Poem of the day

The National Trust

by Ian Hamilton Finlay

4 July

Sinking Into The Solstice

by Sujata Bhatt

December fourth or fifth,

sinking into the solstice,

I’m finally beginning to enjoy

the darkness, even the Bremen blackness.

damp and rotting. and conquered

by crows whose late afternoon cries

are not hollow but fermenting with persistent ghosts.

Oh they are huge mosquitoes as they clamour,

swarming over the Burgerpark.

When I hear them I think of everything at once:

stale chapatis tossed out to whoever can get them;

pomegranates, Demeter, pine cones,

graveyards, Shakespeare, ten inches of snow,

foghorns, lighthouses, Ted Hughes,

not to mention Edgar Allan Poe and Bombay …

 

It was December fourth or fifth,

about six thirty in the morning

when I sit up thinking someone

is shining a searchlight on us

or could it be a new street lamp

just put up yesterday just outside our window?

No, no, it’s only the moon

I end up staring at, only the plump, full

moon filling up our window.

He, she, it, hermaphrodite moon,

changing its resilient sex

as it crosses over borders

from one country into another,

accomodating every language, every idea—

this chameleon moon

is laughing with white fish stuck in its

triumphant white teeth.

Only the moon laughing at me

who still wants it dark,

who still wants to sleep.

 

outside our window?

 

3 July

'That you cannot see where you tread'

by Paul Peter Piech

2 July

My Beautiful Son Cooks Me an Octopus

by Julian Stannard

by hiring a boat in the fishing village of Camogli and heading off

for the waters of Zoagli. He has his hand firmly on the tiller

and he’s telling me that one day he’s going to be a champion boxer.

 

He’s taking me to Zoagli because he wants me to see the fish.

I don’t tell him that when he was born the fish leapt clean out of the sea

nor do I tell him that when his mother was going crazy

 

the fish of Zoagli flew straight into my head and flapped.

I don’t say, Son if you could open my head and let the fish go free

I might take the day off and pretend that life was sweet.

 

1 July

Summer

by Christina Rossetti

Winter is cold-hearted,

Spring is yea and nay,

Autumn is a weathercock

Blown every way.

Summer days for me

When every leaf is on its tree;

 

When Robin's not a beggar,

And Jenny Wren's a bride,

And larks hang singing, singing, singing,

Over the wheat-fields wide,

And anchored lilies ride,

And the pendulum spider

Swings from side to side;

 

And blue-black beetles transact business,

And gnats fly in a host,

And furry caterpillars hasten

That no time be lost,

And moths grow fat and thrive,

And ladybirds arrive.

 

Before green apples blush,

Before green nuts embrown,

Why one day in the country

Is worth a month in town;

Is worth a day and a year

Of the dusty, musty, lag-last fashion

That days drone elsewhere.

 

30 June

Pelicans

by Sam Riviere

The pelicans in St James’ Park are eating pigeons

whole. Perhaps there’s a casual, regal cruelty at work,

or they’re doing it because they can. Whatever.

All you’ll find in their expressions,

if you’d call them expressions,

is the old lie of animal wisdom, that dinosaur clever.

 

And the pigeons - do they know it

as they’re packed down the pink flower-flute,

the yawning, purpled spout folding feathers,

snapping wings, bird-bone, bird-skull?

Something’s clasped by the curled claws

sticking from a jumping gullet - a symptom

 

invited from the ragged edges of our vision,

a fever-beat upon the brain, the dumpety-dum

of new diseases dancing in the sun. Days of doubletaking.

We notice, not for the first time, the shoulders of statues

are dappled with crap. Our own shoulders, too.

 

As ever, the birds eat, shit, turn. But their eyes

seem shifty now, their persecuting cries announce

a moment’s gone, nothing new’s arrived.

 

29 June

The cherry trees

by Paul Peter Piech