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Alan Edward Roberts



Joined: 26 Nov 2008
Posts: 188
Location: Twickenham, London, UK

PostPosted: Sat Aug 25, 2012 11:56 am    Post subject: The opening and closing lines of To Autumn (by John Keats) Reply with quote

"Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness, 
       
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun; 
   
Conspiring with him how to load and bless 
       
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run; 
   
To bend with apples the moss’d cottage-trees, 
       
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core; 
           
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells 
   
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more, 
       
And still more, later flowers for the bees, 
       
Until they think warm days will never cease, 
           
For Summer has o’er-brimm’d their clammy cells.

Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store? 
       
Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find 
   
Thee sitting careless on a granary floor, 
       
Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;

..... and now with treble soft 
       
The red-breast whistles from a garden-croft; 
           
And gathering swallows twitter in the skies."
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Alan Edward Roberts



Joined: 26 Nov 2008
Posts: 188
Location: Twickenham, London, UK

PostPosted: Thu Sep 13, 2012 6:46 am    Post subject: The teeming autumn, big with rich increase ... Reply with quote

Towards the end of summer and the summer break, and ahead of a new term, new year and new beginnings, some thoughts of Shakespeare on a time of absence ...

Sonnet 97

How like a winter hath my absence been 

From thee, the pleasure of the fleeting year! 

What freezings have I felt, what dark days seen! 

What old December's bareness every where! 

And yet this time removed was summer's time, 

The teeming autumn, big with rich increase, 

Bearing the wanton burden of the prime, 

Like widow'd wombs after their lords' decease: 

Yet this abundant issue seem'd to me 

But hope of orphans and unfather'd fruit; 

For summer and his pleasures wait on thee, 

And, thou away, the very birds are mute; 

Or, if they sing, 'tis with so dull a cheer 

That leaves look pale, dreading the winter's near.


Last edited by Alan Edward Roberts on Thu Oct 18, 2012 8:52 am; edited 1 time in total
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Alan Edward Roberts



Joined: 26 Nov 2008
Posts: 188
Location: Twickenham, London, UK

PostPosted: Thu Sep 27, 2012 9:17 am    Post subject: The wild duck startles like a sudden thought ... Reply with quote

An autumn sonnet by John Clare (1793-1864), the son of a Northamptonshire farm labourer and a keen observer of nature, mind and being:

Autumn Birds

The wild duck startles like a sudden thought,
And heron slow as if it might be caught.
The flopping crows on weary wings go by
And grey beard jackdaws noising as they fly.
The crowds of starnels whizz and hurry by,
And darken like a clod the evening sky.
The larks like thunder rise and suthy round,
Then drop and nestle in the stubble ground.
The wild swan hurries hight and noises loud
With white neck peering to the evening clowd.
The weary rooks to distant woods are gone.
With lengths of tail the magpie winnows on
To neighbouring tree, and leaves the distant crow
While small birds nestle in the edge below.


Last edited by Alan Edward Roberts on Thu Oct 18, 2012 8:52 am; edited 1 time in total
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Alan Edward Roberts



Joined: 26 Nov 2008
Posts: 188
Location: Twickenham, London, UK

PostPosted: Thu Oct 04, 2012 6:24 am    Post subject: Staying with autumn ... Reply with quote

This is W.B. Yeats on 59 autumn birds ...

The Wild Swans at Coole

The trees are in their autumn beauty,
The woodland paths are dry,
Under the October twilight the water
Mirrors a still sky;
Upon the brimming water among the stones
Are nine-and-fifty swans.

The nineteenth autumn has come upon me
Since I first made my count;
I saw, before I had well finished,
All suddenly mount
And scatter wheeling in great broken rings
Upon their clamorous wings.

I have looked upon those brilliant creatures,
And now my heart is sore.
All's changed since I, hearing at twilight,
The first time on this shore,
The bell-beat of their wings above my head,
Trod with a lighter tread.

Unwearied still, lover by lover,
They paddle in the cold
Companionable streams or climb the air;
Their hearts have not grown old;
Passion or conquest, wander where they will,
Attend upon them still.

But now they drift on the still water,
Mysterious, beautiful;
Among what rushes will they build,
By what lake's edge or pool
Delight men's eyes when I awake some day
To find they have flown away?
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Alan Edward Roberts



Joined: 26 Nov 2008
Posts: 188
Location: Twickenham, London, UK

PostPosted: Thu Oct 18, 2012 8:55 am    Post subject: I hear it in the deep heart’s core ... Reply with quote

On this forum - a new poem by John Guiney.

On this blog - a second poem by W B Yeats speaking of the call of the natural world ...

The Lake Isle of Innisfree

I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,

And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made:

Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honey-bee,

And live alone in the bee-loud glade.



And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,
Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;

There midnight's all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,

And evening full of the linnet's wings.



I will arise and go now, for always night and day

I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;

While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,

I hear it in the deep heart's core.


Last edited by Alan Edward Roberts on Tue Dec 10, 2013 1:22 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Alan Edward Roberts



Joined: 26 Nov 2008
Posts: 188
Location: Twickenham, London, UK

PostPosted: Thu Nov 01, 2012 10:17 am    Post subject: On All Saints' Day - "But to have nought is ours" Reply with quote

A sonnet by George Herbert:

The Hold-fast

I threaten'd to observe the strict decree
Of my dear God with all my power and might;
But I was told by one it could not be;
Yet I might trust in God to be my light.
"Then will I trust," said I, "in Him alone."
"Nay, e'en to trust in Him was also His:
We must confess that nothing is our own."
"Then I confess that He my succour is."
"But to have nought is ours, not to confess
That we have nought." I stood amaz'd at this,
Much troubled, till I heard a friend express
That all things were more ours by being His;
What Adam had, and forfeited for all,
Christ keepeth now, who cannot fail or fall.
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Alan Edward Roberts



Joined: 26 Nov 2008
Posts: 188
Location: Twickenham, London, UK

PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2012 8:25 am    Post subject: "O take fast hold ..." Reply with quote

A sonnet by Sir Philip Sidney (1554-1586):

Leave me, O Love, which reachest but to dust;
And thou, my mind, aspire to higher things;
Grow rich in that which never taketh rust;
Whatever fades but fading pleasure brings.
Draw in thy beams and humble all thy might
To that sweet yoke where lasting freedoms be;
Which breaks the clouds and opens forth the light,
That both doth shine and give us sight to see.

O take fast hold; let that light be thy guide
In this small course which birth draws out to death,
And think how evil becometh him to slide,
Who seeketh heav'n, and comes of heav'nly breath.
Then farewell, world; thy uttermost I see:
Eternal Love, maintain thy life in me.
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Alan Edward Roberts



Joined: 26 Nov 2008
Posts: 188
Location: Twickenham, London, UK

PostPosted: Thu Dec 06, 2012 8:57 am    Post subject: Turning all to gold ... Reply with quote

An "effective recipe" from George Herbert ...

The Elixir

      Teach me, my God and King,
         In all things Thee to see,
And what I do in anything
         To do it as for Thee.

         Not rudely, as a beast,
         To run into an action;
But still to make Thee prepossesed,
         And give it his perfection.

         A man that looks on glass,
         On it may stay his eye;
Or it he pleaseth, through it pass,
         And then the heav'n espy.

         All may of Thee partake:
         Nothing can be so mean,
Which with his tincture—"for Thy sake"—
         Will not grow bright and clean.

         A servant with this clause
         Makes drudgery divine:
Who sweeps a room as for Thy laws,
         Makes that and th' action fine.

         This is the famous stone
         That turneth all to gold;
For that which God doth touch and own
         Cannot for less be told.
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Alan Edward Roberts



Joined: 26 Nov 2008
Posts: 188
Location: Twickenham, London, UK

PostPosted: Mon Dec 17, 2012 1:44 pm    Post subject: At the heart of Advent (the time of waiting) ... Reply with quote

Christina Rosetti's

A Christmas Carol

In the bleak mid-winter 
 
Frosty wind made moan,

Earth stood hard as iron, 
 
Water like a stone;

Snow had fallen, snow on snow, 
 
Snow on snow,

In the bleak mid-winter
 
Long ago.

Our God, Heaven cannot hold Him 
 
Nor earth sustain;

Heaven and earth shall flee away
 
When He comes to reign:

In the bleak mid-winter 
 
A stable-place sufficed

The Lord God Almighty, 
 
Jesus Christ.

Enough for Him, whom cherubim 
 
Worship night and day,

A breastful of milk 
 
And a mangerful of hay;

Enough for Him, whom angels 
 
Fall down before,

The ox and ass and camel 
 
Which adore.

Angels and archangels 
 
May have gathered there,

Cherubim and seraphim 
 
Thronged the air,

But only His mother
 
In her maiden bliss,

Worshipped the Beloved 
 
With a kiss.

What can I give Him, 
 
Poor as I am?

If I were a shepherd
 
I would bring a lamb,

If I were a wise man
 
I would do my part,

Yet what I can I give Him, 
 
Give my heart.
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Alan Edward Roberts



Joined: 26 Nov 2008
Posts: 188
Location: Twickenham, London, UK

PostPosted: Thu Jan 03, 2013 8:23 am    Post subject: A Sonnet by John Clare for the New Year ... Reply with quote

Emmonsail’s Heath in Winter

I love to see the old heath's withered brake
Mingle its crimpled leaves with furze and ling,
While the old heron from the lonely lake
Starts slow and flaps his melancholy wing,
And oddling crow in idle motions swing
On the half rotten ashtree's topmost twig,
Beside whose trunk the gipsy makes his bed.
Up flies the bouncing woodcock from the brig
Where a black quagmire quakes beneath the tread,
The fieldfares chatter in the whistling thorn
And for the awe round fields and closen rove,
And coy bumbarrels twenty in a drove
Flit down the hedgerows in the frozen plain
And hang on little twigs and start again.
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Alan Edward Roberts



Joined: 26 Nov 2008
Posts: 188
Location: Twickenham, London, UK

PostPosted: Thu Jan 17, 2013 8:15 am    Post subject: Just a reminder ... Reply with quote

The Discovering Poetry and other Saturday morning classes (including those on Rumi and Shakespeare) start again this Saturday at Mandeville Place; see the SES home page for more detail.
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Alan Edward Roberts



Joined: 26 Nov 2008
Posts: 188
Location: Twickenham, London, UK

PostPosted: Sat Feb 02, 2013 8:31 am    Post subject: Quotations for Candlemas Reply with quote

Winter
slumbering in the open air
wears on his smiling face
a dream of spring


(S.T. Coleridge)

Only
God
can make a tree


(Joyce Kilmer)
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Alan Edward Roberts



Joined: 26 Nov 2008
Posts: 188
Location: Twickenham, London, UK

PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2013 9:31 am    Post subject: Shakespeare on Love Reply with quote

Sonnet 116

Let me not to the marriage of true minds

Admit impediments. Love is not love

Which alters when it alteration finds,

Or bends with the remover to remove:

O, no! it is an ever-fixed mark,

That looks on tempests and is never shaken;

It is the star to every wandering bark,

Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.

Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks

Within his bending sickle's compass come;

Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,

But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
      
If this be error and upon me proved,
     
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.
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Alan Edward Roberts



Joined: 26 Nov 2008
Posts: 188
Location: Twickenham, London, UK

PostPosted: Thu Feb 28, 2013 8:22 am    Post subject: With a passing reference to Hamlet ,,, Reply with quote

More from George Herbert ...

Giddiness

O, what a thing is man! How far from power,

From settled peace and rest!

He is some twenty sev’ral men at least

Each sev’ral hour.

One while he counts of heav’n, as of his treasure:

But then a thought creeps in,

And calls him coward, who for fear of sin

Will lose a pleasure.

Now he will fight it out, and to the wars;

Now eat his bread in peace,

And snudge in quiet: now he scorns increase;

Now all day spares.

He builds a house, which quickly down must go,

As if a whirlwind blew

And crushed the building: and it’s partly true,

His mind is so.

O what a sight were Man, if his attires

Did alter with his mind;

And like a Dolphin’s skin, his clothes combined

With his desires!

Surely, if each one saw another’s heart,

There would be no commerce,

No sale or bargain pass: all would disperse,

And live apart.

Lord, mend or rather make us: one creation

Will not suffice our turn:

Except thou make us daily, we shall spurn

Our own salvation.


Last edited by Alan Edward Roberts on Thu Mar 14, 2013 1:32 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Alan Edward Roberts



Joined: 26 Nov 2008
Posts: 188
Location: Twickenham, London, UK

PostPosted: Thu Mar 14, 2013 10:49 am    Post subject: Moderation Reply with quote

I have now been moderating this Forum for just over one year.

In the first post of this Topic or thread I prayed "May we enlarge our circles", and with each meeting between an open mind and a poem (the representation of the place of the heart) there is the opportunity to do just that.

This week I have added posts on the Sonnet and on Alexander Pope's view of Man, which I hope may encourage the relevant Topics to develop into places of meeting and discussion.

Ahead of the coming spring (we hope!) and of a second year of moderation, I include here the Sonnet-like "Richmond Park", a lovely recent addition to "The Poems of John Stewart" thread on this Forum.

The poem conveys to me a sense of promise and of the wisdom to be discovered in being without preference, but as with all good poetry, it is not to be hemmed in by prose "meaning".

Richmond Park

The air was cold. There was little doubt of that.
Yet the Sun’s light seemed to lend a softness to the scene.
An early herald of the coming Spring perhaps,
Or maybe just the hopeful cast of human expectation?
For the ground was bleak: a lifeless devastation being prevalent.
Again, persistent heavy rain had fathered shallow lakes,
Yet, despite all this, there was a presence and a smile of promise.
Like the swarming of an army, the Deer had gathered and were on the move.
Proud, majestic came the leaders, their antlers high:
There were seven, maybe more in singles file.
Then came their wives and children.
Did they sense the promise?
Maybe they’re tuned to senses that we’ve long neglected.
There is no place to park. So frustrated and, with cars behind and to the front,
My aged Rover soldiers on towards Sheen gate.
Outside the park the light still lends its charm.
It has, of course, no preference, no special place to shine.

..... John Stewart (20th February 2013)
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