Poem of the Week 116

Words Behaving Badly

Sue Cowling



Develop nasty habits –

Getting out of order,

Going off at tangents,

Breaking rules,

Attention seeking.

Give them fifty lines.

They take delight

In ambushing the reader,

Going round in gangs

With their unsuitable friends

Imagining they’re poems!

Words –

I’d keep an eye on them

If I were you.




Poem of the Week 115


(To R.A.L. Died of Wounds in France, December 23rd, 1915)

Vera Brittain



Perhaps some day the sun will shine again,

And I shall see that still the skies are blue,

And feel once more I do not live in vain,

Although bereft of You.


Perhaps the golden meadows at my feet

Will make the sunny hours of spring seem gay,

And I shall find the white May blossoms sweet,

Though You have passed away.


Perhaps the summer woods will shimmer bright,

And crimson roses once again be fair,

And autumn harvest fields a rich delight,

Although You are not there.


Perhaps some day I shall not shrink in pain

To see the passing of the dying year,

And listen to the Christmas songs again,

Although You cannot hear.


But, though kind Time may many joys renew,

There is one greatest joy I shall not know

Again, because my heart for loss of You

Was broken, long ago.



Poem of the Week 114


Wilfred Owen



Move him into the sun –

Gently its touch awoke him once,

At home, whispering of fields unsown.

Always it woke him, even in France,

Until this morning and this snow.

If anything might rouse him now

The kind old sun will know.


Think how it wakes the seeds, –

Woke, once, the clays of a cold star.

Are limbs so dear-achieved, are sides,

Full-nerved, – still warm, – too hard to stir?

Was it for this the clay grew tall?

– O what made fatuous sunbeams toil

To break earth’s sleep at all?


Poem of the Week 113

The Sound Collector

Roger McGough


A stranger called this morning

Dressed all in black and grey

Put every sound into a bag

And carried them away.


The whistling of the kettle

The turning of the lock

The purring of the kitten

The ticking of the clock


The Popping of the toaster

The crunching of the flakes

When you spread the marmalade

The scraping noise it makes


The hissing of the frying-pan

The ticking of the grill

The bubbling of the bathtub

As it starts to fill


The drumming of the raindrops

On the window-pane

When you do the washing-up

The gurgle of the drain


The crying of the baby

The squeaking of the chair

The swishing of the curtain

The creaking of the stair


A stranger called this morning

He didn’t leave his name

Left us only silence

Life will never be the same.



Poem of the Week 112

The Moon

Robert Louis Stevenson


The moon has a face like the clock in the hall;
She shines on thieves on the garden wall,
On streets and fields and harbour quays,
And birdies asleep in the forks of the trees.

The squalling cat and the squeaking mouse,
The howling dog by the door of the house,
The bat that lies in bed at noon,
All love to be out by the light of the moon.

But all of the things that belong to the day
Cuddle to sleep to be out of her way;
And flowers and children close their eyes
Till up in the morning the sun shall arise.



Poem of the Week 111

The Painting Lesson


Trevor Harvey



‘What’s THAT, dear?’

asked the new teacher.


‘It’s Mummy,’ I replied.


‘But mums aren’t green and orange!

You really haven’t TRIED.

You don’t just paint in SPLODGES

– You’re old enough to know

You need to THINK before you work …

Now – have another go.’


She helped me draw two arms and legs,

A face with sickly smile,

A rounded body, dark brown hair,

A hat – and, in a while,

She stood back (with her face bright pink):

‘That’s SO much better – don’t you think?’


But she turned white

At ten to three

When an orange-green blob

Collected me.


‘Hi, Mum!’


Poem of the Week 110

The Tyger


William Blake



Tyger! Tyger! burning bright,

In the forests of the night,

What immortal hand or eye

Could frame thy fearful symmetry?


In what distant deeps or skies.

Burnt the fire of thine eyes?

On what wings dare he aspire?

What the hand dare seize the fire?


And what shoulder, and what art,

Could twist the sinews of thy heart?

And when thy heart began to beat,

What dread hand? and what dread feet?


What the hammer? what the chain,

In what furnace was thy brain?

What the anvil? what dread grasp

Dare its deadly terrors clasp?


When the stars threw down their spears,

And water’d heaven with their tears,

Did he smile his work to see?

Did he who made the Lamb make thee?


Tyger! Tyger! burning bright,

In the forests of the night,

What immortal hand or eye

Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?

Poem of the Week 109

Going to See King Lear

Jackie Kay


On the big red smooth seat

I watch the giant television

And my mother’s eyes

Greedy, gulping everything down like chocolate raisins

In front of me are rows of heads

That put me in such a bad mood

Sleek shining page-boy, snobby at the back

Tight bossy bun, trapped in a net

Tall selfish beehive, blocking my view

Then all of a sudden darkness comes down

Sweet and will not melt in the hand or in the mouth

I am sitting with strangers

Just the shapes and silhouettes of them now

We breath in, all of us

In one breath waiting to be changed

To stop time or for the trailer to end

And King Lear begin

No children except me

Watching with mum

Who leans forward, her body diagonal

Her fury at good King Lear’s disloyal daughters

She whispers “Get out!” to the good one

Or “Don’t put up with that!”

I think it was Cordelia.

When King Lear’s Gloucester gets his eyes gouged out

My mother falls off her chair

I cover my eyes, too late, I’ve seen it

The terrible tormenting sight of a man’s hands over his helpless, scooped sockets

Staggering back to some other time of trust

Whilst those egg whites of his eyes run

“Vile jelly”

I shake, appalled

Lear foams whisked white at the mouth

“Jesus!” my mother says shocked

“That was good, that was so good!”

Her eye’s glint, green with pleasure

Deep sigh when the names appear and disappear

So slowly she rises from the red seat

“I had to see it, I did. What a good, good girl, sitting all quiet”

My mouth has fallen open for good

It won’t close.

I am seven,

I have seen Lear’s best friend get his eyes poked out

The red floor is sliding downwards.

I will fall into myself years later

Grown up velvet curtains drawn open.