Poetry – December

Tis done! Dread Winter spreads his latest glooms,
And reigns tremendous o’er the conquered year.
How dead the vegetable kingdom lies!
How dumb the tuneful! Horror wide extends
His desolate domain. Behold fond man!
See here thy pictured life: pass some few years,
Thy flowering spring, thy summer’s ardent strength,
Thy sober autumn fading into age,
And pale concluding winter comes at last.

— George Thompson Hutchinson

Poetry – A Recollection

My father’s friend came once to tea.
He laughed and talked. He spoke to me.
But in another week they said
That friendly pink-faced man was dead.

“How sad . .” they said, “the best of men . .”
So I said too, “How sad”; but then
Deep in my heart I thought with pride,
“I know a person who has died.”

— Frances Cornford

Poetry – Invictus

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate,
I am the captain of my soul.

— William Ernest Henley

Poetry – The Watch

I wakened on my hot, hard bed;
Upon the pillow lay my head;
Beneath the pillow I could hear
My little watch was ticking clear.
I thought the throbbing of it went
Like my continual discontent;
I thought it said in every tick:
I am so sick, so sick, so sick;
O death, come quick, come quick, come quick,
Come quick, come quick, come quick, come quick.

— Frances Darwin Cornford

Poetry – In Dorset

From muddy road to muddy lane
I plodded through the falling rain;
For miles and miles was nothing there
But mist, and mud, and hedges bare.

At length approaching I espied
Two gipsy women side by side;
They turned their faces broad and bold
And brown and freshened by the cold,
And stared at me in gipsy wise
With shrewd, unfriendly, savage eyes.

No word they said, no more dared I;
And so we passed each other by—
The only living things that met
In all those miles of mist and wet.

— Frances Darwin Cornford

Poetry – A Wasted Day

I spoiled the day;
Hotly, in haste,
All the calm hours
I gashed and defaced.

Let me forget,
Let me embark
—Sleep for my boat—
And sail through the dark.

Till a new day
Heaven shall send,
Whole as an apple,
Kind as a friend.

— Frances Darwin Cornford

Poetry – As Time Glides On

I wear not the purple of earth-born kings,
Nor the stately ermine of lordly things;
But monarch and courtier though great they be,
Must fall from their glory, and bend to me.
My sceptre is gemless; yet who can say
They will not come under its mighty sway?
Ye may learn who I am,—there’s the passing chime
And the dial to herald me—Old King Time!

— Eliza Cook