G.K.Chesterton: ‘Wine And Water’

 (Poem No.47 of my favourite short poems)

Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874 – 1936), was an English writer, poet, philosopher, dramatist, journalist, orator, theologian, biographer, and literary and art critic.  He was a large man, standing 6 feet 4 inches and weighing over 20 stone (130 kg).  His girth, perhaps in part due to his great fondness for wine,  occasioned a famous incident when he remarked to his friend George Bernard Shaw  “Look at you, anyone would think a famine had struck England.”  Shaw retorted, “To look at you, anyone would think you have caused it”.

wine&water

Wine And Water

Old Noah he had an ostrich farm and fowls on the largest scale,
He ate his egg with a ladle in a egg-cup big as a pail,
And the soup he took was Elephant Soup and fish he took was Whale,
But they all were small to the cellar he took when he set out to sail,
And Noah he often said to his wife when he sat down to dine,
“I don’t care where the water goes if it doesn’t get into the wine.”

The cataract of the cliff of heaven fell blinding off the brink
As if it would wash the stars away as suds go down a sink,
The seven heavens came roaring down for the throats of hell to drink,
And Noah he cocked his eye and said, “It looks like rain, I think,
The water has drowned the Matterhorn as deep as a Mendip mine,
But I don’t care where the water goes if it doesn’t get into the wine.”

But Noah he sinned, and we have sinned; on tipsy feet we trod,
Till a great big black teetotaller was sent to us for a rod,
And you can’t get wine at a P.S.A., or chapel, or Eisteddfod,
For the Curse of Water has come again because of the wrath of God,
And water is on the Bishop’s board and the Higher Thinker’s shrine,
But I don’t care where the water goes if it doesn’t get into the wine.

Gilbert Keith Chesterton

scroll2

To reinforce Chesterton’s delight in the drinking of wine, I quote a verse from another of his poems on the same subject . . . 

“Feast on wine or fast on water,
And your honour shall stand sure …
If an angel out of heaven
Brings you other things to drink,
Thank him for his kind attentions,
Go and pour them down the sink.”

wine_water_song

bar-curl3

‘i carry your heart with me’ -E.E.Cummings

(Poem No.46 of my favourite short poems)

E.E. Cummings ( or ‘e e cummings’) (1894-1962) was an experimental American poet with a distinctive style, but nevertheless very accessible.  I previously blogged his poem … maggie and millie and mollie and may
Cummings’ poetry often deals with themes of love and nature, as in the following lovely poem . . .

heart

i carry  your heart with me

 

i carry your heart with me (i carry it in
my heart) i am never without it (anywhere
i go you go, my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing, my darling)
                                  i fear
no fate (for you are my fate, my sweet) i want
no world (for beautiful you are my world, my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows
higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)

BY  E.E.Cummings

 

banner3b

Oscar Wilde – ‘Tread lightly, she is near’

 (Poem No.45 of my favourite short poems)

WoT Churchyard

REQUIESCAT

Tread lightly, she is near
Under the snow,
Speak gently, she can hear
The daisies grow.

All her bright golden hair
Tarnished with rust,
She that was young and fair
Fallen to dust.

Lily-like, white as snow,
She hardly knew
She was a woman, so
Sweetly she grew.

Coffin-board, heavy stone,
Lie on her breast,
I vex my heart alone,
She is at rest.

Peace, peace, she cannot hear
Lyre or sonnet,
All my life’s buried here,
Heap earth upon it.

 

by: Oscar Wilde

Oscar Wilde

 

chinesebanner

The Birth Of A Poem

[ Prompted by Davy D’s recent question on the GoDogGo Cafe website, entitled . . .    ‘Are You A Poet?’  ]

 

Poetry Breathe Life

THE BIRTH OF A POEM

 

Generated from the furnace
Of a fervent mind
A poem defines itself
As a jewel
Precisely cut
Precious and lustrous
Poised above a ring of gold
Encircling thoughts
And reflecting
In its faceted faces
Feelings and emotions
Otherwise ill-expressed

The poet
The visionary
Frames the template
Bringing life to contemplation
Substance to inspiration
A peasant in the fields of the imagination
Cultivating conceits
Ideas and concepts
Labouring at the word-face
Crafting thoughts into expressed truths
Weaving feelings into reasoned words
Bringing all to fruition in
The gemstone of creativity

 

banner-pink

 

Brian Patten – Mary’s Lamb

(Poem No.44 of my favourite short poems)

Brian Patten made his name in the 1960s as one of the Liverpool Poets, alongside Adrian Henri and Roger McGough.  He has written over fifty poetry books for both Adults and children.   Patten’s style is generally lyrical and his subjects are primarily love and relationships, but I have taken this, slight, but amusing poem, from one of his earliest collections of poems for children ‘Thawing Frozen Frogs’.

Marys Lamb

MARY HAD A BIT OF LAMB

Mary had a little lamb,
Its fleece was white as snow,
And everywhere that Mary went
The lamb was sure to go.

She went into the butcher’s,
Came out with some lamb chops.
I would never follow Mary
Into any kind of shops!

 

Brian Patten (From: ’Thawing Frozen Frogs’ – Puffin Books, 1992; Illustration by David Mostyn)

bar-curl4

From ‘The Tempest’

 (Poem No.43 of my favourite short poems)

the tempest

The master, the swabber, the boatswain, and I,

(  William Shakespeare:  From “The Tempest”)

The master, the swabber, the boatswain, and I,
The gunner, and his mate,
Loved Mall, Meg, and Marian, and Margery,
But none of us cared for Kate;

For she has a tongue with a tang,
Would cry to a sailor, Go hang!
She loved not the savour of tar nor of pitch;
Yet a tailor might scratch her where’er she did itch.
Then, to sea, boys, and let her go hang!

scroll2

W.H.Auden composed a wistful, haunting update of Shakespeare’s song which looks back with nostalgia but no regrets to an earlier life  . . . 

Song Of The Master And Boatswain

At Dirty Dick’s and Sloppy Joe’s
We drank our liquor straight,
Some went upstairs with Margery,
And some, alas, with Kate;
And two by two like cat and mouse
The homeless played at keeping house.

There Wealthy Meg, the Sailor’s Friend,
And Marion, cow-eyed,
Opened their arms to me but I
Refused to step inside;
I was not looking for a cage
In which to mope my old age.

The nightingales are sobbing in
The orchards of our mothers,
And hearts that we broke long ago
Have long been breaking others;
Tears are round, the sea is deep:
Roll them overboard and sleep.

 

By:  W H Auden

scroll2

 

 

For those who would like to listen to spoken versions of these two poems, YouTube links are given below . . .

The Tempest: “The Master, the Swabber, the Boatswain, and I”

Music composed by Donna Kendall Stearns (www.DonnaKendallStearns.com)
Sung by Ilan Caplan

scroll2

“Song of The Master and Boatswain” by W.H. Auden (read by Tom O’Bedlam) . . .

‘Song Of The Master And Boatswain’

scroll2

Larkin – ‘Love Songs In Age’

(Poem No.36 of my favourite short poems)

Chant d'Amour

Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones … ‘Chant d’Amour’ Oil on canvas – 1868-87

LOVE SONGS IN AGE

She kept her songs, they kept so little space,
      The covers pleased her:
One bleached from lying in a sunny place,
One marked in circles by a vase of water,
One mended, when a tidy fit had seized her,
       And coloured, by her daughter –
So they had waited, till, in widowhood
She found them, looking for something else, and stood 

Relearning how each frank submissive chord
      Had ushered in
Word after sprawling hyphenated word,
And the unfailing sense of being young
Spread out like a spring-woken tree, wherein
      That hidden freshness sung,
That certainty of time laid up in store
As when she played them first. But, even more,

The glare of that much-mentioned brilliance, love,
      Broke out, to show
Its bright incipience sailing above,
Still promising to solve, and satisfy,
And set unchangeably in order. So
      To pile them back, to cry,
Was hard, without lamely admitting how
It had not done so then, and could not now.

By Philip Larkin

Re-printed from:  ‘Everyman’s Poetry’

chinesebanner

 

 

Hope

(Poem No.35 of my favourite short poems)

Hope-Housemartin

Drawing in pen and ink … WHB – May 2017

HOPE

BY Emily Dickinson

“Hope” is the thing with feathers –
That perches in the soul –
And sings the tune without the words –
And never stops – at all –

And sweetest – in the Gale – is heard –
And sore must be the storm –
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm –

I’ve heard it in the chillest land –
And on the strangest Sea –
Yet – never – in Extremity,
It asked a crumb – of me.

bar153

A delightful, short and simply expressed poem, which expands a metaphor into a delightfully positive view of the power of Hope in our lives.  It remains with us through gale and storm, demanding nothing of us.  

bar153

The preferred use by Emily Dickinson of dashes to punctuate her verses has been, more recently, commented on light-heartedly in a short poem of Wendy Cope’s . . .

EMILY DICKINSON

Higgledy-piggledy
Emily Dickinson
Liked to use dashes
Instead of full stops

Nowadays, faced with such
Idiosyncrasy,
Critics and editors
Send for the cops.

bar-curl3

‘The Eagle’ … Alfred, Lord Tennyson

(Poem No.34 of my favourite short poems)

Bald Eagle1c

Head of a Bald Eagle … Pen & Ink – WHB : May 2017

 

The Eagle

He clasps the crag with crooked hands;
Close to the sun in lonely lands,
Ring’d with the azure world, he stands.
The wrinkled sea beneath him crawls;
He watches from his mountain walls,
And like a thunderbolt he falls.
 bar152

By  Alfred, Lord Tennyson

A poem by Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809 -1892), who succeeded Wordsworth as Poet Laureate in 1850.   This short poem is expressed with great effect and dynamism.   The adjectives are just right.  The words, metre, alliteration and rhymes work together to convey the essence of the eagle’s power and majesty.
bar1

MONEY

money1

Design … WHB – 2017

(Poem No.32 of my favourite short poems)

MONEY

That money talks

I won’t deny.

I heard it once,

It said, “Goodbye”.

By Richard Armour

(Quoted from: ‘The Funny Side – 101 Humorous Poems – edited with an introduction by Wendy Cope.)

bar-curl1

Richard Willard Armour (July 15, 1906 – February 28, 1989) was an American poet and author who wrote more than 65 books.   Two of his best-known quotations are . . .

Politics, it seems to me, for years, or all too long,
has been concerned with right or left instead of right or wrong.

 Beauty is only skin deep, and the world is full of thin skinned people.

wavylines-blue-longest