Something Unearthly

Lord Byron in Albanian Dress by Phillips 1813

 

I am reading Childe Harold's Pilgrimage by Lord Byron for the first time. I know Shelley well, and Keats, and some of Coleridge and Wordsworth. But all I knew of Byron was the poem She Walks in Beauty like the Night. Byron was a great traveler and the poem is more travelogue than narrative, but full of passages that speak to me, which is all I ask of a poem. Here is one:

 

But I have lived, and have not lived in vain:
   My mind may lose its force, my blood its fire,
   And my frame perish even in conquering pain,
   But there is that within me which shall tire
   Torture and Time, and breathe when I expire:
   Something unearthly, which they deem not of,
   Like the remembered tone of a mute lyre,
   Shall on their softened spirits sink, and move
In hearts all rocky now the late remorse of love.
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Sonets from the Chesapeke

Sonets ebook cover march 2022

The second edition of Sonets from the Chesapeke is available today, with additional sonets (the sonets have two five line stanzas with a concluding couplet).

 

Here are a couple:  

 

  His Joy

 

Toss a coin into a lake. Go ahead.

Just please be sure to miss the (friendly) fish.

They were there first. If you wish to wait

until the wave is gone, get comfortable.

It’s never gone, just beyond your vision.

 

His joy was like a wave,

Splash like laughter, washing wavering

Flowing out in all directions

Was all we saw, all we could see.

But I’ll tell you—this I know.

 

Such joy in life could never dissipate.

Touch the water. Hear it laugh.

 

  Night of the Harvest

 

Night of the harvest I dive in,

swimming toward the bay.

The moon rented the creek for the night

But didn’t mind our play

Or wouldn’t say

 

If it did. The water warm

from the day, still, still

in the breathless calm, the stars shuttered

at the moon’s will,

and ours, until

 

you. We float, touch, hold, part,

Within, the gravity of absent stars.

 

 

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The Bright Field






 

















On St David's Day, a poem by R S Thomas

 

I have seen the sun break through
to illuminate a small field
for a while, and gone my way
and forgotten it. But that was the pearl
of great price, the one field that had
the treasure in it. I realize now
that I must give all that I have
to possess it. Life is not hurrying
on to a receding future, nor hankering after
an imagined past. It is the turning
aside like Moses to the miracle
of the lit bush, to a brightness
that seemed as transitory as your youth
once, but is the eternity that awaits you.

 

Collected Poems 1945-1990 (Phoenix Press, £14.99)

 

 

 

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Courage

 
shutterstock 1063904033 resized
 
 
What makes people unsatisfied
is that they accept lies.
 
If people had courage, and refused lies
and found out what they really felt and really meant
and acted on it,
 
They would distil the essential oil out of every experience
and like hazel-nuts in autumn, at last
be sweet and sound.
D. H Lawrence
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Latest Comments

Stephen Evans Something Unearthly
23 June 2022
I think what I want more than to be remembered is to have made a difference in something that contin...
Rosy Cole Something Unearthly
22 June 2022
An epitaph is a convention of respect. It marks a spot. How much it says depends on estate and fame ...
Stephen Evans Something Unearthly
21 June 2022
A comforting thought, and similar to the epitaph that closes Gray's poem. But then isn't an epitaph ...
Rosy Cole Something Unearthly
21 June 2022
Perhaps I should have added that, nevertheless, I do feel this is a limpid piece of poetry you have...
Rosy Cole Something Unearthly
20 June 2022
On this theme, I have difficulty with Thomas Gray: Full many a flower is born to blush unseen, And w...