Poem of the day

Sea-Fever

by John Masefield

I must down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,

And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by,

And the wheel’s kick and the wind’s song and the white sail’s shaking,

And a grey mist on the sea’s face, and a grey dawn breaking.

 

I must down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide

Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;

And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,

And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.

 

I must down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,

To the gull’s way and the whale’s way where the wind’s like a whetted knife;

And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,

And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick’s over.

24 April

Googling Tusitala

by Selina Tusitala Marsh

23 April

Stamps

by Tamar Yoseloff

Tamar Yoseloff

Image Credit: 
Stephen Wells
22 April

The Wood Road

by Seamus Heaney

Resurfaced, never widened.

The verges grassy as when

Bill Pickering lay with his gun

Under the summer hedge

Nightwatching, in uniform –

 

Special militiaman.

 

Moonlight on rifle barrels,

On the windscreen of a van

Roadblocking the road,

The rest of his patrol

Sentry-still, in profile,

 

Guarding Mulhollandstown.

 

Or me in broad daylight

On top of a cartload

Of turf hand-built and squat

As a drystone beehive hut,

Looked up to, looking down,

 

Allowed the reins like an adult –

 

In the picture at last,

The one on the whitewashed wall

Of a horse and cart and turfman

Embroidered on calico

In what they called ‘the long ago’,

 

Framed in passe-par-tout.

 

Or that August day I walked it

To the hunger striker’s wake,

Across a silent yard,

In past a watching crowd

To where the guarded corpse

 

And a guard of honour stared.

 

Film it in sepia,

Drip-paint it in blood,

This was/is the Wood Road.

Resurfaced, never widened,

The milk-can deck and the sign

 

For the bus-stop overgrown.

21 April

Mayakovsky in 1913

by Anna Akhmatova

I never knew you in the days of your glory,

Your turbulent dawn in all I know;

But perhaps I’m qualified to tell your story

At last of that day from long ago.

The lines of your powerful verse were filled with

Strange new voices we’d never heard . . .

And your youthful hands were never still as

You raised up a terrible scaffold of words.

Whatever you touched was no longer the same as

The thing it had been before that time,

All that you censured and covered in shame was

Condemned to death in your thunderous lines.

So often alone and disaffected,

You impatiently tried to seep up fate,

For already you freely, gladly accepted

That soon you must go and take part in the great

Struggle. And as you read an answer

Of rumbling dissent could be heard all round

And the angry rain eyed you askance as

You debated at length with the outraged town.

And now a name, unknown, obscure,

Was flashing around the stuffy hall,

And all through the land today it endures,

Reverberates still like a warrior’s call.

20 April

Zoom

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.

19 April

Ginsberg

by Morden Tower