Jan 18th

Leisure - by William Henry Davies

By Mary B

What is this life if, full of care,

We have no time to stand and stare.

No time to stand beneath the boughs

And stare as long as sheep or cows.

No time to see, when woods we pass,

Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.

No time to see, in broad daylight,

Streams full of stars, like skies at night.

No time to turn at Beauty's glance,

And watch her feet, how they can dance.

No time to wait till her mouth can

Enrich that smile her eyes began.

A poor life this if, full of care,

We have no time to stand and stare.

Jan 13th

A Psalm Of Life - By Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

By Mary B

A Psalm Of Life

By Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

 

Tell me not, in mournful numbers,

Life is but an empty dream!—

For the soul is dead that slumbers,

And things are not what they seem.

 

Life is real! Life is earnest!

And the grave is not its goal;

Dust thou art, to dust returnest,

Was not spoken of the soul.

 

Not enjoyment, and not sorrow,

Is our destined end or way;

But to act, that each to-morrow

Find us farther than to-day.

 

Art is long, and Time is fleeting,

And our hearts, though stout and brave,

Still, like muffled drums, are beating

Funeral marches to the grave.

 

In the world's broad field of battle,

In the bivouac of Life,

Be not like dumb, driven cattle!

Be a hero in the strife!

 

Trust no Future, howe'er pleasant!

Let the dead Past bury its dead!

Act,—act in the living Present!

Heart within, and God o'erhead!

 

Lives of great men all remind us

We can make our lives sublime,

And, departing, leave behind us

Footprints on the sands of time;

 

Footprints, that perhaps another,

Sailing o'er life's solemn main,

A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,

Seeing, shall take heart again.

 

Let us, then, be up and doing,

With a heart for any fate;

Still achieving, still pursuing,

Learn to labor and to wait.

 

Jan 5th

Let Evening Come - by Jane Kenyon

By Mary B

Let Evening Come

BY JANE KENYON

 

 

Let the light of late afternoon

shine through chinks in the barn, moving   

up the bales as the sun moves down.

 

Let the cricket take up chafing   

as a woman takes up her needles   

and her yarn. Let evening come.

 

Let dew collect on the hoe abandoned   

in long grass. Let the stars appear

and the moon disclose her silver horn.

 

Let the fox go back to its sandy den.   

Let the wind die down. Let the shed   

go black inside. Let evening come.

 

To the bottle in the ditch, to the scoop   

in the oats, to air in the lung   

let evening come.

 

Let it come, as it will, and don’t   

be afraid. God does not leave us   

comfortless, so let evening come.

 

Jane Kenyon, “Let Evening Come” from Collected Poems. Copyright © 2005 by the Estate of Jane Kenyon. 

Source: Let Evening Come: Poems (Graywolf Press, 1990)

 

Jan 2nd

Glad Of These Times by Helen Dunmore

By Mary B

Glad Of These Times

 

Driving along the motorway

swerving the packed lanes

I am glad of these times.

Because I did not die in childbirth

because my children will survive me

I am glad of these times.

 

I am not hungry, I do not curtsey,

I lock my door with my own key

and I am glad of these times,

 

glad of central heating and cable TV

glad of email and keyhole surgery

glad of power showers and washing machines,

 

glad of polio inoculations

glad of three weeks' paid holiday

glad of smart cards and cash-back,

 

glad of twenty types of yoghurt

glad of cheap flights to Prague

glad that I work.

 

I do not breathe pure air or walk green lanes,

see darkness, hear silence,

make music, tell stories,

 

tend the dead in their dying

tend the new-born in their birthing,

tend the fire in its breathing,

 

but I am glad of my times,

these times, the age

we feel in our bones, our rage

 

of tyre music, speed

annulling the peasant graves

of all my ancestors,

 

glad of my hands on the wheel

and the cloud of grit as it rises

where JCBs move motherly

widening the packed motorway.

Dec 30th

Auld Lang Syne - by Robert Burns

By Mary B

'AULD LANG SYNE' 

 

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,

And never brought to mind?

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,

And days of auld lang syne?

And days of auld lang syne, my dear,

And days of auld lang syne.

 

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,

And days of auld lang syne?

 

We twa hae run aboot the braes

And pu'd the gowans fine.

We've wandered mony a weary foot,

Sin' auld lang syne.

Sin' auld lang syne, my dear,

Sin' auld lang syne,

We've wandered mony a weary foot,

Sin' auld ang syne.

 

We twa hae sported i' the burn,

From morning sun till dine,

But seas between us braid hae roared

Sin' auld lang syne.

Sin' auld lang syne, my dear,

Sin' auld lang syne.

But seas between us braid hae roared

Sin' auld lang syne.

 

And ther's a hand, my trusty friend,

And gie's a hand o' thine;

We'll tak' a cup o' kindness yet,

For auld lang syne.

For auld lang syne, my dear,

For auld lang syne,

We'll tak' a cup o' kindness yet,

For auld lang syne.

 

 

 

 

Dec 6th

THIS IS NOT MY ROOM

By Mary B

THIS IS NOT MY ROOM

This is not my room

This room that you see me in

This room that they’ve put me in

This place where the shadows come in and block out the sun

This is not my room

 

This is not my bed

This bed that’s too small for me

I lie alone in this bed among all the people

Who once said they loved me

This is not my bed

 

CHORUS: My room is where our memories lie

Where they were born and where they died

My room is where we laughed and cried

Where we built our dreams

 

This is no weekend break hotel

No panoramic sea-view apartment

No peaceful haven, no green oasis

Not what I’d call a bolt hole

 

This is not my room

This is not my fantasy

When I worked so hard every inch of the way

This is not where I thought I’d be

 

This is not my room

 

 

 

Frank McConnell - from the album This Is Not My Room

Oct 21st

Don't Quit, by Harvey Conroy

By Mary B

 

When things go wrong as they sometimes will

when the road you're trudging

seems all uphill,

 

When money is low

and the debts are high

and you want to smile

but you have to sigh

 

When care is pressing you down a bit,

rest if you must, but don't you quit.

 

Success is failure turned inside out,

the silver lining of the clouds of doubt.

You can never tell,

how close you are,

it may be near,

when it seems so far,

so stick to the fight

when your hardest hit

 

IT'S WHEN THINGS SEEM WORST

THAT YOU MUST NOT QUIT

 

Oct 7th

Say Not the Struggle Naught Availeth (Arthur Hugh Clough, 1819 – 1861)

By Mary B

Say not the struggle naught availeth,
The labour and the wounds are vain,
The enemy faints not, nor faileth,
And as things have been they remain.

If hopes were dupes, fears may be liars;
It may be, in yon smoke conceal’d,
Your comrades chase e’en now the fliers,
And, but for you, possess the field.

For while the tired waves, vainly breaking,
Seem here no painful inch to gain,
Far back, through creeks and inlets making,
Comes silent, flooding in, the main.

And not by eastern windows only,
When daylight comes, comes in the light;
In front the sun climbs slow, how slowly!
But westward, look, the land is bright!

Oct 6th

The Highway By Alfred Noyes

By Sandy H

The Highwayman

By Alfred Noyes

 

PART ONE

 

The wind was a torrent of darkness

among the gusty trees.

the moon was a ghostly galleon tossed

upon the cloudy seas.

The road was a ribbon of moonlight over

the purple moor,

And the highwayman came riding-

Riding-riding-

The highwayman came riding, up to the

old inn-door.

 

He'd a French cocked-hat on his

forehead, a bunch of lace at his chin,

A coat of the claret velvet, and breeches

of brown doe-skin.

They fitted with never a wrinkle.  His

boots were up to the thigh.

And he rode with a jewelled twinkle,

His pistol butts a-twinkle

His rapier hilt a-twinkle, under the

jewelled sky.

 

Over the cobbles he clattered and clashed

in the dark inn-yard.

He tapped with his whip on the shutters,

but all was locked and barred.

He whistled a tune to the window, and

who should be waiting there

but the landlord's daughter,

Bess, the landlord's daughter,

plaiting a dark red love-knot into her

long black hair

 

And dark in the dark old inn-yard a

stable-wicket creaked

Where Tim the ostler listened.  His face

was white and peaked.

His eyes were hollows of madness, his

hair like mouldy hay.

But he loved the landlord's daughter,

The landlords red-lipped daughter.

dumb as a dog he listened, and he heard 

the robber say-

 

"One kiss, my bonny sweeteart, I'm

after a prize to-night,

but I shall be back with the yellow gold

before the morning light;

Yet, if they press me sharply,and harry

me through the day,

Then look for me by the moonlight,,

watch for me by the moonlight,

I'll come to thee by the moonlight,though

hell should bar the way."

 

He rose upright in the stirrups, He scarce

could reach her hand.

But she loosened her hair in the

casement.  his face burnt like a brand

As the black cascade of perfume came

tumbling over his breast;

And he kissed its waves in the moonlight.

(o, sweet black waves in the

moonlight!)

Then he tugged at his rein in the 

moonlight, and galloped away to the

west.

 

PART TWO

He did not come in the dawning.  He did

not come at noon;

And out of the tawney sunset, before the

rise of the moon,

When the road was a gypsy's ribbon,

looping the purple moor,

A red-coat troop came marching-

Marching-marching up to

the old inn-door.

 

They said no word to the landlord.  they

drank his ale instead.

but they gaggedhis daughter, and bound

her, to the foot of her narrow bed,

Two of them  knelt at her casement, with

muskets at their side!

There was death at every window;

And Hell at one dark window;

For Bess could see, through her

casement, the road that he would ride.

 

They had tied her up to attention, with

many a sniggering jest.

They had bound a musket beside her,

with muzzle beneath her breast!

"Now, keep good watch!" and they kissed

her.  She heard the doomed man say-

Look for me by the moonlight;

Watch for me by the moonlight;

I'll come to thee by the moonlight, though hell

should bar the way!

 

She twisted her hands behind her;but all

the knotsheld good!

She writhed her hands till her fingers

were wet with sweat and bllod!

They stretched and strained in the

darkness, and the hours crawled by

like years

Till, now, on the stroke of midnight,

Cold, on the stroke of midnight,

The tip of one finger touched it.  She

strove no more  for rest.

Up, She stood up to attention, with the

muzzle, beneath her breast.

She would not risk their hearing; she

would not strive again;

For the road lay bare in the moonlight;

Blank and bare in the moonlight;

And the blood of her veins, in the

moonlight, throbbed to her love's

refrain.

 

Tlot-tlot, in the frosty silence! Tlot-tlot,in

the echoing night!

Nearer he came and nearer.  Her face was

like a light.

Her eyes grew wide for a moment; she

drew one last deep breath,

Then her finger moved in the moonlight,

 

Her muskett shattered the

moonlight,

Shattered her breast in the moonlight

and warned him-with her death.

 

He turned. He spurred to the west; he

did not know who stood

Bowed, with her head o'er the muskett,

drenched with her own blood!

Not till the dawn he heard it, and hid face

grew grey to hear

How Bess,the landlord's daughter,

Had watched for her love in the

moonlight, and died in the darkness

there. 

 

Back he spurred like a madman,

shrieking a curse to the sky,

With the white road smoking behind 

him and his rapier brandished high.

Blood red were his spurs in the golden

noon; wine-red was his velvet coat;

When they shot him down on the highway,

And he lay in his blood on the highway,

with a bunch of lace at his throat.

 

And still on a winters night, they say, when

the windisin the trees,

When the moon is a ghostly galleon tossed

upon cloudy seas,

When the road is a ribbon of moonlight

over the purple moor,

A highwayman comes riding, up to the old inn-door.

 

Over the cobbles he clatters and clangs in

the dark inn-yard.

He taps with his whip on the shutters, but

all is locked and barred.

He whistles a tune to the windowand who

should be waiting there

But the landlord's black-eyed daughter,

Bess, the landlord's daughter,

plaiting a dark red love-knot into her long

black hair.

 

 

 

 

 

Sep 26th

The Rainy Day - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

By Mary B

The day is cold, and dark, and dreary;
It rains, and the wind is never weary;
The vine still clings to the mouldering wall,
But at every gust the dead leaves fall,
And the day is dark and dreary.

My life is cold, and dark, and dreary;
It rains, and the wind is never weary;
My thoughts still cling to the mouldering Past,
But the hopes of youth fall thick in the blast,
And the days are dark and dreary.

Be still, sad heart! and cease repining;
Behind the clouds is the sun still shining;
Thy fate is the common fate of all,
Into each life some rain must fall,
Some days must be dark and dreary.

 

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

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