Theme for July is emotions













My Heart Leaps Up

William Wordsworth - 1770-1850

My heart leaps up when I behold 
   A rainbow in the sky:
So was it when my life began; 
So is it now I am a man; 
So be it when I shall grow old, 
   Or let me die!
The Child is father of the Man;
And I could wish my days to be
Bound each to each by natural piety.


Home-Thoughts, from Abroad

Oh, to be in England
Now that April's there,
And whoever wakes in England
Sees, some morning, unaware,
That the lowest boughs and the brushwood sheaf
Round the elm-tree bole are in tiny leaf,
While the chaffinch sings on the orchard bough
In England—now!
And after April, when May follows,
And the whitethroat builds, and all the swallows!
Hark, where my blossomed pear-tree in the hedge
Leans to the field and scatters on the clover
Blossoms and dewdrops—at the bent spray's edge—
That's the wise thrush; he sings each song twice over,
Lest you should think he never could recapture
The first fine careless rapture!
And though the fields look rough with hoary dew,
All will be gay when noontide wakes anew
The buttercups, the little children's dower
—Far brighter than this gaudy melon-flower!





She Was a Phantom of Delight

by William Wordsworth
She was a Phantom of delight
When first she gleamed upon my sight;
A lovely Apparition, sent
To be a moment’s ornament;
Her eyes as stars of Twilight fair;
Like Twilight’s, too, her dusky hair;
But all things else about her drawn
From May-time and the cheerful Dawn;
A dancing Shape, an Image gay,
To haunt, to startle, and way-lay.
I saw her upon nearer view,
A Spirit, yet a Woman too!
Her household motions light and free,
And steps of virgin-liberty;
A countenance in which did meet
Sweet records, promises as sweet;
A Creature not too bright or good
For human nature’s daily food;
For transient sorrows, simple wiles,
Praise, blame, love, kisses, tears and smiles.
And now I see with eye serene
The very pulse of the machine;
A Being breathing thoughtful breath,
A Traveller between life and death;
The reason firm, the temperate will,
Endurance, foresight, strength, and skill;
A perfect Woman, nobly planned,
To warn, to comfort, and command;
And yet a Spirit still, and bright
With something of angelic light.
The Ballad of True Regret
by Sebastian Barker (1945-2014)
Never to look on the clouds again,
Never the flowers, nor seas.
Never to look on the sparkling rain,
Nor Easter in the trees.
Never to tread on the forest floor
mottled with pools of light.
Never to open the kitchen door
To walk in the starry night.
Where will I be, when you are here
So full of life, so full of cheer,
And I am in no place we know
Where I and all the living go?
What of the sound of the distant bells
Announcing a man and wife?
What of the children collecting shells
On the beach at the start of life?
What of Gloucestershire burning blue
As far as the eye can see?
What of the table set for two
With a candle burning free?
Never to look in those smiling eyes
Where my sweetheart is to be found.
Never to look on the morning skies
With the dew of the night on the ground.
What of the lakes where the wild swans glide
And the moorhens dart in the reeds?
What of the woods where the goslings hide
And the rabbits are nibbling seeds?
Never to watch how the wild wind blows,
Nor the rainbow takes to the sky.
Never to see how a daughter grows,
Nor a son, to a parent’s eye.
Never the honeyed yoghurt
Spooned by the jocular don.
Never the finished work of art
With the artist looking on.
Gone are the many moments
Like snowflakes into a hand.
Gone are the blissful, intimate scents
Of love in a vanished land.
















The Moths
by Mary Oliver (1935 - 2019)
There’s a kind of white moth, I don’t know
what kind, that glimmers
by mid-May
in the forest, just
as the pink moccasin flowers
are rising.
If you notice anything,
it leads you to notice
and more.
And anyway
I was so full of energy.
I was always running around, looking
at this and that.
If I stopped
the pain
was unbearable.
If I stopped and thought, maybe
the world
can’t be saved,
the pain 
was unbearable.
Finally, I noticed enough.
All around me in the forest
the white moths floated.
How long do they live, fluttering
in and out of the shadows?
You aren’t much, I said
one day to my reflection
in a green pond,
and grinned.
The wings of the moths catch the sunlight
and burn
so brightly.
At night, sometimes,
they slip between the pink lobes
of the moccasin flowers and lie there until dawn,
in those dark halls of honey.
The Woodlark
Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844-1889)
Teevo cheevo cheevio chee:
O where, what can thát be?
Weedio-weedio: there again!
So tiny a trickle of sóng-strain;
And all round not to be found
For brier, bough, furrow, or gréen ground
Before or behind or far or at hand
Either left either right
Anywhere in the sunlight.
Well, after all! Ah but hark -
‘I am the little wóodlark.
The skylark is my cousin and he
Is known to men more than me.
Round a ring, around a ring
And while I sail (must listen) I sing.
Today the sky is two and two
With white strokes and strains of the blue.
The blue wheat-acre is underneath
And the corn is corded and shoulders its sheaf,
The ear in milk, lush the sash,
And crush-silk poppies flash,
The blood-gush blade-gash
Flam-rash rudder
Bud shelling or broad-shed
Tatter-tangled and dingle-a-dangléd
Dandy-hung dainty head.
And down … the furrow dry
Sunspurge and oxeye
And lace-leaved lovely
Foam-tuft fumitory.
I ám so véry, O só very glád
That I do think there is not to be had
(Anywhere any more joy to be in.
Cheevio:) when the cry within
Says Go on then I go on
Till the longing is less and the good gone,
But down drop, if it says Stop,
To the all-a-leaf of the tréetop.
And after that off the bough
(Hover-float to the hedge brow.)
Through the velvety wind V-winged
(Where shake shadow is sun’s-eye-ringed)
To the nest’s nook I balance and buoy
With a sweet joy of a sweet joy,
Sweet, of a sweet, of a sweet joy
Of a sweet-a sweet-sweet-joy.’




John's poems:

A SUMMER SOLSTICE SOMERSAULT   by John Souter (to be read in a Geordie accent)

"When I were a lad,"
said Mr Miller,
"Every year
on this the longest day
I'd tumble mesel
Head over heels
as a celebration, like.
I'd take a good long run,
then flip ower
feet to hands and hands to feet
no matter where I were,
on the way to school
or the pit
or going to roll-call
or while Masie fed the bairns,
every year,
a ritual.
That day
on the Earth's fling
around the sun,
when I see it were light for longest
I'd do a somersault
just for fun."

Nobody heeds
his reminiscences
so he takes his walking frame
and makes an arthritic
circuit of the common room.
Standing in the window
he scans an overcast sky
contemplating the shortening days
and the long night to come.

Then, as he gazes,
The dull clouds split.
Once again
the nimble lad
leaps with him
to salute the Sun.

Peggy's poems:

A BIRTHDAY   by Christina Rossetti

My heart is like a singing bird
Whose nest is in a watered shoot.
My heart is like an apple tree
Whose bough is bent with thickest fruit.
My heart is like a rainbow shell
That paddles in a halcyon sea'
My heart is gladder than all these
Because my love is come to me.

Raise me a dais of silk and down;
Hang it with vair and purple dyes;
Carve it in doves and pomegranates
And peacocks with a hundred eyes;
Work it in gold and silver grapes,
In leaves and silver fleur de lys;
Because the birthday of my life
Is come, my love is come to me.

TEWKESBURY ROAD   by John Masefield

It is good to be out on the road
And going one knows not where,
Going through meadow and village
One knows not whither or why;
Through the grey light drift of the dust
And the keen, cool rush of the air,
Under the flying white clouds
And the broad blue lift of the sky.

And to halt at the chattering brook
In the tall green fern at the brink
Where the harebell grows and the gorse
And the foxgloves purple and white;
Where the sky-eyed delicate deer
Troop down to the pools to drink
When the stars are mellow and large
At the coming on of the night.

Oh, to feel the warmth of the rain
And the homely smell of the earth
Is a tune for the blood to jig to
A joy past power of words.
And the blessed green comely meadows
Seem all a-ripple with mirth
At the lilt of the shifting feet
And the dear wild cry of the birds.





Lot's Wife

Anna Akhmatova - 1889-1966
And the just man trailed God's shining agent,
over a black mountain, in his giant track,
while a restless voice kept harrying his woman:
"It's not too late, you can still look back

at the red towers of your native Sodom,
the square where once you sang, the spinning-shed,
at the empty windows set in the tall house
where sons and daughters blessed your marriage-bed."

A single glance: a sudden dart of pain
stitching her eyes before she made a sound . . .
Her body flaked into transparent salt,
and her swift legs rooted to the ground.

Who will grieve for this woman? Does she not seem
too insignificant for our concern?
Yet in my heart I never will deny her,
who suffered death because she chose to turn.



I always warmed to the sound of you

The rhyme of you. But in times like these,

hardened and fearful, you are mistrusted.

A small-town Mantovani of the emotions.


Born nostalgic, and burdened with empathy

I would be told off by my parents

for wanting to be an orphan. Poor old Joe,

out in the cold, cold snow


Nowhere to wonder, nowhere to go.

There but for the grace. Cue cheap music.

You have been my reality over the years

Sentimentality, the smile on the verge of tears.


Tears for the father giving away the bride

Tears for the snowman in the rain outside

Two Cs and a D and I'm bursting with pride


Any national anthem will stir my soul

Chips and Tizer, toad-in-the-hole

O those riverbank days with Ratty and Mole


The mission at Rorke's Drift under attack

Zola Budd's collision on the Olympic track

Bambi's mother, come back, come back!


To every loser I award a prize

I feel for the bees and the butterflies

The word endangered brings tears to my eyes


Lisdoonvarna and Innisfree

The mountains of Mourne, the Rose of Tralee

Not sure where they are, but they're heaven to me


Small dogs and kittens don't have to be cute

A schoolgirl embarrassing us all on the flute

The accused in a borrowed, ill-fitting suit


A lock of hair, lovers sighing

A stopped clock, babies crying,

Anyone, anywhere, giving birth or dying


Nearing the end of the poem

and already I feel your presence in the room

A sweet enveloping sadness


Nostalgia for those innnocent times

of confident first lines and clear mornings.

The smell of coffee, an empty page.







JOY by Ella Wheeler Wilcox


My heart is like a little bird

    That sits and sings for very gladness.

Sorrow is some forgotten word,

    And so, except in rhyme, is sadness.


The world is very fair to me---

    Such azure skies, such golden weather,

I'm like a long-caged bird set free,

    My heart is lighter than a feather.


I rise rejoicing in my life;

    I live with love for God and neighbour;

My days flow on unmarred by strife,

    And sweetened by my pleasant labour.


O youth! O spring! O happy days,

    Ye are so passing sweet, and tender,

And while the fleeting season stays,

    I revel care-free, in its splendour.




               *             *             *



Joy and Pleasure   by William Henry Davies


Now, joy is born of parents poor,
And pleasure of our richer kind;
Though pleasure's free, she cannot sing
As sweet a song as joy confined.

Pleasure's a Moth, that sleeps by day
And dances by false glare at night;
But Joy's a Butterfly, that loves
To spread its wings in Nature's light.

Joy's like a Bee that gently sucks
Away on blossoms its sweet hour;
But pleasure's like a greedy Wasp,
That plums and cherries would devour.

Joy's like a Lark that lives alone,
Whose ties are very strong, though few;
But Pleasure like a Cuckoo roams,
Makes much acquaintance, no friends true.

Joy from her heart doth sing at home,
With little care if others hear;
But pleasure then is cold and dumb,
And sings and laughs with strangers near.








’Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
      Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
      And the mome raths outgrabe.
“Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
      The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
      The frumious Bandersnatch!”
He took his vorpal sword in hand;
      Long time the manxome foe he sought—
So rested he by the Tumtum tree
      And stood awhile in thought.
And, as in uffish thought he stood,
      The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,
Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,
      And burbled as it came!
One, two! One, two! And through and through
      The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
He left it dead, and with its head
      He went galumphing back.
“And hast thou slain the Jabberwock?
      Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!”
      He chortled in his joy.
’Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
      Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
      And the mome raths outgrabe.


The Rime of the Ancient Mariner (text of 1834) 

It is an ancient Mariner,
And he stoppeth one of three.
'By thy long grey beard and glittering eye,
Now wherefore stopp'st thou me?
The Bridegroom's doors are opened wide,
And I am next of kin;
The guests are met, the feast is set:
May'st hear the merry din.'
He holds him with his skinny hand,
'There was a ship,' quoth he.
'Hold off! unhand me, grey-beard loon!'
Eftsoons his hand dropt he.
He holds him with his glittering eye—
The Wedding-Guest stood still,
And listens like a three years' child:
The Mariner hath his will.
The Wedding-Guest sat on a stone:
He cannot choose but hear;
And thus spake on that ancient man,
The bright-eyed Mariner.
'The ship was cheered, the harbour cleared,
Merrily did we drop
Below the kirk, below the hill,
Below the lighthouse top.
The Sun came up upon the left,
Out of the sea came he!
And he shone bright, and on the right
Went down into the sea.
Higher and higher every day,
Till over the mast at noon—'
The Wedding-Guest here beat his breast,
For he heard the loud bassoon.