wrath, my wrath did end.
I was angry with my foe:
I told it not, my wrath did grow.

And I watered it in fears,
Night and morning with my tears;
And I sunned it with smiles,
And with soft deceitful wiles.

And it grew both day and night,
Till it bore an apple bright.
And my foe beheld it shine.
And he knew that it was mine,

And into my garden stole
When the night had veiled the pole;
In the morning glad I see
My foe outstretched beneath the tree.

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Friday Poem – The Hill

Just for Valentine’s Day a beautiful poem by the English poet Rupert Brooke.  meadow

About the ecstasy of love and love’s victory over death, but ultimately, at the end the invincible truth of death.

The Hill

Breathless, we flung us on the windy hill,
Laughed in the sun, and kissed the lovely grass.
You said, “Through glory and ecstasy we pass;
Wind, sun, and earth remain, the birds sing still,
When we are old, are old. . . .” “And when we die
All’s over that is ours; and life burns on
Through other lovers, other lips,” said I,
— “Heart of my heart, our heaven is now, is won!”

“We are Earth’s best, that learnt her lesson here.
Life is our cry. We have kept the faith!” we said;
“We shall go down with unreluctant tread
Rose-crowned into the darkness!” . . . Proud we were,
And laughed, that had such brave true things to say.
— And then you suddenly cried, and turned away.

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Friday Poem – Upon Westminster Bridge

A beautiful poem by William Wordsworth (1770-1850), written in 1802 in the form of an Italian Sonnet, which describes the beauty of the city.UponWestminsterBridge

Upon Westminster Bridge

EARTH has not anything to show more fair:
Dull would he be of soul who could pass by
A sight so touching in its majesty:
This City now doth like a garment wear
The beauty of the morning; silent, bare,
Ships, towers, domes, theatres, and temples lie
Open unto the fields, and to the sky;
All bright and glittering in the smokeless air.
Never did sun more beautifully steep
In his first splendour valley, rock, or hill;
Ne’er saw I, never felt, a calm so deep!
The river glideth at his own sweet will:
Dear God! the very houses seem asleep;
And all that mighty heart is lying still!

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Friday Poem – I Am

A poem by the English poet, John Clare (1793-1864).

His poetry underwent a major re-evaluation in the late 20th century and he is often now considered to be among the most important 19th-century poets. His biographer Jonathan Bate states that Clare was “the greatest labouring-class poet that England has ever produced. No one has ever written more powerfully of nature, of a rural childhood, and of the alienated and unstable self”.

This poem was composed when Clare was in the Northampton General Lunatic Asylum.

I Am

I am: yet what I am none cares or knows,
My friends forsake me like a memory lost;
I am the self-consumer of my woes,
They rise and vanish in oblivious host,
Like shades in love and death’s oblivion lost;
And yet I am! and live with shadows tost

Into the nothingness of scorn and noise,
Into the living sea of waking dreams,
Where there is neither sense of life nor joys,
But the vast shipwreck of my life’s esteems;
And e’en the dearest–that I loved the best–
Are strange–nay, rather stranger than the rest.

I long for scenes where man has never trod;
A place where woman never smil’d or wept;
There to abide with my creator, God,
And sleep as I in childhood sweetly slept:
Untroubling and untroubled where I lie;
The grass below–above the vaulted sky.

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Friday Poem – How do I love thee?

A sentimental poem by Elizabeth Barrett Browning, especially for Valentine’s Day.heart sunset

How do I love thee?

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of everyday’s
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints,—I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life!—and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.

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Friday Poem – The Mad Gardener’s Song

This poem was written by Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (1832-1898), an English author, mathematician, logician, Anglican deacon and photographer. He is better known by mad gardenerhis ‘pen name’ – Lewis Carroll – and is probably most fondly remembered for ‘Alice in Wonderland’ and ‘Alice Through the Looking Glass’.

This poem is pretty much just a nonsense poem written with mad logic – a humorous poem written purely for entertainment, but if we look at it deeply it turns into a ‘satire for those people whom the poet dislikes and wants to show his anger to them.

Whatever reason, it is a light-hearted Friday poem.

The Mad Gardener’s Song

He thought he saw an Elephant,
That practised on a fife:
He looked again, and found it was
A letter from his wife.
‘At length I realise,’ he said,
The bitterness of Life!’

He thought he saw a Buffalo
Upon the chimney-piece:
He looked again, and found it was
His Sister’s Husband’s Niece.
‘Unless you leave this house,’ he said,
‘I’ll send for the Police!’

He thought he saw a Rattlesnake
That questioned him in Greek:
He looked again, and found it was
The Middle of Next Week.
‘The one thing I regret,’ he said,
‘Is that it cannot speak!’

He thought he saw a Banker’s Clerk
Descending from the bus:
He looked again, and found it was
A Hippopotamus.
‘If this should stay to dine,’ he said,
‘There won’t be much for us!’

He thought he saw a Kangaroo
That worked a coffee-mill:
He looked again, and found it was
A Vegetable-Pill.
‘Were I to swallow this,’ he said,
‘I should be very ill!’

He thought he saw a Coach-and-Four
That stood beside his bed:
He looked again, and found it was
A Bear without a Head.
‘Poor thing,’ he said, ‘poor silly thing!
It’s waiting to be fed!’

He thought he saw an Albatross
That fluttered round the lamp:
He looked again, and found it was
A Penny-Postage Stamp.
‘You’d best be getting home,’ he said:
‘The nights are very damp!’

He thought he saw a Garden-Door
That opened with a key:
He looked again, and found it was
A Double Rule of Three:
‘And all its mystery,’ he said,
‘Is clear as day to me!’

He thought he saw a Argument
That proved he was the Pope:
He looked again, and found it was
A Bar of Mottled Soap.
‘A fact so dread,’ he faintly said,
‘Extinguishes all hope!’

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