Wednesday, 25 February 2015

London Snow - a poem by Robert Bridges

The picture is so pretty that I had to find a poem about snow. OK, the picture isn't London but the poem and picture are mutually evocative that I've put them together.

London Snow (1890)
Robert Bridges
When men were all asleep the snow came flying,
In large white flakes falling on the city brown,
Stealthily and perpetually settling and loosely lying,
Hushing the latest traffic of the drowsy town;
Deadening, muffling, stifling its murmurs failing;
Lazily and incessantly floating down and down:
Silently sifting and veiling road, roof and railing;
Hiding difference, making unevenness even,
Into angles and crevices softly drifting and sailing.
All night it fell, and when full inches seven
It lay in the depth of its uncompacted lightness,
The clouds blew off from a high and frosty heaven;
And all woke earlier for the unaccustomed brightness
Of the winter dawning, the strange unheavenly glare:
The eye marvelled – marvelled at the dazzling whiteness;
The ear hearkened to the stillness of the solemn air;
No sound of wheel rumbling nor of foot falling,
And the busy morning cries came thin and spare.
Then boys I heard, as they went to school, calling,
They gathered up the crystal manna to freeze
Their tongues with tasting, their hands with snowballing;
Or rioted in a drift, plunging up to the knees;
Or peering up from under the white-mossed wonder,
‘O look at the trees!’ they cried, ‘O look at the trees!’
With lessened load a few carts creak and blunder,
Following along the white deserted way,
A country company long dispersed asunder:
When now already the sun, in pale display
Standing by Paul’s high dome, spread forth below
His sparkling beams, and awoke the stir of the day.
For now doors open, and war is waged with the snow;
And trains of sombre men, past tale of number,
Tread long brown paths, as toward their toil they go:
But even for them awhile no cares encumber
Their minds diverted; the daily word is unspoken,
The daily thoughts of labour and sorrow slumber
At the sight of the beauty that greets them, for the charm they have broken.

Victor Hugo

"Toleration is the best religion"

Victor Hugo

Victor Hugo lived in voluntary exile from France from 1851 until the reconstitution of the French Republic in 1870, producing much of his best work on Guernsey in the Channel Islands

Monday, 23 February 2015

Evocative Seasonal Poem about Winter

I love this poem by John Updike. It's very economical and yet the imagery is wonderful.

The days are short,
The sun a spark,
Hung thin between
The dark and dark.

Fat snowy footsteps
Track the floor.
Milk bottles burst
Outside the door.

The river is
A frozen place
Held still beneath
The trees of lace.

The sky is low.
The wind is gray.
The radiator
Purrs all day.

John Updike

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Here's a Haiku

I enjoy the discipline of writing a haiku. If you are not familiar with the structure it's -

3 lines :1st line 5 syllables, 2nd line 7 syllables, 3rd line 5 syllables. A haiku is traditionally about nature and ideally juxtaposes two ideas. Here's one I prepared earlier -

Some ripe raspberries
 Forgotten fruits of Autumn
 Wither on wet canes

It's more difficult than it at first appears to be - particularly the juxtaposing of ideas. Why not have a go. But be warned - it can become addictive!