Owl Poems

A bit of a mis-nomer this title.    Should be something like:

Where are the observation poems on owls?  

I was reading Owl, by Jean Whitfield and I couldn’t recall any other specific poems on observation of owls by other poets……..I thought there must be lots,  by Clare or Edward Thomas, maybe Tennyson and Wordsworth et al.    Here I admit to small knowledge of current poetry, performance or otherwise; and  very limited on likes of Motion, Armitage, Cope, Plath and others of the myriad of now established poets or recent past ones.             But historically there seem to be very few, as few as the rare sightings of owls by the likes of average me!    Note:   Since I first published this I have found a poem by Vita Sackville-West that is about owls….. but sneaks in a little human thought at the end:  It is included as the last entry…..

Owl            by Jean Whitfield   from ‘Moments’, Bakery Press

Composed by the roadside

he weighed a level branch down

knowing he was beautiful

the clear white sweep of him


tufted ears and round orange head

he blinked his eyes

rested iron claws easy

let us see enough of him


and finding undercurrents

lifted slowly, wafted wide wings

poised in the even air

figure skated on the breeze


allowed himself to fall

a small space gracefully

and rolled the lazy evening

forward and backward

over the hump in the road


he hung on those sunken eyes

swung over the field-hedge

Poured down from that low sky

– was gone.

A strong image that gives us  an image of an owl in flight.  Artists often draw them as such, often in silhouette.  Yes owls exist in poems; briefly, as hoots or eyes or metaphysically wise, but why haven’t I found many ‘naturalist’ views of that simple, beautiful bird?     Well, maybe I just haven’t looked hard enough so will keep searching.  Another possibility is that as they are nocturnal hunters they have not been observed like other birds.  Surely Clare or other ‘naturalist’ poets would have seen them well enough?

If anyone can point me to a poet, ideally pre 1930, with an owl poem to their name (and title) then I would much appreciate the help.    Also, any current poets that have an Owl poem/s that they can send and authorise to be published on Poetryparc and Wordparc sites then I will sort some out for inclusion on future pages. (Copyright will be retained by the author).   Suggested closing date is end of January 2018: this is not a competition, it’s an opportunity!    Email: wordparc@gmail      subject      ‘Owls’

This is the new title from Whittet Books whose cover and superb photos inside started me off on this woodland ramble: my adornments!!

full details and available  via:

https://wordery.com#oid=1316 1

and search for :     The Barn Owl

isbn  978 1 873580 89 9         hb

The Owls                    by Charles Baudelaire

Under the overhanging yews,

The dark owls sit in solemn state,

Like stranger gods; by twos and twos

Their red eyes gleam.

They meditate.

Motionless thus they sit and dream

Until that melancholy hour

When, with the sun’s last fading gleam,

The nightly shades assume their power.

From their still attitude the wise

Will learn with terror to despise

All tumult, movement, and unrest;


For he who follows every shade,

Carries the memory in his breast,

Of each unhappy journey made.

The poem above is a variation of the wise or mystical owl as they sit in a churchyard.  Not actively designated as such but of an ‘attitude’ that you might be wise to follow as ‘shades’ can be interpreted as many things, not only churchyard ‘happenings’.

I did find Ted Hughes’   The Owl: a short poem and purely owl but a briefest of image, and likely true.  A glimpse, much like sightings can be, I suppose.    An accurate description but an air of mystery is hinted at by the contrasting colours and time between first and last final two lines.    ‘a fine dust’ raises the question of  ‘what is it?’   The disjointed lines  are another way of keeping the reader slightly off-balance.  In the last line the subject, the owl, is just not there in the light of day.     The whole poem, simple observation written with a poet’s eye.

The Owl                           by Ted Hughes        (faber & faber)

The path was purple in the dusk.

I saw an owl, perched,

on a branch.

And when the owl stirred, a fine dust

fell from its wings,

I was

silent then.

And felt

the owl quaver.

And at dawn, waking,

the path was green, in the

May light


 addedd poem:    V. Sackville-West.    From.  Selected Poems, Hogarth Press. 1941

The Owl

Each dusk I saw, while those I loved most

Chattered of present or alien things,

The rhythmic owl returning like a ghost

Across the orchard cruising on wide wings.


She went, she came, she swooped, she sought the height

Where her young brood hid snoring for the mouse;

Tirelessly weaving on her silent flight

Between the laden branches and the house,


Soft and nocturnal, creamy as a moth;

But to the timorous small colony

Crouched in the grass, as fatal as a Goth

Ranging the plains in armed panoply.


Such beauty and such cruelty were hers,

Such silent beauty, tallness with a knife;

Such innocence and fearlessness were theirs,

The little denizens intent on life,


That, terror swooping on my heart’s alarm,

I wondered what dire spirit, hushed, adrift,

Might go abroad to do my loves most harm,

Silent and pouncing, ruinous and swift?

Notes: likely to have been written early or just before WW2  so the last lines’ sentiment could have been prominent in everyone’s minds….  Also, the word  ‘snoring’ in second line of second verse seems wrong to me, maybe a misprint(?)  but I cant fathom what it replaces…..


tagged: animals


A Christmas Day poem by Alfred Lord Tennyson

Ring Out , Wild Bells                                      by Alfred Lord Tennyson

Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,bluebells
The flying cloud, the frosty light;
The year is dying in the night;
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.

Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.

Ring out the grief that saps the mind,
For those that here we see no more,
Ring out the feud of rich and poor,
Ring in redress to all mankind.

Ring out a slowly dying cause,
And ancient forms of party strife;
Ring in the nobler modes of life,
With sweeter manners, purer laws.

Ring out the want, the care the sin,
The faithless coldness of the times;
Ring out, ring out my mournful rhymes,
But ring the fuller minstrel in.

Ring out false pride in place and blood,dwarf-bellflower-
The civic slander and the spite;
Ring in the love of truth and right,
Ring in the common love of good.

Ring out old shapes of foul disease,
Ring out the narrowing lust of gold;
Ring out the thousand wars of old,
Ring in the thousand years of peace.

Ring in the valiant man and free,
The larger heart, the kindlier hand;
Ring out the darkness of the land,
Ring in the Christ that is to be.

Algernon Charles Swinburne: Selections from Poetical Works

Selections from the Poetical Works
Algernon Charles Swinburne

Pub. Chatto & Windus, 3rd edition, 1889

swinnpic1837 -1909

Well, this is no review of the book, more brief comment on the poetry it contains, this particular book being 125 years old and o.p.

I have to admit to it being my first rush into his writings and as the collection is so old I almost hope there must be many other poems, short or long that create a better overall impression.

There is no named editor for the selection so maybe from the most popular of the day or Swinburne’s own choice, maybe his friend Theodore Watts.  From the work here you would assume that his favourite pastime was living on the coast and spending much time collating verbs, adverbs and adjectives that would slide gratefully into seemingly endless ABAB; blank versed and sea-soaked with a bit of limited descriptive nature thrown in, poetry.  I like Tennyson, Chaucer and Milton and rolling description etc. but I fear, for me, Swinburne has over-egged a rather samey pudding.  I must admit that I partially exaggerate (?) as the ballad formats do work but then I get overwhelmed by the existence of just so much.

Full marks for maintaining levels of rhythm and rhyme that would trip all but the best. However, a reader of today ( well, me) would be thankful for greater variation in subjects and formats and perhaps a little lightness of touch in a few poems.  Comments are based on this, limited, content.  I am aware that he was part of the pre-raphaelite movement and wrote large amounts over many years and covered/experimented with different poetical genres.  He was extremely successful in his early years of writing, having public acclaim and disapproval in equal measure for pushing the subjective boundaries of the day.   I get the impression that he liked long poems, alliteration, repetition and verbiage, death and the darker elements of love.  Large quantities of which seem to both over-egg and dissipate the basic themes or direction of most if his poems despite great skill with words that facilitated his rhyming.  Below are a couple of his shorter poems that benefit (in my eyes) from being more succinct.  His later poetry could be considered calmer but maybe missing the sheer exuberance (desperation?) of his Ballads and early work.

Scattered throughout his poetry are some fine lines and ideas but for me they are lost in excess.  I am not sure whether I can’t see the wood for the trees or I am trapped in a thicket and can’t escape!   Swinburne surely wrote for effect, maybe to shock, and was talented in that respect but from this selected collection his themes are limited.  If we knew the selector of the verses we might have a partial answer.  His earlier verses produced public outrage, this collection has nothing dated so no clue gained there.

Some 39 poems (including several chunky extracts from his epics) and I found few that stood out as memorable for me.  I liked the idea behind ‘The Sunbows‘ but got, well, disinterested, I suppose, by the time I got to the end.  My failure may be as a ‘modern’ reader who has spent too much time on more concise poems, but I am not wholly convinced by that thought.  I suppose I should find a recently selected collection rather than one that is one hundred and twenty five years old.  However I would read it in hope rather than expectation of finding much to savour.

I did quite like ‘A Forsaken Garden‘ and also ‘A Child’s Laughter‘ but they were a respite to the length of most others.  One or two ‘Cradle Songs‘ nearly got there but the stand-alone poem was ‘Iseult at Tintagel(from Tristram of Lyonesse) which I found very interesting in subject and handling though still suffering from Swinburne’s usual overflow. Maybe I have just forgotten how to read and appreciate Ballads and Epic poetry.

I have found some shorter Swinburne poems that I prefer.  He was fond of  ‘Rondel’, a form he took from the French and a sample is shown below. The few I have found I like more.  If you to look at his poetry more widely he did break ‘new ground’ in content for the period and suffered disapproval in many quarters for it.  Swinburne was part of the pre-raphaelite movement and maybe Christina Rosetti might be a stand-in for a muse (?) but skimming over his life offers only more questions and I don’t feel inclined to search out any serious biographies, sorry!  He has gained more respect again in recent years as his subjects suffer less criticism and appreciation of his metrical innovation has been noted, perhaps despite his facility for excess and using old, excessively coloured wrappers!  But this specific collection has not gained me as a friend or regular reader.  I will have to take the advice of others before I venture much further with Algernon Charles Swinburne.
The other side of my coin might be that I am just feeling too old to read many epics or ballads of epic length when there is a welter of other poetry in various formats out there, neglected or otherwise.
0What’s that?  Kid in a candy store?  Yes, I have dipped in this bag and found it not really to my liking so will have to try another dip.                                 See also Useful links Tag


A Forsaken Garden
In a coign of the cliff between lowland and highland,
At the sea-down’s edge between windward and lee,
Walled round with rocks as an inland island,
The ghost of a garden fronts the sea.
A girdle of brushwood and thorn encloses
The steep square slope of the blossomless bed
Where the weeds that grew green from the graves of its roses
Now lie dead.

The fields fall southward, abrupt and broken,
To the low last edge of the long lone land.
If a step should sound or a word be spoken,
Would a ghost not rise at the strange guest’s hand?
So long have the grey bare walks lain guestless,
Through branches and briars if a man make way,
He shall find no life but the sea-wind’s, restless
Night and day.

The dense hard passage is blind and stifled
That crawls by a track none turn to climb
To the strait waste place that the years have rifled
Of all but the thorns that are touched not of time.
The thorns he spares when the rose is taken;
The rocks are left when he wastes the plain.
The wind that wanders, the weeds wind-shaken,
These remain.

Not a flower to be pressed of the foot that falls not;
As the heart of a dead man the seed-plots are dry;
From the thicket of thorns whence the nightingale calls not,
Could she call, there were never a rose to reply.
Over the meadows that blossom and wither
Rings but the note of a sea-bird’s song;
Only the sun and the rain come hither
All year long.

The sun burns sere and the rain dishevels
One gaunt bleak blossom of scentless breath.
Only the wind here hovers and revels
In a round where life seems barren as death.
Here there was laughing of old, there was weeping,
Haply, of lovers none ever will know,
Whose eyes went seaward a hundred sleeping
Years ago.

Heart handfast in heart as they stood, “Look thither,”
Did he whisper? “look forth from the flowers to the sea;
For the foam-flowers endure when the rose-blossoms wither,
And men that love lightly may die—but we?”
And the same wind sang and the same waves whitened,
And or ever the garden’s last petals were shed,
In the lips that had whispered, the eyes that had lightened,
Love was dead.

Or they loved their life through, and then went whither?
And were one to the endÑbut what end who knows?
Love deep as the sea as a rose must wither,
As the rose-red seaweed that mocks the rose.
Shall the dead take thought for the dead to love them ?
What love was ever as deep as a grave ?
They are loveless now as the grass above them
Or the wave.

All are at one now, roses and lovers,
Not known of the cliffs and the fields and the sea.
Not a breath of the time that has been hovers
In the air now soft with a summer to be.
Not a breath shall there sweeten the seasons hereafter
Of the flowers or the lovers that laugh now or weep,
When as they that are free now of weeping and laughter
We shall sleep.

Here death may deal not again for ever;
Here change may come not till all change end.
From the graves they have made they shall rise up never,
Who have left nought living to ravage and rend.
Earth, stones, and thorns of the wild ground growing,
While the sun and the rain live, these shall be;
Till a last wind’s breath upon all these blowing
Roll the sea.

Till the slow sea rise and the sheer cliff crumble,
Till terrace and meadow the deep gulfs drink,
Till the strength of the waves of the high tides humble
The fields that lessen, the rocks that shrink,
Here now in his triumph where all things falter,
Stretched out on the spoils that his own hand spread,
As a god self-slain on his own strange altar,
Death lies dead.


These many years since we began to be,
What have the gods done with us? what with me,
What with my love? they have shown me fates and fears,
Harsh springs, and fountains bitterer than the sea,
Grief a fixed star, and joy a vane that veers,
These many years.

With her, my love, with her have they done well?
But who shall answer for her? who shall tell
Sweet things or sad, such things as no man hears?
May no tears fall, if no tears ever fell,
From eyes more dear to me than starriest spheres
These many years!

But if tears ever touched, for any grief,
Those eyelids folded like a white-rose leaf,
Deep double shells wherethrough the eye-flower peers,
Let them weep once more only, sweet and brief,
Brief tears and bright, for one who gave her tears
These many years.

Three Poems More: j.Johnson Smith


photo by wordparc

I know the last synes that will drift through my mind
Like a kind and sighing breeze or a last ripple
That remains from a sunken skimming-stone
Cast with hope but gone with only a memory visible.

I see a shade on the dimpled wave
As it glitters to the shore and rocks the sedimental clay
To hide thin fins seeking shelter in the last light of day.

I hear the heart-beat plash of secrets dashed
As fish, or vole, or that flat, cooled stone
Curved beneath my memories of youth.

I feel that taut line as it slackens, loosens,
And anticipation lessons while I peer through the glooming
At the feather-float as it ceases to dance
And lies defeated, lost to chance.

I will look to the lowering sun and trees
For final dreams and will take that breeze
I remember more as a gentle kiss than as a butterfly
That caught me in its long embrace, for a lifetime,
That skims in dappled memories and lies
Discarded by my own unknowing hand, adrift.


I Wait and Watch

The air was damp, gnats were beginning to rise,
The sun was dying and the moon was pale
Like a corpse, when it turned towards the house.
I saw a lady dressed in white
With a cloak held round her shoulders tight.
Her hair was hid by a curving bonnet
And toes by shadows of grass.
I stood quite still when I saw her,
Kept quite still and watched.
Her hands held the cloak edged in fur
And her feet touched the moistened earth.
She walked to the wall, by the climbing rose,
Seeking a glimpse of the love she had,
For the man who held her heart.

Anxiety oppressed her pretty face
As she glanced from right to left.
Then worry changed to a happy glow
As towards her love she raced.
Her face grew tight, it creased with fear
While I watched her lips voice “No!”
My body was cold and my fingers numb
As she melted into night.

She comes here now, each day at dusk,
With her grey-trimmed cloak and scent of musk
But I cannot rush to her arms again
For I fear the touch and rush of pain
As my fingers reach to her throat.
For ever I wait and watch, quite still,
To see her love of me.
For ever I think of my jealous act,
“I killed for love of thee”.
1982?                    (after reading big chunk of Tennyson’s  ‘Maud’)

You can see the purple whales out there,
Those long hump-back ridges
With tops of foam
That are scallops of green and mauve.
The sea rolls up,
Wave on wave
Broaching the walls of angular ships,
Threatening to wash away
The flimsy hulks that dot on the wide,
Round Downs.
Slopes of waves, rolling and writhing;
Lip-tossed like a golden lake of corn
Edged by tufted hats of distant trees.
Birds are massing,
Rising to the cause of the flock
As the call goes up that it’s time to go.
Their shadows are sown over the earth,
Casting a gloom in the air
At the rise of life
Leaving a ship that heads for a stormy sea.
The wings curl in the sky,
Wheeling and turning,
Listening for the cry of the owl
At the night that creeps and bogs the sea.
And the whales sleep in the eye.
The foam of trees is black against the sky
But the corn whispers its love-song to the day.

Pub. Breakthrough (66)

j. Johnson Smith, Three poems

Voyeur of Memory

I could name them, every one.
No, that’s a lie.
I can see them, each and every,
And apologise
For what was never done
Under the sky
Or danced in moving revelry
And heated sighs.

Old man. Voyeur of memory.
False mood of what was never acted on.
Think that I
Am faithful to the memory of lies?
As if the carp was
Mirrored fondly on the heron’s mind
As she searched her stolen nest?

Rivers, scoured by the sea.
As hopes may die.
I can watch them, each and every,
And heart’s rise
For what may become
Under the sky
So gently moved by devilry,
And rested lies.



I nodded to the old man across the way,
Touched my finger to my brow in acknowledgement
Of the way he looked at me.
He returned the touch, hand slowly raised and finger bent,
A nod just faint enough to see the glitter in his eye
To say he was not saluting now.

And the woman by his side sat still and smiled.
She glanced at me and nudged his arm, then turned away,
Speaking to the air.
I watched, waiting for the moment to have my say
But when the pair took hand and turned back to me
I fudged the chance.

The crowd came in, the noisy throng, the drinking song.
The drinking song?  A rhyme no longer relevant
But you’re okay with the thrashing, spinning element
Of slot machine and nearly karaoke.

So, I look to the woman in the glass,
The face I scarcely see and wonder what I would have said.
What I would have dared to ask.


Is that it?

As my sister said, “Well! It’s all about semantics, then.”
Note the lack of question mark for I can’t recall whether it was rhetorical
Or statement or doubtful question penned in air.

It made me think of Schindler’ List, which I haven’t read.
And then again of Titanic’s list which could be viewed at least two ways
Or Schrodinger’s cat, alive or dead in there.

With Tennyson’s doggerel and Holloway’s monologues
You might spot the intent of rhythms different or lesser
Or check the words and see the metre of Shaw’s Pygmalion professor.

So, with glossary in hand and ruler ready and lemonade
I sit well in a chair with the sound of Walton’s Facade ringing round the auditoria.
Or maybe it’s just some other antics.
j. johnson smith

Reading Visual Poetry: A Graph Review

Reading Visual Poetry

by Willard Bohn

A Graph Review:  40 to highpoint 50

Farleigh Dickinson University Press  

978 161147615 6        paper ed.  2013                  Some illustrations in text.

vis pMost poets of today will have dipped into the world of visual poetry by writing a poem whose line-shape, word-spacing and overall image of the poem helps to convey the emotion or theme of what they are saying.  As a reader the page format always conveys a message.  Font size and style, amount of white space at the borders and the positioning of any headers can all settle or unsettle an approach to reading at the very least.  Going further the line spacing, differing lengths or condensing of words matters visually and in some way emotionally.

Move on to the poetry in particular and the design of lines on page fit even more closely with what the eye sees and brain reads.  Extend the purely visual line of text into a graphic text-picture using the word or words of the poem and we have visual poetry.  An example would be a poem about a snake which is written in the shape of a wriggling, curving line, maybe coiled.  Imagine an iconic image of a rattlesnake or coiled cobra shaped with words, maybe enigmatic on first sighting along the body of that snake.  First image is a poem about a snake, second thought on habitat or as religious imagery of the Garden of Eden and more thought on image and text conjunction may take you further.   Few words as an image can offer more challenge than an epic.

Visual poetry:  Words in a graphic form that create an actual picture as in the simplistic example above.

On reading the book:

The back cover explains:   “Visual Poetry can be defined basically as poetry that is meant to be seen………. It is pictorial as well as verbal.  Combining painting and poetry, it attempts to synthesise the principles underlying each discipline…….  They are conceived not only as literary works but also as works of art…….(This book) explores the process of interpretation itself, which like the compositions, can be surprisingly complex”.

Apparently visual poetry was well known to the Greeks and Romans, faded away to have a widespread revival during the Renaissance.  Another fading to be re-born at the beginning of the 20th Century.  Willard Bohn explains his plan for the book is to survey the significant developments in the 20th Century and gives brief description of visual poetry.  The developments he chooses start from 1913 in Spain and each chapter moves on in style and proponents via Hispanic-American, French poetry after Apollinaire, Italian Aeropoetry, Brazilian concrete poetry and finally Digital poetry.  A final couple of pages  discusses how the brain co-ordinates these visual and verbal images simultaneously.

Each Chapter covers several key people of the period or group and gives illustrations of their work.  Their skill in formulating and producing the works can be seen as quite formidable.  Here we hit a bit of a stumbling block, for me at least, in that they are all produced in their original form and language.  Translations are given but in simple block form.  The author handles this well by using place description as well as word translation to outline the analysis each time and so what might have been lost on initial visuals is regained by clear description.   Explanation of form and analysis using this method works well throughout the book.

It was interesting to see the changes in styles from poster-printing to enable the text in graphic form which I had to assume was block-printing, to presses and typewriters coming to the fore.  A major transformation came with computers and digital production, animation and leading up to video installations.  The latter using high tech ( relatively) equipment to produce artisitic formulations around minimalist words, letters and sounds.   The simple world of a word-picture where you turn the pages to interpret the script has moved on to current day video installations of light, movement, semiotics and aural linguistics.

None of the poets here have featured in my reading but I suspect I am not one who pushes to the edge of boundaries’.  However, it has been fascinating to cross the world with those who have.  These poets pressed at the visual as artists have always sought new mediums and style and now borders are well and truly blurred.  The verbal and visual have merged and Bohn shows us examples of how some poets have approached those boundaries.

The analysis of each example was explored fully, making use of the producing poet’s explanations where useful.  The final examples of work by Eduardo Kac moved into the video installations that almost exclude words and use light, colour, symbols and repetition for visual and elements of sound for aural stimulation.  Analysis for this section had to include the authors interpretation as otherwise it seemed too obscure for understanding at any level.  However it would be interesting to see.

Willard Bohn explains many areas and provokes thought.  I can appreciate and agree with most elements of his analysis as they are clearly put.  Somewhat drily, perhaps.  Aeropoetry examples were quite striking though interpretation of the poets meaning was somewhat overlaid by the moment in history in which they were written.  The definition of concrete poetry has a solid base for me.  I do like the works in the chapter (Brazilian Concrete Poetry) with Augusto De Campos and brother Haroldo.

On finishing the book I decided I had quite enjoyed the read around the subject of Visual Poetry, had learned of Willard Bohn’s principles for it.  It was a little hard going but that was no bad thing.  The question of “What is art?” is a shoe-in to “What is poetry?”  It carries the same thoughts as to where you draw the line.   But then we don’t all have the same lines.

There are numerous notes and quite short index.  The bibliography is four and a half pages long so offers a good selection of further reading but many are not in English so for me are sadly out of reach.

The author wrote this in 2008 and said he got 77,000 suggestions on visual poetry/poets around the world when he enquired on the internet.  Some years later this number must have grown enormously.  Why do we have this wave of interest now?  It seems we live in a more visual society.

Look at Claire Trevien’s poem: Journey of Evaporation from her recent collection;

The Shipwrecked House, for a nice example of visual poetry.

Tennyson’s poem  The Brook   recently put on this site could be a minor example of visual poetry if you look at layout in some texts.

And having read this book, to find some current English creatives in concrete poetry just go to the web and  type in any of the following names to find a wide selection of images by them:  Bob Cobbing, Alan Halsey, Dom Sylvester Houedard, Geraldine Monk and Tom Phillips.  A writer and anthologist on the subject of concrete poetry: Stephen Bann.

‘Reading Visual Poetry’ can set you off on a really interesting and thought provoking journey.

Three poems of Tennyson (early poems)

Poems published in 1830.      ‘Juvenalia’

Alfred Lord Tennyson born 1809,   died 1892.

The Brook

I come from haunts of coot and hern,

I make sudden sally

And sparkle out among the fern,

To bicker down a valley.

By thirty hills I hurry down,

Or slip between the ridges,

By twenty thorps, a little town,

And half a hundred bridges.

I chatter over stony ways,

In little sharps and trebles,

I bubble into eddying bays,

I babble on the pebbles.

With many a curve my banks I fret

By many a field and fallow,

And many a fairy foreland set

With willow-weed and mallow.

And here and there a foamy lake

Upon me, as I travel

With many a silvery waterbreak

Above the golden gravel,

And draw them all along, and flow

To join the brimming river,

For men may come and men may go,

But I go on for ever.



Two children in two neighbour villages

Playing mad pranks along the healthy leas;

Two strangers meeting at a festival;

Two lovers whispering by an orchard wall;

Two lives bound fast in one with golden ease;

Two graves grass-green beside a gray church-tower,

Wash’d with still rains and daisy-blossomed;

Two children in one hamlet born and bred;

So runs the round of life from hour to hour.



A spirit haunts the year’s last hours

Dwelling amid these yellowing bowers:

To himself he talks;

For at eventide, listening earnestly,

At his work you may hear him sob and sigh

In the walks;

Earthward he boweth the heavy stalks

Of the mouldering flowers:

Heavily hangs the broad sunflower

Over its grave i’ the earth so chilly;

Heavily hangs the hollyhock,

Heavily hangs the tiger-lily.

The air is damp, and hush’d, and close,

As a sick man’s room when he taketh repose

An hour before his death;

My very heart faints and my whole soul grieves

At the moist rich smell of the rotting leaves,

And the breath

Of the fading edges of box beneath,

And the year’s last rose.

Heavily hangs the broad sunflower

Over its grave i’ the earth so chilly;

Heavily hangs the hollyhock,

Heavily hangs the tiger-lily.