Poem of the Week 73

There was an Old Man with a Beard

Edward Lear

 

There was an Old Man with a beard,

Who said, ‘It is just as I feared! –

Two Owls and a Hen,

Four Larks and a Wren,

Have all built their nests in my beard!’

 

 

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Poem of the Week 72

The Months

Sara Coleridge

 

 

January brings the snow,

Makes our feet and fingers glow.

 

February brings the rain,

Thaws the frozen lake again.

 

March brings breezes loud and shrill,

Stirs the dancing daffodil.

 

April brings the primrose sweet,

Scatters daisies at our feet.

 

May brings flocks of pretty lambs,

Skipping by their fleecy dams.

 

June brings tulips, lilies, roses,

Fills the children’s hand with posies.

 

Hot July brings cooling showers,

Apricots and gillyflowers.

 

August brings the sheaves of corn,

Then the Harvest home is borne.

 

Warm September brings the fruit,

Sportsmen then begin to shoot.

 

Fresh October brings the pheasant;

Then to gather nuts is pleasant.

 

Dull November brings the blast,

Then the leaves are falling fast.

 

Chill December brings the sleet,

Blazing fire, and Christmas treat.

Poem of the Week 71

Warning

Jenny Joseph

 

When I am an old woman I shall wear purple

With a red hat which doesn’t go, and doesn’t suit me,

And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves

And satin sandals, and say we’ve no money for butter.

I shall sit down on the pavement when I’m tired

And gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells

And run my stick along the public railings

And make up for the sobriety of my youth.

I shall go out in my slippers in the rain

And pick flowers in other people’s gardens

And learn to spit.

 

You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat

And eat three pounds of sausages at a go

Or only bread and pickle for a week

And hoard pens and pencils and beermats and things in boxes.

 

But now we must have clothes that keep us dry

And pay our rent and not swear in the street

And set a good example for the children.

We must have friends to dinner and read the papers.

 

But maybe I ought to practise a little now?

So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised

When suddenly I am old, and start to wear purple.

Poem of the Week 70

Almost New Year

Brian Moses

 

It’s the last afternoon

of the old year

and already a full fat moon

is in charge of the sky.

It has nudged the sun

into a distant lake

and left it to drown,

while bare branch trees

like blackened fireworks

burst with sunset.

Frost is patterning the fields,

a tractor tries to furrow

the iron hard hill.

Winter’s frown settles

on the face of the landscape.

It shrugs its shoulders,

gives in to January.

Poem of the Week 69

Sonnet 116

William Shakespeare

 

 

Let me not to the marriage of true minds

Admit impediments. Love is not love

Which alters when it alteration finds,

Or bends with the remover to remove.

O no! it is an ever-fixed mark

That looks on tempests and is never shaken;

It is the star to every wand’ring bark,

Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken.

Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks

Within his bending sickle’s compass come;

Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,

But bears it out even to the edge of doom.

If this be error and upon me prov’d,

I never writ, nor no man ever lov’d.

Poem of the Week 68

Colours Passing Through Us

Marge Piercy

 

Purple as tulips in May, mauve

into lush velvet, purple

as the stain blackberries leave

on the lips, on the hands,

the purple of ripe grapes

sunlit and warm as flesh.

 

Every day I will give you a colour,

like a new flower in a bud vase

on your desk. Every day

I will paint you, as women

colour each other with henna

on hands and on feet.

 

Red as henna, as cinnamon,

as coals after the fire is banked,

the cardinal in the feeder,

the roses tumbling on the arbor

their weight bending the wood

the red of the syrup I make from petals.

 

Orange as the perfumed fruit

hanging their globes on the glossy tree,

orange as pumpkins in the field,

orange as butterflyweed and the monarchs

who come to eat it, orange as my

dog running lithe through the high grass.

 

Yellow as a goat’s wise and wicked eyes,

yellow as a hill of daffodils,

yellow as dandelions by the highway,

yellow as butter and egg yolks,

yellow as a school bus stopping you,

yellow as a slicker in a downpour.

 

Here is my bouquet, here is a sing

song of all the things you make

me think of, here is oblique

praise for the height and depth

of you and the width too.

Here is my box of new crayons at your feet.

 

Green as mint jelly, green

as a frog on a lily pad twanging,

the green of cos lettuce upright

about to bolt into opulent towers,

green as Grand Chartreuse in a clear

glass, green as wine bottles.

 

Blue as cornflowers, delphiniums,

bachelors’ buttons. Blue as Roquefort,

blue as Saga. Blue as still water.

Blue as the eyes of a Siamese cat.

Blue as shadows on new snow, as a spring

azure sipping from a puddle on the blacktop.

 

Cobalt as the midnight sky

when day has gone without a trace

and we lie in each other’s arms

eyes shut and fingers open

and all the colours of the world

pass through our bodies like strings of fire.

 

 

 

 

Poem of the Week 67

This Year I Will Stay Awake

Paul Cookson

 

This year I will stay awake

all night long make no mistake.

On this Christmas Eve I’ll keep

my eyes open, try to peep.

This year I won’t drowse or dream

but be alert till Santa’s been,

see just what he leaves and how

he fits down our chimney now,

how the presents all appear

hear the sleigh bells and reindeer.

This year I will not count sheep

but pretend to be asleep.

No catnaps or snoozing but I

won’t drop off and get some shut-eye.

 

This year there will be no slumber

I won’t let myself go under.

No forty winks or throwing zeds.

No blinking, kipping, heavy headszz …

This year I won’t nod or doze

or let my heavy eyelids close.

This year I won’t nod or doze

or let my heavy eyelids close

or let my heavy eyelids close

or let my he…avy eye…li…ds clo…se

or let my he…avy eye…liiids clo…zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

 

Poem of the Week 66

The Millennium Falcon

 

Roger Stevens

 

 

Okay

I know

You’re right

It doesn’t look much

A plastic tube

Metallic paint, some wood, some wire

But it’s the Millennium Falcon

Spaceship for hire

 

It’s been travelling the universe

For five years and a day

And it was built by granddad

Before he passed away

 

Okay

I know

You’re right

It doesn’t look much

Metallic paint, some wire, some wood

But it fought and beat the Empire

For the forces of good

 

And now upon my bedroom shelf

It’s found its final rest

I know it doesn’t look much

But in its day it was the best

Poem of the Week 65

I’m Still Here

 (from ‘Follies’)

Stephen Sondheim

  

Good times and bum times,

I’ve seen them all, and, my dear,

I’m still here.

 

Plush velvet sometimes,

sometimes just pretzels and beer,

But I’m here.

 

I’ve stuffed the dailies in my shoes,

Strummed ukuleles, sung the blues.

Seen all my dreams disappear,

But I’m here.

 

I’ve slept in shanties,

Guest of the W.P.A.,

But I’m here.

 

Danced in my scanties,

Three bucks a night was the pay,

But I’m here.

 

I’ve stood on bread lines with the best,

Watched while the headlines did the rest.

In the depression was I depressed?

Nowhere near.

I met a big financier,

And I’m here.

 

I’ve been through Gandhi,

Windsor and Wally’s affair,

And I’m here.

 

Amos ‘n’ Andy,

mah-jongg and platinum hair,

And I’m here.

 

I got through Abie’s Irish Rose,

Five Dionne babies, Major Bowes,

Had heebie-jeebies for Beebe’s Bathysphere.

I got through Shirley Temple,

And I’m here

 

I’ve gotten through Herbert and J. Edgar Hoover;

Gee, that was fun and a half!

When you’ve been through Herbert and J. Edgar Hoover,

Anything else is a laugh.

 

I’ve been through Reno,

I’ve been through Beverly Hills,

And I’m here.

 

Reefers and vino,

rest cures, religion and pills,

And I’m here.

 

Been called a “pinko-commie tool,”

Got through it stinko by my pool.

I should’ve gone to an acting school,

that seems clear.

Still, someone said, “She’s sincere,”

So I’m here.

 

Black sable one day,

next day it goes into hock,

But I’m here.

 

Top billing Monday,

Tuesday you’re touring in stock,

But I’m here.

 

First you’re another sloe-eyed vamp,

Then someone’s mother, then you’re camp;

Then you career from career to career.

I’m almost through my memoirs,

And I’m here.

 

I’ve gotten through “Hey, lady, aren’t you whoozis?

Wow, what a looker you were.”

Or better yet, “Sorry, I thought you were whoozis;

Whatever happened to her?”

 

Good times and bum times,

I’ve seen ’em all, and, my dear,

I’m still here.

 

Plush velvet sometimes,

sometimes just pretzels and beer,

But I’m here.

 

I’ve run the gamut, A to Z;

Three cheers and, dammit, c’est la vie.

I got through all of last year,

And I’m here.

 

Lord knows, at least I’ve been there,

And I’m here.

Look who’s here.

I’m still here.

Poem of the Week 64

The Book

Michael Rosen

 

 I opened a book

and a hand fell out.

I turned a page

and heard a shout:

‘I’m lost in a wood;

my mother’s no good.’

I couldn’t bear to look

so I closed the book.

 

But the girl called out:

‘Don’t leave me here;

I need you to help me.’

I was cold with fear

so the book stayed shut.

I put it back on the shelf;

put it out of my mind

but then –

it opened itself.

Right there in front of me

it opened up wide

and I heard a voice say,

‘Come inside.’

 

The hand that fell out

jumped back in the book,

the girl inside

gave me a long, cool look

and before I knew it

I was in that wood,

running and running

as fast as I could,

running and running

as fast as I could,

running and running

as fast as I could …