Poetry – Winter Rain

Every valley drinks,
Every dell and hollow:
Where the kind rain sinks and sinks,
Green of Spring will follow.

Yet a lapse of weeks
Buds will burst their edges,
Strip their wool-coats, glue-coats, streaks,
In the woods and hedges;

Weave a bower of love
For birds to meet each other,
Weave a canopy above
Nest and egg and mother.

But for fattening rain
We should have no flowers,
Never a bud or leaf again
But for soaking showers;

Never a mated bird
In the rocking tree-tops,
Never indeed a flock or herd
To graze upon the lea-crops.

Lambs so woolly white,
Sheep the sun-bright leas on,
They could have no grass to bite
But for rain in season.

We should find no moss
In the shadiest places,
Find no waving meadow-grass
Pied with broad-eyed daisies;

But miles of barren sand,
With never a son or daughter,
Not a lily on the land,
Or lily on the water.

— Christina G. Rossetti

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Poetry – HISTORY OF THE CRIES OF LONDON

Here’s fine rosemary, sage and thyme.
Come, buy my ground ivy.
Here’s featherfew, gilliflowers, and rue.
Come, buy my knotted marjoram, ho!
Come, buy my mint, my fine green mint.
Here’s fine lavender for your cloaths,
Here’s parsley and winter savory,
And heartsease which all do choose.
Here’s balm and hyssop and cinquefoil,
All fine herbs it is well known.
Let none despise the merry, merry cries
Of famous London Town.

Here’s pennyroyal and marygolds.
Come, buy my nettle-tops.
Here’s water-cresses and scurvy grass,
Come buy my sage of virtue, ho!
Come, buy my wormwood and mugworts.
Here’s all fine herbs of every sort.
Here’s southernwood that’s very good.
Dandelion and houseleek.
Here’s dragon’s tongue and wood sorrel,
With bear’s-foot and horehound.
Let none despise the merry, merry cries
Of famous London Town.

— Roxburghe Ballads

Poetry – The Unwritten

Inside this pencil
couch words that have
never been written
never been spoken
never been thought
they’re hiding.

— W. S. Merwin

Poetry – Catchtraps

we knew the words before we knew their meaning
who asked so many whys while still in weaning

how many pitfalls marked with skull and crossbones
to outwit those who lay beneath the moss stones

then set about to verify the answers
seeking in us the cause of others’ cancers

so found ourselves new victims of time’s catchtraps
and now must moan and curse until the latch snaps

— Elizabeth Bartlet

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Poetry – Swallows Return

o spring thaw out my winter’s chill
so cold I might be buried still
beneath the snow

long years I lay as one whose night
strong arms had banished from the light
to mute my song

now wake me from oblivion
bow down and lift me to the sun
like earth to plow

prepare for me some green retreat
enough for summer to complete
its ecstasy

let autumn shake its leaves at me
set laughter whirling from each tree
and I forget

then should my winter come at last
when darkened shadows overcast
the fields of men

I’ll gladly say goodbye and go
while memories warm me with their glow
across the stile

for every year my dust shall rise
o’er mud and rust to welcome skies
where swallows soar

— Elizabeth Bartlet

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Poetry – THE BONNY RED HECKLE

Away frae the smoke an’ the smother,
Away frae the crush o’ the thrang!
Away frae the labour an’ pother
That have fettered our freedom sae lang!
For the May’s i’ full bloom i’ the hedges
And the laverock’s aloft i’ the blue,
An’ the south wind sings low i’ the sedges,
By haughs that are silvery wi’ dew.
Up, angler, off wi’ each shackle!
Up, gad and gaff, and awa’!
Cry ‘Hurrah for the canny red heckle,
The heckle that tackled them a’!’


Then back to the smoke and the smother,
The uproar and crush o’ the thrang;
An’ back to the labour and pother,
But happy and hearty and strang.
Wi’ a braw light o’ mountain and muirland,
Outflashing frae forehead and e’e,
Wi’ a blessing flung back to the norland,
An’ a thousand, dear Coquet, to thee!
As again we resume the old shackle,
Our gad an’ our gaff stowed awa’,
An’—goodbye to the canny ‘red heckle,’
The heckle that tackled them a’!’

— Thomas Westwood

Poetry – THE BROOK TROUT’S HOME

“I am Salmo fontinalis.
To the sparkling fountain born;
And my home is where oxalis.
Heather bell and rose adorn
The crystal basin in the dell
(Undine the wood-nymph knows it well):
That is where I love to dwell.
There was I baptized and christened,
‘Neath the somber aisles of oak;
Mute the cascade paused and listened.
Never a word the brooklet spoke;
Bobolink was witness then.
Likewise grosbeak, linnet, wren—
And all the fairies joined “amen!”
Thus as Salmo fontinalis
Recognized the wide world o’er.
In my limpid crystal palace.
Content withal, I ask no more.
Leaping through the rainbow spray.
Snatching flies the livelong day.
Naught to do but eat and play.”

— Charles Hallock.