Monday, October 26, 2009

Growing Old by Matthew Arnold

What is it to grow old?
Is it to lose the glory of the form,
The lustre of the eye?
Is it for beauty to forego her wreath?
Yes, but not for this alone.

Is it to feel our strength
Not our bloom only, but our strength decay?
Is it to feel each limb
Grow stiffer, every function less exact,
Each nerve more weakly strung?

Yes, this, and more! but not,
Ah, 'tis not what in youth we dreamed 'twould be!
'Tis not to have our life
Mellowed and softened as with sunset-glow,
A golden day's decline!

'Tis not to see the world
As from a height, with rapt prophetic eyes,
And heart profoundly stirred;
And weep, and feel the fulness of the past,
The years that are no more!

It is to spend long days
And not once feel that we were ever young.
It is to add, immured
In the hot prison of the present, month
To month with weary pain.

It is to suffer this,
And feel but half, and feebly, what we feel:
Deep in our hidden heart
Festers the dull remembrance of a change,
But no emotion none.

It is last stage of all
When we are frozen up within, and quite
The phantom of ourselves,
To hear the world applaud the hollow ghost
Which blamed the living man.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Ode to a Grecian Urn

I had to learn this at school - It was brought back to mind by the film Bright Star



THOU still unravish'd bride of quietness,
Thou foster-child of Silence and slow Time,
Sylvan historian, who canst thus express
A flowery tale more sweetly than our rhyme:
What leaf-fringed legend haunts about thy shape 5
Of deities or mortals, or of both,
In Tempe or the dales of Arcady?
What men or gods are these? What maidens loth?
What mad pursuit? What struggle to escape?
What pipes and timbrels? What wild ecstasy? 10

Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard
Are sweeter; therefore, ye soft pipes, play on;
Not to the sensual ear, but, more endear'd,
Pipe to the spirit ditties of no tone:
Fair youth, beneath the trees, thou canst not leave 15
Thy song, nor ever can those trees be bare;
Bold Lover, never, never canst thou kiss,
Though winning near the goal—yet, do not grieve;
She cannot fade, though thou hast not thy bliss,
For ever wilt thou love, and she be fair! 20

Ah, happy, happy boughs! that cannot shed
Your leaves, nor ever bid the Spring adieu;
And, happy melodist, unweari├Ęd,
For ever piping songs for ever new;
More happy love! more happy, happy love! 25
For ever warm and still to be enjoy'd,
For ever panting, and for ever young;
All breathing human passion far above,
That leaves a heart high-sorrowful and cloy'd,
A burning forehead, and a parching tongue. 30

Who are these coming to the sacrifice?
To what green altar, O mysterious priest,
Lead'st thou that heifer lowing at the skies,
And all her silken flanks with garlands drest?
What little town by river or sea-shore, 35
Or mountain-built with peaceful citadel,
Is emptied of its folk, this pious morn?
And, little town, thy streets for evermore
Will silent be; and not a soul, to tell
Why thou art desolate, can e'er return. 40

O Attic shape! fair attitude! with brede
Of marble men and maidens overwrought,
With forest branches and the trodden weed;
Thou, silent form! dost tease us out of thought
As doth eternity: Cold Pastoral! 45
When old age shall this generation waste,
Thou shalt remain, in midst of other woe
Than ours, a friend to man, to whom thou say'st,
'Beauty is truth, truth beauty,—that is all
Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Mojo Flows - A Blues Poem

Mojo flows like heat, to a four four beat, as it goes. Like spit on a harmonica, like flattened fiths, like whiskey breath. Those rocking eighty eights, mojo flows through ivory, wire and mahagony too. Like sweat on those keys...

Wafting, being blasted mojo flows, like smoke, it aint no joke, through New Orleans, Memphis, through the deepest part of Dixie. Chicago's west side, down on Maxwell, on Beal. In London, on those British Isles, mojo flows, nothing can stop where it goes.

From the deepest parts of Africa, mojo sprang, as slaves sang, 44s causing sholders to get sore, you won't hear 44's train whistle blow no more. And still mojo flows. Mojo flows all electrified in churches and in jails and where ever the blues goes, mojo knows. In Europe, in America, in Africa too.

Round and round mojo flows around that girls low cut skirt and between her legs, that is where mojo goes, that is where mojo flows. Pretty girls with lips all painted red, sleep with mojo in their beds.

Mojo flows, mojo flows and where it goes no body knows. When she squeezes that lemon, and juice runs like a mojo flow, that is what I'm talking about. The devil's daughter all round and fine, was the first to pull that trick no doubt.

Flowing, flowing mojo continues to flow, no one knows where it will ultimately go. So just enjoy it now while you can, let the mojo get under your skin.

By Kelvin Cook

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Friday, October 16, 2009

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Friday, October 02, 2009

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Ackroyd's Funeral

Lankie dialect poems - click on title for more

It was dark as a coal-hole picnic
On the day Grandad Akroyd dropped dead;
Work was scarce as rocking-horse droppings,
Not a church roof for miles had lead.

So cold that the flame on the candle,
Got frozen one Wednesday night,
And we had to warm it up in the oven
Before we could get it to light.

Some brass monkeys outside sung carols soprano,
You could 'ear 'em cursin' and swearin',
As they wandered 'round lost in the cold and the frost
They couldn't find their bearings.

On Sunday our chicken for dinner
Was a pigeon from off next door's loft.
And me Dad pumped it up with his bike pump, too hard
And our Sunday dinner buggered off.

'What would you like to eat now, Dad?'
Said our Mam, picking her nose,
'Hard boiled eggs,' our Dad said,
'You can't get your fingers in those.'

We couldn't afford to kill t' chicken,
So we boiled some water up hot,
And with bunches of dried peas tied to its knees,
It Paddled about on the top.

Me Grandad had mortgaged his pension
'Til 1994,
While me Gran in her vest, was outside doing her best,
With a red light above t'coal shed door.

'I can't stand't no more,' the old man cried,
A mad light shone in his glass eye,
'We'll have to defraud the insurance man
Hands up, I want a volunteer to die.'

Mam said she would have, but she were too busy,
Our Albert said his library book was due back,
Gran said she would but her and her mate,
Had got tickets for last Saturday's match.

So we drew straws to settle the matter,
But there was never no doubt,
'Cos me Dad cut me Grandad's in haIf wi't' bread-knife,
Just as he was pulling it out.

I'm too old to die,' he said, using the cat
As a club to belabour me Dad,
'All right,' me Dad says, 'you don't have to die…
Just lie down and pretend as you are.'

So me Grandad lay down on the hearth-rug,
And we called the doctor in.
Gran took out a bottle and glasses,
And got him smashed on her dandelion gin.

He said me Grandad had died of a very rare disease,
A bad case of tropical frostbite,
Then he staggered off out and we all heard a shout
From the street 'cos he slipped in some dog shite.

Our Billy ran round for the Man from the Pru,
Gran filled him with dandelion gin,
He paid £4.10 in used chipshop yen
And said, 'When are you burying him?'

'Oh, We weren't thinking of burying him,' Grandma said,
'Thinking of having stuffed meself,
Or embalming him in Plasticraft,
And keeping him on't mantelshelf.'

'Nay, yon is illegal,' said Man from Pru.
'Grandad will have to be buried,
In a box and shroud in constipated ground.'
At this Grandad looked reet worried.

The Man from the Pru' said he'd come to the burying
And see as how things were done quite right,
Then he staggered off out and we all heard a shout
From the street 'cos he slipped on that stuff that I told
you about before.

'I've just done that, 'said the doctor,
So the insuranceman rubbed his nose in it.

So the pretend corpse now had to be buried,
Me Dad got an old kipper crate,
When the holes got plugged and the wood it looked good
With plastic brass handles on - great.

'We'll only bury you just till he's gone,
Then we'll dig you up, honest,' Dad said.
It took a bottle of gin before Grandad gave in
And lay int' box to play dead.

Me Gran looked down at the box saying, 'What a lovely corpse.'
Tears fell on her dripping and toast,
When the body at rest shoved his hand up her vest, saying
'Now then, how's that for a ghost?'

So we put the box on big Mabel's coal cart
And off to t'cemetery we set,
We followed on bikes and all seemed quite right
Until another burying we met.

A policeman was stood on point duty,
'Cos there was a fault on the traffic lights,
But he fell to the ground with his arms flaying round
'Cos' he slipped on the road on another load of that stuff I was
telling you about before.

'We just done that,' said the doctor and the insurance man,
So the policeman rubbed their noses in it.

As he spun on the ground the traffic flew round,
And the two buryings got in a jam,
Their driver took a poke at me Dad wi' a wrench
And got a kick up the shoemaker's off me Mam.

When we sorted it out we'd got the wrong box;
Grandma said, 'Ee, we won't see no more of him,'
When their driver come round our burying we found
Had gone to the crematorium.

By the time that we got there the service was done,
You could hear the organ play.
As the congregation wept hankies and sniffed,
And our kipper box was on its way.

The shutters were open, we all heard the flames,
And suddenly Grandad gave a yell,
And a coffin with legs and its arse end on fire
Ran out on t'conveyor belt!

O'er the pews and out through the window,
The burning kipper box ran,
And we all cheered the crate as it swam through the lake
Chased by me Dad and me Mam.

'A blessed miracle,' said me Gran,
But the Man from the Pru went quite white;
'Ruined,' he roared, he would have said more
But he slipped in the road on some more of that stuff I've been telling you about.

'I've just done that, 'said the policeman,
So the insurance man rubbed his nose in it.