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Saturday Poem: ‘Mid-Day’ by HD

 

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Saturday Poem: ‘Morning at the Window’ by T.S. Eliot

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Saturday Poem: ‘But I Was Looking at the Permanent Stars’ by Wilfred Owen

Bugles sang, saddening the evening air,
And bugles answered, sorrowful to hear.

Voices of boys were by the river-side.
Sleep mothered them; and left the twilight sad.
The shadow of the morrow weighed on men.

Voices of old despondency resigned,
Bowed by the shadow of the morrow, slept.

( ) dying tone
Of receding voices that will not return.
The wailing of the high far-travelling shells
And the deep cursing of the provoking ( )

The monstrous anger of our taciturn guns.
The majesty of the insults of their mouths.

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Saturday Poem: ‘And If I Did, What Then?’ by George Gascoigne

“And if I did, what then?
Are you aggriev’d therefore?
The sea hath fish for every man,
And what would you have more?”
   Thus did my mistress once,
Amaze my mind with doubt;
And popp’d a question for the nonce
To beat my brains about.
   Whereto I thus replied:
“Each fisherman can wish
That all the seas at every tide
Were his alone to fish.
   “And so did I (in vain)
But since it may not be,
Let such fish there as find the gain,
And leave the loss for me.
   “And with such luck and loss
I will content myself,
Till tides of turning time may toss
Such fishers on the shelf.
   “And when they stick on sands,
That every man may see,
Then will I laugh and clap my hands,
As they do now at me.”
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Saturday Poem: ‘The Painter’ by John Ashbery

Sitting between the sea and the buildings
He enjoyed painting the sea’s portrait.
But just as children imagine a prayer
Is merely silence, he expected his subject
To rush up the sand, and, seizing a brush,
Plaster its own portrait on the canvas.
So there was never any paint on his canvas
Until the people who lived in the buildings
Put him to work: “Try using the brush
As a means to an end. Select, for a portrait,
Something less angry and large, and more subject
To a painter’s moods, or, perhaps, to a prayer.”
How could he explain to them his prayer
That nature, not art, might usurp the canvas?
He chose his wife for a new subject,
Making her vast, like ruined buildings,
As if, forgetting itself, the portrait
Had expressed itself without a brush.
Slightly encouraged, he dipped his brush
In the sea, murmuring a heartfelt prayer:
“My soul, when I paint this next portrait
Let it be you who wrecks the canvas.”
The news spread like wildfire through the buildings:
He had gone back to the sea for his subject.
Imagine a painter crucified by his subject!
Too exhausted even to lift his brush,
He provoked some artists leaning from the buildings
To malicious mirth: “We haven’t a prayer
Now, of putting ourselves on canvas,
Or getting the sea to sit for a portrait!”
Others declared it a self-portrait.
Finally all indications of a subject
Began to fade, leaving the canvas
Perfectly white. He put down the brush.
At once a howl, that was also a prayer,
Arose from the overcrowded buildings.
They tossed him, the portrait, from the tallest of the buildings;
And the sea devoured the canvas and the brush
As though his subject had decided to remain a prayer.
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Saturday Poem: ‘The Silver City’ by Marion Angus

Yonder she sits beside the tranquil Dee,
Kindly yet cold, respectable and wise,
Sharp-tongued though civil, with wide-open eyes,
Dreaming of hills, yet urgent for the sea;
And still and on, she has her vanity,
Wears her grey mantle with a certain grace,
While sometimes there are roses on her face
To sweeten too austere simplicity.

She never taught her children fairy-lore,
Yet they must go a-seeking crocks of gold
Afar throughout the earth;
And when their treasure in her lap they pour,
Her hands upon her knee do primly fold;
She smiles complacent that she gave them birth.
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Saturday Poem: ‘Creatures’ by James Aitchison

For weeks we watched a spotted flycatcher
tenant the garden like a summer guest.
We didn't see the other birdwatcher –
grey squirrel, magpie, cat? – plunder the nest.

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We feed the cattle pelleted necrotics
(dead animals' dried tissue, flesh and bone),
inject them with steroids and antibiotics
to keep the creatures alive till they're full-grown.

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'Coursing's fairer than gunshot, gas or snare.'
When a greyhound grows too old, it's killed.
But just before a pair of greyhounds tear
a hare apart, the hare cries like a child.

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Panda, orang utan, and polar bear –
species can be at risk for a hundred years
or more before we make them disappear.
Pine marten, red squirrel, mountain hare…
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Wild animals lead strictly ordered lives; 
their freedom is a wild necessity.
House animals are like children, husbands, wives,
the kind of mindless beasts we used to be.
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Saturday Poem: ‘Tom Potter’ by Gill Andrews

A man on the bus smiles at me and I stumble because
for a millisecond he's Tom Potter, a man
who held dice in the bowl of his hand and 
never revealed when he'd use them.
Tom Potter was enormous as the Bank of England.
I'd phone Tom Potter and he'd say Sorry but do nothing. 
I'd visit Tom Potter, he'd sparkle and call me
Darling, do nothing. The man on the bus looks down, 
embarrassed. I too look down, embarrassed. 
I will always be the woman who once knew Tom Potter.