To-Day, This Insect – Dylan Thomas

To-day, this insect, and the world I breathe,
Now that my symbols have outelbowed space,
Time at the city spectacles, and half
The dear, daft time I take to nudge the sentence,
In trust and tale I have divided sense,
Slapped down the guillotine, the blood-red double
Of head and tail made witnesses to this
Murder of Eden and green genesis.

The insect certain is the plague of fables.

This story’s monster has a serpent caul,
Blind in the coil scrams round the blazing outline,
Measures his own length on the garden wall
And breaks his shell in the last shocked beginning;
A crocodile before the chrysalis,
Before the fall from love the flying heartbone,
Winged like a sabbath ass this children’s piece
Uncredited blows Jericho on Eden.

The insect fable is the certain promise.

Death: death of Hamlet and the nightmare madmen,
An air-drawn windmill on a wooden horse,
John’s beast, Job’s patience, and the fibs of vision,
Greek in the Irish sea the ageless voice:
‘Adam I love, my madmen’s love is endless,
No tell-tale lover has an end more certain,
All legends’ sweethearts on a tree of stories,
My cross of tales behind the fabulous curtain.’

Comfort – Elizabeth Barrett Browning

SPEAK low to me, my Saviour, low and sweet
From out the hallelujahs, sweet and low
Lest I should fear and fall, and miss Thee so
Who art not missed by any that entreat.
Speak to mo as to Mary at thy feet !
And if no precious gums my hands bestow,
Let my tears drop like amber while I go
In reach of thy divinest voice complete
In humanest affection — thus, in sooth,
To lose the sense of losing. As a child,
Whose song-bird seeks the wood for evermore
Is sung to in its stead by mother’s mouth
Till, sinking on her breast, love-reconciled,
He sleeps the faster that he wept before.

The Choice – Dante Gabriel Rossetti

Think thou and act; to-morrow thou shalt die.
Outstretch’d in the sun’s warmth upon the shore,
Thou say’st: ‘Man’s measured path is all gone o’er:
Up all his years, steeply, with strain and sigh,
Man clomb until he touch’d the truth; and I,
Even I, am he whom it was destined for.’
How should this be? Art thou then so much more
Than they who sow’d, that thou shouldst reap thereby?

Nay, come up hither. From this wave-wash’d mound
Unto the furthest flood-brim look with me;
Then reach on with thy thought till it be drown’d.
Miles and miles distant though the last line be,
And though thy soul sail leagues and leagues beyond,—
Still, leagues beyond those leagues, there is more sea.

California Winter – Karl Shapiro

It is winter in California, and outside
Is like the interior of a florist shop: 
A chilled and moisture-laden crop
Of pink camellias lines the path; and what
Rare roses for a banquet or a bride, 
So multitudinous that they seem a glut! 

A line of snails crosses the golf-green lawn
From the rosebushes to the ivy bed; 
An arsenic compound is distributed
For them. The gardener will rake up the shells
And leave in a corner of the patio
The little mound of empty shells, like skulls.

By noon the fog is burnt off by the sun
And the world’s immensest sky opens a page
For the exercise of a future age; 
Now jet planes draw straight lines, parabolas, 
And x’s, which the wind, before they’re done, 
Erases leisurely or pulls to fuzz.

It is winter in the valley of the vine.
The vineyards crucified on stakes suggest
War cemeteries, but the fruit is pressed, 
The redwood vats are brimming in the shed, 
And on the sidings stand tank cars of wine, 
For which bright juice a billion grapes have bled.

And skiers from the snow line driving home
Descend through almond orchards, olive farms.
Fig tree and palm tree – everything that warms
The imagination of the wintertime.
If the walls were older one would think of Rome: 
If the land were stonier one would think of Spain.

But this land grows the oldest living things, 
Trees that were young when Pharoahs ruled the world, 
Trees whose new leaves are only just unfurled.
Beautiful they are not; they oppress the heart
With gigantism and with immortal wings; 
And yet one feels the sumptuousness of this dirt.

It is raining in California, a straight rain
Cleaning the heavy oranges on the bough, 
Filling the gardens till the gardens flow, 
Shining the olives, tiling the gleaming tile, 
Waxing the dark camellia leaves more green, 
Flooding the daylong valleys like the Nile. 

On Time – John Milton

Fly, envious Time, till thou run out thy race,
Call on the lazy leaden-stepping hours,
Whose speed is but the heavy plummet’s pace;
And glut thyself with what thy womb devours,
Which is no more than what is false and vain,
And merely mortal dross;
So little is our loss,
So little is thy gain.
For when as each thing bad thou hast intombed,
And last of all thy greedy self consumed,
Then long Eternity shall greet our bliss
With an individual kiss,
And Joy shall overtake us like a flood;
When everything that is sincerely good
And perfectly divine,
With truth and peace, and love, shall ever shine
About the supreme throne
Of Him, t’ whose happy-making sight alone
When once our heav’nly-guided soul shall climb,
Then, all this earthly grossness quit,
Attired with stars, we shall forever sit,
Triumphing over Death, and Chance, and thee, O Time. 

The Final Painting – Lee Harwood

The white cloud passed over the land
there is sea always round the land
the sky is blue always above the cloud
the cloud in the blue continues to move
– nothing is limited by the canvas or frame –
the white cloud can be pictured like any
other clouds or like a fist of wool
or a white fur rose
The white cloud passes a shadow across
the landscape and so there is a passing greyness
The grey and the white both envelop
the watcher until he too is drawn into the picture
It is all a journey from a room through a door
down stairs and out into the street
The cloud could possess the house
The watchers have a mutual confidence
with the approaching string of white clouds
It is beyond spoken words what they are
silently mouthing to the sky
There was no mystery in this – only the firm
outline of people in overcoats on a hillside
and the line of clouds above them
The sky is blue The cloud white with touches
of grey – the rest – the landscape below –
can be left to the imagination
The whole painting quietly dissolved itself
into its surrounding clouds 

Depression – Amy Louise Kerswell

Oh, horrid ways of emotions.
All actions tried are of no use.
All actions acted are useless.
No matter the action it is all in vain.

I can’t go anywhere
Running is useless and of no point.
I can’t go nowhere.
Even if the option were open.

Oh depression horrible depression
Hold me back ever more
Pin me down with the force of your grace.
Depression my one true friend.

A sad dark and lonely place.
Sit on the walls.
It is so sad and vacant.
Vacant like my happy days.

Depression takes me
More and more each day.
Feeding on my sadness.

This is an everlasting scar
A scar not to heal
A scar not to mend.
It will bring me to my end