#NationalPoetryDay Share your favourite poem

Since it is National Poetry Day, I thought I would share with the Sluggerverse my favourite poem. Please share your own in the comments section

“For A Leader” by John O’Donohue

May you have the grace and wisdom
To act kindly, learning
To distinguish between what is
Personal and what is not.

May you be hospitable to criticism.

May you never put yourself at the center of things.

May you act not from arrogance but out of service.

May you work on yourself,
Building up and refining the ways of your mind.

May those who work for you know
You see and respect them.

May you learn to cultivate the art of presence
In order to engage with those who meet you.

When someone fails or disappoints you,
May the graciousness with which you engage
Be their stairway to renewal and refinement.

May you treasure the gifts of the mind
Through reading and creative thinking
So that you continue as a servant of the frontier
Where the new will draw its enrichment from the
old,
And may you never become a functionary.

May you know the wisdom of deep listening,
The healing of wholesome words,
The encouragement of the appreciative gaze,
The decorum of held dignity,
The springtime edge of the bleak question.

May you have a mind that loves frontiers
So that you can evoke the bright fields
That lie beyond the view of the regular eye.

May you have good friends
To mirror your blind spots.

May leadership be for you
A true adventure of growth.

  • Heather Richardson

    Ah, David, you’re raising the tone of the place! I’ll offer up this, from Belfast’s own Derek Mahon (and hope that the layout doesn’t get scrambled in transit):

    Everything is Going to Be All Right

    How should I not be glad to contemplate
    the clouds clearing beyond the dormer window
    and a high tide reflected on the ceiling?
    There will be dying, there will be dying,
    but there is no need to go into that.
    The lines flow from the hand unbidden
    and the hidden source is the watchful heart;
    the sun rises in spite of everything
    and the far cities are beautiful and bright.
    I lie here in a riot of sunlight
    watching the day break and the clouds flying.
    Everything is going to be all right.

  • Sergiogiorgio

    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 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.

  • Brian O’Neill

    Fred Fernakapan

    I am a mystery fellow
    I’m Fred Fernakapan
    I wear on sock that’s yellow
    The other dipped in jam

    I walk about the countryside
    I walk about the town
    Sometimes with my trousers up
    And sometimes with them down

    And when they were up they were up
    And when they were down they were down
    And when they were only half way up
    I was arrested

    Spike milligan

  • Mirrorballman

    Me…We.

    Muhammad Ali

  • Reader

    When I turned 21, my dad gave me a handwritten scroll with Kipling’s “If” on it. I have never really forgiven him. Now I see that he could have done much worse.

  • Greenflag 2

    Alas Kipling believed too much in macho heroics which is why his son who was deemed unfit for combat in WWI – his eyesight was below standard , somehow ended up in the trenches due to Kipling senior making sure he did’nt mss out on being a hero . His son Jack was killed in WWI like millions of other eh heros 🙁

  • Greenflag 2

    Good old Spike . At his funeral service in an Anglican Church his coffin was draped with the Union Jack and the Irish Tricolour . Now that would confused the flagmongers /wavers of Belfast .

  • Croiteir

    One side of the potato-pits was white with frost –
    How wonderful that was, how wonderful!
    And when we put our ears to the paling-post
    The music that came out was magical.

    The light between the ricks of hay and straw
    Was a hole in Heaven’s gable. An apple tree
    With its December-glinting fruit we saw –
    O you, Eve, were the world that tempted me.

    To eat the knowledge that grew in clay
    And death the germ within it! Now and then
    I can remember something of the gay
    Garden that was childhood’s. Again.

    The tracks of cattle to a drinking-place,
    A green stone lying sideways in a ditch,
    Or any common sight, the transfigured face
    Of a beauty that the world did not touch.

    My father played the melodion
    Outside at our gate;
    There were stars in the morning east
    And they danced to his music.

    Across the wild bogs his melodion called
    To Lennons and Callans.
    As I pulled on my trousers in a hurry
    I knew some strange thing had happened.

    Outside in the cow-house my mother
    Made the music of milking;
    The light of her stable-lamp was a star
    And the frost of Bethlehem made it twinkle.

    A water-hen screeched in the bog,
    Mass-going feet
    Crunched the wafer-ice on the pot-holes,
    Somebody wistfully twisted the bellows wheel.

    My child poet picked out the letters
    On the grey stone,
    In silver the wonder of a Christmas townland,
    The winking glitter of a frosty dawn.

    Cassiopeia was over
    Cassidy’s hanging hill,
    I looked and three whin bushes rode across
    The horizon — the Three Wise Kings.

    And old man passing said:
    ‘Can’t he make it talk –
    The melodion.’ I hid in the doorway
    And tightened the belt of my box-pleated coat.

    I nicked six nicks on the door-post
    With my penknife’s big blade –
    there was a little one for cutting tobacco.
    And I was six Christmases of age.

    My father played the melodion,
    My mother milked the cows,
    And I had a prayer like a white rose pinned
    On the Virgin Mary’s blouse.

  • barnshee

    “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.”
    (WS)

    or from personal experience (admittedly a long time ago)

    “Candy is dandy but liquor is quicker”

    Ogden Nash

  • barnshee

    Hardly –born in India Spike had no Brit passport
    Using the Irish grannie route –Spike ended up with an Irish passport -and as they say the rest of history At least he didnt have to pay for it-the normal route

  • Korhomme

    Awake! for Morning in the Bowl of Night
    Has flung the Stone that puts the Stars to Flight:
    And Lo! the Hunter of the East has caught
    The Sultan’s Turret in a Noose of Light.

    Dreaming when Dawn’s Left Hand was in the Sky
    I heard a Voice within the Tavern cry,
    “Awake, my Little ones, and fill the Cup
    “Before Life’s Liquor in its Cup be dry.”

    Here with a Loaf of Bread beneath the Bough,
    A Flask of Wine, a Book of Verse—and Thou
    Beside me singing in the Wilderness—
    And Wilderness is Paradise enow.

  • Zig70

    Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,
    That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it,
    And spills the upper boulders in the sun,
    And makes gaps even two can pass abreast.
    The work of hunters is another thing:
    I have come after them and made repair
    Where they have left not one stone on a stone,
    But they would have the rabbit out of hiding,
    To please the yelping dogs. The gaps I mean,
    No one has seen them made or heard them made,
    But at spring mending-time we find them there.
    I let my neighbor know beyond the hill;
    And on a day we meet to walk the line
    And set the wall between us once again.
    We keep the wall between us as we go.
    To each the boulders that have fallen to each.
    And some are loaves and some so nearly balls
    We have to use a spell to make them balance:
    ‘Stay where you are until our backs are turned!’
    We wear our fingers rough with handling them.
    Oh, just another kind of out-door game,
    One on a side. It comes to little more:
    There where it is we do not need the wall:
    He is all pine and I am apple orchard.
    My apple trees will never get across
    And eat the cones under his pines, I tell him.
    He only says, ‘Good fences make good neighbors’.
    Spring is the mischief in me, and I wonder
    If I could put a notion in his head:
    ‘Why do they make good neighbors? Isn’t it
    Where there are cows?
    But here there are no cows.
    Before I built a wall I’d ask to know
    What I was walling in or walling out,
    And to whom I was like to give offence.
    Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,
    That wants it down.’ I could say ‘Elves’ to him,
    But it’s not elves exactly, and I’d rather
    He said it for himself. I see him there
    Bringing a stone grasped firmly by the top
    In each hand, like an old-stone savage armed.
    He moves in darkness as it seems to me~
    Not of woods only and the shade of trees.
    He will not go behind his father’s saying,
    And he likes having thought of it so well
    He says again, “Good fences make good neighbors.”

  • mickfealty

    Bit overdue, but here ya go…

    Carrickfergus

    I was born in Belfast between the mountain and the gantries
    To the hooting of lost sirens and the clang of trams:
    Thence to Smoky Carrick in County Antrim
    Where the bottle-neck harbour collects the mud which jams

    The little boats beneath the Norman castle,
    The pier shining with lumps of crystal salt;
    The Scotch Quarter was a line of residential houses
    But the Irish Quarter was a slum for the blind and halt.

    The brook ran yellow from the factory stinking of chlorine,
    The yarn-milled called its funeral cry at noon;
    Our lights looked over the Lough to the lights of Bangor
    Under the peacock aura of a drowning moon.

    The Norman walled this town against the country
    To stop his ears to the yelping of his slave
    And built a church in the form of a cross but denoting
    The List of Christ on the cross, in the angle of the nave.

    I was the rector’s son, born to the Anglican order,
    Banned for ever from the candles of the Irish poor;
    The Chichesters knelt in marble at the end of a transept
    With ruffs about their necks, their portion sure.

    The war came and a huge camp of soldiers
    Grew from the ground in sight of our house with long
    Dummies hanging from gibbets for bayonet practice
    And the sentry’s challenge echoing all day long.

    I went to school in Dorset, the world of parents
    Contracted into a puppet world of sons
    Far from the mill girls, the smell of porter, the salt mines
    And the soldiers with their guns.

    Louis MacNeice

  • Greenflag 2

    Grannies were not involved . His dad was Irish his mom English.Spike’s soccer abilities were not of an international standard.

    From his bio

    “As Milligan was not born in the United Kingdom, his claim to British nationality was never clear. Milligan felt that he was entitled to a British passport, after having served in the army for six years. His passport application was refused, primarily because he would not swear an Oath of Allegiance; his Irish ancestry gave him an escape route from his stateless condition. He became an Irish citizen and remained so until his death.”

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Very much a young man’s poem, from the morning of a career, but worth an outing for all that as the work of one of Belfast’s finest poets from his first published book of verse:

    I think I see him now, as in his prime
    A short-built, thick-set, brown-faced, eager man,
    Born of the seed of fighters,
    Who, time of old, had fought for love of man,
    And liberty, that is the unpledged birthright of man,
    And found their touchstone in the simple words-
    “Giving and Forgiving.”
    A brown-faced, quiet-mannered, human man,
    Whose noble mind was mirrored in his eye;
    Who loved his people and the land that bore him,
    And the lowly peasant-people of the land,
    And the ardent poets of the land
    Those chosen souls, those dowered visionaries,
    Who dream and dream, and dreaming, do.
    A worshipper of good in nature;
    A lover of song and music;
    Menseful in his tastes and quiet in his dress;
    Kind to the poor and hearty in his talk;
    Fond of a pleasant story;
    Fast in his friendships;
    A reader of ancient books, a writer, too;
    A prop of institutions, traditions, ceremonies;
    Combative ever, but offending never;
    A dispenser of gifts and hospitalities;
    A diviner of thoughts, a patron and friend of boys;
    An urger of native effort — ah, the loveliest soul,
    The lordliest type of mortal Irish man
    It has been, or will be, my lot to know.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    While I’d agree Gerrnflag, that unquestionably Kipling was a committed imperialist, even so, he was no friend of the sanctimonious and in-power.

    From “IF”, the lines:

    “If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
    Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
    Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
    And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools”

    need to be considered in assessing what he actually thought of those who employed his work for their own political ends, and his brilliant, bitter “Mesopotamia” shows just what he thought of the time servers:

    http://www.kiplingsociety.co.uk/poems_mesopotamia.htm

    No, although I may disagree with what Kipling thought, he was far from a simple cheer leader for the self-seeking powers that be, and T.S. Eliott was correct in naming Kip[ling a great poet against the opinions of his day.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Yes, Sergiogeorgio, I have two verses of an earlier version written in my grandfather’s hand as he remembered them from AEs incantatory recitation from an early manuscript version he held:

    “I will arise and go now and go to the lake Island of Innisfree
    And my own cabin build there, of lake clay and of woven wattles made,
    Nine been rows will I have there and platted hive for the honey bee
    Alone I’ll live in the bee loud glade

    And I will have my peace there, peace come down and dropping slow
    Dropping from the veils of morning to where the linnet sings
    For noontide there is all a glimmer, and midnight there a purple glow
    And evenings filled with Linnet’s wings”

    It has some similarities to a version Yeats sent Katherine Tynan in a letter dated December 1888, but some notable differences, and I’ve never come cross this interim version anywhere but in the version I hold.

  • 241934 John Brennan

    My favourite – a parody on the words of Danny Boy written by my aunt in 1929:

    Danny Boy (a parody)

    Oh Danny boy the Civic Guards are calling,

    At every house all down the mountain side.

    The poteen’s here and all the things beside it

    ‘Tis you, ‘tis you must go the still to hide

    But come you back when moonlight’s on the
    meadow

    And I shall have the fire all aglow

    And we shall set the mountain dew a-boiling

    And watch its sparkling drops as swift they
    flow.

    But when you return if I am drunk

    As drunk I well may be

    You’ll come and find the place where I am
    lying,

    And throw an old top coat all over me.

    For I’ll not feel the wind or rain upon me

    And I’ll not wake until the dawn is here.

    So you can take a drink and sleep beside me

    Until the guards are gone and all is clear.
    Anna Dorn

  • Sergiogiorgio

    Thanks Seaan. I’m not sure I ever thought it was written differently from what I learned. I aspire to the first verse, to live in the “bee loud glade”. Sounds like my sort of place.

  • Belatedly, and in part because my favourite varies, here is my selection from Seamus Heaney’s Seeing Things (1991)

    Lightenings viii

    The annals say: when the monks of Clonmacnoise
    Were all at prayers inside the oratory
    A ship appeared above them in the air.

    The anchor dragged along behind so deep
    It hooked itself into the altar rails
    And then, as the big hull rocked to a standstill,

    A crewman shinned and grappled down the rope
    And struggled to release it. But in vain.
    ‘This man can’t bear our life here and will drown,’

    The abbot said, ‘unless we help him.’ So
    They did, the freed ship sailed, and the man climbed back
    Out of the marvellous as he had known it.

  • Alternatively, here is another favourite of mine from William Blake’s Songs of Experience

    A Poison Tree

    I was angry with my friend;
    I told my wrath, my wrath did end.
    I was angry with my foe:
    I told it not, my wrath did grow.

    And I waterd it in fears,
    Night & morning with my tears:
    And I sunned it with smiles,
    And with soft deceitful wiles.

    And it grew both day and night.
    Till it bore an apple bright.
    And my foe beheld it shine,
    And he knew that it was mine.

    And into my garden stole,
    When the night had veild the pole;
    In the morning glad I see;
    My foe outstretched beneath the tree.

  • One more all-time favourite, from Ted Hughes

    Wind

    This house has been far out at sea all night,
    The woods crashing through darkness, the booming hills,
    Winds stampeding the fields under the window
    Floundering black astride and blinding wet

    Till day rose; then under an orange sky
    The hills had new places, and wind wielded
    Blade-light, luminous black and emerald,
    Flexing like the lens of a mad eye.

    At noon I scaled along the house-side as far as
    The coal-house door. Once I looked up –
    Through the brunt wind that dented the balls of my eyes
    The tent of the hills drummed and strained its guyrope,

    The fields quivering, the skyline a grimace,
    At any second to bang and vanish with a flap;
    The wind flung a magpie away and a black-
    Back gull bent like an iron bar slowly. The house

    Rang like some fine green goblet in the note
    That any second would shatter it. Now deep
    In chairs, in front of the great fire, we grip
    Our hearts and cannot entertain book, thought,

    Or each other. We watch the fire blazing,
    And feel the roots of the house move, but sit on,
    Seeing the window tremble to come in,
    Hearing the stones cry out under the horizons.

  • mickfealty

    Ara, come on… Get it out there reader. You know you want to??

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Hi Sergiogeorgio, my grandfather was friendly with AE (through James Cousins) and had something of a nodding acquaintance of Yeats from AEs friendship with him.

    Few poems do not go through endless changes before they see a printed page, sometimes even after publication as in the writer of the poem I’ve posted above, another friend of my family, whose work I’m editing at the moment. But yes, the first verse, an idyll somewhat re-created in the Garden at Ardrigh just under McArt’s Fort:

    “There is a clearing in the maze of flowers
    That closes in my father’s House of Happiness ;
    And Summer dews it with her softest showers,
    The while she suns it with an eye of tenderness.
    And on its plat of shaven fairy‑grass
    My bees are housed in hives of beechen wood,
    Filling the languorous air with lazy drone
    Till moth‑time comes with melancholy mood,
    Deepening the shadow on the dial‑stone,
    And drifts of purple o’er the mountain pass.

    And often there of quiet Summer eves
    We gather, Seaghan and Seumas, Feidhlim Og and I –
    My Gaelic school – to sit within the leaves,
    And listen to the red‑bees’ twilight lullaby.
    And Seaghan will take a poem from his breast,
    Chanting it to the purple sunken sun,
    Until the merging glow of day and night
    And murmurous drone and singer’s voice are one,
    And Dana’s secret eyes from heaven’s height
    Look down upon our little world at rest.”

    .

  • Sergiogiorgio

    Thank you Seaan. I like it. It feeds my apiculture idyll this morning. What a nice way to start the day!

  • Greenflag 2

    Thanks for that qualification . Still can’t have been easy for the man ( Kipling ) to know that had he not pulled strings with the “timeservers” that his son would have survived the war . But those were the times that were in it. The young men of Europe went willingly to war in their tens of millions to prop up .. .

    George Orwell who missed WWI saw “imperialsm” at first hand in Burma . He did’nt like it . In the end he saw through the evils of totalitarianism be it of the right or left .

  • Croiteir

    Lepanto has resonance to this day – has the west been asleep again and while we keep vigil has Putin became the Don John of this era
    Lepanto
    By G. K. Chesterton
    White founts falling in the courts of the sun,
    And the Soldan of Byzantium is smiling as they run;
    There is laughter like the fountains in that face of all men feared,
    It stirs the forest darkness, the darkness of his beard,
    It curls the blood-red crescent, the crescent of his lips,
    For the inmost sea of all the earth is shaken with his ships.
    They have dared the white republics up the capes of Italy,
    They have dashed the Adriatic round the Lion of the Sea,
    And the Pope has cast his arms abroad for agony and loss,
    And called the kings of Christendom for swords about the Cross,
    The cold queen of England is looking in the glass;
    The shadow of the Valois is yawning at the Mass;
    From evening isles fantastical rings faint the Spanish gun,
    And the Lord upon the Golden Horn is laughing in the sun.

    Dim drums throbbing, in the hills half heard,
    Where only on a nameless throne a crownless prince has stirred,
    Where, risen from a doubtful seat and half attainted stall,
    The last knight of Europe takes weapons from the wall,
    The last and lingering troubadour to whom the bird has sung,
    That once went singing southward when all the world was young,
    In that enormous silence, tiny and unafraid,
    Comes up along a winding road the noise of the Crusade.
    Strong gongs groaning as the guns boom far,
    Don John of Austria is going to the war,
    Stiff flags straining in the night-blasts cold
    In the gloom black-purple, in the glint old-gold,
    Torchlight crimson on the copper kettle-drums,
    Then the tuckets, then the trumpets, then the cannon, and he comes.
    Don John laughing in the brave beard curled,
    Spurning of his stirrups like the thrones of all the world,
    Holding his head up for a flag of all the free.
    Love-light of Spain—hurrah!
    Death-light of Africa!
    Don John of Austria
    Is riding to the sea.

    Mahound is in his paradise above the evening star,
    (Don John of Austria is going to the war.)
    He moves a mighty turban on the timeless houri’s knees,
    His turban that is woven of the sunset and the seas.
    He shakes the peacock gardens as he rises from his ease,
    And he strides among the tree-tops and is taller than the trees,
    And his voice through all the garden is a thunder sent to bring
    Black Azrael and Ariel and Ammon on the wing.
    Giants and the Genii,
    Multiplex of wing and eye,
    Whose strong obedience broke the sky
    When Solomon was king.

    They rush in red and purple from the red clouds of the morn,
    From temples where the yellow gods shut up their eyes in scorn;
    They rise in green robes roaring from the green hells of the sea
    Where fallen skies and evil hues and eyeless creatures be;
    On them the sea-valves cluster and the grey sea-forests curl,
    Splashed with a splendid sickness, the sickness of the pearl;
    They swell in sapphire smoke out of the blue cracks of the ground,—
    They gather and they wonder and give worship to Mahound.
    And he saith, “Break up the mountains where the hermit-folk can hide,
    And sift the red and silver sands lest bone of saint abide,
    And chase the Giaours flying night and day, not giving rest,
    For that which was our trouble comes again out of the west.
    We have set the seal of Solomon on all things under sun,
    Of knowledge and of sorrow and endurance of things done,
    But a noise is in the mountains, in the mountains, and I know
    The voice that shook our palaces—four hundred years ago:
    It is he that saith not ‘Kismet’; it is he that knows not Fate ;
    It is Richard, it is Raymond, it is Godfrey in the gate!
    It is he whose loss is laughter when he counts the wager worth,
    Put down your feet upon him, that our peace be on the earth.”
    For he heard drums groaning and he heard guns jar,
    (Don John of Austria is going to the war.)
    Sudden and still—hurrah!
    Bolt from Iberia!
    Don John of Austria
    Is gone by Alcalar.

    St. Michael’s on his mountain in the sea-roads of the north
    (Don John of Austria is girt and going forth.)
    Where the grey seas glitter and the sharp tides shift
    And the sea folk labour and the red sails lift.
    He shakes his lance of iron and he claps his wings of stone;
    The noise is gone through Normandy; the noise is gone alone;
    The North is full of tangled things and texts and aching eyes
    And dead is all the innocence of anger and surprise,
    And Christian killeth Christian in a narrow dusty room,
    And Christian dreadeth Christ that hath a newer face of doom,
    And Christian hateth Mary that God kissed in Galilee,
    But Don John of Austria is riding to the sea.
    Don John calling through the blast and the eclipse
    Crying with the trumpet, with the trumpet of his lips,
    Trumpet that sayeth ha!
    Domino gloria!
    Don John of Austria
    Is shouting to the ships.

    King Philip’s in his closet with the Fleece about his neck
    (Don John of Austria is armed upon the deck.)
    The walls are hung with velvet that, is black and soft as sin,
    And little dwarfs creep out of it and little dwarfs creep in.
    He holds a crystal phial that has colours like the moon,
    He touches, and it tingles, and he trembles very soon,
    And his face is as a fungus of a leprous white and grey
    Like plants in the high houses that are shuttered from the day,
    And death is in the phial, and the end of noble work,
    But Don John of Austria has fired upon the Turk.
    Don John’s hunting, and his hounds have bayed—
    Booms away past Italy the rumour of his raid
    Gun upon gun, ha! ha!
    Gun upon gun, hurrah!
    Don John of Austria
    Has loosed the cannonade.

    The Pope was in his chapel before day or battle broke,
    (Don John of Austria is hidden in the smoke.)
    The hidden room in man’s house where God sits all the year,
    The secret window whence the world looks small and very dear.
    He sees as in a mirror on the monstrous twilight sea
    The crescent of his cruel ships whose name is mystery;
    They fling great shadows foe-wards, making Cross and Castle dark,
    They veil the plumèd lions on the galleys of St. Mark;
    And above the ships are palaces of brown, black-bearded chiefs,
    And below the ships are prisons, where with multitudinous griefs,
    Christian captives sick and sunless, all a labouring race repines
    Like a race in sunken cities, like a nation in the mines.
    They are lost like slaves that sweat, and in the skies of morning hung
    The stair-ways of the tallest gods when tyranny was young.
    They are countless, voiceless, hopeless as those fallen or fleeing on
    Before the high Kings’ horses in the granite of Babylon.
    And many a one grows witless in his quiet room in hell
    Where a yellow face looks inward through the lattice of his cell,
    And he finds his God forgotten, and he seeks no more a sign—
    (But Don John of Austria has burst the battle-line!)
    Don John pounding from the slaughter-painted poop,
    Purpling all the ocean like a bloody pirate’s sloop,
    Scarlet running over on the silvers and the golds,
    Breaking of the hatches up and bursting of the holds,
    Thronging of the thousands up that labour under sea
    White for bliss and blind for sun and stunned for liberty.
    Vivat Hispania! Domino Gloria!
    Don John of Austria
    Has set his people free!

    Cervantes on his galley sets the sword back in the sheath
    (Don John of Austria rides homeward with a wreath.)
    And he sees across a weary land a straggling road in Spain,
    Up which a lean and foolish knight forever rides in vain,
    And he smiles, but not as Sultans smile, and settles back the blade….
    (But Don John of Austria rides home from the Crusade.)

  • SeaanUiNeill

    One of those poems, Croitier, I’d heard often as a grandchild, that I’d still read my own grandchildren.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Poets and politics seldom mix, as politics simply requires propaganda, and real poetry is inevitably much, much more. Yeats was asked to sign a PEN petition for a left wing victim of the Nazi regime and commented that the only way one could judge any government was by the number of its victims,

  • SeaanUiNeill

    “The Garden of the Bees” was Frank Bigger’s garden at Ardrigh, the northern Cultural Revivals equivalent of Plato’s “academy” garden. A sepia image on the webpage below:

    http://www.ardrighbooks.com/fjb.html

    I remember meeting a man whose father had gone to St Endas, “That is the school I should have gone to myself”, he told me.