IGCSE Songs of Ourselves Poetry anthology 2009-2011 The Grange School English Department The Voice Thomas Hardy Woman much missed, how you call to me, call to me, Saying that now you are not as you were When you had changed from the one who was all to me, But as at first, when our day was fair. Can it be you that I hear? Let me view you, then, Standing as when I drew near to the town Where you would wait for me: yes, as I knew you then, Even to the original air-blue gown! Or is it only the breeze in its listlessness Travelling across the wet mead to me here, You being ever dissolved to wan wistlessness,
Heard no more again far or near? Thus I; faltering forward, Leaves around me falling, Wind oozing thin through the thorn from norward, And the woman calling. Mead: field: meadow Wistlessness: inattentiveness Norward: northern parts Time Allen Curnow I am the nor’west air nosing among the pines I am the water-race and the rust on the railway lines I am the mileage recorder on the yellow signs. I am dust, I am distance, I am lupins back of the beach I am the sums the sole-charge teachers teach I am cows called to milking and the magpie’s screech I am nine o’clock in the morning when the office is clean
I am the slap of the belting and the smell of the machine I am the place in the park where the lovers were seen. I am recurrent music the children hear I am level noises in the remembering ear I am the sawmill and the passionate second gear. I, Time, am all these, yet these exist Among my mountainous fabrics like a mist, So do they the measurable world resist. I, Time, call down, condense, confer On willing memory the shapes these were I, more than your conscious carrier, Am island, am sea, am father, farm and friend, Though I am here, all things my coming attend; I am, you have heard it, the Beginning and the End.
Lupins: Type of flower Dover Beach Matthew Arnold The sea is calm to-night. The tide is full, the moon lies fair Upon the straits; – on the French coast the light Gleams and is gone; the cliffs of England stand, Glimmering and vast, out in the tranquil bay. Come to the window, sweet is the night air! Only, from the long line of spray Where the sea meets the moon-blanched land, Listen! you hear the grating roar Of pebbles which the waves draw back, and fling, At their return, up the high strand, Begin, and cease, and then again begin, With tremulous cadence slow, and bring The eternal note of sadness in. Sophocles long ago
Heard it on the Aegean, and it brought Into his mind the turbid ebb and flow Of human misery; we Find also in the sound a thought, Hearing it by this distant northern sea. The Sea of Faith Was once, too, at the full, and round earth’s shore Lay like the folds of a bright girdle furled. But now I only hear Its melancholy, long, withdrawing roar, Retreating, to the breath Of the night wind, down the vast edges drear And naked shingles of the world. Ah, love, let us be true To one another! for the world, which seems To lie before us like a land of dreams, So various, so beautiful, so new, Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light,
Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain; And we are here as on a darkling plain Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight, Where ignorant armies clash by night. darkling: shadowy, obscure, dark cadence: rhythm strand: beachtremulous: quivering turbid: muddy, unclear, confused Amends Adrienne Rich Nights like this:on the cold apple bough a white star, then another exploding out of the bark: on the ground, moonlight picking at small stones as it picks at greater stones, as it rises with the surf laying its cheek for moments on the sand as it licks the broken ledge, as it flows up the cliffs, as it flicks across the tracks s it unavailing pours into the gash of the sand-and-gravel quarry as it leans across the hangared fuselage of the crop-dusting plane as it soaks through cracks into the trailers tremulous with sleep as it dwells upon the eyelids of the sleepers as if to make amends Full Moon and Little Frieda Ted Hughes A cool small evening shrunk to a dog bark and the clank of a bucket – And you listening. A spider’s web, tense for the dew’s touch. A pail lifted, still and brimming – mirror To tempt a first star to a tremor. Cows are going home in the lane there, looping the hedges with their warm wreaths of breath –
A dark river of blood, many boulders, Balancing unspilled milk. ‘Moon! ‘ you cry suddenly, ‘Moon! Moon! ‘ The moon has stepped back like an artist gazing amazed at a work That points at him amazed. Lament Gillian Clarke For the green turtle with her pulsing burden, in search of the breeding-ground. For her eggs laid in their nest of sickness. For the cormorant in his funeral silk, the veil of iridescence on the sand, the shadow on the sea. For the ocean’s lap with its mortal stain. For Ahmed at the closed border. For the soldier in his uniform of fire. For the gunsmith and the armourer, the boy fusilier who joined for the company, he farmer’s sons, in it for the music. For the hook-beaked turtles, the dugong and the dolphin, the whale struck dumb by the missile’s thunder. For the tern, the gull and the restless wader, the long migrations and the slow dying, the veiled sun and the stink of anger. For the burnt earth and the sun put out, the scalded ocean and the blazing well. For vengeance, and the ashes of language. iridescence: a surface of shimmering colours fusilier: rifleman dugong: large aquatic mammal On The Grasshopper and The Cricket John Keats The poetry of earth is never dead: When all the birds are faint with the hot sun,
And hide in cooling trees, a voice will run From hedge to hedge about the new-mown mead; That is the Grasshopper’s–he takes the lead In summer luxury,–he has never done With his delights; for when tired out with fun He rests at ease beneath some pleasant weed. The poetry of earth is ceasing never: On a lone winter evening, when the frost Has wrought a silence, from the stove there shrills The Cricket’s song, in warmth increasing ever, And seems to one in drowsiness half lost, The Grasshopper’s among some grassy hills. The Flower-Fed Buffaloes Vachel Lindsay The flower-fed buffaloes of the spring In the days of long ago,
Ranged where the locomotives sing And the prairie flowers lie low; The tossing, blooming, perfumed grass Is swept away by wheat, Wheels and wheels and wheels spin by In the spring that still is sweet. But the flower-fed buffaloes of the spring Left us long ago. They gore no more, they bellow no more, They trundle around the hills no more: With the Blackfeet lying low, With the Pawnees lying low, Lying low. Report to Wordsworth Boey Kim Cheng You should be here, Nature has need of you. She has been laid waste. Smothered by the smog, the flowers are mute, and the birds are few in a sky slowing like a dying clock.
All hopes of Proteus rising from the sea have sunk; he is entombed in the waste we dump. Triton’s notes struggle to be free, his famous horns are choked, his eyes are dazed, and Neptune lies helpless as a beached whale, while insatiate man moves in for the kill. Poetry and piety have begun to fail, as Nature’s mighty heart is lying still. O see the wound widening in the sky, God is labouring to utter his last cry. First Love John Clare I ne’er was struck before that hour With love so sudden and so sweet Her face it bloomed like a sweet flower And stole my heart away complete My face turned pale as deadly pale
My legs refused to walk away And when she looked what could I ail My life and all seemed turned to clay And then my blood rushed to my face And took my eyesight quite away The trees and bushes round the place Seemed midnight at noon day I could not see a single thing Words from my eyes did start They spoke as chords do from the string And blood burnt round my heart Are flowers the winter’s choice Is love’s bed always snow She seemed to hear my silent voice Not love’s appeals to know I never saw so sweet a face As that I stood before My heart has left its dwelling place And can return no more – Marrysong
Dennis Scott He never learned her, quite. Year after year That territory, without seasons, shifted under his eye. An hour he could be lost in the walled anger of her quarried hurt on turning, see cool water laughing where the day before there were stones in her voice. He charted. She made wilderness again. Roads disappeared. The map was never true. Wind brough him rain sometimes, tasting of sea – and suddenly she would change the shape of shores faultlessly calm. All, all was each day new: the shadows of her love shortened or grew like trees seen from an unexpected hill, new country at each jaunty helpless journey.
So he accepted that geography, constantly strange. Wondered. Stayed home increasingly to find his way among the landscapes of her mind. So, We’ll Go No More A-Roving George Gordon, Lord Byron So, we’ll go no more a-roving So late into the night, Though the heart be still as loving, And the moon be still as bright. For the sword outwears its sheath, And the soul wears out the breast, And the heart must pause to breathe, And love itself have rest. Though the night was made for loving, And the day returns too soon, Yet we’ll go no more a-roving By the light of the moon. Sonnet 43 Elizabeth Barrett Browning
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways! – I love thee to the depth and breadth and height My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight For the ends of Being and Ideal Grace. I love thee to the level of everyday’s Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light. I love thee freely, as men strive for Right- I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise I love thee with the passion, put to use In my old griefs,.. and with my childhood’s faith: I love thee with the love I seemed to lose With my lost saints,—I love thee with the breath, Smiles, tears, of all my life! —and, if God choose, I shall but love thee better after death.
Sonnet 29 Edna St Vincent MIllay Pity me not because the light of day At close of day no longer walks the sky; Pity me for beauties passed away From field to thicket as the year goes by; Pity me not the waning of the moon, Nor that the ebbing tide goes out to sea, Nor that a man’s desire is hushed so soon, And you no longer look with love on me. This have I known always: Love is no more Than the wide blossom which the wind assails, Than the great tide that treads the shifting shore, Strewing fresh wreckage gathered in the gales: Pity me that the heart is slow to learn When the swift mind beholds at every turn.