Category Archives: Friday Poem

Friday Poem: First Love

Falling in love was like falling down the stairs
Each stair had her name on it
And he went bouncing down each one like a tongue-tied
lunatic
One day of loving her was an ordinary year
He transformed her into what he wanted
And the scent from her
Was the best scent in the world
Fifteen he was fifteen
Each night he dreamed of her
Each day he telephoned her
Each day was unfamiliar
Scary even
And the fear of her going weighed on him like a stone
And when he could not see her for two nights running
It seemed a century had passed
And meeting her and staring at her face
He knew he would feel as he did forever
Hopelessly in love
Sick with it
And not even knowing her second name yet
It was the first time
The best time
A time that would last forever
Because it was new
Because he was ignorant it could ever end
It was endless

by Brian Patten

Friday Poem: The Cloud

I bring fresh showers for the thirsting flowers,
From the seas and the streams;
I bear light shade for the leaves when laid
In their noonday dreams.
From my wings are shaken the dews that waken
The sweet buds every one,
When rocked to rest on their mother’s breast,
As she dances about the sun.
I wield the flail of the lashing hail,
And whiten the green plains under,
And then again I dissolve it in rain,
And laugh as I pass in thunder.

I sift the snow on the mountains below,
And their great pines groan aghast;
And all the night ’tis my pillow white,
While I sleep in the arms of the blast.
Sublime on the towers of my skiey bowers,
Lightning my pilot sits;
In a cavern under is fettered the thunder,
It struggles and howls at fits;
Over earth and ocean, with gentle motion,
This pilot is guiding me,
Lured by the love of the genii that move
In the depths of the purple sea;
Over the rills, and the crags, and the hills,
Over the lakes and the plains,
Wherever he dream, under mountain or stream,
The Spirit he loves remains;
And I all the while bask in Heaven’s blue smile,
Whilst he is dissolving in rains.

The sanguine Sunrise, with his meteor eyes,
And his burning plumes outspread,
Leaps on the back of my sailing rack,
When the morning star shines dead;
As on the jag of a mountain crag,
Which an earthquake rocks and swings,
An eagle alit one moment may sit
In the light of its golden wings.
And when Sunset may breathe, from the lit sea beneath,
Its ardours of rest and of love,
And the crimson pall of eve may fall
From the depth of Heaven above,
With wings folded I rest, on mine aëry nest,
As still as a brooding dove.

That orbèd maiden with white fire laden,
Whom mortals call the Moon,
Glides glimmering o’er my fleece-like floor,
By the midnight breezes strewn;
And wherever the beat of her unseen feet,
Which only the angels hear,
May have broken the woof of my tent’s thin roof,
The stars peep behind her and peer;
And I laugh to see them whirl and flee,
Like a swarm of golden bees,
When I widen the rent in my wind-built tent,
Till calm the rivers, lakes, and seas,
Like strips of the sky fallen through me on high,
Are each paved with the moon and these.

I bind the Sun’s throne with a burning zone,
And the Moon’s with a girdle of pearl;
The volcanoes are dim, and the stars reel and swim,
When the whirlwinds my banner unfurl.
From cape to cape, with a bridge-like shape,
Over a torrent sea,
Sunbeam-proof, I hang like a roof,
The mountains its columns be.
The triumphal arch through which I march
With hurricane, fire, and snow,
When the Powers of the air are chained to my chair,
Is the million-coloured bow;
The sphere-fire above its soft colours wove,
While the moist Earth was laughing below.

I am the daughter of Earth and Water,
And the nursling of the Sky;
I pass through the pores of the ocean and shores;
I change, but I cannot die.
For after the rain when with never a stain
The pavilion of Heaven is bare,
And the winds and sunbeams with their convex gleams
Build up the blue dome of air,
I silently laugh at my own cenotaph,
And out of the caverns of rain,
Like a child from the womb, like a ghost from the tomb,
I arise and unbuild it again.

By Percy Bysshe Shelley

Friday Poem: Everything is Going to be All Right

How should I not be glad to contemplate
the clouds clearing beyond the dormer window
and a high tide reflected on the ceiling?
There will be dying, there will be dying,
but there is no need to go into that.
The poems flow from the hand unbidden
and the hidden source is the watchful heart.
The sun rises in spite of everything
and the far cities are beautiful and bright.
I lie here in a riot of sunlight
watching the day break and the clouds flying.
Everything is going to be all right.

by Derek Mahon,from Selected Poems

Dereck died on 1st October 2020.

This poem was a consolation and an inspiration to me at the beginning of the UK lockdown.

Friday Poem: Winter In America

From the Indians who welcomed the pilgrims
And to the buffalo who once ruled the plains
Like the vultures circling beneath the dark clouds
Looking for the rain
Looking for the rain


Just like the cities staggered on the coastline
Living in a nation that just can’t stand much more
Like the forest buried beneath the highway
Never had a chance to grow
Never had a chance to grow


And now it’s winter
Winter in America
Yes and all of the healers have been killed
Or sent away, yeah
But the people know, the people know
It’s winter
Winter in America
And ain’t nobody fighting
‘Cause nobody knows what to say
Save your soul, Lord knows
From Winter in America


The Constitution
A noble piece of paper
With free society
Struggled but it died in vain
And now Democracy is ragtime on the corner
Hoping for some rain
Looks like it’s hoping
Hoping for some rain


And I see the robins
Perched in barren treetops
Watching last-ditch racists marching across the floor
But just like the peace sign that vanished in our dreams
Never had a chance to grow
Never had a chance to grow


And now it’s winter
It’s winter in America
And all of the healers have been killed
Or been betrayed
Yeah, but the people know, people know
It’s winter, Lord knows
It’s winter in America
And ain’t nobody fighting
Cause nobody knows what to save
Save your souls
From Winter in America


And now it’s winter
Winter in America
And all of the healers done been killed or sent away
Yeah, and the people know, people know
It’s winter
Winter in America
And ain’t nobody fighting
Cause nobody knows what to save
And ain’t nobody fighting
Cause nobody knows, nobody knows
And ain’t nobody fighting
Cause nobody knows what to save

Written by Gil Scott-Heron (1949–2011)

An old poem that is now very timely. A lot of this poem also now applies to Britain too, sadly.

Friday Poem: The names of the Hare

‘The Names of the Hare’ is a poem written in the late thirteenth century, originally in Middle English, that is attributed to a Shropshire family on the Welsh borders. The poem is said to be a ritual to be recited by a hunter on his first encounter with a hare, and the seventy seven different names given to the hare in the poem were supposed, on recital, to deliver it to the hunter’s power.

The man the hare has met
will never be the better of it
except he lay down on the land
what he carries in his hand—
be it staff or be it bow—
and bless him with his elbow
and come out with this litany
with devotion and sincerity
to speak the praises of the hare.
Then the man will better fare.
‘The hare, call him scotart,
big-fellow, bouchart,
the O’Hare, the jumper,
the rascal, the racer.
Beat-the-pad, white-face,
funk-the-ditch, shit-ass.
The wimount, the messer,
the skidaddler, the nibbler,
the ill-met, the slabber.
The quick-scut, the dew-flirt,
the grass-biter, the goibert,
the home-late, the do-the-dirt.
The starer, the wood-cat,
the purblind, the furze cat,
the skulker, the bleary-eyed,
the wall-eyed, the glance-aside
and also the hedge-springer.
The stubble-stag, the long lugs,
the stook-deer, the frisky legs,
the wild one, the skipper,
the hug-the-ground, the lurker,
the race-the-wind, the skiver,
the shag-the-hare, the hedge-squatter,
the dew-hammer, the dew-hoppper,
the sit-tight, the grass-bounder,
the jig-foot, the earth-sitter,
the light-foot, the fern-sitter,
the kail-stag, the herb-cropper.
The creep-along, the sitter-still,
the pintail, the ring-the-hill,
the sudden start,
the shake-the-heart,
the belly-white,
the lambs-in-flight.
The gobshite, the gum-sucker,
the scare-the-man, the faith-breaker,
the snuff-the-ground, the baldy skull,
(his chief name is scoundrel.)
The stag sprouting a suede horn,
the creature living in the corn,
the creature bearing all men’s scorn,
the creature no one dares to name.’
When you have got all this said
then the hare’s strength has been laid.
Then you might go faring forth—
east and west and south and north,
wherever you incline to go—
but only if you’re skilful too.
And now, Sir Hare, good-day to you.
God guide you to a how-d’ye-do
with me: come to me dead
in either onion broth or bread.

Translation from the Middle English by Seamus Heaney

Friday Poem: Love Song

If I could write words
Like leaves on an Autumn Forest floor
What a bonfire my letters would make.
If I could speak words  of water
You would drown when I said
'I love you'.

By Spike Milligan

Note: This post was typed directly into the verse block as advised by various WP Happiness Engineers. However, the poem is STILL in Courier, which is an awful font, especially for poetry.  My apologies, but it's not my fault.

Friday Poem: From Another Hill by Yahya Kemal Beyatlı

I look at you from another hill, dear Istanbul!
I know you like back of my hand, and love you dearly.
Come, come sit on my heart’s throne as long as I live
Just to love a district of yours is worth a whole life.

There are many flourishing cities in the world.
But you’re the only one who creates enchanting beauty.
I say, he who has lived happily, in the longest dream,
Is he who spent his life in you, died in you, and was buried in you.

by Yahya Kemal Beyatlı

translated on the site All Poetry

..another Istanbul poem from Leonard Durso’s glorious website leonarddurso.com

Friday Poem: Two Beacons

Two lights gleam equally across the snow
The traveller hesitates which way to go . . .
One is a cottage lamp; the other ray
A world four hundred million miles away.

 by Theodore Stephanides, who should be familiar to all who love Gerald Durrell‘s “My Family and other Animals”. Theodore was a polymath—-both Doctor and aquatic biologist, and he wrote wonderful poetry.

Friday Poem: August

Every year, the bright
Scandinavian summer nights
fade away without anyone

noticing.

One evening in August
you have an errand outdoors,
and all of a sudden
it’s pitch-black.

A great warm, dark
silence
surrounds the house.
It is still summer,

but summer is no longer
alive.
It has come
to a standstill;

nothing

withers, and autumn
is not ready to begin.
There are no stars yet,
just darkness.

The can of kerosene
is brought up from the cellar
and left in the hall,
and the lamp is hung up
on its peg by the door.
Day by day,

everything

moves closer
to the house.

 

By Tove Jansson