bardachd: (Default)
2014-03-03 08:56 pm
Entry tags:

The Queen's Marie

Marie Hamilton 's to the kirk gane,
Wi' ribbons in her hair;
The King thought mair o' Marie Hamilton
Than ony that were there.

Marie Hamilton 's to the kirk gane
Wi' ribbons on her breast;
The King thought mair o' Marie Hamilton
Than he listen'd to the priest.

Marie Hamilton 's to the kirk gane,
Wi' gloves upon her hands;
The King thought mair o' Marie Hamilton
Than the Queen and a' her lands.

She hadna been about the King's court
A month, but barely one,
Till she was beloved by a' the King's court
And the King the only man.

She hadna been about the King's court
A month, but barely three,
Till frae the King's court Marie Hamilton,
Marie Hamilton durstna be.

The King is to the Abbey gane,
To pu' the Abbey tree,
To scale the babe frae Marie's heart;
But the thing it wadna be.

O she has row'd it in her apron,
And set it on the sea—
'Gae sink ye or swim ye, bonny babe,
Ye'se get nae mair o' me.'

Word is to the kitchen gane,
And word is to the ha',
And word is to the noble room
Amang the ladies a',
That Marie Hamilton 's brought to bed,
And the bonny babe 's miss'd and awa'.

Scarcely had she lain down again,
And scarcely fa'en asleep,
When up and started our gude Queen
Just at her bed-feet;
Saying—'Marie Hamilton, where 's your babe?
For I am sure I heard it greet.'

'O no, O no, my noble Queen!
Think no sic thing to be;
'Twas but a stitch into my side,
And sair it troubles me!'

'Get up, get up, Marie Hamilton:
Get up and follow me;
For I am going to Edinburgh town,
A rich wedding for to see.'

O slowly, slowly rase she up,
And slowly put she on;
And slowly rade she out the way
Wi' mony a weary groan.

The Queen was clad in scarlet,
Her merry maids all in green;
And every town that they cam to,
They took Marie for the Queen.

'Ride hooly, hooly, gentlemen,
Ride hooly now wi' me!
For never, I am sure, a wearier burd
Rade in your companie.'—

But little wist Marie Hamilton,
When she rade on the brown,
That she was gaen to Edinburgh town,
And a' to be put down.

'Why weep ye so, ye burgess wives,
Why look ye so on me?
O I am going to Edinburgh town,
A rich wedding to see.'

When she gaed up the tolbooth stairs,
The corks frae her heels did flee;
And lang or e'er she cam down again,
She was condemn'd to die.

When she cam to the Netherbow port,
She laugh'd loud laughters three;
But when she came to the gallows foot
The tears blinded her e'e.

'Yestreen the Queen had four Maries,
The night she'll hae but three;
There was Marie Seaton, and Marie Beaton,
And Marie Carmichael, and me.

'O often have I dress'd my Queen
And put gowd upon her hair;
But now I've gotten for my reward
The gallows to be my share.

'Often have I dress'd my Queen
And often made her bed;
But now I've gotten for my reward
The gallows tree to tread.

'I charge ye all, ye mariners,
When ye sail owre the faem,
Let neither my father nor mother get wit
But that I'm coming hame.

'I charge ye all, ye mariners,
That sail upon the sea,
That neither my father nor mother get wit
The dog's death I'm to die.

'For if my father and mother got wit,
And my bold brethren three,
O mickle wad be the gude red blude
This day wad be spilt for me!

'O little did my mother ken,
The day she cradled me,
The lands I was to travel in
Or the death I was to die!
bardachd: (Default)
2014-02-04 08:14 pm
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Sometimes A Wild God - Tom Hiron

Sometimes a wild god comes to the table.
He is awkward and does not know the ways
Of porcelain, of fork and mustard and silver.
His voice turns wine into vinegar.

When he arrives at the door,
You will probably fear him.
He reminds you of something dark
That you might have dreamt,
Or the secret you do not wish to be shared.

He will not ring the doorbell;
Instead he scrapes at the door
With his bloody hands,
Though there are primroses
Growing about his feet.

You do not want to let him in.
You are very busy.
It is late, or early, and besides…
You cannot look at him straight
Because he makes you want to cry.

The dog barks.
The wild god smiles,
Holds out his hand.
The dog licks his wounds
And leads him inside.

The wild god stands in your kitchen.
Ivy is taking over your sideboard;
Mistletoe has moved into the lampshades
And wrens are beginning to sing
An ancient song in the mouth of your kettle.

'I haven't much,' you say
And give him the worst of your food.
He sits at the table, bleeding.
He coughs up foxes.
There are moles in his eyes.

When your wife calls down,
You close the door and
Tell her it’s fine.
You will not let her see
The strange guest at your table.

The wild god asks for whiskey
And you pour a glass for him,
Then a glass for yourself.
Three snakes are beginning to nest
In your voicebox. You cough.

Oh, limitless space.
Oh, eternal mystery.
Oh, endless cycles of death and birth.
Oh, miracle of life.
Oh, the wondrous dance of it all.

You cough again,
Evict the snakes and
Water down the whiskey,
Wondering how you got so old
And where it all went to.

The wild god reaches into a bag
Made of otters and red nightingales.
He pulls out a two-reeded pipe,
Raises an eyebrow
And all the birds begin to sing.

The fox leaps into your eyes.
The moles rush from the darkness.
The snakes pour through your body.
Your dog howls and upstairs
Your wife both exhalts and weeps at once.

The wild god dances with your dog.
You dance with the sparrows.
A white stag pulls up a stool
And bellows hymns to old enchantments.
A pelican leaps from chair to chair.

In the distance, warriors pour from their tombs.
Ancient gold grows like grass in the fields.
Everyone dreams the words to long-forgotten songs.
The hills echo and the great grey stones ring
With laughter and madness and the pain and joy of living.

In the middle of the dance,
The house takes off from the ground.
Clouds climb through the windows;
Lightning pounds his fists on the table.
The moon leans in through the window, smiling.

The wild god points to your side.
You are bleeding heavily.
You have been bleeding for a long time,
Possibly since you were born.
There is a bear in the wound.

'Why did you leave me to die?'
Asks the wild god and you say:
‘I was busy surviving.
The shops were all closed;
I didn’t know how. I’m sorry.’

Listen to them:

The fox in your neck and
The snakes in your arms and
The wren and the sparrow and the deer…
The great un-nameable beasts
In your liver and your kidneys and your heart…

There is a symphony of howling.
A cacophony of dissent.
The wild god nods his head and
You wake on the floor holding a knife,
A bottle and a handful of black fur.

Your dog is asleep on the table.
Your wife is stirring, far above.
Your cheeks are wet with tears;
Your mouth aches from laughter or shouting.
A black bear is sitting by the fire.

Sometimes a wild god comes to the table.
He is awkward and does not know the ways
Of porcelain, of fork and mustard and silver.
His voice turns wine into vinegar
And death to life in return.
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2014-02-04 08:13 pm
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Persephone Writes to Her Mother - Tara Mae Mulroy

Mother, he is a gentleman.
He is a builder with bricks of moonlight.
He knows the secret places of the earth.
He washes the sleep from the eyes of the souls.
He lets them look on beauty.
He lets them tell him they hate him.
In the mornings, I gather berries and apples.
I scrub his back with rind.
I weave spider-spit, eyelash.
He talks in his sleep: pudding, fire, discus,
the things he misses.
He breathes, Your body is my orchard.
I am undulating grass.
I am a field of wheat he parts with his fingers.
Poppies bloom in my veins.
When he kisses me, he tastes pomegranate.
The night crawls nearer.
The moans of the dead roll and swell.
Mother, we are well.
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2013-07-04 11:05 am

Sheenagh Pugh - Sometimes

“Sometimes things don’t go, after all,
from bad to worse. Some years, muscadel
faces down frost; green thrives; the crops don’t fail.
Sometimes a man aims high, and all goes well.
A people sometimes will step back from war,
elect an honest man, decide they care
enough, that they can’t leave some stranger poor.
Some men become what they were born for.

Sometimes our best intentions do not go
amiss; sometimes we do as we meant to.
The sun will sometimes melt a field of sorrow
that seemed hard frozen; may it happen for you.”
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2013-06-14 07:42 pm
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Letter to Snyder from Montana - Richard Hugo

Dear Gary: As soon as you’d gone winter snapped shut again

on Missoula. Right now snow from the east and last night

cold enough to arrest the melting of ice. My favorite

bouncer, wind, stopped throwing clouds out of the joint for being

too gloomy. In short, you’re gone and we’ve gone back to being

a small dreary city. Some of your grace hangs on. I still

have a date with that round pink girl. For her I have evil plans.

I am rubbing my hands like a monster. I am planning trips

to remote lakes in spring. I know it’s not modern to think

of seduction as evil, but damn it that makes it more fun

and the more fun it is the more often I’ll do it, I hope.

Students still buzz about your reading. Those who had turned you

into a god were happy to find you human. I should

have warned them. Should have also warned all western Montana,

a warm force in coming. Snows will run off. The rivers

will scream and crack their banks. Winter will take a breather.

Speaking of love being fun, you never in your remarks

mentioned those two minute male orgasms perfected

in India by, if I have it right, the mystics. Why not?

Nor did you bring up those ancient Chinese techniques

or tortuous titillation. Remember, forests and land

(for me especially, fish) are not all that’s worth saving.

There’s also loving. Shit. Why tell you? You preserve that

every day without trying. But of course you’re not here.

Last night, 20 below. A mass of tall arctic air

stands over us like a cruel father, though the weather now

is really a mother and this mother may go on forever.

What it needs, what we need, I, is another visit

from Snyder. For that, the glaciers are waiting, and bears

(for you especially, fish) and the green flaring pageant

of sky mating with hills. This letter was found wadded up

in a bum in the tundra who sends his warmest regards. Dick

over their behinds, and a friendly bar, a table where

we can talk. Think about it. Say yes. Be nice. Love. Dick.
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2013-05-04 11:56 pm
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(no subject)

To Die at the Springs of El-Hamma

Down into the fichus boulevards at the springs of El-Hamma
come the starlings, trembling then landing.
The water is hot at the springs of El-Hamma,
Yet night is more hostile than day.
Layers of sand on those who landed before:
Layers of sand cover their faces,
The water is dead at the springs of El-Hamma.
From great distances come the starlings
Beating to these death-ponds: always they come.
Who sends these birds to end
In the booby-trapped springs of El-Hamma?
They fly so urgently, with no chance or time,
No time for life and no chance to learn
If someone expects their return.
The starlings are flying in to die in the seducer
Springs of El-Hamma, poisoned by the salt.
Fowl can’t stop the soldiers, for their faces
Are pointed into the earth. Oh, how easy it is
To finish as a starling, and not as a soldier.

by Elisha Porat
Translated from the Hebrew by the author and Ward Kelley
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2013-04-02 11:03 pm
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(no subject)

Me Imperturbe - Walt Whitman


Me imperturbe, standing at ease in Nature,
Master of all, or mistress of all—aplomb in the midst of irrational things,
Imbued as they—passive, receptive, silent as they,
Finding my occupation, poverty, notoriety, foibles, crimes, less important than I thought;
Me private, or public, or menial, or solitary—all these subordinate, (I am eternally equal with the best—I am not subordinate;)
Me toward the Mexican Sea, or in the Mannahatta, or the Tennessee, or far north, or inland,
A river man, or a man of the woods, or of any farm-life in These States, or of the coast, or the lakes, or Kanada,
Me, wherever my life is lived, O to be self-balanced for contingencies!
O to confront night, storms, hunger, ridicule, accidents, rebuffs, as the trees and animals do.
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2013-04-02 11:00 pm
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(no subject)

The Wild Geese
by Mary Oliver

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting --
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.
bardachd: (Default)
2013-02-27 09:24 am
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(no subject)

Féġaiḋ úaiḃ
sair fo thúaiḋ
in muir múaiḋ
mílach;
aḋḃa rón
reḃach, rán,
ro-gaḃ lán
línad.

Look, there rides-
northeast glides
torrent tides
teeming;
home of seals,
wanton whales
flood-tide gales,
gleaning.


Trans. Lehmann
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2013-01-12 12:40 am

Y Gododdin VI-XIV trans Sian Echard

[VI - XIV]

Gwyr a aeth ododin chwerthin ognaw.
chwerw en trin a llain en emdullyaw.
byrr vlyned en hed yd ynt endaw.
mab botgat gwnaeth gwynnyeith gwreith
e law.
ket elwynt e lanneu e benydyaw.
a hen a yeueing a hydyr a llaw.
dadyl diheu angheu y eu treidaw.Read more... )


Men went to Gododdin, laughter-inciting,
Bitter in battle, with blades set for war.
Brief the year they were at peace.
The son of Bodgad, by the deeds of his hand
did slaughter.
Though they went to churches to do penance,
The young, the old, the lowly, the strong,
True is the tale, death oer’took them.

Men went to Gododdin, with eager laughter,
Attacking in an army, cruel in battle,
They slew with swords without much sound
Rheithfyw, pillar of battle, took pleasure in giving.

Men went to Catraeth, swift was their host.
Fresh mead was their feast, their poison too.
Three hundred waging war, under command,
And after joy, there was silence.
Though they went to churches to do penance,
True is the tale, death oer’took them.

Men went to Catraeth, mead-nourished,
Sturdy and strong, it would be wrong should I not praise them.
Amid blood-red blades in dark-blue sockets,
The war-hounds fought fiercely, tight formation.
Of the war-band of Brennych, I would have thought it a burden,
to leave any in the shape of a man alive.
A friend I have lost; faithful I was.
Swift in the struggle, it grieves me to leave him.
The brave one desired no father-in-law’s dowry,
The son of Cian from Maen Gwyngwn.Read more... )
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2013-01-12 12:25 am
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For the Stay-At-Home Wife - Eleanor Lerman

For the Stay-At-Home Wife - Eleanor Lerman

While I am dressing, dream. While I collect my papers
and my courage, stay behind the bright tide of the dawn
and watch the stars wash up like shells upon the shore
Be safe. Be fearless in the silence. Protect the space
where I should be

And then in green fields, golden fields ribboned with
flowers, go through the open gate. There will be no
wind; the warmth alone will heal you. Ribbons of
light, ribbons of clouds: all this is for you. Stay close
to home. Stay within the loving circle. Far away,
I will write your name between the sun and shadow
on each page I sign

And when the twilight creeps into the house
with its sad eyes, turn on the lamp. Sit in the chair.
The key is in my pocket and I am coming home
with the news that everything you’ve lost
remembers you. In time, messages will turn up
in literature and science; in the way the moon
thinks of you when it lingers in the morning, wanting
to wait just one more hour before it is compelled
to climb back into the dark
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2013-01-12 12:21 am
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Them and [uz] - Tony Harrison

Them and [uz] - Tony Harrison

for Professors Richard Hoggart & Leon Cortez

ai, ai, ay, ay ... stutterer Demosthenes
gob full of pebbles outshouting seas-

4 words only of mi 'art aches and ... 'Mine's broken,
you barbarian, T.W.!' He was nicely spoken.
'Can't have our glorious heritage done to death!'

I played the Drunken Porter in Macbeth.

'Poetry's the speech of kings. You're one of those
Shakespeare gives the comic bits to: prose!
All poetry (even Cockney Keats?) you see
's been dubbed by [Ls] into RP,
Received Pronunciation, please believe (Ls)
your speech is in the hands of the Receivers.'

We say ‘(Ls) not [uz], T.W.!’ That shut my trap.
I doffed my flat a's (as in ‘Flat cap’)
my mouth all stuffed with glottals, great
lumps to hawk up and spit out ... E-nun-ci-ate!

- Tony Harrison
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2013-01-12 12:02 am
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Waiting for the Barbarians - CP Cavafy

Waiting for the Barbarians - CP Cavafy


What are we waiting for, assembled in the forum?

The barbarians are due here today.


Why isn’t anything happening in the senate?
Why do the senators sit there without legislating?

Because the barbarians are coming today.
What laws can the senators make now?
Once the barbarians are here, they’ll do the legislating.


Why did our emperor get up so early,
and why is he sitting at the city’s main gate
on his throne, in state, wearing the crown?

Because the barbarians are coming today
and the emperor is waiting to receive their leader.
He has even prepared a scroll to give him,
replete with titles, with imposing names.


Why have our two consuls and praetors come out today
wearing their embroidered, their scarlet togas?
Why have they put on bracelets with so many amethysts,
and rings sparkling with magnificent emeralds?
Why are they carrying elegant canes
beautifully worked in silver and gold?

Because the barbarians are coming today
and things like that dazzle the barbarians.


Why don’t our distinguished orators come forward as usual
to make their speeches, say what they have to say?

Because the barbarians are coming today
and they’re bored by rhetoric and public speaking.


Why this sudden restlessness, this confusion?
(How serious people’s faces have become.)
Why are the streets and squares emptying so rapidly,
everyone going home so lost in thought?

Because night has fallen and the barbarians have not come.
And some who have just returned from the border say
there are no barbarians any longer.


And now, what’s going to happen to us without barbarians?
They were, those people, a kind of solution.


Translated by Edmund Keeley/Philip Sherrard
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2013-01-11 11:50 pm
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And Death Shall Have No Dominion- Dylan Thomas

And Death Shall Have No Dominion - Dylan Thomas

And death shall have no dominion.
Dead man naked they shall be one
With the man in the wind and the west moon;
When their bones are picked clean and the clean bones gone,
They shall have stars at elbow and foot;
Though they go mad they shall be sane,
Though they sink through the sea they shall rise again;
Though lovers be lost love shall not;
And death shall have no dominion.

And death shall have no dominion.
Under the windings of the sea
They lying long shall not die windily;
Twisting on racks when sinews give way,
Strapped to a wheel, yet they shall not break;
Faith in their hands shall snap in two,
And the unicorn evils run them through;
Split all ends up they shan't crack;
And death shall have no dominion.

And death shall have no dominion.
No more may gulls cry at their ears
Or waves break loud on the seashores;
Where blew a flower may a flower no more
Lift its head to the blows of the rain;
Though they be mad and dead as nails,
Heads of the characters hammer through daisies;
Break in the sun till the sun breaks down,
And death shall have no dominion.
Dylan Thomas
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2013-01-11 11:45 pm
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The Poet Goes About Her Business - Linda Gregg

The Poet Goes About Her Business
BY LINDA GREGG
for Michele (1966-1972)

Michele has become another dead little girl. An easy poem.
Instant Praxitelean. Instant seventy-five year old photograph
of my grandmother when she was a young woman with shadows
I imagine were blue around her eyes. The beauty of it.
Such guarded sweetness. What a greed of bruised gardenias.
Oh Christ, whose name rips silk, I have seen raw cypresses
so dark the mind comes to them without color.
Dark on the Greek hillside. Dark, volcanic, dry and stone.
Where the oldest women of the world are standing dressed in black
up in the branches of fig trees in the gorge
knocking with as much quickness as their weakness will allow.
Weakness which my heart must not confuse with tenderness.
And on the other side of the island a woman
walks up the path with a burden of leaves on her head,
guiding the goats with sounds she makes up,
and then makes up again. The other darkness is easy:
the men in the dreams who come in together to me with knives.
There are so many traps, and many look courageous.
The body goes into such raptures of obedience.
But the huge stones on the desert resemble
nobody’s mother. I remember the snake.
After its skin had been cut away, and it was dropped
it started to move across the clearing.
Making its beautiful waving motion.
It was all meat and bone. Pretty soon it was covered with dust.
It seemed to know exactly where it wanted to go.
Toward any dark trees.
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2013-01-11 10:29 pm
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Wild Rock - Ted Hughes

Tamed rock.
Millstone-grit - a soul-grinding sandstone.

Roof-of-the-world-ridge wind
And rain, and rain.

Heaven - the face of a quarry.
Oak-leaves of hammered copper, as in Cranach.

Grass growing on acid.

Wind. Cold. A permanent weight
To be braced under. And rain.

A people fixed
Staring at fleeces, blown like blown flames.

A people converting their stony ideas
To woollen weave, thick worsteds, dense fustians

Between their bones and the four trembling quarters.
bardachd: (Default)
2013-01-07 07:42 pm
Entry tags:

"Music Is in the Piano Only When It Is Played," by Jack Gilbert

We are not one with this world. We are not
the complexity our body is, nor the summer air
idling in the big maple without purpose.
We are a shape the wind makes in these leaves
as it passes through. We are not the wood
any more than the fire, but the heat which is a marriage
between the two. We are certainly not the lake
nor the fish in it, but the something that is
pleased by them. We are the stillness when
a mighty Mediterranean noon subtracts even the voices
of insects by the broken farmhouse. We are evident
when the orchestra plays, and yet are not part
of the strings or brass. Like the song that exists
only in the singing, and is not the singer.
God does not live among the church bells,
but is briefly resident there. We are occasional
like that. A lifetime of easy happiness mixed
with pain and loss, trying always to name and hold
on to the enterprise under way in our chest.
Reality is not what we marry as a feeling. It is what
walks up the dirt path, through the excessive heat
and giant sky, the sea stretching away.
He continues past the nunnery to the old villa
where he will sit on the terrace with her, their sides
touching. In the quiet that is the music of that place,
which is the difference between silence and windlessness.
bardachd: (Default)
2012-11-27 12:37 am

(no subject)

An Lon Dubh

Int én bec
ro léic feit
do rind guip
glanbuidi;
fo-cheird faíd
os Loch Laíg
lon do chraíb
charnbuidi.


Blackbird at Belfast Lough

The wee bird
has let out a whistle
from the point of a beak
bright yellow;
it sends out a call
above Loch Laig
a blackbird from a branch
yellow-heaped
bardachd: (Default)
2012-11-27 12:29 am

Tessa Ransford, "August 3rd"

August 3rd

The hill is tossing high, frail wisps of
rosy cloud to glide in steady gale
along a turquoise sky, around, above the
perpendicular and slightly askew columns,
above the triangular gap
between crown and crag.

The moon, full at midnight,
is now high and faded
almost a lazy eyelid:
day’s eye opening
or night’s eye closing.

Birds chase and ride the wind
reeling, wheeling,
aware that in a moment
ordinary flight of day will have to be resumed.

The hawk alone is steady,
keeps position despite the gale
to pinpoint a victim

and far below
grasses tinge in flower:
harebell, yarrow, lady’s yellow bedstraw
Among the rangy thistles and fatted doves.

-Tessa Ransford, "August 3rd"


(Arthur's seat)
bardachd: (Default)
2012-11-27 12:23 am

(no subject)

Weeping, my little one? There, there.
You cannot know what waits for you.
- How will it be? Falling down - down - all broken -
And none to pity.
Kiss me. Never again. Come closer, closer.
Your mother who bore you - put your arms around my neck.
Now kiss me, lips to lips.

-Euripides, "The Trojan Women"