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Katedrála svatého Víta
January 2015
Wed, Jan. 14th, 2015 03:56 am
from A Song Among the Stones

for two days they slept, dreamless
and the sea breathed beyond them
like the sea a child hears in a shell

then the one who'd brought them there
woke, went out of the cave in bare feet
into a land without a name

he stood and looked, a waterfall
like the galloping of a thousand white horses
leapt over the edge of a cliff

a mountain
smoke drifting from its shoulders
bleeding from a deep wound in its head

and beyond, a silence
vast as the sky
reaching the very edge of the light

he bent to the broken rocks
rose a cross with his bare hands

Kenneth Steven



Wed, Jan. 14th, 2015 03:53 am
Dirge Without Music

I am not resigned to the shutting away of loving hearts in the hard ground.
So it is, and so it will be, for so it has been, time out of mind:
Into the darkness they go, the wise and the lovely. Crowned
With lilies and with laurel they go; but I am not resigned.

Lovers and thinkers, into the earth with you.
Be one with the dull, the indiscriminate dust.
A fragment of what you felt, of what you knew,
A formula, a phrase remains,—but the best is lost.

The answers quick and keen, the honest look, the laughter, the love,—
They are gone. They are gone to feed the roses. Elegant and curled
Is the blossom. Fragrant is the blossom. I know. But I do not approve.
More precious was the light in your eyes than all the roses in the world.

Down, down, down into the darkness of the grave
Gently they go, the beautiful, the tender, the kind;
Quietly they go, the intelligent, the witty, the brave.
I know. But I do not approve. And I am not resigned.

Edna St. Vincent Millay



Thu, Dec. 11th, 2014 07:09 pm

Tri-towers, Christ-silos, rise from, retract
into, the broad Ouse levels. Roadside poppies,
hedged bindweed, still beautiful. The kempt fields
basking; intense the murmur of full summer,
more growl than murmur: coast-traffic snarled,
snarling. Hawks over the dual carriageways.
I've jolted from northwards across the moors,
not entirely at peace. Memoranda for horizons
in travail - spirit-levels - steadiness
of outlook all too readily measured.
Broadly, I have the measure of myself,
mechanically at bay. I'd not resurrect
Goldengrove, other than as a grove in Syon:
sustainable anomaly, so I
can tell you, though too easily said.
Tommies' lore, re crucifixes and the like;
Tennyson's wild expenditure of bells;
suffering - Gurney's - his queer
politics; Owen transfixed by eros:
my difficulties are not with their
forever-earnest speech. The chorus
lines of road-rage shunt to yet more delay.
Masked somewhere, on one side or the other,
the time-struck Minster doles greed by the clock.

Geoffrey Hill, from Orchards of Syon



Thu, Nov. 20th, 2014 04:58 am
The Choice

I walked with my reason
out beside the sea.
We were together but it was
keeping a little distance from me.

Then it turned saying:
is it true you heard
that your beautiful white love
is getting married early on Monday?

I checked the heart that was rising
in my torn swift breast
and I said: most likely;
why should I lie about it?

How should I think that I would grab
the radiant golden star,
that I would catch it and put it
prudently in my pocket?

I did not take a cross’s death
in the hard extremity of Spain
and how then should I expect
the one new prize of fate?

I followed only a way
that was small, mean, low, dry, lukewarm,
and how then should I meet
the thunderbolt of love?

But if I had the choice again
and stood on that headland,
I would leap from heaven or hell
with a whole spirit and heart.

Sorley MacLean, from the Gaelic



Tue, Sep. 9th, 2014 03:15 am
No Swan So Fine

"No water so still as the
      dead fountains of Versailles." No swan,
with swart blind look askance
and gondoliering legs, so fine
      as the chintz china one with fawn-
brown eyes and toothed gold
collar on to show whose bird it was.

Lodged in the Louis Fifteenth
      Candelabrum-tree of cockscomb-
tinted buttons, dahlias,
sea urchins, and everlastings,
      it perches on the branching foam
of polished sculptured
flowers — at ease and tall. The king is dead.

Marianne Moore



Sun, Aug. 3rd, 2014 12:15 am
My parents kept me from children who were rough
and who threw words like stones and who wore torn clothes.
Their thighs showed through rags. They ran in the street
And climbed cliffs and stripped by the country streams.

I feared more than tigers their muscles like iron
And their jerking hands and their knees tight on my arms.
I feared the salt coarse pointing of those boys
Who copied my lisp behind me on the road.

They were lithe, they sprang out behind hedges
Like dogs to bark at our world. They threw mud
And I looked another way, pretending to smile,
I longed to forgive them, yet they never smiled.

Stephen Spender



Thu, Jul. 17th, 2014 04:43 am
By the Round Pond

You watch yourself. You watch the watcher too-
A ghostly figure on the garden wall.
And one of you is her, and one is you,
If either one of you exists at all.

How strange to be the one behind a face,
To have a name and know that it is yours,
To be in this particular green place,
To see a snail advance, to see it pause.

You sit quite still and wonder when you'll go.
It could be now. Or now. Or now. You stay.
Who's making up the plot? You'll never know.
Minute after minute swims away.

Wendy Cope



Thu, Jul. 17th, 2014 03:48 am
Bad Time for Poetry

Yes, I know: only the happy man
is liked. His voice
is good to hear. His face is handsome.

The crippled tree in the yard
shows that the soil is poor, yet
the passers-by abuse it for being crippled
and rightly so.
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Whoever discovers the who of me will find out the who of you,
and the why, and the where.
Early on, I discovered the range of injustice.
Hunger was not just hunger,
but rather a measure of man.
Cold and wind were also measures.
The proud man racked up a hundred hungers, then fell.
Pedro was buried at the hundredth frost.
The poor house endured a single wind.
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Sun, Jul. 13th, 2014 10:37 am
Sleeping Out: Full Moon

They sleep within....
I cower to the earth, I waking, I only.
High and cold thou dreamest, O queen, high-dreaming and lonely.
We have slept too long, who can hardly win
The white one flame, and the night-long crying;
The viewless passers; the world's low sighing
With desire, with yearning,
To the fire unburning,
To the heatless fire, to the flameless ecstasy!...

Helpless I lie.
And around me the feet of thy watchers tread.
There is a rumour and a radiance of wings above my head,
An intolerable radiance of wings....

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Rupert Brooke



Fri, Jul. 4th, 2014 05:44 pm
On The Difficulty Of Conjuring Up A Dryad

Ravening through the persistent bric-à-brac
Of blunt pencils, rose-sprigged coffee cup,
Postage stamps, stacked books' clamour and yawp,
Neighbourhood cockcrow—all nature's prodigal backtalk,
The vaunting mind
Snubs impromptu spiels of wind
And wrestles to impose
Its own order on what is.

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Sylvia Plath