/ National Poetry Day

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tlm - on 04 Oct 2012
So - today is national poetry day. Does anyone have any gems to share?

http://www.nationalpoetryday.co.uk/
tlm - on 04 Oct 2012
In reply to tlm:

Ooo! I just enjoyed this one from the Poetry Archive (where you can hear the author read it):

http://www.poetryarchive.org/poetryarchive/singlePoem.do?poemId=15192

Clear Night
BY CHARLES WRIGHT

Clear night, thumb-top of a moon, a back-lit sky.
Moon-fingers lay down their same routine
On the side deck and the threshold, the white keys and the black keys.
Bird hush and bird song. A cassia flower falls.

I want to be bruised by God.
I want to be strung up in a strong light and singled out.
I want to be stretched, like music wrung from a dropped seed.
I want to be entered and picked clean.

And the wind says “What?” to me.
And the castor beans, with their little earrings of death, say “What?” to me.
And the stars start out on their cold slide through the dark.
And the gears notch and the engines wheel.

Postmanpat on 04 Oct 2012
In reply to tlm:

They went to sea in a Sieve, they did,
In a Sieve they went to sea:
In spite of all their friends could say,
On a winter's morn, on a stormy day,
In a Sieve they went to sea!
And when the Sieve turned round and round,
And every one cried, 'You'll all be drowned!'
They called aloud, 'Our Sieve ain't big,
But we don't care a button! we don't care a fig!
In a Sieve we'll go to sea!'
Far and few, far and few,
Are the lands where the Jumblies live;
Their heads are green, and their hands are blue,
And they went to sea in a Sieve.


II

They sailed away in a Sieve, they did,
In a Sieve they sailed so fast,
With only a beautiful pea-green veil
Tied with a riband by way of a sail,
To a small tobacco-pipe mast;
And every one said, who saw them go,
'O won't they be soon upset, you know!
For the sky is dark, and the voyage is long,
And happen what may, it's extremely wrong
In a Sieve to sail so fast!'
Far and few, far and few,
Are the lands where the Jumblies live;
Their heads are green, and their hands are blue,
And they went to sea in a Sieve.


III

The water it soon came in, it did,
The water it soon came in;
So to keep them dry, they wrapped their feet
In a pinky paper all folded neat,
And they fastened it down with a pin.
And they passed the night in a crockery-jar,
And each of them said, 'How wise we are!
Though the sky be dark, and the voyage be long,
Yet we never can think we were rash or wrong,
While round in our Sieve we spin!'
Far and few, far and few,
Are the lands where the Jumblies live;
Their heads are green, and their hands are blue,
And they went to sea in a Sieve.


IV

And all night long they sailed away;
And when the sun went down,
They whistled and warbled a moony song
To the echoing sound of a coppery gong,
In the shade of the mountains brown.
'O Timballo! How happy we are,
When we live in a Sieve and a crockery-jar,
And all night long in the moonlight pale,
We sail away with a pea-green sail,
In the shade of the mountains brown!'
Far and few, far and few,
Are the lands where the Jumblies live;
Their heads are green, and their hands are blue,
And they went to sea in a Sieve.


V

They sailed to the Western Sea, they did,
To a land all covered with trees,
And they bought an Owl, and a useful Cart,
And a pound of Rice, and a Cranberry Tart,
And a hive of silvery Bees.
And they bought a Pig, and some green Jack-daws,
And a lovely Monkey with lollipop paws,
And forty bottles of Ring-Bo-Ree,
And no end of Stilton Cheese.
Far and few, far and few,
Are the lands where the Jumblies live;
Their heads are green, and their hands are blue,
And they went to sea in a Sieve.


VI

And in twenty years they all came back,
In twenty years or more,
And every one said, 'How tall they've grown!
For they've been to the Lakes, and the Torrible Zone,
And the hills of the Chankly Bore!'
And they drank their health, and gave them a feast
Of dumplings made of beautiful yeast;
And every one said, 'If we only live,
We too will go to sea in a Sieve,---
To the hills of the Chankly Bore!'
Far and few, far and few,
Are the lands where the Jumblies live;
Their heads are green, and their hands are blue,
And they went to sea in a Sieve.
tlm - on 04 Oct 2012
In reply to Postmanpat:

Excellent! I haven't read that for years, and it reads so differently to me now. :-) I love the language and the message of 'go and live life to the full and don't be afraid to take risks'.
Postmanpat on 04 Oct 2012
In reply to tlm:

I loved it as a child and passed it down to my children.

waterbaby - on 04 Oct 2012
In reply to tlm:

Steam, by Carol Ann Duffy

Not long ago so far, a lover and I
in a room of steam-

a sly, thirsty, silvery word- lay down
opposite ends, and vanished.

Quite recently, if one of us sat up,
or stood,, or stretched, naked,

a nude pose in soft pencil
behind tissue paper

appeared, rubbed itself out, slow,
with a smokey cloth.

Say a matter of months. This hand reaching
through the steam

to touch the real thing, shockingly there,
not a ghost at all.
waterbaby - on 04 Oct 2012
In reply to tlm: I love this one too

Hour, by Carol Ann Duffy

Love's time's beggar, but even a single hour,
bright as a dropped coin, makes love rich.
We find an hour together, spend it not on flowers
or wine, but the whole of the summer sky and a grass ditch.

For thousands of seconds we kiss; your hair
like treasure on the ground; the Midas light
turning your limbs to gold. Time slows, for here
we are millionaires, backhanding the night

so nothing dark will end our shining hour,
no jewel hold a candle to the cuckoo spit
hung from the blade of grass at your ear,
no chandelier or spotlight see you better lit

than here. Now. Time hates love, wants love poor,
but love spins gold, gold from straw.
birdie num num - on 04 Oct 2012
In reply to tlm:

Behold the happy moron,
He doesn't give a damn,
I wish I was a moron....
My God! Perhaps I am.

(Extracts from the Num Num collection 1981)
Dave Garnett - on 04 Oct 2012
In reply to birdie num num:

When Lady Penelope swooned
Her breasts popped out like balloons
Her chauffeur stood by
With a gleam in his eye
And replaced them using warmed spoons


Kenny Everett

There was an excellent dramatised biography last night followed by a selection of his sketches. I'd forgotten how brilliant he was.
mountainmadness on 04 Oct 2012
In reply to tlm:

Said Hamlet to Ophelia,
I'll draw a sketch of thee,
What kind of pencil shall I use?
2B or not 2B?

Spike Milligan
mountainmadness on 04 Oct 2012
In reply to tlm:

This is my favourite political poem:

The Rhythm Of Time
There's an inner thing in every man,
Do you know this thing my friend?
It has withstood the blows of a million years,
And will do so to the end.

It was born when time did not exist,
And it grew up out of life,
It cut down evil's strangling vines,
Like a slashing searing knife.

It lit fires when fires were not,
And burnt the mind of man,
Tempering leandened hearts to steel,
From the time that time began.

It wept by the waters of Babylon,
And when all men were a loss,
It screeched in writhing agony,
And it hung bleeding from the Cross.

It died in Rome by lion and sword,
And in defiant cruel array,
When the deathly word was 'Spartacus'
Along with Appian Way.

It marched with Wat the Tyler's poor,
And frightened lord and king,
And it was emblazoned in their deathly stare,
As e'er a living thing.

It smiled in holy innocence,
Before conquistadors of old,
So meek and tame and unaware,
Of the deathly power of gold.

It burst forth through pitiful Paris streets,
And stormed the old Bastille,
And marched upon the serpent's head,
And crushed it 'neath its heel.

It died in blood on Buffalo Plains,
And starved by moons of rain,
Its heart was buried in Wounded Knee,
But it will come to rise again.

It screamed aloud by Kerry lakes,
As it was knelt upon the ground,
And it died in great defiance,
As they coldly shot it down.

It is found in every light of hope,
It knows no bounds nor space
It has risen in red and black and white,
It is there in every race.

It lies in the hearts of heroes dead,
It screams in tyrants' eyes,
It has reached the peak of mountains high,
It comes searing 'cross the skies.

It lights the dark of this prison cell,
It thunders forth its might,
It is 'the undauntable thought', my friend,
That thought that says 'I'm right! '


Clarence - on 04 Oct 2012
In reply to tlm:

This is still my favourite even though I know that there isn't a yellow idol anywhere in Kathmandu, and bod knows, I've spent many an afternoon looking...

There's a one-eyed yellow idol to the north of Khatmandu,
There's a little marble cross below the town;
There's a broken-hearted woman tends the grave of Mad Carew,
And the Yellow God forever gazes down.

He was known as "Mad Carew" by the subs at Khatmandu,
He was hotter than they felt inclined to tell;
But for all his foolish pranks, he was worshipped in the ranks,
And the Colonel's daughter smiled on him as well.

He had loved her all along, with a passion of the strong,
The fact that she loved him was plain to all.
She was nearly twenty-one and arrangements had begun
To celebrate her birthday with a ball.

He wrote to ask what present she would like from Mad Carew;
They met next day as he dismissed a squad;
And jestingly she told him then that nothing else would do
But the green eye of the little Yellow God.

On the night before the dance, Mad Carew seemed in a trance,
And they chaffed him as they puffed at their cigars:
But for once he failed to smile, and he sat alone awhile,
Then went out into the night beneath the stars.

He returned before the dawn, with his shirt and tunic torn,
And a gash across his temple dripping red;
He was patched up right away, and he slept through all the day,
And the Colonel's daughter watched beside his bed.

He woke at last and asked if they could send his tunic through;
She brought it, and he thanked her with a nod;
He bade her search the pocket saying "That's from Mad Carew,"
And she found the little green eye of the god.

She upbraided poor Carew in the way that women do,
Though both her eyes were strangely hot and wet;
But she wouldn't take the stone and Mad Carew was left alone
With the jewel that he'd chanced his life to get.

When the ball was at its height, on that still and tropic night,
She thought of him and hurried to his room;
As she crossed the barrack square she could hear the dreamy air
Of a waltz tune softly stealing thro' the gloom.

His door was open wide, with silver moonlight shining through;
The place was wet and slipp'ry where she trod;
An ugly knife lay buried in the heart of Mad Carew,
'Twas the "Vengeance of the Little Yellow God."

There's a one-eyed yellow idol to the north of Khatmandu,
There's a little marble cross below the town;
There's a broken-hearted woman tends the grave of Mad Carew,
And the Yellow God forever gazes down.
Punter S Thompson - on 04 Oct 2012
In reply to tlm:

There was a young man from Nantucket
...
birdie num num - on 04 Oct 2012
In reply to tlm:

An old lady from the Azores,
Had a minge, so covered in sores,
Even the dogs in the street,
Wouldn't sniff her green meat,
As it hung, festooned from her drawers.
off-duty - on 04 Oct 2012
In reply to tlm:
The alarm clock goes off, it’s early in the morn,
I rub my eyes as I let out a yawn.
As I dress my mind wonders of the day that lies ahead,
As I count the hours until I can return to my bed.

Another working day as I creep from my house,
Leaving loved ones to sleep, I’m as quiet as a mouse.
My car pulls from the drive, the radio blurs into life,
What will the day bring, what troubles, what strife?

There it is, my nick, I see it, I care,
As I pass by the badge I so proudly wear.
Vest on, belt on, to the parade room I go,
To my colleagues and friends, banter in full flow.

We’re briefed up and ready for the challenges of the day,
To serve and protect in every sigle way.
In our panda we patrol listening so carefully,
To the radio on which a call soon will there be.

And it comes, it’s inevitable, a job there for us,
A call for help, for the help of ‘the fuzz.’
“On route” I say as we continue to chat,
Most likely about refs or of this and of that.

All so quickly we arrive, to the house we draw near,
Then I see him, it’s him, I cannot move with fear.
The most wanted man standing here in front of me,
Then I see it, there’s a bang, all is still, this cannot be.

It’s dark, I’m alone, “What happened?” I say,
Why did this become that dreaded day?
I have a family, a life stretching out before me,
Though most just don’t see it, she’s just another PC.

Yes I have seen and done things that most of you fear,
For the job and the badge that I hold oh so dear.
But I’m not just a uniform, I’m a person too,
Yes I may be a bobby, but I’m someone’s daughter like you.

But today I have made the ultimate sacrifice,
With my life I have paid the largest price.
With pride and integrity, I did serve and protect,
Though at times it was hard and we were shown no respect.

But it was our job, off we went, so professional and formal,
Not knowing this day would be anything but normal.
I have no regrets, the service I willingly gave,
Day in and day out, I never saw it as brave.

And now I move on, new friends most I meet,
As I walk my shift on heaven’s beat.
But please don’t forget me, on parade I once sat,
Just a girl who happened to wear a bobby’s hat.

By PC Amie Holland, Bolton Division, Greater Manchester Police

Might not be the best crafted poem ever, but has featured heavily in the last two days.
3leggeddog on 04 Oct 2012
Yrmenlaf on 04 Oct 2012
In reply to tlm:

There once was a man from Crewe
Whose limericks stopped at line 2

Y.
Wonko The Sane - on 04 Oct 2012
In reply to tlm: One of my own from a long and horrible line of Pam Ayres style poetry I used to write for her.

Oh creature most beasty!

Well now you’re 39!!

To mark the day, I’ve summed you up

With a horrid little rhyme.

You grew up with a bossy mum and a father, quite amusing.

Their genes combined to make a beast,

Perplexing and confusing.

She’s cute, it’s true, she’s smart, she’s fun,

When it comes to world affairs she knows what’s going on…..

She has a very sexy bum (well since she’s started running)

She’s intelligent and cunning.

She used to have bright flame red hair

Now she’s blonde, quite becoming!

She’s friendly, caring, very loyal,

She’s there for all her friends.

She’s the only girl I’ll argue with

Then call to make amends.

She’s lovely, nice and does a lot for others without fuss.

But get her sat inside my car and all I do is cuss!!!!!!!

She offers comments on my driving (but doesn’t have a licence!)

She tells me off speeding, even when I feel I’m idling!

She questions my directions and tells me that I’m off track

She shouts at me, throws custard pies

Why? I’ve no idea!

But future boyfriends, take advice, DON’T DRIVE HER TO IKEA!!!!

This bossy little creature, will drive you up the wall.

She’ll give you grief and tell you off and worse

She won’t make sense. She’s got a woman’s logic.

From that there’s no defence.

For all that would I change her?

Not one little bit.

She’s a gorgeous, sexy little thing.

(And a RIGHT annoying GIT!!)
waterbaby - on 05 Oct 2012
In reply to off-duty:

My brother works for Bolton Police.
A lovely and fitting tribute. I vote for this poem, as poem of the day.

Very sad, both of them so young.
verygneiss - on 05 Oct 2012
In reply to tlm:

The Twa Dogs: A Tale by the national bard (Rabbie Burns) is one of his cleverest political works, particularly the section describing the burdens and woes of the wealthy.

Background: the poem is a dialogue - in Anglicised Scots - between twa dugs (Caesar and Luath) about the divide between rich and poor, and the unnecessary decadence of 'high' society. I particularly like this part, which I think is relevant to modern issues such as over-diagnosis of fashionable diseases, obesity, and people spending too much time vegetating on the couch:

"CAESAR
Lord, man, were but whyles whare I am,
The Gentles, ye wad ne'er envy them!
It's true, they need na starver or sweat,
Thro' Winter's cauld or Simmer's heat;
They've nae sair-wark to craze their banes,
And' fill auld-age wi' grips and granes:
But human bodies are sic fools,
For a' their Colledges an' Schools,
That when nae real ills perplex them,
They mak enow themsels to vex them;
An' ay the less they hae to sturt them,
In like proportion, less will hurt them.

A countra fellow at the pleugh,
His acre's till'd, he's right eneugh;
A countra girl at her wheel,
Her dizzen's done, she's unco weel;
But Gentlemen an' Ladies warst,
Wi' ev'n down want o' wark they're curst;
They loiter, lounging, lank an' lazy'
Tho' deil-haet ails them, yet uneast:
Their days insipid, dull an' tasteless;
Their nights unquiet, lang an' restless.
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