Poem of the day

'It Wasn't Snowing'

by Michael Schmidt

It wasn’t snowing, but it should have been.

You were an old man, nine months from the grave.

Your hand was very dry and very hot

And large, as I recall (I was a boy,

Fourteen years at most, I led you round

Part of the school, your guide; you seemed to listen)

That night you read in a slow, dismissive voice

That left the words like notes on staves hung in the air,

No longer yours, but part of memory -

You talked about Miss Dickinson of Amherst

And said aloud the eight lines of her poem

‘The heart asks pleasure first’. And from that night

I’ve known the poem word-perfect, part of me.


I think you let more lines free into language

And memory with your rusty, lonely voice

Than any other poet of our age.

It must have been like freeing doves

And watching them go off to neighbouring cotes

Or into the low clouds of your New Hampshire

Knowing they’ll meet no harm, that they’ll survive

Long after the hand that freed them has decayed.


Those lines are wise in rhythm and they lead

Into a clapboard dwelling, or a field,

Or lives that prey upon the land and one another,

Or the big country where we both were children.


2 December


by Richard Tyrone Jones


Image Credit: 
Pete Woodhead
1 December


by Dick Pettit

29 November


by Simon Armitage

   It begins as a house, an end terrace

in this case

   but it will not stop there. Soon it is

an avenue

   which cambers arrogantly past the Mechanics’ Institute,

turns left

   at the main road without even looking

and quickly it is

   a town with all four major clearing banks,

a daily paper

   and a football team pushing for promotion.


   On it goes, oblivious to the Planning Acts,

the green belts

   and before we know it it is out of our hands:

city, nation,

   hemisphere, universe, hammering out in all directions

until suddenly,

   mercifully, it is drawn aside through the eye

of a black hole

   and bulleted into a neighbouring galaxy, emerging

smaller and smoother

   than a billiard ball but weighing more than Saturn.


   People stop me in the street, badger me

in the check-out queue

   and ask ‘What is this, this that is so small

and so very smooth

   but whose mass is greater than the ringed planet?’

It’s just words

   I assure them. But they will not have it.

29 November

'I have seen that Death is a reaper'

by Ian Hamilton Finlay and Gary Hincks

28 November

A Hot Drop

by Erica Van Horn

27 November


by Mary Lee