Poetry

With audio recordings by Claire (nee Marchionne) Galmiche, Shaun MacLoughlin and one stanza by Paul Scofield
In my view thanks to his profound spirituality, his sensuous love of nature and his brilliant, original poetic form, he is England's greatest poet
I HAVE desired to go
Where springs not fail,
To fields where flies no sharp and sided hail
And a few lilies blow.
A flower has opened in my heart.
What flower is this?
What flower of Spring?
What simple, secret thing?
Last thing at night, in solitude serene,
I am unpossessed of all that I have been.
It is as though I were about to go
Some journeying far beyond what now I know;
It is as though the microcosm of Me
By mercy were made free —
Of troubling past uncluttered and made clean.
Dame Felicitas Corrigan
When fishes flew and forests walked
And figs grew upon thorn
Some moment when the moon was blood
Then surely I was born.

With monstrous head and sickening cry
And ears like errant wings
The devil’s walking parody
On all four-footed things.

The tattered outlaw of the earth.
Of ancient crooked will;
Starve, scourge, deride me: I am dumb
I keep my secret still.

Fools! For I also had my hour;
One far fierce hour and sweet:
There was a shout about my ears,
And palms before my feet.
Kim did not share with Kieu one sheet and pillow through the night,
but found his chief delight playing the lute, reciting verse.
Nor were the two averse to drink some wine, converse for hours,
watch blossoming of flowers, to test each other’s powers at chess,
or with a fond caress to watch the rising crescent moon.
1770 - 1850, based on the 1914 biography by F. W. H. Myer
I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
Poet and Priest - 1572-1631
His Life through his Poetry, Sermons and Devotions
Go and catch a falling star,
Get with child a mandrake root,
Tell me where all past years are,
Or who cleft the devil’s foot,
Teach me to hear mermaids singing,
Or to keep off envy’s stinging,
And find
What wind
Serves to advance an honest mind.
Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer’s lease hath all too short a date:
Charles of Orleans 1394 - 1465
Francois Villon 1431 - 1463
Clément Marot 1496 - 1544
God, sovereign lord of all
Your gentleness and grace befall Grant that the soul of her I love Fly swiftly to your realm above Her pain and sorrow pray forestall.
Where is Echo, beheld of no man,
Only heard on river and mere, –
She whose beauty was more than human? .
. . But where are the snows of yester-year?
In ancient days love reigned supreme when neither gift nor art should stream Unless bouquets of love profound Embrace the world and be our ground
Joachim du Bellay 1522- 1560
Pierre de Ronsard 1524 - 1585
François de Malherbe 1555 - 1628
France, Mother of arts, of ages and of laws,
You’ve nourished me much from the milk of your breast:
You’ve bequeathed me your name, as a lamb at the feast.
Your haunts and your woods were mine without pause.
A grapevine will surely take birth
From the belly and the girth
Of good Rabelais, who contrived
Always to drink while alive.
To murmur against death, in petulant defiance,
Is never for the best;
To will what God doth will, that is the only science
That gives us any rest.
Joseph Plunkett 1887 – 1916

I see his blood upon the rose
And in the stars the glory of his eyes,
His body gleams amid eternal snows,
His tears fall from the skies.

William Butler Yeats 1865 – 1939
Had I the heavens’ embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
Seamus Heaney 1939 – 2013
Like everybody else, I bowed my head
during the consecration of bread and wine,
lifted my eyes to the raised host and raised chalice
believing (whatever it means) that a change occurred.

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